El Mundo Con Evo! How His Interview With Jon Stewart Changed My Life

I am sure by now you are aware that there has been a right wing coup in Bolivia against Evo Morales, the nation’s socialist and first indigenous president.

There is little more I can say about this that has not already been said. I am not an expert on international relations, nor am I an expert on Latin American culture.

What I am is a socialist who believes in international solidarity, and that is thanks to Evo Morales.

Picture this: I was fifteen years old, I had already earned a reputation as an “activist” at my school because I was quite vocal about my hatred for George W Bush and rich people, which opened me up to the taunting of a right wing student body at my school.

I knew that Bush was evil, I also knew that the Democrats were being cowards for never even attempting to impeach him. This was around 2007 and the Democrats were pathetic to me. Democratic “leaders” were still not defending gay marriage and most had still yet to come to terms with the fact that invading Iraq was a mistake. I also knew that Democrats who hated the poor had no business calling themselves “Democrats.” I was taught by my parents that a “Democrat” was supposed to believe in social programs and would never cut them.

I called myself a Democrat, but deep down I knew that these pro-corporate, anti-poor Democrats did not represent me.

While I was an activist, politically speaking I felt very alone.

I knew I believed in more people owning what I called “the wealth” and having more democracy, but I had no word for what it was I believed in or what I even meant by “wealth.” Combine that with the backdrop full of my teenage right wing bullies, and you get an idea of how alone I felt. Confused, isolated, angry, and alone.

Then one night, when I was taking my solace in the humor of Jon Stewart as most on the left were keen to in those days, he had on a guest that was different from any of the others I had watched on the show.

It was Evo Morales, the newly elected president of Bolivia.

I was enthralled with that interview. For one my eyes were opened for the first time to the realities of imperialism and white supremacy. When I learned that Morales was Bolivia’s first Indigenious president I was shocked, naive as I was, I thought that by now most leaders in Latin America were indigenous or of indegenious desent.

This was not all. Evo talked about the programs of his nation, how they are reclaiming wealth and redistributing it, and how his government was fighting multi national corporations and protecting the environment.

I was only 15, but when I heard what he believed and fought for I realized that he spoke for me more than any Democrat at the time ever had.

This was how I realized that I was a socialist!

After that interview I dove deep into the red rabbit hole. From Evo Morales, I found Marx, from Marx I found Lenin, this would eventually lead me to Occupy, to Anonymous, to Bernie Sanders, and it all eventually led me to the DSA, where I am now a chapter co-chair.

All of this was started by an interview with Evo Morales on a comedy show.

The man had a level of integrity that I found inspiring, and what is amazing is after 14 years he still has that integrity. In an attempt to prevent violence he conceded to another election, despite having clearly won the first time, and when that did not appease the right wing’s blood thirst he conceded power all together, all in the hopes of saving his loved ones and party members from violence.

This is the power of socialists, the power of integrity.

I can trace my socialism back to several things, my upbringing, my family history, my experiences growing up surrounded by annoying over privileged white boys, but I owe it most to Evo Morales.

One thing he said in that interview was so simple, but it stuck with me for so long.

When Jon Stewart conceded that in America, the election system is pretty much “rigged” against the idea of a poor indigenous farmer from becoming president. Evo, with a simple yet genuine reply, said, “If it’s rigged then something needs to be done to change that.”

So simple yet so true, something needs to be done!

Watch full video here.

Yes Bernie Is Pissed Off, That’s Why I Like Him

Everytime I see a pundit on CNN or MSNBC they talk about how Bernie is either an undesirable candidate because he is “too angry.”

I get particuallarly annoyed by these people for a number of reasons, one of the biggest being that they aren’t more angry at the system and powers that be.

You liberals talk of big game about “resistance” and “dumping Trump” yet you seem to think civility towards the enemy is more important than calling them out with righteous outrage. Do not forget this is an enemy that wants all non-whites and non-christians dead, by the way!

