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    1. Mentorship networks/software for Leftists?

      Reading HackerNews and saw that some mentorship software launched: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=20656223 and someone mentioned another software as a service that does mentorship:...

      Reading HackerNews and saw that some mentorship software launched: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=20656223 and someone mentioned another software as a service that does mentorship: https://mentorloop.com/

      Now I'm wondering where the mentorship for leftists and leftist organizing is.

      And I'm wondering if anyone else feels like most of the good ideas that leftists have slowly trickle into businesses but in ways that can be controlled by executives/managers. Their "features" include these slogans:

      Tools to Turn Human Resources into Superheroes

      Don't let employees slip through the cracks
      Stay on top of hundreds to thousands of mentoring interactions in a way that still feels personal. Check in on employee relationships, give them the right nudges they need.

      What's your take? Is there a need for more mentorship and peer to peer training/collaboration amongst anarchists and communists? Is that realistic? Or is this something that we just need to be on the defense against and form our own networks outside these systems of control?

      16 votes
    2. This Week In Election Night, 2020 (Week 19)

      good morning, tildes--this is not a test. we are 461 days and dropping away from possibly the biggest election day in recent american history. the coverage is even more spread out this week, with...

      good morning, tildes--this is not a test. we are 461 days and dropping away from possibly the biggest election day in recent american history. the coverage is even more spread out this week, with pieces from gillibrand to gabbard and delaney to de blasio; unfortunately, however, our opinion pieces continue to tread water and there is but one piece which even sniffs being longform. (nevertheless, expect a flurry of pieces after the debates today and tonight.)

      the usual note: common sense should be able to generally dictate what does and does not get posted in this thread. if it's big news or feels like big news, probably make it its own post instead of lobbing it in here. like the other weekly threads, this one is going to try to focus on things that are still discussion worthy, but wouldn't necessarily make good/unique/non-repetitive discussion starters as their own posts.

      Week 15Week 16Week 17Week 18


      General News

      • from CNN: CNN to host climate crisis town hall with 2020 Democratic candidates. in some surprising, good news, CNN is hosting a climate crisis town hall on september 4th, regardless of the decisions the DNC makes on whether or not to host a debate on climate change. while a town hall isn't quite the same thing as a debate, it's still a significant improvement over what was. CNN is also, to presumably make things not a giant clusterfuck beyond words, applying the 2% in 4 polls threshold for the 3rd debate to invitations here; this means that only 8 or so candidates have qualified so far, but a few others likely will too.
      • from VICE: 2020 Democrats Are Doubling Down on Impeachment Calls as Mueller Testifies. while the mueller testimony has come and gone largely without public movement, it was never going to be a factor in whether or not democrats in the presidential race called for impeachment or not. among those who doubled down on their calls for impeachment proceedings this week: warren, harris, sanders, klobuchar, and booker.
      • from In These Times: The First Labor Plans of the 2020 Race Just Dropped. Here’s What to Make of Them. in these times has analysis of the first specifically labor focused plans in the 2020 race to drop, which are courtesy of pete buttigieg and bill de blasio; in general: they're fine. not particularly groundbreaking on either count, although de blasio has actually implemented a lot of what he has in his plan in NYC. the main problem with these plans is that "fine" isn't really good enough, because the status quo is shit for labor and has only gotten worse for the past 30 years--to realistically undo the damage done by the erosion of labor power, plans most likely need to be bold and sweeping at this point.
      • from CBS News: As they woo Iowa's religious voters, 2020 Democrats talk faith. one of the consequences of such a large field this time around is that there are a number of democrats taking the religious ground that has usually been ceded to evangelical republicans and running with it as a par of their campaign. typically this is a muted part of the democratic party, on account of the party being the "secular" party of the US (implicitly or explicitly), but between openly religious candidates like buttigieg and delaney and lower-key-but-still-spiritual candidates like warren and booker there are signs the party might be willing to embrace a more religious aspect in the future.

