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Rivers of Blood


War, dreadful war, and Tiber flood

I see incarnadined with blood.

-- the Sibyl

As I look ahead, I am filled with foreboding. Like the Roman, I seem to see "the River Tiber foaming with much blood".

-- Enoch Powell

Whether Powell was just a racist dickhead or some dude with ears licked clean by the temple snakes, he and many others were, are, and always will be justifiably afraid of the consequences of smashing established social institutions.

Arguably, the Late Unpleasantness didn't turn out well for a lot of folks, though it freed some People of Color from at least one form of slavery, and if you're reading this, you've probably reaped a few benefits from that little tea party that some of our ancestors threw, even though it didn't turn out so well for a number of other groups.

On a lesser scale...

Several people died in the Haymarket Riot, a handful of anarchists were later executed [or committed suicide], and the cause for which the tens of thousands of workers were demonstrating -- shortening the work day to 8 hours -- wasn't immediately instituted by management, but an awful lot of workers since then are indebted to those early labor activists.

More recently, in fact mere weeks after Powell's speech, rioting in France at first only hardened the hearts of the morally conservative, authoritarian government,

but now, 40 years later,

France is a liberal, egalitarian society with perhaps the finest, or at least the most coveted, health care system in the world.

In light of all this, I have a modest proposal for you. Instead of working to heal the rift in the Democratic Party, now is the ideal time to part ways with the centrists and form the NFP -- National Feminist Party -- because NWP is already taken, plus there's that unfortunate W that we'd be better off without.

We'll ask Hillary to run as our first Presidential candidate for 2008, right after -- or perhaps right before would be better -- the Democratic Party Coronation of Obama, be it May 31, June 3, or the upcoming contretemps in Denver. She's got the chops, she's got the following, we'll just need to convice her to break with her centrist past and adopt a slightly more socialist [single-payer national health insurance] and populist [rescind corporate personhood] platform, but that might not be too difficult once she's no longer bound to the DLC.

Rather than the bland, homogenized, post-racial, post-feminist ideal of the Obamaites, I envision a possibly unruly but mostly like-minded assemblage of ovarians and penisians who will all be able to profess outright admiration or even envy of each others' melanin status. And while we won't have to go back to square one, the first thing I'd like to see is passage of the Equal Rights Amendment, with updates and improvements, of course.

The danger is that we'd be very unlikely to take the Presidency in 2008. Hillary's got roughly half the Democrats in the country rooting for her, but given the chance to jump off the cliff, a fair number of them will opt for safety and go with Obama. And while there's a good chance that splitting the erstwhile Democratic Party in two could leave McCain with the lion's share of votes, it's entirely possible that once a third -- and demonstrably leftist -- party is available for a yardstick to measure the other two against, many more Republicans will be comforted by, and will likely vote for, Obama's evident centrism.

History warns us that if we're the bleeding edge, the instigators of radical change, we'll be the ones to take the biggest hit, and we might even have to wait a generation or two before we become acceptable and unremarkable and society at large incorporates some of our goals. It's worth trying though, and no time like the present, and all that jazz.


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Submitted by hipparchia on

that's one scary-looking dude.

i like that blog. thanks for the link.

Submitted by lambert on

The NFP sounds like there's no place for me in it, since I'm male. (In addition, I'm not sure I'm entirely comfortable with the ideology, not because it goes too far, but because it doesn't go far enough).

Now, a NHRP, a National Human Rights Party, I could get behind.

One agenda item: Destroy corporate personhood...

[x] Any (D) in the general. [ ] ?????. [ ] Any mullah-sucking billionaire-teabagging torture-loving pus-encrusted spawn of Cthulhu, bless his (R) heart.

Submitted by lambert on

which is why I was careful to qualify with "sounds like."

That said, I'm really not sure about the *-ist part. Why I'd reframe as human rights. Note that "human" applies to all sexes, genders, races, classes....

[x] Any (D) in the general. [ ] ?????. [ ] Any mullah-sucking billionaire-teabagging torture-loving pus-encrusted spawn of Cthulhu, bless his (R) heart.

