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Saturday, April 30, 2022

Competent Trumpism

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DeSantis’s Threats to Disney Is What Post-Trump Authoritarianism Looks Like
“Special treatment” as long as you support the government

By Jonathan Chait
NY Magazine, Intelligencer
April 4, 2022

FLORIDA GOVERNOR RON DESANTIS has pitched himself to the Republican elite as the candidate of “competent Trumpism” - a form of authoritarian populism for conservatives who worried that Donald Trump was squandering his power, not abusing it. A picture of what that would look like in operation can be seen in DeSantis’s thuggish effort to bully Disney into supporting, or at least refraining from opposing, his “Don’t Say Gay” law.

Last week, DeSantis declared at a press conference that Disney “crossed the line” by saying it would support the repeal of DeSantiss cherished anti-gay legislation. “We’re going to make sure we’re fighting back when people are threatening our parents and threatening our kids,” he warned.

“Fighting back” turns out not to mean refuting or organizing against Disney’s opposition to the law. It means DeSantis using his legislative majority to punish Disney on unrelated legal issues. On Friday, he claimed he was “shocked” to discover Disney has been granted sweeping autonomy to operate in his state:

“I was shocked to see some of the stuff that’s in there. They can do their own nuclear power plant. Is there any other private company in the state that can just build a nuclear power plant on their own? They’re able to do certain things that nobody else is able to do. So I think they’re right to be looking at this and reevaluating and having an even playing field for everybody, I think is much better than basically to allow one company to be a law onto itself.”

Given that this legal status has been widely known for many decades in the state where DeSantis grew up and now serves as chief executive, the governor was no doubt shocked - the same way CAPTAIN LUIS RENAULT was shocked to discover gambling in Casablanca.

One obvious tell that DeSantis doesn’t actually care about Disney’s legal status is that his pretext for punishing the firm has changed. On Friday, he cited Disney’s special legal autonomy. The day before, the “special treatment” was a bill regulating social media that exempted theme-park operators.

Another tell is that the latter bill was signed into law by DeSantis with specific input from his staff, as the Tampa Bay Times REPORTS. If Disney’s legislative clout is leading to outrageous favoritism, voters should be furious with DeSantis.

DeSantis is barely making any effort to hide his intentions. As he tells Fox News, “Six months ago, it would have been unthinkable” that Florida Republican legislators “would be willing to reevaluate those special privileges.” It’s almost as if the special privileges have nothing to do with the reason Republicans are looking to punish Disney! Perhaps there is something Disney can put in DeSantis’s hand that would make the thing in his other hand go away.

Whats relevant to this threat is neither the merits of DeSantis’s school regulations nor of Disney’s status in Florida. Even if you think DeSantiss “Don’t Say Gay” bill is wonderful and Disney’s legal status is awful, the governor’s thuggish linkage of the two ought to terrify you.

DeSantis is trying to establish an understanding that major corporations can expect favorable treatment from the government as long as they play along with the ruling party’s political agenda. They are allowed - nay, encouraged - to get involved in politics on the condition that they take the correct position. But should they take the wrong position, they will find themselves under legal scrutiny. Suddenly, the regulatory noose will tighten.

This is the method Donald Trump used to intimidate firms with employees who gave him a hard time. AMAZON LOST A LUCRATIVE PENTAGON CONTRACT in retribution for Jeff Bezos’s ownership of the Washington Post, and Trump attempted to block a merger by CNN’s parent company to finish the network

This is also a method that Trump’s favorite dictators - like Viktor Orbn and Vladimir Putin - use to control the political debate in their countries. DeSantis spokesperson CHRISTINA PUSHAW has fired off more than a dozen tweets celebrating Orbn’s victory in Hungary and ridiculing the idea that his regime is repressive or dangerous in any way. When American conservatives tell us Orbn’s version of competitive authoritarianism is the form of government they aspire to, then show us what it would look like in practice, wed best believe them.

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images: three governments

In DeSantis’s Banana Republic, Corporations Must Support the Party

By Jonathan Chait
NY Magazine, Intelligencer
April 21, 2022

Some observers of Viktor Orban’s slowly tightening grip over Hungary have wondered what response would ensue if a sufficiently determined reactionary implemented the same methods here in the United States. Based on the evidence from Florida, where RON DESANTIS is test-driving his brand of “competent Trumpism,” the answer is, very little.

After DeSantis signed an anti-gay measure, DISNEY issued a statement condemning it, and suspended its political donations, which had previously included generous support for DeSantis. In retaliation, DeSantis rushed through a measure targeting Disney’s legal status. He is establishing a new norms in Republican politics: Corporations that publicly question the party’s preferred policy, or withhold donations in protest, will be subject to discriminatory policy. If they enjoy favorable regulatory or tax treatment, they can continue to do so on the condition that they stay in the GOP’s political good graces.

This is one way rulers like Orban and Putin hold power. It is a method that, until quite recently, would have been considered unthinkable in the United States. That bright line has been obliterated. Trump and DeSantis have now made it almost unremarkable.

Here is how the New York Times reported DeSantiss latest maneuver: “In a move widely seen as retaliation, Gov. Ron DeSantis asked Florida lawmakers on Tuesday to consider the ‘termination’ of self-governing privileges that Disney World has held in the Orlando area for 55 years.”

A move widely seen as retaliation is quite a way to put it, given that DeSantis himself has advertised the measure as retaliation. DeSantis said he was “fighting back” against Disney. ("Fighting back” is a synonym for retaliation.) First he floated a completely different provision targeting Disney (a social-media carve-out he had designed himself) before turning to the current version.

To make his intentions even more obvious, he appeared on Fox News to confess. Brian Kilmeade presented his intentions plainly: “You basically said, ‘Hey Disney, I don’t like your stance against this bill, this parents’ rights bill, so maybe we’ll go into revisit your special status in Florida. Do you want to expand on that?”

DeSantis did not deny this. Instead he made a case on the merits for the retaliation, before saying, “Six months ago, it would have been unthinkable that Republicans would have taken this step.”

The response from the conservative media has been more instructive. One foundation of DeSantis’s governing style is that he has calculated he does not need mainstream media at all. He can rely on support from party-controlled media to obtain sufficient public approval to meet his goals, and his non-party-controlled media as a punching bag.

The conservative media has raised almost no objection to DeSantiss thuggery. The Wall Street Journal editorial page, Washington Examiner, and Washington Times - all of which would be publishing front-page editorials calling protesters into the streets if a Democrat had tried something like this - have no commentary on it. Republican legal mind HUGH HEWITT approves.

