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Ash writes: "There is a poorly defined, individually influenced, and often disingenuous argument swirling around to the effect that Trump can be useful to achieve a 'fill-in-the-blank' objective."

A young child behind bars in the U.S. Border Patrol Central Processing Center in McAllen, Texas. (photo: AP)
A young child behind bars in the U.S. Border Patrol Central Processing Center in McAllen, Texas. (photo: AP)

Anarchy Is Not Progress

By Marc Ash, Reader Supported News

09 August 18


here is a poorly defined, individually influenced, and often disingenuous argument swirling around to the effect that Trump can be useful to achieve a “fill-in-the-blank” objective.

There is a laundry list of objectives. Things that individuals and groups have tried to achieve for better or for worse over the years, only to be frustrated by the US government.

The wish list for the US right includes expansive gun rights, ultra-conservative judges, tax cuts for the wealthy, the privatization of just about everything, an end to the silly notion of democracy, and the accession of permanent minority rule.

For the Russians, the destruction of the NATO alliance, a lifting of US sanctions, a US no longer capable of mounting or enforcing sanctions, and Western democracies in general decline as their markets become more easily exploited are all things they hope Trump might open the door to.

But there are voices on the left who believe but do not readily admit that Trump creates what they view as a climate of opportunity as well. Like the Russians, their aspirations include a US less militarily and economically powerful globally, a US intelligence community brought to task over longstanding and in fact well-documented abuses, and an opportunity for the political ascension of new left-leaning policies.

What could go wrong?

Children could be ripped from their parents’ arms at the US-Mexico border and incarcerated in cages. Nuclear war could casually be threatened with North Korea, Iran, and China. Nuclear war could be threatened by Russian president Vladimir Putin targeting Donald Trump’s property in Florida. Nuclear war could be threatened against the US by North Korean president Kim Jong-un. Nuclear war could occur. A new cold war could occur. The NATO alliance could in fact be damaged, perhaps beyond repair. An impulsive trade war could shut factories, cost jobs, and seriously damage the US economy.

Donald Trump could offend every ally the United States has. The EPA, the State Department, and the Bureau of Consumer Protection could be dismantled. The Supreme Court could be stacked with right-wing fanatics for generations to come. Affordable healthcare in the richest nation on earth could be dealt a death blow along with affordable education, abortion rights, labor rights, the right to vote, and everything else that is truly redeeming about what is left of this country.

It’s pretty daunting.

One of the benefits of peace is social progress. A society not at war can more easily progress. Donald Trump, his enablers, and his dependents both declared and undeclared see a war on US governance as necessary. It is an anarchic concept.

A lot can go wrong. A lot has already gone wrong. Progressive social achievement flourishes in a climate of peace. Visualize peace and progress.

Marc Ash is the founder and former Executive Director of Truthout, and is now founder and Editor of Reader Supported News.

Reader Supported News is the Publication of Origin for this work. Permission to republish is freely granted with credit and a link back to Reader Supported News. your social media marketing partner


A note of caution regarding our comment sections:

For months a stream of media reports have warned of coordinated propaganda efforts targeting political websites based in the U.S., particularly in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election.

We too were alarmed at the patterns we were, and still are, seeing. It is clear that the provocateurs are far more savvy, disciplined, and purposeful than anything we have ever experienced before.

It is also clear that we still have elements of the same activity in our article discussion forums at this time.

We have hosted and encouraged reader expression since the turn of the century. The comments of our readers are the most vibrant, best-used interactive feature at Reader Supported News. Accordingly, we are strongly resistant to interrupting those services.

It is, however, important to note that in all likelihood hardened operatives are attempting to shape the dialog our community seeks to engage in.

Adapt and overcome.

Marc Ash
Founder, Reader Supported News

+14 # Floridatexan 2018-08-09 11:47
There is no upside to Drumpf staying in the White House even one more day. He is illegitimate.
+13 # tedrey 2018-08-09 11:51
True. However we must also add that the remaining group that is ready to take back the reins of government has presided over, and intends to continue, continual war in the near east, cold war provocations, budget busting military expenditures, erosion of civil rights under the claim of 'national security." Then you will see the full scope of our present plight. Neither the GOP, the Russians, nor the DNC has any desire for the progressive and peaceful government that free and unbought elections would demand. However, there are progressives who do have that desire, and you here ignore them.
+5 # kyzipster 2018-08-09 13:05
Well said, thank you.
+4 # janie1893 2018-08-09 14:54
Excuse me, but there are more than 2 countries on planet Earth! Perhaps it is time to explore some political alternatives with some of these other clusters of civilization. There might be someone out there who has ideas about how to attain the social progress inherent in peace.Seems to me it could be worth a try!
+2 # dbrize 2018-08-09 15:57
An answer to the question some have been asking since election eve 2016: has TDS any cure?

