On Building A Progressive People’s Party

We are one- understand empathy

For those who think that the way to create a “progressive people’s party” is to mimic the Republicans and elect school board members, city councilpersons, city alderpersons, county supervisors, etc:

Disclaimer: Yes, this needs to be done and it needs to be done with a vengeance, but that is not the way the Republicans accomplished the take over of the American political scene. 

First: it was not the Republicans who took over the American political scene. Republicans were at one point in American history the more progressive of the two parties. It wasn’t Republicans who took over the American political scene and it wasn’t the Republicans who took over the Republican Party: it was those who were enervated by the “Billionaire Class” to ensure the continued resurgence of Massive Wealth Inequality which benefits none but the to 10% or 20%, but primarily the top 1% and more especially the top 0.1% wealthiest Americans. It was those who, inaccurately, call themselves, and are called by most CONSERVATIVEs. To illustrate let me refer you to the 1956 Republican Party Platform:

Eisenhower’s Republican Party was very different from today’s.

In anticipation for its convention next week, the Republican Party has drafted what one committee member called “the most conservative platform in modern history.” The draft platform includes tenets like calling for women to be excluded from combat roles in the military and support for the Arizona anti-immigrant law.
But things weren’t always this way. The Republican platform was at one time surprisingly progressive — in 1956. Let’s take a look at some key planks of the party’s platform that year:
On Labor and Wages: The platform boasted that “the Federal minimum wage has been raised for more than 2 million workers. Social Security has been extended to an additional 10 million workers and the benefits raised for 6 1/2 million. The protection of unemployment insurance has been brought to 4 million additional workers. There have been increased workmen’s compensation benefits for longshoremen and harbor workers, increased retirement benefits for railroad employees, and wage increases and improved welfare and pension plans for federal employees.” It called for changes to the anti-union Taft-Hartley Act to “more effectively protect the rights of labor unions” and to “assure equal pay for equal work regardless of sex.”
On Welfare and Health: The platform demanded “once again, despite the reluctance of the Democrat 84th Congress, Federal assistance to help build facilities to train more physicians and scientists.” It emphasized the need to continue the “extension and perfection of a sound social security system,” and boasted of the party’s recent history of supporting “enlarged Federal assistance for construction of hospitals, emphasizing low-cost care of chronic diseases and the special problems of older persons, and increased Federal aid for medical care of the needy.”
On Civil Rights, Gender Equality, and Immigration: The platform supported “self-government, national suffrage and representation in the Congress of the United States for residents of the District of Columbia.” With regards to ending discrimination against racial minorities, the party took pride that “more progress has been made in this field under the present Republican Administration than in any similar period in the last 80 years.” It also recommended to Congress “the submission of a constitutional amendment providing equal rights for men and women.” Its section on immigration actually recommended expanding immigration to America, supporting ”the extension of the Refugee Relief Act of 1953 in resolving this difficult refugee problem which resulted from world conflict.”
“Should any political party attempt to abolish social security, unemployment insurance, and eliminate labor laws and farm programs, you would not hear of that party again in our political history. There is a tiny splinter group, of course, that believes you can do these things. Among them are…a few…Texas oil millionaires, and an occasional politician or business man from other areas. Their number is negligible and they are stupid,” wrote Republican President Dwight Eisenhower to his brother in 1954. Unfortunately, this splinter group is now in charge of this once-respectable political party.

http://boldprogressives.org/2012/08/the-surprisingly-progressive-republican-party-platform-of-1956/

As should be easily comprehensible the 1950s Republican Party was easily as far left as the Democratic Party of today. Some would suggest-further left. Thus, it was not Republicans who overtook their party & the American political scene: it was, what we today call, the Billionaire Class––the 0.1% richest Americans who took over the Republican Party and the American Political Scene. What’s more they also took over the Democratic Party. The only “dyed in the wool New Deal Democrat” left in Congress is not even a Democrat: He is an Independent–Senator Bernie Sanders. Yes, there are others who adhere to “bits and pieces” of the New Deal, but I question their actual motivation because few of them are willing to fight “tooth and nail” for those principles. They use the excuse “We must compromise because we are so weak.” Why are they so weak? I submit it is, in part, because circa 1972 Democrats as a “Party” made the conscious decision to appeal, for their campaign war chests, to that very Billionaire Class. I further submit the real reason Democrats rely on the Billionaires is because they, the Democrats in Congress, love being Millionaires.

However, this is only part of the story. In fact it is but a small part of the story. It is the result of the real story. The real story is much darker as it involves a very long history of “dark money”, of hidden agendas involving the establishment of “Charitable Trusts and Foundations.” All of which, as far as I have been able to determine, were created by the Billionaire Class. This was to ensure something the Founders and Framers feared nearly as much as a “Standing Army”. That something was an “Inherited Aristocracy.” 

Nearly all these foundations were “Tax Havens”. They were a means by which the Billionaire Class could manipulate their money for socio-political purposes with very little to no oversight. The oversight was considered forego-able because these “Trusts” and “Foundations” were “Non-Profits”. Some examples are “The American Enterprise Institute,” (a Koch Brothers Think Tank); The Heritage Foundation, The Federalist Society, and many, many more none of which are benign. They were created to “shape American’s thinking” about but not limited to: the evils of the “social safety net”, the need to eliminate Medicare, Medicaid, food stamps, unemployment compensation and yes, the privatization (destruction of) Social Security.” It was and is necessary to eliminate these and similar programs because they offer the common person a minimum level of independence from the “Billionaire Class” not because they are evils in and of themselves. Of course they are presented as inherently evil, but from the “Billionaire Class’s” perspective the evil is that money they claim the right to is shared with commoners: people with no “class” nor “dignity” nor integrity.

Of course we, the common people, cannot donate what we do not have, “Billions of Idle Dollars” just waiting to be put to “good use,” so we will have to use what we have–numbers: “We are many and they are few.” But…, if we rely on the institutions that “Jack Built” (Jack being a euphemism for money) including the current political parties we will continually be subverted from the goal of creating a “progressive people’s party.”

My prescription: Find and support truly progressive candidates (regardless of party affiliation) and encourage those who hold truly progressive views and values to become candidates. This is how the Regressives (faux Conservatives) took over American politics. This is the only way we, the common person can recreate this nation and this world making them a place where ordinary, common people can live with dignity, honor and integrity.

