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The dynamic of vindictive winners

Written By: - Date published: 8:00 am, February 9th, 2017 - 65 comments
Categories: us politics - Tags:

From Professor of Gender, Sexuality, and Feminist Studies at Duke University, Gabriel Nathan Rosenberg, one of the more thought-provoking descriptions I’ve seen for one set of dynamics behind the Bannon/Tr*mp presidency. Probably some lessons for NZ, in obvious and more subtle ways.

Needless to say there are massive socioeconomic and political factors underlying this dynamic, and one can also argue that Liberalism brings its own set of mean-spiritedness albeit better disguised.

















65 comments on “The dynamic of vindictive winners ”

  1. Carolyn_nth 1

    Ah. Will the real Paula Bennett, please stand up, please stand up?!

    And all those others behind the screen pulling the strings, of the dirty two track politics,

    Will the real Jason Ede, please stand up, the real John key, please stand up!?

    NB: on a pre- morning coffee, pop culture, mixed platform groove.

  2. Sabine 2

    The ‘left’ does not need the ‘right’ to make their lifes miserable. There are enough people on the ‘left’ – often those who might believe that they could survive something like the ‘trump years’ – that would rather punish the ‘left’ for not being ‘left’ enough that they don’t bother a. voting at all, or b. vote for a someone who has not even got a sliver of a chance winning dog catcher, but hey purity is all that matters.

    Maybe we need not analyse the right but the so called left. Especially those that believe that womens rights, rights for POC, rights for other gender identities then male/female, rights for those other sexual identities are optional or nice to have things in the scheme of larger stuff but are happy to do away with these rights cause dropping these rights would not affect them.

    I mean what was that thing that we can’t talk about reproductive rights for women in the US casue women in Syria are refugees? What was that thing about vaginas voting blindly for vaginas? That shit was not thrown at us from the right, it came from the left.

    Maybe we ought to discuss the fact that a large group of socalled lefties would take away the rights of many if it would further their own preferred agenda of something.

    • weka 2.1

      I’m working up to a post on the problems in the left 😉

      Well put (and the offer is still there if you want to Guest Post). I would add that there are the anti-IP people, and there are those who just want to consolidate power in the places where they will do best or feel most comfortable, and then there are the authoritarians. We need a Venn diagram.

    • DoublePlusGood 2.2

      The people who think the left aren’t left enough are generally those pissed off that the things you mention are considered optional or nice to have by party leaderships, and want those parties to go further left. Sometimes they give up on the usual left parties and go further left to fringe options precisely because their rights were abandoned by the left.

  3. Pat 3

    “Maybe we ought to discuss the fact that a large group of socalled lefties would take away the rights of many if it would further their own preferred agenda of something.”

    or maybe we should discuss the role of political ambition and ego, not naked but clothed in convenient ‘identity’….it would truly be disturbing if CV was right twice in a row.

    [by all means run this argument, but you need to make the effort to explain what you mean clearly and be explicit. e.g. ‘identity’ gets used in a number of different ways, so please now explain what you mean by giving several examples. If you are not willing to communicate clearly so that people can understand you please stop commenting in this thread – weka]

    • xanthe 3.1

      well said pat

    • Carolyn_nth 3.2

      You forgot the irony tag.

    • Sabine 3.3

      so we can’t discuss the vindictiveness from people on the left vs people on the left?

      so we can’t discuss the fact that every few years, in various countries of this world people have a choice to make.

      a. shit sandwich – dripping shit everywhere, swimming in a plate of shit, covered in melted shit.

      b. shit sandwich – clean plate, wholegrain bread, buttered with a thin layer of shit.

      which one do you choose?

      cause in any case there are many many on the left that will vote for shit sandwich b.

      And that in any case even here in NZ is the only choice we have. Until of course your saviour shows up and stays alive long enough to save you.

      in the meant time in the US, the Shit Sandwich A is being served three times a day, no dessert.
      And that ladies and gentlemen is the choice of two evils. Or you can just stay at home and tell yerself how fucking pure and awesome you are for having principles. One closed public school at a time principles. One closed public hospital at a time principles. One dead women (be it child birth or self abortion) at a time principles. One dead gay boy at a time principles. One oilspill at a time principles. One blown up wedding party at a time principles. Cause no one in this fucked up country of the US of A is gonna stop blowing up people that are not them and that are in the way of profit.

      the lesser of two evils is the best it gets. Choose wisely the shit sandwich that you and your children will have to eat, until next time when you get to choose again, if at all you get to choose.

      • Pat 3.3.1

        we most certainly can discuss culinary shit…as long as we discuss the kitchen staff as well.

