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The following books by Robert Paul Wolff are available on Amazon.com as e-books: KANT'S THEORY OF MENTAL ACTIVITY, THE AUTONOMY OF REASON, UNDERSTANDING MARX, UNDERSTANDING RAWLS, THE POVERTY OF LIBERALISM, A LIFE IN THE ACADEMY, MONEYBAGS MUST BE SO LUCKY, AN INTRODUCTION TO THE USE OF FORMAL METHODS IN POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY.
Now Available: Volumes I, II, III, and IV of the Collected Published and Unpublished Papers.

NOW AVAILABLE ON YOUTUBE: LECTURES ON KANT'S CRITIQUE OF PURE REASON. To view the lectures, go to YouTube and search for "Robert Paul Wolff Kant." There they will be.

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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Sunday, January 21, 2018

THE SUN IS OUT AND I AM FULL OF HOPE

When I attended the Women's March in Washington just one year ago, I was stunned by the seemingly endless river of people marching.  I had never been a part of anything remotely like it.  Even so, a small voice in my head said, "This is lovely, but will it last?"  Well, one year later, after Virginia and Alabama and #MeToo and the endless series of horrors of the Trump presidency, the answer appears to be, Yes.  There is not the slightest evidence that the resistance has flagged or grown weary.  If we keep this up, in ten months' time we shall swamp the Republicans and retake enough of the Government to inflict holy hell on Trump and his minions.  He has done vast harm, and will continue to do so, but if we can avoid a brutal, terrifying, and unnecessary war, I think the sun may once again shine in my heart as it now shines in Chapel Hill.

10 comments:

Jerry Fresia said...

I think you are right in that team Trump is developing a "wag the dog" scenario that might thwart the big blue tsunami.

Also, as an Eeyore, I have little faith in the integrity of our elections. My guess is that voter suppression and fractional voting cost our side 5 points in red states. Is it not the case that we must take the House?

This from Vox:

The House has long looked like impossible to flip because gerrymandering has given Republicans a fortress of extraordinarily safe seats. In 2012, for instance, Democratic House candidates won 1.7 million more votes than their Republican foes — and still ended up with 33 fewer members of the House. Democrats need to win 30 Republican-held seats to flip the House [in 2018], and are widely expected to nab closer to 15.

s. wallerstein said...

Let's say that you're right and the Democrats retake the House this year and even that Trump is defeated in his re-election attempt in two more years.

We're back to business as usual. The mainstream Democrats are in the driver's seat, backed by Wall St., who being smart people, realized that Trumpism wouldn't last and threw their support to the mainstream Democrats.

The masses of protesters, who had been convinced that Trump was the root of all evil and that once Satan (aka Trump) was evicted from the land, the U.S. would go back to being a model of democracy, human rights and ethical foreign policy, have gone back to their normal pre-Trump existence, proud to have participated in the resistance to radical evil
(Trump), an experience that they will proudly share with their grandchildren some day.

Now, what do we do to keep those protesters protesting when business as usual returns?
How do we avoid the trap of the complacency of business as usual?

David Palmeter said...

Jerry Fresia, A number of analyses I've seen are far more favorable to the Democrats than you suggest. The problem with the Democrats in the House is two-fold: so-called "clustering," the fact that Democrats tend to live in large urban areas and hence waste many of their votes. The other is gerrymandering. Not much can be done about the first problem, but the answer to the second is to continue what's begun in Virginia--break the Republican hold on State governments enough to prevent them from gerrymandering.

S. Wallerstein, mainstream Democrats will control the party until the Left convinces enough voters that the left should control. That is something the Left has failed to do.

s. wallerstein said...

David Palmeter,

Sure, but how do we (the left) convince them that business as usual is sinister, is worth
protesting against, is inimical to human flourishing?


David Palmeter said...

S. Wallerstein,

By convincing them that the Left's positions and arguments are the better ones. If that can't be done, then the best we can hope for us mainstream Democrats-who are far superior, in my view, to just about any Republicans.

s. wallerstein said...

David Palmeter,

I was looking for concrete, specific suggestions on how to convince people that the left's positions and arguments are better.

I've been in the resistance my whole life. I didn't chose that; it just happened that way and while I get along fine with other lifelong resistance members, I generally say the wrong thing when I try to reason with those who just joined up when Trump got elected.

Twice in my life I've participated in an huge mass movements which promised to transform society, first, in the U.S. during the Viet Nam War and second, in Chile during the Pinochet dictatorship. In both cases once the specific evil (the war in Viet Nam and the Pinochet dictatorship) were over, the movements faded away even though in both cases, during their high point both movements began to question the "system" as a whole.

From a distance I've observed the anti-Trump resistance and it has something in common with
both the anti-Viet Nam War movement and the movement against the Pinochet dictatorship: I've also noticed that the current resistance movement has begun to question capitalism or at least neoliberal capitalism. So, once again, how do we keep that momentum going, if possible although of course it may not be possible.

David Palmeter said...

S. Wallerstein, I wish I knew the answer. The points that convince me on many issues don't convince many other people. A huge problem for the Left in this country is money--particularly after a couple of disastrous Supreme Court decisions. An encouraging sign, for me, in the last election was the way Bernie Sanders was able to raise multiple millions with many,many small donations. Too often the Left gets aroused over the big moral issue, and then fades away. It has to be a continuous involvement. If all of the Sanders people gave $5 or $10 a week or month to OurRevolution or to candidates directly it would go a long way to keeping the Left in the game continuously. A phenomenon here is that the Right more than the Left pays attention to and finances the less glamorous campaigns--for state and local offices.

Andrew Lionel Blais said...

One acts to prevent a return to business as usual by electing socialist/progressive candidates at the local level who can then pragmatically demonstrate the value of their principles. I'm producing a local television show that I half jokingly call "Democracy Here: The Sewers and Schools Report". The idea is to demonstrate that socialists and progressives can effectively oversee sewers and schools, and therefore can effectively oversee state governments and the national government. The proof ends with QEF, not QED. This is happening here in Greenfield, MA. Partly by virtue of an organization called Franklin County, Continuing the Political Revolution. We recently endorsed and worked to elect five candidates and effectively turned the tide of a conservative movement here. As is often said, you win elections by putting boots on the ground, that is, by walking door to door and engaging in one on one personal conversations. A large number of the Congressional candidates coming down the road in 2018 are new and are a part of the movement of which FCCPR is a small, local, but thus far, a successful part. So, it is not a given that a democratic take over of the house will a return to business as usual. By the way, this is the FCCPR website: http://fccpr.us/

David Palmeter said...

Andrew Lionel Blais

You're doing exactly what needs to be done. I hope your example spreads across the country.

s. wallerstein said...

Andrew Lionel Blais,

I agree completely with David Palmeter's answer to your comment.

Keep up the good work!