On the futility of reform-from-within, incrementalism, and other political dogma

“Those who own the country ought to govern it.” —John Jay, former Governor of New York and the first Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court

by Duney Roberts

NEWTON—The quote above, attributed to John Jay in the October 1919 edition of The Quarterly Journal of the New York State Historical Association, perfectly captures the nature of governance in the United States since its establishment. The legacy of this ethos is embodied in the mythical “American Dream,” which elevates and sanctifies private property and private ownership, investors’s rights, and personal gain through “hard work.”

Reform from within

The strategy of enacting change from within is one of the most destructive (and most trite) in all of American politics, and it plays into the hands of those who control the country through powerful corporations, the Democratic and Republican parties, and major media. Both parties rely on an unspoken agreement to coexist in shared domination of government authority, and their overriding cause is the exclusion of alternative parties and ideas meant to distribute power and wealth. Continue reading “On the futility of reform-from-within, incrementalism, and other political dogma”

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The Democratic Party is a haven for faux progressivism

To protect the planet and people, political action must be taken outside the Democratic Party.

by Duney Roberts

NEWTON—In his most prominent work, A People’s History of the United States, Howard Zinn explained the crucial role of “the middlemen in the American system—the teachers, doctors, lawyers, administrators, engineers, technicians, politicians.” These are the people “who would be paid to keep the system going, to be loyal buffers against trouble” (Zinn 1980).

The national Democratic Party, the Massachusetts Democratic Party (MassDems), and the Newton Democratic City Committee (NDCC) are the “loyal buffers,” whether or not they realize. By extension, they have made voters their enablers by severely limiting acceptable debate and by hamstringing the possibilities for political transformation. Continue reading “The Democratic Party is a haven for faux progressivism”

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New administration needs better vision than “working together”

The priorities for Mayor Fuller and Newton’s top politicians include changes to zoning for business-friendly development, budget negotiations to water down union contracts and retiree pensions, and calls for consensus and “working together.”

by Duney Roberts

NEWTON — The city’s new government is led by mayor Ruthanne Fuller of Ward 7, who won narrowly against her opponent Scott Lennon (Ward 1 Councilor-at-large) by 344 votes (11/07/2017). With few—if any—fresh ideas in pursuit of a clear vision for the city, and with only a 42% voter turnout, November’s election results appear to have cemented the priorities of the former Warren administration. Continue reading “New administration needs better vision than “working together””

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District Representation is not Local Representation

Following the defeat of the charter commission’s proposal on 11/7, some YES supporters have suggested that the city council propose a home rule petition to replace our 8 ward-elected councilors with 4 “district-elected” councilors represent 4 quarter sections of the city, rather than eliminate the 2nd at-large seat currently present in each ward.

Voters rejected the charter in larger numbers than voted for the mayor and all but one candidate for office.  In several precincts over 97% of voters cast a ballot on the question.  This was a well informed electorate. The message was clear — RETAIN LOCAL REPRESENTATION.

Continue reading “District Representation is not Local Representation”

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