Collective action, responsible universities, and ongoing populist growth

Collective action for real change

Her Hands, My Hands talked about collective action over on her blog. Do you remember how we’re boycotting Kellogg’s? I admit, I haven’t thought about it in a minute. We don’t typically buy stuff from them anyway, but there are so many brands under the umbrella, I’m not sure how closely we’ve stuck to that.

She’s got a clear vision for how we improve things long-term, and it’s the boring, unsexy work of civil responsibility.

The only way to stop this cycle is by pushing politicians to pass bills that make such things illegal, with sentences and penalties that will actually hurt mega corporations’ bottom lines. As currently there’s little political will from politicians themselves, the public must engage with them to force them to act in line withe the majority of the public’s actual wishes–which means calling your local and state and federal electeds, often, *and* voting in every election–local, state, federal–for people who have either already delivered, or who you believe will deliver, on your actual values and goals. And then calling whoever wins that seat. Often.

I was a lot better about all of this in 2016-2020, and then I was so broken and tired. Let this stand as a reminder that I have Political Adulting to do.


Another university agrees to divest from Israel

Although there’s a lot more noise around protests gone wrong, some universities have worked peacefully with protestors. In Ireland, Trinity College successfully came to an agreement.

Also, a public university in northern California listened to protestors and came to an agreement. (AJE)

Sonoma State would do more to disclose its contracts and seek “divestment strategies”, Lee wrote. It would also not pursue partnerships that are “sponsored by, or represent, the Israeli state academic and research institutions”.

In exchange for the concessions, student activists agreed to dismantle the cluster of tents on campus by Wednesday evening.

Students still remember that governance should be by and for the people governed.


The Republican party marches nearer populism

The Tea Party is officially gone. Politico covers the closure of FreedomWorks, which was a once-hot libertarian group.

The organization cites Trump as the problem, and it shows how the Republican party is being pulled apart by opinions on the ex-president. It’s libertarianism vs populism, and populism seems to be winning.

FreedomWorks leaders, for example, still believed in free trade, small government and a robust merit-based immigration system. Increasingly, however, those positions clashed with a Trump-aligned membership who called for tariffs on imported goods and a wall to keep immigrants out but were willing, in Brandon’s view, to remain silent as Trump’s administration added $8 trillion to the national debt.

“A lot of our base aged, and so the new activists that have come in [with] Trump, they tend to be much more populist,” Brandon said. “So you look at the base and that just kind of shifted.”

This same split was creating headaches in other parts of the organization as well. “Our staff became divided into MAGA and Never Trump factions,” Brandon said in an internal document reviewed by POLITICO Magazine. It also impacted fundraising.

Considering that the GOP is now chaired by someone surnamed Trump, it’s clear that the party is all-in on a particular charismatic leader, and their stances are whatever his stances are. Is there room for anyone else?

Even Mitt Romney, who has typically represented an Older Kind of Republican, asserts that Biden should have pardoned Trump for everything. (NBC) Apparently trying to hold Trump accountable for things is actually more pro-Trump?

So what happens to the Republicans (former or current) who don’t wanna fall in with this populist movement? Genuine question.

My guess is that the Democrats will increasingly court them and move further right. We’ve been seeing strong man-like discourse from Biden (largely in the form of Dark Brandon), and the Democratic party certainly has room for authoritarians. (Lawyers, Guns, & Money)

That poses a problem for anyone left of center-right, and I think it’s gonna be a bigger issue going forward. The Green Party is unserious (they tend to hold anti-scientific stances, like anti-vaxx stuff) and there isn’t really anywhere for voters squeezed left to go. That’s possibly the greatest threat against Biden’s reelection, and the election of future Democratic presidents: A lot of leftward voters simply cannot abide the kind of imperial action Democrats are willing to take, and may not mobilize in support.

I’ve got no predictions for how this turns out in the long term, but I hope that most of us can agree it’s easier to shout at Biden to do the right thing for another four years than deal with another charismatic populist Trump presidency.

Look up top for that post about collective action. Even if Dems retake the presidency, we’re gonna need a lot of that for the next twenty years in order to avoid a high-level populist relapse.

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