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What Is a Country For? Fighting for the Good Life in Trumplandia


What Is a Country For? Fighting for the Good Life in Trumplandia

Rebecca Gordon

Many of the folks I know are getting ready to play serious defense in 2017, and they’re not wrong. Before we take up our three-point stance on the national line of scrimmage, however, maybe we should ask ourselves not only what we’re fighting against, but what we’re fighting for. What kind of United States of America do we actually want? Maybe, in fact, we could start by asking: What is a country for? What should a country do? Why do people establish countries in the first place?


"Maybe it’s not so strange that, in these dismal times, I find my hope in a dream, now hundreds of years old, of a country dedicated to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." - Rebecca Gordon

Rebecca, I agree with your push for people to do more than react defensively. The challenges we face now call for concerted community organizing efforts.

I would, however, encourage thinking beyond the artificial constructs of national borders. I imagine that humans have held dreams of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, in regions stretching around the globe and for times going back tens of thousands of years. Work locally, yes. But the world is round and what takes place in the US has impacts on what takes place in other parts of the world. Should we be satisfied if all folk in the US have the ability to fulfill their dreams while many others around the world live daily nightmares?



Thanks for the fairly concise list of what we may lose under Trump. But it still does not help with how to summarize it all on the sign I will take to the Inauguration Parade.


An excellent article, by a recognized name, so it gets out there. Her American Nuremberg is well worth the read also.
* In 79 years, I've noticed and written many times about the fact that in our "modern" world, the Constitution and Bill of Rights are ignored, or referred to as a "quaint" document, obsolete in the modern era.
* When the Project for a New American Century published its doctrine and plan for "Full Spectrum Domination" of the world through military and economic means, it carefully spelled out the need for citizens to have to make extreme sacrifices, to support the necessary military buildup.
* Near the end of the document, it said that the American People would not go along with this, unless a "New Pearl Harbor" were to happen, which would drag the people into supporting the plan.
* On 27 February, 1933, when Hitler was trying to consolidate Nazi power, the Reichstag Building was burned to the ground. Probably set by the SS, it was blamed on a young Dutch Communist. Hitler used this act to declare that the country was under attack by communism and the Enabling Acts were put into law. It removed the Constitutional rights and benefits of the German People and substituted the right of the government to read all mail, tap all phones, monitor virtually everything, and to enter homes to search for anything anti-Nazi, or Jewish. People were dragged into the streets, beaten by the SA, and often "shot while trying to escape" .
* On 11 September, 2001, the US got its "New Pearl Harbor" Almost immediately thereafter, Bush signed into law the illegal, unconstitutional and misnamed "Patriot Act" which in essence cancelled out the Constitution and Bill of Rights, to "protect" us from "Muslims."
* Under this act, phones and other communications could be monitored by the government, anybody could be picked up and disappeared. Public speech was monitored, protests were brutally put down, surveillance laws were broadened, the NSA was proclaimed, with the right to look into anything and everything. People were put on "no-fly" lists. The FBI could investigate anyone, monitor them, and their investigations were to be kept secret under penalty of fines and imprisonment etc., etc.
* Since then those powers have been broadened by yet more agencies and acts. The spread of wars has gone on, pretty much according to the PNAC document, though not quite as rapidly as predicted, and We the People are being reduced from citizens, of the United States of America to subjects of the new Empire of the Fourth Reich, and ever expanding laws are reducing them to serfs of the Oilagarchy that really runs the Reich.
* I hope that We the People of the United States will awaken, read or reread their Constitution and decide they want their Republic back.
* We outnumber the movers and shakers of the Oilagarchy by about 350 million to forty-five or fifty individuals and families.
* If we all just decided to stay home and read a few good books instead of going to work, or going shopping, the nation could grind to a halt. Nothing frightens a trillionaire more than losing a little profit. A large loss might cause apoplexy!
* At 79, I probably won't live to see this happen, but I sure hope I live long enough to see it start!


Many people in the US live in poverty or just above it. Charity starts at home.


Thank you for making the point I see as the truest path out of this maze-for people to snap out of it and realize the power is with them. We can stop working, stop paying insurance premiums, and stop shopping for crap for oh, about two weeks, and that will be the end of corporate rule! Insanely simple.


The Sign I am taking says "No More War! Peace with Russia, Syria, Iran, Yemen, Libya!" On the back it says "Boycott Israhell! Rachel Corrie we wont forget!" This is the same sign I have been carrying to demonstrations for over 10 years now. As an anti-war activist I welcome Trumps statements regarding peace with other countries, and yet am prepared to take to the streets no matter who is in charge, to oppose war mongering. It almost seems that the "left" is calling for war, war on Trump, war on Russia, war on Syria, I hope I am wrong.


Yes or at least a couple of days. Hey someone who posts here sometimes said that she does not have the time or money for protests- it's her job. Guess she works 24/7. There are many gatherings that are peaceful and take place on weekends.


