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 Post subject: Re: The Socialism Thread
PostPosted: April 5 19, 7:17 am 
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Iowa’s Socialists Are Already Over 2020
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Iowa is a state that most Americans associate with straw polls and horse-race politics, and whose residents are generally thrilled to soak up the national-media spotlight every four years ahead of the caucuses. It isn’t, in other words, where most people would expect to find participants of a budding movement to overthrow the country’s political and economic system. One popular perception of socialism in America is that it’s a sort of pastime for affluent and cerebral hipsters. A recent article from New York magazine described the DSA as feeling like a “never-ending Brown University reunion,” where “extremely online” people attend mixers and try to date each other.

Caroline Schoonover, the co-chair of the Central Iowa DSA, says that her group is “not a Bernie Sanders fan club just waiting for our chance to finally knock doors for him.”
But Schoonover and the other socialists I met in Iowa are not Upper West Siders from moneyed families, nor are they, for the most part, graduates of elite Ivy League schools. They are very much online, but they aren’t members of the left-wing Twitterati—the well-connected media types who frequent secret happy hours where they are wooed by 2020 presidential contenders. Socialism, to them, is not a trendy niche hobby or an intellectual exercise for the political-theory obsessed.

Instead, the people I spoke with see the DSA as a vehicle for changing their own immediate circumstances. They want to build a movement that transcends individual politicians, whose positions are malleable and whose tenure is temporary. And while most establishment Democrats would like to distance themselves from the label, the trajectory of America’s newly surging socialist movement could ultimately shape the party’s future.


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 Post subject: Re: The Socialism Thread
PostPosted: May 22 19, 1:28 pm 
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Meritocracy doesn’t exist, and believing it does is bad for you
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In his book Success and Luck, the U.S. economist Robert Frank recounts the long-shots and coincidences that led to Bill Gates’s stellar rise as Microsoft’s founder, as well as to Frank’s own success as an academic. Luck intervenes by granting people merit, and again by furnishing circumstances in which merit can translate into success. This is not to deny the industry and talent of successful people. However, it does demonstrate that the link between merit and outcome is tenuous and indirect at best.

According to Frank, this is especially true where the success in question is great, and where the context in which it is achieved is competitive. There are certainly programmers nearly as skilful as Gates who nonetheless failed to become the richest person on Earth. In competitive contexts, many have merit, but few succeed. What separates the two is luck.

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Perhaps more disturbing, simply holding meritocracy as a value seems to promote discriminatory behavior. The management scholar Emilio Castilla at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the sociologist Stephen Benard at Indiana University studied attempts to implement meritocratic practices, such as performance-based compensation in private companies. They found that, in companies that explicitly held meritocracy as a core value, managers assigned greater rewards to male employees over female employees with identical performance evaluations. This preference disappeared where meritocracy was not explicitly adopted as a value.

This is surprising because impartiality is the core of meritocracy’s moral appeal. The “even playing field” is intended to avoid unfair inequalities based on gender, race, and the like. Yet Castilla and Benard found that, ironically, attempts to implement meritocracy leads to just the kinds of inequalities that it aims to eliminate. They suggest that this “paradox of meritocracy” occurs because explicitly adopting meritocracy as a value convinces subjects of their own moral bona fides. Satisfied that they are just, they become less inclined to examine their own behavior for signs of prejudice.


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 Post subject: Re: The Socialism Thread
PostPosted: August 7 19, 7:33 am 
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An article about the DSA national convention which happened over the weekend. I'm honestly surprised there has been so little coverage about it. There have been more articles from right wing media mocking people at the convention when they asked people use gender neutral pronouns than there has been coverage of the actual substance of the convention.

‘We’re here to win’: US democratic socialists move to center stage
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In a series of votes, members approved measures to prioritize electing democratic socialists at every level of government and to grow membership, currently at 56,000, to 100,000 while rejecting a proposal to adopt national political “litmus tests” for candidates. They will continue to run primary challenges against centrist Democrats and to organize low-income, working people, including in communities that voted for Trump.

Amid much debate, DSA, which enthusiastically backed Sanders earlier this year, passed a resolution titled “In the event of a Sanders loss,” stipulating that the group would not formally endorse another Democratic presidential nominee if the Vermont senator does not win the primary.

Members also voted to support the Green New Deal, universal childcare, the decriminalization of sex work and “open borders” – a radical idea that goes far beyond what any Democratic presidential candidate would endorse. They also reaffirmed their support for the controversial Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions movement to protest against Israel’s treatment of Palestine and narrowly voted to establish an “anti-fascist working group”.


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 Post subject: Re: The Socialism Thread
PostPosted: August 7 19, 8:41 am 
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pioneer98 wrote:

It is bad for most to believe this. Except for the Wyatt Koch's and trust fund kids.