National Review has two stories, one approving, one disapproving. The latter is the only dissen’t I have seen in the conservative media. It is exceedingly mild. Its author, CHARLES C.W. COOKE, notes his overall support for DeSantis and the anti-gay measure, but chides him for “an ugly and ill-conceived” mistake they are undertaking inexplicably, given that the anti-gay law already passed.

Cooke calls the move a “tantrum,” one serving no purpose at all. But of course there is a point to it. The point is to send a message to any other corporation that they will be punished by the state if they oppose DeSantis on anything.

National Review’s opposing column SUPPORTING DeSantis’s retaliation makes that explicit: “These corporations assume that it’s still 2010, and that our genteel Marquess of Queensberry norms will prevent conservatives from retaliating against their many political campaigns and rhetorical posturing against us.” It seems the principle that the government should not coerce private firms into supporting the regime was devised by Marquess of Queensberry, who was probably a communist. In any case, it doesn’t seem to be a coincidence that the only conservative who publicly opposes DeSantis’s move is also the only one who doesn’t seem to be (or wish to be) aware of why he is doing it.

The impetus for DeSantis’s presidential candidacy is the belief that Trump is a liability, and a desire for a replacement who can marshal the same coalition more effectively. What DeSantis is building in Florida is his blueprint for the country.

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Posted by Elvis on 04/30/22 •
Section Dying America
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Friday, April 29, 2022

Fact and Fiction

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Revelation Of The Method

By Dustin Booadbery
The Cogent
April 27, 2022

CIA Director, William Casey is REFUTED TO HAVE SAID to Ronald Reagan “We’ll know our disinformation is complete when everything the American public believes is false.”

Fast forward thirty years, and there’s no piece of fiction the masses will not swallow.

From Woke to COVID to the war in Ukraine, people no longer make their own ideological pilgrimages to the truth - the truth is served oven-ready by their political betters.

Nowadays, there’s little distinction between the two hemispheres: reality and illusion. It’s not so much that people have been robbed of their ability to decipher between these two, it’s that facts have been reoriented into fiction and fiction into facts.  It’s a degradation of epistemology so momentous, that people dont even know that they don’t know that they don’t know what’s happening, to quote one former anarchist.

In the grand scheme of things, humanity has perjured themselves and life as we know it has morphed into a sort of science-fiction, soap-opera WITH FEW COMMON ANCESTORS TO REALITY. Even right-thinking folks require the equivalent of a cerebral chainsaw to hollow out the slew of implausible narratives into something remotely resembling reality. It goes beyond fiction to predictive programming. THEY’RE NOT JUST DECEIVING YOU, THEY’RE SHOWING YOU THAT THEY’RE DECEIVING YOU.

What is neither here nor there to the deceived is the track record of their deceivers. Before the ink dried on the newsprint proclaiming the crisis in-waiting, the falsifications of COVID were buried under the falsehoods of war, Zelensky’s standing ovation at Westminster knocked Pfizer’s OFIZER’S DATA RELEASE off the rostrum and those formerly joined at the hip to COVID got hitched to their Ukrainian brides.

This entire fiasco holds water because what people think they know for sure, that just ain’t so, is a consensus.  A preponderance of fabrications, falsehoods and false prophets governs the spiritual milieu. People worship the prosaic and glorify artifice. Our moral choices are guided by platitude and not virtue, anecdote and not evidence.

To complicate matters, what was formerly held sacred has become profane and what was formerly profane has become sacred, to quote Robert Sepehr.

There’s a war raging, alright, but you will find its theatre of operations inside the human psyche. It is a war on consciousness, an atrophy of culture and its stark consequences is the spiritual malaise of humanity.

Freemasons, for one, understood that information was power. Concealing beyond the prying eyes of the lower orders, the ESOTERIC MYSTERIES OF THE UNIVERSE.

Then as now, its not enough for THESE PEOPLE to hold a monopoly over knowledge, they must DEPRIVE EVERYONE ELSE of its illumination, or go one further and spread ignorance. It goes beyond censoring counterarguments to fomenting falsehoods, It’s not so much societal breakdown but self-immolation. People are being misinformed and stupefied and sent out as agents of disinformation to further deconstruct what’s left of an already deconstructed reality.

To make matters worse, precisely zero lessons have been learned these past two years. People flounder from one crisis to the next. Walk aimlessly from quarantine camp to air-raid shelter into whichever direction their political higher-ups point them, to deride whoever is nominated as the scourge of society, de jour. The great national pastime is to gather at the pillories and hurl cabbages at anti-vaxxers, Russians, (insert your antihero here).

The Infowar

If all this sounds remarkably like an info-war, then it probably is.

The battle for hearts and minds has moved online. Our divine spark of life is being overhauled to data. Something of divine proportions compels us to the internet, to data our daily bread (and circuses), our digital avatars living richer, more meaningful lives than their truant owners.

What ceases to be worth the candle is the epistemology of our data.

It doesn’t matter which side of the fence you’re on - a card carrying member of the great awakening, or useful idiot on the lockdown left, you’re still part of the same problem. You have been taken hostage by a series of narratives laid on with a shovel by the predator class and designed for the sole purpose of keeping you rapt and not informed, sedentary and not spirited. In the world of algorithms everyone is created equal, and data is just data, there’s no morality to it.

These events play out as a nail-biting whodunnit, but the reality is, they’re not supposed to be solved. There’s no answers nor restitution, its your attention and not your belief systems which is being harvested.

What these hellhounds want is for you to pick your side, choose your battle, but make sure your battle-lines are social media, and that you’re not throwing Molotov Cocktails at the Tower of Babel.

Everyone has a dog in the fight.  PARTICULARLY, those baying for the blood of the UNVACCINTED or calling for violence against RUSSIANS, who do so, according to Voltaire, because those WHO CAN MAKE YOU BELIEVE IN ABSURDITIES, can make you commit atrocities.

If a persons psyche is under siege and they don’t designate an enemy to scapegoat, they might get wise to whos really attacking them, and that simply wouldn’t do.

In this theatre of the absurd people acclimatise to fiction because its easier than confronting uncomfortable truths. But under these fertile conditions any version of reality, no matter how precarious, will wash. That’s where the Great Reset enters the fray.

Once you desecrate a persons moralistic and cultural maps of the world, their place in it becomes increasingly untenable. People lose touch with reality and what it means to be human. The ensuing crisis of identity leaves them susceptible to hostile takeover.  Amongst other things that could possibly go wrong is the eventual MICROCHIPPING the THE POPULATION and BRAIN MACHINE INTERFACES.

