Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Posts Tagged ‘party politics

Politics Friday!

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* Secession watch: now Tucson wants to secede from Arizona.

* American politics increasingly resembles a kind of total war in which each party mobilizes every conceivable asset at its disposal against the other. Most governors were once conscientious objectors in that struggle. No more. Ezra’s post rightly points to the courts as well:

The individual mandate has now been upheld by three district judges appointed by Democrats and overturned by two district judges appointed by Republicans. It’s a perfect partisan record — which is not what most legal scholars and analysts predicted. Dahlia Lithwick went back to the initial coverage of the GOP’s lawsuits. “It was an article of faith among court watchers that President Obama’s health care reform plan would be upheld at the Supreme Court by a margin of 7-2 or 8-1,” she concluded. Lee Epstein, a law professor at Northwestern University, told me the same thing. “Even my very, very conservative colleagues last year said that if the Court follows existing precedent, this is a no-brainer.”

* When a congressman at a town hall is asked “Who’s going to shoot Obama?”, of course the most appropriate reply is “I know there’s a lot of frustration with this president.”

* What could possibly go wrong? Newt says Republicans should impeach the president over DOMA, then immediately gets cold feet.

This is what it’s like to spend nearly thirty years in prison for something you didn’t do. (via)

* And which Americans have passports, state by state.

Polygraph 23 Call for Papers: "Parties, Factions, Organizations"

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Polygraph 23—Call for Papers
“Parties, Factions, Organizations”

Recently, there has been a great deal of work by those discussing political agency and organization on the decline of the nation-state and its displacement by non-state and sub-state actors. Writers on the left, from David Harvey looking at the global city to Hardt and Negri working on political mobilization to the American Studies scholar John Carlos Rowe looking at “post-Nationalism” see the nation state as, increasingly, one factor among many rather than as the central factor in political and economic organization. This change in the role of the nation-state, it is argued, is also leading to a change in the nature of political organization. The party, once the locus of revolutionary desire, seems to be changing significantly as a spate of NGOs and transnational corporations increasingly take on the role of political actor. Both within nation-states and at the level of international party imaginaries, the party and partisanship are taking on a different role. We see, for example, the 2004 Democratic National Convention speech of then-Illinois State Senator Barack Obama, when he told the audience at the Democratic National Convention, “There is not a liberal America and a conservative America… there is the United States of America.” Likewise, French President Nicolas Sarkozy attempted to create the illusion of a non-partisan world by recruiting members of the French Left, such as the economist Jacques Attali, into his cabinet. The Leninist vision of the party as a nexus of action and a starting-point for praxis appears to face displacement by a concept of the party as an ideology-disseminating and fund-raising apparatus, which can be rhetorically sloughed off when the need is felt.

At the same time, nationalist parties, national religious parties, and peasant and indigenous movements are as active as ever. If the role of the party is losing ground, there nevertheless seems to be a retention of interest in institutions that can enable and promote collective activity. What were once derided as “issues politics” and “identity politics” have proven to create real political allegiances that do not adhere to a party structure, mobilizing groups toward political action. Using a different but related tactic, autonomous social movements are trying to re-envision the role of people in politics, trying to shift the locus of action to the humans involved in political practice. Parties continue to be active in national and international politics, but at the same time, people are increasingly searching for and implementing alternatives to the party structure. These alternatives can entail ground-up advocacy and activism, networked through various channels, or they can entail measures such as the Washington Consensus that aim to control the political environment through economic sanctions and privatized governance. Both of these forms of governmentality aim to circumvent the state and the party systems.

The Polygraph Editorial Collective would therefore like to assemble a collection of essays that confront the direction “the party” and parties have taken since the large social and economic shifts of the 1950s, ’60s, and ’70s. We want to look at both the concept of the party and its relevance or lack of relevance in an increasingly globalized society. The party had liberatory aims at one point; have those evaporated or migrated elsewhere, or do they continue to have force within the party and within global politics? Is the party still a category with utopian potential or have parties been rendered into the propaganda wings of international capital? Whither party politics?

Possible topics for this issue include:
* politics without parties
* parties and capital
* the problematic of party affiliation and party identity
* parties and identity/”identity” politics
* alternatives to the party structure
* the concept of “party” in late capitalism
* the relationship of the party to the nation-state
* anti-governmental movements and organizations
* the rise of NGOs
* the left/right division
* parties and religion/religious parties
* movements vs. organizations
* parties/organizations and exclusion
* divisions and splits within parties
* parties and utopias

Polygraph welcomes work from a variety of different disciplines, including political theory, critical geography, cultural anthropology, political economy, political theology, and area studies. We also encourage the submission of a variety of formats and genres: i.e. field reports, surveys, interviews, photography, essays, etc.

December 31, 2009

Alexander Greenberg


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August 8, 2009 at 2:55 pm

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Friday Politics

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Friday politics roundup.

* Early returns from the Iranian elections suggest things could get heated, with both sides declaring victory.

* On the day Jon Kyl threatened a Republican boycott of the Sonia Sotomayor confirmation hearing, George H. W. Bush cautioned his party not to go overboard.

“I don’t know her that well but I think she’s had a distinguished record on the bench and she should be entitled to fair hearings. Not – [it’s] like the senator John Cornyn said it,” [the elder former President Bush] told CNN. “He may vote for it, he may not. But he’s been backing away from these…backing off from those radical statements to describe her, to attribute things to her that may or may not be true.