The concept of meritocracy is fairly tale, but it doesn't take a scholar to realize this. Most people figure this out at a young age(other than Wyatt Kochs etal) with their first exposure to real world.

Learning to navigate it all, be happy personally ( which puts you in a position to help others) is what I try to impress upon my kid. A balance of hard work -not expecting things to be handed to you, while not being on some bull shet meritocratic hamster wheel for 40-50% of your waking life.

My kid looks up to 2 older nieces, travel nurse(3 month stints with 3 day work week). Another one, living in Vegas and traveling all over creation. Good role models.

The other side, which probably doesn't need pointing out- people that are born knowing the fallacy of meritocracy, and stay stuck in the cycle, accepting their lot, and their parents/grandparents lot (and in today's economy this can mean less than their parent's/grandparents lot)


Last edited by Freed Roger on August 7 19, 9:40 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: The Socialism Thread
PostPosted: August 7 19, 9:12 am 
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I live in Seattle and it's a big victory for socialists here yesterday. Kshama Sawant won again. She's the only "Socialist Alternative" city council candidate here and does a lot to counter Vulcan (Paul Allen's company that gentrifies neighborhoods with giant real estate endeavors) and Amazon as well as fighting for rent control in the city.

Small victories.


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 Post subject: Re: The Socialism Thread
PostPosted: August 7 19, 11:12 pm 
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I went to the DSA convention in Atlanta. It was overwhelming. There were 200+ pages of resolutions and another 95 pages of bylaws changes. We had to vote on which ones we wanted to vote on, and in what order, because there was no way we'd get to them all. The bulk of the time was listening to debate and voting on these things. There were panels and trainings in the evening, and then most people stayed out socializing until like 2am. I'm getting too old for this stuff.

There will be a few minor changes in how the group will operate, and several new political initiatives will get going. The resolution to start a campaign for universal free childcare was just about unanimous, which was a pleasant surprise. There will be a campaign for it like the one for Medicare for All.

The most controversial one was the resolution to start an antifascist work group. It narrowly passed. I'm afraid we may lose some people over it. The argument for it is simple - we need to be fully committed to fighting fascism. But there were a few convincing arguments against it. One is sometimes antifascists resort to illegal activities, such as hacking to dox someone. Is the organization taking a legal risk? Another argument against it was that antifascist activity is usually decentralized because that makes it safer. If one person gets in danger, it's isolated to one person. Doing this activity as a group could put the whole group at risk. Lastly, the right wing is going to label us as "antifa terrorists". Some members have already been threatened with violence and are afraid this will put a bigger target on us. The next day someone who had voted in favor of it made a "motion to reconsider", but that motion failed. That issue was the only time I felt any strong division in the group. There were others where the vote was really close, but those were not as emotionally charged. Those were about things like money allocation or electoral strategy.

Another source of tension was that DSA is mostly white guys, and most of the resolutions were written by white guys, and most of the debate was done by aggressive white guys. A few different times POC or LGBTQ people went to the microphone and asked that more diverse members get to speak, and some said they felt intimidated. This is something DSA has to improve on everywhere.

On Saturday evening me and a couple others took off and went to MLK's church and resting place. You could feel the enormous gap between his vision for the future and where we actually are. It made the convention seem puny and insignificant. From there, we went to an ICE protest that marched through downtown Atlanta. That was fun.

At the very end of the convention, they did a remembrance for four different DSA members that had passed since the last convention. Then the room sang "Solidarity Forever". It was an emotional end to an emotional weekend. I'm still processing all of it.


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 Post subject: Re: The Socialism Thread
PostPosted: August 8 19, 5:47 am 
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That sounds awesome, thanks for sharing.

Re this:

pioneer98 wrote:
Another source of tension was that DSA is mostly white guys, and most of the resolutions were written by white guys, and most of the debate was done by aggressive white guys. A few different times POC or LGBTQ people went to the microphone and asked that more diverse members get to speak, and some said they felt intimidated. This is something DSA has to improve on everywhere.


This, IMO, is a challenge for grassroots populist political movements on both sides. Aggro white guys dominating the discussion alienates others and reduces the odds they join the movement. It's demonstrably no good on the right, which is now only aggro white guys, and it's certainly no good on the left where people feel mansplained out of the conversation. It's something we have to do better on not just at DSA conventions or in ridding the country of angry white supremacists, but in almost all aspects of society.


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 Post subject: Re: The Socialism Thread
PostPosted: October 16 19, 2:33 pm 
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This is an opinion piece but it really is remarkable when one of these guys says something like this. Also wanted to add: "free markets" can exist within Socialism.

Capitalism is dead! Long live Capitalism!

