2016 U.S. Presidential election

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Nov 15 2016 04:30

I'd like to butt in for a moment and ask if everyone could try to make their case with fewer pointless insults. I think both "sides" have good points, but I'm getting exasperated with the bickering.

Just my two cents.

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Nov 15 2016 05:01

As our posting guidelines state, 'play the ball not the person'. There some very interesting and enlightening conversation happening here, but If there are any further personal attacks or insults, warnings will be issued to users and the offending posts deleted.

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Nov 15 2016 06:40

Ed wrote:
Yo, so this thread has been great.. cheers to everyone for their contributions..

Wanted some quick thoughts on the J20 general strike that I've seen floated around social media: do people know where that call has come from? How do people see it shaping up?

S. Artesian wrote:
I have "heard" about big demonstrations planned, but not exactly as a general strike.

Hieronymus is usually on top of this stuff.

This sounds so much like the post-Occupy call for a general strike on May Day 2012. In Oakland, that came on the heels of the J28 "Move-In Day" debacle, where activists -- including some self-identified as part of the communisation tendency -- tried to covertly organize the occupation of the second or third largest building in the city, the Kaiser Auditorium. It was an utter failure and the best that could be said about the action was that it made spectacular riot porn during some of the brazen -- and ultimately defeated -- street fighting. On May Day 2016, the cops also managed to kettle crowds to prevent anything from kicking off, as well as having snatch squads wade into crowds to arrest militants.

In the reaction to the Trump victory, some of the same types of street skirmishes have occurred again in Oakland and Berkeley, amounting mostly to less spectacular dumpster fires and barricades made up of knee-high piles of garbage on the street. Hardly a reenactment of the Paris Commune.

Sadly, with no movement within the working class, I expect May Day 2017 to be a replay of the 3 events above. But it doesn't have to be so. Below, I will trace an alternative direction this might possibly play out.

On the first and second day post-election last over 10 San Francisco middle and high schools almost entirely cleared out -- many of the same schools that had cleared out on May Day 2006 as well as on March 4, 2010. Coincidentally, the political establishment from the local chief of police and mayor, through the governor, to Obama, Hillary Clinton and president-elect Trump -- with the latter initially calling the protestors "unfair" -- started praising the demonstrators as "passionate" and upholders of the democratic right to protest, ad nauseam. All of them, to a person, has been seeking stability above all else.

But what if the Latina/o kids, many of whom were part of the 2010 attempts at a coordinated statewide walkout -- our romantic general strike -- against austerity in education and the public sector took up the mantle of this again. Which might draw in black kids because at the marches I've been to in San Francisco "black lives matter" is a constant refrain. And since Latina/os are the biggest demographic group in California schools statewide, this would solidly center the protests on working class Latina/o families. Since many of the parents of these kids took part in the nationwide general strike against H.R. 4437 -- the anti-immigrant Sensenbrenner Act -- they might draw on this class action once again and with the added benefit of the kids being aware that Black Lives Matter clearly involves brown youth too, who are in the sights of homicidal cops as much as black young men, especially throughout parts of the U.S. where there are many Latina/o workers.

I went on an evening demonstration the evening of Wednesday, November 9, the day after the election. I almost left as it was organized by the ANSWER Coalition and began with their litany of quasi-Stalinist-liberal demands and banally boring speeches. But the rally became a permitted march and ended up passing through the predominately gay Castro District. There it took on a life of it's own and many young gay and lesbian couples came out of bars to join the march. Soon there was a sizeable contingent of transgender youth as well. What was inspiring was that as each new faction joined the march, the slogans reflected their desires and fears with a Trump presidency. I ideologically find fault with "intersectionality" as abstract ideology, but in practice this march was what it could -- and should -- be, which is an inclusive attitude to all the divergent parts of the working class and a sensitivity to their needs, concerns and -- especially in the age of Trump -- fears.

Lastly, many young militant women at the marches have brought up their concern for reproductive rights and defense of Roe vs. Wade. I know this might sound like liberal sentimentality, as you had to be there to feel the visceral power of it, but women started chanting "my body, my choice," then men in reciprocity started replying "your body, your choice." I got a lump in my throat thinking about how un-lame the whole march had become all of a sudden and how ANSWER was no longer in control and how open and limitless the possibilities seemed.

