Home | About | Donate

 Throw Sand in the Gears of Everything


 Throw Sand in the Gears of Everything

Frances Fox Piven

A s many are saying, we woke from a nightmare to find it was our new reality. A gaggle of inflated far-right self-promoters and operatives, big businessmen and their toadies, and homegrown fascists will control the presidency and determine the Supreme Court majority, maybe for a generation or more.


"...or by jeopardizing established protections and benefits... the looming prospect of privatizing Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid..." Yes, this would be the logical next step, but note that it was the Democrats who took the lead 20-some years ago. Understand that what came to be called AFDC was actually first included in FDR's Social Security Act, later separated to focus on the specific needs of young families. The Clinton admin. got rid of that, and took the first steps to similarly "reform" Social Security. S.S. provides retirement, disability, and survivors' benefits. The Clinton Democrats targeted the disabled. Dems in Congress kicked off 2015 alone with virtually ending food stamps to the elderly poor and the disabled (cut from $115 per month, down to $10).


Sand in the gears??? Won't 24-inch pipe wrenches work much better?



The good news, if there is any, in the election of Trump, is that it has awakened the sleeping majority of liberals from their Obama induced slumber. While they dozed, secure in the belief that all was well in Washington DC, and the world, Obama quietly carried out 10x more drone strikes than Bush; he committed a trillion dollars to building up our nuclear arsenal; he persecuted and prosecuted more truthtellers (aka whistleblowers) than any president before him, he destroyed the sovereign nation of Libya; he helped to destroy Syria, leading to the current humanitarian crisis of refugees; he is bombing the impoverished country of Yemen, to shreds; he recently signed into law the NDAA, which included a provision that creates yet another government propagandist wing aka, a "Ministry of Truth," which will filter out news and opinion that conflicts with the official government narrative.

It's very difficult to buy into all of the liberal hysteria, when the majority of protestors voted for Hillary Clinton, a corrupt, hawkish, Neoliberal, fracking-promoting, access-selling plutocrat who didn't even support marriage equality until 2013. They should have supported Bernie Sanders, who would have won, and we'd be looking at a promising future right now. Hillary would have been Trump with a liberal veneer, and everyone would have remained sedated while the world burned even more brightly than it burns right now.


Yes, total, rolling non cooperation while we organize.


Liberals, arm yourselves.


Unless sand ends up in the gears of the Democratic Party, forcing it leftward, what chance of change exists even if the Trump Regime crashes ?


homegrown fascists will control the presidency

The Democratic Party is dead. The only thing left is the stench of its rotting carcass. I respectfully correct Piven's characterization of the new rulers - not "fascists" but rather those plutocrats that populate the ranks of the "Inverted Totalitarians", those feted masters of the new order that Chris Hedges underscores with Sheldon Wolin's characterization of the US's ruling class, those vile capitalists that Trump is stocking his cabinet with.

Piven adds this admission that I have long since held to myself: "But I am not very hopeful that any of them can succeed, at least not in the limited time we have to protect the planet from global warming or nuclear catastrophe or both."


Piven is quite right about local authorities refusing to cooperate with Trumpist measures, but unfortunately law enforcement and local politics are sectors already sympathetic to repression. That doesn't mean that the rest of us cannot resist in some ways, but a long resistance struggle like the civil rights movement may no longer be possible in a society such as ours. The extent to which young and old are already deadened by drugs both legal and illegal, and screen addiction, limits the number of people aware enough to follow the great examples from our history.

And, unlike generations ago there is almost no labor movement, no network of radical parties, nor very many progressive churches. Even universities are not what they were in the Viet Nam era. Looking around the world, it is hard to find significant examples of left wing activism. In fact, only the most regressive religious fanaticism seems to have any appeal to malcontents in the non-western world.

That does not mean giving up. But it does mean that the coming struggle will be unlike any we have faced before, and require great imagination and creativity.


"The mayors of New York, Chicago ... have [all] publicly promised to protect vulnerable populations."
Isn't Rahm Emmanuel the mayor of Chicago? When has he ever protected 'vulnerable populations'? From what I've read he's been doing his best ot eradicate them!


With Yunzer's pipe wrenches???!!!! :laughing::smiling_imp::rage:


Here is a better idea:


I have a Judge and a Governor!!!!! :sunglasses::smiling_imp:


Actually the most sensible and effective resistance measure would be an organized disciplined tax revolt. The problem though is that it would need to be in numbers too large to effectively prosecute them all and that would probably never happen.


