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DNC in Philly Day 3 – Loathing and Dissipation At FDR Park “Philly Awakening”

July 27th, 2016 No comments

Restrained mood and dwindling number of protesters reflect deep disappointments

Loathing For All Things Clinton and DNC

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Horror grips us as we watch you die
All we can do is echo your anguished cries
Stare as all human feelings die
We are leaving, you don’t need us ~~~ “Wooden Ships” (Crosby Stills & Nash – 1968)

[Update: 7/28/16 – hahahaha! I just learned that at exactly the same time I was sweating my balls off on my bicycle in the heat down at FDR Park looking for activists and ideas, the “Socialist Convergence” was meeting in downtown Philly with a panel that included Chris Hedges and Jill Stein – watch panel discussion  Viva La Revolution!~~~ end update]

I made it to FDR Park on Sunday with the Bernie March, but got food poisoning and had to hit the road. I was still wiped out on Monday and on Tuesday I did a Jill Stein event across from City Hall at the JFK Boulevard plaza site.

So today, after stopping by City Hall and finding no protests, I finally got back to that place to see how the hard core Bernie folks were holding up in their Occupy style encampment, called the “Philly Awakening”. The FDR Park is just across the street from the DNC Convention site at the Wells Fargo Center.

My first impression – politics aside – was how absolutely lovely the FDR Park is:

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The second was the overwhelming police security perimeter and the third was all those SEPTA buses parked in the parking lot of the Wells Fargo Center doing absolutely nothing.

As I toured the park, I saw 3 or 4 small pockets of neatly maintained encampments, maybe 25-30 tents at each site, and a general ambiance of joyful engagement with zero police presence.

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I had a few conversations with the activists, mostly about why Clinton and the Democrats were so bad and corrupt – and a muted, largely unstated, but deep disappointment in Bernie’s fold.

"madness is that way"

“madness is that way”

If my dog had better behavior, I would have loved to have camped there and enjoyed lengthy conversations with the young folks there.

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The people I spoke to were all politically astute and had no use for traditional party politics and corruption.

Their values were virtually the opposite of traditional politics: they demanded open, honest, compassionate communications and a commitment to altruism and saving the world from various catastrophe’s. But the issues were somewhat quirky (anti-GMO and vaccine views were dominant)

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The mostly young folks – although I spoke with a few fellow geezers – seemed to have similar values to the Hippies I felt an allegiance to growing up, but seemed more sophisticated and politically aware.

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A Bernie Sanders delegate from California spoke to the small crowd and explained all the dirty tricks, threats, and convention floor efforts to stop the Bernie delegates from protests, displaying signs, or booing.

At around 3 pm, a concert began, and I was told that Jill Stein was scheduled to speak –

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But by 4 pm there was no mention of Stein, so after a long day and 20 miles on the bike, so I headed north for the Ben Franklin Bridge to Camden and the NJT Riverline.

I left with a profound sadness that I still can’t shake right now as I write this. This camper’s signs pretty much sum it up, politically:

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ps – I could be completely wrong in my assessment of dissipation and low participation, but not in the feeling of disappointment. I visited in the afternoon of a sweltering day, so people may have been elsewhere. Still, I don’t think so. But on the ride out, I did notice several folks headed down Broad Street towards the park, so maybe it will rock tonight.

Sitting in a park in Paris, France
Reading in the news and it sure looks bad
They won’t give peace a chance
That was just a dream some of us had ~~~ “California” Joni Mitchell

[Update #2 – 7/28/16 – Looks like things did rock last night]

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DNC In Philly Day 2 – Jill Stein Talks To Bernie or Bust

July 27th, 2016 No comments

The Party’s Over

Jill Stein Outlines Green New Deal To Bernie Sanders Supporters

“Hell No DNC, We Won’t Vote for Hillary!”