As I posted above, I caught a brief glimpse as several thousand school kids marched past my workplace on the morning of Thursday, November 10 and what I'll never forget was Latino kitchen workers coming out of restaurants to cheer the youth on. I even saw some office workers in tears and was almost moved to tears myself seeing men and women in business suits coming off the curb into the streets to march with the students. And traffic came to a standstill and it seemed like every driver was honking their horn rhythmically, in support. If somehow we could start a movement that could draw working class people out of their workplaces like that again, we'll have genuine class struggle and it would spread solidarity throughout the class -- and that could even lead to mass strikes.

Now it's a week later and all the actions in the streets seem like the tired old empty rituals they always are. But in my gut I feel like a spark was lit and it might smolder for a while, but it might also reignite and should Trump sic his ICE goons on immigrants, a reaction like May Day 2006, the gran boicot, might happen again. If only the Crimethinc -- and other -- organizers can get out of the riot porn ghetto and start talking to their co-workers about struggles from the point of production -- and distribution, consumption and reproduction -- but also against the repression of immigrants, people of color, Muslims, women, queers, transgender people, and homeless folks, etc., etc., and in solidarity with all laid off industrial workers, coal miners and refinery workers, and all the unemployed and underemployed, as well as with employed workers struggling against declining living conditions, etc., while putting their critique -- and call to action -- in class terms, a general strike might truly be possible again.

Just some random thoughts. I'd love to hear the ideas of others (even the naysayers on this thread).

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Nov 15 2016 05:36

Yeah, H., the J20 thing reminds me a lot of 'Occupy May Day', which I put a lot of time and effort into and overall now think it was a waste of time. But at the time, there was really no knowing what was going to happen. It just doesn't seem to me that any general strike in the United States has ever happened by people calling for it in advance and divorced from material demands. It's not going to be a general strike in the way that this is generally understood, it will be probably scattered rallies and marches, some large, some small, some A-B, some disruptive.

S. Artesian
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Jul 15 2017 14:00

x

bsuok
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Nov 22 2016 04:46

*no longer interested*

bsuok
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Nov 22 2016 04:46

*no longer interested*

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Nov 15 2016 08:44
bsuok wrote:
You make me wonder where *you* are from. Maybe some liberal arts college. Maybe I'm wrong.

Play the ball, not the player. As in, be honest this is passive-aggressive, you have no interest in me or anyone on libcom -- since your guru has a program that you lap up with love.

When Trump started winning primaries, several of my co-workers were constantly on the company computers, scheming ways to migrate out of the U.S. Goldner wasn't the only one predicting a Trump victory.

bsuok, your typos pale in comparison to your factual errors. jesuihitsquad did a fine job refuting them, but in order to play the ball here are the more egregious ones I found:

bsuok wrote:
#8 There is also the unreported issue of the announcement just prior to the election that insurance premiums would rise an average of 25 percent across the United States. Pennsylvania was said to be on track for an increase of over 32 percent! This is the legacy Clinton, already hated and despised as a soulless and corrupt apparatchik beholden to Wall Street and the security state apparatus, proclaimed her eagerness to continue.

This news story was running 24/7 for days before the election. My insurer sent me a letter saying as much in case I wasn't paying attention to the media. How in the world can you say this? Did you mean "constantly reported" and this was a typo?

bsuok wrote:
9. “Whites” between the ages of 24 and 59 have the highest death rates caused by suicide, drugs and alcohol of any “racial group” in America. Some groups of such as middle aged, low income white people, have seen death rate surges of up to 25 percent in a handful of years. This has never been seen in a developed country (let alone the richest country in the world) and is comparable to the results of the collapse of the USSR and “Eastern Bloc.”

Sure, and this is awful. But why is the working class addicted to opiates and methamphetamine? Where do they come from and how do they get distributed? That was a big attraction for building the wall, to keep the "Mexican criminals" from bringing the drugs. Which is a racist scapegoat for a much more serious, complex problem.

bsuok wrote:
#11. With the exception of Bernie Sanders, Trump was the first candidate to go to the industrial heartlands where hundreds of thousands of jobs have been lost and say “we will rebuild the factories” since the collapses and liquidations of 1970's and 80's. This should not be underestimated in places where whole cities have been destroyed after plant closures, with the people left in them to rot away and die.