Predictive Programming

But there are even stranger things brewing.  Predictive Programming is the theory of a hidden hand operating the levers of reality. A sort of reality adjustment bureau obfuscating real world events through film, literature and media manipulation. The fundamental principle here is psychological conditioning that reduces peoples’ resistance to the acceptance of planned future events and encourages them to swap concrete reality structures for static constructs, until eventually, our inherited world view is replaced by mythos and archetypes.

That we are living through the objectification of the predator class is no moot point. That’s their messiah complex imprinted onto the collective consciousness and PROJECTED BACK ONTO THE REAL WORLD. By their own volition, the masses are breathing life into these grotesque queries and blotting the social fabric.

Revelation of the Method

But it runs even deeper than predictive programming. Some call this REVELATION OF THE METHOD.

According to MICHAEL HOFFMAN:first they suppress the counterargument, and WHEN THE MOST OPPORTUNE TIME arrives, they REVEAL ASPECTS of whats really happened, but in a LIMITED HANGOUT sort of way.

We were told the vaccines were harmless, until Pfizer DATABASED their own SAFETY CLAIMS, but not before the entire world had been vaccinated. Lockdown Apologists across the corporate media are now almost unanimous that lockdowns do more harm than good. This is no arbitrary volte-face, but rather a carefully planned sequence of disclosures when the time is ripe.

Michael Hoffman suggests that the ruling elite are giving notice of their supremacy. Declaring themselves virtuoso criminal masterminds, who are above the law and beyond reproach. But most of all, they are telling you, in no uncertain terms, that you are without recourse, these events are beyond your control, as is your own destiny for that matter. Eventually a sense of apathy and abulia engulfs humanity, demoralising us to the point of conceding defeat to a system we are powerless to change.

Not that you would ever have restitution. THE HOUSE IS NOT DESIGNED TO DO ITS OWN HOUSEKEEPING. Buried deep within their rule of law, is a hidden constitution that states: nothing happens without your consent. In this version of contract law, once the truth is hidden in plain sight, you have agreed to it. There exists someplace an unsigned contract with your unsworn oath on it.

In the end, we’re all victims of the same masterstroke, whether keyboard evangelist or state-apologist, everyone is being royally screwed, and its not so much that they’re laughing at you, its that your’re laughing at yourself.

About the author

As a lowly writer who has written without remuneration these past two years, while producing a solid body of work, with each article authoritatively researched and referenced, I have now set up a Patreon account to give my readers the opportunity to support my work and help me to keep my writing fiercely independent and relevant.

If you sign up on the basis of a monthly contribution which can be as little as $1 a month, it enables me to keep doing what I do best.

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Related: Fascism Thrives On Misinformation

Posted by Elvis on 04/29/22 •
Section Revelations • Section Dying America • Section Fascism • Section Spiritual Diversions
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Fascism Thrives on Misinformation

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Fascism happens when a society falls into sudden, fresh poverty. In particular, when it holds debts it can’t repay - and the result is widespread economic stagnation. A feeling of discontentment and hopelessness become pervasive. SOCIAL BONDS FRAY. Trust collapses. A society is hanging together by a thread. Elites, whose status and prestige will be lost if they admit they’ve mismanaged society, don’t - and so the VICIOUS CYCLE OF POVERTY AND DESPAIR SIMPLY THUNDERS ON.

Soon enough, in the vacuum, DEMAGOGUE ARISES, who blames the economic woes of the true and the pure on those it’s easiest to scapegoat. Long-hated, powerless minorities. “We will be Great Again!,” he cries. “All you must do is annihilate the subhumans.” His flock - long ignored and derided by elites as the cause of their own problems, now have someone else to blame, to demonize. Those who they’ve hated for generations, usually, anyways. Bang! The fascist spark is lit. The rest is history.
- Fascist Implosion

To convert feeling-based MISINFORMATION into reliable information, one must think consciously about whether the information was derived from reliable processes.
- How Feelings Can Deliver Misinformation

In the end, this bullying will be used by social media platforms, which are integrated into the state security and surveillance organs, not to promote, as its supporters argue, civility, but ruthlessly silence dissidents, intellectuals, artists and independent journalism.  Once you control what people say you control what they think.

They silence, with the enthusiastic assistance of the digital platforms in Silicon Valley, those who are crushed and deformed by systems of oppression and those who lack their finely developed politesse and deference to linguistic fashion. They are the useful idiots of corporate power and the emerging police state. Cancel culture is not the road to reform. It is the road to tyranny.
- Democracy Hollowed Out Part 41 - Misinformation

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Democracy requires real information that fascism rejects.

By Tyler Woods
Psychology Today
January 21, 2022

Fascism Thrives on Misinformation

Fascists use misinformation about history, identity, leaders, conspiracies, and destiny to gain and retain power.

Democracy requires replacing misinformation by real information by using critical thinking, motivational interviewing, and political action.

DEMOCRACY DEPENDS ON REAL INFORMATION that people need to make good decisions about their governments and society. For example, voting for political candidates requires evaluating their claims about how they will deal with economic problems, where evaluation requires information about both the candidates and the economy. Fascism opposes democracy in demanding autocratic government by charismatic leaders assisted by violence. Fascists use misinformation about history, identity, leaders, conspiracies, and destiny to gain and retain power. Replacing misinformation with real information is therefore crucial for retaining democracy and fighting fascism.

Real Information Differs from Misinformation

Real information is true, accurate, and valuable, whereas MISINFORMATION is false, inaccurate, and misleading. Information results from four general processes: acquisition from the world, inference that extends knowledge beyond the world to identify causal relations, memory that stores and retrieves information, and spread of information among people.

When these processes are done well, the result is real information that represents facts about the world, derived by reliable acquisition methods such as perception, systematic observations, and controlled experiments. Evidence so acquired can be extended by inference methods such as careful causal reasoning that identifies the best explanation of observed correlations. Real information can be retained by reliable storage and retrieval, and spread by careful communications practices in which people evaluate the credibility of messages before sending them to others and evaluate messages sent by others before believing them. Unfortunately, misinformation abounds because these practices are violated.

Fascism Exploits Misinformation

Fascism relies on five kinds of misinformation to ensure that people are well-controlled, rather than acting democratically in their own interests.

Mythic past. Leaders such as Mussolini and Hitler talked of a made-up time when their nations were great in ways that they pretend to recover.

