Trump or Clinton? Either Way, the Oligarchy Wins

By Jasper Smith (September 28, 2016)

Either way, the oligarchy wins. In Clinton, they get an able and capable administrator who is solicitous of their interests and gives them the security and stability that they and their markets crave. Banks and billionaires are lining up to support the Clinton brand that brought us the Crime Bill, Welfare Reform, NAFTA, and militarism. They consistently prioritized war over the poor with staggering military budgets and declining domestic spending. She will ably maintain the status quo of injustice and increasing inequality with enough of a human face to forestall any genuine revolt or revolution. The Democrats chose not to offer a change candidate in a change election. Elizabeth Warren might have been a better match and mobilizer of the mood of the electorate. Still, Obama showed us how only minimal incremental progress is possible within the two party system. I look forward to a bolder, less constrained Obama as ex-president. 

Trump is more the change candidate the electorate is calling for. They don’t care that he is a lying incompetent hate-monger. They just want someone to blow up the system and don’t care if he gets blown up too. Voters understand the system is too entrenched to change with business as usual. Trump is not the same old same old. Voters hope we will rebuild new and better after Trump’s devastation. They don’t seem to understand that the oligarchs hold all the cards and though they do not relish the cost of cleaning up the mess, they will use crisis as opportunity to perpetuate greater injustice and inequality and roll back gains we have made like they did with the Great Recession, the Great Depression, and with every war and imagined enemy. Andrew Jackson is an apt historical parallel for a Trump presidency. He mobilized the disaffected to allow him to empower the powerful and enrich the rich.

Voting third party at this point is mere protest and not building a change movement. Neither Libertarians nor Greens are on the verge of challenging to be a major party. They need to build at the local level first. If the social libertarian right in the Libertarian Party could join in a new synthesis with the libertarian left in the Greens, there may be a chance to eclipse the Republicans as a second major party that was anti-military, anti-big business and anti-big government, anti-trade deals, and pro-immigration and social freedom and justice.

In sum, not much hope for this election, but hopefully Hilary will inspire many young girls and women who will lead us in the future riding a wave of demographic change and local community activism into a brighter future of greater justice and equality when the US chooses to be a modern nation that is more peaceful, compassionate, and equitable.

Star Trek and the Radical Imagination @ Oregon State


To celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the premiere of Star Trek: The Original Series, the Anarres Project for Alternative Futures presents a program of events that highlight the importance of this landmark science fiction franchise for advancing social justice and pushing the boundaries of the radical imagination.  Here is a listing of the events planned for Fall term 2016:


Star Trek and Black Lives Matter:  Tuesday, October 4, 2016 at 6 pm in Milam Hall 318.

As part of its celebration of the 50th anniversary of the TV series Star Trek, the Anarres Project presents a viewing and discussion of Deep Space Nine’s “Far Beyond the Stars”. This award winning episode is a powerful and emotional examination of racial oppression and police brutality, as well as the power of the radical imagination to envision alternative futures, that is as poignant now as it was when it first aired almost 20 years ago.
Free pizza will be provided to help our conversation along.


The Cultural and Technological Impact of Star Trek:  Tuesday, October 11, 2016 at 4pm in Learning Innovation Center 368

As part of the celebration of the 50th anniversary of Star Trek, the Anarres Project presents Dr. Randall Milstein (OSU Honors College and College of Science) discussing the cultural and technological impact the series has had on society and everday life. Discussion is Free and open to the public.


Star Trek and Social Justice:  Thursday, October 20, 2016 at 4 pm in Milam Hall 301

In celebration of the 50th anniversary of Star Trek, the Anarres Project presents a discussion with Dr. Christina Allaback, the artistic director for the Eugene based Trek Theater, about the social justice emphasis of the classic TV series. She will explain the origins of Trek Theater, how she sees it embracing the lessons of the theater of the oppressed, and what we can learn about social justice from science fiction.