        It is increasingly obvious however why many now choose to eat at home.

        • Sabine

          nope mate you don’t get to eat at home, cause like with Havelock North or
          Flint Michigan you might realise that the shit is in the water you need to cook and clean your dishes. That the shit is sticking to your green leafy salad cause the workers picking the salad had no port a loo to use so they did their business among that green leafy salad. And that little garden you are growing? covered in dust and pollution and you water it with shit stained water from your tap.

          Voting, and non voting for that matter has consequences.

          • Pat

            never said the shit was avoidable but noted that many choose not to go out and pay for it

            • weka

              Please see moderator note above.

            • Sabine

              well you could say that you don’t want to pay for it.
              let me know how you go on with not paying your taxes?

              So yeah, even by abstaining from voting, or from writing in a bogus candidate or by voting for some certified losers (not that hey don’t have a say or have good reasons and the like but the US of A is a winner takes it all so yeah, any third party in the US is a certified loser until they change their system) you will still end up paying taxes and you will be paying for the dismantling of the Health Care System, the dismantling of the Puplic School System, the bombing of people who are in the way of Profit, you will pay for the police forces who will ‘police you into complete obedience’, you will pay for orange turds tantrums on twitter and so on and so on.

              Or to use NZ terms, all of us that never voted for Dear Leader here in NZ still paid for our assets to be sold to the highest and sometime lowest bidder, we all paid for troops to be stationed in Iraq, we are all paying for the Accomodation Supplement that allow landlords to charge usurious rents, we are all paying for Peter fucking Dunnes wages so that he can deny help to dying people and so on and so on and so on.

              So yeah, go on pretending that you can opt out.You can’t.

    • Pat 3.4

      @ Weka…..think anyone who regularly reads this blog will clearly understand my original post including yourself…however i would not wish to breach posting policy and place TS at legal risk by being more explicit…if you seek further clarity i suggest the comments section of the following link.


      in the interests of a harmonic left I shall remove myself from further discussion.

      [I don’t know what you meant, which is why I asked for clarification. We’ve been through this a number of times where you imply thing but refuse to clarify. Take it as read that from now on you are unwelcome to comment under my posts if you are also unwilling to explain what you mean. I am also warning you to not tell me what I do or don’t understand – weka]

      • adam 3.4.1

        Pat why are you opposed to civil rights?

      • Tim 3.4.2

        I love this. Pat tries to voice his or her opinion (i.e. a focus on identity politics/infighting/focusing on non-economic problems helped contribute to Trump’s win) and he gets told off by the moderator. While I think other things contributed (democratic party corruption, ignoring people’s concerns re: Islamism) I think this a pretty valid viewpoint to have. To tell a quarter of the electorate they are deplorables or that white people need to listen to black people is hugely insulting and fairly stupid politics…

        [Pat was asked to clarify and refused. This is a pattern of behaviour from Pat, and in this moderator’s experience is a waste of time. I explicitly said that Pat was free to run the line he wanted, so he clearly wasn’t moderated for his politics. You seem to be new here, so please read the Policy – weka]

        • Tim

          I’m not new here. I also find it funny that you post here looking for discussion then when you get a controversial reply instead of replying yourself you post as a moderator and threaten to take away the speaking rights of those you disagree with.

    • Carolyn_nth 3.5

      I just posted a comment on an article on “identity politics” in open mike. I was contemplating putting it here, but thought it might be more appropriate in OM.

      I think it is an inaccurate term, and used to try to separate economic and social justice issues. In fact, these are most often intertwined. They are part of one system in which a few, mainly white men, have power over diverse groups of people.

      Separating economic and social justice will not result in a more just system. It’s unlikely to change much because the two are so intertwined. But if economic justice was achieved without social justice, it would merely replace one oppressive power hierarchy with another.

      • xanthe 3.5.1

        and the pursuit of social justice without economic justice has produced exactly that result!

        [given that none of the social justice movements I’ve been involved with or observed have put economic justice aside, I am going to ask you to provide 3 clear examples of what you mean. Otherwise I will consider your comment a windup and moderate accordingly. I also suggest that you don’t sloganeer under my posts. I put time and effort into posts precisely because I want to engender better conversation and that means commenters need to take responsibility for their own communication and making sure they are understood. Please up your game – weka]

        • Carolyn_nth

          xanthe: and the pursuit of social justice without economic justice has produced exactly that result!

          How is that? Please explain?

