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Ah, thanks for that link - I do appreciate it. But I don't think the Green Party are not 'participants' - perhaps my wording was a bit too strong. I just think that fielding a Presidential candidate in and of itself is just not worth the time as things currently stand. The Greens have about 135 elected positions in a country of 325 million people, no seats in either the House or the Senate, no seats in state legislative systems, no governships, and no real power in any singular state besides a few mayoral positions. That does not a movement make, and I think that's what I was trying to get at.

I'd look to the Lib Dems in the UK, Podemos in Spain, the New Democrats in Canada, or, hell even the Green Party in Australia/UK to an extent (at least they have a seat in Parliament...) to how to actually build a relatively successful movement in a two party system - the Greens are adopting more populist stances, and I like that, and I truly want to see a real anti-capitalist, progressive party in the States, but nothing the Greens have done shows me that they are willing to put in the years of groundwork to start capturing more than 130 meager local offices.

I also understand that it's hard as shit to break the duopoly here in the US but I don't really think the Greens have taken the right approach to do so. I mean, the Liberfuckingtarian Party has more power than them in terms of seats/offices. That's ludicrous.

I love Corbyn in the UK (though he still has a long way to go to try and challenge the strangehold the Tories have in England in particular) and one of the keys to his success has been creating a mass party-movement - energizing people to join the Party as card-carrying, dues-paying members, challenging them to take on MPs that they are unhappy with them, rallying them to get involved. And now Labour is the biggest party in Western Europe. That's a movement. That's how you change the game and inject real progressive politics into the mainstream (though, I will admit, I'm still dubious as to how far Corbyn will really go).

Oh let me clarify, I'm not happy with the two party race whatsoever, I'm just not sure that the idea of consistently fielding candidates for the presidential race helps much. I'd rather they try and assemble a strong base in singular, more progressive states and move up from there perhaps. In reality though, with the electoral college and FPTP, it'd take a lot more than the Greens to break up the strangehold the two parties have.

In regards to interviews, yes, I have. Don't get me wrong, I'm not going to start equating ruminations on nuclear energy or WiFi signals to war-crimes (as in the case of the two major parties) and in a lot of ways I really do agree with what the Green Party stands for. But I just don't think they win a lot of supporters by coming out with stuff that doesn't quite jive with scientific consensuses on things.

They are irrelevant in the modern American political system. They've not shown any interest in getting involved on the local level, they seem pretty anti-science (particularly in regards to their stances on nuclear energy and homeopathy, plus that dumb-as-bricks quote about WiFi waves the other week) and they've never tried to actually build anything resembling a movement.

I like their more recent move towards an anti-capitalistic stance (though that is almost certainly an opportunistic move to try and court the 'Bernie socialists') but that's basically it.

Herunar  ·  link  ·  parent  ·  post: Brexit looks likely.

Live in Oxford. This was very, very unexpected - but I have a feeling it had to do with the weather as well, as that depressed turnout somewhat in the south and in London especially. But I think it comes down to the 'shy Tory' syndrome that we had last year, where a lot of people didn't come out as wanting to Leave (and, if you look at the map of the results in England - the heavy Leave areas are the non-affluent ones. That says enough about the state of the UK). What is not unexpected is that Northern Ireland and Scotland voted to Remain...I do have to wonder if that might mean future independence referendums. For NI in particular, having a securitized border with the rest of Ireland could be seen as a betrayal of the spirit of the Good Friday Agreement.

I'm pretty horrified by the situation - it is a clear hate crime, and the body-count is ridiculously high. At the same time though, I not only see this as a terrorist attack (it clearly is, though) by someone self-affiliated with ISIS but I also as part of a rather sad trend of the mentally ill in the United States having access to weapons the likes of which most developed nations have completely restricted access to. The Bataclan attacks in France were seen as an aberration, a once-in-a-generation attack, but the fact that we have similar events to the Orlando shooting happening in our country nearly every year in terms of scale indicates that there's a pretty big problem, at least to me. I dunno man. Social programs and mental health systems have to be put in place for sure, but at least something must be done about our excessive love for arms. Because the idea that they somehow protect our freedoms seems a bit nonsensical when parity with the government's hegemony over violence will never, ever be attained.

As to the radicalization of this shooter, haven't heard much word about it. But his ex-wife from five years ago said that he wasn't too religious but was very mentally unstable and violent. Organizations like ISIS thrive off of the poor, the marginalized, and the mentally ill, and I do honestly believe that if someone were to have so much hate in them to go into a club and kill fifty innocent people that clearly there is something wrong with them. Yes, the ideology is violent and problematic but I cannot think of a way to just 'deal' with the problem - we have to deal with its roots (much like the IRA, the roots are political - our meddling in the Middle East, the marginalization of 2nd generation Muslims in the West, but also our collapsing mental health infrastructure and social safety net and whatnot) and eradicate it over the long-term. That means that these sort of attacks throughout the West are not something we're going to be able to just end, regardless of the security measures - all we can hope to do, I think, is to decrease their frequency but also avoid overreacting. I mean, last I heard, France is still in a state of emergency. That shouldn't be the case. I think, like the Troubles,this is a problem that will stretch out for at least last another 2 decades.