Since I have been able to read, politicians have pandered to laid off industrial workers and gone into rust belts and said "jobs," "jobs," and more "jobs." While they were not fools enough to say they would build factories, they were telling the same lie. Some even evoked the same anti-Chinese xenophobia and said those jobs will be brought back. Again bsuok, for the 20 years you've been a commie haven't you read the news? Just do a simple google search and you'll find tons of stories about political candidates visiting shuttered factories and promising laid off workers everything under the sun -- and especially jobs.

bsuok wrote:
This is the same sort of UAW leadership that pushed anti-Japanese rhetoric to the max in the 1980's and whipped workers up into a violent frenzy that led directly to violent attacks (and even murder) of totally innocent Asian people in Michigan, but wouldn't dare lift a finger to reach out to Japanese autoworkers for joint activity or challenge the Big Three bosses as they dismantled factories across America.

The man had a name: Vincent Chin, who was beaten to death in Detroit in 1982. Since Walter Reuther built the UAW into a "one-party-state" decades before, it's naive to hope that is will ever endorse class struggle or internationalism. It, along with the AFL-CIO, have always been linchpins of anti-communism and U.S. imperialism. What else is new?

And "dismantled factories across America" is factually untrue. Most of the factories were moved south of the Mason-Dixon Line to right-to-work states in the South. Or across the border to be part of a NAFTA auto production cluster with Mexico (and Canada to a lesser extent). Lost of assembly happens in the U.S., but 70% of the component are manufactured abroad. Remember the floods in Thailand in the fall of 2011? Auto electronic component factories there closed, which shut down assembly lines in North American. The auto production system is so globally interconnected that talking about the "Big Three bosses" is inaccurate.

bsuok wrote:
(#11)These are, or should be, some of the people communists look to the most, as opposed the the soft left-light which had all but disappeared the working class before this election in favor of focus groups of ideology driven students pushing for “safe spaces” on college campuses so they could live in their isolated suburban islands without danger of being potentially offended.

If we believe in the relevance of class struggle we should have bonds of solidarity across the world, from the homeless tent cities of Fresno, California, to the shopfloors of Shenzhen factories and workshops, to the mines of Bolivia, to the unemployed autoworker in Flint, to the cotton farmer in Senegal, to the Filipina nurse in Saudi Arabia, to the barista at Starbucks in Manhattan -- and everywhere in between. Class war happens in all aspects of social life under capital, to neglect one of these means to ignore them all.

Where does this contempt for students come from? Ressentiment? Read Marc Bousquet's How the University Works and his chapter "Students are Already Workers," (which I learned of thanks to John Garvey of Insurgent Notes), with these stats:

Marc Bousquet wrote:
In the United States, only 20 percent of undergraduates do not work at all. About 50 percent of all undergraduates work an average of twenty-five hours per week. The remaining 30 percent work full-time, more than full-time, or at multiple jobs approximating the equivalent of full-time, averaging thirty-nine hours a week. This means that about 10 or 12 million undergraduates are in the workforce at any given moment. Indeed, if you’re a U.S. citizen under age twenty-five, you are more likely to be working if you are a student than if you are not. Over 3 million persons aged twenty to twenty-four are unemployed. Being a student isn’t just a way of getting a future job—it’s a way of getting a job right now.

Which begs the question: are they workers who study? or students who work?

Or does it make a difference? They're part of the working class, so bsuok you're contempt for them is anti-working class.

And are you reactionary enough to mock students fighting for safer spaces? That's disgusting! The whole fucking world should be a safer space and we should all unite to stop anyone from being threatened, beaten or killed because of their gender identity or preference, or their religion, or the color of their skin. This is a no-brainer. Only a perverse ideologue would turn the suffering of the oppressed into something to mock. bsuok, please open your mind and get rid of his "hard" workerist commie shtick. It's pretty nauseating.

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Nov 15 2016 08:26

Cross-posted with others-- Great posts by Hieronymous and Juan above re:J20. H-- Multiple times in the past couple days I've retold your 'the kids are alright' account you posted last week.