          Because, as far as I can see that hasn’t happened. Where people pursue social justice without economic justice, we have the status quo. And the only ones who really do that, are the likes of Judith Collins, who is all for an economic system that ensures all sorts of exploitation, hardship, and social and economic damage to those with little power.

          So called “neoliberalism” has managed to water down the campaigns for economic and social justice – that push came from the right. e.g. the shift from a wide ranging feminist campaigns in the 1970s and 80s, to flashy girl power – promoted strongly by the mainstream media corporates and marketing operatives, as well as some opportunistic politicians.

          Many at the time called the process the commodification of feminism. This happened at the same time there were strong attacks from above on the class struggle: against unions, employment legislation, education systems, etc.

          The neo-cons targetted both social justice and economic justice movements at the same time. Blaming social justice campaigners fro the attacks on worker and class struggles, is allowing many on the left to be played by the new right.

          The old divide and conquer strategy, along with quite a bit of co-opting and diverting.

          • Tim

            A lot of feminists/feminist discourse itself nowadays comes across to many as an attack on the male identity (rather than equal rights which is what it claims to be). Even those who initially bought the whole argument about feminism being defined as equal rights for men and women are starting to see where this is headed.

            The MTV advert calling out white men is a particularly hilarious example of feminism jumping the shark.

            • Carolyn_nth

              Firstly, I don’t speak for all feminists. My views are more socialist feminist or social democrat feminist. I am concerned about all economic and social justice issues.

              From this position, there are women whose main political values and policies I’ll never support: e.g. Judith Collins, Paula Bennett, Theresa May. And there are men whose values and politics I strongly support: e.g. most of Jeremy Corbyn’s, Jack MacDonald who has not yet been elected via the Green Party list, David Cunliffe, etc.

              So, from that perspective, the problem is about a systematic power imbalance which tends to privilege white heterosexual middle-class men. However, it depends on the issue and context as to who has the most power.

              And, it is clear that the people with the most power internationally, are white men. But, of course, this power is not shared equally among men – some have more access to power than others.

              Equal rights relates to the law, and how much it enables opportunity for all.

              But we also need to look at outcomes, and whether our systems privilege some people more than others. And the culture, economic structure and organisations of social institutions tend to advantage people who are white, and/or male, and/or heterosexual, and/or reasonably well-off.

              • Tim

                I think that sometimes modern feminism comes across either as whining, jealousy or just fantasy about wanting men to be subservient to you or as stay at home dads or ballerinas or doing knitting etc etc. I’m not surprised you want more men like Cunliffe to apologise for being men. Oldschool feminists back in the day could point to things such as lack of voting rights. Nowadays instead of look at places where women truly do have no power or voice, many feminists choose instead to complain about whatever is closest to them when in reality they have it pretty well.

                We’ll succeed if we focus on things other than skin colour and sex (which we cannot change). None of this is to deny that there are truly despicable sexists in the world. But conflating that with everyone of a certain sex being sexist makes more problems than it solves. We should call ourselves equalists if that’s what we’re after given that people are always so quick to remind us of the dictionary definition of feminism

                • Carolyn_nth

                  gee, I think we need some citations for all those generalisations. It certainly doesn’t fit with my knowledge of feminism, in the past or now.

                  Early feminists didn’t just campaign for the vote. They campaigned for a wide range of social and economic changes, and there were groups with slightly different focuses. The historical memory has tended to narrow first wave feminism down to issues of the vote.

                  Been a feminist since 2nd wave days. We tended to be stereotyped as humourless and unable to have fun – didn’t match up with my experience of feminist entertainment, comedy shows, or some pretty boozy parties.

                  The left often gets stereotyped as whiny, when they criticise the status quo. Not helpful if you can’t give instances – several because one does not a generalisation make.

                  • Tim

                    I’m fully prepared to admit a lot of the stuff I say comes across as far too harsh to someone like you who is a feminist from way back. I’m talking here mostly about people growing up feminists nowadays and the type of trash we see like the recent MTV advert calling out white men. Have you seen it?

                    • Carolyn_nth

                      No. You got a link?

                      For myself, today I read this on the dilemmas for women today with respect to “feminism” – with various women taking different positions on it.

                      One of the dilemma’s is aiming for broad acceptance of feminism by being pretty tame and non-threatening, and consequently ineffective.

                      Crispin notes, accurately, that feminism’s history has been marked by a “small number of radical, heavily invested women who did the hard work of dragging women’s position forward, usually through shocking acts and words,” and that the “majority of women benefited from the work of these few, while often quickly trying to disassociate themselves from them.”

                      Sometimes feeling uncomfortable is not a bad thing. It causes people to think and debate.