To those who thought we might find a bit of TDS tamiflu available at rsn, our esteemed leader herein provides the answer. As Tamiflu has been discovered ineffective against influenza, so too, there is no treatment to limit the ill effects of TDS.

Of course Trump is a nasty piece of work. Belligerent, probably corrupt (he is a one per center and a politician, right?), nearly every bad thing said about him rings true. The key word of course is "nearly".

Apocalypse aside, Trump hasn't found a way to avoid elections (that was what Obama was going to do, we should remember the fear tactics of the other side, fair play and all) and may well be dispensed with should it be deemed by our voting brethren.

Meanwhile we might attempt to assuage our angst with reminders that as bad as things are, our nation has survived worse. A civil war, worldwide depession and wars come quickly to mind.

Besides, NATO could use a bit of shrinkage, our "allies" could look after themselves for a change and a "global military and economic power" along with an intelligence community "...brought to task..." would be something we might absent TDS, cheer for.

Brother Ash asks rhetorically, what could go wrong? The answer is, besides conjecture, we don' t know.

We do know the results from the past three or four decades of policies ain't pretty and that isn't conjecture.
+9 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2018-08-09 16:06
Trump's dismantling of the EPA, public schools, immigration, the State Dept, and all the things Marc describes is standard republican policy. They have advocated a war on government and government regulations since Reagan.

We have republican rule not because they are a majority party backed by a majority of the population. We have them because the opposition party, the democrats, have sold out. The democrats conceived of a "third way" in the 1990s; that is, democrats would move over and support republican policies so that they could attract funding and win offices.

A strong democratic candidate would have beaten Trump in 2016. A strong democrat will beat Trump in 2020.

Why complain and moan about Trump. He's what republican are. Why not work on rebuilding the democrats and tossing out all those who sold out to republicans.

I do think we should support Trump's efforts to improve relations with Russia and N. Korea. I think we should support his withdrawal from Syria. As Marc says, "One of the benefits of peace is social progress." Peace is the most important issue for all of the world. Democrats need to become the party of peace. No more war. Stop them all right now. No more weapons. Spend the money on healthcare and living standards.
+6 # Merlin 2018-08-10 09:36
Hi Rodion,
You state:
“Democrats need to become the party of peace. No more war. Stop them all right now. No more weapons. Spend the money on healthcare and living standards.”

Correct me if I am wrong. You, like Bernie, believe the current Democratic party can be changed from its position of supporting the 1% and its neoliberalism, to a party that is for, and supports the people.

If I am correct, my question to you is; what is your plan to do that, and how do you suggest we implement that plan? I would like specifics! Begin with what the party’s ideology currently is, who are the people who actually control the party, and what parts of that huge party need changing. Only then…after we understand those basic things…tell me how you believe your plan will work, again with specific details.

Glittering generalities and nice sounding platitudes are not what is needed in this discussion. We already have way too much of those things.

This is a really important discussion we need to have. You are a thinking man who believes in understanding and truth, so why don’t we begin with your thoughts and ideas.

Let the discussion begin.
+5 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2018-08-10 12:48
Merlin -- wow, you phrase the most important question of all in such clear terms. Looking backwards, we can see many attempts to make the demo party the party of peace and none of them were successful. They were popular movements but not enough to capture control of the party from the republican-lite s.

Here is what I would do (acknowledging that this is only a starting position):

1. Talk incessantly about the fact that war, war spending, war propagandizing, and war culture are the root cause of all other problems in society. War robs funding from all other programs. War fetishizes guns, violence, patriarchy. Already a majority of people are against the current wars. Play to them. Many of these people are Independents because of the commitment of both parties to war. Recruit them. Make the Democratic party a majority party.

Right now, many people are afraid to talk about war. This is because war profiteers fund so much of the party. Weapons makers have been incredibly strategic in their take over of American politics. They locate assembly factories in every state and congressional district they need to control. Sanders won't criticize the F-35 because some of it is made in Vermont. He does not want to lose the jobs. The answer is to create "non-war" jobs in the conversion from fossil fuels to renewable fuels. The massive conversion of America will involve far more good paying jobs than all weapons making. For example,

continued --
+2 # Benign Observer 2018-08-11 08:49
I've been thinking about this problem -- the military is entrenched in every voting district so no politician will go against them. It's a brilliant strategy.