Glorious leader. The autocrat deserves control because of the infallible ability to always make good decisions.

National and racial superiority. Nationalism is justified because foreigners, minorities, and immigrants are inherently inferior to the predominant national or racial identity.

Dangerous threats. Violent actions are required to protect the nation from contrived conspiracies.

Inevitable destiny. The nation, under its autocratic leader, is guaranteed to have a magnificent future.

These convictions are made up for political purposes and have no evidence acquired from interactions with the world by perception, systematic observation, or controlled experiments. Evaluations and inferences are based only on autocrats goals rather than on acquired evidence.

Misinformation spreads because politicians exploit peoples’ susceptibility to MOTIVATED INFERENCE and thought-distorting EMOTIONS such as fear, anger, and hatred. Early twentieth-century fascists could only spread misinformation slowly, through print, radio, movies, and rallies, but today misinformation is rapidly and effectively transmitted by social media such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube, whose algorithms value emotional engagement and advertising revenue over truth and democracy.

Defending Democracy

How can democracy resist the threats posed by fascist uses of misinformation? The most promising strategies are MOTIVATIONAL INTERVIEWING, and political action. Critical thinking is a two-step process of error detection followed by remedial reasoning. Error detection draws on psychological research on inferential biases and philosophical work on fallacies to identify mistakes made in support of misinformation. For example, myths about a splendid history, eminent leader, or guaranteed destiny can be identified as based on motivated inference that supports personal goals rather than on objective evidence. Claims about national and racial superiority can be marked as faulty causal inferences. Incendiary claims about threats from internal and foreign conspiracies can be assessed as based on fear rather than evidence.

Once thinking errors are detected, remedial reasoning can use reliable forms of evidence collection and inference to supplant misinformation. Sound historical research can debunk claims about a mythic past and undermine clams of inevitable destiny. Careful causal reasoning can replace unsubstantiated claims about national and racial superiority with evidence-based assessments. Judicious applications of inference to the best explanation of good evidence can revise assessments of autocratic infallibility and conspiracy dangers. Hence the one-two punch of error detection plus remedial reasoning can help to transform misinformation into real information.

Unfortunately, critical thinking is not always effective in changing peoples minds, which are as much driven by emotional values as they are by perception and cognition. A second strategy is MOTIVATIONAL INTERVIEWING, which uses empathy and support rather than critical thinking. It could be used against fascism through the following subtle interventions.

Understanding people’s political concerns by asking them open-ended questions and empathizing with their fears and insecurities.

Being affirmative, reflective, and non-judgmental about their concerns.

Identifying discrepancies between peoples current and desired behaviors, such as treating people equally rather than with nationalist or racist prejudice.

Summarizing the issues and informing people while respecting their autonomy.

Whether motivational interviewing could be used to draw people away from fascist-supporting misinformation remains to be empirically determined. But studies should be done to determine whether it can work in combination with critical thinking or independently to help people adhere to democratic values in the face of fascist threats.

The third strategy is that of political action to change society in ways that retard the spread of misinformation. The USA and other countries are currently reviewing legislation to make social media responsible for ensuring that accuracy is more important than inflammability in how information is transmitted. Another democracy-supporting political action is to use legislative and judicial means to support fair voting rules, for example blocking laws that make it hard for some groups of people to vote or that dilute their voting power by gerrymandering electoral districts. Fair voting procedures are essential for ensuring that people have the opportunity to choose representatives based on real information. I hope that a combination of critical thinking, motivational interviewing, and political action can defend democracy against fascist uses of misinformation.

References

Albright, M. (2018). Fascism: A warning. New York: HarperCollins.

Eatwell, R. (2003). Fascism: A history. London: Pimlico.

Stanley, J. (2020). How fascism works: The politics of us and them. New York: Random House.

SOURCE

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Conservatism, Racism, and Fascism Confused
Lets learn the characteristics of fascism.

By Darcia F. Narvaez
Psychology Today
June 7, 2020

Conservatism used to mean the conserving of traditions within a particular community. It emphasized maintaining the long-tested practices of a community. But today’s conservatism is a type of market liberalism. ELSEWHERE I discuss how the term “conservatism” has morphed into a misleading use.

With some in the REPUBLICAN PARTY EMBRACING WHITE NATIONALISTS, elements of fascism have come to the fore. We can see more clearly, too, with the pandemic how President Trump has been displaying them all.

Jason Stanley, in his book, HOW FASCISM WORKS: THE POLITICS OF US AND THEM, describes fascism’s characteristics and what fascist politicians do. He provides extensive examples from world history and national history, showing how a fascist strain has always existed in the USA but arguing that it is especially visible with Trump.

Here are some common features of fascism and some ways they appear in the current political environment.

Create a mythic (ideal) past.

Consider Make America Great Again,” which FOR SOME may effectively mean “white people in charge.” In this view, President Obama could be construed as a violation of fascist beliefs about white dominance.

Rewritereality with propaganda.

Perhaps the first instance of reality distortion for President Trump related to the SIZE OF HIS INAUGURATION CROWD. Trump touts his ADMINISTRATION AS ACCOMPLISHING A GREAT RESPONSE to COVID-19, though the evidence suggests otherwise.

Take an anti-intellectual stance.

Fascist politics work to undermine trust in expertise, education, and language. Only experts or education systems that support the dominant group (usually white males) are acceptable."Whenever fascism threatens, its representatives and facilitators denounce university and schools as sources of ‘Marxist indoctrination,’ the classic bogeyman of fascist politics. Typically used without any connection to Marx or Marxism, the expression is employed in fascist politics as a way to malign equality.” (Stanley, 2018, p. 43)

Rush Limbaugh routinely denounces government, academia, science, and journalism. PRESIDENT TRUMP’S MUZZLING AND FIRNG OF HEALTH EXPERTS is one recent example of the anti-intellectual orientation.

Create a state of unreality where “conspiracy theories and fake news replace reasoned debate” (p. xvii).

Eliminating experts allows the fascist to create a new state of facts, to replace reasoned argument with fears and passions. Phrases like “Lock her up” and “Build the wall” help do that. Innuendo and slander, like birtherism, are not to be taken as facts but as ways to taint the opposition. NEWS THAT TRUMP DOES NOT LIKE (doesn’t put him in a favorable light) he calls “fake.” As Hannah Arendt (1973) noted in THE ORIGINS OF TOTALITARIANISM, repetition of a coherent narrative convinces those who are guided by imagination, not facts.

