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America Has Never Been So Ripe for Tyranny

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  • In terms of our liberal democracy and constitutional order, Trump is an extinction-level event. It’s long past time we started treating him as such.
  • The truly terrifying significance of Donald Trump
  • Related: America, you’re stupid: Donald Trump’s political triumph makes it official — we’re a nation of idiots

Andrew Sullivan, New York Magazine

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May 1, 2016 | As this dystopian election campaign has unfolded, my mind keeps being tugged by a passage in Plato’s Republic. It has unsettled — even surprised — me from the moment I first read it in graduate school. The passage is from the part of the dialogue where Socrates and his friends are talking about the nature of different political systems, how they change over time, and how one can slowly evolve into another. And Socrates seemed pretty clear on one sobering point: that “tyranny is probably established out of no other regime than democracy.” What did Plato mean by that? Democracy, for him, I discovered, was a political system of maximal freedom and equality, where every lifestyle is allowed and public offices are filled by a lottery. And the longer a democracy lasted, Plato argued, the more democratic it would become. Its freedoms would multiply; its equality spread. Deference to any sort of authority would wither; tolerance of any kind of inequality would come under intense threat; and multiculturalism and sexual freedom would create a city or a country like “a many-colored cloak decorated in all hues.”

Andrew Sullivan, writer, contributing editor covering politics and the larger culture, New York Magazine 

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Related:

America, you’re stupid: Donald Trump’s political triumph makes it official — we’re a nation of idiots, Sean Illing, Salon

  • Trump's rise proves we're full of loud, illiterate and credulous people — and he's a mirror of them
  • The cult of ignorance in the United States: Anti-intellectualism and the "dumbing down" of America
  • Notre Dame Prof: Our Schools are Committing ‘Civilizational Suicide’ 

Series | The Haymarket frame-up and the origins of May Day, Part One

  • http://evergreenedigest.org/sites/evergreenedigest.org/files/Editor%20Comment%20graphic_0.jpgWSWS Editor's Note: We are republishing here a series of articles that originally appeared in April 1986 under the title “One hundred years since the Haymarket frameup.” The articles were published in the Bulletin, the newspaper of the Workers League, forerunner of the Socialist Equality Party in the US.
  • Related: All out for May Day!

Walter Gilberti, World Socialist Web Site 

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11 May 2009 | On the night of May 4, 1886, a crowd of several thousand workers gathered for a public rally at Haymarket Square in Chicago. Because the crowd was smaller than expected, it was moved to a different location a short distance away, to Desplaines Street and Crane’s Alley behind the Crane Brothers metal products factory.

The rally had been called by the International Workingmen’s Party of America and its two leading organs in Chicago, the Alarm and the German-language Arbeiter-Zeitung.

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Related:

All out for May Day! Freedom Road Socialist Organization, Fight Back! News

Stand up, fight back on International Workers Day 2016

 

A symbol of our steep decline: Donald Trump has unwittingly exposed America for what it’s become

  • The GOP frontrunner's campaign slogan is equal parts jingoistic and moronic. It also reveals an uncomfortable truth.
  • Related: We let the idiots take the wheel: Donald Trump, Fox News and how we let our democracy rot

Tom Englehardt, TomDispatch / Salon

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http://media.salon.com/2016/04/donald_trump12 http://media.salon.com/2016/04/donald_trump120-620x412.jpg0-620x412.jpg Donald Trump (Credit: AP/Nam Y. Huh) Wednesday, Apr 27, 2016 | “Low-energy Jeb.” “Little Marco.” “Lyin’ Ted.” “Crooked Hillary.” Give Donald Trump credit. He has a memorable way with insults. His have a way of etching themselves on the brain. And they’ve garnered media coverage, analysis, and commentary almost beyond imagining.  Memorable as they might be, however, they won’t be what last of Trump’s 2016 election run.  That’s surely reserved for a single slogan that will sum up his candidacy when it’s all over (no matter how it ends). He arrived with it on that Trump Tower escalator in the first moments of his campaign and it now headlines his website, where it’s also emblazoned on an array of products from hats to t-shirts.