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[Updates below]

Turn out the lights 
The party’s over 
They say that 
All good things must end
Call it a night 
The party’s over 
And tomorrow starts 
The same old thing again ~~~ “The Party’s Over” Willie Nelson

I went down to Philly again today, another hot one. Checking the mood after Sanders’ speech last night, which urged his supporters to get in line and back Hillary Clinton.

I planned to go to FDR Park to the civil disobedience protest planned for the Wells Fargo Center where the convention is taking place. But, after learning that Jill Stein was speaking, I spent a few hours at the Bernie or Bust rally across the street from city hall.

The Busters had several young, smart, righteous, angry, and funny speakers (forgot their names) who fired up the crowd. I wish I was taking notes or had a recorder – there were lots of great lines – but the basic political message I got was that they are independent of the Sanders campaign, are disgusted by the Clinton/DNC sabotage, and will work to oppose Clinton until November in swing states.

Jill Stein, Green Party candidate, spoke and outlined her “Power To the People Plan” and Green New Deal.

She was excellent, far more progressive from a policy standpoint than Bernie. Stein outlined more detailed substantive policy proposals, was far more aggressive in criticizing Clinton and the corporate Democrats, a militarized foreign policy, the destructive aspects of US empire, weapons trade, and the permanent war economy, an accelerating climate emergency and need for a rapid and just renewable energy transition (100% renewables by 2030, increase in jobs for displaced workers, etc), public transportation (I loved her remark about free public transit), et al than Bernie.

I bet if you gave the unattributed written text of her speech and a Bernie’s speech to all the Bernie supporters, that they’d overwhelmingly prefer Stein’s.

The sun was pounding so I sought refuge in shade around the side of a building and was soon joined by 2 reporters doing an interview of a young black Bernie Buster. After it ended, we struck up a conversation, and it turned into an extended interview with two smart young reporters from The New Yorker magazine.

Wow, what a difference from my Trenton experience – talking to sharp reporters who ask tough questions and push back with followups critically probing what I said!.

It was a wide ranging interview, but the issues they seemed most interested in were my remarks about:

1) why the policies, abandonment, and betrayal by the Democrats have created some of the Trump supporters, particularly the history and record of the Bill Clinton Administration (crime bill, ending welfare, NAFTA, shift to corporate & Wall Street funding, deregulation of the banks and Wall Street, deindustrialization, abandonment of labor, triangulation, et al) and Hillary’s role in all that and the continuity of that corporate agenda until today.

Does anyone still recall what the Clinton team did to Brooksley Born? (does Hillary the feminist support the misogyny involved in that attack?)

Does Hillary the child advocate remember and still support Madeline Albright’s comment that killing 500,00 Iraqi children “it was worth it” or the devastating effects on children of Bill Clinton’s termination of welfare

[Update: 10/14/16 – We made exactly this point from day 1 – from CounterPunch:

Fatally missing from most liberal analysis  (and political strategy) is that the main fuel powering Trump’s campaign is popular rage at the corporate corruption of the political establishment. Clinton’s corporate campaign is incapable of tapping into this mass desire for change. Unfortunately, the failure of union and progressive leaders to offer an independent, anti-establishment challenge to Trump leaves the right-wing an open field to exploit the popular anger. – end update].

2) how the Hillary Clinton campaign smeared the Sanders campaign early on with the “Bernie Bro’s” label as a divisive racist tactic and how that both bolstered Clinton’s strong support in the black community and impeded Sanders’ efforts to make inroads and form a coalition of working class whites with progressives and the black community (the goal of Dr. King’s Poor People’s March, and an existential threat to the corporate elites who run the DNC and the country).

I wish I had thought of it at the time, but I think that meme was a Swiftboat operation as bad as John Kerry got it from the right. Bernie Sanders was an early civil rights activist, at a time when Hillary CLinton supported Barry Goldwater, who opposed civil and voting rights acts. Clinton campaign combined Swiftboat and Nixon Dirty tricks.