What also annoys me is that these people are clearly making a comfortable living going onto these “news” networks and talking all this shit, while the rest of us are left homeless, in debt, or hungry. Unlike them we have to actually work for our living and we are barely even living!

What annoys me most though, is the fact that Bernie is not just an angry old man, but that is what they are trying to sell him as to us.

He isn’t screaming at kids to get off his lawn or telling them to turn down the rap music. He isn’t complaining about slang or whining about inevitable change, unlike some other old white men candidates (cough cough Joe Biden cough).

Bernie is not just angry, he lives and works with a righteous anger, and he is damn right to be angry.

Liberals talk about how outraged they are about kids in cages, about racism and sexism and so forth, but if witnessing the autrocities of our system and does not fill you with rage, then I think that says alot more about what a shallow asshole you are than it could ever say anything about Bernie.

I think that if you claim to be anti Trump but are not filled with rage by what his policies reap, then you don’t actually care about others, you just want to be seen as if you care. You don’t actually want to do the work it takes to be anti Trump, you just want to be validated as such.

If you challenge Trump without challenging your own sense of identity and privilege then you have no business telling Sander’s supporters anything, period.

These pundits can’t understand why Bernie is so mad, and why would they? They live in comfort and get paid to just talk for a living while the rest of us are out here trying to organize to save the planet, to protect ourselves at work, to stand up against racism, homophobia, transphobia, and sexism, and we do so all while we are trying to pay our debts and rents and to eat.

We are trying to do all of that while trying to liberate our immigrant and black and brown friends and family from the clutches of the American police state.

Bernie is to.

He sees us. He sees human suffering, and that makes him furious, as it should.

If you cannot understand why Bernie is so angry then you are one of the reasons why he is so angry. You are one of the people who perpetuates a system that is built on pain, suffering, and exploitation.

If Bernie’s anger bothers you, then I question your integrity. Anyone who is not filled with fury by the state of human suffering in this world is not someone who I think can ever be called a good person.

Yes, Bernie is angry, he is angry that people, like pundits, will let human’s suffer, and I love that old son of a bitch for it!

#Bernie2020 #NotMeUs

Prediction: Sanders and Warren Will Both Go To the Democratic Party Convention

Here is my prediction for the 2020 Democratic Primary as of October 2019; the race for the democratic party’s nomination for president will go all the way to the 2020 party convention and it will be a contest between Sanders and Warren much like how the 1932 convention was a contest between FDR and Al Smith.

I base this analysis on my lifetime of political activism and my experience as a professional political organizer. I should note here that I am an explicit Sanders supporter, but this is not about who I think should win. This is a prediction for how I think the winner will be decided.

Here is why I see this primary going all the way to the convention.

Biden will most likely drop out after the first few election results come in. It is possible he may stay in the race until the convention as well, but I doubt it. He most likely will stick it out for the first few primaries but I guarantee that the results will not be great for him and he will be forced to eat crow.

Biden has slipped since each debate and he will continue to slip until his name recognition has depleted all it’s usefulness. Remember, the only thing Biden has going for him is name recognition, his policies are still exponentially unpopular compared to Warren or Sanders.

Warren supporters are set on electing Warren. They cannot be budged. They are dedicated to Warren and will stay dedicated, I do not see Warren supporters coming into the Bernie camp anytime soon. In fact most Warren supporters rank Bernie not even as their second or third options.

The 20-22% that Warren currently has cannot be shaken from supporting her. Her washy answers about her past views on gay marriage and her speeches to conservative groups in the 90s have not turned anyone in her base against her. They will leap to her defense at any point. To them it is all just proof that “people can change.” Warren will always have at least 20-22% support of Democrats throughout this election and that number is likely to go up when Biden drops out.

Not all of Biden’s supporters will flock to Liz Warren though. I honestly think there will be a split of Biden’s current 22% between Sanders and Warren and it will be fairly even. While their platforms are vastly different, some in the Biden camp will be attracted to Bernie’s pro working class rhetoric, while others from Biden’s camp will follow Warren because of her association to the Obama administration, the only other thing Biden has going for him besides name recognition. The people in Biden’s base who support him because he was Obama’s VP will most likely find more comfort in Warren than Sanders.

