I encourage everyone to read Oliver Willis's comments about #BlackLivesMatter and Bernie Sanders. Despite the misleadingly alarmist title, he makes a very useful point about how political progress happens. Too bad he can't do it without lapsing into talking about the Sixties, but that doesn't negate his underlying point.

A couple things to get out of the way. One is that nobody should tell oppressed people the appropriate means of fighting back against the dominant power structure. If #BLM people want to get up and interrupt every speech by every presidential candidate from now until the end of time, it's not our place – whether we're white, black, or any other race – to tell them not to. Clearly being polite and patient has not worked out terribly well for Black Americans. Second, the Sanders campaign has indeed been remarkably tone-deaf on race, resembling a Nader campaign that emphasizes stroking off white progressives and doesn't seem to know how to appeal to anyone who isn't moved by arguments about economic inequality. He deserves the criticism he has received. Finally, I don't believe that Willis's criticism comes from anywhere other than a deep desire to see these issues addressed and to see the movement succeed. He has been vocal and consistent for more than a decade, filling the internet with all manner of useful commentary about the same issues that #BLM has come to represent.

That said, I really don't understand how it's so sacrilegious to suggest that maybe – just maybe – this is counterproductive. By all means, interrupt the hell out of every political figure who isn't paying attention to these issues. The interruption isn't the bad part. The having nothing to say when the microphone is in hand is the bad part. The media and The Establishment have long since figured out that the best possible way to discredit protesters is to stick the camera in their faces and let them talk. The resulting footage gives every American inclined to discredit a social movement the perfect opportunity to do so. It happened with Occupy Wall Street. It even happened with the Tea Party, although their short term influence was considerable.

Nobody likes criticism. Criticism, even when well meaning, usually stings. Often it takes a long time to recognize the value of critical advice. Even if we know intellectually that criticism is intended to help us, we still have a natural tendency to resist. And if Oliver Willis or anyone else can't look at this movement and say "Hey maybe come up with a 3-minute summary of your goals so that when you get the chance to spread your message there will be an actual message to spread, since that will probably accomplish more than extemporaneous word salad," then it's already a lost cause. This isn't even controversial; staying "on message" is demonstrably essential to successful collective action movements.

If someone is criticizing these protesters because they're Rude or because they should be more compliant, that's a load of horseshit. Shrinking violets aren't successful in this game. If, on the other hand, someone has substantive criticism about methods and how likely they are to accomplish one's goals, it might not be a terrible idea to consider those points rather than lashing out at people who want the same thing you do.

67 thoughts on “PLANNING”

  • Thanks, Ed. I've been looking for a way to articulate this event and, as usual, you said it better than I ever could. Cheers.

  • The protesters are paid shills, probably paid off by Clinton's backers. One of them was found out to be a Fundamentalist Christian and a Palin supporter, and they had no business being on the stage. Sanders had every right to tell them to get lost, which he probably should have done.

    How the fuck do they allow these idiots to rush a stage a political candidate is speaking on? Where the fuck is the security? The Black Lives Matters group has disavowed these two dopes, how can anyone defend them?

    Ohhh, so Bernie Sanders deserves criticism? Fuck that noise. He's done more for civil rights than these two PAID SHILLS have done before they were even born! What an absolute joke. Yeah, income inequality does matter, and it's tied into racial inequality. A man who marched with civil rights activists in the SIXTIES shouldn't have pander to white guilt and uninformed bozos who think he's out of touch. But hey, a black woman who supported Sarah Palin and probably hates gays rushed the stage and was incoherent, cede ALL GROUND to her!

    I hope Hillary's backers got their money's worth out of this latest stunt. Apparently the spineless shills who are out to discredit the most progressive mainstream candidate there is are entitled to as much stage time at any event they want.

  • Haven't been following this closely, has anyone interrupted any of the GOP candidates? My guess is no since they would likely be shot!

  • "The protesters are paid shills, probably paid off by Clinton's backers. One of them was found out to be a Fundamentalist Christian and a Palin supporter…"

    Evidence? References?