_________

Featured image from robalini.blogspot.com
Understanding Empathy image from
File:Day 14 Occupy Wall Street September 30 2011 Shankbone.JPG
Created: 30 September 2011

_________

Roger Willis Mills, II

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Righteous Indignation vs. Faux Outrage

I have a question for Democrats and supporters of MSNBC. For the record I watch a good deal of MSNBC (not so much by choice rather by circumstance. I see a great deal of outrage about a comment made by a staffer of the Trump White House concerning a tasteless comment she made about John McCain and his suffering brain cancer. Don’t misunderstand me as I think anyone who would utter such tasteless comments as she did in official settings should be thoroughly reprimanded and perhaps even discharged.
My problem is not with this so much as with a contrasting lack of commentary of the physical abuse of a person who served in the CIA for 27 years and who served at the highest levels with distinction. Where, on MSNBC and/or other “liberal media” organs, is the outrage at the dislocation of the arm of an 87 year old man, who served his government (and the same government those senators now form and which is the same government MSNBC claims to be so concerned with the direction of) with honor and distinction. This location of Ray McGovern’s arm was done by police inside the capital building as numerous Senators of both parties, (all of whom should know McGovern by sight as he is such a well know figure in their closed world) watched without any demands for the end of this indecent treatment of a man who had served in US government for decades and who before their very eyes allowed without comment as to the inappropriate treatment of a citizen exercising his constitutional right to protest the actions of his government. In fact, Gina Haspel’s being brought before the Senate for conformation hearings is an outrage that should have every honest citizen of this nation in a state of outrage and that without the added insult to our “way of life” as was perpetrated on camera before the senate as was done to Ray McGovern.
My question is: Why is MSNBC wasting viewers time complaining about a tasteless comment when they have aired virtually nothing (nothing at all, as far as I have seen) about this very real outrage?
Now consider others whom the Democrats and MSNBC have supported who were equally responsible for torture and illegal “extraordinary rendition” (a.k,a., kidnapping) many, many innocent persons in the name of “national security”. For instance, John Brennan who served GW Bush as Director of the National Counterterrorism Center from National Counterterrorism Center
Please, those of you who think the Democratic Party is worth salvaging and who consider MSNBC a “legitimate” news source, don’t hesitate to help me understand this propaganda by omission which, btw, is the way propaganda works most of the time. That is, by telling partial truths (lying by omission) and leaving out essential elements of the back story and/or simply what should be considered pertinent information.

January 13, 2018 Report from DiEM25

DiEM25

We’re kicking off the new year with some exciting news: if our members approve it, DiEM25 could participate in its first electoral contest as soon as this March!

After our membership-wide vote* last November to activate an ‘electoral wing’ and bring our movement’s progressive agenda to ballots across the EU, our local group (DSC) in Amsterdam got hands-on and has now registered a political party there.

Here’s how they did it:

•As per the procedure outlined in the approved electoral wing proposal**, and upon consulting with DiEM25’s Coordinating Collective (CC), DSC-Amsterdam held various meetings last month to discuss their potential participation in this year’s municipal elections (March 2018).

•Once they polled the local members and agreed to take DiEM25 to the ballot, DSC-Amsterdam contacted the CC again to further consult on the following steps, namely: register DiEM25 as a political party (the deadline to register ahead of the municipal elections was December 27), and begin drafting the programme, list of candidates and overall proposal that DiEM25’s members in every corner of Europe will need to vote on.

•Of course, registering a political party does not mean that DiEM25 will definitely participate in any electoral contest. This is just a first step!

Thus, DSC-Amsterdam will soon present their full proposal and seek our members’ support via our usual internal voting procedures.

At the end of 2017, we outlined our achievements*** thus far, as well as our desire to turn 2018 into the year we prepare to confront the Establishment head-on. And while the 2019 European Parliament elections continue to be our electoral wing’s main focus, we are very excited, proud and encouraged by DSC-Amsterdam’s initiative to take our struggle to their municipality: A bottom-up struggle to challenge the incumbents, defy the establishment and turn Amsterdam into a rebel city!

Today it’s Amsterdam, tomorrow? It’s begun!

Carpe DiEM25!

