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wildeyed's Journal
wildeyed's Journal
March 22, 2017

Segregation Had to Be Invented

Interesting article about the history of segregation in NC and the fusion party that flourished briefly in the late 1800s. The only successful bloody coup d'etat in US history happened in response to that bi-racial populist movement. I take solace in thinking that maybe racism and segregation are not always the default wishes of the people. We are greedy and flawed, sure, but the elites spend a great deal of money on divide and conquer, reinforcing our baser instincts for their personal gain. It does seem to yield great results for them But it is not our destiny.


It was the only successful coup in American history.

In 1894, black Republicans and white Populists joined together to create a “fusion” ticket of candidates to oppose Democrats. They shocked the political establishment and won two-thirds of the legislature.

This wasn’t the first time whites and blacks had allied politically. In Virginia in the late 1870s, black and poor white voters formed the Readjuster Party, which worked together to overcome the power of white political elites. In North Carolina; they also worked together to write the Constitution of 1868, which mandated the creation and funding of a state system of public education.

Yet the Fusion Party proved to be more powerful than anyone had anticipated. In 1896, it gained even more seats and elected a Republican as governor of North Carolina after decades of Democratic rule. (Fusion tickets also gained power in other Southern states, but none to the extent of the ticket in North Carolina, according to James Leloudis, a professor of history at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.)

Fusion was a ticket of the working class, and the alliance soon began implementing policies that helped its supporters. They capped interest rates, increased public-school funding, and allowed symbols to be put on ballots to enfranchise people who could not read or write. Their policies were designed, in the words of one supporter, to protect “the liberty of the laboring people, both white and black,” according to Leloudis.

The white elite were threatened by these new policies, especially because Fusion had shifted the burden of taxation from individuals to corporations and railroads. Yet they had little connection with poor voters, and so had few ideas about how to address their economic concerns. Instead, they tried to convince poor whites that they should not associate with blacks in any way. Democrats began to talk of blacks as an “other,” warning of the dangers of miscegenation, portraying blacks as rapists who would come after white women.

Someone made a movie about the Wilmington coup. I haven't seen it, but posting the link so I will remember to watch it soon. http://wilmingtononfire.com
Missing entry

August 16, 2016

Charlotte, NC just voted to cut early vote hours, despite the court ruling

saying that the change in the voting laws was racially discriminatory. The Board of Elections is controlled by the party that is in power at the state level. Right now in NC that is the GOP, even though Charlotte area is solidly Democratic and progressive. We are also one of the 10 fastest growing cities in the country. We have MORE citizens than in 2012, yet they cut our early vote hours significantly.

This is an example of how rules are used to subvert the will of the people. The GOP is shoving their agenda down Charlotte's throat AGAIN. Their puppet Governer Pat McCrory is in serious trouble and they know that Charlotte will deliver NC to the blue column in the GE if we have a strong voter turnout. So they are pulling out these stale dirty tricks AGAIN.

Local scuffles like this are really important. It is important that progressives see and understand what is going on here and in other battleground states.


I want to also highlight how very important activist involvement is at this stage of the game. We PACKED the house with pro-early voting advocates. Standing room only and out the door. I got there early. The local political beat reporter was there with a notepad taking notes for a column that would be buried somewhere in the back pages of the local section. Once they saw how many people showed up and the energy that was there, the photographers and TV cameras started showing up. We were on every local news broadcast and are currently the top story on the Charlotte Observer website. Activist citizens made that happen. Now everyone in the city who flipped on the local news or peeked at the paper this morning knows what they did.

There is another important BOE meeting in Durham County tomorrow night at 6:30. If you are local, be there!

If you are out of state, kick a few $$$ to one of the groups fighting the good fight. NC NAACP and Democracy NC are two that come to mind.

If you are interested in the background of the woman who pushed the bad early voting plan through, see my thread in the NC group. Looks like she is buddies with some serious GOP heavy hitters.

July 15, 2016

Nah, my state passed a BUNCH of progressive legislation when Dems were in power.

NC had some of the most liberal election law in the country while the state government was controlled by conservative Dems like Mike Easly. Under these "DINOs" we got extended early voting hours, same day registration, public funding for local judicial campaigns and even a trial for preferential ballots (benefits grassroots and third-party candidates) in a few local races. All of these gains were rolled back under the GOP who took control in 2010 and then they added nasty things like voter ID law.

So there you have it!

