Maybe The Frankfurt School Can Help

Ever since the news broke that Donald Trump had won the electoral college there has been a wealth of ink wasted trying to explain what went wrong and how this person could have won so much of the electoral college.

Us academics….you know those people that the Right demonizes every chance they get….maybe be able to help explain the situation and that nagging question…how could this happen?

I have read most of the stuff both Right and Left that attempts to explain the 2016 elections….most of it is supposition…..but some of the thoughts of the Frankfurt School could help in this endeavor……

At least spend some time and learn about their thoughts before dismissing them outright.

The Frankfurt School, also known as the Institute of Social Research (Institut für Sozialforschung), is a social and political philosophical movement of thought located in Frankfurt am Main, Germany. It is the original source of what is known as Critical Theory. The Institute was founded, thanks to a donation by Felix Weil in 1923, with the aim of developing Marxist studies in Germany. The Institute eventually generated a specific school of thought after 1933 when the Nazis forced it to close and move to the United States, where it found hospitality at Columbia University, New York.

The academic influence of the “critical” method is far reaching in terms of educational institutions in which such tradition is taught and in terms of the problems it addresses. Some of its core issues involve the critique of modernities and of capitalist society, the definition of social emancipation and the perceived pathologies of society. Critical theory provides a specific interpretation of Marxist philosophy and reinterprets some of its central economic and political notions such as commodification, reification, fetishization and critique of mass culture.

Source: Frankfurt School and Critical Theory | Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy

In 1923, a motley collection of philosophers, cultural critics, and sociologists formed the Institute of Social Research in Frankfurt, Germany. Known popularly as the Frankfurt School, it was an all-star crew of lefty theorists, including Walter Benjamin, Theodor Adorno, Erich Fromm, Max Horkheimer, and Herbert Marcuse.

A guiding belief of the Frankfurt School, notably among Adorno and Horkheimer, was that mass culture, in all its forms, was a prop for totalitarian capitalism. The idea was that art, in late-capitalist society, had been reduced to a cultural commodity. Critical theory sought to expose this by rigorously examining the products of popular culture. In particular, they tried to show how culture became a stealth vehicle for the inculcation of capitalist values.

Source: If you want to understand the age of Trump, you need to read the Frankfurt School – Vox

One may not approve of their approach….but they were instrumental in the formation of the “critical theory”…..

Reclaim the Identity of the Left

Back in my younger days I was a radical and worked to change the political system….I worked within the confines of the system to exact change….Reagan reinvigorated my resolve to make change…Bush1 was just an extension of my desire….and then the country threw us on the Left a mickey….the election of Bill Clinton, a conserv in Dem clothing……we tried to warn the country but few wanted to hear what we were saying…..and look what that brought.

Many on the Left are crying in their beers…..but that will not bring the change they so want….the Left needs to set about making the changes needed to start representing the working class….something they have NOT done in 25+ years…..if they truly want to win…then the ONLY concern should be that of the working class.

This election has been something that the American left had never dreamed of: The rise of a demagogue spouting fascist rhetoric against the roaring cheers of white America.

An authoritarian right will now rule over a Republican-held Congress, with the choosing of new Supreme Court justices on the agenda.

The anger fueling Trump’s rise was palpable because it wasn’t new. Economic stagnation has been happening for decades as deindustrialization, neoliberalism and union busting took its toll. The Rust Belt rusted over and small farms were forced into foreclosure. That anger had a narrative thrusted upon it, and it didn’t come from the left.

Source: Trump’s Victory Is an Opportunity to Reclaim the Identity of the Left

Good advice if you want to regain your standing with the American people….

For sake of argument…….. the National Review wades into the conversation…..