With the 20,000 DNC sabotage emails – with more to come – I would not be surprised if emails prove that kind of operation.

3) The Democrats’ abuse of identity politics to mask a corporate economic agenda.

[Update – 8/8/16 – for a superb essay on that topic, see: Class Dismissed: Identity Politics to the Front of the Line ~~~ end update]

4) How did I respond to the threat of electing Trump?

I responded that Clinton was not only disrespecting the Sanders people (whose 13 million votes got something like 46% of pledged delegates) and not making real substantive political and policy concessions, but was intentionally driving away and antagonizing progressives and the left.

The rapid fire assaults of the Platform Committee, the Tom Kaine VP selection, refusal to oppose TPP and fracking, and immediately making the disgraced Debbie Wasserman Schultz a leader in the Clinton campaign were so bad, they had to be intended to inflame and cause a Bernie or Bust exit.

I think the Clinton DNC folks want the left to break away from the Democratic Party and use that as cover for their plan to court “transactional” alliances with disaffected “moderate” Republicans who oppose Trump’s racist demagoguery and the corporate interests who oppose Trump’s economic and protectionist trade policies that would crush a big part of their global profits.

[Update: 8/9/16NY Times story today is EXACTLY what I suspected and warned about. Clinton does’t want or need the left or progressives:

Donors for Bush, Kasich and Christie Are Turning to Clinton More Than to Trump

People who donated to establishment Republican candidates in the primary season are more likely to give money to Hillary Clinton, the Democratic nominee, than to their own party’s candidate, Donald J. Trump. ~~~ end update]

We’ll see if any of that gets in their story. More to follow, some pics:

[UpdateChris Hedges nails it – this is exactly how I feel:

Sanders squandered his most important historical moment. He had a chance, one chance, to take the energy, anger and momentum, walk out the doors of the Wells Fargo Center and into the streets to help build a third-party movement. His call to his delegates to face “reality” and support Clinton was an insulting repudiation of the reality his supporters, mostly young men and young women, had overcome by lifting him from an obscure candidate polling at 12 percent into a serious contender for the nomination. Sanders not only sold out his base, he mocked it. This was a spiritual wound, not a political one. For this he must ask forgiveness.

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– 8/21/16 – I told you this was coming – in addition to the Green Party, include the left and progressives as a whole – see point #4 below:

Liberals are no longer going through the motions of criticizing the Democrat. Instead they openly show love for Hillary Clinton and disdainfully pile on Stein and Baraka with fury. The blog Wonkettecalled Jill Stein “cunty” and “a mendacious nihilist piece of shit.” The site Very Smart Brothas declared that a vote for Stein was akin to putting it in the trash. They also threw in a dig at Cornel West because he dared to criticize Barack Obama. The Huffington Post chose to deride Green Party convention delegates because they ate at McDonald’s. Gawker tried to link Ajamu Baraka to holocaust denial. His unassailable human rights credentials didn’t mean much when the media decided to go into attack mode.

[Update below]

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Camden NJ and the Democratic Convention

July 26th, 2016 No comments
Future orproat watfront, amnden NJ

Future corporate waterfront, Camden NJ

Rockets, moon shots
Spend it on the have nots
Money, we make it
Fore we see it, you take it
Oh, make you wanna holler
The way they do my life
Make me wanna holler
The way they do my life
This ain’t livin’, This ain’t livin’
No, no baby, this ain’t livin’ ~~~ “Inner City Blues” Marvin Gaye

Mike Kelly at the Bergen Record has a superb story today, read the whole thing:

Across river from Dems’ convention, Camden feels forgotten

As he listened, Gary Frazier, 40, who grew up in Camden and is the East Coast coordinator of a group called Black Men for Bernie, shook his head.

“Maybe this will spark something in Camden. I don’t know,” said Frazier, who is running for Camden City Council as a Green Party candidate. “You have to understand the dire straits our residents are in. They don’t see hope. We are tired of the status quo.”

