Wednesday, December 26, 2018

The Dakota Sioux Execution Was The Largest In U.S. History — But America Has Forgotten It by Ruth Hopkins



ORIGINAL STORY FOUND HERE:  https://www.bustle.com/p/the-dakota-sioux-execution-was-the-largest-in-us-history-but-america-has-forgotten-it-7780313

The Dakota Sioux Execution Was The Largest In U.S. History — But America Has Forgotten It

Every holiday season of your life probably came and went without your realizing that Dec. 26 is the anniversary of the largest execution in U.S. history. On that day in 1862, 38 Dakota Sioux warriors were hung in Mankato, Minn., under orders of President Lincoln. This occurred at the culmination of the Minnesota Uprising, also known as The Dakota War. The conflict had began because the Dakota people were starving to death.
While most Americans have never heard of The Dakota War or the injustices that led to the largest execution in American history, I’ve known about it my entire life. I am a member of the Oceti Sakowin (The Great Sioux Nation). Natives and non-Natives alike whisper legends about us.
It’s hard for them to accept what was done to us, and that they’ve directly benefited from such grievous wrongdoing.
My ancestors’ pictures are in history books. As a small child, I would see their photos at the Crazy Horse Memorial in the Black Hills of South Dakota. You see, I am a descendant of Wabasha, a hereditary Mdewakanton Dakota Chief who, along with other Dakota like Little Crow, led the people during our war with the United States. After the conflict, he was exiled from his Minnesota homelands to the Crow Creek Sioux Reservation in central South Dakota.
When I first tell non-Natives about the Dakota War, especially in the northern plains, there’s a lot of cognitive dissonance. It’s hard for them to accept what was done to us, and that they’ve directly benefited from such grievous wrongdoing.

What Happened

The Dakota War was a direct result of the United States breaking its own laws.
Library Of Congress/The siege of New Ulm, Minn./Public Domain
In 1851, Dakota leaders signed the Treaty of Traverse des Sioux and the Treaty of Mendota with the United States. Dakota ceded land in Minnesota to the U.S. in exchange for money, goods, and services.
According to the U.S. Constitution, treaties are the supreme law of the land; yet, the United States Congress unilaterally breached these treaties with the Dakota. Unbeknownst to the Dakota, the U.S. eliminated Article 3 of each treaty, which set up reservation land for the Dakota to live on. The government also defaulted on payments to the Dakota, or gave their money directly to traders who were supposed to supply the Dakota with rations. These traders were often corrupt.
We still sing the song the Dakota sang that day.
While some Dakota remained peaceful, others began to defy the government to survive. Four young warriors stole eggs and killed five settlers in the process. All-out war began when they were protected by their village.
The Dakota War raged on for about six weeks, throughout August and September of 1862. Afterwards, 392 Dakota were taken prisoner and tried based on little or no evidence. Proceedings were held in a foreign language — English. The Court also failed to recognize the defendants’ status as members of a sovereign nation.
Treaty breaches were not discussed.
Wikimedia/Public Domain/Minnesota Historical Society
Of the 38 Dakota men who were hung, two were known to be innocent, although a number of others were also believed to be as well. One man who was executed simply had the same name as one of the accused and stepped forward when his name was called, not realizing that his action sealed his doom. Another was a white man who had been adopted and raised by the Dakota, and is said to have not been involved in the war. Among the executed were also minors, and the mentally disabled.
They have to believe that me and my ancestors were somehow evil, savage, or less than human, to prop up the colonial revisionist history they’ve been spoon-fed their entire lives.
Before their deaths, they smoked the sacred pipe, prayed, and sang. Hoods were slipped over their heads, and they held hands as the rope that held up the platform was cut, sending them to their deaths. Over 4,000 spectators looked on as our warriors hung from the gallows.
We still sing the song the Dakota sang that day. That night, the remains of the executed were pillaged by physicians, scientists and educators, who wished to study them.
Wikimedia/Public Domain: Charles Alfred Zimmerman (1844-1909); Visual Resources Database, Minnesota Historical Society
After the hanging, the Dakota were exiled from their ancestral lands. The Governor of Minnesota put a bounty on the scalps of every Dakota man, woman and child. The government then separated my ancestors, shipping them off to prison, and forcing others to march to concentration camps that would become reservations in South Dakota.
During this time, Dakota women were raped by soldiers, and many died of starvation and disease. Children died each day from cholera. Other Dakota exiles escaped to Canada, and Spirit Lake in North Dakota. Some ran to Lakota Sioux Chief Sitting Bull for protection and joined the Lakota in defeating Custer at The Battle of Little Big Horn.