                    • Tim []

                      I think most people today believe in fairness and equal rights (not on all things necessarily, reproductive rights and war might be two notable examples) between men and women. I also disagree with the characterisation of only a small amount of women doing the heavy lifting which I think underplays the contribution made by a lot of women.

                      By all means if you think helping start riots and videos such as the one above are effective politically then continue to encourage it. I’m also very happy to debate and ‘feel uncomfortable’ but it seems again that feminists are more involved in trying to close down free speech in the U.S. currently.

        • xanthe

          “given that none of the social justice movements I’ve been involved with or observed have put economic justice aside”

          Certainly that is exactly what the green party of NZ has done. and I was there (many years ago) when they decided not to challenge or attempt to change the economic system nor have they done so since or now!

          you may perhaps have missed the irony tag or that i was responding to the comment ” if economic justice was achieved without social justice, it would merely replace one oppressive power hierarchy with another.”

          The whole point is that through all of this no party, social justice, environmental, or other has challenged the unjust economic model of money makes money and those who have and make money rent it out to everyone else. and yet many would like to carry the mantle of “social justice”

          not going to play the “three examples” game. this is my honest opinion no more no less

          • Tim

            Exactly. Let’s spend our airtime complaining about a certain skin colour and sex (even though we’re like, totally against racism and sexism) instead of giving airtime to arguments challenging the economic structure of our society or speaking out about societies where women actually have very little rights! Woohoo!

            • Carolyn_nth

              Well, Tim, if you scroll down the comments under this post, you will see I comment on a Monbiot article that is about changing the whole socioeconomic structure from the bottom up. I and many others here frequently argue for the replacement of the capitalist system and against the current corporate-dominated neoliberal capitalism we have now.

              Yet, one mention of social justice issues brings out the arguments that this is a distraction from the class struggle etc. It gets tiring to repeat the same kind of arguments and evidence in response.

              • Tim

                It’s just a bit depressing knowing that your remodelling of the structure consists of replacing one skin colour and sex with another rather than rewarding the biggest contributors and hardest working.

              • xanthe

                “Yet, one mention of social justice issues brings out the arguments that this is a distraction from the class struggle etc. It gets tiring to repeat the same kind of arguments and evidence in response.”

                these arguments and evidence in response are….?

          • weka

            Thanks for offering *something xanthe.

            “given that none of the social justice movements I’ve been involved with or observed have put economic justice aside”

            Certainly that is exactly what the green party of NZ has done. and I was there (many years ago) when they decided not to challenge or attempt to change the economic system nor have they done so since or now!

            Pretty narrow definition of economic justice you have there. So not so much that they don’t work on economic justice, but that they don’t do it in a way you agree with.

            you may perhaps have missed the irony tag or that i was responding to the comment ” if economic justice was achieved without social justice, it would merely replace one oppressive power hierarchy with another.”

            There was no irony tag, and I did see what you were responding too.

            The whole point is that through all of this no party, social justice, environmental, or other has challenged the unjust economic model of money makes money and those who have and make money rent it out to everyone else. and yet many would like to carry the mantle of “social justice”

            Feminism has plenty of anti-capitalist work. So does the Deep Greens. There are many other examples (see Carolyn’s comments). You appear to be talking specifically about political parties, so again we are getting somewhere now.

            not going to play the “three examples” game. this is my honest opinion no more no less

            No, it’s a dishonest opinion. You assert something and then refuse to back it up (although, again thanks for offering even a small amount here). So here’s the thing, the Policy here says,

            What we’re not prepared to accept are pointless personal attacks, or tone or language that has the effect of excluding others. We are intolerant of people starting or continuing flamewars where there is little discussion or debate. This includes making assertions that you are unable to substantiate with some proof (and that doesn’t mean endless links to unsubstantial authorities) or even argue when requested to do so. Such comments may be deleted without warning or one of the alternatives below may be employed. The action taken is completely up to the moderator who takes it.

            I consider that anti-identity politics rhetoric without meaningful discussion is indeed language and tone that excludes others. I have seen this repeatedly on TS especially in the past year. From now on if someone wants to argue against identity politics under my posts they will need to be willing to engage and argue their position. No sloganeering, no “I’m not playing that game”. If anyone won’t abide by that, they are not welcome to post here.

            I will also moderate for direct anti-feminist attacks or any other framing against the politics of marginalised peoples that is likely to put them off from commenting in my threads. Yes, I am saying that it’s more important for marginalised people to comment here than people who want to attack identity politics.