Philadelphia DNC Bernie March (7/24/16)

Black Men for Bernie – Philadelphia DNC, rally before Bernie March (7/24/16)

Mr. Frazier perfectly makes the point I was driving at in yesterday’s post about communities that were betrayed by corporate Clinton Democrats and destroyed by policies that promoted deindustrialization and financialization of a global economy.

How has it come about that so many US cities, with majority black populations, led by black mayors, city councils, State legislators and Congressional representatives have come to this state of affairs?

Black Agenda Report editor Glenn Ford calls that the result of a “black mis-leadership class”.

US cities and black neighborhoods have been deindustrialized, hollowed out, neglected and starved of investment. At the same time, some neighborhoods are gentrified and segregated, while public schools are closed or privatized, and public housing is demolished without replacement. Black communities have been decimated by a sham Jim Crow war on drugs, police repression and an unjust criminal justice system, including jail time for parking tickets, i.e. if you really want to get sick to your stomach, read this outrageous Harvard Law Review article “Policing and Profit”.

At the same time, Neoliberal “individual responsibility” (AKA “blame the victim”) austerity policies slash the social safety net – and we have not forgotten that Bill Clinton – after the crime bill –  “ended welfare as we know it” and the federal guarantee to millions of poor black women and children, with the support of his wife, the “children’s advocate” (for that story, read Peter Edelman’s book – for the cliff notes version, New York Times story:

Writer Chris Hedges called these places “sacrifice zones” – and there is no real discussion of either poverty, race, or urban policy being discussed by the Democrats (not even Bernie could say “Black Lives Matter” during his speech last night – but it was mentioned – once by another speaker I can’t recall right now).

We are not writing just for the Democratic convention and have not forgotten our friends in Camden or their problems or the policies that we work on and know could improve their daily lives, see:

Update: 8/4/16 – Just came across this, certainly of interest:

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My Lunatic Fringe Moment On InfoWars

July 25th, 2016 No comments

“You don’t interview a guy in pajamas.”

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People moving out, people moving in. Why, because of the color of their skin.
Run, run, run but you sure can’t hide. An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth.
Vote for me and I’ll set you free. Rap on, brother, rap on.

Well, the only person talking about love thy brother is the…(preacher.)
And it seems nobody’s interested in learning but the…(teacher.)
Segregation, determination, demonstration, integration, Aggravation, humiliation, obligation to our nation.

Ball of confusion. Oh yeah, that’s what the world is today. Woo, hey, hey. ~~~ “Ball of Confusion” The Temptations

[Update 10/14/16 – Counter Punch makes exactly the same point I make in the video:

Fatally missing from most liberal analysis  (and political strategy) is that the main fuel powering Trump’s campaign is popular rage at the corporate corruption of the political establishment. Clinton’s corporate campaign is incapable of tapping into this mass desire for change. Unfortunately, the failure of union and progressive leaders to offer an independent, anti-establishment challenge to Trump leaves the right-wing an open field to exploit the popular anger.

[Updates below]

I was minding my own business, taking photos of the climate march in Philly yesterday, when I overheard what appeared to be a mentally disturbed man shouting to a media interviewer.

I took a look see and noticed the media was “InfoWars”, so when it ended, I gave the reporter a piece of my mind for taking advantage of a disturbed individual and called him out for using that interview to ridicule and discredit the marchers.

I said I didn’t want to be interviewed, but he managed to suck me in – it is painful to watch – posted under a headline: Ultimate Hillary Zombie Discovered (interview starts at time 2:35)

I think the DNC is shameful. Wasserman Schultz should resign. The DNC should be abolished, it’s a corrupt institution. It’s destroyed the working class and most industrial towns in the whole country, because of policies pursued by the Clinton family.

It goes back to Bill Clinton – and nobody’s talking about that.

He poured gasoline on deindustrialization, which started in the ’70’s.

He went with global trade. He did all this bank – Wall Street stuff. He deregulated the banks – he’s the problem.