In the interest of keeping the conversation constructive, I'm going to forego responding to bsouk directly, and instead make a few general points:

a) Given the current state of and prospects for electricity-generation technology, the heads-on approaching calamity of climate change, the health detriments to miners--up to and including death, in addition to the flat-out poisoning of working class neighborhoods by emissions containing arsenic, mercury, and a multitude of heavy metals, just like we say about police and prisons, there will be no communist coal mines.

b) Though I've said nothing to indicate otherwise, just to avoid any confusion, I do not consider natural gas to be clean energy. (Incidentally, neither does anyone with any credibility on the matter.)

c) I've seen no evidence in this thread of anyone blaming a 'stupid, racist working class.' Instead, most here have accepted that there is likely a combination of economic concerns and racism involved in Trump's support. If Trump's racism wasn't actually the primary attraction for some, then at a minimum, these supporters were not repelled by it enough to reject him.

d) I've always had time for Goldner's analysis. Though I don't always agree with everything he writes, I think he often has thought-provoking things to say.

e) Singling out any one person for not projecting a Trump win is unproductive, at best. Very few got it right, and many of those who did simply got lucky. In fact, in many ways those who predicted a Clinton win were right, given that she will have garnered millions more votes than Trump; the votes were just in the wrong locations for Clinton. Even then, if the election had been held on October 28th, Clinton would have won in a massive landslide (by modern standards). Her margins on the 28th were large enough to accommodate the polling misses in a handful of states. Ridiculing anyone for not foreseeing the Comey letter, the larger than expected ACA-related premium increases, and most importantly, Trump's new-found ability to stay on message and prosecute the case against Clinton--instead of always turning the focus to him-- is patently ridiculous.

f) Unrelated, in many conversations with liberals, there is a lot of anger at the DNC, and it's not just directed at the Clinton campaign. The anger seems to increase with each 'intermural scrimmage' type comments and actions.

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Nov 15 2016 10:02

http://kjzz.org/content/394973/tohono-oodham-nation-tribal-leaders-say-wall-mexico-will-not-be-built-their-land

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Nov 15 2016 12:27

Please, children, cut out the ego-rivalry or take it to private messages – you all have interesting things to say but it’s tedious to wade thru the grandstanding dick-waving to get to it.

jesuit wrote:
I've seen no evidence in this thread of anyone blaming a 'stupid, racist working class.' Instead, most here have accepted that there is likely a combination of economic concerns and racism involved in Trump's support. If Trump's racism wasn't actually the primary attraction for some, then at a minimum, these supporters were not repelled by it enough to reject him.

This is a key point that hasn’t been dealt with sufficiently, imo. If it’s not at least a sign of increasing accommodation to racism, what is it?

On the way the question has sometimes been posed – ‘did workers vote for Trump for his economic promises or for his racism’? That seems a very limited way to look at it, often more based on a moral defense of an idealised proletarian than seeking broader understanding. Eg, it would be interesting to know; how many workers voted Trump in ethnically mixed areas knowing that Trump’s racism/immigration policies would impact on their workmates & neighbours? How many were in mainly white areas?

What does it mean for w/c solidarity that workers – including a minority of blacks & latinos – were willing to vote for a programme of racist policies, threatened rapid mass deportations (albeit only a great acceleration of Obama’s deportation policy – 3 million in recent years) etc?

What does it mean when voters believe or pretend there isn’t a connection between promised economic benefits and racist social policies as part of the restructuring that will supposedly deliver them?

What does it mean for class solidarity if the non-racist Trump voter sees the racist baggage and impact as a necessary or acceptable cost of economic improvement?

How much of the evidence of voters saying it was an economic vote, not a racist one can be attributed to ‘shyness’ in admitting racism – part of a more general ‘shyness’ now often cited as reason for skewing the polls and leading to recent surprising results in UK & US?

S. Artesian
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Jul 15 2017 14:02

x

petey
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Nov 15 2016 13:53

bsuok's main crime seems to be that he can match some of our regulars in snideness. he seems to be driving them to apoplexy. better though that we had none of it.

as you weren't ...

S. Artesian
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Nov 15 2016 14:16

I don't think he's committed any crime at all.

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Nov 15 2016 17:17

'
This seems to be as good a time as any to say that I intimately know close to a dozen people who voted for Trump. It's taken me the better part of the last week to come to terms with it, and I've been trying to figure out what it all means. All of these are family members. Each one of these people would vehemently argue that they are not racists. None of them would commit a hate crime. All but one would never use the "n-word" or use hate language in the direction of a person of color, but they are not above telling racist jokes in intimate circles. All of them would be personally nice to people of color in one-on-one interactions.

Of the Trump voters I know, I think they can safely be broken down into three categories:

-- The 'there are black people and then there are . . . ' group. Fortunately, I know only a couple people like this and actively avoid interactions when possible. Despite their protestations to the contrary, they are pretty clearly flat-out racists, and Trump's racism was a feature and not a bug for them.