The Left is not going to learn any lessons from 2016, apparently. Democrats in the House just crushed an upstart challenge to Nancy Pelosi’s decade-long leadership, rejecting Tim Ryan, a 43-year-old congressman who represents a swath of post-industrial Ohio from Youngstown to Akron and co-chairs the Congressional Manufacturing Caucus, for the 76-year-old San Francisco congresswoman who has presided over the largest House losses in modern memory, and who famously said that the House had to pass the Affordable Care Act “so you can find out what is in it.” As for leadership outside the halls of Congress, the favorite to head the Democratic National Committee has been Keith Ellison, a Muslim congressman from Minnesota who has extensive ties to the Nation of Islam and the Muslim Brotherhood, and who has compared the September 11 attacks to the burning of the Reichstag.

Source: American Left, We Need You to Recover Your Sanity | National Review

I will agree that the Left, the true Left, needs to re-group and find a better way forward…..reverting back to the 1990’s is NOT the way forward.
Thoughts?  But please if you want to go on some socialism rant save it for your crazy uncle Bill over Christmas dinner.

Closing Thought–02Dec16

GOP–When It Was A “Big Tent” Party……..

My grandfather, a man that I found to be an astute individual, was a Republican in his voting prime.  He always said that he could get behind their platform for it would strengthen the country and make it a much better place for ALL Americans.

The last time he voted was 1956…..

The years before Reagan and his assault on any one not privileged…aka “Welfare Queens”…..

If the GOP were still a party of ideas then I would be a Republican…but sadly they have long since vanished….replaced with a party of division, wealth and privilege……nothing they propose anymore will “make America great again”…..

Sadly there are no moderate or liberal Repubs left…..they have been replaced by the twats on the far Right….and that will be a worthless situation….very little if anything will be done in DC…..

Together, Donald Trump and his GOP cohorts who won on November 8 represent some of the worst tendencies in the country. Trump personifies our economic and social contradictions front and center, loud and clear. The mainstream media recognizes that Donald Trump certainly won, but few seem willing to discuss how the far right wrangled a significant victory on Election Day.

This should not be surprising. While members of the intelligentsia are now scrambling to vindicate our democratic system and call for unity, they spent years ignoring the cracks in its economic foundation. No doubt they would ignore the growing fissures now manifest, oblivious to the system poised to crash upon us. Their belief in the American status quo ushered Trump into the presidency.

Source: Let’s Face It: There Is No Moderate GOP

It took about 30 years for the GOP to go from a party of ideas to a party of immature BS…….The GOP will remain a stagnant party as long as they keep purging the Moderates and Liberals….the party will remain a party in name ONLY!

 

Should We Go Left Or Right?

After the dismal showing in the EC by Clinton the Dems are scrambling trying to find a way to reclaim their lost glory.

Some think that they should embrace a more progressive tact…..while others are thinking of returning to the days of the “Blue Dogs”.

In case you are so damn young that the term “Blue Dog” means nothing to you then maybe I can help….

The Blue Dogs are the political descendants of a now defunct Southern Democratic group known as the Boll Weevils, who played a critical role in the early 1980s by supporting President Ronald Reagan’s tax cut plan. The Boll Weevils, in turn, may be considered the descendants of the “states’ rights” Democrats of the 1940s through ’60s. “Blue Dog Democrat” is derived from the term “Yellow Dog Democrat.” Former Texas Democrat Rep. Pete Geren is credited for coining the term, explaining that the members had been “choked blue” by “extreme” Democrats from the left. The term is also a reference to the “Blue Dog” paintings of Cajun artist George Rodrigue of Lafayette, Louisiana; the original members of the coalition would regularly meet in the offices of Louisiana representatives Billy Tauzin and Jimmy Hayes, both of whom had Rodrigue’s paintings on their walls.[citation needed] Tauzin and Hayes later switched to the Republican Party. The Blue Dog Coalition was formed in 1994 during the 104th Congress to give more conservative members from the Democratic party a unified voice after the Democrats’ loss of Congress in 1994.

Basically they are conservatives in Dem clothing…..they became popular when Bubba Clinton was prez along with his group the DLC.

Now that is out of the way…the question remains….should the Dems move Right or Left?