Luis Martín
>>DiEM25 Communications Coordinator

*   DiEM25 prepares to compete in elections
The results are in: With 72.98% turnout, our members voted an overwhelming ‘YES!’ to whether DiEM25 should be able to compete in elections. This vote is the result of an immense exercise of consensus building after months of passionate internal debate, hundreds of amendments and proposals from members across the world, two Facebook Live chats, a Q+A, and several articles.
Crucially, this does not mean our movement will transform into a political party — rather, we now have the option of being both! Today’s decision is a go-ahead from our members to set up an ‘electoral wing’, with which we may compete in future elections. DiEM25 members do not have to join our electoral efforts if they prefer not to… but every DiEM25 member will continue to take part in shaping DiEM25 policies across Europe!
So what’s our next step? While the Establishment arrests politicians in Catalonia and artists in Serbia, and looks the other way while the rich evade taxes, we continue to build alliances with progressive political actors at all levels — national, municipal and regional — to bring our European New Deal proposals to ‘a ballot box near you’. Like Razem in Poland, The Alternative in Denmark, the Czech Republic (where two of our members were recently elected to parliament) and progressive politicians in Italy, France, Spain, Croatia and beyond.
But now, empowered by our members’ landmark decision today, we’re also poised to potentially register political parties in key battlegrounds where alliances may not be possible or desirable.
As ever, our members will decide. Thanks to all who voted. These difficult times just became a little more hopeful — join us and let’s take back Europe!
(Quick details of the vote: Only full members who verified their identity, accessed their account in the last three months and joined us before the vote was called, could vote. The total number of people that fit this criteria were 8,312, out of 60,000 total members. Turnout was 72.98%, therefore 6,066 people.)
**  Not Just Another Political Party
A proposal from the Coordinating Collective for a DiEM25 ‘electoral wing’ Europe’s only transnational political movement puts forward the idea of a transnational political party as one of its tools for democratising Europe
Introduction
We consider the model of national parties which form flimsy alliances at the level of the European Parliament to be obsolete. While the fight for democracy-from below (at the local, regional or national levels) is necessary, it is nevertheless insufficient if it is conducted without an internationalist strategy toward a pan-European coalition for democratising Europe. European democrats must come together first, forge a common agenda, and then find ways of connecting it with local communities and at the regional and national level.
—Extract from DiEM25’s Manifesto
From the day DiEM25 was inaugurated in Berlin, in February 2016, we have been saying that we have no urge to contest elections, in the daily hustle of what passes for “politics”. We would rather continue in our chosen areas of activism, while supporting existing progressive political parties./big>
Alas, Europe’s crisis and slow descent into a quagmire of incompetent authoritarianism does not give us the right to do so. The window for us to effect change is closing and this has become even more pressing after the recent German election, which killed off the last remaining hope for a federalist democratic push by Macron and Merkel. Time is running short. If DiEM25 is to make any impact on the 2019 pan-European (EP) elections; if our movement really wants to act before Europe disintegrates; if we want to redress climate change or the dominance of xenophobia before it is too late… we must decide soon.
In our first year, DiEM25 worked hard to generate a Progressive Policy Agenda for Europe. One that would confront head-on “Euro-TINA”, the toxic belief that there can be no alternative in the EU. At our Rome event on March 25, 2017, we introduced our European New Deal (END) a strong answer to the question: “What should be done?” On that occasion, we promised to turn immediately on the next question: “Who should do it?”
We need to seize every opportunity available to us. This is especially important for our ‘European New Deal’ economic agenda – our proposals to (a) stabilise the Eurozone by measures that can be implemented without treaty changes or new institutions, and (b) forge closer integration with other European countries either in the EU (but not in the Eurozone) or in the periphery of the EU (or moving out of the EU, e.g. the UK).
So while our critique of party politics and the obsolete nature of current political formations remains valid, enabling Europeans to vote for DiEM25’s proposals will allow us to add an additional tool through which our movement can influence the political landscape.
Existing options to present our agenda to European citizens/voters
The European political landscape is vast and varied. If we want to take our agenda to the ballot box, we must be flexible and adaptable. Here are the means we have employed so far:
•Asking candidates to sign a charter committing them to DiEM25 policies (and holding them accountable to their word!)
•Endorsing candidates, parties or coalitions with a clear-cut political programme that is in line with our Progressive Agenda
•Working for a progressive alliance whenever possible
•Creating a quasi-permanent partnership with local parties that might act as our ‘electoral wing’ in a given state, region or municipality (a movement that is setting out to attract parties, rather than the other way around)
The proposal
We now propose to add a further option to those mentioned above:
Creating a DiEM25 ‘electoral wing’ which will enable our movement to act as a catalyst that brings about a transnational, pan-European party list, uniting political actors who are ready to embrace DiEM25’s agenda. This will enable DiEM25 supporters all across Europe, as well as parties, social movements, NGOs and citizens’ groups that support our principles and agenda, to join hands in a pan-European political revolution. DiEM25 will thus remain a movement, whose members guide its policies as they do now, while developing an electoral wing which catalyses political developments.
The nature of DiEM25’s ‘electoral wing’
• A revolutionary, historic first: DiEM25’s ‘electoral wing’ will take in each country the form of a political party that represents our transnational, pan-European political movement in selected electoral contests. It will not necessarily contest elections, preferring to support other political actors (e.g. entering an electoral alliance with them) or simply abstaining, but it is also ready to contest elections if DiEM25 members all over Europe decide that the conditions in the said country are ripe.
• Transnationality: DiEM25’s ‘electoral wing’ will be the first transnational party list with a genuine transnational decision-making structure, a truly pan-European campaign, and election manifestos, as well as policy papers in general, for each country party being approved by all DiEM25 members across Europe. DiEM25 thus remains the transnational movement which authors the manifesto and policies of each member-state manifestation of our ‘electoral wing’. As an example, our German, French, Italian etc. members will have to approve our Greek election manifesto, and our Greek, Italian, French etc. members the German one.
• Inclusive and participatory in policy design: DiEM25’s ‘electoral wing’ will campaign in each country within the scope of our Progressive Agenda for Europe and its seven pillars. Our inclusive and participatory White Paper process will continue at pan-European level, as today, feeding into the manifestos of our ‘electoral wing’ in different countries. The task of the ‘electoral wing’ will be to reach the mainstream and to imbue national politics with this transnational DiEM25 agenda.
• Transnational candidates: DiEM25 will consider cross-national candidacies, beginning with the May 2019 European Parliament election. E.g. a German DiEM25 member running in Greece, a Greek in Germany, an Italian in France, a Belgian in Spain etc. (electoral legislation constraints notwithstanding). Thus, we will put into action transnationality in a manner that helps create the European Demos that Europe’s future democracy necessitates.
• Non-Partisan: At the heart of our political mission lies the simple truth that if Europe is not democratised, it will disintegrate. DiEM25’s call has been answered by women and men of various political backgrounds, brought together by the aim of driving through a transformation to our political system, and an upgrade to our democracy. Hence, DiEM25’s ‘electoral wing’ is not ‘partisan’ in the traditional political sense of being guided by political tribalism. The scale and importance of our mission instructs us to look beyond political cleavages and petty party politics, and instead support any and all who agree with us that Europe can and must be democratised, and join us in forming the force that ushers in the internationalist democracy of the future.