            I’d like to build bridges between the various groups on the left that are entrenching into their own positions currently, and I would certainly welcome you in those conversations. However I will use what power I have to make those and other conversations here safer for all people to take part in. Please note I am not banning you from discussing your views on IP, I am just setting some boundaries to make the conversations more fair for everyone.

            I would appreciate it if you could reply to this comment so I know that you have read it and don’t have to chase you up next time I see you onsite, thanks.

            edited to add, this of course is not just about you and I will use this comment to set the boundaries for others too.

            • xanthe

              Thank you weka for responding out of moderation!

              I am rather offended by my opinions being called “dishonest” they are my opinions and if you have a different definition of “economic justice” , one that does not include changing the fundemental dishonesty of the our present situation then lets have that discussion. but that does not make me dishonest. Yes I agree that Corbyn probably does represent the closest thing to the “economic justice” in mainstream politics as do the beliefs of some of my closest friends who also call themselves “feminists”

              I do believe that a very real and robust discussion needs to happen around “identity politics” and the roll that it (may have) played in the takeover of “the left” by neoliberal policy. Considerable care and restraint would need to be shown by both posters and moderators for such a discussion to be held here. I believe that discussion will occur regardless somewhere so there could be some value in allowing it here but that is not up to me and frankly I am not at this point confident it can

  4. locus 4

    i think there’s an irony in that much of the hatred for the left is created by dirty politics, lies and smears about the left.

    But some of the righteous anger towards ‘the left’ is also due to an understandable fear that the societal changes introduced by liberals threaten the conservatives’ moral and religious beliefs and the perceived safety of the world they live in.

    What makes Rosenberg’s analysis particularly worrying – is that if he’s correct, all who are seen by the right as not in full agreement with them are so deserving of punishment, that it doesn’t matter how evil or dishonest the inflictor of the punishment is.

    • Carolyn_nth 4.1

      There’s been a long right wing campaign against the left – smearing the most positive and humane policies of the left.

      In my living memory, broad left wing values (supporting both economic and social justice) were gaining momentum in the 1960s and 1970s. Gradually the neoliberal myths and ideologies were spread throughout society and its institutions, especially via the corporate media, and through some parts of the economic system.

      Political Labour and Democrat parties were on the back foot. After some defeats in the UK and US, these parties gradually began to compromise with the neoliberal agenda.

      It’s going to be a hard road back: but a combination of campaigns for economic and social justice is essential, as the neoliberal agenda crumbles.

      • Tim 4.1.1

        Economic justice is social justice. Complaining about skin colour and expecting special treatment on that basis isn’t.

    • weka 4.2

      “What makes Rosenberg’s analysis particularly worrying – is that if he’s correct, all who are seen by the right as not in full agreement with them are so deserving of punishment, that it doesn’t matter how evil or dishonest the inflictor of the punishment is.”

      That’s certainly how I took it.

      One factor is the evil that neoliberalism has inflicted on poor and working class people. Another is the conservative values issue. I’m resisting the narrative that it’s all the fault of the nasty Liberals in the same way I’m resisting the narrative that it’s all about racism/misogyny. There are actually humans who are happy to be vindictive and see it as an appropriate response to their oppression. I think this applies across the political spectrum, although no doubt there are values-based reasons why it’s more prominent on the right.

      • Tim 4.2.1

        What you’re seeing in the U.S. at the moment is a lot more vindictive behaviour from the political left.

  5. Sabine 5

    some parts of the ‘right’ are not vindictive they think and truly believe that punishment is what one gets for not doing gods work.
    so you have radio hosts that blame hurricanes and tornados that cause human loss of life and endless destruction on the ungodly behaviour of teh gays, the uppity women having sex and abortions, the atheists or other heathens and that if we could just rid the world of these abominations there would be no devastating Hurricanes and Tornadoes.

    And that is a mind set you can’t really win against as it gives full absolution to those taht are ‘godly’ (and betcha they decide who is godly) and lays the fault with all those that don’t conform.

    And you have since the inception of Roe vs Wade a culture war in the US that is funded by cynical billionaires who would like to continue doing unfettered buisness, who would like a mis-educated and under educated populace and that preach teh prosperity gospel.

    and thus you have instances where girls are at fault for their rapes, cause why was she not at home like good virginal girls are, where a sickness is a punishment from god, where lack of funds to pay for health care is lack of love of god for some previous devious behaviour and oh of course people of colour are also on gods list other wise they would be white.

    So i would not call it vindictiveness but rather just some absolute religious assholery that is very good at keeping poeple in their place lest they loose their place in heaven and worse still, they will be left behind in the second coming of Christ.