You already know which line I mean: “Make America Great Again!” With that exclamation point ensuring that you won’t miss the hyperbolic, Trumpian nature of its promise to return the country to its former glory days. In it lies the essence of his campaign, of what he’s promising his followers and Americans generally — and yet, strangely enough, of all his lines, it’s the one most taken for granted, the one that’s been given the least thought and analysis. And that’s a shame, because it represents something new in our American age. The problem, I suspect, is that what first catches the eye is the phrase “Make America Great” and then, of course, the exclamation point, while the single most important word in the slogan, historically speaking, is barely noted: “again.”

Tom Englehardt created and runs the Tomdispatch.com website, a project of The Nation Institute where he is a Fellow. He is the author of a highly praised history of American triumphalism in the Cold War, The End of Victory Culture, and of a novel, The Last Days of Publishing, as well as a collection of his Tomdispatch interviews, Mission Unaccomplished. Each spring he is a Teaching Fellow at the Graduate School of Journalism at the University of California, Berkeley.

Related:

We let the idiots take the wheel: Donald Trump, Fox News and how we let our democracy rot, David Masciotra, Salon / AlterNet

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  • Disgraceful state of politics is tied to collapse of education. Philistines are marching, swarming Trump rallies.
  • Related: Special Project | The Dumbing Down of American Politic

 

Chris Hedges - The Pathology of The Super Rich

  • Related: US corporations have $1.4tn hidden in tax havens, claims Oxfam report

The World As It Is, YouTube

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Nov 23, 2014 | Chris Hedges discusses his personal insights into the psychology and private behavior of the super rich and how these things relate to the state of the world today. One of the best Chris Hedges segments by far.

Chris Hedges, a weekly columnist for Truthdig, is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who has reported from more than 50 countries, specializing in American politics and society. 

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Related:

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US corporations have $1.4tn hidden in tax havens, claims Oxfam report, Rob Davies, Guardian 

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  • Charity analysis of the 50 biggest US businesses claims Apple have $181bn held offshore, while General Electric has $119bn and Microsoft $108bn
  • Related: The Panama Papers: Oozing Slime

 

Noam Chomsky: There's a Huge Desire to Revamp Our Exploitive Economy, Bubbling in the Collective Unconscious

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  • The Next System is closer than you think.
  • Related: Series | The Need for a New Economic System, Part 6: Adverse Effects Of Globalization,

Noam Chomsky, The Next System / AlterNet 

http://www.alternet.org/files/styles/story_image/public/story_images/storyimages_screenshot20101130at8.57.09am_0.png  April 15, 2016 | Philosopher, linguist, and social critic Noam Chomsky recently spoke about his experiences in campus activism and his vision of a just society to help inaugurate the Next System Project’s ambitious new teach-ins initiative taking place across the country. An initial signatory to the Next System statement, Chomsky explores the connections between culture, mass movements, and economic experiments—which in “mutually reinforcing” interaction, may build toward a next system more quickly than you may think. 

 

Next System Project: As the Next System Project engages in dozens of university campus-based teach-ins across the country, what do you think of such approaches to engaging campus communities in deep, critical inquiry—can they help transform our society?

Noam Chomsky is an American linguist, philosopher, cognitive scientist, logician, political commentator and activist. He is perhaps best known as a critic of all forms of social control and a relentless advocate for community-centered approaches to democracy and freedom. Over the last several decades, Chomsky has championed a wide range of dissident actions, organizations and social movements.

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Series | The Need for a New Economic System, Part 6: Adverse Effects Of Globalization, John Scales Avery, Countercurrents.org

  • We need instead to reform our economic system and to give it both a social conscience and an ecological conscience. Let us restore democracy! Let us have governments that work for the welfare of all their citizens, rather than for the enormous enrichment of the few!
  • This is the sixth story in a nine-part series looking at the need for a new economic system. Previous installments are listed below.

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