Naturalize group differences, establishing a hierarchy of valuing one group over another.

Democracy cannot flourish on a foundation of inequality, not just because of resentment it foments but because it:

“poses a mortal danger to the shared reality required for a healthy liberal democracy. Those who benefit from inequalities are often burdened by certain illusions that prevent them from recognizing the contingency of their privilege. Then inequalities grow particularly stark, these illusions tend to metastasize. What dictator, king or emperor has not suspected that he was chosen by the gods for his role? What colonial power has not entertained delusions of its ethnic superiority, or the superiority of its religion, culture, and way of life, superiority that supposedly justifies its imperial expansions and conquests? In the antebellum American South, whites believed that slavery was a great gift to those who were enslaved.” (Stanley, 2018, p. 76)

Stoke feelings of victimhood in the dominant group.

Reactions to BLACK LIVES MATTER, like “All Lives Matter,” can tap into the feeling that blacks are trying to have more privileges than whites, even though the goal of the BLM movement is equality. Losing a position of superiority, privilege, and dominance, as whites (especially elite whites) have had from the beginning of the nation, can be painful and made to feel like oppression. Thus, SHITE NATIONALISTS find more racism against whites than against blacks.

Fascist politics covers up structural inequality by attempting to invert, misrepresent, and subvert the long hard effort to address it.” (Stanley, 2018, p. 99)

Suggest men are threatened by gender equality.

Among other groups, Men’s Rights Activist (MRA) cast males as victims. Many non-elite white males donӒt have the power of white male elites but thought they would eventually get it by working hard. Instead, they see women and non-white males getting elite positions, which may then feel unjust. THE PRESIDENT CALLS POWERFUL WOMEN DOGS AND SLANDERS THEM in other ways.

Discuss cities as sources of corrupting culture.

Large cities are framed cities as the source of dangerous elements. TRUMP HAS PAINTED AN EXGGERATED PICTURE of danger and desolation in cities.

Emphasize work versus laziness.

In fascist thought, minorities are lazy, whether immigrants, blacks, Jews, or others, and these are seen as people are the poor sucking up the nations resources. Labor unions are targets of fascists for several reasons: they bring together people from different backgrounds, violating the purity of ‘us-versus-them’ ideology, and fascism thrives under vast inequality, which unions threaten. The idea that life is a competition for power undergirds fascism and applies to group competition. Your group can compete but not necessarily succeed or even survive.

The Psychology of Fascist Tendencies

From a psychological perspective, impulses toward fascism rely on our mammalian emotion systems geared for survival - fear, anger, panic (Panksepp, 1998). We are pushed to downshift to a mindset of self-protection. We can “see red” (MacLean, 1990). We can shift into a flow of aggressive speech or action, even moving into mob action, which has been termed a “superorganism” (Bloom, 1995; Cory, 2002). But deep down the cause may be insecurity.

“The pull of fascist politics is powerful. It simplifies human existence, gives us an object, a “them” whose supposed laziness highlights our own virtue and discipline, encourages us to identify with a forceful leader who helps us make sense of the world, whose bluntness regarding the “undeserving” people in the world is refreshing Fascist politics preys on the human frailty that makes our own suffering seem bearable if we know that those we look down upon are being made to suffer more.Ŕ (Stanley, 2018, p. 183)

“Fascist politics lures its audiences with the temptation of freedom from democratic norms while masking the fact that the alternative proposed is not a form of freedom that can sustain a stable nation state and can scarcely guarantee liberty.” (Stanley, 2018, p. 191)

When we are in a self-protective mindset, our perception narrows. We get closed-minded. We see danger all around and look for ways to alleviate our panic. We externalize, acting aggressively, or internalize, withdrawing into frozen depression.

With refugee migrations around the world, fascism is easily triggered by politicians and media. But we have another choice. We can be empathic toward those who are suffering. We can expand our understanding of usӔ to include all of humanity. We can refuse to be bewitched by fascist mythsӔ so we can engage with one another, understanding that we are all flawed, partial in our perceptions and experience, and that “none of us are demons.” (Stanley, 2018, p. 193)

References

Arendt, H. (1973). The origins of totalitarianism. New York: Harcourt, Brace and Jovanovich.

Bloom, H. (1995). The Lucifer principle. New York: Atlantic Monthly Press.

Cory, Jr., G.A. (2002). Reappraising MacLean’s triune brain concept. In G.A. Cory, Jr., & R. Gardner, Jr. (Eds.), The evolutionary neuroethology of Paul MacLean: Convergences and frontiers (pp. 9-30). Westport, CT: Praeger.

About the Author

Darcia Narvaez, Ph.D., is Professor Emerita of Psychology at the University of Notre Dame. She is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

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Hitler and the Nazi Rise to Power

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The Nazi rise to power

The Holocaust Explained

In the nine years between 1924 and 1933 the Nazi Party transformed from a small, violent, revolutionary party to the largest elected party in the Reichstag.

Reorganisation and the Bamberg Conference

Whilst Hitler was in prison following the Munich Putsch in 1923, Alfred Rosenberg took over as temporary leader of the Nazi Party. Rosenberg was an ineffective leader and the party became divided over key issues.

The failure of the Munich Putsch had shown Hitler that he would not be able to take power by force. Hitler therefore decided to change tactic and instead focus on winning support for his party democratically and being elected into power.

Following his release from prison on the 20 December 1924, Hitler convinced the Chancellor of Bavaria to remove the ban on the Nazi Party.

In February 1926, Hitler organised the Bamberg Conference. Hitler wanted to reunify the party, and set out a plan for the next few years. Whilst some small differences remained, Hitler was largely successful in reuniting the socialist and nationalist sides of the party.

In the same year, Hitler restructured the Nazi Party to make it more efficient.

Firstly, the Nazi Party adopted a new framework, which divided Germany into regions called Gaue. Each Gaue had its own leader, a Gauleiter. Each Gaue was then divided into subsections, called Kreise. Each Kreise then had its own leader, called a Kreisleiter. Each Kreise was then divided into even smaller sections, each with its own leader, and so on. Each of these sections were responsible to the section above them, with Hitler at the very top of the party with ultimate authority.

The Nazis also established new groups for different professions, from children, to doctors, to lawyers. These aimed to infiltrate already existing social structures, and help the party gain more members and supporters.

These political changes changed the Nazi Party from a paramilitary organisation focused on overthrowing the republic by force, to one focused on gaining power through elections and popular support.