• Optional membership: True to our promise of non-partisanship, and as a demonstration of how DiEM25 challenges the standard relationship between movement and members, there will be absolutely no compulsion of DiEM25 members automatically to become members of its ‘electoral wing’ in their country of residence: membership of any political party or alliance set up by DiEM25 will be on an opt-in basis for each of its members.
• Multiple membership: DiEM25 members will not only have the option of not joining our ‘electoral wing’ in their country of residence but will also retain the right to continue to belong to other political parties, as long as the latter’s principles and policy agenda do not clash with DiEM25’s Manifesto.
• All-member debates and votes: The electoral manifesto and charter of national parties under the DiEM25 ‘electoral wing’ will be debated and approved via all-member DiEM25 internal votes — including, naturally, all DiEM25 members independently of whether they have joined the electoral wing or not.
• Mobilisation: Any pan-European movement without an electoral presence (at least in the forthcoming European Parliament elections) tends to impotence. And a pan-European party list without a coherent transnational pan-European movement behind it can only repeat the failures of the past. We need both. By acquiring an ‘electoral wing’, DiEM25 will not lose its character as a movement. On the contrary, it will gain strength by effectively pushing its policy agenda on the canvas of pre-election campaigns and, later, within parliamentary processes. The unprecedented overlap of major crises facing Europe calls for, concurrently: (i) a comprehensive political response and (ii) the transnational mobilisation of social pressure on governmental institutions to ensure change. We conceive a ‘party’ as a mechanism to facilitate and expedite social mobilisation, giving a clear end-point to our demands for change. Our transnational party list will, besides seeking to win electoral support from voters, serve to provide a clear theory of change to our mobilisations on the ground and to facilitate those at European level.
Motivation
The option of forging an alliance that promotes DiEM25’s Progressive Agenda for Europe in Brussels comprising existing nation-state-based parties does not exist. Most progressive parties are already divided, with sizeable factions within them clearly opposed to our radical Europeanism. If we insist on such an alliance we shall get trapped in opportunistic alliances that condemn DiEM25’s Progressive Agenda for Europe to obscurity and DiEM25 to a certain eclipse.
We are, of course, open to creating alliances. But to create alliances that put DiEM25’s Progressive Agenda for Europe at their centre, DiEM25 must develop its own electoral instrument, its own ‘electoral wing’. Once DiEM25’s ‘electoral wing’ is up and running, collaboration with political actors genuinely interested in DiEM25’s Progressive Agenda will become more feasible and honest.
Procedure
• Step 1: DiEM25 registers a political party in as many European (not just EU) countries as it is feasible. These parties will have a new name consisting of a title selected for the particular country, accompanied by ‘DiEM25’ e.g. ‘XXXXX-DiEM25’. (The option of calling the party simply ‘DiEM25’ remains.)
• Step 2: DiEM25 seeks alliances with existing political parties in the specific country. If an agreement is reached, along the lines of our Progressive Agenda for Europe and European New Deal, the party list presented to voters will be labelled YYYYY-DiEM25, where YYYYY is the name of the party with which the alliance has been struck. (E.g. ‘Razem-DiEM25’ in Poland.)
• Step 3: If no such alliance is possible, DiEM25 members across Europe will decide, in an all-member vote, whether ‘XXXXX-DiEM25’ will contest the elections on its own or not at all in the said country.
• Transnational candidates: DiEM25 will consider cross-national candidacies, beginning with the May 2019 European Parliament election. E.g. a German DiEM25 member running in Greece, a Greek in Germany, an Italian in France, a Belgian in Spain etc. (electoral legislation constraints notwithstanding). Thus, we will put into action transnationality in a manner that helps create the European Demos that Europe’s future democracy necessitates.
Coordination: DiEM25’s Electoral Forum
To ensure that the transnational party list and the various country-specific manifestos are in line with the above and with DiEM25’s principles and procedures, DiEM25 will inaugurate an Electoral Forum comprising members of the Coordinating Collective (CC), the various National Collectives (NCs) and representatives of the political actors with whom DiEM25’s ‘electoral wing’ is collaborating.
Which elections? Our horizon must be 2019
The question of which elections we contest, and which not, will always be decided by our members on a case-by-case basis. However, a splendid start would be for DiEM25 to aim for the 2019 European Parliament elections. General/parliamentary elections will be harder to contest before DiEM25 parties are well established and have done the necessary preparatory work.
The 2019 elections offer us a chance to harness Europe’s only transnational democratic moment. While traditional parties remain visionless, trapped in the limits of national competition, DiEM25 can make the pan-European electoral process its platform for Europe’s first genuinely transnational campaign. This will be a stupendous chance to show that another Europe already exists and is ready to make its presence felt from the ground up. All across our continent.
[This document is the result of discussions among our membership that started in Spring 2017 and concluded on October 20, 2017 (when the amendments process ended). It reflects amendments from all DiEM25 members that submitted them.]
*** DiEM25’s 2018 will prepare for TINA’s demise in May 2019
Almost two years ago, we got together under DiEM25’s broad umbrella to challenge old-style politics, to shatter TINA – the Establishment’s ‘There is No Alternative’ doctrine – at the pan-European level, to turn Europe’s democratisation into a radical, realistic, uniting project.
2017 was an awful year for European democracy. But it was an amazing year for DiEM25. We:
• Rallied tens of thousands of people in cities including Amsterdam, Athens, Brussels, Berlin, Dublin, Hamburg, London, Paris, and Rome, and toured the breadth and length of Greece and Italy, demonstrating that There is An Alternative; that Another Europe Is Already Here!
• Nurtured our activists. There are now 70,000 DiEMers in almost every country on the planet!
• Launched and pushed specific campaigns to expose the Establishment’s worst abuses – and we just filed a lawsuit against the European Central Bank to force them to release #TheGreekFiles
Launched our European New Deal, our concrete social and economic Policy Agenda, crowd-sourced from DiEMers and experts across the world
• Influenced elections with our interventions, like in Germany, France and the UK, and supported/partnered with candidates or parties that embraced them, like in Catalonia, Zagreb, Denmark and Poland.
• Welcomed progressive leaders to our movement, like Naomi Klein and Richard Sennett
Kickstarted the process for taking the European New Deal to a polling station near every European – at the Volksbühne Theatre, in Berlin
• Began electing our Coordinating Collective
• Presented the Real State of the Union – in Brussels, at the Bozar Theatre
• Set in motion the ‘Not Just Another Political Party’ endeavour
Elected our first National Collectives, taking to new levels our ambitious experiment in grassroots transnational democracy – with all members (despite nationality) voting for different national collectives
And we did this by working our hearts out, supported only by you, our members, with modest donations!
2018 will be another difficult year for European democracy. So, let’s make 2018 DiEM25’s year. Let’s work hard to:
•Establish our electoral wing as a significant transnational political force across Europe, in preparation for the May 2019 European Parliament Elections
•Deepen democracy within our movement
•Make DiEM25 the first movement that uses the electoral process to change Europe, rather than allowing the electoral process (the old-style grubby way of ‘doing politics’) to change us
2018 will be no ordinary year. Recently we decided with a huge majority of our members that we should be able to compete in elections to bring our Progressive Agenda to the people of Europe. Our focal point is, naturally, the European Parliament Elections in May 2019.
That means we have just 17 months to make an impact! During these 17 months we must:
•Grow our activist base like never before
•Finalise our Progressive Agenda and adapt it to specific countries, regions and cities
•Consolidate alliances with progressive partners who stand behind our proposals — or run for elections on our own.
In short, we need to build a political machine that will make electorates in 2019 sit up and take notice. And do this while keeping that ‘machine’ subservient to our movement; in accordance with our collective decision that DiEM25 does not become a political party but, instead, creates political/electoral wings so as to use elections as one of its tools for bringing change about across Europe.
It’s only people like you, our committed members and activists who can do this.