    Look up Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell, Tim la Haye and such. These guys are not ‘vindictive’ but they preach the wrath of god and fear works. it works all the time.

    The left has an issue of unabashedly standing up for what its believes, and it has issues finding common grounds among the splinter factions of the left. This allows the lock step marching right to divide the left very easily. And the need for a pure, untainted saviour on the left is quite bothersome. People are people, they are no saints. And we should look at finding people instead of wasting time waiting for Godot.

    • Carolyn_nth 5.1

      Maybe the way to break this dynamic, and enable some sort of positive working relationship across the left, is indicated in a couple of recent articles by George Monbiot. [H/T to Paul who posted a link to one of the articles on Daily Review last night. Only just got round to reading it].

      Monbiot’s big idea is not new. It’s about working from the ground up, rebuilding the commons and grass roots’ collaborations and networks. He gives e.g.s like Men’s Sheds and transition towns.

      The earlier article talked about the need to regain the commons: managing common resources for the good of all.

      The most recent article is about the left regaining control by rebuilding communities from the bottom up.

      Monbiot mentions some of many examples of separate grassroots activities, that could work together, in a kind of snowballing way, to regenerate public services.

      My only quibble is my concern about the way capitalists would rather use voluntary unpaid work to replace publicly funded social and public services. Predatory capitalism always tries to subvert good community initiatives, commodify them, and turn them into profit making ventures for the few.

      Monbiot writes:

      When enough of such projects have been launched, they catalyse a deeper involvement, generating community businesses, co-operatives and hybrid ventures, which start employing people and generating income. A tipping point is reached when between 10% and 15% of local residents are engaging regularly. Community then begins to gel, triggering an explosion of social enterprise and new activities, that starts to draw in the rest of the population. The mutual aid these communities develop functions as a second social safety net. The process, the study reckons, takes about three years. The result is communities that are vibrant and attractive to live in, which generate employment, are environmentally sustainable and socially cohesive, and in which large numbers of people are involved in decision-making. Which sounds to me like where we need to be.

      • weka 5.1.1

        Is he theorising in that quote or did he give actual examples?

        If you pick out the best piece of his I can put up a post on it.

        • Carolyn_nth

          He is drawing on some research and does give examples.

          This quote explains (with embedded links), though this quote maybe longer than you want to use in a post:

          There are hundreds of examples of how this might begin, such as community shops, development trusts, food assemblies (communities buying fresh food directly from local producers), community choirs and free universities (in which people exchange knowledge and skills in social spaces). Also time banking (where neighbours give their time to give practical help and support to others), transition towns (where residents try to create more sustainable economies), potluck lunch clubs (in which everyone brings a homemade dish to share), local currencies, Men’s Sheds (in which older men swap skills and escape from loneliness), turning streets into temporary playgrounds (like the Playing Out project), secular services (such as Sunday Assembly), lantern festivals, fun palaces and technology hubs.

          Turning such initiatives into a wider social revival means creating what practitioners call “thick networks”: projects that proliferate, spawning further ventures and ideas that weren’t envisaged when they started. They then begin to develop a dense, participatory culture that becomes attractive and relevant to everyone rather than mostly to socially active people with time on their hands.

          A study commissioned by the London borough of Lambeth sought to identify how these thick networks are most likely to develop. The process typically begins with projects that are “lean and live”: they start with very little money and evolve rapidly through trial and error. They are developed not by community heroes working alone, but by collaborations between local people. These projects create opportunities for “micro-participation”: people can dip in and out of them without much commitment.

          This section comes before the quote in my earlier comment.

          He also gives an example of where this process happened in Rotterdam,

          where in response to the closure of local libraries in 2011 a group of residents created a reading room from an old Turkish bathhouse.

          This snowballed into a range of community activities.

          He gives other examples, including this one that may interest you:

          Incredible Edible”, which began as a guerrilla planting scheme in Todmorden West Yorkshire, growing fruit and vegetables in public spaces and unused corners, has branched into so many projects that it is credited with turning the fortunes of the town around, generating startups, jobs and training programmes.

    • weka 5.2

      “some parts of the ‘right’ are not vindictive they think and truly believe that punishment is what one gets for not doing gods work.”

      The one the scares me at the moment is the fact that there are people in the US president’s team who literally believe that the armageddon is upon us and are welcoming it because it means the end of the heathens. These are the people close to the nuclear launch codes. That alone is enough to make me have less than zero respect for people running pro-Tr*mp/anti-IP lines. They either don’t believe there is a risk, which makes them fools, or they do but they think the risk is worth it to make gains in their political agenda. There is vindictiveness there too, even outside of the US stuff. I think in NZ there are lefties emboldened by Tr*mp’s victory and the nasty just raised a notch.