The split of Biden’s base between Warren and Sanders will be factors that carry them both into the convention.

Warren and Sanders are polling closely in all of the early election states and as the primary draws closer with each day the differences between the two will become more prevalent but for many it still represents a difficult choice that Democrats seem fairly evenly split on.

One candidate preaches comprehensive systemic change, the other preaches increased regulation. This is one of the biggest divides amongst registered democrats, do we outright abolish or reform capitalism? The two candidates who best represent the two sides of that question are Sanders and Warren. Between their equal levels of popularity, both are representative of the state of the left’s electoral challenges.

The democrats are no longer just capitalist liberals, in fact the party is now made up more of progressives and socialists than ever before. This is what makes it hard for some people to choose between the two. Socialists have their heart on Sanders because we need to stick with our own. The progressives who identify as Warren supporters support her for a number of reasons, the biggest being the desire many have to see a female president. Yet despite being representative of an oppressed community, it does not change the fact Bernie Sanders still has a better track record with fighting for oppressed communities.

This is what will carry on into the convention, it is no longer an argument of going left as Democrats but the argument is how far left will we go. Warren is a baby step to the left and Sanders is a giant leap. We can have Warren’s progressivism or Sanders’ socialism and because the support between Sanders and Warren is so close the decision will most likely be left to democratic convention delegates.

Because the democratic party itself is in such disarray and split between the capitalist and socialist elements the odds that one candidate will be unanimously rallied behind before the time of the convention are unlikely. Both front runners (sans Biden) have a dedicated base that will stay with them until the primary reaches its bitter conclusion. Sanders and Warren supporters cannot be budged.

Warren’s poor performance in the 4th primary debate complicates the equation though. Most people in her base think she performed with grace and patience but those outside of her base feel like she took a bad beating and did not reply strongly enough to the attacks against her. The argument most people have seems to be, “If she can’t handle Klobuchar or Buttigeig, how the hell can she handle Trump?” However her base, as always, remains unshaken and loyal to their idea of her. The debate performance was definitely enough to slow down her momentum but it will not be enough to reduce the loyalty of her followers.

Biden supporters will eventually have no choice but to pick between Warren and Sanders and that will result in a pretty even split. Warren and Sanders will both do well in their home states and the states that tend to always vote blue will most likely go to Warren, but Bernie is likely to build the most momentum in rural states and states that Trump won. The south is more likely to carry for Bernie this time but those states will also most likely be split evenly between Sanders and Warren. California, Ohio, and New York are the golden tickets though, and those are anyones game.

The key to winning this primary is not just in mobilizing in your states primary, the key will be getting your delegates to the convention. Democrats who want to support their candidate would be smart to mobilize their convention delegates as well as their campaigns, asap.

What The ‘Democratic’ in DSA Actually Means

In a recent article In These Times editor Joel Bliefuss commented on the Democratic Socialists of America’s 2019 Convention. Bliefuss summarizes some of the tensions people felt going into the convention but concludes that things are looking optimistic for the organization. Bliefuss also pays particular attention to one of the resolutions passed by the convention’s delegates, the “Class Struggle Elections” resolution. The language of the resolution commits DSA to centralize class and labor solidarity in our electoral work henceforth.

While the article maintains an overall positive tone about the DSA convention Bliefuss misinterprets the language of the resolution and as someone who served as a delegate at this convention and supported this resolution I must correct this misinterpretation.

Bliefuss summarizes the majority of the resolution correctly, his misinterpretation focuses on one piece of language from the resolution:

“The resolution included a caveat that says DSA’s ultimate goal is to break with the Democrats “and their capitalist donors,” and “form an independent working-class party,” rather than reform the party from within.