Hillary is going to be more of the same.

Globalism is a corporate agenda – it’s NAFTA, it’s the Obama TPP thing.

It’s a corporate rights agenda over American workers and American communities.

This is one of the few things – this is what explains Trump’s appeal. Because he’s appealing to people who have been disenfranchised and betrayed  by the Democrats. And now they don’t have jobs, they don’t have hope, they don’t have communities that are viable.

That’s what’s goin’ on.

[Update: 8/4/16 – I called the DNC a “corrupt institution”. Former Bill Clinton Secretary of Labor and Berkeley professor Robert Reich agrees:

The DNC’s problems are structural.

The Democratic National Committee – like the Republican National Committee – has become little more than a giant machine designed to suck up big money from wealthy individuals, lobbyists bundlers, and corporate and Wall Street PACs.

Amen, Bro. ~~~ end update]

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Thousands March In Philadelphia for Climate, Clean Energy And Bernie Sanders

July 24th, 2016 No comments

Voices of the people ignored by Corporate Democrats who run the DNC

 “Hell No, DNC, we won’t vote for Hillary”

Very superstitious, wash your face and hands,
Rid me of the problem, do all that you can,
Keep me in a daydream, keep me goin’ strong,
You don’t wanna save me, sad is my song

When you believe in things that you don’t understand,
Then you suffer,
Superstition ain’t the way, yeh, yeh ~~~ “Superstition” Stevie Wonder

[Update below]

 

There were two large marches today in Philadelphia designed to send a message to a corrupt DNC and the likely nominee Hillary Clinton on the eve of the Democratic National Convention which starts tomorrow.

I joined the People Over Pipelines crew on the Riverline train ride down, but was on bicycle and we split at Camden.

The heat was stifling (97 degrees and humid) but the mood was festive and a good vibe. The crowd was diverse – impressed with large number of young people. The police were surprisingly respectful and deployed mostly on bicycles or on foot in regular uniform – not even a hint of violence or tactical military intimidation that we’ve seen so often. I spoke with several officers who understood what was going on and a police Captain spoke with a black man at the Black Men for Bernie rally.

The Climate, Clean Energy, Ban Fracking focused march rallied in the quad of City hall and began marching around 1 pm. There were many Sanders’ signs and a large majority of the march were Sanders supporters.

The Bernie support march rallied across the street later in the day and march a little over 4 miles to FDR Park. I had a violent touch of food poisoning, and had to leave before festivities began at FDR Park. Thankfully, the porta-potties were in the right place at the right time.

I didn’t see any Hillary supporters in either crowd – Philadelphia police estimate 10,000 people for the climate march and about half that for the Sanders march.

The NY Times story emphasized the Sanders v. Clinton conflict. The Real News live streamed.

[Update: 7/25/16Democracy Now! did a segment on the clean energy march.

Remarkably, only two Gov.’s were targeted for criticism – Pa Gov. Wolf and NY Gov. Cuomo – despite the fact that TWO NJ based activists were interviewed and Gov. Christie – who has a horrid climate and energy record – is in Trump’s inner circle! Watch:

And we want to stop fracking now, immediately, Governor Wolf, in Pennsylvania. […]

Right now there’s, you know, attempts to bailout the nuclear industry going on across the country, including in New York State, where Governor Cuomo is trying to build a reputation for himself as a clean energy Governor, is trying to do a seven point — include a $7.6 billion ballot to nuclear power plants in a supposed clean energy standard that he wants to pass in a week.

That is further evidence of the failed climate, energy and pipeline strategy of NJ activists, who have refused to publicly criticize, or remained silent, or failed to target Gov. Christie, even when he was – and still remains – in the national spotlight as a close advisor to Trump. ~~~ end]

Some photos to try to give a sense of the day (both events combined as they shared common themes):

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yes, that is Medea Benjamin!

yes, that is Medea Benjamin!

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