--The traditional Republican, Christian Conservative voter. These people were vocally anti-Trump during the primaries, many of whom loudly declared they could never vote for Trump. They were all strong Ted Cruz supporters, and deep into the election cycle were 'Never Trump'-ers. At some point following October 29th, something flipped the breaker box in their brain. Whether it was the emails, the health insurance increases, Hillary's general unlikability, or Trump's ability to comport himself in a more 'Presidential' manner I don't know, and I would guess they would also have trouble identifying what pushed them into Trump's camp. There is less overt racism in this group than the first, but these are people who cross the street if a black man is walking behind them, and generally are not ashamed to admit this.

--The Sanders primary/Trump general voter. These people are older, often retired or nearing retirement and are clearly not "Bernie Bros." They've had front-row seats to the devastation of neoliberal policies, have watched as their unions have become a ghost of their former selves, and have seen their small, quaint working class towns whither away on the vine.

Sanders appealed to their former lives as strong union households, and had he been the nominee, they would have voted for him without a second thought for Trump. They could not bring themselves to vote for Hillary, and saw her candidacy as a continuation of all the ruinous policies of the past 30 years. These people would never, in a million years, consider themselves racist. They try to use inoffensive language, and in their limited interactions with people of color, they are kind and warm.

However, as much as it pains me to admit it--because this group includes my parents--they have never been able to overcome the vestiges of prejudice. They are a product of a white supremicist society and are unable or unwilling to fully break with deeply ingrained notions about race. That is to say, that despite their knowledge that racism existed (because largely, in their minds, it is a thing from the past--We voted for a Black man for President!!), deep down they believe that many of the problems facing POC in America are issues of personal responsibility. They believe in upward mobility for African Americans and while they do understand some of the barriers to breaking out of the cycle of poverty, they have a deep seated belief that if one is dedicated and works hard enough, he or she can and will make a better life for themselves.

Obviously, there is a significant spread between these three groups, but the common bond that connects them all as voters is that Trump's racism was not enough to dissuade them from voting for him.

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Nov 15 2016 17:41

great post

radicalgraffiti
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Nov 15 2016 19:27
petey wrote:
bsuok's main crime seems to be that he can match some of our regulars in snideness. he seems to be driving them to apoplexy. better though that we had none of it.

as you weren't ...

or maybe people disagree with him providing cover for racism

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Nov 15 2016 20:19

jesuithitsquad, thanks for the excellent post. We need more concrete accounts of what people were thinking, rather than abstract conjecture.

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Nov 15 2016 20:30

I think some of these comments especially Jesuits last one could be useful being added to the library or a blog post. A lot of people are really confused about the results and some of the responses by Jesuit, Hirerony and S.A could be quite useful in making sense of this.

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Nov 15 2016 21:23

I don't think I'm going to advance the conversation too much with this post, but here are the two Trump supporters I know.

Jose is the cleaning guy at the bar I work at at night. He comes after hours, I usually wait and have a beer with him before I head home. Since he is a black Dominican with heavily accented English, I was a little surprised to find out that he was planning on voting for Trump. I think that was kind of naïve of me because he does own a small cleaning company that is doubtless in competition with dozens of others like it. Class politics trump identity politics for Jose (no pun intended).

Andrew is an African-American police sergeant and a hard line Reagan conservative. He once told me how much he loved a particular restaurant in our neighborhood, and how happy he was that it was closing soon (according to some inside information he had). The fact that condos for rich transplants were going to be put on top of this old neighborhood spot was , to him, the invisible hand at work and it delighted him to no end. He is a sexist dirtbag and I've had to threaten to kick him out twice for trying to rub the trump victory in other patrons' face. Total scum.

Juxtaposed against Andrew is Rico, another person of color, I think he's from central America or something. He's a liberal education worker. He's had several discussions with Andrew and dismisses his advocacy of trump as trying to stand out or seem special as an African-American. I tried to point out his job with the police but he merely repeated his original hypothesis. His liberalism blinds him to the realities of class. He does not take seriously my opinions because I am merely a bartender.

