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Thread: Activism

  1. #1
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    When I was in high school/college it was the 80s. In the 80s almost nobody was an activist. If you were, you were a weirdo. People were interested in making money. Protesters were called anti-capitalists.

    Throughout my life there has been a long discussion about how Americans don't vote. Americans aren't paying attention to what their politicians are doing. It was true. The only people I knew who were politically active were Republicans. It was the Republican wave and Young Republicans were all the rage.

    They weren't marching. They were voting and trying to make money.

    We've come back around to the time of activism. Americans are waking up.

    Earlier this year Ralph Nader was on Coast to Coast. He's generally associated with the left because he wants to help poor and workers. His accomplishments have helped everyone. My conservative Dad has a great deal of respect for Mr. Nader.

    Here's from the C2C blurb:

    Ralph Nader and the dozens of citizen groups he's founded have helped foster safer cars, healthier food, better air, cleaner water, and safer workplaces. In the first half, he discussed his relentless drive for grassroots activism and democratic change. He recalled his groundbreaking work in the mid-1960s when he challenged General Motors and other companies for selling unsafely designed automobiles that favored horsepower and style, and suppressed the work of its best engineers when it came to consumer safety. To elicit major change, he explained, it just takes about 1% of active citizens in a given congressional district; they should gather evidence and public opinion and present it with a laser focus to their senators and representatives.

    While there are a number of ongoing disagreements between conservatives and liberals, Nader suggested that a kind of "divide and rule" strategy was in play by the two major American political parties who use these divisions to help raise money. There are some 24 major areas that conservatives and liberals share similar viewpoints, he cited, including living wage, cracking down on corporate crime and Wall St. crooks, full Medicare for all, and breaking up the big banks-- so there is plenty of room for consensus by legislators on many issues. Nader also mentioned how he helped found the American Museum of Tort Law in Connecticut, which documents cases of wrongful injury.

    So what's happening now?

    ...a strikingly resurgent level of vocal, civic engagement on the part of millions of Americans.

    [O]ne in five Americans has attended at least one protest or political rally since the beginning of 2016 — and that 19 percent of that group had never attended such an event before that year.

    2017 was the Year of the Protest Rally, and so far it looks like 2018 is shaping up the same way. The March For Our Lives showed how quickly a single tragedy can spawn mass rallies given the right confluence of public outrage and social media. The fact that red state teachers felt emboldened enough to storm their state capitol this week...

    Nearly 89% of those polled say they plan to vote in November and a third of those say they plan to work for a specific Congressional campaign.

    Out of the group of Americans who said they have attended a rally or protest since 2016, 70 percent are opposed to President Trump and say they do not support his agenda, compared with 30 percent who said they attended rallies while supporting the president.

    44 percent of activists (broadly defined as Americans who’ve attended at least one protest or rally) were 50 or older; 46 percent earned more than $100,000 a year; and 50 percent were college graduates.

    This is a fair cross-section of the most economically successful and most educated people in the country.

    It’s also a fair cross-section of those who are most likely to vote.

    Policies have now been taking effect and people are feeling them:

    The tax cut has proven to be meaningless for Trump's base and is seen even by them as a huge handout to the top 1%.

    Trump is moving ahead with a major trade war with China, and possibly with Canada and Mexico...

    Even though the aluminum and steel tariffs have been watered down with exemptions for numerous countries, the price that US companies pay for aluminum has nearly doubled.

    China responded to those tariffs by imposing their own on US pork and fruit, duties focused on hitting Trump’s rural, agricultural base of support, especially in the Midwest and West Coast.

    Chinese have responded in kind, with tariffs focused primarily on soybeans, another important and widespread product in the agricultural Midwest.

    The continual shortage of agricultural workers is being exacerbated by the immigration crackdown, with crops going unpicked. His proposed border wall will need to expropriate private land in order to actually get built. Even in Texas, the majority of the state and an even larger proportion of border land-owners oppose it.

    Now, voters are more worried about obtaining health care next year than any other issue and actually blame Trump and the GOP for not bringing down costs.

    A few days ago, Robert Leonard, a radio news director in Iowa, wrote that bankers for farmers in his area had said “that with commodity prices down and the tariffs imposed, approximately 10 percent of our farmers probably won’t make it this year, and 10 percent more will likely fail next year. They also shared the news that in Iowa, larger agribusinesses are buying up smaller farms that are in financial trouble, and that people are starting to make comparisons to the farm crisis of the 1980s, when approximately 10,000 Iowa farmers lost their farms.” And this is merely the result of the initial round of tariffs. The full impact, if the tariffs on the full $150 billion get enacted and the Chinese retaliate, has not even begun to be felt.