Submitted by hipparchia on

based on your writings here, you'd be welcomed into just about any feminist group, whatever their aims. and you'll note that i did call it the nat'l feminist party, and not the nat'l feminine party. ;)

coupla problems with your human rights party--

  1. people, typically men, defuse and diffuse women's rights issues and activists by turning the focus to away from women's rights over to human rights. sounds good in theory -- in fact, it sounds most excellent, what human could possibly be against human rights? -- but even with the best of intentions [which i never ascribe to the hijackers btw] all that the lower groups can hope to aspire to is to be raised up closer to the second-highest group. thus all groups are allowed to asymptotically approach parity with the ruling class [older white men in our society], but never actually reach it, let alone ever gaining real power for themselves.
  2. we've already tried that, except that the human rights-ists were/are known as the fdr/new deal democrats, while the corporate machine/economic elitists were/are the republican party. worked reasonably well for some decades, but with the advent of ronald reagan, the republican party became a coalition of the robber barons and the religious extremists, while the democratic party devolved into an amalgam of robber-baron-wannabes and leftover leftists, many of whom drifted off to become greens or naderites or non-voters or ....

[speaking of... ]

the republican party is at an absolute nadir right now, although it could possibly crumble even further if we allow a mccain presidency to happen. there won't be a better time to risk splitting the one opposing [snort] party into two opposing parties. it's already happened in all but name anyway, with obama having peeled off his half of the dem voters into the national black caucus and hillary having gathered her half of the dem voters into the national feminist party.

mccain being from the southwest, his republican party might get a lot of the hispanic vote, which could turn out well -- with the three main parties representing three large-ish, narrow-ish groups [republican/hispanic, democratic/black, nfp/women] there'd be no real political home for older white males. for the first time since were painting pictures of horses on the walls of caves, they'd be relegated to choosing the lesser of three evils and reluctantly aligning themselves with a group that deigns to let them join, but might not exactly represent them.

if you'd been black, female, hispanic, ..., for lo these many years you'd know the wild joy that this prospect engenders in a lot of hearts.

cenobite's picture
Submitted by cenobite on

The Clintons are Democratic party partisans. They are loyal to the party even if it isn't always loyal to them.

Also, there is zero upside for Sen Clinton here. Running on a third party ticket would end her career in the senate, and make her the most hated person in Democratic party history - it would be much worse than Nader, trust me.

If she isn't nominated, as seems likely, she will work to get Sen Obama elected (as seems unlikely).

Submitted by hipparchia on

we haven't got a candidate with her following, her power, her name recognition, her war chest.

if the democratic party split approximately evenly into the obama party and the clinton party, there would be no democratic party to hate her. nader's problem is that with only 2% or so of the vote, he spoiled the chances of a favorite [and i have my doubts that we can blame him, but you're right, he's still hated for that]. hillary, otoh, has roughly 20-30% of the voters in her corner right now, maybe more. ross perot had that kind of margin in several states, but nobody hates his guts for running, in part because we had a lackluster incumbent [bush, sr] and an unknown upstart [clinton, mr] to choose from. the present situation is analogous, with mccain a rough equivalent to the lackluster incumbent, and obama the unknown upstart.

it would be a long shot, a very long one, but she could very possibly be the one to establish a credible third party. she and bill were among the architects of the original third way, this wouldn't be a huge leap. but you're right about her loyalty. i have to admit, i'd want that kind of loyalty in my corner.

Submitted by lambert on

I believe, and continue to believe, that the only way forward is non-violence. Worked for Ghandi, worked for MLK.

[x] Any (D) in the general. [ ] ?????. [ ] Any mullah-sucking billionaire-teabagging torture-loving pus-encrusted spawn of Cthulhu, bless his (R) heart.

Submitted by hipparchia on

about that 'blood'

i'm not actually advocating the spilling of blood -- i'm a coward, i'd vastly prefer that not happen -- but jfk, rfk, mlk, malcolm x, medgar evers, buddhist monks in burma....

those policemen who died in the haymarket riot, according to wikipedia, were likely killed by their own friendly fire, not by the anarchists, and the anarchists were later executed by the state.

non-violence is the preferred state by practically all human beings everywhere [psychopaths are only ~1% of the population] but discarding the ability/threat to resort to violence if all else fails is akin to labor sitting down at the bargaining table with management after having given up their right to strike. cf the redcoats are coming! the redcoats are coming!

BDBlue's picture
Submitted by BDBlue on

As you know, lambert, even though those two fellows advocated non-violence, their lives ended violently. If you're going to start some radical movement, even a non-violent one, it's best to presume blood might flow - your own.