Living With The Massacre

Dakota still deal with the historical trauma borne from these tragic historical events. Our treaties were broken. Our land and resources were stolen. Our people were brutalized, starved, murdered, and exiled.
Some fall back onto racial stereotypes, telling me that we deserved it, somehow. They have to believe that me and my ancestors were somehow evil, savage, or less than human, to prop up the colonial revisionist history they’ve been spoon-fed their entire lives.
Wikimedia/Public Domain/Benjamin Franklin Upton
Sometimes the truth is hard to swallow. Because of people like this, some elders still speak of the Dakota 38 in hushed tones, as if it is a secret shame. Other non-Natives, however, express genuine remorse and seek to heal the divide between us. This is where hope lies.
Even though they physically separated us, we are still blood and spiritually, we are still one.
The Dakota 38+2 Memorial Ride began in 2005. The ride is meant to promote reconciliation and healing between the Dakota Sioux and non-Native people, and honor those who were hung, as well as their relatives who were exiled. During the ride, we discuss what happened and share our family stories that have been passed down through oral tradition. You can see this year’s ride here.
Grandfathers, we honor your memory and look to the future with hope, because we are strong and we rise.
For more information about the Dakota 38, you can watch this documentary.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Extinction Rebellion Seattle Meeting, Sunday, Dec. 16, 3 PM


Help plot the rebellion against our government's criminal response to global warming.  It will the death of us LITERALLY!

Sunday at 3 PM – 4:30 PM

UW Medical Center, Plaza Cafe

DIRECTIONS:
(Warning! The UW Med. Center is a giant maze, so be careful not to take a wrong turn):
The Plaza Cafe is located on the first floor of the UW Medical Center. 
From the hospital's main entrance on NE Pacific St., take a right and continue to the end of the large main hallway. On your left are the Pacific Elevators. Take the Pacific Elevators to the first floor. After exiting the elevators on the first floor, take a left and the entrance to the Plaza Cafe will be your left hand side. Enter through the turnstiles. The directions above are the safest way to not get lost.
IF YOU ARE DRIVING: The best place to park is in the S1 parking lot, which is behind (the south side) the Medical Center. The trick is to make sure you go in the right building entrance after you park, which is at the west end of the S1 parking lot at the Plaza Cafe patio.
Call or text: (206) 850-1283, or (206) 898-3349.

If There's A Hell Below, That's Where He'll Go - The BAR Obituary on George H.W. Bush




Thursday, November 22, 2018

Unthanksgiving: Indigenous People's Sunrise Ceremony Honors Resistance Over Revisionism


"The annual gathering pays tribute to the original residents of Alcatraz Island and the coalition of Indigenous activists who occupied it from 1969 to 1971."

ORIGINAL ARTICLE HERE:  

The popular mythology of Thanksgiving, which the United States celebrates tomorrow (November 22), Whitewashes the Wampanoag people’s bravery and ignores their descendants’ ongoing fight against cultural genocide. Many Indigenous people opt out of this historical erasure by traveling to Alcatraz Island for the Indigenous People’s Sunrise Ceremony on Thanksgiving. 
The San Francisco Chronicle reports that the event, known to some as “Unthanksgiving Day,” commemorates a pivotal event in 20th century Indigenous activism: the occupation of the former penal island by Richard Oakes and a coalition of Indigenous activists from November 1969 to June 1971. The action, whose participants operated under the banner Indians of All Tribes, took place at a time of heightened Native American activism via the American Indian Movement, whose leaders Dennis Banks and Russell Means also participated in the occupation. Dr. Dean Chavers wrote for Indian Country Today that this takeover led to major policy wins for Native Americans.
San Francisco media outlet KALW notes that the ceremony includes speeches, rituals and honorific dances that pay tribute to the occupiers and recognize the oppression Indigenous tribes have faced. It has been held on the island, which was originally inhabited by the ancestors of the Muwekma Ohlone tribe, since 1975.
According to a Facebook event listing from co-organizer International Indian Treaty Council, those who cannot attend may participate in the proceedings via local radio station 94.1 KPFA and its website.
In the meantime, watch this video from the 2010 ceremony:


The Indigenous People’s Sunrise Ceremony is not the only Indigenous event marking the trauma of genocide on Thanksgiving. The United American Indians of New England will host the National Day of Mourning in Plymouth, Massachusetts—the site of the original Thanksgiving.

Friday, November 16, 2018

Climate Change - Why We Are Heading for Extinction and What to do About It--Roger Hallems



https://youtu.be/WgFc4Zhvjtg

IF YOU'RE IN SEATTLE TOMORROW
(NOV. 17), 
JOIN US IN SOLIDARITY WITH THE 
EXTINCTION REBELLION EVENT IN LONDON 

WHEN:  11-1 PM

WHERE:  WESTLAKE PARK, 4th & PINE, SEATTLE

FACEBOOK PAGE:

Friday, November 02, 2018

Thursday, November 01, 2018

#ExtinctionRebellion Seattle Crew Out at Wallingford--October 31, 2018 (The Beginning)


JOIN THE #EXTINCTIONREBELLION!  SAVE YOUR LIFE BY STOPPING CLIMATE CHANGE!

George Monbiot Speech at #ExtinctionRebellion Protest--October 31, 2018 (The Beginning)



https://youtu.be/Hog6-sjmpCw

JOIN THE #EXTINCTIONREBELLION.  STOP CLIMATE CHANGE!

Friday, October 26, 2018

Friday, October 12, 2018

A Message From Peter Gabriel about Leonard Peltier--BENEFIT CONCERT ON OCTOBER 15!!!!



https://youtu.be/zx-8Y098Q_U


Go to www.doksha.com and you can learn more about the concert on October 15! All benefits go to help Leonard and it features some of the biggest names in music!

Pictorial Report of Valve Turner Trial in Bagley, Minnesota (October 8-9, 2018)--Defendants Annette Klapstein, Emily Johnston, & Ben Joldersma All Acquitted

Raging Grannies (Katherine, Sue & Linda) support our Gran Annette Klapstein, Valve Turner (Acquitted!) 
Valve Turners, Their Lawyers & Expert Witnesses
Dr. James Hansen, Expert Witness (& Hungry Guy)



Clearwater County, Minnesota Courthouse (at Press Conference after Surprise Acquittal) w/Nicky Bradford, Wife of Ben Joldersma, and Organizer Extraordinaire

Israeli Authorities Step Up anti-BDS Policies: Political Test to Enter Israel--@therealnews . [Great Report on this]



https://youtu.be/dlwZJFgE8kM

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Friday, September 21, 2018

"Adolph Reed: Identity Politics Is Neoliberalism"

https://bennorton.com/adolph-reed-identity-politics-is-neoliberalism/

EXCERPT:

[Identity] politics is not an alternative to class politics; it is a class politics, the politics of the left-wing of neoliberalism. It is the expression and active agency of a political order and moral economy in which capitalist market forces are treated as unassailable nature.
An integral element of that moral economy is displacement of the critique of the invidious outcomes produced by capitalist class power onto equally naturalized categories of ascriptive identity that sort us into groups supposedly defined by what we essentially are rather than what we do. As I have argued, following Walter Michaels and others, within that moral economy a society in which 1% of the population controlled 90% of the resources could be just, provided that roughly 12% of the 1% were black, 12% were Latino, 50% were women, and whatever the appropriate proportions were LGBT people.
It would be tough to imagine a normative ideal that expresses more unambiguously the social position of people who consider themselves candidates for inclusion in, or at least significant staff positions in service to, the ruling class.

