Sunday, May 7, 2017

Why Voting Won't Save Us, And Why It's Time For A Women's Strike

Republished from Went 2 the Bridge

What to do with so much egregious government to respond to? In Maine we have a legislature in session that is attacking Medicare, Medicaid, public education funding passed by referendum, water quality via changes in mining regulations, Native sovereignty, and our status as a refugee asylum state -- just to name a few.

Thelma Glass, a founding member of the Women's
Political Council of Montgomery, Alabama
The link shared was news of the passage of draconian austerity in the form of the "American Health Care Act" published in the Washington Post. (The Post is a corporate government stenographer I'm no longer willing to read or share because it has been so destructive of truth; but most baby boomers cling to loyalties they developed when young. Here's an alternative by RoseAnn De Moro in Common Dreams, "Did the Marquis De Sade Write This Health Care Bill?")

Older white progressives have a hard time recognizing that the Democratic Party is not their friend.

This delusion extends to believing that an "independent" senator toeing the pro-Israel line and espousing socialist notions while voting with corporations would have saved the party.


Millenials, on the other hand, have been kicked in the teeth by corporate government since the day they were born. As they stagger through life carrying the burden of their student loans, many can't afford a dentist. A dip into their social media threads finds them responding to the newest wave of healthcare austerity by calling for guillotines and other forms of violent rebellion.

I don't believe in the effectiveness of violent tactics, especially when the people are so thoroughly outgunned by the "security" forces of the state, whether police or military (this line is blurring rapidly).

Also, I'm a boomer heavily influenced by Rosa Parks and Jo Ann Robinson, women who believed that giving up the moral high ground i.e. abandoning nonviolent tactics like the Montgomery bus boycott would be a strategic mistake.

Another view in wide circulation among the woke on U.S. healthcare woes:
Phil Rockstroh sums it up:  
"If Obama and the Democrats had submitted and fought for a single payer plan rather than the byzantine, designed-to-fail (by the rightwing Heritage Foundation) Big Insurance/Big Pharma/Big Medicine Trojan horse ACA, there would not be the extent of discontent that has allowed the act to be challenged and its existence threatened.  
The popular outcry would have made the attempt to dismantle it politically prohibitive.  
Therefore, we are witnessing yet another example of how the lesser-of-two-evils canard in the end serves no one but the capitalist plundering class.In short, liberals and sham progressives, it is more propitious, result-wise, to be engaged in an honest fight, rather than to feign one, as High Dollar owned and controlled Democratic Party elites did in regard to Obamacare.  
Yes, the Republicans are soul-dead practitioners of shit-wizardry. But the fact does not provide cover for Obama’s and the liberal class’ own collaboration in the craven art."
This is countered by people calling for our "Representative" Bruce Poliquin to be held accountable at the next election and who will no doubt call on us to elect a Democrat to fix everything.

Poliquin is a man who wears $500 shoes to a town hall in central Maine, whose entire resume reflects his service to Wall St., and who will literally hide in the bathroom to avoid questions about how he intends to vote. All his office voicemail boxes are full, and all constituents get is a busy signal when trying multiple times a day to get through. On the rare occasion that they do get through they are told that "the congressman is still deciding." If they rally at an event he's willing to attend, he quickly cancels his appearance citing yet another family emergency.

My impression is that Poliquin has watched and studied the film Ferris Bueller's Day Off very, very carefully.

I do not believe that working through the proper channels to request meetings or elect better represenatives are anything more than elaborate wastes of time at this point in the trajectory of history.

We have full on corporate government with the mass incarceration that goes with along with regimes abandoning non-coercive ways of earning support (like providing healthcare, housing, or public transportation) in favor of 100% coercion.

I also do not believe that most baby boomers will understand this. That's ok, we are the past not the future. We are old and in the way for the most part.

Begging for scraps from the corporate table is also a waste of time.

Women's Political Council organizer Jo Ann Robinson's mug shot from the Montgomery County archives

Now is the time for Parks and Robinson-style strategy: start withholding support from the corporate beast.

If every woman who could get away with it would call in sick for two days in a row, the system would wobble. Then, others would join in. Einstein estimated that if 2% of the population stops upholding a system, that's enough to bring it down.

Baby boomers, many still working because they can't afford to retire, could play a key role here. Most of us could get away with not working for two key days (like the Monday and Tuesday of a new quarter or fiscal year?). Working class women who can't afford to lose wages should be subsidized by those who can. Caregivers for the dependent obviously would go on working. No one is going to stop feeding their 3 year old or bedridden mother to make a political point. That's ok if the 2% work together.

After 48 hours, the white males who run this country would be forced to notice their lack of meals, travel itineraries and business as usual. Phones would ring unanswered. Important emails would pile up in inboxes, or not get sent in the first place. Many in the ruling class would be scrambling to get enough calories -- or maybe they would just drink their calories until their liquor supplies ran out?

The Montgomery bus boycott was a movement largely of women (and the making of Martin Luther King, Jr. as a national leader -- draw your own conclusions). The black female domestic workers who joined the boycott initially wanted to make a point about how valuable they were as a customer base for the bus line that discriminated against them.

The Mongtomery bus boycott was only planned to last for a day.

But the power of withdrawing so much support from a bad system was intoxicating. It snowballed quickly so that the cautious joined the first adopters. Community groups helped organize people to share resources so they could still get to work.

Pregnant teenager Claudette Colvin's wildcat strike against bus segregation provided the spark that motivated the Women's Political Council WPC) of Montgomery to support Rosa Parks in a planned arrest followed by a boycott. Which strategy adopted by the WPC resulted in more change: voter registration, or the boycott?

May 1 this year saw strikes in many U.S. locations, with a theme of the power of immigrant labor predominating. That's a good sign.

What will be the spark for a general strike by women? My prediction: when the corporate controlled Supreme Court removes access to legal, safe abortion.

The ACHA is already well on its way to making abortion unaffordable. Even white baby boomers will strike against that.

 ----statement reputedly uttered first by her royal highness, Queen Victoria, when her equerry—and presumably a very good lover as she had reason herself to know—shared an off-color story.

In the late great days of declining empire, nothing gets you a jail sentence faster than spontaneous laughter. It’s more deadly than an AK 47, especially in the views of those who have good reason to fear it; at the same time it’s as compassionate as Mother Theresa because it doesn’t get anyone killed—except maybe the person who may just about have to die laughing.

That’s what happened to hapless Desiree Fairooz (don’t you wish you had such an exquisite Persian name?)  who let out a guffaw during Jeff Sessions confirmation hearing, when Sessions' colleague Senator Richard Shelby claimed that Sessions' record of "treating all Americans equally under the law is clear and well documented."

And just today news came in that Steven Colbert is being investigated by the FCC for a joke he told about eeeeuuu know who on the late night show. Colbert joked about Trump’s fellow feeling for Vladimir Putin.

Speculation: will Sanders be investigated for guffawing at eeeuuu know who’s claim that Australia’s single payer plan is better than American coverage?

Ever since the ascendancy of our first Alzheimer-afflicted president in 1980, I have advocated mass laughter coordinated on cue as a vehicle to neutralize politicians.  The idea seems finally to be taking hold. It needs to be an option in the halls of congress, and in town hall meetings everywhere.

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