Are we an Aristocracy or a Capitalist Society?

In response to a friend who wrote, “I do use “progressive” because it seems better than a lot of other options, but it’s certainly overused by those who aren’t. I wish we could win elections in Rankin county saying syndicalist, socialist or anarcho-communist, but that doesn’t seem likely.”

I know, I understand. I don’t have a problem with others using these terms as long as they are reasonably close to what they present themselves to be.

I like to present myself as “not being” ideological, but because I tend to call out others on their ideological-nesses and refuse to buy into their personal “progressive-istic-ness” I am often labeled as being ideological. I guess I am ideological because if it hurts a mass of people then I view whatever it is as bad; however, I like to consider myself as something more than the “casual political observer”, thus it is often difficult to persuade me unless you have a very well thought out marxian analysis.

Once again I don’t often refer to myself as a marxist. That is a pretty large field and the depth of my understandings in economics is pretty shallow (the dismal science, you know.) But the baseline for me seems to be how does something effect “average, ordinary, everyday, people” vis-à-vis the “ruling class” with a small intermediating “middle class”.

I tend to shy away from typical “leftist” language. I hate to be called “comrade”, for instance, because the majority of people I know who “love” to use that term simply want to “clothe” themselves in the mystic of… of… of whichever branch of the “brotherhood” (can I refer that to something so exotic as “humanity” and get away with it) thereby lifting themselves into some illusory “seventh heaven” of some body of socialist perspective with at best a rudimentary identification with the greater whole. I say a rudimentary identification with the greater whole as nearly to a person they have a visceral hatred for some segment of humanity. I don’t believe we can hate and love at the same time. Oh, yes, I know the Goebbels children loved “Uncle Adolf” and he loved them, but that is my point: that it, for the Aristocratic/capitalist class to “love anyone” they have to break the whole into segments. They simply don’t have the capacity to “love everyone”. How can we separate ourselves from others if what we do in the end is to replicate their ideology? That is to say, “If we behave as they behave, then we become as they are, perhaps toward a different “us” to their “them” but no essential difference.

It seems to me if “Socialism” (big “s” or small “s”, no matter) to succeed in the final analysis it will have to bridge all gaps and span all chasms and heal all wounds. For that to occur we have to all recognize that we are all one and not just those “like” us. This “us vs. them” dichotomy must come to an end and the fact that so many ostensibly within the “socialist or leftist” camp still insist on viewing everything in this “Aristocratic/capitalist class” worldview of an “us vs. them” dichotomy bothers me. Yes, yes, yes… we have to deal with the fact that they see things that way, as well as, the fact that the Aristocratic/capitalist class wants us to view the world this way, also. “But,” I ask, “why should we do what the Aristocratic/capitalist class wants us to?”

No, I am not defending “capitalists” I’m defending humanity. I will gladly condemn “capitalism” or “aristocracy” or any other system that pits human against human, but I will not the people in those classes. We all exist somewhere on the path together and at the same time. Some are either a little farther along than others and some a little farther back than others and when we reach the goal we will reach it together or we will fail to get there at all. The question is “Can we identify with everyone, including the “the Aristocratic/capitalist class” without loosing our connection with anyone else. I have been using the term “aristocracy” because we are well beyond anything resembling “capitalism” now. We live in a “rentier” society. A financialized society. We no longer live in a “producing” society. But this is a blog for another time.

Allow me a slightly different spin on this topic:

What I am suggesting is that only when we, the ordinary folk come to understand that we are all the same and that their money is part and parcel of the whole and that they hoard it and they THAT THEY, THE “GREEDY PIGS” HAVE TO BE BROUGHT INTO THE FOLD instead of being allowed to convince themselves and us that they are special in some way will we as a race, the human race, come to the fullness of our potential.

 

Roger Willis Mills, II

On the Nature of Fake News

#FromADearAndTrustedFriend from the Land of Rainbows
The war between free thought and social conformity, verging on dictatorship these days, has been fought for quite some time. The propaganda machines and their special rhetorical forces have continually divorced people from their ability to consciously think for themselves by mass dissemination of misinformation and disinformation. There is still resistance to allowing free access of quality information with which average people can use to formulate their thoughts in regard to their natural and human rights.
My fear is this. In a classic military battle you have offense and defense both fairly easy to identify and counter, but this system of disinformation produces the sly option of evasion. This form of evasion through the use of misinformation and disinformation is the weapon of the ruling elite which I think has the most impact. It is far to easy for the exploiters of the people to overwhelm the people’s conscious awareness so as to prevent the public to focus on the intent to completely redirect their mental focus because of a technique that often is so subtle as to be imperceptible.
I fear when people who should be able to see eye to eye and fight for the common goal are thereby completely incapable of such a concerted effort because they have become fixated on some little thing like a word (and it’s possible social ramifications), or trigger topics. I view this as a technique which could be termed “evasive rhetoric”. “Trigger words” placed as if they are landmines arrayed in order to keep the “warriors of the righteous” from reaching their common goal by causing separation and descent. And I certainly believe that the other side is capable of placing them, planting these ideas into the minds of their confronters. What do you think?
This post is to some degree a reaction to the preceding piece by my very good friend who must remain anonymous due to the repressive nature of the exploiters from whom he must eek out a living. It was also inspired by a conversation with my very best friend and brother Steve. And it has been informed by all the books I have read, the people I have engaged with and the experiences of my life.

