“On Wisconsin”

There is a phrase heard more and more lately.  “The Democratic Party is where social movements go to die.  It is the grave yard of social movements. ”  Bruce Dixon used it at blackagendareport.com  And Bob Fitch who wrote the 2006 book “Solidarity for Sale” makes a similar remark about reforming unions from within.   He calls this attempt at reform “the roach motel syndrome”.   “The leftists go in but they don’t come out.”  When you enter these roach motels, you encounter bosses just like you do in the workplace.  You encounter union bosses and mob bosses.  The beauty of the Occupy movement and the original occupation in Wisconsin was the lack of bosses.  But eventually some bosses took over in Wisconsin and we ended up with what cultural critic Stuart Hall calls “authoritarian populism” winning over limp noodle party politics.  (More on this in “‘Authoritarian Populism’ and the Wisconsin Recall by Connor Donegan).  Right wingers came across as brats and beer freedom fighters and the left came off as near beer party poopers. Continue reading

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“Soak the Fat Boys”

(Cross posted at correntewire.com)

Doug Henwood’s latest issue of “Left Business Observer” is out. (Subscription is $22 a year for 11 issues.) Henwood wrote the visionary book “Wall Street” in 1997 predicting this mess we are in now. Henwood reminds us that in “All the King’s Men”, Willie Stark is urged not to speak so wonkish and instead just say that “he’s gonna soak the fat boys.”
Why should we soak ’em? We’ve had the lowest growth in 80 years. And Henwood points out that the economy is arguably weaker than the Great Depression. The Depression “was preceded by a serious boom…and while the 1920s expansion was hardly short on froth, it also put the radio and the automobile into wide circulation. The 2001-2007 expansion gave us little more than some empty subdivisions outside Vegas and see-through condos in Miami.” Continue reading