  • Sanders has been protesting racial inequality since before the protesters were born; had they come with any actual "asks" they probably would have discovered that he already supports them.

    I suspect they keep targeting Sanders because he's the only candidate that won't have them arrested.

  • He just hired a black press secretary who is supportive of BLM. He's taking it seriously now. They got what they wanted. Time to lay off.

  • I'm not sure what protestors like that think they're accomplishing other than alienating their potential allies.

  • Emerson Dameron says:

    The left is so damned inclusive that it has no idea how to hash out internal conflicts like this. The 9/11 Truth whackjobs nearly derailed the Iraq War protest movement, but enemies of my enemy, right? OWS was painstakingly non-hierarchical, which in practice means handing power to the loudest and angriest elements.

    There's a hilarious/heartbreaking David Cross bit about this.

  • c u n d gulag says:

    The BLM folks yell at the Democrats, because the Democrats will let them into the building, and will at least listen to them – even if it takes a while.

    According to @Drew, Bernie has hired a black woman who is sympathetic to the BLM cause.

    A question for everyone:
    How could the BLM people heckle the people who really need heckling: the Republicans?

    Do you think that at a GOP candidates speech they'd allow a group of black people in?

    And if they did, do you really think they'd be allowed near enough to the stage?
    And if they were allowed in, they'd be watched and followed, and the moment they looked like they were going to say something, they'd be shouted down and ushered out.

    The sad thing is that when people feel they need to have their voices heard, they can't go to the ones who really need to hear their message because they don't want to hear what these BLM people have to say.

    So, they go where there's a chance someone might listen.

    But yeah, it would help if, once they get on stage, or face a camera or recorder, they had something organized to say.

    We live in a talking point/sound-bite world.
    So, put together some talking points/sound-bite!

  • I'm not sure the "activists" are being paid by the Clinton campaign. This has more of the earmarks of a James O'Keefe/Roger Ailes/Karl Rove sabotage. If I were out to discredit BLM, this is just how I'd do it.

    And given that the ringleader was, as Bill says, a Palin supporter (check her FB page) who wishes the GOP had "groomed her" more, this seems to make more sense.

    And, Ed, you've fallen into the trap that so many others commenting on this have fallen into. No, you don't get what you want by sitting quietly and being polite, but this isn't a binary choice. There is a lot of ground between that and disrupting a rally, seizing a microphone, and roughing up a US Senator.

    Martin Luther King managed to build a very large and effective organization without resorting to bully tactics.

    You've also fallen victim to the MSM phony meme that Sanders is "tone deaf" on race. Sanders has a long and distinguished history of voting and fighting for minority rights — even to the point of going to jail. He was speaking up again police violence long before Hillary's pollsters told her it was OK. Check this out:

    So, I don't know whether these women were self-important assholes, paid shills, or sincere, but all they've managed to do it shoot BLM in the foot. If they intended to help the cause, they fucked up badly. If they intended to injure the cause, they succeeded wildly. If they intended to promote themselves, well, they've had their 15 minutes of fame. Good for them.

    And one more thing, it should be a felony to have a "moment" of silence that lasts four minutes. Most people in a group can deal with silence for about 40 seconds. After that, they get fidgety. Four minutes is outrageous.

    Rule of thumb: If you ask for a moment of silence, it should be no longer than the time you can comfortably hold your breath. (Write that down; it will be on the test.)

  • Man, there is an awful lot of Sanders apologism in these comments. "Bernie marched with Dr. King in the 60s!" is almost as fucking insulting as "If we just give more black people jobs and money, racism will go away!"

    Sanders' initial response of "All lives matter" showed that, regardless of his pedestrian proclivities of yesterdecade, he's still got plenty of miles to tread to understand today's Black Lives Matter movement. The fact that he's willing to listen is positive, but you all need to stop giving him a pass on the issues.

    And "He's better for black people than any of the GOP candidates!" is horseshit too.