The role of the SA and the SS

The Nazi Party;s paramilitary organisation were the Sturm Abeilung, more commonly known as the SA. The SA were formed in 1921 and were known as ‘brownshirts’ due to their brown uniform. Initially most members were ex-soldiers or unemployed men. Violent and often disorderly, the SA were primarily responsible for the protection of leading Nazis and disrupting other political opponents’ meetings, although they often had a free rein on their activities.

If Hitler was to gain power democratically, he needed to reform the SA. He set out to change their reputation. A new leader, Franz von Salomon, was recruited. Rather than the violent free rein they had previously enjoyed, Salomon was stricter and gave the SA a more defined role.

In 1925, Hitler also established the Schutzstaffel, otherwise known as the SS. The SS were initially created as Hitler’s personal bodyguards, although they would go on to police the entire Third Reich.

The SS were a small sub-division of the SA with approximately 300 members until 1929. In 1929, Heinrich Himmler took over the organisation, and expanded it dramatically.

By 1933, the SS had 35,000 members. Members of the SS were chosen based on their ‘racial purity,’ blind obedience and fanatical loyalty to Hitler.

The SS saw themselves as the ultimate defenders of the ‘Aryan race’ and Nazi ideology. They terrorized and aimed to destroy any person or group that threatened this.

The SA and the SS became symbols of terror. The Nazi Party used these two forces to terrify their opposition into subordination, slowly eliminate them entirely, or scare people into supporting them.

Propaganda and the Nazi rise to power

Whilst the SA and the SS played their part, the Nazis primarily focused on increasing their membership through advertising the party legitimately. They did this through simple and effective propaganda .

The Nazis started advocating clear messages tailored to a broad range of people and their problems. The propaganda aimed to exploit peopleҒs fear of uncertainty and instability. These messages varied from ‘Bread and Work,’ aimed at the working class and the fear of unemployment, to a ‘Mother and Child’ poster portraying the Nazi ideals regarding woman.  Jews and Communists also featured heavily in the Nazi propaganda as enemies of the German people.

Joseph Goebbels was key to the Nazis use of propaganda to increase their appeal. Goebbels joined the Nazi Party in 1924 and became the Gauleiter for Berlin in 1926. Goebbels used a combination of modern media, such as films and radio, and traditional campaigning tools such as posters and newspapers to reach as many people as possible. It was through this technique that he began to build an image of Hitler as a strong, stable leader that Germany needed to become a great power again.

This image of Hitler became known as ‘The Hitler Myth’. Goebbels success eventually led to him being appointed Reich Minister of Propaganda in 1933.

The role of economic instability in the Nazi rise to power

Whilst the Nazis own actions, such as the party restructure and propaganda, certainly played a role in their rise to power, the economic and political failure of the Weimar Republic was also a key factor.

Germany’s economy suffered badly after the WALL STREET CRASH OF 1929.

Germany was particularly badly affected by the Wall Street Crash because of its dependence on American loans from 1924 onwards. As the loans were recalled, the economy in Germany sunk into a deep depression. Investment in business was reduced.

As a result, wages fell by 39% from 1929 to 1932.  People in full time employment fell from twenty million in 1929, to just over eleven million in 1933. In the same period, over 10,000 businesses closed every year. As a result of this, the amount of people in poverty increased sharply.

The Depression associated economic failure and a decline in living standards with the Weimar democracy. When combined with the resulting political instability, it left people feeling disillusioned with the Weimar Republics democracy and looking for change.

This enhanced the attractiveness of the Nazis propaganda messages.

Reparations suspended

By 1932, Germany had reached breaking point. The economic crisis, which in turn had led to widespread social and political unrest in Germany, meant that it could no longer afford to pay reparations. At the Lausanne Conference held in Switzerland, from the 16 June 1932 to the 9 July 1932, the Allies conceded and indefinitely suspended Germany’s reparation payments.

This concession helped to give the economy a small boost in confidence. Under Brning and later von Papen and, briefly, von Schleicher, there was an increase in state intervention in the economy. One example of this was the work creation schemes which began in the summer of 1932. These work creation schemes would later be expanded and reinvested in by the Nazis to combat unemployment.

These small signs started to hint at a positive climb in the economy.

These small improvements, only truly evident with the benefit of hindsight, were still at the time completely overshadowed by the poverty and widespread discontent about the general economic situation.

It was into this bleak situation that the Nazis were elected into power.

The role of political instability in the Nazi rise to power

The political instability in the late 1920s and early 1930s played an important role in helping the Nazis rise to power.

This topic will explain how the political situation escalated from the hope of the Grand Coalition쑒 in 1928, to the dismissal of von Schleicher and the end of the Weimar Republic in 1933.

The ‘Grand Coalition’

n June 1928, Hermann Mller had created the grand coalition쑒 to rule Germany. This coalition was made up of the SPD, DDP, DVP and the Centre Party: parties from the left and right. Mller had a secure majority of 301 seats out of a total of 491. Political parties seemed to be putting aside their differences and coming together for the good of Germany.

But this was not how it worked out. The parties could not agree on key policies and Mller struggled to get support for legislation.

As the aftermath of the Wall Street Crash hit Germany and unemployment spiralled, the government struggled to balance its budget. On top of its usual payments, the amount of people claiming unemployment benefits was increasing. As the government struggled to agree on the future of unemployment benefits, M켼ller asked Hindenburg for the use of Article 48 to try and restore stability.

President Hindenburg was a right-wing conservative politician and therefore disliked having the left-wing SPD in power. He refused Mller’s request. Mller resigned on the 27 March 1930.

Br켼ning’s government

Mller’s successor was Heinrich Brning. Although he did not have a majority of seats in the Reichstag, Br켼ning was well-respected by Hindenburg. Brning increasingly relied upon, and was granted, use of Article 48 . This set a precedent of governing by presidential decree and moved the Republic away from parliamentary democracy.

As the economic crisis worsened in 1931, Brning struggled to rule effectively. Extremism became more popular as people desperately sought a solution.

After a disagreement over provisions for the unemployed in 1932, Hindenburg demanded Br켼ning’s resignation.

Von Papen and von Schleicher

A new election was called, and von Papen replaced Brning.

Von Papen agreed with the conservative elite that Germany needed an authoritarian leader to stabilise the country. He called for another election in November 1932, hoping to strengthen the frontier against communism and socialism.

Whilst the left-wing and socialist SPD did lose votes, so did the right-wing Nazi Party. The Communist Party gained votes, winning eleven more seats in the Reichstag. Once again, no one party had a majority. The election was a failure.