Herunar  ·  link  ·  parent  ·  post: Muhammad Ali has died, age 74

Ya know, as a young Muslim brown kid in America, I had two heroes - Malcolm X (post-Nation of Islam at least) and Muhammad Ali. Two guys that were prominent in a country where their names alone should have precluded them from any greatness or celebrity that used their voices to advocate for justice and their personal values. And hey, if they could do that, then maybe I could too.

RIP Muhammad Ali. You and what you stood for really meant the world to me.

Herunar  ·  link  ·  parent  ·  post: Boardgames!


- Carcossone is awesome

- Settlers of Catan is always a favorite

- I'm quite fond King of Tokyo, though it can often get repetitive

- Avalon and all Mafia-type games are very good fun with the right people

- Codenames and Dixit are pretty awesome, though you have to get pretty creative with some of the clues haha

- I'm currently stuck in a 6+ hour long game of Game of Thrones (the diplomacy type board game version, that is) and that is absolutely amazing.

- Recently played Sanguosha and that's fucking awesome - a fun card game based off of the Romance of the Three Kingdoms, pretty similar to BANG!

I don't see the CCP regime's stability being threatened at any point in the near future (Xi Jinping himself, who knows, but the guy's amassed more power than any leader since Deng Xiaoping, so things would have to go very wrong, very quickly) just because quite literally everything the CCP does is calculated to help preserve the regime. That includes everything from foreign policy to education to ethnic minorities to urban planning, etc etc. These guys are very good at preventing any sort of cross-class, cross-platform uprising or discontent, and when even a hint of that appears around the corner, they move to crush it.

It is true that the CCP's legitimacy was repaired after the Cultural Revolution by a booming economy, but they've taken steps to try and 'diversify', if that makes sense. The rise in nationalistic discourse (a lot of which is actually propagated by the PLA) and the growing blur between the idea of a Chinese state and the Party-state is no coincidence. I mean yeah, it is hard to say how nationalistic or loyal people are going to be in the face of a massive economic disaster, but I wouldn't just assume that the PLA is going to swoop in and side with some populist uprising. If anything, it'll splinter, and the country would be thrown into a second round of the CR.

I suspect the real problem that faces the CCP is just sheer demographics. Xi and his predecessors have done an alright job at actually bridging the divide between the interior and the coastal provinces (places like Anhui and the West tend to be outliers in this, granted) but the real divide is now between the urban and the rural. And, worst yet, is the divide between the people with rural hukou versus an urban one. There have been a couple hints that the government is just going to completely abolish the household registration system, which would mean a huge expansion of the relatively robust urban welfare system - but the problem is that would quickly become unsustainable, just because in about 15-20 years all those young, productive workers that fuelled the country from the 80s onwards will start to retire, and there won't be nearly enough people to replace them.

Ultimately though the Party can't outrun its people's grievances forever...but they are very good at co-opting dissent and enacting pretty impressive reforms. I dunno that it would be enough to actually save the one party state but I guess only time can tell.

It is a fascinating place! I don't know as much as I'd like on the subject as I've only really just begun digging into it but I can make a couple recommendations as to reading material and the like, if you're interested! It is pretty difficult to get info on what is currently happening in the area but there's a decent amount of material available on the 50s to the 80s (and the pre-CCP era).

As to my dissertation, it is pretty embryonic at the moment but I'm comparing Indian and Chinese minority policies in the 50s and 60s, particularly in Xinjiang and Kashmir. They're both predominantly Muslim, exceptionally important to the idea of the Chinese and Indian nation-states, and basically represented the 'frontier' to both central governments. And I guess I'm just interested in comparing the two modern countries in general, as they're actually a bit more similar than people generally suspect.

Three-Body Problem was a fantastic read, but I'm a bit biased as I'm quite fond of Chinese novels in general.

I am currently reading The New Jim Crow, which is terrifying but brilliant and I'm trudging through an assortment of historical works on Xinjiang and Kashmir for my dissertation, namely Xinjiang: China's Muslim Borderland and Demystifying Kashmir, which are both excellent.

America has a lot of faults; the more I've lived outside the country the more noticeable it has become. But I refuse to believe someone like Donald Trump could win a general election. This is a guy who has no real consistent political ideology, is lacking any sort of real, robust debating skills, has no really ideological or practical framework for most of his policies...And frankly, he's just scary. He's scarier than some far-right European leaders. I have to believe that the American electorate would be repulsed by what he's saying.

If he does win, I honestly don't know what I'd do. I'm a Muslim American that's spent half his life outside the country, and most of that time I was living in the Middle East. I already feel terrified by the growth of the right here in Europe and if someone as flat-out bigoted as Donald Trump were to actually become the leader of the only country I've ever identified with, I'd not only lose all faith in our political system but in the very ideological fabric of our country. I don't think I ever believed in American exceptionalism or the American Dream, but I sure as hell believed in American inclusivity.

An unholy amount of essay writing - I have three essays due next Monday (why they are all due on the same day is beyond me) and I am way behind on my Mandarin homework/characters for this week too.

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