“And she was called by somebody a racist once. That’s not right. I mean that’s not fair. It doesn’t help the process. You’re out there name-calling. So let them decide who they want to vote for and get on with it.”

* Kos analyzes party ID, empathy, and the generation gap.

* High-school student discovers plastic-eating microbe. We’re saved!

Written by gerrycanavan

June 12, 2009 at 8:25 pm

You Have to Admit It’s Getting Better

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Hard times in Republican-town: a new Gallup poll shows steep losses for the GOP across all demographics except conservatives, “frequent churchgoers,” and senior citizens. (Via MyDD and TPM.)

More and more I think there’s only two possibilities: Either the GOP is in fact in a death spiral and will actually disappear as a national party within the next decade, or the GOP has realized that in a two-party system you don’t actually need to say you’re sorry; you can just sit back and wait for your opponents to have bad luck, then go crazy once you’re back in office. After that incumbency will protect you for a good, long while, and even to the extent it doesn’t you can accomplish long-term goals in a very short timespan with party unity, weak opposition, and a compliant, mendacious press.

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May 19, 2009 at 5:27 pm

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Busy Day Today

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I have an unpleasantly busy day today, and the open tabs are already building up. Here’s a few links just to relieve the tension.

* Lieberman saved the stimulus? I guess the people who said we should be nice to him despite everything he’s done may have had a point.

* Four Tennessee state representatives, all Republicans, have signed up to be plaintiffs in a lawsuit against President Barack Obama, aimed at forcing him to prove he is a United States citizen by coughing up his birth certificate. Good lord. How many times do we have to do this one?

* George Will v. climate science. Spoiler alert: Science wins. More (including charts!) from Nate Silver. I did a post like this over the weekend, if you missed it.

* Relatedly, from Marginal Revolution: What if all the smart people are in one party?

* Do not attempt to eat the world’s hottest peper. That’s just common sense. (Via Neil.)

Written by gerrycanavan

February 16, 2009 at 6:04 pm

Center-Left Nation

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Paul Rosenberg lays out what a center-left nation looks like.

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February 8, 2009 at 6:23 pm

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FISA Crisis 2008

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The New York Times has dueling op-eds on the FISA issue: the editorial board is unhappy with Obama, while Morton Halprin (who was spied on by Nixon) believes the FISA compromise is the best legislation we can hope for at this time.

I’ve already written about this (in both blogspot and Daily Kos flavors), but I have one or two things to add. First, on the merits of the FISA compromise, I think the bill itself is pretty awful, but telecom immunity isn’t the awful part. I can’t imagine the government making any other policy choice if it ever wants a private company to comply with its requests ever again. The problem here was and always has been Bush administration illegality, not telecom compliance—so the netroots are directing their fire in entirely the wrong direction. This TPM reader gets it right:

Before we all torpedo the best candidate we have had in 30+ years over this FISA thing, be aware of the two facts: (1) there is a long-established government contractor immunity doctrine in American law & what the telecoms did after 9-11 in obeying government demands for compliance is right in stride with that doctrine, and (2) in any event, the federal government is likely required to indemnify the telcos for any judgment or settlement they’d have to pay. Is this really the make-or-break litmus-test the netroots is clamoring for? No way. Is this just another example of liberals eating their own? You betcha.

As I was writing at the tail end of an Yglesias comment thread last night, the grandstanding you’re seeing on the lefty blogs over telecom immunity seems to me to be misdirected anger over the dawning recognition that Bush and his cronies really are going to get away with everything scot free. Well, they are. Pelosi took impeachment off the table—wrongly, I think, though I understand the political calculus involved—and it’s extremely unlikely there will be any substantive investigation of Bush following Obama’s election. There never has been. We’ll “turn the page.” “For the good of the country,” a criminal Republican administration will once again walk, and the really sad fact is the exact same bunch of thugs will probably pop back up yet another decade down the line to do it all again.

We lost the fight to hold Bush accountable when Pelosi took impeachment off the table. I’m sorry that’s true, but that’s reality, no matter what happens with FISA and telecom immunity or what anybody says on the Internet.

What’s actually at stake now is the character of the *next* eight years, eight absolutely crucial years in a very precarious moment not only for this nation but for the entire world—and with regard to that struggle Obama is doing the right thing by taking the FISA issue off the table. He’s being pragmatic. We need to be pragmatic too.

The New and Not Improved Barack Obama

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The New York Times editorial today goes after the “new and not improved” Barack Obama. These reports of flip-flops are greatly exaggerated—why, it’s almost as if the corporate media were attempting to unfairly shoehorn a Democratic candidate into a well-established negative frame—and to whatever extent that he has shifted to the center, well, welcome to American Politics 101. Armchair Internet pundits would be well-advised to keep in mind a number of fundamental political truths:

* we just aren’t Obama’s target audience right now, and we need to learn to live with that;
* conservative media frames should never be embraced, even when you’re Really Mad about Something Totally Important;
* and, most importantly, the point is to win so we can actually accomplish something, not to be pure and perfect or to Prove That We Were Always Right All Along.

Once we’ve won, and have a Democratic majority in Congress, then we can hold Obama’s feet to the fire; for now, we have to fall in line and let the man do his job and get elected. That’s party politics. You don’t have to like it to recognize we’re stuck with it.

A little pragmatism, please.