    Meanwhile, Midwest legislators are lobbying Trump to back off on his tariff threats. Ben Sasse, ever mindful of which way the wind is blowing, said of Trump tariff threats, “Hopefully the president is just blowing off steam again but, if he’s even half-serious, this is nuts…Let’s absolutely take on Chinese bad behavior, but with a plan that punishes them instead of us. This is the dumbest possible way to do this.”

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  3. #2
    Senior Member United States Dumpster Diver's Avatar
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    When I was young, nearly everyone was protesting and/or helping get out the vote. That was the late 60s, early 70s. Then in 75, we “lost” the Vietnam situation with the fall of Saigon and by then the Disco craze was in full swing so everyone had forgotten activism and was toking up and getting laid to “Staying Alive”.

    It’s a flavor of the month thing.

    Btw, as an extreme outlier, I avoided both.
    "Holding onto anger is like drinking poison and expecting the object of your anger to die” ~ Anon
    "When you come to a fork in the road, take it." ~Yogi Berra
    "You can observe a lot by just watching." ~Yogi Berra
    “When I die, I want to die like my grandfather who died peacefully in his sleep. Not screaming like all the passengers in his car.” ~Will Rogers
    "If life gives you might be dyslexic" ~ Aixelsyd Dnarber

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  5. #3
    Super Moderator United States Dreamtimer's Avatar
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    We've come a long way, baby!

    Every night that federal forces were deployed in Portland, the crowds grew larger. And every time those federal forces showed their lack of experience with law enforcement—and willingness to use violence even if that meant shooting peaceful protesters in the face—more people came forward to show that they wouldn’t be intimidated. There was a wall of moms. A wall of dads. A wall of veterans. But mostly there were just a wall of people unwilling to step down and hand over their city to paramilitary forces in camo who came over the express wishes of citizens, city officials, and the state government.

    But on Thursday night protests were peaceful. On Friday that pattern repeated as the number of people around the federal courthouse decreased and the “walls” came down. Protesters who came dressed to face tear gas and billy clubs, instead ended up sitting in the grass together, listening to speakers, sharing songs, and celebrating. The reason: those camo-wearing federal forces packed up and left.
    Trump’s makeshift mix of ICE, Border Patrol, and Marshall Service forces haven’t completely departed town for the moment, but they are off the streets. They’re no longer randomly firing impact weapons into people’s faces, deploying tear gas in the middle of a hymn, or grabbing people off the street and slamming them into unmarked vans. Instead they’re camped out a few blocks away, waiting to see what happens over the weekend.

    Amazingly, despite the warnings of acting DHS director Chad Wolf, the federal courthouse was not burned overnight, buildings were not looted, and Portland did not descend into anarchy despite the lack of people on hand to point weapons straight into people’s faces. As The Washington Post reports, a few protesters lobbed rocks into empty space, symbolically bashing the place where the armed invaders had been on previous evenings. For now … that’s about it.
    Some in the area are also concerned that there actually be violence initiated by agitators who want nothing more than to justify Trump’s invasion of the city. After all, it’s already clear that white nationalists have been engaging in violence and vandalism at cities where protests are taking place with the express purpose of “sowing discord and racial unrest.”

    In Richmond, Virginia this week, police arrested 23 people after weeks of peaceful protests suddenly “turned violent.” Flyers in the area called for attacks on police “in sympathy with protesters in Portland,” and the calls appeared to be met with damage to a local university, burning vehicles, and bricks hurled at local police. “There were white supremacists marching under the banner of Black Lives Matter, attempting to undermine an otherwise overwhelmingly peaceful movement towards social justice,” said Mayor Levar Stoney.

    There are concerns that the same kind of efforts could be organized in Portland. After all, Trump wasn’t just using claims of violence at that location to justify keeping forces on the ground in Portland, he was promising to do the same in a number of other cities. Portland is both the beta test and the flagship. For those who want peace to fail, undermining the piece in Portland could be the best bet to see far more camo wearing troops on American streets.

    “The mission is simple,” said Mayor Stoney. “To undermine the months of peaceful, community-driven protests that this city has seen.” That was certainly true in Richmond.

    What happens next in Portland may be decided in the next two nights.
    We have Moms and more.

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