The most powerful force in politics is the psychic (mind-tinged with emotion; or emotive thought) energies of the people, primarily of the “working-class” (many of whom have been sold the idea that they are in the so-called “middle-class”. Make no mistake about it if you earn your living working for someone else and are not in their management team (1) then you are working-class no matter how well you get paid or what neighborhood you live in. This will comprise between something like 60%-80% of the population (2). Traditionally the ruling elite have comprised between 1% and 5%. By some analyses I have read suggest the ruling elite in mid- to late-18th century Europe (specifically England) were about 5% of the population. The “middle-class,” the “entrepreneurial class” or, more anciently, the “merchant-class” tended to comprise about 5%-20%… This traditionally left upwards of 80% of the population who were responsible for the actual creation of wealth which they have never been permitted to keep as the ruling elite held the “monopoly of violence” by which they extracted the produce of the “producing class”. On these figures I am providing gross estimates which should serve as a general guide and they should be read as just that: a general guide: I stand to be corrected on the precise figures. To do this required they, the ruling elite distribute some portion to a buffer class traditionally called the “merchant/artisan class”. I am here choosing not to address the fullness of the “First Estate” which traditionally included not only the King and Queen but the higher ranking clergy. This subject will have to await another post.

The common method of controlling this enormous psychic force seems to be divided into two primary strategies:

Firstly, to pit one group of the working-class against one or more other groups within the working-class which divisions are usually artificial divisions. The perennial “other”: of which the most common version in this nation has nearly always been the Indian (indigenous or “first peoples”), the African Diaspora (which as served as the “slave class” to this day if you consider the exception contained in the 13th amendment to the US constitution) and Latinos (3).

Secondly, either to misinform, to disinform or by not informing (that is, to withhold information from) the mass of the population about what is happening in their society. One additional method is simply to bury the overburdened producing class in an overabundance of a combination of all these forms of persuasion.

This second method often goes hand in glove with the first. When the ruling elite are in the process of stealing the wealth produced by the working-class or when those elites fear the working-class might start to figure out what is being done to them, their children and their children’s children. In efforts to control the psychic energies of the working-class their attention is often directed toward some “nefarious other” as the culprit of the ills suffered by the workers’, that is, the vast bulk of what composes society thereby manufacturing some combination of these methods into a unified and coordinated attack against the interests of the working-class, that is, “the people”.

While it is only one example the following story is a prime example of how this process works. The propaganda industries, in particular, the “liberal” news media, is not there to inform us of the actual events occurring in our society. Events which impact us, the average person on the street, in every aspect of our day-to-day lives. This misdirection by the various branches of the great “propaganda machine” which all too often is used to dilute the solidarity of the actual produces of the world’s wealth. Said in another way: these so-called “liberal news media” are here to distract us and/or to outright lie to us about what is who is siphoning off the wealth of our nation and ultimately of the world at large.

This post involves the so-called “Russia-gate” scandal where we are told that Russia interfered with our “sovereign democratic process”. While I have exceedingly little doubt that Putin attempted to interfere in the 2016 Presidential Election this is, in my opinion, merely being used as a distraction from those who are and have for more than 35-40 years been engaged in a intricate pas de deux or dance which is designed to appear as if the two sides are fencing when in fact they are simply fighting to see who gets to “guard the ‘King’s Treasure’, that is the wealth extracted from the actual producers.” These media, News and entertainment actually serve only as a venue for disinformation about why we presently have a Nazi in the White House, ahhh… excuse me Nazis (plural). This distraction about the interference in other nations’ sovereign right to choose its own government is a method nations have used for centuries, nay, for millennia. It has been an ongoing process for so long it predates the existence of the “nation-state” itself. One of the best examples of this was Otto Eduard Leopold, Prince of Bismarck, Duke of Lauenburg, or simply Otto von Bismarck, whose practice of Realpolitik shaped the very world we live in to this day.

No, no, no… NO! please, don’t misapprehend me here. This is a vital point. I am not condoning the practice of any nation interfering with any other nation’s internal politics, but if we dare to condemn “them” for interfering with ours; how dare we interfere with theirs. I state this because the most egregious violator of “not” interfering with the national sovereignty of other nations is our very own national government which is manifested as imperial overreach. None of this is to condone interference by “foreign powers;” it is simply an attempt to place this issue in some perspective. 

The real problem with American “democracy” is that the united States of America was never intended to be a democracy. The founders and the framers abhorred democracy; democracy scared the hell out of them because it was a power they could not have controlled. They considered democracy to be “mob rule”. For those who are among the more acute observers of American political theater should recall this term being as it was applied to the US’s, then current, form of governance in the not too distant past. It was used by the ideological predecessors of the very people who just bankrupted this nation with the most massive transfer of wealth in this nation’s history, and arguably, in the world’s history dating back to perhaps the Pharaohs of Ancient Egypt. They freely admit that over the next 10 years, a single decade, their “wealth transfer bill”, their presumed, Tax Reform Bill, which was just signed into law will place this nation in debt to the tune of, at least, 1.5 TRILLION DOLLARS (4).

To return to the prime point: the real problem with American democracy is that the ruling elite within both major parties have been working to undo what democratic process had creeped into our system over the course of our nation’s existence. For instance, when the ruling elite of the Democratic Party lost their bit to have Eugene McCarthy receive the nomination in 1972 they instituted the now infamous “super-delegate” system as a means of countervailing the will of their parties constituency. Since then we have had no Democratic Party nominee who was not throughly bedded with the corporate elites. Take the Clinton’s for instance. Bill was initially promoted to national prominence with the financial backing of, among other corporate master, Charles and David Koch. Yes, those Kochs, the enemies of the DNC, climate science and the welfare of average Americans. Doesn’t that seem curious to you? It surely does to me.

In an attempt to return to what is intended to be the central focus of this piece which is the use of the “liberal news media” to misdirect the psychic energies of the masses. I here submit the following short interview of American journalist, author, constitutional lawyer and co-founder of “The Intercept”, an online news publication dedicated to what it describes as, “adversarial journalism” by “On The Media” produced by WNYC Studios where he discusses the “fake news” of CNN, NBC, MSNBC and possibly others just this past week concerning “smoking gun” reports about collusion between the Trump Election Campaign Team, Russia and Wikileaks (5).