Friday, August 31, 2018

THE DAY OF THE DISAPPEARED: THE TWENTY-SEVENTH NEWSLETTER (2018)--@VijayPrashad

https://www.thetricontinental.org/

EXCERPT (from Vijay Prashad):

I was reading Walsh’s letter when I learned that the police from Pune (Maharashtra, India) had arrested five sensitive people – patriots of the Indian poor – for unspecified crimes. There is something surreal about these arrests, as surreal as the arrest of Shahidul Alam in Bangladesh and Dareen Tatour in Israel. In the Indian Supreme Court, Justice DY Chandrachud said of these arrests, ‘Dissent is the safety value of a democracy; if you don’t allow safety valve, the pressure cooker will burst’. This is the judiciary speaking. Governments do not believe this – believing instead that anyone who helps organise the anger of the people is anti-national and so, seditious. Drawing inspiration from Walsh, I write of the general desiccation of space for democratic action.
  • The economic slide cannot be stopped by a knife in the gut of a left-wing activist or a nuclear test or another trip overseas by the itinerant prime minister. What can derail the conversation is for every household in India with a television set to be transfixed on what appears to be a totally fallacious series of arrests.
 One of those arrested, the journalist Gautam Navlakha, wrote a note that suggested that his arrest – and that of his comrades – was merely a ‘political ploy against political dissent by this vindictive and cowardly government’. These are brave words. Gautam ends his note with this poem from Shailendra (translation from Hindi by Surangya).
 
Tu zinda hai toh zindagi ki jeet par yakeen kar
Agar kahin hai swarg to utaar la zameen par
Yeh gham ke aur char din sitam ke aur char din
Yeh din bhi jayenge guzar
Guzar gaye hazar din
Tu zinda hai
 
As long as you are alive, believe that life will be victorious.
If there is a heaven somewhere, create it here on earth.
The days of grief are numbered, the days of injustice are numbered.
These days shall also pass, like a thousand days have before them.
You are alive.

The Manufactured McCain: Lifting Up A Bloodstained Lying Venal Servant of Capitalist Empire--@BruceDixon @blkagendareport

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Sunday, August 26, 2018

"AN OPEN LETTER TO ‘SOCIALISTS’ WHO MIGHT BE FRONTING FOR THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY"--By Quetzal Cáceres, @blkagendareport


ORIGINAL ARTICLE AT:  https://popularresistance.org/an-open-letter-to-socialists-who-might-be-fronting-for-the-democratic-party/