And the military siphons off some of the best and brightest Americans, and in many cases selects the most ambitious because students who want to go to college often use the military to be able to go.

So unwinding them from American society is going to be VERY difficult.

SO what if, as we downsize them, we also REPURPOSE them? Cut the military budget by a third and put them to work doing good things in the world: building bridges and hospitals, planting trees, fixing roads, etc. and start closing these bases.

It's taken over 50 years for them to take over the government. We can't shut it down overnight but we need to start the process asap.
+2 # DongiC 2018-08-12 00:17
Benign, you are well named. Your program is a thoughtful and purposeful attempt at saving our society. How about giving the military the task of getting the CO2 out of the atmosphere or, at least, reducing it significantly. Maybe, it could take the lead in preserving our society instead of threatening it.
+2 # librarian1984 2018-08-12 15:40
70,000 people protested the US wanting to move their base outside Okinawa. Locals want them to LEAVE.
+6 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2018-08-10 12:57
from above --

The biggest waster of energy is people's inefficient homes, workplaces, and businesses. All of these buildings need to be retrofitted with best energy saving and insulating technology available. There about 125 million houses in the US. Probably 100 million of those need replacement windows, HVAC, roofs, insulation, solar panels. These would be high-skilled and good paying jobs. Several million workers could be employed replacing all the people now building bombs, bullets, tanks, planes, and weapons.

I think a demo party committed to a transition of the economy from war and fossil fuel would win. And the wins would compound, more and more offices every year.

Republicans have been compounding their wins every year by preaching enemies (immigrants, communists, terrorists, Muslims, foreign workers) and the enemy propaganda is re-inforced by war. In reality, none of these people are enemies.

It would take a democratic president to stop the wars. This is one power a president does have. Trump is stopping the war in Syria, over against the wishes of the CIA, pentagon, and Israelis. It can be done.

OK enough. Some others can address your questions.
+7 # dbrize 2018-08-10 20:54
As I have praised your many contributions to sanity of discussion at these august pages, with reluctance I find your reply to Merlin to be underwhelming.

As I understand his question he is not so much asking what we should do as much as HOW do we make it happen.

The proposal to transition from fossil fuels to “green” energy has been on the political marketplace for awhile now. We even had a Green Party candidate who received what, a percent or so of the vote? We have “talked” about it for a couple of decades now, along with infrastructure and a other generalities that go nowhere.

I will take a stab at Merlin’s question with some specific ideas for consideration:

1. Glass- Steagall (on steroids preferably). Investment banks sink or swim on their own.
2. Elimination of FISA act and all other “extra-constitu tional” phony “war measures”.
3. Place the operational wing of the CIA under civilian control and budget processes. No more “dark” budgets.
4. The defense budget (including money spent of State Dept, Homeland Security and others agencies currently not included) shall, other than in the case of DECLARED war, not exceed 1.5% of GDP.
5. A bipartisan committee shall be created to study every universal healthcare system currently in force and using the best ideas from all, design a universal healthcare system that will be “ the best of the best” for the USA. One year to do so.

Just a few starters that I hope Merlin and others might find worthwhile.
+4 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2018-08-11 11:01
db -- thanks. You are right. I got too into the content and missed the "how." But I'd say the "how" is also successful content. It will take a lot of government money to convert to a green economy. The money now spent on war would be re-directed and the success in stimulating the economy would change voters and thus Washington policies.

But this does not say "how" to defeat the defense industry. The how for can only being locally. Communities can refuse defense contractors if they have a strong economy and don't need the cash infusion.

Back in the 70s I worked with a group in San Pedro, CA to close a military base and convert it into public access programming. It worked. The base is now an art center, a school for social activists, and offers housing for homeless and others.

You are right. The "how" is the hard part. A democratic president could end all the wars on terror that are being fought all over the globe. Presidents can do that. So we need a good president first.
+6 # Merlin 2018-08-11 13:27
This is a good beginning for this discussion! While I feel all the responses so far are valuable, concerning the “how” (dbrize) and the “ how content” (Rodion,) they ignore the most important understanding that precedes them. That is first, the question of “who” (is running the Democratic party,) and then “what” is the structure (DNC, DCCC, etc.) they are using to control the party’s actions.