      Joe Biden

      • from CBS News: Biden at next debate will go on offense with criminal justice plan, adviser says. leading into the debates, biden has made it very clear that he's not going to be turned into the punching bag--in theory, anyways--and instead he intends to flaunt his record, establish his new plans, and bring the offensive to other candidates. this is and interesting strategy, and i'm not sure it's gonna work. on one hand, biden obviously can't just sit back and take it like he did at the first debate, but on the other hand for every thing he can hit other candidates on, he has two things he's either guilty of similarly, or two things he can be beaten over the head with that probably won't play wth the american public that well. his best bet may be to just weather the storm.
      • from Buzzfeed News: Joe Biden’s Time As A Public Defender Was A Brief Line On His Résumé. Now It’s A Virtue Signal For His Campaign. biden is also touting an interesting part of his career, one which he probably wasn't at for more than a year: his record as a public defender. biden spent some period of his life between 1969 and 1970--when he got into politics--on the public defender beat, but until very recently it was basically irrelevant to any of his political campaigns because it was basically irrelevant to anything he did afterwards. it's an interesting piece of his life to revive, but i'm not sure it's exactly something he wants to keep harping on either given that it seems mildly opportunistic and there's not actually that much record of him doing anything as a public defender.
      • from NBC News: Two longtime Biden African American supporters in S. Carolina defect to Tim Ryan. on an unrelated note, somehow he lost two of the people who played senior roles in his 2008 presidential bid to tim ryan, of all people. this probably doesn't mean anything in the long term, but it's a reminder that biden--frontrunner as he is--has by no means sewn up support from the vast majority of people you'd expect to be in his camp.

      Beto O'Rourke

      • from the Atlantic: Searching for Beto. here is the latest piece on beto's increasingly wilted campaign. he does still have time to turn this around as has been mentioned previously, and he's certainly not given up the campaign trail nor his hyperlocal campaign efforts, but it's obviously a bit of a steep climb. realistically, he'd probably need an exceptionally good debate performance in this week's debates to vault him back into relevance, and even then it's far from a given that it would be enough (see also: julian castro).
      • from Texas Monthly: The 2020 Texas Polling is Much Better for Beto O’Rourke than Julián Castro. that said, he is doing way fucking better than he has any business doing in this race (and he does way better than castro, who polls equally to him) purely because he's a favorite son in texas. even at his 1-2%, he's on track to win delegates because of that fact--this was something i touched upon with last week's delegate polling, and how the popular vote doesn't inherently track with the delegate totals because of the way the DNC and states apportion their delegates. this means that, conceivably, he's still in the running for president even if he does quite badly and doesn't recover from his tailspin, and it also means he has an incentive to stay in even if things go to shit.
      • from CBS News: Beto O'Rourke calls for a sweeping $500 billion fund to address education inequality. policy wise, o'rourke wants to create "a $500 billion 'Permanent Fund for Equity and Excellence' in an effort to close the funding gap between predominately white and non-white school districts." this would, according to the plan, "aim to close [the school funding] gap while also making sure states and districts allocate funds weighted based on the number of 'low income students, English learners, students with disabilities or other groups of students in need of additional resources.'" o'rourke would pay for that with a tax on wall street speculation.

      Pete Buttigieg

      • Can Pete Buttigieg Fix America's Vacancy Problem?. one of the aspects of pete buttigieg's douglass plan that has not been touched on that much are the provisions which seek to deal with the vacancy problem that exists in many places, particularly in former rust belt boomtowns like gary, indiana and detroit. the hemorrhaging of population from the urban north in particular has left huge areas underpopulated and hundreds of thousands of lots vacant. buttigieg, being the mayor of one such boomtown, naturally had to deal with a similar problem (his somewhat controversial 1,000 houses in 1,000 days initiative) and so it's not a surprise that he has provisions on this issue. noteworthy is the fact that he's the only candidate with such provisions. it's not a given, of course, that those provisions will do something--but it is a start for something that basically gets no attention in the first place.
      • Pete Buttigieg reveals details on how he’d tackle climate change. buttigieg does not, however, have very many current provisions on how to deal with climate change. he has skeletons of a plan namely in carbon taxes and climatecorps, but nothing like most of the candidates in the race so far, a curious absence for someone who is--like warren--very much policy oriented. it goes without saying that we'll probably see a real plan eventually, but until we do it can only make people wonder what the hangup is.