An Open Letter to ‘Socialists’ Who Might be Fronting for the Democratic Party
Any socialist who thought, as I did, that Ocasio-Cortez would be our socialist champion should watch the entire 27-minute PBS Firing Line interview to get a sense of just how bad this train wreck might be.
“In the long term, will focusing on running ‘socialist’ candidates within the Democratic Party impede building an independent socialist movement and organization?”
First, a confession. When I learned of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s primary victory against incumbent dinosaur Joe Crowley, I was, as embarrassing as it is to admit, moved to tears. I’m the emotional type, take after my mom. I’m also a Xicanx, a life-long socialist, and was overwhelmed to see a young brown woman step up and raise the socialist banner. Now, however, as weeks have passed since her primary victory, as she has made the rounds of the talk show circuit, been feted by progressive circles, interviewed by corporate and “Left” media, and shilled for Democratic Party candidates, she has said enough (and sometimes more disturbingly not said enough) to make one wonder if she’s making up this whole socialism thing as she goes along.
A further confession. I donated to her campaign. So I receive emails and will share her message, the same message she articulated at the recent Democratic Party love fest, NetRoots Nation.
“One wonder if she’s making up this whole socialism thing as she goes along.”
Ocasio-Cortez reassures us that she wants to bring back the Democratic Party of old. Okay, maybe not the Democratic Party of slavery, but you know what I mean, the real Democratic Party. The Democratic Party of the New Deal and FDR, of the Great Society, the War on Poverty and Lyndon B. Johnson (and Dr. King too because we all know how much the Democratic Party and LBJ loved Dr. King). Yeah, that Democratic Party. Ocasio-Cortez wants us to “come home.” Along with her ‘socialism’ message, it is hard to tell If she is also making this up by herself, or if she is receiving tutelage from someone in the Democratic Party’s Fairytale & Children’s Section. Ocasio-Cortez is messaging the Blue version of “Make America Great Again.”
The progressive ideas and programs of the New Deal were not, as Ocasio-Cortez claims, bestowed upon the nation in 1940 by the Democratic Party and FDR; these ideas and programs were the sour medicine co-opted from the decades-long struggle of socialist, communist, and anarchist organizations and swallowed by FDR and the Democratic Party as a life-preserving measure to counter the threat of capitalism’s demise. The New Deal was, in FDR’s own estimation, what saved the capitalist system— although one might argue WWII played just as crucial a role. Notwithstanding the positive gains of the New Deal, it was still in form and substance racist. It gave a pass to Jim Crow and lynchings, and ignored large sectors of Black, Mexican, Native, Puerto Rican, and women workers. In the 1930s, hundreds of thousands of Mexican adults and children (some estimate well over a million) were rounded up and ethnically cleansed from the U.S. For plenty of marginalized people, the New Deal was a shitty deal. Here’s another thing: The Johnson Administration was also racist as f__k.
“It is hard to tell If she is receiving tutelage from someone in the Democratic Party’s Fairytale & Children’s Section.”
The Voting Rights Act? Last I checked it’s been all but eviscerated. Black voters and other voters of color have been purged from voter rolls and the Democratic Party hasn’t responded— except to blame the Russians for losing the election to Trump. But even back in 1964 at the Democratic National Convention, a year before the passage of the Voting Rights Act, Johnson played an infamously active role in scuttling efforts by the racially-integrated Mississippi Freedom Democrat Party to be seated instead of the racist, avowedly segregationist contingent from that state.
And the Civil Rights Act? Do we really have robust civil rights when Black and Brown folks are disproportionately funneled into the prison-industrial complex or killed by police with impunity? The Democratic Party has enabled the expansion of the carceral state and furthered the militarization of policing, civil rights be damned.
Even the ‘best’ of the Johnson Administration, the so-called War on Poverty, has received undeserved praise. As Harvard historian Elizabeth Hinton reveals in From the War on Poverty to the War on Crime: The Making of Mass Incarceration in America, Johnson’s War on Poverty laid down some of the important ground work for the eventual War on Crime and War on Drugs.
“The Democratic Party has enabled the expansion of the carceral state and furthered the militarization of policing, civil rights be damned.”
The War on Poverty also served as a siphoning mechanism for the co-optation of potential young radicals and leaders of color (sound vaguely familiar?) into “anti-poverty” programs, the non-profit industrial complex, and the Democratic Party machine. In the 90s, Democrat Bill Clinton would ultimately take the criminalization of poor people to even greater heights, skyrocketing the prison population with Hillary’s “super predators,” disproportionately of course Black and Brown. Obama kept the ball and chain rolling, while offering Black men the sage advice to pull their pants up.
