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NOW AVAILABLE ON YOUTUBE: LECTURES ON THE THOUGHT OF KARL MARX. To view the lectures, go to YouTube and search for Robert Paul Wolff Marx."




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Wednesday, June 27, 2018

CRUSHING NEWS

Associate Justice Kennedy is retiring.  Trump will nominate and McConnell will ram through an extreme right-wing ideologue, and the Supreme Court will be lost for much longer than I will live.  Women's reproductive health rights will be destroyed, unions will continue to be gutted, the autocratic impulses of Trump will receive the endorsement of the legal system.  I am unable even to imagine how bad things will get.

16 comments:

Carl said...

The next president might replace Justice Thomas, you never know.

David Auerbach said...

The bad part will be the relative youth of the replacement. Kennedy was a worthless dick in most decisions and the replacement will basically vote as Kennedy would have (except on gay rights issues, but I'm pretty sure they won't come up much ....)

Hey Man said...

This is bad. The size of the court has varied throughout history, although it hasn't changed for a long time. It is a distant and perhaps naive hope, but a future Democratic congress and president could pack the court by increasing its size. The Republicans have been happy to shred customs and norms when it suits them. Let the Democrats do the same, if they ever get the chance (they might not, I realize, for various reasons).

David said...

Professor Wolff, might we have another "What is to be done" discussion? I agree that things don't look good right now, and while I personally feel that we have not, as bad as the separations are, seen even close to the worst yet, I think that after we've let all the bad news sink in, we ought to ponder what to do in the darkening world we live in.

My own view is that the Democrats will probably not recapture the House. Maybe they will, but the Supreme-Court-endorsed gerrymandered districts militate against the possibility. In addition, Trump's strategy of ginning up the base by scapegoating immigrants may work. Finally, the GOP can probably expect a great deal of help from Russian hackers, and with their structural advantage in the electoral college, I can even conceive of Trump's reelection. Even the Mueller investigation and other lawsuits can be discredited in the minds of deluded Trumpists and their stooges in Congress.

So what is to be done? My long-run hope is that the left-of-center will, over time, organize a mass pro-democracy movement that will appeal to a younger generation. This movement will have to be led by a new generation of leaders. I don't know who these leaders are, but I find a hint of what they might be like in Rep. Pramila Jayapal, who, in her first term, is becoming a national leader, especially in the area of immigrant rights. It is no coincidence that she comes from a background of organizing. We desperately need more legislator-organizers. Perhaps Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez will be such a legislator-organizer. In the short run, it is almost pointless to elect Democrats whose strength is crafting legislation. There will be no Democratic legislation if the Democrats fail to take the House, as I think they will. What we need, instead, are legislator-organizers who know how to bring in voters who've been historically marginalized and who are waiting for elected officials who will actually represent them.

In short, if, as I believe, we find ourselves in a ten- or twenty-year struggle against an entrenched fascist regime, we will have to put our energies into candidates who know something about registering voters and getting them to the polls, and who know how to appeal to young people. We don't need perfect unity around policy issues. We need organizers and activists. If you want to know what the future could look like, watch Pramila Jayapal.

Ed Barreras said...

You know what? I wouldn’t be surprised in the least if they threw out the right to gay marriage. It’s clear the Republicans view politics as a ruthless power struggle, and the conservative justices are no different from T***p and Turtle in this regard, however much they want to cloak themselves in the rhetoric of impartiality. Add in gerrymandering, voter suppression, plus a good dose of plain old fraud, and we are seeing the makings of a generation(s)-long era of right wing one-party rule. Thanks a lot, Bernie voters in swing states who didn’t switch to Hillary; and thank you too, Jill Stein, for campaigning in swing states against your own better interests. (Yup, I’m being petty, but fuck it.)