      • emergency mike 5.2.1

        Bannon has been telling his listeners for years that the entirety of Islam is at war with the West, and we need to hurry up and war them back. Plus we’ll need to war China within a few years – just inevitable apparently. But the sooner we start the warring the sooner we can start rebuilding the world in Bannon’s image, so that’s the silver lining. Whether he really believes this lunacy I don’t know. But he’s been sowing the seeds as hard as he can.

        This blogger is a higher ranked adviser to Trump than actual military and intelligence officials. I bet it pisses the lefties right off. Yay! See: self-fulfilling prophecy.

      • Tim 5.2.2

        There are many good arguments against Trump and Bannon and there is cause to worry. Here’s the point though: the democrats fucked up. They called their opponents deplorable, they got caught out for corruption, they focused overly on matters of skin colour and sex. They were found sorely wanting when it comes to strong, smart leadership. Trump talks tough, and he was given zero percent chance by the pundits of the left but despite that managed to steadily improve his odds throughout the campaign by playing the media – this is not the hallmark of a stupid person. You’ll claim it’s reawakened white supremacy (lol) but this is the same electorate who voted in Obama twice. Sure, focus on Trump’s policy problems but the media is feeding this fire further by making virtually every article about him a negative one.

        The left in the USA is in complete disarray and should focus on improving their own lot as much as attacking Trump. The democrats just kicked someone out of their leadership race for questioning another candidate’s view on LGBT issues because he is muslim. The person who made this decision was involved in helping Hillary Clinton cheat. The democrats have a serious free speech problem.

    • Tim 5.3

      You make a lot of good points here. What do you say to the criticism that the political left in some cases seems to treat political Islam with kid gloves compared to its treatment of fundamentalist Christians? Are the left in some cases too willing to accept anyone as an ally or a spokesperson and thus not only dilute its message but make itself an easy target for political opponents? If as you say people are people and we just take what we can get then why not just vote for other guy? At least those crazy Christians nail their colours to the mast (not to mention the flag). Islamists and fake feminists like Linda Sarsour just hide their true colours. Why not take the declared views of Trump over the duplicitousness and corruption (while calling others deplorable) of Hillary Clinton?

      • emergency mike 5.3.1

        I’ll go on the last question. “Why not take the declared views of Trump over the duplicitousness and corruption (while calling others deplorable) of Hillary Clinton?”

        Because a) I find his declared views to be regressive, ridiculous, childlike dog-whistles that will divide and otherwise harm his nation as badly or worse than what awful ‘more of the same’ Clinton would have done, and b) On duplicitousness and corruption I don’t see an improvement here, it’s like you’re replacing The Joker with Godzilla. Trump lies and makes stuff up pathologically, constantly, he just threw $25m at a fraud case, he used ‘charity’ money to by a self-portrait for his casino, documentaries have been made detailing his past of ripping off contractors and generally stepping on the little guy. He knows no boundaries or ethics, and now thinks he’s above the law. I don’t doubt Clinton is slimy and corrupt but I don’t see her as a special case in that regard by Washington DC standards. Trump is above and beyond. Give him a chance. You think he’s not angling for a slice of that same yummy Saudi money pie that he demanded the Clinton Foundation return? Or taking bids for favours for corporations? He’s a quid pro quo guy. What has he done so far to drain the swamp? Surrounded himself with billionaires, donors, Goldman guys, CEOs, and bankers to an extent that previous administrations would never have dared, and said that banks need to be able to lend ‘to his friends’ more, and that corporations are going to get what they need. Mmm watch out swamp! He’s gold plating the swamp. Trump is for Trump, and he thinks he’s the boss rather than a public servant.

        History has plenty of examples of the people getting so sick and tired of corrupt, out of touch elites, that they kick them out hard. In almost every case they are so focused on getting rid of them that they don’t pay much attention to what they will replace them with. Anything’s got to be better than those guys right? It’s often something worse.

  6. Adrian Thornton 6

    I really wanted to read a thought-provoking description of Trump/Bannon, but I just can’t do this tweet thing, having serious conversations, especially serious political/philosophical conversations in tweets just doesn’t feel right…I guess I thought we were evolving, and for some reason tweeting seems more of a devolutionary process to me.

    But then what do I know.

    • weka 6.1

      Not a huge fan of the Twitter format myself (and it’s a pain to put up as a post). Would it have made a difference if I had cut and pasted the text into paragraphs rather than posted the Tweets?