Hey, let's not shop for at least a couple of days starting tomorrow. Are you in? I am.


Yes, I have first hand knowledge of this reality. That is why I specifically said: "Work locally, yes."

However, as we engage in our local organizing efforts, it is important to do so without promoting the cultural arrogance of 'American Exceptionalism'.

The notion of 'Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness' are not unique to the US. Principles of freedom, equality, social justice, and peace have been embraced by peoples throughout the world and throughout human history. Some 350 years ago, Zumbi dos Palmares, led the Quilombo in Brazil in establishing a liberated nation founded on the same principles of freedom enshrined in the US founding documents. Nearly 500 years ago, the cacique Hatuey, led Taino people in insurrections against Spanish rule and in the name similar freedoms. One could sight similar examples going back thousands of years.

Yes, charity starts at home. But where I live, many of the folk in poverty are not US citizens. This will not change regardless of Trump's Wall. Is it acceptable to exclude these people from the benefits of our struggles? The impoverishment of many of these people comes as a direct result of the imperialist capitalist practices of the US abroad. Is it OK to leave such practices in place?


Now by "peace with Russia, Syria" I hope you mean that anti-capitalist, pro-human rights leftists can and should be very critical of the governments of Putin and Assad - and support fellow leftist Syrians and Russian resisting them, right? We should also be critical of the profoundly undemocratic theocratic regimes in the other countries you list.

And yes, we do intend to engage in civil disobedient and direct-action war on Trump every step of the way.


It would be great to dispense with the allusion to football. The writer, perhaps inadvertently, alludes to a weakness dependent on brutality and bruising rather than stalwart clear presence of alternatives.

The writer talks about "good life". Throughout central and south America indigenous peoples and allies find concepts around which to rally and ally in Buen Viver / Sumak Kawsay and its variants in countless languages.

As ill-gotten privileges begin to break down and the reality of the destruction being visited on peoples and biomes around the world by the predatory capital still dominating in the 21st century, alternative visions that are already tried and true are worth exploring

Buen vivir: the social philosophy inspiring movements in South America
Eduardo Gudynas, a leading scholar on buen vivir, talks to Oliver Balch about the limits of capitalism, consuming less and developing a sense of the collective


Beautiful to see the Quilombolas mentioned in the north! The Guarani also teach of Teko Porã and then there is Sumak Kawsay all of which allude to 'living well in harmony'. I think of the Yoruba values and so many others.


HI Yunzer. I think you meant your post for Northcascadian.


I have never believed in American exceptionalism, and many citizens ( including people who lost their jobs during the recession ) are living in poverty including the elderly. No, we do not have to exclude anyone who is living in poverty period.


Some progressive thinking economists including Dr. Richard Wolf believe that the capitalism that many boomers grew with is not helpful in this economy. The constant pursuit of more , and the rewards of money in exchange for goods work if people have lots of money, but if they don't they are made to feel ashamed.


I think it important to recognize that the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights were not original thoughts and ideas. Much of what was expressed in the same came directly from the earlier English Bill of Rights from about a century earlier and Act of Union in 1701.

In essence citizens of the Colonies already HAD many of the rights the Revolutionary war claimed to give them so what happened to those rights and why there this need to re-assert them? It all comes down to who was interpreting said rights and how they were used by those in power. Those in power ensured the way they were read ensured their own power and they put their own meaning into those words. As long as the powerful were the ones in charge of giving meaning to the words put to paper those words put to paper would always serve their interests.

As a further example of what I get at here we can look to the thoughts of many of the Chiefs of our First Nations people. They never had a history of the written word so their oral traditions were very important. This means when they spoke their thoughts had to be clearly expressed so as to be understood. When they entered into those treaties they felt that their words and that of the Governments they entered into treaties with would be accurately recorded. More then a single chief spoke of how many years later "White men from the Government would come and twist the meaning of the words written on that paper" so as to upsurp their treaty rights. In other words those in power would give whatever meaning they wished to those words on paper so as to entrench and impose their power.

What does this mean in real terms? It means to me that in a Democracy of the people it is the PEOPLE who must decide what those words on papers mean or are intended to mean. They can not allow the one percent to dictate to them the meaning of those words.

It should be very clear to anyone who supports this nonsense of a literal interpretation of a Constitution and of intent that the framers of the US Constitution never intended to recognize Blacks or Native Americans or Women as having the same rights of White Male landowners. It was the PEOPLE who took those words and gave them their own meaning and expanded or tried to expand those rights to all.


For the record. When the slave-owning tea-smuggling north American colonists were quibbling about paying taxes and demanding "freedom", all male colonists had voting rights to elect their local representative as opposed to their cousins in the UK where voting rights were very heavily restricted. Likewise taxation; the average colonist paid about 1/50th of the taxes imposed on people in the UK.


And there is the problem. Co-ordination of interests.


I rather think that if the USA left the ROTW alone, we would manage to get by quite well. We managed okay before you lot got invented.