“Hey, hey, LBJ, how many babies did you kill today?” Did Ocasio-Cortez somehow forget about the U.S. war on Vietnam? A war that was escalated by both Democratic Party presidents Kennedy and Johnson and saw disproportionate casualties from Black and Brown communities. Where in all of Ocasio-Cortez’s campaign rhetoric is the centrality, yes I do mean the utter centrality, of reigning in the U.S. war machine? This is not a side issue, not at least for any credible self-avowed socialist.
“Democrat Bill Clinton would ultimately take the criminalization of poor people to even greater heights.”
Dr. King got it right in 1967 when he called out the U.S. as the greatest purveyor of violence on the planet, when he made the inescapable connection between that violence over there and the violence over here— the common roots of killing, racism and poverty at home and abroad. Johnson could not have been more displeased with King. He hated King. As anyone who reads more than Democratic Party mythology knows, King was a pariah during his last year of life, ostracized by the Democratic Party machine, as well as by other liberal institutional appendages of the Democratic Party.
Ocasio-Cortez has a unique opportunity to educate people about the forgotten history of socialist struggle in this country and the ugly workings of capitalism, past and present, which by definition must include an honest assessment of the Democratic Party as one of the two political party heads of the U.S. capitalist beast. But Ocasio-Cortez is completely and incompetently blowing it. Any socialist who thought, as I did, that she would be our socialist champion should watch the entire twenty-seven-minute PBS Firing Line interview to get a sense of just how bad this train wreck might be. Is she naive? Is she simply in over her head, woefully ignorant of a genuine Left analysis of political issues and history?
“Where in all of Ocasio-Cortez’s campaign rhetoric is the centrality, yes I do mean the utter centrality, of reigning in the U.S. war machine?”
The problem, of course, is not this or that Democratic or Republican politician or administration. The problem is capitalism. One is self-delusional and disingenuous to view a party’s very questionable ‘greatest hits’ separate from its otherwise pathetic body of work within a sick, parasitic system.
But somehow, self-avowed socialists would have us believe that the actual Democratic Party— the war and pillage party of the Indian killer Andrew Jackson, the party of slavery, of President Wilson and the resurgence of the KKK, of Jim Crow, of lynchings, of those who enabled the triumph of fascism in 1930s Spain, of the imprisonment of Japanese Americans in concentration camps, of the nuclear destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, of the post-WWII decimation of the Left in Italy and Greece, of the leveling of half of Korea and the deaths of millions, of the Bay of Pigs, of the horror of millions slaughtered in Vietnam, of the expansion of the prison-industrial complex, of the use of depleted uranium in the former Yugoslavia, of the devastation caused by NAFTA, of the half million dead Iraqi children due to sanctions, of the expansion of the police surveillance state, of the deportation of millions of migrants, of drone targeted assassinations, of regime change complete with mayhem and 21st century slavery in Libya, of the nod and wink to the coup in Honduras— the Democratic Party of all this and much, much more is somehow not supposed to be the real Democratic Party.
“One is self-delusional and disingenuous to view a party’s very questionable ‘greatest hits’ separate from its otherwise pathetic body of work.”
It’s truly Orwellian. The real Democratic Party is supposed to be something akin to a grade school civics project and its real history might be found in a textbook on U.S. mythology titled something asinine like The Great Democratic Pageant.
At the aforementioned NetRoots Nation summit, Ocasio-Cortez referred to the Democratic Party as “family.” That’s just weird. Sure, there are some interesting characters in my own family, not least myself, and I know there are decent folks in the DP. But my family doesn’t include war criminals, Wall Street gangsters, home-foreclosure scavengers, silicon-valley/surveillance-state moguls, and other sundry sociopaths. My family doesn’t include billionaire members of the ruling class.
Okay, so perhaps Ocasio-Cortez doesn’t quite understand the relationship between capitalism and its corporate parties, and doesn’t have a very good grasp of history or the meaning of socialism— but what does the braintrust of DSA leadership and the editors of sites like Jacobin with their considerable collective academic coursework and erudition in all things Left— well, what do they have to say about all this?
“Perhaps Ocasio-Cortez doesn’t quite understand the relationship between capitalism and its corporate parties.”
Ocasio-Cortez was anointed by DSA and is now the de facto national spokesperson on socialism in the U.S. But is she using the Democratic Party to further a socialist people’s agenda— or is she using DSA and the people’s natural inclination toward socialism to further the ultimately capitalist agenda of the Democratic Party? When push comes to shove, to whom will she and other DSA Democratic candidates be loyal? Heck, to whom will DSA be loyal? In the long term, will focusing on running ‘socialist’ candidates within the Democratic Party impede building an independent socialist movement and organization?
There’s a thirty-year-old brown brother, Dr. Rodofo Cortez-Barragan, running as a Green Party candidate out here in Los Angeles county, in a congressional district which is overwhelming working-class and about 85% Latinx. Rodolfo came in second in the June primary with almost 20% of the vote. His opponent this fall is a 13-term bona fide corporate Democrat.
