03/31/2013 archive

Anti-Capitalist Meetup: 31 March 2013 an ACM Introduction by Annieli

I have been thinking about how to introduce some of the methodologies we use in DK to augment the basic liberalism and progressivism necessary to produce more and better Democrats. This piece is intended to introduce some basic texts which for many might seem too simplistic and even heretical but are hopefully useful for those wanting to consider that many of the perspectives often reflected in DK have a sincere and authentic theoretical foundation.

I chose a recent diary by Kos on conservative understanding of the decline in bee populations to serve as an example of how an understanding of Marx can add to the interpretive strength of an already strong argument. The “light comes on” is not enlightenment in any earth-shaking sense but it is a reflection on the need to consider that there are preexisting social analysis methodologies that have made progressives more effective in guiding action and organizing resistance to the rise of RW power.

Buried way at the bottom of this piece on the increasing death rate of honey bees:

But Mr. Adee (the South Dakota owner of the nation’s largest beekeeping company), who said he had long scorned environmentalists’ hand-wringing about (pesticide use in crops), said he was starting to wonder whether they had a point.

Of the “environmentalist” label, Mr. Adee said: “I would have been insulted if you had called me that a few years ago. But what you would have called extreme – a light comes on, and you think, ‘These guys really have something. Maybe they were just ahead of the bell curve.'”

I’m going to do some stereotyping and assume that a South Dakota farmer who scorns “extremist” environmentalist is a Republican. It’s not much of a stretch. So like Sen. Rob Portman’s conversion on marriage equality because of his gay son, or Sen. Mark Kirk’s conversion on health care services to the less-wealthy because of his debilitating stroke, Adee decides that maybe the dirty fucking hippies are onto something when he, himself, is directly affected by unfettered degradation of our environment.

I emphasize the expression directly affected because it is important for acting in a way to understand Anti-Capitalism  This point of view recognizes that there are changes in consciousness, the understanding that a tension between beliefs and reality has been heightened and proven transformative. In this diary Kos discusses the contradiction of GOP ideology in confronting the complex yet revelatory incidence of bee death as a sign of impending ecological disaster. This serves as a useful way to provide a foundation to discuss the theories necessary to understand a Marxist position on the need to transform

the present relations of production.

But many beekeepers suspect the biggest culprit is the growing soup of pesticides, fungicides and herbicides that are used to control pests. While each substance has been certified, there has been less study of their combined effects. Nor, many critics say, have scientists sufficiently studied the impact of neonicotinoids, the nicotine-derived pesticide that European regulators implicate in bee deaths. The explosive growth of neonicotinoids since 2005 has roughly tracked rising bee deaths. Neonics, as farmers call them, are applied in smaller doses than older pesticides. They are systemic pesticides, often embedded in seeds so that the plant itself carries the chemical that kills insects that feed on it.

This suspicion is the simple result of an economy driven by capitalist desire to systematically maximize profit that also ignores the externalities connected to the use of technologies that also harm the environment and in the long-run destroy even the industry itself. American beekeeping and honey production is both hobby-farm, small scale cottage industry and large-scale agribusiness. In other countries it can be even barely organized gathering. Ultimately change comes from knowledge and its productive application, but a knowledge that is crucially aware of direct effects as critical practices.

I have chosen two elementary texts on Marx to give readers an introduction that is often distorted by cold-war anti-communist reactionaries that one finds in the Marx 101 search on the internet, although Brad DeLong’s Understanding Marx lecture is a good one. I have chosen Peter Singer’s. Marx: A Very Short Introduction (2000) and Terry Eagleton’s Why Marx Was Right (2011). This is not a book review, although I would hope that these two accessible texts might appeal even to the less doctrinaire Kossack. Please come below the squiggle to contribute to the discussion of the basics.