A new party? It’s socialist Dems who are already changing the nation’s political conversation…”

Bliefuss is interpreting the language to mean that DSA is moving to break with the Democratic party as a whole with this resolution, this is not the case. There is truth in that the DSA is often arguing amongst ourselves about how much we want to get involved with the Democratic party, but the language “form an independant working class party” does not mean “DSA is going to become a third party.” And our “break” with Democrats “and their capitalist donors” means we seek to do things 1. Differentiate democratic socialist candidates from liberal democrats and 2. break with the capitalist element of the Democratic Party. Blieffuss’s analysis reflects that he interprets a break with capitalist democrats to mean a break with the democratic party all together, this misinterpretation comes from a place that hyperbolizes the language of the resolution.

The language in this part of the resolution is very general and open to interpretation, which I think lends itself to Bliefuss’ hyperbole. However as a delegate I feel the language was kept general for a good reason, it is too early for DSA to decide to form it’s own party, any third party with less than a million active, dues paying members is doomed to fail in the United States.

The language of this resolution allows us flexibility, and gives us the chance to decide for ourselves how we want to build an independent working class party. We have multiple options, the two most likely being we can either take over the democratic party by filling it with socialist delegates and abolishing its anti-democratic safe guards such as the super delegates, or we can wait for the Democratic party to collapse on itself while we build DSA to the point where we can become the new party of the working class.

The author then goes on to cite the various other DSA members and endorsed candidates who have won elections recently, including Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, most of whom ran and won their elections as democrats. Bliefuss’s conclusion about their success stories is however mistaken. “Most of these pols have run as Democrats (without “capitalist donors”) and won by turning out registered Democratic voters.”

This is a misconception of the current political landscape. It was not just a matter of motivating the democratic party base, most of whom will vote for the democrat’s candidate no matter who is running, these candidates won by motivating the unmotivated, by pulling in non voters and giving them a reason to vote.

While the article is mostly complimentary and attempts to paint the DSA and our convention in an overall positive light, Bliefuss misinterprets one of the conventions most important resolutions and uses a disprovable argument to justify his interpretation. He does not misinterpret the whole resolution, but he does make over generalizations about one, very small, caveat of the resolution. DSA did not resolve to become a third party, we resolved to create a working class party, what that will look like will be for the organization to decide as it marches into the future.

Marx is my Jesus

Recently at a socialist night school I attended on Imperialism a fellow student said that Marxism, “denies people the sense of spirituality they need to become truly enlightened and gaining the ability to truly unite as one.”

First of all, that’s bullshit. Second of all, no. Third of all, what!?.

Copping to my bias here, I both love Marx and I am not some personality cult loyalist who blinds himself to nuance in his analysis because of a dedication to any single thinker. In other words, I’m no purist.

That said, I am a Marxist, and Marxism offers me more spirituality than church or astrology ever did combined. I have tried to find meaning through buddhism, Christianity, Astrology, psychedelic drugs, and yoga. I can appreciate all of these things but it was socialism, communism, and Marxism that made me realize that there is a way to get us to realize we are all one.

We are talking about bringing liberation, democracy, and autonomy to the planet’s most ignored and exploited classes of people. We are talking about a school of thought whose goal is the overthrow of our oppressive masters. If that isn’t powerful and spiritual I do not know what is.

Another issue with this take is the erasure of the spiritual and religious Marxists who do in fact exist and exist in large numbers. The Democratic Socialists of America has a religious socialist caucus and there are thinkers such as Cornel West who define their spirituality as the source of their socialism.

Let us also not forget that a certain preacher named Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was perfectly fine with the word, “socialism.”

I do understand to a degree where the person is coming from. I cared little about praxis and theory at one point in my life and was more interested in macrophilosphic questions and “expanding my consciousness,” which I did through psychedelics and transcendental meditation, and am grateful for those experiences.

I am not a christian and I do not believe in astrology(no disrespect to those who do, seriously, you do you, they are just not my thing) but I do believe in transcendental meditation and in “opening the third eye” so to speak. I have meditated to the point of hallucination, tripped on mushrooms and LSD in isolated and natural settings, I have fasted until epiphany, and all of it lead me to Marxism.