Rodolfo is a Stanford PhD in psychology, came to the U.S. as a child from Mexico, and grew up in his district. He is by all measures to the left of Ocasio-Cortez (as is the Green Party in general)and is also, get this, a card-carrying member of DSA.
“Is Ocasio-Cortez using the Democratic Party to further a socialist people’s agenda, or using socialism to further the ultimately capitalist agenda of the Democratic Party?”
DSA-Los Angeles sponsored an Ocasio-Cortez fundraiser on 8/3/18. The event was billed as “a conversation with AOC about running a people-powered campaign, taking on the political establishment, and how to mobilize communities across Los Angeles (emphasis mine) in pursuit of a better, socialist future.” Ocasio-Cortez would be headlining this event while an actual campaign to elect a progressive is underway a car’s drive from the venue.
When Rodolfo’s campaign learned of the planned event, an email was sent on 7/28/18 to DSA-LA’s Steering Committee and Electoral Politics Committee, pointing out the cognitive dissonance and suggesting Rodolfo be part of the discussion. DSA-LA responded eleven days later, on 8/6/18, after the event, writing that Rodolfo “should be getting a candidate questionnaire in the next few weeks.” Yes, the next few weeks. Where is the imperative? DSA-LA’s Electoral Politics Committee Platform reads: “We want to work with the voters of Los Angeles—in solidarity with the city’s most disenfranchised communities—to put people in power at every level of government who will use their popular mandate to work for a socialist future.” Really?
Here’s the thing. I’ve always supported candidates who run as Democrats if they present a real alternative to their opponents, and when a Green is not running. I have no party affiliation, but when Sanders ran in the primary in California, I requested what’s called a cross-over ballot to give him my vote. And I did this knowing what was likely to happen— that he would get the shaft from the Democratic Party, tell his supporters to vote for a war criminal, and sheepdog his followers over the cliff and into that murky space where, as others have written, movements go to die. Obama did this by actually winning his election.
“Rodolfo is by all measures to the left of Ocasio-Cortez, as is the Green Party in general.”
But when Bernie lost, something else happened. Everyone didn’t dutifully follow him over the cliff. Oh no, some people got downright pissed off. Some people woke up and had a come-to-Jesus moment. Some folks got a very clear vision of the real Democratic Party and got the hell out of there. Some of them went to the Green Party.
Some races are clear and there is no excuse, other than rank opportunism or toxic partisanship, to not support a candidate. Such is the race in California’s 40th congressional district. It is as clear as it will ever get. It’s only Rodolfo versus the corporate Democrat, so the spoiler argument won’t work here.
Some, like Seth Ackerman of Jacobin, have written nebulously/theoretically of an organization that isn’t quite a socialist party but that has some aspects of a party (DSA?), an organization that can run its own socialist candidates, as well as lend support to others who are at least very progressive. Can folks not be so cryptic and just tell us if it’s okay for this hypothetical organization to support candidates who are notin the Democratic Party and not “independents,” namely candidates running with the Green or another third party?
Better yet, let’s put this theoretical construct to practice and use real live, real-time examples, let’s say California’s 40th district and the November 6th election. Pretend you live in this district, an area suffering from the degradation caused by environmental racism and capitalism, as well as the bankrupt politics of corporate Democrats.
Dear DSA national and local chapters, their elected representatives and especially rank-and-file members, Jacobin editors and their ilk, and of course Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Would you support Green Party candidate Rodolfo Cortes-Barragán, or would you tell him to get lost because he’s not in the Democratic Party or isn’t “independent”?
Figuring this out shouldn’t take a few weeks; there is no nuance here. Check out his website: https://www.rodolfoforcongress.com.
“It is as clear as it will ever get. It’s only Rodolfo versus the corporate Democrat.”
Here’s my message to shiny new socialists: Beware of the Democratic Party, as well as all of its institutions and fronts. You will never take over the Democratic Party. It will co-opt you first, or it will self destruct rather than become a party of the people. It’s history and raison d’être are antithetical to our values. The Democratic Party might give you some reforms at home, but it will always, like the Republican Party, further its agenda of imperialist war and domination abroad. This is what late capitalism is all about. And whatever reforms the Democratic Party grants will always be precarious, always fair game for the chopping block. War, however, will be permanent.
If this truth is too much to handle, then put on your Blue hats and go forth— make America great again. But please stop calling yourselves socialists.
Just for the record, people/entities that have not responded regarding simply interviewing Rodolfo or otherwise covering Rodolfo’s campaign include the Jimmy Dore Show, The Young Turks, KPFK Pacifica’s Rising Up with Sonali Kolhatkar, KPFK’s California Solartopia with Harry Wasserman, and KPFK’s Ralph Nader Radio Hour.