Believe it or not I read the American Conservative and they have some ideas for the Dems (not that any of them would listen)…..it is an excellent op-ed that deserves thought from the Dems…..

Ross Douthat’s latest column asks whether the Democrats have the capacity to move to the right in response to the election results:

That kind of movement is often part of how political parties recover from debilitation and defeat — not just by finding new ways to be true to their underlying ideology, but by scrambling toward the center to convince skeptical voters that they’ve changed. It’s what Democrats did, slowly but surely, after the trauma of Ronald Reagan’s triumphs; it’s what Bill Clinton did after his 1994 drubbing; it’s what Rahm Emanuel and Howard Dean did, to a modest degree, on their way to building a congressional majority in 2006. And it’s also what Donald Trump did on his way to stealing the Midwest from the Democrats this year — he was a hard-right candidate on certain issues but a radical sort of centrist on trade, infrastructure and entitlements, explicitly breaking with Republican orthodoxies that many voters considered out-of-date.

Source: Do The Democrats Have To Move Right? Or Left? | The American Conservative

While I do not agree with the conclusions, most of the conclusions, it still has merit…but since they, the Dems, are sticking with Pelosi as leader I do not see much change coming.

Me?  I say more progressive!

The Tragic Failure Of Real Conservatism In The Republican Party And The Best Hope For Tomorrow

This “press” is of an article, an op-ed, written by a loyal reader and friend of IST, The Ripening Wanderer……we may not always agree but in this case we do….I also see a loss of true conservative thinking…..replaced with issues that have NOTHING to do with governing.

I feel that his thoughts should be widely read…..we live in a partisan nation and that will NEVER change until more people understand the real differences in the political thinking…..

I do not see socialism hiding behind every liberal and I do not see fascists behind every conservative….what I see is a serious lack of understanding by the people of political philosophy….nothing will change until the people realize their differences and stop insulting each other and learn to work together….

I do NOT see any of the two parties working in the interests of the people….that must change or nothing will change….change that thing that all Americans vote for but never get……

My Dad was a staunch Republican all his life but if he were alive today I doubt he would give them the time of day. —– You see my Dad was a Conservative Republican and from what I have …

Source: The Tragic Failure Of Real Conservatism In The Republican Party And The Best Hope For Tomorrow – THE RIPENING WANDERER

Again I do not see Trump as the hope that is needed….but I guess anything is possible…..especially in the minds of the voters.

Independents, The Lie That Just Keeps Giving

Opinion from the frustrated mind of Chuq

The election is just around the corner….so do you support Trump?  Maybe Clinton?  Does that make you an independent?  Nope.  A “populist”?  More accurate than independent….

Source:42% of Americans Ditch Two-Party System, Say Government is Biggest Problem – The Anti-Media

Here in the US we have this magical group…..a group that can make marvelous things happen……(a pipe dream of the media’s invention)…..they are the “independents”.

It is an election….this time it is for 2016…..and there will be poll after poll after poll after……it is endless……and the media will once again set off selling that there are a large group that does not approve of either party and they will be labelled as “independent”……and that is a snow job!

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The independents that will make the difference in this election as they have in the past (according to the MSM) are not independents.  These people are more like a centrist than independent.  Even “undecided” would be more accurate.

What makes me say such a thing?

If they were truly independent then they would be looking for political answers outside the prevalent 2 parties that control the American election process.  In other words third parties would be more popular in our process…..in case you have missed it….they are NOT!

To call oneself an independent would imply that the person is open to different ideas for solving problems….that would be a lie also.  Most “independents” have set ideas in their head and NO amount of rational argument will ever change those closed minds.

Most of the so-called independents are nothing more than disgruntled Repubs or Dems…….and when it comes time to vote they will inevitable cast their vote for the Dems or the GOP…..what part of that is independent?

These people are fooling themselves to seem to be more pragmatic….but in reality they are nothing more than a Repub or a Dem…..plain and simple.

Last national election I attempted to raise this subject, 27 June 2011 post…….