  • I'm reticent to read into the "false-flag" ideas (i.e. that these people must be shills for someone else) because that rabbit-hole goes Alex Jones-y way too fast.

    My thought is that many in the BLM movement are reacting like a person who is drowning. A person who is drowning is going to reach out to grab anything possible– even a person who is trying to save them– and sometimes will drag them under. But it's not the drowning person's fault. That's something those who want to be allies need to think about as they reach out.

  • 'And "He's better for black people than any of the GOP candidates!" is horseshit too.'

    Okay, I'll bite. Which GOP candidate do you think would be better for black people than Sanders, and why?

  • "Man, there is an awful lot of Sanders apologism in these comments…"

    Sanders has nothing to apologize for.

    If you don't like him, don't vote for him.

    Interrupting a Social Security/Medicare event seems pretty stupid on the protesters part. Don't #Oldlivesmatter?

  • Wanting Bernie Sanders to be your warrior for racial justice in this country just because you've gone to the booth and put your money down on him doesn't make him so. He marched in the 60s? Great. He also voted to extradite Assata Shakur from Cuba.

  • O'Malley is the racist douche canoe who said "all lives matter". Once the bed was shit that hard, there's not an easy way out.

    That said, Sanders needs an elegant set of solutions on this one. Good news is that it's early days and he's a smart and experienced guy.

  • @Templar…You're talking about at Netroots, but Sanders said it at an earlier rally. He has since learned better.

  • @Jimcat They'll stay home rather than vote for a choice between being ignored and being attacked. Or do you think marginalization and continued attacks from DC will be a new experience for black people in this country?

  • Emerson Dameron says:

    In half-asses defense of O'Malley, he's running for president of the United States, not Twitter.

    Saying "All Lives Matter" bespeaks a loose, patronizing grasp of the movement, but most of his would-be constituents would probably just wonder what was so offensive about defending non-black lives.

    I'd rather save radioactive accusations such as "racist" for those who earn them, as opposed to hacks who just don't get it.

  • "He also voted to extradite Assata Shakur from Cuba."

    Don't know when he did that.

    I did google Ms. Shakur and it seems that she's alleged to have committed a laundry list of violent crimes and has been living in Cuba as a political refugee since 1984.

    This is a partial transcript:

    "H.Con.Res. 254 (105th): Calling on the Government of Cuba to extradite to the United States convicted felon Joanne Chesimard …
    … and all other individuals who have fled the United States to avoid prosecution or confinement for criminal offenses and who are currently living freely in Cuba." (Source:


    A. Although she is named first by the bills sponsor, she is not the only one named.

    B. The bill's sponsor, a NJ (R) Congressman named Shakur as she had escaped from a NJ State Prison.

    C. The bill had no force of law as an eventuality.

    D. Bernie might have had a real hard-on for Bobby Vesco since Vesco had, among other things, helped to get Nixon elected (hoping that Nixon's AG, John Mitchell might intervene for him re: five outsanding indictments from the SED).

    E. I don't know WHY Sanders voted "yay" on that resolution and neither does anyone else.

    "And "He's better for black people than any of the GOP candidates!" is horseshit too."

    I'll up Jimcat's "raise". Name one other candidate, from any party that is better than Sanders on race equality issues.

  • "@Jimcat They'll stay home rather than vote for a choice between being ignored and being attacked. Or do you think marginalization and continued attacks from DC will be a new experience for black people in this country?"

    And interrupting/dissing Sanders will help, how?

  • To clarify, the statement is not horseshit because Bernie would be worse for black people than other candidates, it's because it's a dodge. It's the currency of the white progressive movement that takes the black vote for granted.

  • I agree with Ed wholeheartedly, and I'm deeply reluctant to give credence to false flag theories, but I'm curious that BLM hasn't tried this with Hillary. As Max Sawicky pointed out on twitter, they're hurting Bernie to Hillary's benefit, even if that's not their intention.