Oh, the owner of the bar probably voted for trump, but he is a millionaire so...

petey
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Nov 15 2016 22:23

the one trump voter i know for sure (i've got my suspicions about a few others) is of the 'obama has destroyed the constitution and raised taxes all over the place' variety. he is also very tribally ethnic, proudly owning that sense of cultural victimhood that rightwingers are fond of, and is a small-business owner, a demographic that went largely for trump afaik. i'd say he's motivated in equal measure by the prospect of business tax breaks and a return to the "old days" with a dollop of stigginit to the liberals..

syndicalist
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Nov 15 2016 23:19

The one person I absolutely know who voted fro The Dumpster is my mother-in-law. Person of color woman born in a "third world" country who is very conservative

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Nov 15 2016 23:24

I know about 20+ Trump supporters and my experience is fairly similar to that of jesuithitsquad.

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Nov 16 2016 01:22
Juan Conatz wrote:
Yeah, H., the J20 thing reminds me a lot of 'Occupy May Day', which I put a lot of time and effort into and overall now think it was a waste of time. But at the time, there was really no knowing what was going to happen. It just doesn't seem to me that any general strike in the United States has ever happened by people calling for it in advance and divorced from material demands. It's not going to be a general strike in the way that this is generally understood, it will be probably scattered rallies and marches, some large, some small, some A-B, some disruptive.

I'm curious if you've had a chance to read the article I wrote (in which I made a pretty similar argument, I think), and what you think.

bsuok
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Nov 22 2016 04:47

*no longer interested*

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Nov 16 2016 03:50
OliverTwister wrote:
Juan Conatz wrote:
Yeah, H., the J20 thing reminds me a lot of 'Occupy May Day', which I put a lot of time and effort into and overall now think it was a waste of time. But at the time, there was really no knowing what was going to happen. It just doesn't seem to me that any general strike in the United States has ever happened by people calling for it in advance and divorced from material demands. It's not going to be a general strike in the way that this is generally understood, it will be probably scattered rallies and marches, some large, some small, some A-B, some disruptive.

I'm curious if you've had a chance to read the article I wrote (in which I made a pretty similar argument, I think), and what you think.

I read it and found it inspiring, especially this:

Life-Long Wobbly wrote:
The biggest challenge towards any industrial action will be the union bureaucracy. The AFL-CIO is “ready to work with Trump”, and would be incapable of calling for or organizing a general strike even if they wanted to. We need to build the kind of movements which can challenge the hegemony of the business unions and call for strikes over their heads. Maybe a starting point would be agitating hospitality and restaurant workers in DC to shut down all hotels and restaurants leading up to the inauguration, or agitating media workers to refuse to broadcast anything by Trump. The main point is that there won’t be one general strike that saves us and then we all go back to normal – our focus has to be recreating a culture of militant, production-stopping strikes which seek to spread through secondary strikes and mass pickets, and which take aim at all injustice in society, not just workplace issues.

I wholeheartedly agree. This would make the action an actual strike, rather than the activistism of the J20 call-out posted earlier in this thread -- although the latter purports to being militant, and clearly the desired result would be a riot.

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Nov 16 2016 07:23

Thanks to everyone for the kind words. There's just a whole lot of solid analysis and thought-provoking counterpoints in this thread, generally. And it's really nice to see this level of engagement here again.

The media has made much of the urban-rural divide in election results, and it's not entirely without merit.

Red Marriott in post #553asked about how the vote broke down in multi-ethnic areas. I can only speak in general terms about this, but for the most part minority populations congregate in urban areas. There are some exceptions: in the deep south there are still quite a few very small towns with african-american majorities; also, in the southwest there are latina/o majority rural areas. By and large though, urban centers have the most diverse populations in the US.

I haven't looked at the county-by-county breakdown since election night, but last I looked the results largely followed the demographic breakdown in most modern elections--urban areas=dem, rural areas= gop. The county breakdowns are a bit more useful than the blue state/red state maps because it becomes easy to homogenize large swaths of the country. That is to say, even in the reddest of red states, the urban areas in those states likely have majority democrats. Conversely, in a dark blue state, most of the rural counties vote republican. Of course even within those trends, it's easy to overlook that significant numbers of people vote against the trends in the strongholds of both parties.

Quote:
How much of the evidence of voters saying it was an economic vote, not a racist one can be attributed to ‘shyness’ in admitting racism – part of a more general ‘shyness’ now often cited as reason for skewing the polls and leading to recent surprising results in UK & US?