Trek Theatre:  The Drumhead@OSU:  Thursday, October 20, 2016, at 7pm in Learning Innovation Center 228

As part of its celebration of the 50th anniversary of Star Trek, the Anarres Project hosts the Trek Theatre’s performance of Star Trek: TNG’s “The Drumhead”. This classic episode is a story about the clash between state security and the protection of human rights.

There will be a small reception at 6pm before the performance and guests are encouraged to come in their best Star Trek costume.  Small prizes will be available for the best cosplay.


Star Trek and Indigenous Science Fiction:  Thursday, November 10, 2016 12 noon, Native American Longhouse

As part of its celebration of the 50 anniversary of Star Trek, the Anarres Project presents a panel discussion with three Native American artists and scholars who will talk about the way they infuse their work with indigenous metaphor and science fiction/fantasy imagery that sheds new light on the experience of indigenous people in the United States.  Ryan Singer is a painter known for using the landscapes of Star Wars to explore life on the Dine/Navajo nation.  Joel South is an OSU alum and a hip hop artist and writer whose songs and stories bring to life indigenous ways of knowing.  Dr. Grace Dillon is a scholar of the genre of indigenous science fiction and who puts forth the idea that many tales within indigenous oral traditions can be understood as kinds of speculative fiction.

Why I Avoid Using the Term “White Privilege”

By Mark Naison (September 26, 2016)

In challenging racism, even in ways that get in people’s faces, I usually avoid the use of the term “white privilege”. Here is why:

Addressing “whites” as privileged not only erases vast differences in their economic status, including the downward mobility and hardship many have been experiencing in the last 20 years, it fails to account for the trauma that many carry in their personal histories that still haunt their imaginations. US whites are the descendants of many groups, whether Appalachian “hillbillies”, or Jewish, Irish, Italian and Slavic immigrants, who not only had a harsh path to escaping poverty, but have historic memories of starvation, disease and persecution, in some cases in the US, in other cases in their countries of origin. And while an objective observer may see that most now have significant advantages over their African American counterparts in wealth, income, and personal security, traumatic memories still haunt their imaginations in ways that make them feel anything but secure. Trying to erase these experiences and memories by presuming they are irrational virtually assures that the person you are addressing will not hear you, or regard your intervention as hostile or insensitive. And since you want to win some of these people over to fight for the rights of
 Black people, or others under duress, you end up making enemies where you could have recruited friends and allies”

Some of you will write off these reflections as coming from one of the most privileged people in the country, someone who is white, male, tenured, and advantaged in numerous other ways. I make no pretense to hide my own privileges. They are many. However, at a time when many white working class voters and former Democrats are rushing into the arms of Donald Trump, others will consider the argument on its face value.

One more thing: When you describe fair treatment by the government that is supposed to represent you as a “privilege” rather than a basic human right, it reflects a much lower expectation of how government is supposed to function than I would endorse. How black people are treated by law enforcement is UNACCEPTABLE because it violates their basic human rights.  If we regard fair treatment as a “privilege” rather than a right, than the presumed norm we are invoking is that of a dictatorship, not a democracy.

I’ll Never Tell You to Do Anything

By Teka Lark (September 22, 2016)


When I owned a newspaper in South Central Los Angeles I endorsed one candidate over another. I regret that decision, not because I didn’t believe in the candidate I endorsed. I did believe in what that candidate stood for, but I believe the game of politics is evil.

When you endorse one person over another in politics you’re legitimizing the game. You’re saying you feel as if the game is fair. You’re saying that you think the game is a vehicle to get people to freedom. This system isn’t going to free anyone, not in its current format.

So why would I tell you to participate? I truly don’t even feel comfortable discussing it, because I feel it is as relevant to my life as what Beyonce is having for lunch.

Did I say don’t vote? No, I didn’t say that. Did I say to vote? No, I didn’t say that either. I know in this world of black and white and yes or no, there is this lack of understanding of gray or a nuance of opinion or even an opinion that doesn’t end with:

Vote for this Jack Ass.
I don’t believe in binaries.

Just because I don’t agree with something doesn’t mean I am implying people should do the opposite of what I think.