Those who have undergone spiritual awakenings can assuredly relate. When one opens their third eye we see that we are all indeed one planet, all one people. When the third eye opens we see how so many labels and cultural constructs are not only arbitrary, but oppressive to.

But while psychedelic experience and spiritual awakenings guide us to these all important epiphanies, they do not show us what to do next.

This is what led me to Marxism, after I realized that we are all one I saw that we must unite in revolution to make the world what we want, I knew what we needed but the how and why was lacking. I had no material analysis because I was so focused on the metaphysical one, but when one has their metaphysical awakening, one also wants to tell the world how to make that other world we saw in our epiphany possible.

Reading Marx helped me find the way to apply my spiritual experience to the real world.

I will admit that since I am not a church goer I do still need and want the ritual and community that comes from things like church. This is just another way that socialism and Marx has given me a spiritual outlet. Songs like Bread and Roses, Solidarity Forever, and The internationale inspire feelings in me that the hymns at my boyhood church used to do before I lost that faith.

To say Marxism and socialism leave no room for spirituality is easily refutable. Marxism IS my spirituality. Socialism is my church, Marx is my Jesus, and Communism is my heaven.

Sacramento County Board Member Susan Peters, An Unethical Legacy

Sacramento County Board member Susan Peters, a republican, has announced she will not seek reelection in 2020, effectively ending her 15 year tenure on the board.

Unknown to many, Susan Peters was fined just short of $10,000 by the California Fair Political Practices Commission in 2016. Her crime? She voted on property development that she had an invested interest in.

The Mather Air Force Base closed for operations in the early 1990s and has since provided an economic boom for Sacramento developers, especially McCuen Properties. McCuen is the company started by Peters’ late husband Peter Mcuen and has been recipient of numerous landmark development projects, including the Ziggurat Office building pyramid and US Bank Plaza, now known as Park Tower Plaza.

The FPPC found that Peters was in violation of conflict of interest laws because she voted on the development of Mather projects. Apparently Peters owns property effected directly by her votes on the county board.

Case documents for FPPC No. 14/611 describes the nature of the charges as such;

COUNT 1: Abatement and Demolition: Direct Effect
Peters violated the Act by voting in favor of demolishing buildings within 500 feet of property she owned.

COUNT 2: Conveyance of Land from U.S. Air Force; Direct and Indirect Effects

Peters violated the Act by voting twice regarding the conveyance of land also within 500 feet of her realty properties.

Now, neither of these charges sound very exciting and clearly not much came from them considering the fact that Peters is still in office and that the most exposure this case received was a single story in The Sacramento Bee in 2016. There was also an incredibly short follow-up by The Bee in November of the same year when the fine was paid and the matter closed.  

However, what is interesting about the situation is how much of Susan Peters’ investments have gone unscrutinized.

Though Peters has paid her fine, questions about her ethics record remain. For example, the case does not go into detail about the amount of money that McCuen Properties has made on the Mather Air Force Base Project, nor on other projects for which they have received contracts during Peters’ tenure with the county board. Now, why should we care about one property company profiting off of county board decisions? Because, according to FPPC case documents, Peters was still a partner to the business as late as 2015. There is also no info on how many other pieces of land Peters owns within the county. Peters did not admit to any intentional wrongdoing and has recused herself from voting on issues regarding redevelopment of Mather’s Air Force Base but has said little about her current stake in McCuen Properties.

In other words, Peters might be lying about how much of a financial interest she has in Sacramento County. Peters disclosed her financial holdings at the time of the investigation to the FPPC, which can be reviewed easily online. Aside from her personal holdings in McCuen, in 2015 she held stock in numerous corporations, including; ADT Security, Apple Inc. Costco, Ford, International Papers, Marriott Hotels, Lowes, McDonalds, 20th Century Fox, Oracle, Pepsico.  The records also show stakes in insurance pharmaceutical companies Bristol Myers Squibb and Cardinal Healthcare.