      • Adrian Thornton 6.1.1

        No thanks, I don’t want to make any extra work for you, and I am sure most people aren’t as grouchy and weary of the new as me, it was just a personal observation really.

        • weka

          I meant for next time 🙂 (it’s probably no more time doing text than putting up the tweets).

      • lprent 6.1.2

        From memory if you grab the link from the date of a tweet, then paste tje link text directly into the text tab of the post – you get the tweet in the post.

        • weka

          That’s what I did, but in a twitter thread it posts the tweet and the tweet it was a reply to, so I have to make sure I grab every second link otherwise there will be lots of doubled up tweets.

          Might try a cut and paste of the text next time and see how it looks in a post.

    • Carolyn_nth 6.2

      I find twitter very useful. But it depends a lot on who a tweeter elects to follow. All the tweets of an account I follow appears in my timeline.

      I find it helpful because it alerts me to some current issues and debates. I also follow several people who provide links to excellent articles and sources.

      Expressing an argument in a small number of words is a useful skill. It is possible to go from one tweet to see all the responses from others, which helps to build up a picture of a debate.

      This can be useful in posts, but probably needs some extra explanation of context and the wider debates and sources being drawn on.

  7. Stunned Mullet 7

    “Professor of Gender, Sexuality, and Feminist Studies at Duke University”


    [don’t troll my posts. Read the moderator notes above about communication. 2 week ban – weka]

  8. emergency mike 8

    I also saw Trump’s EOs as largely a continuation of dog-whistling. I have some faith though that large chunks of his popular support are not alt-right brietbart readers for whom ‘liberal tears’ are their primary goal. Plenty thought he could bring positive change by simply being not an establishment politician. These people are not going to be impressed with divide and conquer, pitting Americans against their neighbours. Plenty bought the line that they shouldn’t take his loopy campaign pledges too literally, that was just a vote getting thing, now they are being told not to be surprised that he’s doing what he said he would. His record low incumbent approval rating is already falling.

    Unfortunately they rolled the dice on an unhinged con man who told them what they wanted to hear. It’s going to have to get a lot worse before it gets better. What worries me is what desperate distraction measures Trump will resort to once his support starts really tanking. A nice big war comes to mind.

    • weka 8.1

      It strikes me as an opportunity for the left to build bridges between the left and economically disenfranchised people. Unfortunately I’m not seeing much of that, and instead a big focus on liberal values. I don’t have a problem with liberal values, it’s just that the socioeconomic bridges need to be built as a priority.

      The risk being that if those bridges don’t get built, there will be more people joining the Bannon crowd for some revenge.

      • Tim 8.1.1

        You’re hilarious weka. What liberal values are you seeing a focus on? The Democratic Party removed someone from their leadership race for questioning another candidate on Islam’s history with LGBT rights… And it was Donna Brazile who was involved in cheating for Hillary Clinton who did it… So you can’t be taking about the liberal values of free speech, respect for LGBT rights or tolerance of others with different opinions than yours can you?

        • weka

          “What liberal values are you seeing a focus on?”

          Much of the resistance to the advancing authoritarianism in the US is based in intersectional politics e.g. the Women’s March. Those are good and important things and need to happen, but there is still something missing. Too many of the people support those things still believe that Bannontr*mp are there because of racism and sexism alone.

      • emergency mike 8.1.2

        I also think about how the US public can be awoken to the realization that they’ve been taken for a ride by two faces of the same neo-liberal coin since Reagan. That left vs right differences have been blown out of proportion for the purposes of power and politics. That the dark evil left that alt right bloggers refer to are your neighbours.

        Unfortunately Trump was elected on division, so it’s going to get a lot worse. I hope that will lead to some kind of reaction in the other direction. But the realist in me says it’s much harder to fix than destroy, and that broken and divided societies tend not to form lovely governments.

  9. Incognito 9

    It seems to me that what Rosenberg is describing is what’s called political terrorism. The tactics are well-known, unfortunately, and aim to invoke strong emotive states and responses and to further separate (physically segregate and psychologically polarise) people between good vs. bad, us vs. them (“the enemy”). The more opposition they meet the more they stick together and close ranks and the stronger their resolve. Not surprisingly, there are often semi-religious overtones at play as well. Once the fire has started, long after the igniting match has gone, it will keep burning and destroying, always looking for more fuel, new fuel to burn. Is to fight fire with fire the answer? Most definitely not! But what is then?

    • weka 9.1

      The main think I am thinking of is to build better relationships at the community level (as well as the usual resistance/protest). But I’m not in the US.

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