The game of politics is unjust. The two party system compromises with corporate capitalism and the Democrats are not the party of the people. I don’t believe in compromising with assholes. I don’t believe that for the average person that anything is going to change under anyone who does the “revolutionary” act of running for office. I don’t believe you can spare anyone from the side effects of capitalism by running for office. That includes the Greens and that would have included Bernie.

In Los Angeles year after year I saw the poorest sections of L.A .get poorer and poorer. L.A. did become safer (depending on your definition of safety), but that added safety was just for the “better” people coming in to gentrify. Let me state that better and not just regurgitate what keeps getting written to avoid talking about the details of power. Parts of L.A. were made safer for the investors who want to bring in people and projects that could make more them more money.

In Los Angeles I also saw the middle class disappear. In Los Angeles people are either very rich or very poor. This happened under Democrats.

Under a Democratic California, under a bunch of fake nonprofits, under a bunch of racially diverse Southern California based politicians, under a bunch of fake neo­liberals who used the poor for grants and think pieces the actual people of L.A. have gotten poorer.

Recently I moved to New Jersey. On my way out of Los Angeles I stepped over about twenty homeless young people. My friend traveling with me looked a bit disturbed. I tried to put their mind at ease by explaining how it was totally normal that people were living in squalor and sleeping in their own feces. I also explained that there is this nonprofit that is going to build them little houses. Little houses with no bathrooms or kitchens, but better than a cardboard box.

This explanation did not seem to make my friend more comfortable, so then I said, “The valet in L.A. is really cheap, that almost makes up for the other stuff.”

As I went through the other states I wanted to know, “Where are the homeless people?”
I actually kept saying, “There are no homeless people here, where are the homeless people?”

I was used to people being very poor in L.A. The poor are part of the Southern California landscape. They are like the Pacific Ocean and the Hollywood sign.

In L.A. poor college students live in tents surrounding the community colleges.

When I told people in New Jersey about this they said, “Oh they must want to do that. You guys in L.A. are so trendy.”

No, it is not some trendy thing they want to do. The young people here (and some of the old ones) are actually homeless.

And the thing is this, they are kept poor, because that makes more money. It makes more money to keep people poor in Los Angeles than to invest and make it nice. No federal monies, no grants, no tax break incentives if you work to keep a community nice and if it’s a Black or Brown community then why the hell would you want to waste any kind of investment on that when you can just over police it, keep it poor and make sure the jobs pay nothing…I mean with that you can write think piece after think piece on it, you can start all kinds of cool nonprofits, you can do art projects, you can do radio shows, you can do a sort of exploration and seem cool and liberal with your FB updates about how this person of color did this interesting thing and this person of color did that interesting thing…it is like doing missionary work, but you can get home in enough time for drinks and bike riding.

I will never again tell you who to vote for. I will never again imply that your life will be improved, because you punched a hole next to that politician’s name.

I get some people want to vote for the lesser of two evils, but you know…for me I guess because so many of the poor people in L.A. looked like me or maybe because I have empathy or something and don’t think anyone should have to live in squalor, so that the middle class can be numbed as it is dragged to the working class. I say fuck evil, all of evil, even a little bit of evil.

Teka Lark is a journalist, poet and satirist based in the Metropolitan New York area. She is the founder of the Blk Grrrl Book Fair, Feminist Preschool
and the author of the upcoming book, Queen of Inglewood, to be published on Word Palace Press.

Jill Stein Has Convinced Me to Support Hillary

By Chris Lowe (September 22, 2016)


Since last year I have toyed with the idea of pursuing a “safe state” strategy if Bernie Sanders did not get the Democratic nomination, i.e. finding ways to support Hillary Clinton in swing states with money or phone banking, while voting for Jill Stein in Oregon because the Green Party platform is basically social democratic in ways I mainly support, and because I do object to the constriction of our political debates by our version of “the two party system.”