Our only hope is to *fight back*. For starters, the next Democratic president *must* appoint three more justices to the court, bringin the total to eleven. Then the court must get to work overturning all the decisions of the T***P era. I can’t imagine this would be hard to justify given that Turtle already destroyed the playbook when it comes to appointing SCOTUS judges. The only question is whether the shitheel Democrats will have the spine to get dirty or will instead whine about being polite and following the rules.

Ed Barreras said...

I meant, of course, the nex prez must appoint two justices — or whatever lands on an odd number.

Anonymous said...

Ed Barreras: "...shitheel Democrats will have the spine to get dirty or will instead whine about being polite and following the rules."

They couldn't even handle simple ballot box counting in Florida during Bush v. Gore. Gave up on Kerry in Ohio and other states known for voter rolls shenanigans. Then when it came to HRC, they hardly moved. Now we have the likes of Schumer who barely registers on the national scale. He's all but in name a Democrat. Having voted against Obama with republicans on important foreign policy matters. How can we expect such a loose bunch to grow a spine? We will need a new breed of young activists unshackled from the old incompetency.

Ed Barreras said...

Ocasio-Cortez 2020!!

Anonymous said...

For what it's worth, Richard Posner has been recommending a 19-Justice Supreme Court for a long time.

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/chicagoinc/ct-posner-supreme-court-0801-chicago-inc-20170731-story.html

Hey Man said...

To those predicting a slide into fascism, are there examples in recent history of political figures approaching Trump's incompetence who have succeeded in imposing authoritarian rule? Trump is certainly dangerous. He has done a lot of damage and will do more. But he is also a transparent fool. Many of those close to him don't seem very smart either, and they all get undercut by their boss sooner or later anyway. I assume overthrowing democratic institutions and installing a dictatorship would take some planning, knowledge, and long term attention, all of which seem lacking here. The thought that Trump is too much of a clown to become a dictator is one of the few things that give me hope, but maybe I'm wrong here. Or is the worry that Trump and his enablers will weaken democratic norms and institutions to the point that other, shrewder would-be fascists will take emerge in the future? That seems more plausible to me.

Dean said...

Not a completely crappy idea, but damn, Posner has overstayed his welcome by decades. Ultimately, to my mind, he doesn't get it.

Jerry Fresia said...

Totally agree with Ed.

Ocasio-Cortez = signs of life, rays of hope, fresh air and a green light for left candidates with conviction to speak out.

howard b said...

Dear Hey Man, I think the historical precedent is of the mad or imbecilic King, where all the players in the court try to capitalize on his ineptness. The Republicans eseem to be capitalizing on how Trump physics the subjects as cover for being granted their wish list, including a reactionary Supreme Court, nixing the Paris accords etc.
I'm not sure how this will play out or whether all the ruling class wants is the chance to pile up lucre damn the consequences.
What guides us is theory, historical precedent and our gut.
What do you think?

Anonymous said...

Thanks, howard b. I agree that many are trying to capitalize on Trump's ineptness, with some success. This is causing bad things, obviously. It just isn't clear to me how such a situation leads to fascism. For my part, I do think the ruling class is motivated by the desire to amass wealth and little else.

howard b said...

Dear Anonymous 10:38

The democrats played by the old rules of civility and decorum- the Republicans will do anything to gain and retain power. Witness 2000 with the chads and Comey in 2016 and the way McConnell grinded down Obama. They have some sacred values that justify their embodiment of the dark triad. Their base loves the whistles that appeal to their core values, having something to do with watching Monday night football with Jesus at an air force base in the badlands. People, or Republicans, if you can call them everyday people, love power and love feeling good. or their kindergarten shcoolyard version of good. Perhaps it has to do with evolutionary psychology, who the hell knows.
The Democrats have to fight back and play by as Thomas Friedman wrote in From Beirut To Jerusalem, Hama Rules. Everything short of a civil war. The Republicans treat us like s subject people, they are public enemy #1

howard b said...

Anonymous 2:06. instead do you see an absolute state just guaranteeing order and basic services but little more- but not fascist per se?