‘Capitalism Is Dead,’ Says Billionaire Made Rich By Capitalism
Quote:
Salesforce chairman and co-CEO Marc Benioff has a simple message for capitalists around the world: Capitalism is dead.

“As a capitalist, I believe it’s time to say out loud what we all know to be true: Capitalism as we know it, is dead,” the billionaire wrote in a recent column in the New York Times.

The piece plainly lays out the case for why capitalism's "obsession [with] maximizing profits for shareholders" has failed us and led to “horrifying inequality" along with the threat of “catastrophic climate change.”

“It's no wonder that support for capitalism has dropped, especially among young people,” Benioff wrote.

The column, then, argues the solution is a “new capitalism,” where CEOs pinky promise to do more good: donate more to charity, pay more taxes, and cut more emissions. This vision is not compelling. Start with what he identifies as the source of both his and capitalism’s success: “free markets." Benioff claims that free markets have advanced technology, birthed new industries, spawned medical miracles, and raised a tide that has lifted billions of boats out of water. They’ve also given Benioff billions that have allowed him to "embrace philanthropy" and invest in causes like public education or homelessness.


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 Post subject: Re: The Socialism Thread
PostPosted: November 7 19, 6:33 am 
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A friend of mine owns a bakery, he put this on social media this morning, thought I'd share.

Quote:
Government: you better renew your business license or we charge you $200 per day!
Me: I already renewed my license and you just haven’t sent it
Government: we didn’t release it because you have a lapsed permit you didn’t pay for
Me: that permit is from years ago and we don’t even have that business anymore
Government: you should have let us know
Me: here’s the document where I let you know
Government: oh ok we’ll fix it

Two Weeks Later:
Me: hi I’m checking in because I still don’t have my updated license
Government: you better renew your license or we will fine you $200 per day
Me: did you forget to fix the permit issue?
Government: you never talked to us
Me: here’s the email from you where you said you would fix this
Government: oh ok we’ll fix it. Call us again tomorrow to see if we fixed it

Later that day: inspector shows up-
Inspector: your license isn’t updated. I have to fine you for not updating the license
Me: I’ve been working on it here’s my conversation with the government
Inspector: oh good thing you documented it- I would have had to fine you. Looks like someone in the office was being lazy
Me: ok what can I do?
Inspector: well you have two days to get your license updated otherwise I’ll be back and will have to fine you
Me: ok- calls government over and walks each department through updating it then tracks it to make sure I can go pick it up in person. They accidentally mail it and say I have to wait for it to come in the mail. It comes before an inspector shows up and we are finally updated

Next Day:
Politicians: the healthcare industry is evil. Education industry is evil. Banking is evil. The government will do it better and you should give them 40% of your income so they can do it better.
Me: I agree they’re evil but you don’t have a history of great management.
Politician: you must not believe people deserve to be healthy, educated or wealthy! You’re greedy!
Me: um....


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 Post subject: Re: The Socialism Thread
PostPosted: November 7 19, 9:31 am 
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33anda3rd wrote:
A friend of mine owns a bakery, he put this on social media this morning, thought I'd share.

Quote:
Government: you better renew your business license or we charge you $200 per day!
Me: I already renewed my license and you just haven’t sent it
Government: we didn’t release it because you have a lapsed permit you didn’t pay for
Me: that permit is from years ago and we don’t even have that business anymore
Government: you should have let us know
Me: here’s the document where I let you know
Government: oh ok we’ll fix it

Two Weeks Later:
Me: hi I’m checking in because I still don’t have my updated license
Government: you better renew your license or we will fine you $200 per day
Me: did you forget to fix the permit issue?
Government: you never talked to us
Me: here’s the email from you where you said you would fix this
Government: oh ok we’ll fix it. Call us again tomorrow to see if we fixed it

Later that day: inspector shows up-
Inspector: your license isn’t updated. I have to fine you for not updating the license
Me: I’ve been working on it here’s my conversation with the government
Inspector: oh good thing you documented it- I would have had to fine you. Looks like someone in the office was being lazy
Me: ok what can I do?
Inspector: well you have two days to get your license updated otherwise I’ll be back and will have to fine you
Me: ok- calls government over and walks each department through updating it then tracks it to make sure I can go pick it up in person. They accidentally mail it and say I have to wait for it to come in the mail. It comes before an inspector shows up and we are finally updated

Next Day:
Politicians: the healthcare industry is evil. Education industry is evil. Banking is evil. The government will do it better and you should give them 40% of your income so they can do it better.
Me: I agree they’re evil but you don’t have a history of great management.
Politician: you must not believe people deserve to be healthy, educated or wealthy! You’re greedy!
Me: um....


Takes me back to early 2000's emails from my wife's dad.


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