However, the Stein campaign’s strategy is to only criticize Donald Trump by linking him to Hillary Clinton and criticizing both of them simultaneously in the same ways, without calling out the distinctiveness of the evils he represents. Worse, many vocalizations of Stein supporting friends and participants in post-Sanders groups go further, criticizing Clinton exclusively and *never* criticizing Trump, or in some cases, actually arguing that Clinton is worse and more dangerous than Trump.

Thus, the Stein campaign and her supporters have convinced me that to support Stein in any way would be to abandon fundamental commitments that define even minimal progressivism for me.


If people want to be against the “duopoly” of the Democratic Party and the Republican Party, which considerably share neoliberal economics and militarism, I can understand that. I share the criticism of the dominance of neoliberal economics, entirely in the RP and to a large degree in the DP, and of bipartisan U.S. militarism and warfare. I see parties as less important as a focus for changing them than many anti-capitalist and anti-“corporatist” friends.

I don’t understand how supporting Jill Stein would change the duopoly in the least.

I do understand that many people think or hope it might, somehow, and respect that motive for supporting Stein.

What I don’t understand, accept, or respect is ignoring that the duopoly analysis involves TWO parties, and that Donald Trump represents the worst forces and values in RP side of the duopoly, which need to be directly confronted on their own terms, by themselves.

Trump promotes an aggressive racist and misogynist authoritarian nationalism at home. He makes alliance with the anti-woman and anti-LGBTQ religious right, for prominent example in elevating the hard religious right Mike Pence to his VP candidate. Trump also promotes “mainstream” Republican neoliberalism on economics including massive health, safety and ecological deregulation proposals, reversal of expanded social insurance in health care, and aggressive expansion of fossil fuel extraction, exports, and domestic use. His opposition to the TPP is an outlier, and his main statement about that is that he would negotiate “a better deal” for U.S. companies — not seek trade that protects worker rights and the ecology, both of which are anathema to him.

Trump’s mobilization of authoritarian nationalism affects his approach to international affairs, which is not isolationist contrary to some wishful thinking on the left and MSM narratives. He is not anti intervention. He criticizes Democrats for weakness and poor interventions, but wants more. He wants to be freed of restraints that respect for European concerns and Japanese and South Korean concerns might impose on him. He proposes a hostile and aggressive attitude toward Mexico and expanded U.S. warfare in Syria and Iraq.


If Jill Stein were running a campaign that was based on “oppose neoliberalism and militarism in all their forms,” aggressively identifying Trump as a neoliberal, an authoritarian, a bigot, and a warmonger, all of which are true, and making a case for how opposing the duopoly on both sides of it by supporting her offers a path to a better future, I could at least consider supporting her.

But her actual stance of in effect saying that Clinton is a bigger threat than Trump, which is both a lie, and undermines the “duopoly” argument and Stein’s sincerity about it, and the adoption among far too many pro-Stein supporters of that position even more overtly — Stein at least has the grace to be a little murky about it — makes it impossible for me even to consider supporting her, as I once did consider.

There is NOTHING progressive about giving Trump a pass.

The Left Underestimates the Danger of Trump

By Arun Gupta (September 21, 2016)


I know it’s the fifth anniversary of Occupy Wall Street, but there is little to celebrate at such a grim moment. That being the likelihood Trump may very well win.
If he does, Black Lives Matter will be declared a domestic terrorist outfit, just like the Earth Liberation Front was under Bush.
Trump and Attorney General Giuliani would relish using the National Guard to crush blockades of oil pipelines and trains, and indigenous people defending their lands. There will be no more climate justice movement or even hesitant steps toward limiting climate change.An English-only law would likely be passed, DACA be withdrawn, and sanctuary cities outlawed. White supremacists, Neo-Nazis, the Klan, and the Alt-Right would all be welcome into his administration, overtly or covertly.

There would be an all-out assault on reproductive rights and Planned Parentood

Significant gains made at the National Labor Relations Board in the last few years will be overturned.

Huge swaths of the West under federal control will be turned over to logging, ranching, mining, and oil and gas industries.

Tens of millions would go from inadequate healthcare to no healthcare.