FOLLOW THIS LINK: On The Media interview with Glenn Greenwald (6)

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(1) Overseeing the work of the producers of wealth.
(2) When the lumpen-proletariat are included, aka the poverty stricken.
(3) Many of whom has an ancestry that dates to the earliest involvement of Europeans on this continent. Much to the dismay of many between a third and a half of what we think of as the US was stolen from Mexico in a war of aggression during the mid 1840s and of Texas about a decade before. With this theft came a huge population of Latinos, but they have always been considered by the Euro-Americans (as is their wont) as illegitimate inhabitants of the land their fore-bearers had inhabited for generations at the time of the theft.
(4) Try to keep in mind these estimates nearly always prove to be overly optimistic thus we might easily find it proves to be more in the order of $3 Trillion. If history is any predictor, which in this case it rather likely, as this same process has been practiced here in excess of 35 years. It has also been practiced in Europe for over two decades and in England for over 40 years. It has also been practiced in Latin America since, at least, 1973, and throughout the developing world ever since to this present day. September 11, 1973 to be precise when the democratically elected government of Salvador Allende in Chile was overthrown by a CIA orchestrated coup d’etat. This is often referred to as “Disaster Capitalism”, TINA (There Is No Alternative), trickle down economics, and supply-side economics to name some of the more common appellations applied to this system of wealth transfer. There has, to my knowledge, never been a case where the result was different.
(5) Again, please don’t misapprehend me here because I am fully aware that FOX (FAUX) NEWS is probably a more egregious violator of this than even MSNBC. And as stated earlier I have no doubt that Trump is not only a full fledged Nazi but is a throughly corrupt and despicable personality. My point here is that there is much more than enough to condemn Trump with without resorting to FAKE NEWS.
(6) Other sources that might provide insight and quality analysis are:
FOLLOW THIS LINK: Global Capitalism: December 2017 Monthly Economic Update
With a brief synopsis below:
Education: Top in education year in and year out is Finland who teaches children to cooperate before competition. Zero tuition at all levels from grade school to higher education. No private schools because that is to have a two-track system which is anti-democratic.
Worker coops: This is not some utopian fantasy about the future. This is something people have been doing all around the world, including the US. Coops are not invisible, tiny or marginal.
Paid parental leave: That’s when a government, society passes a law that says every employer must give paid leave to people who are parents. Number one on the list is Estonia with 87 weeks of paid leave-nearly two years to help raise your child. This is a kind of “family value”. Coming in at number two in the world is Bulgaria at 77 weeks paid leave to parents to express their commitment to family values. Third country: Hungary. At number four: Japan. Fifth is Lithuania. Sixth is Austria. Seventh is Czech Republic. Then Latvia, Norway, then down to number 41 the only country of the 41 countries followed by the OECD, (the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development) which has no paid parental leave–you’re here.
Movable housing, aka, RVs are bought by two groups, the retirees and the 25-34 year-olds because with the modern “Gig Economy” there is no security to be able to make the commitment necessary to purchase a house so they buy a movable house so they can move from town to town. When you hear the word “recovery” and you see a statistic look at the increasing production of this. You are not observing a recovery; you are observing a downward ratcheting of the standard of living.
In 2006 Mohammed Yunnus won the Nobel Peace Prize by coming up with a theory stating that what is holding back people in poor countries is they don’t have capital, money. If they had money they could start and build a business. Mr. Yunnus’ solution is called “microcredit”. Enter large commercial banks to make loans to people they could draw interest from whom they had not thought of before. Essentially this produced a system of economics called “supply-side economics”. It was a disaster because no one thought of the need for the demand. This lovely model is lovely precisely because it allows governments to help businesses without saying they are helping businesses.
What is the rationale for cutting taxes for corporations in America: that is what (has now just) been done.
Supply-side economics, trickle-down economics, liberating the entrepreneur––these are rationales for shifting the distribution of wealth and income from the middle and the bottom to the folks at the top. You can’t possibly have democracy with this level of inequality; the two don’t go together.
The decision by the US to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
Why is the “revolt against sex abuse” happening now? Why not at some earlier date?
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The Tax Bill: The fundamental purpose and function of this law is to redistribute wealth and income from the middle and the bottom of this country to the top. What this is all about is a redistribution of wealth rationalized by catch-as-you-can arguments that they hope people won’t think through enough to realize they are being had. Here’s the worst one. The Republicans, sad as they are, have been busy for the past 25 years undoing the New Deal, undoing the vast collection of social welfare that was enacted in the aftermath of the collapse of the 1930s. And the rationale they had, why they had to cut food stamps and cut welfare. Remember Clinton? “The end of welfare as we know it.” – all that sort of bombastic stuff. Which by the way the Democrats did as well as the Republicans – the rationale behind it, let’s remember, was America had a deficit. We owe so much money we can’t afford a welfare system. We can’t afford to do all these wonderful things. We just can’t afford them, because if we did them we’d have to borrow the money and that would increase the deficit of what we owe we can’t do that. That’s what Republicans have been using as a rationale for 30 years. That’s why its awkward now that the very tax bill they (have now passed and signed into law) to cut taxes on business they can’t figure out––in the early years, at least––how to do that without massively cutting social programs.
By the way, to not borrow money to enable them to cut taxes on corporations, that would mean cutting your Social Security. That would mean taking away your Medicare and Medicaid-not all of it, but big chucks of it which, by the way they are planning to do next year anyway. They are going to keep spending roughly what they are spending this year, cut the taxes and borrow the money instead. The Party that said the deficit was the worst thing you could have – so bad that you had to cut school lunch programs – is now the champion of bigger deficits.
But here comes the best part: when the government cuts the taxes on corporations and the rich and then has to borrow the money to maintain what the government’s programs are because it’s not getting that money from the corporations and the rich – it has to borrow that money from the corporations from those same corporations and rich folks. They will not, instead of paying taxes will now lend it to the government.
The ruling class will have to come up with rationales as to why this tax cut didn’t work for the average American and that will be in the form of scapegoats just as it has been for the last, well… forever: the scapegoats will be the immigrants, the African Americans, the people who aren’t white, intellectuals, urban people, northerners etc. It will be “those people have done it to us”.
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And at:
THE REAL NEWS presents THE UNDOING OF THE NEW DEAL
On the Real News, we’ve been doing a lot of coverage, stories, about the battle within the Democratic party between the Sanders wing and what I would call the oligarchic ring, otherwise sometimes referred to as the Clinton wing or the Clinton/Obama wing, sometimes called the Corporate Democratic wing.
Well, we want to go back a bit in history and talk about the origins of this fight. At least, one of the critical turning points. We’re not going to go way back to the beginning of the Democratic party. Kind of go back to Roosevelt and the New Deal and Henry Wallace, who became Roosevelt’s vice president from ’41 to ’45, what happens in 1944 when Wallace gets dumped as Roosevelt’s vice president, and Wallace represents perhaps the most progressive politics that a vice president certainly ever had. Maybe the most progressive politics that someone ever made it to that kind of power ever had in the United States.
We’re going to go through over the course of a few segments how this battle unfolded and put the Sanders fight and Sanders wing of the party’s fight with the Corporate Democratic wing in some historical context.
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FOLLOW THIS LINK:
Undoing The New Deal Index Page
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Beginning with a speech made by then Vice President Henry Wallace at:
FOLLOW THIS LINK: Henry Wallace Speech
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Then a program published by THE REAL NEWS titled “Undoing the New Deal” published on March 10, 2013
On the occasion of the 80th anniversary of Roosevelt’s election and the introduction of the New Deal, Jennifer Taub and John Weeks discuss the post-war period and how successive administrations dismantled it.
FOLLOW THIS LINK: Undoing the New Deal Preliminary Video
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Followed by “Undoing the New Deal: The 1944 Coup Against VP Henry Wallace (pt1)” published on December 4, 2017
Historian Peter Kuznick and Paul Jay discuss the historical context of the fight between the Sanders’ progressive wing against the oligarchy within the Democratic Party; the overthrow of Vice President Wallace by an alliance of party bosses and Southern racists was a turning point in the decades-long process to roll back the New Deal
FOLLOW THIS LINK: Undoing the New Deal Part 1: The 1944 Coup Against VP Henry Wallace
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Then “Undoing the New Deal: Truman’s Cold War Buries Wallace and the Left (pt2)” published on December 7, 2017
Historian Peter Kuznick says Truman bought into the Republican’s post-WWII campaign against Russia and used the hysteria to purge the Democratic Party and defeat former VP Henry Wallace in the ’48 Presidential election; with host Paul Jay
FOLLOW THIS LINK: Undoing the New Deal Part 2: Truman’s Cold War Buries Wallace and the Left
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Then “Undoing the New Deal: Roosevelt Created A Social Safety Net, Not Socialism (pt3)” published on December 10, 2017
Historian Peter Kuznick says the New Deal created necessary programs and regulations that mitigated the effects of the Great Depression, but he wouldn’t nationalize the banks or challenge private ownership
FOLLOW THIS LINK: Undoing the New Deal Part 3: Roosevelt Created A Social Safety Net, Not Socialism
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And “Undoing the New Deal: Truman Embraces the Cold War (pt4)” published on December 14, 2017
Historian Peter Kuznick says that while Truman supported the New Deal, he paved the way for its undoing by fueling the anti-communist, anti-socialist fervor which played into the hands of the right; with host Paul Jay
FOLLOW THIS LINK: Undoing the New Deal Part 4: Truman Embraces the Cold War
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Then “Undoing the New Deal: African-Americans, Racism and the FDR/Johnson Reforms (Pt5)” published December 18, 2017
Historian Gerald Horne says that to pass the New Deal legislation, FDR allowed discriminatory practices to appease the racist Dixiecrat section of the Democratic Party; the reforms of the 60’s that responded to the upsurge of the civil rights movement helped Black Americans, but have been undone by Democratic and Republican administrations since
FOLLOW THIS LINK: Undoing the New Deal Part 5: Truman Embraces the Cold War
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Undoing the New Deal: Clinton Rolled Back the Deal, Obama Blew a FDR Moment (pt6)” published December 20, 2017
Historian Gerald Horne says that President Clinton’s “reforms” were a staggering blow to the social safety net; President Obama had a rare political moment where he could have created a modern New Deal, but he wouldn’t do it
FOLLOW THIS LINK: Undoing the New Deal Part 6: Clinton Rolled Back the Deal, Obama Blew a FDR Moment