My point is that we all have been talking endlessly about “how” the Democratic party “should be” and “how it should “act.” If we don’t understand where the power behind the decisions comes from, and the way the leadership believes, which drives their actions, how can we effect change? We have no idea who we are fighting!

Consider the opposition to Ellison as chair of the DNC. Who put up Perez and why? Then consider the removal of Bernie’s people on the board of the DNC. Who were the people behind that, and why did they do it? The result of these actions seriously weakened the cause of change that Bernie and many people within the Democratic party wanted. This is but one example of why we need to understand who the real leaders of the Democratic party are.

“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.”
Sun Tzu, The Art of War
+3 # Benign Observer 2018-08-12 07:14
Most of us assume the leaders are Schumer and Pelosi, and assign them responsibility for upper level decisions such as where to allocate money and resources. For instance Pelosi gave Blue Dogs control of dozens of House races this cycle, while she did NOT give similar control to any progressive contingent.

True progressives seize on Pelosi, in particular, as an object of criticism and derision -- and target her for defeat.

Likewise, committee chairs (and ranking minority members) are perceived as driving the agenda and, less noticeably but not less significantly, deciding what issues to ignore.

I'd say we have a decent handle on 'who' is at fault, unless you want to focus on the donors, who tell the politicians what (not) to pursue.

We're familiar with the politicians, and our strategy is to expose their betrayals and weaknesses in order to push them out of office and replace them with more desirable representatives , who more accurately represent our interests and desires. We know the Clintons and Obama act behind the scenes.

We're less familiar with the donors, though we can infer their interests by what they call for or seek to prevent: accountability or actions that conflict with a variety of corporate interests -- insurance companies, polluters, employers, etc.

The best way to identify them is through an analysis of donations.

Corporate media also plays a significant role.

Do you think these assumptions are wrong?
-1 # Depressionborn 2018-08-11 04:16
Mess with our house and you make me an Anarchist.
+1 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2018-08-10 10:06
Anarchy is not progress. Some of the anarchists of the 19th century, say Michail Bakunin, thought that it was. The first step toward progress is to clear the ground of old institutions, as Bakunin says in his book "Church and State." Smashing the old state is the first step in building a new state.

This is why I am not an anarchist. I don't think this tactic works out well. I'm more of a gradualist or an political evolutionist.

But the democratic party has become the party of the 19th century style of anarchism. It has funded the Resistance Summer and the Summer of Rage in order to spread chaos and ungovernabilty among the masses. Mueller is an anarchist. He is trying to smash the Trump administration in the hope that it can be replaced by something better. In all likelihood, something worse will replace it. Soros and the CIA are anarchists. The sponsor color revolutions in nation after nation. Ukraine is far worse off now than it was before its Nazi color revolution. Making a coalition with Nazis is purely destructive, smash everyone.

Anarchism also is very dramatic and news grabbing. It distracts the masses from the needed reforms. It is hard to talk about how to transition from private for-profit healthcare to a universial non-profit system when Antifa is in the streets smashing windows, people's faces, and all the rest.
+2 # Wise woman 2018-08-10 16:31
I'm enjoying these posts. Rodion, now that we know what not to do, let's answer Merlins questions. According to progressive thinking now, the progressives and dems and those who are both, need to organize. They need to vote in the primaries and midterms and talk up what needs to be done to effect the changes that need to happen. I'm tired of all the whining about trump and his buds. I want to hear and see positive thoughts and actions for a change. I want to hear about progressive dems running for and winning elections. Let's try to stay more positive - please?
+4 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2018-08-10 20:20
Wise -- I'm with you. I"m also tired of all the whining about Trump and what a jerk he is. Now we learn that he once used the "N" word. Who really cares. Didn't we all expect that. I'd guess 50% of politicians say if off and on.

I want to hear positive policy positions, too. Running against Trump is, I think, a sure way to lose. It will make dems stay home and not vote and it will mobilize Trump's supporters.

I'm going to get thumbed down to hell for saying this, but I think the dems should just adopt the Green Party Platform --- If you read the website of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, she is very close to the Green Party. This platform coming from demos would work.

Russiagate is a fraud pushed on the US by the CIA, FBI, and the rest of the intel agencies. You can't make a campaign out of someone else's fraud!!!!
+6 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2018-08-11 06:14
Wise -- It is pretty striking how much negative coverage the mainstream media has for Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. It plays on the fact that she is young and inexperienced. If she slips up on any comment they suggest that she is "not ready for prime time." This is just their way of opposing true progressives. It is the "gotcha" game the media always plays.