Rant of the Week: Bill Maher

Bill Maher Vs. The Pope – Round 2 (03.22.13)

NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament 2013: Day 6, Baylor v. Louisville


Seed Score Team Record Seed Score Team Record Region
(1) 85 Baylor 34-1 (8) 47 Florida State 23-10 Midwest
(4) 63 Purdue 25-9 * (5) 76 Louisville 26-8 Midwest


Time Network Seed Team Record Seed Team Record Region
6:30 ESPN (1) Baylor 34-1 (5) Louisville 26-8 Midwest

NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament 2013: Tennessee v. Oklahoma


Seed Score Team Record Seed Score Team Record Region
(2) 68 Tennessee 26-7 (10) 52 Creighton 25-8 Midwest
(3) 72 UCLA 26-8 85 * (6) Oklahoma 24-10 Midwest


Time Network Seed Team Record Seed Team Record Region
4:30 ESPN (2) Tennessee 26-7 (6) Oklahoma 24-10 Midwest

NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament 2013: Regional Final Midwest


Seed Score Team Record Seed Score Team Record Region
(1) 77 Louisville 32-5 (12) 69 Oregon 28-9 Midwest
(2) 71 Duke 28-4 (3) 61 Michigan State 27-9 Midwest


Time Network Seed Team Record Seed Team Record Region
5:05 CBS (1) Louisville 32-5 (2) Duke 28-4 Midwest

NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament 2013: Regional Final South


Seed Score Team Record Seed Score Team Record Region
(3) 62 Florida 29-7 (15) 50 Florida Gulf Coast 26-11 South
(1) 85 Kansas 31-6 * (4) 87 Michigan 29-7 South


Time Network Seed Team Record Seed Team Record Region
2:20 CBS (3) Florida 29-7 (4) Michigan 29-7 South

On This Day In History March 31

This is your morning Open Thread. Pour your favorite beverage and review the past and comment on the future.

Find the past “On This Day in History” here.

March 31 is the 90th day of the year (91st in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 275 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1776, future first lady Abigail Adams writes to her husband urging him to “remember the ladies” when drafting a new “code of laws” for the fledgling nation.

While John Adams participated in the Continental Congress in Philadelphia, Abigail remained at their home in Braintree, Massachusetts, managing their daily affairs in his absence. At the same time that Adams was preparing to publish his “Thoughts on Government” essay, which outlined proposed political philosophy and structures for the new nation, Abigail pondered if and how the rights of women would be addressed in an American constitution.

Women’s rights

Adams was an advocate of married women’s property rights and more opportunities for women, particularly in the field of education. Women, she believed, should not submit to laws not made in their interest, nor should they be content with the simple role of being companions to their husbands. They should educate themselves and thus be recognized for their intellectual capabilities, so they could guide and influence the lives of their children and husbands. She is known for her March 1776 letter to John and the Continental Congress, requesting that they, “…remember the ladies, and be more generous and favorable to them than your ancestors. Do not put such unlimited power into the hands of the Husbands. Remember all Men would be tyrants if they could. If particular care and attention is not paid to the Ladies we are determined to foment a Rebellion, and will not hold ourselves bound by any Laws in which we have no voice, or Representation.

John declined Abigail’s “extraordinary code of laws,” but acknowledged to Abigail, “We have only the name of masters, and rather than give up this, which would completely subject us to the despotism of the petticoat, I hope General Washington and all our brave heroes would fight.”

Braintree March 31, 1776

   Tho we felicitate ourselves, we sympathize with those who are trembling least the Lot of Boston should be theirs. But they cannot be in similar circumstances unless pusilanimity and cowardise should take possession of them. They have time and warning given them to see the Evil and shun it. I long to hear that you have declared an independancy and by the way in the new Code of Laws which I suppose it will be necessary for you to make I desire you would Remember the Ladies, and be more generous and favourable to them than your ancestors. Do not put such unlimited power into the hands of the Husbands. Remember all Men would be tyrants if they could. If perticuliar care and attention is not paid to the Laidies we are determined to foment a Rebelion, and will not hold ourselves bound by any Laws in which we have no voice, or Representation.

   That your Sex are Naturally Tyrannical is a Truth so thoroughly established as to admit of no dispute, but such of you as wish to be happy willingly give up the harsh title of Master for the more tender and endearing one of Friend. Why then, not put it out of the power of the vicious and the Lawless to use us with cruelty and indignity with impunity. Men of Sense in all Ages abhor those customs which treat us only as the vassals of your Sex. Regard us then as Beings placed by providence under your protection and in immitation of the Supreem Being make use of that power only for our happiness.

NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament 2013: Day 6, Duke v. Nebraska


Seed Score Team Record Seed Score Team Record Region
(2) 68 Duke 31-2 (7) 59 Oklahoma State 22-11 South
(3) 63 Texas A&M 25-10 * (6) 74 Nebraska 25-8 South


Time Network Seed Team Record Seed Team Record Region
2:30 ESPN (2) Duke 31-2 (6) Nebraska 25-8 South

NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament 2013: Day 6, Notre Dame v. Kansas


Seed Score Team Record Seed Score Team Record Region
(1) 74 Notre Dame 33-1 (9) 57 Iowa 21-13 South
(4) 69 South Carolina 25-6 * (12) 74 Kansas 20-13 South


Time Network Seed Team Record Seed Team Record Region
noon ESPN (1) Notre Dame 33-1 (12) Kansas 20-13 South

Punting the Pundits: Sunday Preview Edition

Punting the Punditsis an Open Thread. It is a selection of editorials and opinions from around the news medium and the internet blogs. The intent is to provide a forum for your reactions and opinions, not just to the opinions presented, but to what ever you find important.

Thanks to ek hornbeck, click on the link and you can access all the past “Punting the Pundits”.

Follow us on Twitter @StarsHollowGzt

The Sunday Talking Heads:

Up with Chris Hayes: As you know Chris Hayes will be hosting a new MSNBC show beginning April 1 at 8 PM EDT that he promises will be the same format as Up. Up‘s new host Steve Carnacki takes over as the Saturday and Sunday host of the new “Up with Steve Carnacki” on April 13. This Sunday and next the best segments of the last two years will be aired.

This Week with George Stephanopolis: Archbishop of New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan speaks to George Stephanopoulos in a special Easter Sunday edition of “This Week.”

Newark Mayor Cory Booker, D-N.J., and Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., join the powerhouse political roundtable to debate all the week’s politics, including the Supreme Court taking on the debate over gay marriage, with ABC News political analyst and special correspondent Matthew Dowd, ABC News senior Washington correspondent Jeff Zeleny, and editor and publisher of The Nation Katrina vanden Heuvel.

A special “This Week” roundtable examines the intersection of religion and politics and the spiritual state of the nation, with writer and religious scholar Reza Aslan; Rev. Calvin Butts, Pastor of the Abyssinian Baptist Church in New York; author and atheist Susan Jacoby; Dr. Richard Land, of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission; and Sojourners president Rev. Jim Wallis, author of “On God’s Side.”

In “This Week“‘s spotlight former White House photographer Eric Draper discusses his new book, “Front Row Seat: A Photographic Portrait of the Presidency of George W. Bush.

Face the Nation with Bob Schieffer: Mr. Schieffer’s talks with Archbishop of New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan on faith and the challenges for the church.

Then, Islamic Society of Boston’s Imam Suhaib Webb, Rabbi David Wolpe of the Sinai Temple in Los Angeles, The Episcopal Diocese of Washington’s Bishop Mariann Budde and Bishop Harry Jackson of Hope Christian Church discuss their faith and challenges facing their congregations.

Ike and Dick author Jeffrey Frank, Coolidge author Amity Shlaes, Those Angry Days author Lynn Olson and The Last Lion author Paul Reid discuss their books.

The Chris Matthews Show: This Sunday’s guest David Ignatius, The Washington Post Columnist; Kathleen Parker, The Washington Post Columnist; Helene Cooper, The New York Times White House Correspondent; and Michael Crowley, TIME senior correspondent.

Meet the Press with David Gregory: The guest on this Sunday’s MTP are  Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) debate immigration reform, same-sex marriage and gun control.

A special panel about the politics of same-sex marriage and the implications from this week’s Supreme Court hearings with Actor Rob Reiner, who was a vocal critic of California’s Proposition 8 and attended the hearings this week; President of the National Organization for Marriage Brian Brown; the Wall Street Journal’s Peggy Noonan; founder and President of the National Action Network, MSNBC’s Rev. Al Sharpton; and NBC News Justice Correspondent Pete Williams.

This week’s political roundtable guests are former top adviser to President Obama, David Axelrod; Former Rep. Tom Davis (R-VA); the Washington Post‘s Eugene Robinson and the Wall Street Journal‘s Peggy Noonan.

State of the Union with Candy Crowley: Ms. Crowley’s guests are Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC); Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT);  Prop 8 opponents David Boies and Ted Olson.

The political panel includes strategists Donna Brazile and Kevin Madden, along with CNN Chief White House Correspondent Jessica Yellin.

And on this Easter Sunday we’ll introduce you to the pastors of the most reviled congregation in America – the Congress. Senate Chaplain Barry Black & House Chaplain Patrick Conroy.

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