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Friday, May 19, 2017

Green Party of Philadelphia's Statement on Primary Election Results

Friday, May 19, 2017 

Green Party of Philadelphia's Statement on Primary Election Results


Philly-Greens-On-Primary-Results.jpg
      With preliminary results of the 2017 Primary Election now in, and given the Democratic Party's stranglehold on our city's politics, it is clear that Larry Krasner will be Philadelphia's next District Attorney. It is the Green Party of Philadelphia's hope that Krasner will abandon the longstanding pattern of corruption established by our city's elected officials, as most recently exemplified by our present District Attorney, Seth Williams.

      The Green Party of Philadelphia (GPOP) calls upon Krasner, if elected District Attorney, to bring an end to a criminal justice system that criminalizes poverty and race while letting white-collar corporate crimes go unpunished. The Green Party recognizes that Krasner's platform includes many reforms which are in line with our party's key values, and we hope that he honors these pledges in office, specifically:

***   In a city that is 43% African American, the Green Party calls for a District Attorney who reflects the truth that "Black lives matter" not only in his rhetoric, but also in his actions.
***   In a city where (according to the ACLU of Pennsylvania) 25% of pedestrian stops by police are made without reasonable suspicion and 80% of those pedestrians are people of color, the Green Party calls for a District Attorney who will push for an end to stop-and-frisk and who will refuse to bring cases resulting from these illegal, racist practices.
***   Only a few weeks after Philadelphia police arrested 22 people in Frankford for marijuana, the Green Party calls for an end to the failed War on Drugs and for the legalization of drug possession.
***   Only days after Philadelphians raised nearly $58,000 for the "Mama's Bail Out Day" campaign, the Green Party calls for the elimination of a cash bail system that is designed to keep low-income people behind bars.
***   Finally, the Green Party calls for a District Attorney who will never pursue the death penalty – a barbaric practice that brings neither closure nor healing, but only more pain and victims.

      In addition to restoring the idea of "justice" to our criminal justice system, Philadelphia's next District Attorney must guarantee voters' right to fair elections. We witnessed an astonishing attack of this right in March's special election in PA House District 197, which was rampant with election fraud and voter intimidation.The Green Party demands that the next District Attorney continues the investigation into the special election and takes concrete steps to ensure election integrity.

      Finally, we must highlight the urgent need for electoral reform as demonstrated by this election.
***   Krasner won the primary with 38% of the vote, representing only 6% of the city's registered voters. A system where a candidate can win office, despite only a minority of voters casting their ballots for him, is an insult to democracy. Therefore, the Green Party calls for Instant Runoff Voting (IRV), where voters rank candidates in their order of preference and a candidate only wins if they obtain majority support.
***   We must also acknowledge the legalized bribery that is our campaign finance system. Total spending in this election is expected to double what was spent in Philadelphia's last competitive primary for District Attorney. Indeed, Krasner's campaign was supported both by grassroots efforts and by a super PAC funded by George Soros; we hope that his actions as District Attorney will be influenced by the people of Philadelphia and not by an outside billionaire. Therefore, the Green Party calls for the full public financing of elections and for stricter limits on campaign spending and contributions.

      The Green Party is an independent political party founded on the four pillars of grassroots democracy, nonviolence, ecological wisdom, and social justice. For information about the Green Party of Philadelphia, please call 215-843-4256 or emailgpop@gpop.org. Follow us on Twitter at @GreenPartyofPHL and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/GreenPartyOfPhiladelphia.
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Tuesday, May 09, 2017

Quantico Scaremongers Against Popular Sovereignty

This week's season-penultimate episode of Quantico promulgated a typical elitist dread of radical democracy by painting a Constitutional Convention as something scary that an authoritarian villain would use to get his way. I posted this to their Facebook page:

Very disappointed at your antidemocratic scaremongering about a Constitutional Convention. The Framers had the unprecedented wisdom to realize they couldn't anticipate the needs of future generations, and so incorporated procedures for amendment into their document -- piecemeal through submission by Congress but also, when time came for a thorough overhaul, through submission by a Convention called by Congress. Your script falsely suggests such a Convention might change the Constitution behind the country's back, when in reality nothing it proposes would become law unless ratified by three-fourths of the states, making majority popular support a prerequisite. Further, while Congress -- not the President -- is charged with setting the rules, it's politically inevitable they would call fresh elections for the delegates to such a convention. The whole procedure concretizes the principle stated in the Declaration of Independence: "Whenever any form of government becomes destructive of [life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness], it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundations on such principles, and organizing its powers in such forms, as shall to them seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness." This is the revolutionary-democratic idea at the founding of our country -- yet you find it not inspiring, but scary? And it's noteworthy that, while you portray this mechanism of popular sovereignty as the machination of a Trump-manquee villain, in real life it's not Trump, but the left-wing Justice Democrats who are calling for it in their platform. (If you haven't heard of them, they're the faction seeking to primary all corporatist Democrats in Congress and replace them with progressives.) For more information on the Article V Convention and why it's not only politically but legally overdue, check out Friends of the Article V Convention.