She's a very talented politician and very smart. She's got a lot to learn, but it is clear that she's a quick learner. And other people are attracted to her. She's openly trying to help others follow her model. She knew she could not beat the incumbent on his own terms -- big money, support from the party establishment, and support from the media. So she deployed the only strength that she did have -- personal contact with voters. She talked to everyone in her district.

That's what progressives can do to win.
+2 # Wise woman 2018-08-11 08:55
Thanks for your posts, Rodion. I agree with your proposals. The Greens never got off the ground partially because they were ahead of their time, they were/are underfunded and ran people who were basically unknown and female at a time when that was unprecedented. AOC's win has changed all that and for the first time I think progressives have a strong chance of knocking out the repubs in many places where they previously won. Trump has nicely arranged for that to happen. In politics and elsewhere timing is everything.
0 # Depressionborn 2018-08-11 10:47
Mr Ash

Many posts here seem to think my labor, my stuff and even my life belong to them.
+3 # Benign Observer 2018-08-12 07:29
Disagree. Public resources belong to ALL of us, though public lands, airwaves, etc. are usurped by private interests.

Another class of resources are those we're all responsible for even though we may not use them -- eg fire departments, schools, roads. In order to maintain a functional society we all contribute to these institutions.

Is that what you're complaining about? If you don't have kids you shouldn't pay for schools. If you don't have a car you shouldn't pay for roads. If you don't have enemies you shouldn't pay for war.

The conservative argument falls apart because there are secondary benefits that you DO receive. You may not have children but educated kids are less likely to become criminals. You may not have a car but you benefit from commercial truckers being able to deliver goods to your area so you can get milk at the grocery store. You may not hate Yemenis but our dropping bombs on them generates enemies and gives DHS something to do.

Conservatism is in denial about the complexities of the fabric of society, deliberately simplifying relationships in order to deny responsibility -- yet when a tornado hits their neighborhood they expect all the power of that complex society to serve their needs.

Yes, your labor IS yours, but it has been devalued to meaninglessness . United, workers have a better chance at correcting the disparity.

This is an instance where perceived rugged individualism does not serve you well.
0 # Depressionborn 2018-08-12 15:33
'deny responsibility' Benign? hardly. Being responsible for ones self and family is the core of my post. I do not wish to control others. Government is power. Power will always be abused. It has killed many and stolen much. Such cannot be stopped.

If you put your savings in your car don't call police?
0 # Depressionborn 2018-08-12 15:37
I think, Benign Observer 2018-08-12 07:29, that people who want to do good often need power over others-not good.
+1 # Benign Observer 2018-08-14 08:53
I'm more comfortable with peers in partnerships, bottom up rather than top down.

Government should serve us, not exercise power over us. That's what checks and balances are for but, ironically, it's conservatives who want to eliminate regulations. That doesn't give the people power; it gives corporations power.

I do trust government more than corporations, though this current group pushes that idea to its limits. Right now I don't trust either one -- but neither am I okay with anarchy.
0 # tedrey 2018-08-27 20:52
I don't see that. Can you make your point more clear?
+1 # DongiC 2018-08-12 01:02
This is a fascinating thread with many interesting ideas as to programs, political reforms and even political philosophies. But, wth all due respect, lt's kind of like watching passengers squabble on the SS Titannic. Discussion is all well and good, but there are ice bergs ahead and the ship is going down. So it is with our own civilization and way of life. They appear to be going down with the ever increasing threats hitting our environment. CA is burning up with the largest fire in its history plus 17 other fires are now going in CA alone. Fires are breaking out all over Europe and there is even a blaze going in the arctic circle. Last fall Puerto Rico was devastated by a hurricane and it hasn't recovered yet. Other places in the Caribbean and Gulf were pummeled by hurricane winds. The handwriting of planetary damage is on the wall and we have a president who is reading impaired.

Yes, we should reform the Democratic Party. Yes, we should fire up the Progressives. Yes, we should restrict the power of the plutocrats. But, first things first. We must become ecologically aware and absolutely dedicated to saving our planet, No matter what it takes. Even a different religious outlook. A new motto might be: For the Earth - everything!
+4 # Wise woman 2018-08-12 18:29
Marc, I've written before and am doing it again. Several times I have tried to donate using pay pal and have been unsuccessful. Perhaps others have been as well which is why you are doing so poorly in the monthly donations. I suggest you look into it as a possible solution to your financial problems. The constant begging is sad for you and annoying to us. Maybe you might consider selling subscriptions to RSN and another payment arrangement.

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