The Alt Right will aggressively disrupt the left.

Massive voter suppression becomes the norm.

There will be organized vigilante violence, perhaps even mini-pogroms, against Muslim and Mexican communities with the state turning a blind eye.

Don’t think it can’t happen; the WWI period saw hideous pogroms against African-Americans and Chicanos with state support. Entire communities were wiped out and thousands killed.

This would just be the beginning. Trump makes Reagan’s Voodoo economic policies like a beacon of rational economic planning. His combination of budget-busting tax cuts, decimating social welfare, roiling U.S. alliances, and abrogating free-trade deals would send the economy into a nosedive. As soon as a recession hits, Trump would immediately go hunting for scapegoats to distract his followers. This could include a ban on Muslim immigration, a registration program, and mass round-ups of immigrants, meaning concentration camps to hold them before they were ousted, overseen by his “deportation force” of Brownshirts.

There is a quaint notion on the left that somehow Trump is hot air. This ignores the dynamics he’s set in motion that will make new types of state-sponsored racial violence all but inevitable. This is not just a quantitative change over Obama and Clinton, but a qualitative one. In fact, it may even be worse that what I am outlining here. This is a man who muses about using nuclear weapons, he ignores even basic bourgeois political norms or rules, and he is lustily cheered by tens of millions when he calls for the assassination of his opponents and mass ethnic cleansing.

Yet a significant portion of the left is obsessed with how terrible Hillary Clinton is, both as a candidate and politically. As if this is somehow news. I see very little from the Facebook left on the extreme dangers Trump represents. I’ve gone to six different Trump events, and it’s evident he has consolidated a white nationalist movement that is demanding a 21st century apartheid state. Even if it doesn’t happen right away, Trump will inevitably go down this path as he sabotages the entire economy and U.S. foreign relations.

Meanwhile, there is a bizarre faith on the left that the ruling class will somehow keep him in check, despite the fact he will have control over every branch of government. This is matched by a warped belief that somehow extreme racist violence will create new left-wing mass movements. In reality, all the recent organizing gains will whither as the left is forced to wage losing defensive struggles against violent white nationalists.

No one will be able to stop his dictatorial, white supremacist agenda. Congress won’t stop him. He will have a majority on the Supreme Court, and while sections of the ruling class may be deeply unhappy, they will still be safe and obscenely wealthy and can always escape.

This election is a choice between two movements. Do you want to see movements like Black Lives Matter, Climate Justice, low-wage workers, immigrant rights, and other left social forces continue to grow and develop? Or do you want to see Neo-Nazis, the Klan, the Alt-Right on the offense and backed by a Trump administration?

A painful, radical truth: we are the problem


By S. Brian Willson (September 21, 2016)

As much as we choose to blame politicians, corporations, the military industrial complex, capitalist economics, etc., for causing our severe problems, in the end, virtually all of us moderns are complicit. None of these institutions have been created in a vacuum. They are creations of human beings like ourselves, and most “First World” peoples demand continuance of incredible material consumption at the expense of outsourcing unspeakable consequences to other people and the Earth. We have become slaves to money, things, technology, and comfort and convenience (me, too). This is totally unsustainable – ecologically, or morally.

Our own lifestyles provide the political and economic fuel feeding this system. Our lives are now totally dependent upon the elaborate infrastructure of imperial plunder, gouging the earth and other cultures of their lifeblood, including electricity, requiring mining of and burning carbon. And most of us are in debt to sustain this modern materialism, precluding the kind of fierce independence needed for serious collective obstruction of business as usual while abandoning our dependence upon the system.

We have been the problem; now we have the opportunity to save ourselves by becoming the solution – not by obeying or abiding by the system, but by re-configuring ourselves in very local, simple tool and food sufficient communities – thousands of them in communication with one another. The stakes are high – our survival with dignity, even if with substantially reduced numbers.

RX: Radical downsizing/simplicity, replacing national currency with local community cooperation and sharing. In essence, sharing and caring in communities within each bioregion.