Thursday, May 04, 2017

As a Survivor of a Political Cult Myself, I Had to Watch This Video

As a survivor of a political cult myself, I had to watch this video when I saw it on YouTube: BAMN Are A Violent Cult


The descriptions are chillingly reminiscent of what I've heard about other groups, and some of what I experienced in my own. (In fact I'd already heard of the cult-within-the-cult, the RWL, and knew it was ultra-sectarian, so the connection came as no surprise.) There's a private website on WordPress called Secret Survivors of BAMN, and I've submitted a request for access to its administrator. Below is the written version of the video, which includes a link to the private group:



As is quoted from one of the ex-members, like other political cults BAMN either turns people into "drones" incapable of autonomous political thought or action, or tends to burn them out and make them give up on activism altogether. Hence it is both personally and politically destructive.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Visibility, Disruptiveness, and Effectiveness: What Actually Counts in a Demonstration

NPR ran this story the other day about research on which intuitions are correct about what makes a demonstration effective:

http://www.npr.org/2017/04/18/524473948/researchers-examine-the-psychology-of-protest-movements

A couple notes: while this research shows the importance of protesters' not putting themselves in a negative light, it doesn't mean they should never do anything that could make people uncomfortable. As Nick Cooney points out in his book Change of Heart: What Psychology Can Teach Us About Spreading Social Change, disturbing images (as of animal abuse, for instance) may move people to action more effectively than warm-and-fuzzy ones. The key is whether the context makes viewers associate the unpleasant images with what's being protested or with those doing the protesting.

Another point: it's stated in the interview that sometimes there's a trade-off between visibility and effectiveness, with the latter being the bottom line that should determine protesters' choice of tactics. But there's also a sense in which they correlate, since the expectation of disruptive or violent tactics can reduce participation in an action. And, all other things being equal, a smaller action is a less visible one, as well as probably less effective.

Monday, April 17, 2017

An Unfunny Satire on "the MRA" Is Taken Down


After also reading the original written version of the piece, and the post on r/exredpill it was largely based on -- and as someone who has a particular interest owing to my adolescent involvement with a political cult -- I think it's important to make a distinction. People in the cultic studies field say there as many groups as there are people in the group; one member may have a cultic relationship with it while another doesn't at all. And the groups themselves are on a continuum. This is why those in the cult awareness field prefer to speak of cultic processes rather than of "cults" as a discrete category of groups.

The r/exredpill poster in question evidently developed a relationship with r/redpill (which, by the way, has basically nothing to do with actual MRAs or men's rights activists -- a common conflation in the feminist milieu) that had significantly cultic characteristics. But, as Alison and Karen point out here, this wasn't because anyone at r/redpill was using deceptive/manipulative recruitment tactics -- as are characteristic of "cults" in the strong , distinctly negative sense of that term -- but simply because he was desperate to find something that would make him feel like less of a loser. The cultic aspect of the relationship came mostly from him and not from conscious, covert manipulation by the group, as you would find in something more deserving of being called a destructive cult.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OFEvB3C-YVA

Friday, April 14, 2017

Greens Play by Our Rules, Not the Establishment's

There's a story in the most recent Public Record on how some people are pushing the city Democratic Party to devolve endorsements from ward leaders to committee people, among other reforms, to address endemic corruption. I sent this letter in response:

As part of his exercise in denial about Democratic Party dysfunction, Bob Brady made this false statement: "The Republicans have the same rules, the Greens have the same rules."
In fact the Green Party does not have the same rules. Unlike Democrats and Republicans, the Green Party has no ward leaders, only a City Committee, which as a matter of policy does not endorse candidates for party nomination. The party's philosophy is that the individual Greens who attend monthly membership meetings are capable of deciding on nominations for themselves, without any need for "guidance" from party officers. All the City Committee does is inform the members in attendance of who is seeking nomination, as well as invite the candidates to appear and make their own case.
If you're a progressive who doesn't think party apparatchiks are entitled to be protected from competition with grassroots activists, as former DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz openly stated, then you should consider joining the Greens.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Save Dina Ali Lasloom!

A Saudi woman who sought asylum in Australia was taken off her plane in the Philippines and is now being returned to Saudi Arabia where she faces execution for traveling without a male companion. Please join me in signing the petition to stop this!
https://secure.avaaz.org/ar/petition/mnZm_lfw_ldwly_Amnesty_nqdhw_dyn_ly_save_Dina_ali/?aQeaOjb
http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/888504/saudi-woman-seeking-asylum-in-australia-repatriated-from-ph

You only need to put your email address in the circled area.