The "shy Trump voter" seems to have been a larger phenomenon in the general election than during the primaries, and in many ways, that makes sense. So, I think we can pretty conclusively discount the economic vs racism exit polls where respondents overwhelmingly said they didn't vote based on race. Particularly with urban voters, it's almost unimaginable that a voter would tell a stranger, who  might very well be a person of color, 'yep, I'm a born and bred racist and proud of it.'
----
One thing that pops out to me after reflecting a bit on the content of bsouk's posts is that even communists aren't immune from the urban-rural divide conflicts. Presumably, all of us are guilty of a bias to one degree or another. Without in any way saying I'm above the fray, I did grow up in rural area and moved to a city as an adult, and much of my family still lives in small towns.

Quote:
At no point in the year did I meet anyone who supported Clinton in the immediate area (a four county area with a few hundred thousand people where "blue collar" work is still the mainstay). In fact, over a period of 8 months the only Clinton sign or sticker I ever saw was on the side of a student housing building at a university about 20 miles away.

As you might imagine, for many of us who live in urban areas the opposite is true. It was extremely rare to see visable signs of Trump support. Interestingly, there are a scattered few here and there now, post election, which weren't in place before Trump's win. When I see those I chuckle a bit.

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I can think of four instances of gun violence in the immediate area in the last 12 months just off of the top of my head.

I'm sure this is probably proportionally high for the population of your town, and I have no doubts about the tragic impact this had on those intimately involved. That said--no joke, no exaggeration--I've literally heard (at close range, like less than a block) four instances of gun violence in the past 2 days. Consequently, there is a very large divide along the urban-rural lines in regards to gun control. I have mixed feelings on the matter myself, and it's a personal matter for me--a 15 year old relative was the first homicide shooting victim in my city in 2015; by year's end we hit a seven year high of 144 homicides. The sickening thing is that this number doesn't even include killings that are considered 'justifiable,' such as self-defense shootings or police shootings. I mean, with such stats it's pretty easy to understand why people in cities are more likely to support gun-control measures, don't you think?

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We have a lot of crime and a lot of broke drug addicts looking for money.

While the opioid addiction epidemic is nationwide, it has disproportionately impacted rural areas. This is primarily an issue of infrastructure. A county in the southern part of my state has made national news several times due first to the addiction epidemic and then due to the subsequent HIV crisis resulting from the lack of a needle exchange program. For those looking to recover, the nearest treatment facility was something like 90 miles away.

I'm not sure what the answer is, exactly, to dealing with the divide beyond a generalized increase in class militancy. We've talked a lot recently on libcom (including in this thread) about some of the difficulties in organizing in rural areas. But one thing that wouldn't make it worse is for communists from both areas to make sure we're not engaging in an us vs them dialogue.

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jura
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Nov 16 2016 09:12

Do people think the $72,000 figure for yearly household income of an average Trump supporter is accurate?

At first I thought the $72k were individual income (which would be pretty high, right), but then I noticed it's household income. (I then rememered it's more common in the US to talk or ask about annual income, and household income at that, but that's really weird to a European – I know exactly how much I earn per month, and I can estimate what that adds up to in a year, but I'd have to pull up a calculator or a spreadsheet to find out how much our household of two earns per year, so if someone asked me about that in an exit poll I'd probably be stumped). Anyway, is this figure within reach for a skilled worker's family in the US? Or would you rather think about a small business owner?

The exit polls also included information on income. I couldn't find a more detailed description of the data, but presumably these figures were also household, not individual income?

Fall Back's picture
Fall Back
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Nov 16 2016 10:03

The $72k figure was in the primaries, which skew towards higher incomes. It was the least of all serious Republican candidates.

Average US household income is approx $52K, $57K for white households.

538 has a breakdown of these figures here w (liberal-ish) analysis - http://fivethirtyeight.com/features/the-mythology-of-trumps-working-class-support/

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Entdinglichung
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Nov 16 2016 10:20

http://atlantablackstar.com/2016/11/14/colin-kaepernick-addresses-why-he-did-not-vote-you-cant-vote-your-way-out-oppression/

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“You know, I think it would be hypocritical of me to vote,” Kaepernick told the San Francisco Chronicle Nov. 13. “I said from the beginning I was against oppression, I was against the system of oppression. I’m not going to show support for that system. And to me, the oppressor isn’t going to allow you to vote your way out of your oppression.”