I appreciate the author's perception that it will take more than just the encouraging massive presence of people of conscience in the streets, like we saw yesterday, but I also think that it will take more than a little sand (or even big chunks of gravel) in the gears of today's monstrous machine of empire to shut down its life-destroying momentum. We have to actually stop feeding this beast.

For the last three decades or so, it has become increasingly clear that the political entities of the U.S. federal government are much more beholden to the corporate/military/industrial financial complex than to the people (or to that small percentage of the people that comprises the actual electorate). The two major parties demonstrated that in this last presidential election, when it became clear that they were not nearly as interested in defeating each other than in stopping Bernie Sanders. (I can't elaborate on that right now, but I will just say that the DNC had much more ammunition available to use in the campaign against Trump--in just Trump's book, "The Art of the Deal," alone, as well as other sources--and for some reason chose not to, even after the Wikileaks against them.) The political arena and electoral processes scarcely resemble what they were in the `60s or during the abolitionist era, the voice of the people (through voting, anyway) having been rendered impotent by the power of corporate capital, or the extreme disproportionate access to money.

Since money has become such an unprecedented political force (in its present magnitude), and since what is at stake right now is the continuation of life on Earth, itself, we now need to engage in the ultimate gear-crunching action: an international boycott of the monetary industrial consumer systems, while simultaneously replacing those systems at the local community level, internationally, with sustainable, independent, eco-centered, democratic, non-monetary economies. That would remove us from the leverage of the corporate assholes who have nothing else to hold over us, and no legitimate claim to authority over us, than our bondage to the monetary systems that they control.

I have a more elaborate argument for this, along with many examples of how such economies are actually beginning to be put in place in communities around the world in the following essay:

I welcome the thoughts and suggestions of interested others to these ideas.


I humbly offer the story Trump Issues Media Blackout at Multiple Federal Agencies as an opportunity to throw sand in the gears of everything.

Many, most, perhaps even all, of the documents that our Twit-in-Chief has censored are subject to disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). I encourage everyone to file a FOIA request at one or more of your favorite federal agencies to obtain a copy of:

  1. A list of all the documents that the agency has been ordered to not disclose to the public;
  2. A copy of the documents that the agency has been ordered to not disclose to the public.
    Information on how to file a FOIA request can be found here: https://www.foia.gov/how-to.html

Given their importance to our health and well-being, the EPA, DOE (Energy), DOE (Education) and HHS seem like good places to start.

I would suggest the scope of your request to include:

All documents, emails, memorandums, contracts, grants, press releases, proposed regulations, suspended regulations, executive orders, internal policy documents, and any other information or documents that fall within the scope of any executive or other order or directive to not provide such information to the public.

Now go out get a shovel full of sand...


A friend of mine, with whom I shared this post, replied:

And always request the attorneys' log of documents NOT disclosed and the basis for nondisclosure.

The attorneys' log is, apparently, an important term of art.

Also, I found this on the EPA's website. I would assume similar rules may apply to the other agencies/departments:

There is no fee to file a FOIA request and in many cases, no fees are charged for processing.
The FOIA divides requesters into four fee categories:
Commercial requesters may be charged fees for searching for records, reviewing the records, and photocopying them;
Educational or noncommercial scientific institutions are charged for photocopying, after the first 100 pages;
Representatives of the news media are charged for photocopying after the first 100 pages; and
All other requesters (requesters who do not fall into any of the other three categories) are charged for photocopying after 100 pages and for time spent searching for records in excess of two hours.
EPA charges $0.15 per page for single-sided black and white photocopying. Actual costs are charged for a format other than paper copy, such as computer tapes, disks and videotapes.
You may include in your request a specific statement limiting the amount that you are willing to pay in fees. If you do not do so, EPA will assume that you are willing to pay fees up to $25.

Fee Waivers
You may request in writing to have fees waived if the disclosure of the requested information is in the public interest because it is likely to contribute significantly to public understanding of the operations and activities of the government and is not primarily in the commercial interest of the requester. The mere fact that you are a non-profit organization or a member of the media does not in and of itself qualify for a fee waiver. In addition, a requester's inability to pay is not a legal basis for granting you a fee waiver.
EPA regulations require you to make the fee waiver request at the time you submit the request.