Following von Papens failure, Hitler was offered the chancellorship, but without the right to rule by presidential decree. He refused, and von Schleicher became chancellor.

However, without a majority of his own in the Reichstag, von Schleicher faced the same problems as von Papen. Hindenburg refused to grant von Schleicher permission to rule by decree.

Von Schleicher lasted just one month.

The role of the conservative elite in the Nazi rise to power

The conservative elite were the old ruling class and new business class in Weimar Germany. Throughout the 1920s they became increasingly frustrated with the Weimar Republic’s continuing economic and political instability, their lack of real power and the rise of communism. They believed that a return to authoritarian rule was the only stable future for Germany which would protect their power and money.

The first move towards this desired authoritarian rule was Hindenburg’s increasing use of Article 48 . Between 1925-1931 Article 48 was used a total of 16 times. In 1931 alone this rose to 42 uses, in comparison to only 35 Reichstag laws being passed in the same year. In 1932, Article 48 was used 58 times.

The conservative elite’s second move towards authoritarian rule was helping the Nazi Party to gain power.  The conservative elite and the Nazi Party had a common enemy - the political left .

As Hitler controlled the masses support for the political right, the conservative elite believed that they could use Hitler and his popular support to “democratically take power.” Once in power, Hitler could destroy the political left.  Destroying the political left would help to remove the majority of political opponents to the ring-wing conservative elite.

Once Hitler had removed the left-wing socialist opposition and destroyed the Weimar Republic, the conservative elite thought they would be able to replace Hitler, and appoint a leader of their choice.

As Hitler’s votes dwindled in the November 1932 elections, the conservative elite knew that if they wanted to use Hitler and the Nazis to destroy the political left, they had to act quickly to get Hitler appointed as chancellor.

Von Papen and Oskar von Hindenburg (President Hindenburg’s son) met secretly and backed Hitler to become chancellor. A group of important industrialists, including Hjalmar Schacht and Gustav Krupp, also wrote outlining their support of Hitler to President Hindenburg.

The support of these figures was vital in Hindenburg;s decision to appoint Hitler as chancellor. Once elected, the conservative elite soon realised that they had miscalculated Hitler and his intentions.

Electoral success

Despite the party restructure, the reorganisation of the SA and the initial development of their propaganda under Goebbels, the Nazi Party gained very little in the 1928 elections. They won just 2.6% of the vote, gaining them 12 seats in the Reichstag.

The following year however, the Wall Street Crash and the resulting economic and political instability swung the conservative elite and electorate in their favour. Goebbels carefully tailored propaganda slowly became considerably more attractive.

In 1930, the Nazis attracted eight times more votes than in 1928. They managed to secure 18.3% of the vote, and 107 seats in the Reichstag. The continuing failure of the government to stabilise the situation only increased the Nazis popularity.

In February 1932, Hitler ran against Hindenburg to become president. Goebbel’s propaganda campaign presented Hitler as a new, dynamic and modern leader for Germany. To emphasise this point, Hitler flew from venue to venue via aeroplane. Hitler lost the election, with 36.8% of the vote to Hindenburg’s 53%. Despite losing, people now viewed Hitler as a credible politician.

Following another Reichstag election in July 1932, the Nazis became the largest party with 230 seats and 37.3% of the vote.

Hitler becomes chancellor

Hitler was not immediately appointed chancellor after the success of the July 1932 elections, despite being leader of the largest party in the Reichstag.

It took the ECONOMIC and POLITICAL instability (with two more chancellors failing to stabilise the situation) to worsen, and the SUPPORT OF THE CONSERVATIVE ELITE, to convince Hindenburg to appoint Hitler.

Hitler was sworn in as the chancellor of Germany on the 30 January 1933. The Nazis were now in power.

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Monday, April 25, 2022

Kudos Krogers and Albertsons

image: union workers

“It’s now clear that the Walmart model of poverty wages and part-time jobs doesn’t work.”
- Daniel Flaming, president, Los Angeles Economic Policy Roundtable

A Watershed for 47,000 SoCal Grocery Workers: The Biggest Raise in Decades

By Bobbi Murray
Capital Main
April 20, 2022

After teetering for weeks at the edge of a strike, Kroger and Albertsons employees approve a new union contract.

For two years as the pandemic consumed day-to-day life, supermarket workers literally risked their lives to keep shelves stocked and customers fed. Deemed “essential,” they nevertheless retained their low status as they took on more responsibilities. Workers were wiping down shelves, products and shopping carts, not to mention handling testy customers who could occasionally get physical about mask-wearing requirements.

Grocery workers had teetered for weeks at the edge of a strike that could have seen picket lines at local Ralphs, Vons, Albertsons, Pavilions, Stater Bros., Gelsons Markets and Super A Foods stores from the southern border up through California’s Central Valley. After a tentative deal was reached April 4, an agreement ratified on April 14 averted that strike in a major way.

The raises included in the new agreement are some of the most significant for supermarket workers in years - and move California supermarket workers away from the Walmart model: low pay, split shifts and uncertain hours that make it impossible to plan schedules or budgets.

Daniel Flaming, president of the Los Angeles Economic Policy Roundtable, a Los Angeles-based nonprofit organization, said the new agreement “changes the landscape for all retail workers around the country. Its now clear that the Walmart model of poverty wages and part-time jobs doesn’t work as a way to provide jobs for working people in America.

Had California workers gone on strike, it would have cost grocery chains hundreds of millions of dollars, said Peter Dreier, professor of politics and urban and environmental policy at Occidental College. “They weren’t prepared for that kind of loss. It was pretty clear that public opinion was on the side of the workers.”

Dreier, along with Flaming, is an author of the January report “Hungry at the Table,” which surveyed more than 10,000 Kroger grocery workers and describes working conditions in 20 counties across Washington state, Wyoming, Colorado and much of California.

They see the new contract as a seismic shift in the grocery industry landscape.

The THREE YEAR CONTRACT between the United Food and Commercial Workers union and Ralph’s and Albertsons/Vons/Pavilions (along with Stater Bros., Gelson’s Markets and Super A Foods) includes a $4.25/hr. increase for most workers - and some will see higher pay raises. (Disclosure: UFCW is a financial supporter of Capital & Main.)

Significantly, the contract increases the minimum weekly hours of work for eligible part-time employees a policy that could mean take-home pay increases of as much as $3,000 per year for some employees, a union news release says

“We are pleased that this agreement allows us to put more money in our associates’ paychecks and secures healthcare and pension plans,” Robert Branton, vice president of operations at Ralphs, said in a statement.