  • @democommie If you googled a bit more you might find that Shakur was acquitted for those "violent crimes." The effect of this parade of trials for crimes she did not commit was to establish her alleged criminality in the press so that she could be railroaded on the charge they wanted her for in the first place, the killing of a NJ state trooper. Shakur's involvement in revolutionary activism had made her the target of federal and state law enforcement and once they caught her she was abused to no end.

  • It would be more dramatic if they did that at a Trump, Cruz or Walker event, insofar as they'd be stomped into chutney in full view of the media.

    That kind of determination is understandably uncommon.

  • White progressive liberals taking the black vote for granted…

    Hmmmmm I think you mean the democratic party, which is another thing all together.

    I would suggest progressive liberals of all colors leave the democratic party as it has become the Republican light parry.

  • "I would suggest progressive liberals of all colors leave the democratic party as it has become the Republican light parry."

    Yes. That worked out perfectly for President Nader. Oh wait…..

    NO IT DIDN"T. IT WOULD JUST HAND EVERYTHING TO THE REPUBLICAN PIG PEOPLE. All "3rd party" talk is just stupid and playing into the hands of your enemies – but at least you can remain "pure" while your country burns.

  • I just hope that Trump's ego comes through for us and he decides to run on a 3rd party ticket when he doesn't get the GOP nomination.

    Oh please, please, please!

  • A couple of comments:

    1. Interrupting Sanders is a political tactic, and like all political tactics, has to be evaluated NOT on whether it makes the actors executing the tactic and their supporters feel good, but by how effective it is at effecting the change sought; does it work or not? NOTHING ELSE MATTERS. If it doesn't work, DON'T DO IT AGAIN.

    2. Pointing out that this tactic doesn't work is not the same as criticizing the tactic or the people who did it or the cause it is trying to advance.

    3. If I were Karl Rove, I would do everything I could to get the #BlackLivesMatter people to attack Bernie Sanders, all the while giving them ammunition to attack Hillary Clinton when the time comes. Anything to keep them from unifying in order to attack Jeb Bush or whoever the Republicans nominate next year.

    4. Your enemy is NOT the person more or less on your side who is not on your side ENOUGH. Bernie Sanders is not an asshole because he continues to focus on economic inequality. One wag I have been reading for a while lost me completely when he complained that blacks shouldn't support Bernie Sanders because there aren't enough black people in Vermont and he won't drop economic inequality and put #BlackLivesMatter first. That's just stupid.

    5. Stop comparing who's running with some mythical, imaginary ideal candidate. There is no Easter Bunny, there is no Santa Claus, and there is no ideal candidate. It's time for everyone to grow up, put on their big boy/girl pants, and accept that they're going to have to vote for whoever is actually running, not some imaginary candidate who doesn't exist.

    6. If you stay home, it doesn't tell politicians that then need to work harder to get your attention; it tells them they can ignore you without penalty. If you want politicians to notice you and respond to you, the ONLY way to do that is to vote. "Staying home" is EXACTLY what Karl Rove wants the #BlackLivesMatter people to do.

  • Everybody realizes we are in the 7th year of a President from the democratic party, right?

    Not much has changed in our foreign policy or our economic policy, and frankly I was no worse off under Bush than I am under Obama.

    If you feel differently then vote Democrat, but if you want my vote as a politician, you have to earn it, not just have a (D) after your name on the TV screen.

    This 'there is no alternative' meme is apparently getting old with more people than just me.

  • Plainly, if you choose not to vote for a (D), you're giving a vote to an (R). If you can live with that, fine. I can't. None of them deserve my vote.

  • Bitter Scribe says:

    If #BLM people want to get up and interrupt every speech by every presidential candidate from now until the end of time, it's not our place – whether we're white, black, or any other race – to tell them not to.

    I'm sorry but that's bullshit. When I go to a political event to hear a candidate talk, I want to hear the candidate, not some jerk who thinks he or she is so much more important than everyone else that his or her right to speak is the only thing that matters.

  • Todd Ernst:

    Buddy, trolling is such a silly waste of time.

    Pearl Blart:

    "@democommie If you googled a bit more you might find that Shakur was acquitted for those "violent crimes."