I prefer National Human Rights Party as well, if only because I want everyone who believes in social justice and human rights to feel welcome and I'm tired of the oppression olympics. Certainly, feminism would be an important part of any new party that I'd want to join and women would be a natural starting place to build a base of support, but I don't want to leave good fellows behind because they think they aren't wanted.

And the Clintons are not going to start a third party. If there's going to be one, it's going to take the Democratic Party splintering, but don't expect Bill or Hillary to lead the way. They are good Democrats, that's what's cost her so much this election. If they weren't, they'd have more influence in the end game, but because everyone knows they'll do the "right" thing in the end, nobody fears them enough. The other problem she has is that her support among elected leaders isn't strong enough to get them to change to the new party. If she could leave and take people like Ed Rendell with her. If a bunch of elected Democrats left the party, that might be tempting. But she'd be leaving on her own and there's less power in doing that than in staying where she is.

Submitted by hipparchia on

tis a noble ideal indeed and fwiw, i'd go for that in the right circumstances, but ultimately the men who wouldn't be caught dead in a feminist party would happily join a humanist party and then dilute the power of the uppity women, keeping them at say, no more than 90% of the power that men can have. for ever and ever. also, whites would end up doing that with people of color. measured economically as a class, blacks are still probably only about 3/5 of a person, even today.

i'm with you on the oppression olympics, but breaking into three [or more] narrower-interest parties could allow for more fluid coalitions on individual issues. i can't say that it would work better that way, but i'm not a centrist, and while they can't make me be one, the centrists could gain my partial and temporary alliance on some of their issues.

you're right that everyone knows they can count on the clintons to support the democratic party, no matter what. and yeah, you're probably right about there not being enough [powerful] elected leaders right now who would leave their comfy positions in the democratic party.

and yes, you're exactly right about the blood. thanks.

bringiton's picture
Submitted by bringiton on

No penalty for Holy Joe, apparently, no matter what he does.

Hillary isn't an agitator, never has been. She thought it through and opted for working inside the structure when she was in college; I don't see her changing. That kid of hers, though, has some potential.

No third party for me this cycle, thanks anyway; too much at stake. If you want to start one up after the election, I'll listen; a more inclusive name would help.

Oh, and we prefer that you not use "penisians" at all, too much pressure. We would rather be called "testiculans" if you would be so kind.

Submitted by hipparchia on

testiculans... awkward to say, and brings to mind images of romulans for some reason, but you're right about the anatomical significance. testesians maybe?

chelsea is smart as a whip, and classy too, even if she does work for a hedge fund. i admire her more each time i see her in action on the campaign trail. and iirc, she'll be old enough to run for president in 2016, after mccain's two terms in office. if she hasn't crossed over to the dark side and turned libertarian, i'll vote for her in a heartbeat.

there will always be too much at stake to risk breaking away and establishing a third party.

i agree. hillary isn't an agitator, and would be most unlikely to desert the democratic party, but she's already going to be permanently vilified just for having the gall to run in this primary [dennis kucinich will forever be branded 'the incompetent who bankrupted cleveland']. she's eminently electable right now, she's got a large enough base, many of whom would follow her into hell itself, mccain is a weak opponent, and the voters are absolutely disgusted with the status quo. she wouldn't even have to agitate, the rank and file dems could do their own agitating and split themselves into two parties and the lefty-er wing could ask her to be their candidate.

the end of a mccain presidency might be an even more propitious time to elect a third-party candidate than right now, but at the end of an obama presidency, boringly centrist though it might turn out to be, the electorate is going to be just well enough off to be unwilling to take chances, but not so well off that they can afford to take that chance.

like i said to lambert, i understand about the [non]inclusivenes of the name, but i'm not entirely sympathetic to your predicament, nor am i convinced that the present state of affairs -- two 'opposing' big-tent parties -- is worth repairing.

lieberman [shudder]... he's done well with it, but that kind of apostasy might turn out to be another one of those things that men are allowed to do but women could never get away with.

cenobite's picture
Submitted by cenobite on

"If treason prosper, none dare call it treason."

If Sen Clinton ran as a third party candidate, it would ensure the election of McCain. She would be vilified as the greatest traitor to the party ever.

bringiton's picture
Submitted by bringiton on

Private eye got the photos labled backwards, but other than that....