 

Roger Willis Mills II

Be ye as one of these little ones…

Some people conflate absolute, unconditional love and acceptance of a child with spoiling the child. While actually spoiling the child does have actual negative effects please don’t deny your unconditional love, acceptance, esteem and value of the child because of the fear of spoiling them Overcoming a little spoiling is far, far and away easier than someone learning to be fully functional with a lack of self-esteem, self-respect and a soul based on love and acceptance. For without these we have the most selfish and self centered individual in existence.

On the nature of being exploited

There are woefully misinformed people in this world and while this diseducation does present them as stupid, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they are indeed stupid. I am trying to learn not to resort to such terms, ( I might mention, with less than perfect success, still…) considering that the use of such terms as “stupid,” “racist,” etc. serves the purposes of the MONEYED CLASS who are manipulating them and those like them who are mostly poorly educated persons of average intelligence who have never come to terms with their need to identify with others, in similar circumstances as they are, instead of identifying with those who use and exploit them and us.
I am struggling to develop this more inclusive mindset as it seems to me to be the best (perhaps the only) way to effectively combat the exploiting class. Basically, if we who are not so woefully undereducated and/or misinformed don’t learn to identify with those who are how are we to ever assist in raising the consciousness of the world at large?
After all, these “woefully undereducated and misinformed” people are victims just as we are and that seems to make it incumbent upon me and like minded people to maintain our personal sense of identification despite the inability of some of our “kindred” to be capable of a similar identification.
Sometimes there is no way of gently dismantling a crumbling ruin; however, this fact should never be allowed as an excuse not to try. It is written that we should never tear a person’s house down unless we are ready, willing and able to build that person a better home.
Learning to live harmlessly while not being idly complicit in evil is very difficult. Tolerating the evil and claiming no collusion is much easier as is engaging in harming others ourselves with the excuse that “they are doing it” is also much easier. But to stand against evil while not unnecessarily causing is most difficult. How do the buddhists say it: the difference between karma, even good karma, and merit is perhaps a subtle but a difference well worth the investigation.
May the powers that be aid me in this endeavor as it is a most tedious shift in my mindset to implement with effectiveness.
There is at least one caveat (or is it an addition)?
To succeed in life one must find connection, or can I suggest a sense of identification with others. Not just others like the self but all others. This includes, as much as possible, identification with those most unlike them in ideological perspective. I often find myself attacked because of this philosophy because some think and/or feel that to identify with a nazi, for instance, is antithetical to what they seem to view as “right living”. But I say if I can’t find identification with the person (not the ideal the person subscribes to) then I have failed. Sadly, I fail a lot, but not because I refuse to try.
 
In my opinion, all other valid forms of the definition of “success” (capitalism notwithstanding) stem from this core definition.
Roger Willis Mills, II