    Indeed, I did, which means her being black did not keep her from getting acquitted for crimes on a number of occassions.

    Re: The violent crimes for which she WAS convicted, and for which she was serving a life sentence,

    A. She was convicted, under NJ law as an accomplice to the crimes for which she was indicted.

    B. Whether you think it's just or unjust, her escape from a NJ prison is an add-on felony for which she is subject to arrest and prosecution.

    There ARE hundreds of thousands of people in prison, many of them (a majority?) of whom are persons of color who are there for no more reason than poorly written or maliciously written statutes or for being less than sufficiently deferential to the man. Ms. Shakur does not seem to fall into that category.

    If you're going to fuck with the man, which she and other activists often do, you are going to draw a response, usually massive and often out-or-proportion to your offense. Just a fact of life. One thing that you, I or anyone else in such a situation should do before commencing on that path is be sure that they are willing to give up their freedom or their life in that endeavor.

    You believe that she's innocent and that Bernie Sanders is somehow instrumentlal in her persecution and abuse, even though he was never involved in her life before 1998 when she had been out of the country for nearly 15 years. Sanders was, btw, one of 371 to vote "yay", there were no "nays" and 63 "no votes". Of those 63, a several were black congressmen, so they're race traitors or what?

    I get that you're upset–so am I–that being black amounts to being LESS than white. It's pissed me off since I was 11 yo, but being upset with Bernie Sanders for something that was done by 370 other congressmen and not being equally upset at them seems a little selective. Also, being pissed at him because you don't LIKE what he's doing is perfectly alright. It helps if you have an idea of what he's doing and has done in the past to advance the rights of everyone, not just white folks.

    You can hate on me, but you can't make a compelling argument for your case against Sanders with the flimsy evidence you have offered.

    Perhaps you need to google a little more, as well.

  • "Not much has changed in our foreign policy or our economic policy, and frankly I was no worse off under Bush than I am under Obama."

    Justice Kagan and Justice Sotomayor. Reflect on how they vote, and compare that to how you think anybody appointed by a President McCain would vote. Marriage equality doesn't happen with two fewer votes, to name just one example. Then consider the various federal judges that you never hear about who have been appointed by President Obama, who will be in place to be nominated to SCOTUS by some future president.

    There are a lot more reasons than that to vote for Democrats, but that is more than reason enough.

  • I remember when Naderites were saying that there wasn't a dime's worth of difference between Gore and Bush.

    In retrospect, may they sit on cacti. I cannot believe that Gore would have invaded Iraq over 9/11, and that is enough of a difference for me. If anyone really thinks that there isn't enough of a difference between HRC/Sanders and Cruz/Walker/whoever* to count, I doubt their perspicacity.

    *For my own peace of mind, I refuse to consider Trump as a legitimate candidate. Charles Foster Kane had more of a chance in the general election.

  • @democommie Please look more into her trial. It was basically a kangaroo court. During jury selection, those who told the judge that they already believed Shakur to be guilty were not dismissed. The state trooper who was a witness admitted he lied about key events while on the stand. Tests performed at the scene indicated Shakur had not fired a weapon. And on, and on, and on.

    But you seem to be under the quaint impression that a conviction, no matter how biased the trial, confers real guilt. Shakur falls perfectly into your category of "being less than deferential to the man." Are you unaware of the extent of FBI and local police subversion of black activists of that era? Does COINTELPRO sound familiar? All you've done here is apologize for political persecution of radicals by the government.

    I don't have a huge problem with Sanders, but lots of people getting hopped up on election fever seem to think he is the second coming of Christ with a "flawless record" or "nothing to apologize for." Voting to support extradition of Shakur is something he should apologize for, even if most others did the same thing. (Sorry, but you need to realize that black politicians can of course do things that are bad for black americans. That shouldn't be too hard to understand.) I'm not talking about the other people who voted yes because they're not being championed as our best hope for the future.

  • LOL.