This list is not even remotely comprehensive. I do not want to imagine how many deals have come before the county board that either directly or indirectly benefited these corporations and the others she holds stock in.

So, what is to be gathered from the fact Susan Peters paid nearly $10,000 in ethics fines to the FPPC?

Well, for one thing, McCuen Properties, which according to FPPC records she was still a partner of as late as 2015, receives millions of dollars from development contracts from Sacramento city and county. Peters has since claimed that she recused herself from votes regarding the redevelopment of the Mather Air Force Base, but is this enough? Can someone who clearly has invested interests in so many corporations be trusted to recuse themselves completely? How many other times have there been votes by the county that directly affect the profits of McCuen properties? How much property does she own personally? There is no way to tell.

What this whole case means is that a capitalist property developer can be caught in an ethics violation, arguably effective in the range of millions of dollars, and only be charged a few dollars in fines while never being forced to publicly admit to wrongdoing.  

When asked if she was still a shareholder, no one from McCuen Properties responded. When Peters’ office was contacted with the same question via email her chief of staff, Howard Schmidt, referred me to the same FPPC documents I had already read.

Schmidt has also confirmed that Susan Peters will in-fact not seek reelection in 2020.

Sources Cited

  1. http://www.fppc.ca.gov/content/dam/fppc/documents/form700/2012/County/N-Z/R_Peters_Susan.pdf

  2. http://www.fppc.ca.gov/content/dam/fppc/documents/form700/2015/County/sub1/R_Peters_Susan.pdf

  3. http://www.fppc.ca.gov/content/dam/fppc/documents/Stipulations/2016/November/09%20Susan%20Peters%20-%20Stip%20and%20Exh.pdf

  4. http://www.sacbee.com/news/investigations/the-public-eye/article76322172.html

  5. http://www.fppc.ca.gov/news/political-watchdog-approves-fines-against-Sacramento-County-officials.html

Alyssa Milano Isn’t Just Toxic, She is a F***ing Idiot

Anyone who is a genuine leftist and not a McResistance liberal is well aware that Alyssa Milano is beyond problematic.

Her attitude is that Trump is the cause of all our problems. She perpetuates the myth that the racism and sexism we see so explicitly now was not a problem before his election.

She supports Joe Biden, the worst possible choice to run against Trump. Not only does she support him but she defends his support of the Hyde Amendment, and she does it while still pretending to be a champion of choice.

Lastly, let us not forget the moronic “sex strike” which belittled both women’s sexualities and the power that is strike action.

Her latest feat was getting an audience with the anti-choice, porn retweeting, disgusting monster that is Senator Ted Cruz. Her method for confronting Cruz was, well pretty non confrontational to be honest.

“I wanted to look you in the eye and know you really are a human, with a heartbeat.” Milano said to Cruz.

Now, I feel this is proof that Milano is not just toxic to the left’s cause, it proves she is also a fucking idiot.

What the hell was she trying to accomplish here? I genuinely cannot figure it out.

If she was trying to get Cruz to see the light, that is a lost cause. Ted Cruz is hopeless, period. If she was trying to humiliate or own Cruz, she did an awful job. The two of them come across like they have more in-common than not. If she was trying to call out Ted Cruz, she failed at that miserably. All she did was put a humanized face on the man who has attacked women’s choice so violently, so relentlessly.

I honestly think that Milano had no idea what she was doing. I don’t think even she knew what she wanted to accomplish from this meeting. Alyssa Milano has no sense of what or how these issues actually effect the working class. She is too privilege, too rich, too out of touch to be a voice for the people.

If you “Yas Queen” Alyssa Milano for this or any other reason you are just as much of a moron as she is. No self respecting pro-choice activist would give Ted Cruz their time or emotional labor, hell no self respecting human would give Ted Cruz the time of day!

So in conclusion, I hope you will all join me in telling Alyssa Milano and her pussy hat liberal following to fuck off so that the True Left can get some real work done and actually help women and the oppressed.