Politics as Reality Television

by Charles Fredricks

Trump’s expertise at reality TV may not have prepared him to be president, but has prepared him to win over a large portion of the electorate, who prefer entertainment to the hard realities we confront.


Failing Tao, man resorts to Virtue.
Failing Virtue, man resorts to humanity.
Failing humanity, man resorts to morality.
Failing morality, man resorts to ceremony.
Now, ceremony is the merest husk of faith and loyalty;
It is the beginning of all confusion and disorder.

—Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu, poem 38, excerpt

ORIGINALLY appeared in LA Progressive. Reprinted with permission of the author.

Much as I try to avoid it, catching the latest faux pas of the Trump campaign is somewhat unavoidable. The media finds endless fascination in his dribble, and would have us do the same. Hillary spends most of her time pointing them out with a laugh, which does little to diminish the media’s attention on him or recommend her as an alternative, and telling us what we already know is boring. The most remarkable thing in all this is that despite his frequent transgressions against common sense, Trump seems to be rising in the polls. As anyone in TV can tell you, the cardinal rule above all including substance is, don’t be boring.

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Book Discussion, “False Choices”

False Choices • Oct 9 • 2pm • First Unitarian Church, 2936 W 8th St, L.A. 90005


DSA-LA Members and Friends,

On October 9th at 2 PM at the First Unitarian Church, the Democratic Socialists of America, LA Chapter is organizing a discussion group of False Choices: The Faux Feminism of Hillary Rodham Clinton. We will discuss the book for the first part of the meeting. While the entire book will be covered, readers with less time should concentrate on the following essays: “Neoliberal Fictions: Harper Lee, Hillary Clinton, and My Dad” by Catherine Liu, “Marry the State, Jail the People: Hillary Clinton and the Rise of Carceral Feminism” by Yasmin Nair. “Hillary Screws Sex Workers” by Margaret Corvid, and “Hillary Does Honduras” by Belen Fernandez.

After we discuss the book, we will have an open brainstorming session to pin down some actions and start thinking about organizing under a Clinton presidency. Light refreshments will be served afterward.

Verso Books has generously made the book available for a 50% discount for our group through this link

We ask that you RSVP to mirandasklaroff@gmail.com if you will be attending to ensure we have enough facilitators. We strongly encourage participants to use public transportation or carpool as there is another event at the same location and parking will be challenging. 

Economic Equality Matters in Black Lives

by Jack Rothman



ORIGINALLY appeared in LA Progressive. Reprinted with permission of the author

Black Lives Matter is new on the American scene, but it mirrors the efforts of other groups historically to advance the interests of African Americans. Like BLM, those organizations forced into public awareness aspects of black oppression that were being disregarded—organizations like the Freedom Riders, the Black Panthers, Malcolm X’s Nation of Islam, and the Garvey Movement.

While the Freedom Fighters in the 60s took on undemocratic public accommodations practices, BLM currently exposes the extent of police violence against black men across the nation. The organization sprung up after the murders of Trayvon Martin in Florida and Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. A host of other police abuses followed and BLM has been in the forefront demanding prosecutions and a stop to these horrific incidents. While focusing on the extralegal execution of African American males, BLM also makes clear its opposition to injustice foisted on women, gays and the disabled.

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Where Tom Hayden Gets It Wrong

Answer to Tom Hayden writing in ‘The Nation’ to endorse Hillary for president:

‘I used to support Bernie but then I changed my mind’

by Charles Fredricks

ORIGINALLY appeared in LA Progressive. Reprinted with permission of the author.

Because Tom fears the alternative is Lucifer, he opts to support his minion instead. Hyperbole? Hillary is working to export fracking technology globally, supports GMO companies’ efforts to commodify the food supply, is down with continuing to hold the US healthcare system hostage to the private health insurance and pharmaceutical industries, and never saw a war or wCharles Fredrickseapons system she couldn’t justify.

She is an imperialist; she makes no bones about continuing the failed fiction that American military preeminence equals the right to impose the will of corporate capitalists on all corners of the Earth that have not yet succumbed. She mistakenly believes we can continue such misappropriated investment of our energy while allowing our social base to wither and die. She is backed by the banks because they know her noise about reform is election year propaganda, as her idea of representing everyone means maintaining the status quo for the few who own half the wealth of the country. Viewing her through a global lens, she is a kinder, gentler, less misogynous, less racist (notice I did not say “not -” etc.), fascist.

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Essence of Sanders Campaign

The Left and the 2016 Elections



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After COP21: Marching in Place for Climate Justice

Shoes left symbolically after the French Government banned the Paris Global Climate March. credit: Ian Bremmer

CAROL NEWTON – Shadowed by the Paris terror attacks before the opening of the international climate summit (COP21), the conferees gathered to try to agree on principles intended to rescue the planet from catastrophic warming. Unfortunately, marches and protests planned for the 2-week event were banned for security reasons. Thousands of shoes were placed as stand-ins for the planned demonstration preceding the conference.

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Minimum Wage? How About a Maximum Wage?


JACK ROTHMAN – I see that unions, led by the Service Employees International Union, are out in full force championing the $15 an hour minimum wage. Business leaders scoff at this. But about nine million workers carry full-time jobs, working 40 hours a week, and still live below the poverty line. Now, that’s something to really scoff at! But even if these employees were able to achieve the $15 wage, the inequities in income between the top one percent and ordinary working families would still be a Herculean stretch. Workers are like cliff scalers in Yosemite, peering up El Capitan, but without cleats, climbing ropes and tax shelters. The Washington Post reports that the average CEO earns just over 350 times as much as the work force below. Those executives need to come down from the stratosphere and breathe real air.

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DSA-LA Welcomes Harold Meyerson, Wednesday, December 10, 7pm‏


On December 10, 2014, Meyerson will speak on “The Future of Politics in an Age of Inequality” bringing his observations on the painful 2014 mid-term elections, the role of low wages in creating and aggravating inequality, the local minimum wage fight and his suggestions for what socialists can do.

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Building Blocks Against Climate Change

Building Blocks Against Climate ChangeDSA-LA community:

Please join us as we support and amplify the message of the Peoples Climate March in NYC. We now know that the costs of capitalism’s blindness on fossil fuel use will force a spiral of climate events that endangers the planet and all its inhabitants.

DSA-LA is going all out against climate change. Please join us, and many other groups, in this powerful demonstration in our own home town.

September 20, 1-5pm • Wilshire Blvd, between Vermont and Berendo

There will be an Eco-Socialist zone between Vermont and Berendo on Wilshire Blvd, both sides of the street. DSA-LA will have signs and T-shirts at the corner of Wilshire and Berendo. Once you have your items, feel free to mingle with our coalition members, or take our messages along the Building Blocks route from Lafayette Park to Western.

To see the other groups that will be there, go to AgainstClimateChange.org

Scroll down to the map and list of participants.

To RSVP to help day of: carolnewtn@gmail.com and chasfred@roadrunner.com

BE there!