Strong activist coalition + Democrats in power = progressive voter laws

GOP = voter suppression

There's your proof right there! I have seen the difference between GOP and conservative Dems up close and personal and the difference is HUGE. The electoral math for Democrats favors a large and diverse voter pool. This is true for ALL Dems, not just liberals. The GOP math favors limiting the pool of potential voters as much as possible. It is really that simple.

If you have a Democratically controlled state, you can get progressive voter legislation passed, either as a party activist or (my path) as a volunteer for an activist group that focuses on voting rights. It requires attention and some effort, something that many around here have in short supply. But the FACTS of the matter are incontrovertible. Do the work and you will see results.

April 21, 2016

This election is not about nice

or liking a candidate. It is about working out really painful shit like institutional racism and figuring out the boundaries of our own endless consumerist appetites for oil, cheap food, and mindless entertainment.

There has been zero accountability for the economic crisis that was caused by the greed and irresponsibility of the financial sector, but the middle class is still paying and paying for their bullshit.

The consequences of global warming are becoming obvious (visit Houston, but don't forget your boat!).

Domestically, there is armed insurrection on the fringe-right and they used tanks and tear gas to put down the unrest in Ferguson.

Internationally, we are seeing a refugee crisis of Biblical proportions and the Middle East could devolve into the third world war without even trying hard. It could easily be dominos, one weird thing happens and BOOM, we will be all the way into a MAJOR military event, just like WW1.

We had hope and change last time, Dreams of my Father and the most talented, charismatic and intelligent politician of our lifetimes running or office. I really thought he could bring the entire country together, and we could be the UNITED States of America again, and we could skip a bunch of the nasty we are looking at right now. But it became obvious that the GOP would not cooperate, that they would run the country into the ground rather than compromise about anything. Their greed is just STAGGERING. And it brought the inherent racism out of the shadows and now we have to look at it and deal with it and that hurts, too.

So this is an ugly race. This is a race about dealing with our own national character defects, greed and racism. There will be no "good" candidates this time, because we do not need or deserve "good" right now. My personal opinion, what we on the left DO need is a soldier who knows how to fight in the trenches. We need to win the Supreme Court battle and deal with the gerrymandering problem. Nothing gets better until we deal with those two things. But we are right smack dab in the middle of a war already and it is not going to be pretty unless we can score a few more decisive victories.

February 25, 2016

This post....

OMG. So amazing. I want this particular post to LIVE FOREVER.

February 15, 2016

Yes, the party has a say

in who they nominate. People need to understand the rules of the game if they want to play. A bunch of the upset I hear is just sour grapes from people who are losing at a facet of the game.

But that said, I believe that the two main parties have made it waaaaay too difficult for third parties to compete. The lack of choice and the overwhelming power these two entities have on BOTH sides is part of the frustration that people are expressing right now. And the parties need to understand that, for the good of the country, we need to open up the process a bit.

I will take this moment for a public service announcement:

Instant-Runoff Voting or IRV will allow third party candidates to run without being a spoiler.

IRV is a preferential voting system in which voters rank the candidates in order of preference rather than voting for a single candidate.

You fill out your ballot, with the candidates in the order of your preference. Initially, the first choices are tallied. If no single candidate gets 51%, then the last finishing candidate is kicked out, and those voters 2nd choice is added in. This continues until on candidate achieves 51% or more of the popular vote.

That way, people can vote for a third party candidate without the fear of spoiling the election for the next best choice. People who have divergent political views that are not represented by one of the two parties can have a say.

I believe this would address the problem without the catastrophic upheaval that seems bound to happen if we don't make some voluntary changes soon.

February 11, 2016

What does "walked with John Lewis"

even mean to you?

THIS is the walk that John Lewis took.

Oh look, here he is with another Freedom Rider after being beaten by segregationist.

Here he is in the hospital after having his skull fractured by police.


Oh look, being pulled off a stool as he is trying to integrate a lunch counter.

There are pretty much endless photos of John Lewis beaten and bloody during Civil Rights once you start looking.

So no, Sanders did not "walk" with John Lewis. He showed up at the March on Washington. So did my MOM. But she never claimed that she "walked" with King

January 30, 2016

Nah. All you need is a politician

who is willing to walk through that door once the activists push it open far enough. That's the easy part. You gotta make them do it. That's the hard part.

Activist are responsible for giving the politician the cover they need to get the work of the legislation done. King famously pushed Kennedy and LBJ on civil rights. The depression opened the door for FDR. None of that groundbreaking legislation gets done without both timing and the right activists in place to agitate on the issues.

Sanders math on single-payer doesn't work. His job is to present a workable policy that we can move toward. He has not done that.

