I know there is a lot of talk about how hard it is to start a third political party and there is no doubt that the talk is true. Large political swings that realign the political parties in the US are rare, but the political history of the US is about the swings. Whigs and Tories, Bull Moose and Know Nothing parties. These things come and go and right now we have the appearance of a two party system: the dems on the left and the repubs on the right, but the truth is that we have dems in center/right and the repubs in right to hard right.
There is no significant left party in the US, only the 25 to 30% of us who identify as left/progressives/liberals/social democrats etc. and we are left to rail at the dem party to move left and lead the country with good public policy that works for all of us. The dem party leaders provide lip service, then do the bidding of the large political contributors - the deciders, the haves and have-mores who control the political agenda of the dem and repub party. Don't kid yourself about that. Just look at the need to provide Medicare for Everyone, a national health insurance policy that could/would have left the insurance industry scrambling to compete for Medigap insurance coverage, but instead we could not even get a public option, we got Health Insurance for Everyone - The Pay Up health care system doubled down on us.
For folks who have not been present at non-violent demonstrations it may be helpful to understand that the original black block is the riot police who come out and assault non-violent demonstrators in a wholesale fashion.
Some pretty peaceful and peace-loving folks have been assaulted by the police.
Some of you may know Dorli Rainey from Seattle who was pepper sprayed during Occupy events. Dorli was 82 years old when she got pepper sprayed.
She is spry and spunky, but I think it's a hard sell to convince a reasonable person that Dorli could look dangerous to a heavily armored police officer. So this is the backdrop for the tactic known as the black bloc. There are a lot of reasonable critiques of the black bloc. The most persuasive to me is the potential for police infiltration, for agent provocateurs to join the black bloc and to then commit an act of property destruction that will trigger a violent peace riot. There is also the opportunity for a genuine black bloc participant to choose unnecessary violence and/or property destruction that will trigger a violent street riot.
Chris Hedges made a few waves with his recent piece describing the black bloc as the cancer in occupy.
I believe in diversity. I think diversity is a fundamental natural law of the universe. But I understand that human beings have a tidiness gene that makes us think that we can organize and be more efficient through suppression of diversity, by rejection of the natural order and diversity that constantly arises and evaporates back in to the order of chaos. Chaos is not merely disorder. There may be a level of order benefit and diversity in chaos that is not easily observed and is under-appreciated.
The black bloc tactic is something that arises from police violence toward non-violent protest and the willingness of society to choose order over the bedrock right to peacefully assemble and petition for redress of grievance. Diversity of tactics and tolerance of the diversity of tactics is something that I embrace whole-heartedly. Things can go wrong. I have seen that. Things can go right. I have seen that as well. I am usually pleased to see a black bloc tactical option in a crowd of protesters.
Good day yesterday in Cascadia as the Washington State leglislature moved gay marriage forward through Senate vote. The gov put her weight behind this legislation, apparently trying to establish some kind of legacy public policy. I am completely supportive of the gay marriage legislation, but I have to wonder why the dems will only push one small part of a progressive agenda at a time. The public is crying out for significant change in public policy and the dem party is such a timid organization.
In another section of the Senate, I believe the Washington Investment Trust remains stuck under the thumb of roadkill Senators Steve Hobbs and Mary Haugen. Lots of good information about public banks at Banking in the Public Interest. This is an idea whose time has come. Banks for the 99%. Please. Let's do that, shall we?
Want to let Steve Hobbs know what you think about his roadkill status?
How about Mary Haugen?
Steve Hobbs Steve.firstname.lastname@example.org
Mary Haugen email@example.com
Can we help these two get scooped out of the middle of the road where they are doing no discernible good? Is there an election coming up?
Let's help these folks join our neighbors who are out there looking for work, shall we?
Well, the snow is melting, the power is coming back on in the Puget Sound region and the sky was blue yesterday afternoon. The snow was really pretty for a day. then it was really wet and sloppy for a few days. Now it's gone.
Here is a news report from OilPrice.com: Study Finds that Childhood Leukemia Rates Double Near Nuclear Power Stations hmmm... that doesn't sound good. I think the jury is in on nuclear power. TEPCO buried the Fukushima nuclear reactors and the industry, but the fallout from the experiment with "cheap" nuclear power will be with us for a long time. Frontline just came out with program - Nuclear Aftershocks. Haven't seen it yet, but Frontline usually does a good job, so plan to watch that one.
Oilprice.com is a good reference site for all things energy. Particularly good for keeping track of ... oil prices! I haven't spent a lot of time on the site, but it seems pretty technically sound, non-partisan. If/when I will draw from oilprice.com I am sure I will be cherry picking for the information and stories that have a progressive edge.