    I think you all are confusing self righteousness with not being interested in marginal changes and small victories

    I understand if it means something to you, as these marginal differences are NOT meaningless, they just aren't our main problem. If you think differently, then by all means vote democrat.

    I am uninterested in whether I get my economic neoliberalism with abortions or with guns.

    I am for both abortions and guns btw, and I am adamantly opposed to neoliberalism.

  • Even IF I believe the women who staged the interruption are actually #BLM, I wouldn't agree with their tactics. If this truly was a #BLM planned protest, I can be supportive of #BLM's mission and still have the opinion this ridiculous, incoherent stunt did nothing beneficial for the cause. Yes, everyone is talking about it, but not in a good way. That does not make me unsympathetic to the cause, only the tactics employed. I would say this no matter who's rally was disrupted.

    That said, Bernie Sanders is the only candidate taking heat from this group, so is it really all that crazy to imagine the GOP or the Hillary camp being behind this? It would be in the establishment's best interest to divide those two groups, all the while allowing the media to discredit both. It's a perfect two-birds-with-one-stone scenario. I don't put anything past the overlords who want to be the kingmakers. Bernie scares the crap out of them.

  • To put it another way:

    You are concerned that our country will burn unless we elect democrats, I am concerned that our country will burn unless we drastically change our economic policies.

    Funding our over production thru government debt is running out of viability as far as an economic policy, and will cause the whole world to burn before it is over.

  • This targeting of Sanders is insane and counterproductive.

    "David Dayen interviewed what appears to be the leader of the planned interruption, Tia Oso, and posted this transcript. Here is the first substantive question:

    Q: And Sanders kept pivoting to an economic critique?

    A: Because that is a more comfortable space for him. But if you really want to talk about economics, do you want to talk about incarceration, do you want to talk about defunding the public sector, do you really want to talk about, oh job creation. There’s plenty of jobs! Right? We’re in America, it is never just anything without the context of white supremacy it’s never just anything.

    Let us go through the points one by one.

    Incarceration — Here’s Bernie Sanders last month: “From Ferguson to Baltimore and across this nation, too many African-Americans and other minorities find themselves subjected to a system that treats citizens who have not committed crimes as if they were criminals and that is unacceptable.” Here’s Bernie Sanders last year (a quote featured on his campaign website): “The United States has more people in jail than any other country on earth. Yet, somehow, none of them are the Wall Street bankers whose illegal activities caused the global economic collapse and destroyed the lives of millions of Americans. The huge Wall Street banks are ‘too big to fail.’ The leading bankers are ‘too big to jail.’” Here he is in June, when advocating creating 1 million youth jobs with public money: “If current trends continue, 1 in 3 black males born today can expect to spend time in prison during his lifetime. This is an unspeakable tragedy.”
    Defunding the Public Sector — The socialist Sanders is weak on funding the public sector? Is this serious? Where does one even begin? Maybe his proposal to make public colleges free by increasing public funding? Perhaps the jobs program in the prior paragraph? I mean, really?
    Job Creation — I love this so much, it’s worth quoting again (read it in the sarcastic voice) “do you really want to talk about, oh job creation. There’s plenty of jobs! Right?” Does Bernie Sanders really want to talk about job creation? It’s all he talks about. The fact that job creation and similar economic topics is mostly what he talks about is the supposed racial critique!
    It somehow gets worse with the next and last question:

    Q: Do you know that he worked for SNCC?

    A: He tells everybody! Every time he’s in a conversation about black stuff, he says all the time, I said when he came out, he’s going to say I marched with your daddy and your mama, that’s what he wants to talk about. But SNCC is still around, are you funding it? Are you funding black student organizing right now? Are you funding the movement building that’s still continuing? The Voting Rights Act was repealed and gutted. Right now, what are you doing? What are you going to do? You want to be the President right now. I don’t want to hear about what you did? And by the way, what you did was not the end. We have to get out of this idea that it’s already established that I deserve to be the President. I’m a white man, that’s how we roll here. And we gave you Barack Obama so let’s just get back to business as usual. No! Your agenda needs to be correct and if it’s not correct we’re going to continue to have problems.