Source: Centrist Vs Independent | In Saner Thought

To me those that claim to be independent are people that are not happy with their party of choice…..most are one issue voters who grasp at a single situation to define their political ideology or join the echo chamber of the daily headlines.

The only alternative these people ever consider is which party best describes their issues……once again…….always within the 2 party system…..they seldom ever consider a true alternative.  For all their bitching and moaning and they cannot get past one party or the other……the sound of a fury that signifies nothing!

Why the popularity of the term “independent”?  The media!

The media has the American voter believing they are independent if they go against their party line……it is a con job!

And then there are those that strut around proud to be an “independent”….yet when someone disagrees with them they are bleeding hearts or deniers or ….well you get the idea…..what part of that is independent thinking…..sounds more like the batcrap crazies they quote…..not an independent.  These are the same bottom feeders that troll the scum of the news and look for stories that can feed their hatred and bigotry…..makes no difference that most of these stories are out of context or just plain made up…..but as long as it feeds their brain it is truth and NO amount of logic or rationale will change that for them.

There are few TRUE independents in American politics…..just people that lie to themselves to convince themselves that they are truly the change the country needs…..in reality they are the same as they ever were……just are gullible toads and afraid to admit it.

INDEPENDENT…..MY ASS!

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Professor, Where Do Your Loyalties Lie?

Because of all the writings and the rantings and the criticisms that I offer I have been asked many times…..just what do you want from a political party?

I mean so far I have seen nothing in the parties that I can sign onto….in the distant past I was a socialist and then a Green……I have never found anything I liked about either of the two major parties….most of them talk a good game but never deliver…

I have a problem with most of the policies….domestic, financial, energy, education and mostly with their foreign policies….the major parties are not about the country but rather the cash to be made by deceiving the voter….

There are major issues that need attention in this election…..

A selection of issues at stake in the presidential election and their impact on Americans, in brief:

Source: WHY IT MATTERS: Issues at stake in election

Issues that need to be talked about beyond the platitudes we have these days…..

So I sat down to list what I am looking for in a political party….the list was going well….that is until I read in “Popular Resistance” the 15 core principles…..after reading the list I saw possible solutions to the issues that we do not talk about….why?  Easy…most will not generate the necessary applause……

This list was developed during the organizing process for the Occupation of Freedom Plaza in Washington, DC.

Corporatism – Firmly establish that money is not speech, corporations are not people and only people have Constitutional rights. End corporate influence over the political process. End corporate welfare that enriches the few and instead treat government investment as something that all profit from, ensure corporations pay their fair share by ending corporate loopholes and tax subsidies and put in place a global tax so that off-shoring of money does not avoid taxes. Protect people and the environment from damage by corporations and end corporate trade agreements and partnerships that undermine consumer, labor and environmental protections.

Wars and Militarism – End wars and occupations, end private for-profit military contractors and end the weapons export industry. War crimes, crimes against humanity and crimes against peace must be addressed and those responsible held accountable under international law. Reduce the national security state and demilitarize the police.

Human Rights – End exploitation of people in the US and abroad. End discrimination in all forms (race, gender, sexual orientation and ethnicity), guarantee equal civil rights, and the right of people to travel across borders to work and live. Make the Universal Declaration of Human Rights a reality.

Worker Rights and Jobs – Guarantee that all working-age people have the right to safe, just, non-discriminatory and dignified working conditions, a sustainable living wage, paid leave and economic protection. Put in place policies that allow worker owned and managed businesses, e.g. worker-owned cooperatives, so workers can build wealth and have greater control over their economic lives.

Government – Guarantee that all processes of the three branches of government are be accountable to international law, transparent and follow the rule of law. Respect the civil rights of government employees. Create a work environment in government that empowers service to people, participation, honesty and integrity and that protects whistleblowers. Build policies and infrastructure that allow people to participate in decision making.