"And isn't that the entire point of the Democratic Party?"
NO. That is not the point of a political party at all. They are a tactic to allow politicians to win elections. Nothing more.

Y'all should quit dumping your responsibility to agitate the shit out of this issue onto Sanders or a political party's lap in the first place. Because it goes nowhere if you do that. MAKE THEM DO IT. Show up at every board meeting, at the state house and vote in every single election that you are eligible for. Write OpEds and register voters. Make the local pols who oppose you fucking miserable every time they see you coming until they pass your law just to get you off their back. Yes you can!

January 24, 2016

I believe it is worse than that.

The GOPs driving this mess are mostly old school guys, Art Pope (rich NC businessman and Koch brother disciple) and his crew. I think they understand EXACTLY where the demographics are going and that their time is limited no matter how many voters they disenfranchise. It is basically a smash and grab.

They are passing rules that benefit their cronies, privatize public services, etc. They are pumping as much money out of public coffers and into their own pockets as possible and vandalizing all the nice public things the state has on the way out. White supremacy is really ugly when it feels cornered....

An example, charter school oversight is basically nil now. They increased the number allowed and weakened the fiscal oversight rules. A guy in Raleigh who is also a Civitas board member (Art Pope's political action group) owns a for-profit charter school chain. He owns a separate company that rents the school building and all items in it to the charter school group. And then he is the chairman of the charter school board of directors. And the state is not overseeing the money that is changing hands AT ALL. But if the charter school is not able to pay its bills, guess who is on the hook? You guessed! The state and the taxpayers! And guess who gets to keep his real estate and other assets? Yep. The guy who is politically connected and set up the whole disgraceful boondoggle in the first place.

And they are set on destroying our excellent public university system too. They have particular political beefs with UNC-Chapel Hill, the flagship campus. Despite being listed as one of the best values in higher education in the country, they have cut budgets and installed their own political puppet as the president.

And then there are voting rights..... And this is my personal passion too.... The Moral Monday coalition came into being long before Moral Mondays were a thing. We were a loosely organized progressive coalition group. Our members included a huge spectrum of individual interests, but we all agreed that we had the same enemies and that by organizing our efforts, we would all see more progress in each area. And it was agreed that the most efficient path to victory was to first expand the electorate to include more poor, young, black and latino voters. So we started doing tons of grassroots voter education and mobilization drives on the ground, and lobbying the Democratically controlled legislature for better laws in the legislature.

We got same-day voter registration, longer early voting periods, publicly funded judicial campaigns and ran some tests with instant-runoff voting (so cool, google it) in primaries. OMG, the GOP here hated Sunday early voting because we facilitated a Souls to the Polls campaign where black churches would do a BBQ after services and run vans to and from early vote sites all afternoon. All completely legit because no one told anyone which candidate or party to support. And no one was stopping white churches from doing the same, right? But it seemed to enrage the GOP. We divided up underrepresented precincts and would canvass during early voting to increase turnout (remember, we had same day registration too!). Um, we turned out the homeless shelters and through that effort got some low income housing built for that population. Ex-felons re-enfranchisement education. Registering new citizens. ACORN (and another organizer after they got disbanded) did turnout in public housing. On and on.... And we were successful! Voter participation increased.

But we were still under the radar. The power people would laugh and point, but didn't really take us seriously. Until Obama won the NC Electoral College votes. Since then, 10s of millions of dollars have been spent in this state to role back all the great strides we made. Democrats lost the state house in 2010 and as a result, we were brutally gerrymandered by the GOP to the point where we don't really have democracy in this state any more. Because sorry, when 51% of the citizens vote for a Democratic statehouse rep, but the GOP comes out with a veto-proof majority, something STINKS. My vote was still STOLEN, but they did it "legally" with fucking math and lawyers. Since almost no one pays attention to white criminals in suits, most voters don't even see that it happened.

Anyhoo.... I am blathering on.... Moral Monday, what I refer to as the Fusion Party now, is one of my most favorite topics. But this is what I want to say about our country's racist history. YES, it is bad, but there are rich people out there who spend million and millions to MAKE SURE it stays bad. In NC at least, the people always come back around to some sort of people's coalition group that includes black and white. It has been happening here, off and on, since reconstruction. So it seems like The People bend history toward justice periodically, but they through a combination of our own inattention and power the very rich exert over the system, we get bent back

Anyone who is really interested in the Moral Monday movement and fusion politics should take a look at Rev. Dr. Barber's book on the topic. I am about 2/3rds through. Since it is my state and I was there for some of the grassroots work, of course I love it. But anyone with a serious interest in progressive activism should take a look.

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