People the Democratic Party abandoned

…before the 1980 Reagan landslide.

Trump is winning the votes of a lot of people who used to be Democrats. These white, working-class people are his main base of support. As a group, these people were once Democrats all over the country. These are Franklin Roosevelt’s people. These are the people that the Democrats essentially decided to turn their backs on back in the 1970s. They call them the legatees of the New Deal. They were done with these guys, and now look what’s happened—they’ve gone with Donald Trump. That’s frightening and horrifying.

But Trump talks about their issues in a way that they find compelling, especially the trade issue. When he talks about trade, they believe him. Ironically, he’s saying the same things that Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders are saying about trade, but for whatever reason people find him more believable on this subject than they do Hillary Clinton.

Read the whole piece.


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Ce moys de mai

ma verte cotte je vestirai.

I have been trying to decide whether or not to leave the Democratic Party formally. I am going to vote Green for President in November but I am still attached to the mid-century idea of the Democratic Party as the party of the working class.

I regret I cannot be a loyal Democrat — the allegedly realistic option in the United States after the suppression of the Left — but that Political Compass Test says even the most liberal Democrats are quite far away from me on many points. They are “tolerant” like me but they are a capitalist party and apparently I do not have the capitalist attitude at all — I am socialist and anarchist, even more than I realize or acknowledge.

I see ever more clearly how I take after my grandmother and great-aunt, the Socialists (who knew and argued with Emma Goldman), and my great-uncle, the Wobbly. Reading about the IWW once again I note that its internal arguments are the ones I have with myself. Perhaps I am it or it is me.

Perhaps I was explicitly given it to inherit. When I got my first car Addison and my grandmother were already dead but the car allowed me to go visit my great-aunt on my own for the first time. I did not think of it then, I just went because I wanted to, but it was probably very important to her that I did this. She was at least 94 and may also have supposed it could be the last time she saw me. Perhaps she made sure to offer me the legacy that day.

With her and Addison the usual place to have lunch would have been the Blue Rock, which had been a speakeasy and had bawdy-rooms upstairs in the early twentieth century but was respectable now. We could not go, she said, because she had been the day before, so we went elsewhere.

What she had to say started out: “Don’t tell anyone, but I am still a Socialist.”



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On the way back from New Orleans I listened to American Family Radio and SonLife Radio.

According to American Family Radio the Founders based the country on capitalism, and de Toqueville said that the reason capitalism worked was that the churches fueled it and made sure it was done right. These are the twin roots of “democracy in America.”

According to SonLife Radio we are all depraved and it is capitalism that keeps us from sinking into complete barbarism, because in capitalism you must provide a good product or service to stay in business.

When schools do not teach history, this is all that is taught.



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Political compass

I took this test again and ended up in the far lower left corner again. This makes me much more radical than Mahatma Ghandi or Bernie Sanders. Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and virtually every U.S. presidential candidate is in the upper right quadrant, which they share with Adolf. Uncle Joe is in the upper left quadrant.

I am -9 communist (+10 is the least communist you can be) and -9 anarchist (+10 is the least anarchist you can be). Ralph Nader and Dennis Kucinich are in my quadrant, but much closer to the center. Sanders is slightly left of center economically but very, very close to it otherwise. (The United States is a conservative country.)

I re-took this test because I was arguing with some Marxists and was amazed at their authoritarianism. That is the difference between them and me, it would seem. It is also a key difference between me and most members of the Democratic Party.



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Gary Tyler

Gary Tyler is out today but had to admit (allege) guilt as part of the arrangement. Do people actually believe this plea or did they just want to create him as a permanent felon? It occurs to me that it means he can never sue for wrongful incarceration. This may have been the reason.


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Buddhas Veje

I just threw out a poster I had had since I was sixteen and that was for me a sign of self and home. It had a marvelous red and yellow image and said:

Daglig 10-17
Tirsdag og torsdag aften 19-22

I did not want to get rid of it but it had just become all too raggedy. I am sad.

I also have rare posters from Santiago de Chuco, Peru, of which I am not enamored and that I would like to divest myself of, but they are not raggedy.


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Shoshana Felman

The Scandal of the Speaking Body must be an update of The Literary Speech Act. Amazingly, we have the latter book in our library so I can recycle my old photocopy of it.

My notes in the margins, from the old days, say that promising turns out to be a big part of language (the book deals with Don Juan, that famous promiser). The performative is a different category of utterance than the constative; the constative utterance deals in truth and falsehood. The history of philosophy suggests that these are the only things at stake in language, but J. L. Austin says not.

There is a section starting on p. 92 called “Between Body and Language, or, What Is an Act?” Felman quotes a text of Mallarmé I have not read, “L’action restreinte,” where Mallarmé suggests that the act “is what leaves traces” (p. 93).

There are no traces without language, so there is no act without it, either. Mallarmé: “Your act always applies itself to paper.” Felman: “There is no act without linguistic inscription.”

Psychoanalysis also “explores acts as language effects” (p. 94), and a body according to Lacan “is speech arising as such” (“Le Symptôme,” qtd. in Felman, p. 94).

I should go on, but the point is to clear out files, not distract myself with new reading projects. Still I see why I held onto this photocopy for so long, and I clearly must study Felman.


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