Elections – Guarantee that all citizens 18 and older have the right to vote without barriers and establish universal voter registration. Guarantee that all candidates have the right to be heard in open debates and to run with low-threshold ballot access laws. Count all votes in a transparent method open to the public. Institute new voting systems so that more than majority views are represented, e.g. proportional representation; and voting systems that avoid voting based on fear of the greater evil, e.g. instant run-off or ranked choice voting. Create a level playing field by funding public elections with public dollars and clean election laws. Require that all donations directly and indirectly to elections should be transparent, i.e. no anonymous funding of elections.

Criminal Justice and Prisons – end stop and frisk and other racial profiling police practices that lead to police harassment,  brutality and even killings of civilians; respect constitutional rights against search and seizure, right to counsel and against self-incrimination. End the drug war and adopt a public health, evidence-based drug policy that respects individual rights and does not rely on law enforcement. End private for-profit prisons, end mandatory sentencing, recognize prisoners have the right to humane and just conditions with a focus on rehabilitation and reintegration into society and abolish the death penalty. Police need to protect the right to peaceably assemble to redress grievances and the right to Freedom of Speech without infiltration or other police practices that undermine those rights.

Healthcare – Create a national, universal and publicly financed comprehensive health system, i.e. improved Medicare for All, which provides full health coverage throughout life with no out-of-pocket costs. Promote wellness in public policy. Recognize that health is a human right not a commodity.

Education – Guarantee that all people have the right to a high quality, publicly-funded and broad education from pre-school through vocational training or university.

Housing – Guarantee that all people have the right to affordable and safe housing. End predatory mortgage and foreclosure practices.

Environment – Adopt policies which effectively create a carbon-free and nuclear free energy economy and that respect the rights of nature. Confront climate change with a rapid and comprehensive transition to an energy efficient, wind, solar and other renewable source-based economy that ends the wasteful use of energy. End the extractive economy and move toward a circular system where there is no waste and everything is re-used. Remake land use planning to support a healthy environment.

Finance and the Economy – Break up the too big to fail banks, develop public banks in every state and major city, encourage community banks and credit unions, create local stock exchanges to allow investment in local communities and create microfinance loans to encourage entrepreneurship and support local businesses. Re-make the Federal Reserve into a transparent, democratic institution that responds to the needs of the economy and not to the needs of big banks. Put limits on the discrepancy between worker and executive pay. End policies which foster a wealth divide and move to a localized and democratic financial system. Guarantee that people’s deposits are protected and that the public does not pay for financial institutions that fail. Reform taxes so that they are progressive and provide goods, monetary gain and services for the people including creating a guaranteed national income.

Media – End the concentration of media by a small number of corporations. Democratize the media by recognizing that the airwaves and the internet are public goods and recognize independent and citizen’s media as legitimate media outlets. Require that media be accurate and accountable to the people and that the internet be accessible to all people, respect people’s privacy and promote the sharing of information.

Food and Water – Create systems that protect the land and water, create local, affordable and sustainable food networks, encourage community supported agriculture and farmer’s markets and diversify local food supplies so that food does not depend on transit over long distances. Encourage organic food production free of chemicals and end genetically modified foods. Guarantee the right to produce and harvest seeds. Stop commodification of water and guarantee access to water as a public good.

Transportation – Provide affordable, clean and convenient public transportation and safe spaces for pedestrian and non-automobile travel. Develop land use planning that creates walkable and bikeable communities, with mass transit so that people do not depend on automobiles. Improve travel by train, rapid transit and commuter rails, so people are not dependent on air travel and automobiles.

That was easy….it saved me a lot of time….after all I am basically an old man….now it I can find a party that has these principles in their heart then they have me…..the closest I have found so far is the Green Party….

Or maybe it is time for a new political party….one that has all the desires of the American people at heart.

I prefer principles to party….all Americans should feel the same…..that would make changes that we all desire…..without principles we have a loss of awareness and this loss feeds ignorant decisions during an election.

A wasted vote is a vote along party lines….if these toads lose then it is their fault for not having any principles…..

Me? I’ll vote for a party of principles.