    Let’s review:

    Voting Rights Act — Here’s Sanders after the Supreme Court’s recent (good) districting decision: “Today’s Supreme Court decision is an important step in the fight against voter suppression. When congressional districts are controlled by partisanship it is bad for voters and our democracy. Allowing non-partisan commissions to draw district lines will help combat the hyper-partisan gerrymandering we have seen in some states. We still must go further—it’s time to restore the Voting Rights Act, expand early voting periods and make it easier for people to vote, not harder.” I recall this statement because it was apparently what prompted Killer Mike to endorse him.
    He doesn’t donate to black student organizations. — This winds up being the only thing that survives the rambling interview, and it’s hilarious. Bernie Sanders is bad on race because he isn’t donating money to organizations? That’s what we expect of a presidential candidate, personal funding of organizations? This line tends to make more sense when used to critique old civil rights figures, which is where the line was originally dreamt up and applied. Less clear how it is supposed to apply to a presidential candidate."

  • Also worth pointing out that Sanders was there to talk about preserving Social Security and Medicare. Did you know that 60% of black seniors would live in poverty if it wasn't for Social Security? Maybe there were some black people in the audience who would have liked to hear what Sanders had to say on the subject?

  • Well, he's added more statements on racial inequality to his website, so… it seems that this tactic has worked to bring the issue closer to the top of his list.

  • @Todd: "Funding our over production thru government debt is running out of viability as far as an economic policy, and will cause the whole world to burn before it is over."

    Aaaaaaand there it is. I was wondering what Todd's angle was in this.

  • "Funding our over production thru government debt is running out of viability as far as an economic policy, and will cause the whole world to burn before it is over."

    When did G&T become a Tea Party site?

  • Pearl Blart:

    I dont know if you'received being deliberately obtuse or ifor you simply fail to understando that Ms. Shakur was convicted for being an accomplice. Under the statute, unless she was being held against her will, her presence at the scene of the crime is enough to meet the standard.

    It's not up to me to determine her innocence or guilt. FWIW, she had Bill Kunestled for a lead defense attorney.

    You seem determined to simply ignore inconvenient facts.

    Your 1st comment says that you do have a "huge problem" with Sanders. Please make up your mind.

  • @democommie I understand that, as a matter of fact, Shakur was convicted of being an accomplice to murder (and a host of other counts). But everything about her case, from the bogus indictments to the suspicious encounter on the turnpike, her severe abuse, even torture, at the hands of her captors, tainted jury selection, etc. make it clear that she was targeted as a political dissident rather than because she committed heinous crimes. You're right, it's not up to you to determine guilt or innocence—it was up to a white jury who were all relatives or close friends of state troopers.

    I simply think that Sanders voting yes there demonstrates his complicity in the system that continues to unfairly persecute one who showed total commitment to racial justice in America. Let's dispense with this "make up your mind" teasing, also. Have a good one.

  • Major Kong Says:

    "I just hope that Trump's ego comes through for us and he decides to run on a 3rd party ticket when he doesn't get the GOP nomination.

    Oh please, please, please!"

    From your lips to God's ear.

  • Todd Ernst Says:

    "Everybody realizes we are in the 7th year of a President from the democratic party, right?

    Not much has changed in our foreign policy or our economic policy, and frankly I was no worse off under Bush than I am under Obama."

    Could you please lead off with such a lie as your first sentence? That'll save time for the rest of us.

  • Davis X. Machina says:

    Second, the Sanders campaign… doesn't seem to know how to appeal to anyone… who isn't moved by arguments about economic inequality

    It's been Socialist orthodoxy since the dawn of time — well, since about 1880 or so — that if you change the prevailing mode of production, everything else, including social relations,will of necessity also change.

    So the class struggle is The Struggle. It, and only it, goes after root causes. Other movements confuse effects with causes, treat symptoms, not the disease. Racism is just an epiphenomenon of the late-capitalist mode of production, and will, come the Revolution, be consigned with much else to the dustbin of history.