      Everybody Else

      • from Buzzfeed News: This Presidential Candidate Has The First Plan To Fix Disparities Faced By Native American Communities. julian castro has a plan for native americans, which makes him the first candidate this cycle--and, as far as i'm aware, in recent memory--to do that. among other things, this plan "proposes additional investments in health care, housing, education, economic development, and other areas for Native Americans. It also pushes for Native American communities to have greater input in Washington by setting up a White House Council on Indigenous Communities and establishing advisory committees within every federal agency by 2024." it would also seek to address the ever-present issue of missing and murdered native women, which is possibly the least-reported-on high-key issue that exists in native communities.
      • from Jacobin: Will Elizabeth Warren Keep Her Promise to “End the Occupation”?. warren is in an interesting position as someone who has gone from one of the more staunch defenders of israel in congress to someone who is increasingly critical of them; this has, naturally, raised questions as we come into this cycle and she's pressed on things like ending the occupation of palestine by israel. jacobin's line here is that while warren is commendable, it's also easy to say something but not do it: if warren is committed to this promise, she'll have to demonstrate that.
      • from NPR: Kamala Harris Releases 'Medicare For All' Plan With A Role For Private Insurers. kamala harris has a healthcare plan named 'medicare for all' and it's, naturally, not that much like the bill that she literally is a cosponsor of named the same thing. among the key differences here are that harris pays for this with tax increases for people over $100k income, harris preserves private insurance and, probably most importantly, harris is basically banking on a democrat being in office in 2030, because her transition period for going from what exists now to her plan is 10 years. (that, and the fact that her plan currently has an outline, but very few details.)
      • from CNN: Kirsten Gillibrand releases $10 trillion, 10-year plan to combat climate change. kirsten gillibrand's climate change plan is basically the green new deal, which means it's the largest of the so-far-released climate change plans of running candidates. among other things, it phases out fossil fuels, ends fracking, includes a carbon tax of $52 per metric ton, intends to build an economy of green jobs, and will upgrade the power grid.
      • from The Verge: Democratic presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard sues Google for suspending her ad account. tulsi gabbard's problems continue, as she's now suing google for suspending her ad account and consequentially gimping her campaign site. google maintains that this was innocuous, but gabbard is stumping on the idea that it was politically motivated by her criticisms of google and other tech companies (although this would beg the question of why they'd go after gabbard specifically, who is nearly irrelevant, and not the literally dozens of more prominent political candidates advocating for breaking up big tech who have plans to do so).
      • from CNN: Delaney proposes ambitious mandatory national service plan. john delaney, a one-percenter, wants to make national service mandatory. delaney's plan is "[...]compulsory for all Americans upon high school graduation or upon turning 18. The proposal would apply only to those born after 2006, and would phase in over time, according to the campaign." what are the benefits of doing this, you ask? well, it's basically just a front for delaney to cover tuition: "The plan would provide two years of free tuition at a public college or university, and three years of tuition for those who extended their national service year to two years. Tuition could also be applied to vocational or technical training, the Delaney campaign told reporters."

      anyways, feel free to as always contribute other interesting articles you stumble across, or comment on some of the ones up there.

      13 votes
    3. What does an "optimal" democratic system look like to you?

      this is kind of an offshoot of this thread which is still going, because i'm noticing an interesting pattern in that thread of reform to the system going beyond just the voting age, and i think...

      this is kind of an offshoot of this thread which is still going, because i'm noticing an interesting pattern in that thread of reform to the system going beyond just the voting age, and i think it's worth examining that in much broader, larger details than just being centered around how people respond to the idea of voting age because democracy is very multi-dimensional. here are a few questions to jump off of; feel free to utilize them or not utilize them as you wish.

      (let's also assume that there are no constraints whatsoever, for maximum possibility here. essentially, you get to invent a system that is utilized by people on the spot regardless of how things are currently for them.):

      • Is this democratic system liberal, like most are (or perhaps illiberal in the service of some greater aim like climate change)?
      • What variety of democracy is utilized by the system? (there are a lot of these ranging from classic representative democracy to direct democracy to soviet-style council democracy to sortition to more esoteric things like cellular, grassroots, and liquid democracy. see wikipedia for more)
      • What voting method (FPTP, IRV, preferential voting, etc. again see wikipedia), is used by the system, if any? Or are things done mostly or largely without voting where possible, as is true in participatory, deliberative and consensus democracies and similar systems?
      • Are formal political parties allowed in this system?
      • Is voting in this system compulsory?
      • Are certain people in this system (criminals, older people, younger people, certain groups or professions of people perhaps even) disenfranchised?
      • Does the government have a hand in educating people on voting in this system, or is it the civic duty of people instead, or is there some in between, or even neither? What does that education look like?

      and, if you'd like to get particularly esoteric or wonky, you might also choose to answer or consider some of these:

      • Are voters allowed to do things like recall their representatives, or is the will of the people binding for a term?
      • Does democracy in this system extend to even things like cabinet positions, which in most systems are determined by the head of state?
      • Does democracy in this system include things like amendments to constitutions?
      16 votes