    There have been exceptions to this line of analysis, including Cornel West and earlier, W.E.B. DuBois. But it's time-honored, and influential.

  • "I simply think that Sanders voting yes there demonstrates his complicity in the system that continues to unfairly persecute one who showed total commitment to racial justice in America."

    What part of "escaped felon" do you not understand.

    What part of "her name was the first one becuase the bill was sponsored by a NJ Congressman" do you not understand.

    IF you want to demonstrate your commitment and that demonstration requires that break the law, you MUST, in order to be genuine, be willing to answer to the courts if you are apprehended and indicted, as per 1,000's of Freedom Marchers, draft and Vietnam War protesters and others.

    You either do that, or you are a person who doesn't like the law and prefers to violate it without paying the penalties inherent in violating the law, upon capture. We have called such people "criminals", even if they are "prisoners of conscience".

  • Dr. Arcula:

    I have limited connectvity, but this stuck out like a sore thumb:

    "Sanders’ fanatics have been viciously harassing Black people on Twitter and Facebook for weeks now—ever since the #BlackLivesMatter activists stood up during the presidential town hall at Netroots Nation and demanded that Sanders provide substantive answers about what he would do about the epidemic of police violence in the Black community."

    1.) Sanders was ambushed–twice. This despite the fact that the idiots who wanted their "time in the light" never bothered to find out if he was in fact the enemy.

    2.) Does she or anyone else KNOW that the people screaming are all, or even any of them, "Sanders" people?

    Her piece does not impress me.

  • @democommie She wasn't a draft dodger whose civil disobedience got her arrested. She was intentionally set up by FBI/ state police and suffered extreme abuse while falsely imprisoned. In her case, the law should not be respected. Rather, people rightly celebrate her escape from her torturers. Those who aren't apologists for fascism, that is. It is really simple: you accept the terms set forth by her abusers. I don't.

  • Without trying to assign by association more importance to Sanders than his record deserves, the lesson of FDR is instructive here. There were plenty of groups banging away at him during the 1932 election, with just as much urgency as many groups today, but they didn't go out of their way to damage FDR's chances of winning. Once he was inaugurated, FDR said, essentially, "now push me to do the things you want me to do." And those groups did, and got Social Security, the NLRB, jobs programs through the CCC and the WPA, along with the TVA, Rural Electrification, and a ton of other minor programs.

    None of that would have happened had he lost, because he had been perceived by the public to have been insufficiently attuned to their interests (precisely the reason why Hoover lost that election).

    Finally, let's ignore for the moment that they stormed the stage of his event and shoved a 74-year-old U.S. Senator out of the way to get at the microphone. Let's just contemplate for a moment what the instigators meant by creating the hashtag, #BowDownBernie.

    I'm inclined to think two ways about it. First, since the woman is an evangelical Christian, perhaps she was suggesting Bernie supplicate himself before her Jesus. Duh. He's Jewish. Second, more likely, it was an attempt to humiliate Bernie, to cow him because he didn't parrot her exact words, as if this were a child's game of "Simon Says." Either way, does Sanders' record indicate he deserves humiliation, or that this woman is correct that he should be required to bow down to this woman's god?

    As for her being someone's operative or useful idiot, there just isn't enough evidence of that at the moment. To think it impossible, however, is to ignore the existence of a solid forty years of Republican ratfucking in the political life of this country. And so far, #BLM has gone after exclusively Dem candidates, at NetRoots, in Seattle, and most recently, against Clinton in New Hampshire, which she was only just able to head off, it appears. Experience also shows that spontaneous grassroots movements are extraordinarily easy to infiltrate.

  • @democommie The only thing I'm trying to convince you of is that you have no idea what you're talking about. You hadn't even heard of Assata Shakur when I posted my first comment, however you keep engaging me because you think reading a Wikipedia page makes you expert enough to shout others down.

  • Pearl Blart:

    Trust me on this, you'really wasting your time.

    You have offered nothing except assertions, they are not evidence of anything except your blind, unquestioning loyalty.

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