For two years as the pandemic consumed day-to-day life, supermarket workers literally risked their lives to keep shelves stocked and customers fed. Deemed essential,Ӕ they nevertheless retained their low status as they took on more responsibilities. Workers were wiping down shelves, products and shopping carts, not to mention handling testy customers who could occasionally get physical about mask-wearing requirements.

Grocery workers had teetered for weeks at the edge of a strike that could have seen picket lines at local Ralphs, Vons, Albertsons, Pavilions, Stater Bros., Gelsons Markets and Super A Foods stores from the southern border up through CaliforniaҒs Central Valley. After a tentative deal was reached April 4, an agreement ratified on April 14 averted that strike in a major way.

ItӒs now clear that the Walmart model of poverty wages and part-time jobs doesnt work.Ҕ
~ Daniel Flaming, president, Los Angeles Economic Policy Roundtable

The raises included in the new agreement are some of the most significant for supermarket workers in years and move California supermarket workers away from the Walmart model: low pay, split shifts and uncertain hours that make it impossible to plan schedules or budgets.

Daniel Flaming, president of the Los Angeles Economic Policy Roundtable, a Los Angeles-based nonprofit organization, said the new agreement דchanges the landscape for all retail workers around the country. Its now clear that the Walmart model of poverty wages and part-time jobs doesnҒt work as a way to provide jobs for working people in America.

Had California workers gone on strike, it would have cost grocery chains hundreds of millions of dollars, said Peter Dreier, professor of politics and urban and environmental policy at Occidental College. ԓThey werent prepared for that kind of loss. It was pretty clear that public opinion was on the side of the workers.Ҕ

Dreier, along with Flaming, is an author of the January report Hungry at the Table,Ӕ which surveyed more than 10,000 Kroger grocery workers and describes working conditions in 20 counties across Washington state, Wyoming, Colorado and much of California.

They see the new contract as a seismic shift in the grocery industry landscape.

The three-year contract between the United Food and Commercial Workers union and Ralphs and Albertsons/Vons/Pavilions (along with Stater Bros., Gelsons Markets and Super A Foods) includes a $4.25/hr. increase for most workers - and some will see higher pay raises. (Disclosure: UFCW is a financial supporter of Capital & Main.)

Significantly, the contract increases the minimum weekly hours of work for eligible part-time employees a policy that could mean take-home pay increases of as much as $3,000 per year for some employees, a union news release says.

“We are pleased that this agreement allows us to put more money in our associates paychecks and secures healthcare and pension plans,” Robert Branton, vice president of operations at Ralphs, said in a statement.

The pandemic framed recent discussions, but also hanging over negotiations: the ghost of a 141-day grocery strike that rocked Southern California in 2003-2004.

Had a strike ensued, picket lines could have been a further test of patience for cranky, pandemic-fatigued consumers.

Grocery store employees are more than exhausted by their role as “frontline workers.”

It would have been a further stretch for grocery workers to manage already-strained finances on strike pay.

The pandemic framed the recent discussions, but also hanging over negotiations: the ghost of a 141-day grocery strike that rocked Southern California in 2003-2004.

The labor struggle put picket lines outside stores and forced customers to decide which side they were on.

Neither the employees nor the grocery chains wanted to see that this time.

Ralphs employee Erika Bentzen remembers that strike well - she walked a picket line at the time. The 37-year veteran worker at a Ralphs in Thousand Oaks, California, has spent most of her career on whats called “night crew” - stocking shelves from midnight to 8 a.m. - with her shift leaving as the day shift checkers and clerksҒ assistants show up in the morning.

Kroger is the parent company of Ralphs Grocery Co., the market chain Bentzen works for.

The company’s annual revenue for 2021 was $132.5 billion, up over 8% from 2020, and its market value is $35 billion. It has the biggest share in the U.S. supermarket sector. Kroger, headquartered in Cincinnati, Ohio, is ranked No. 17 in the Fortune 500 based on total revenue. As such it exerts a large gravitational pull in the U.S. grocery market.

The company has a big footprint historically as well.

In 2005 Ralphs Grocery Co. WAS INDICTED for actions during the months-long strike when Bentzen walked a picket line - illegally hiring hundreds of workers under fake names.

Ralphs Grocery Co. pleaded guilty to felony charges including identity theft, money laundering, obstruction of justice, false use of a social security number and conspiracy arising from the company’s practices during the lockout. The court imposed a $20 million fine and ordered Ralphs to pay $50 million in restitution.

Kroger was not charged in the case.

Bentzen recalls the consumer support during the lockout decades ago - shoppers coming out to the strike lines and bringing picketing grocery workers food and water. For the 2022 grocery struggle, public support was more than water and tamales.

This year there was a front-and-center consumer/worker effort as the negotiations went forward. Amardeep Gill, director of the grocery and retail campaign for the Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy, describes community delegations that showed up at stores to speak with managers, enlisting such groups as the National Council of Jewish Women LA and Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice. There were also coordinated social media message campaigns.

People patronize local stores out of loyalty, Bentzen said. ӒWere your friends, weҒre your neighbors. Were part of your community.

“We had the public behind us.” As for the grocery chains, “The public is their bread-and-butter,” she said. Ralphs doesn’t want you shopping at Vons, and Vons doesn’t want customers switching to Ralphs - the long-term relationships are important.

Flaming is encouraged by the terms of this week’s agreement, which he says sets acceptable pay and hours standards.

The “Hungry at the Table” study zoomed in on Kroger-owned stores.

Walmart dominates the landscape because it’s the largest retailer, but Kroger is the leading grocer.

Walmart has shaped the terrain of retail and grocery industry practices in terms of wages and hours with its employment model, establishing a norm of split shifts and uncertain weekly hours.

“The recent union win with the California supermarkets shifts the Walmart employment model,” Flaming said. A key piece of the new contract is a measure that guarantees a set number of hours for employees. Under the old model the number of hours employees worked often changed from week to week - which can benefit an employer’s monthly bottom line, but for a worker it can create financial havoc.

“A standard scale for hours amounts to a wage increase,” Flaming said.

Work standards set by the new agreement benefit not only workers but also are to Kroger’s advantage, critical to the company’s ability to recruit and retain employees.

Walmart has recently publicly discussed shifting more part-time workers to full time - the two are in competition for workers.

“For Kroger to be strongly competitive for workers, there are issues of how much workers get paid per hour and how many hours those workers get,” Flaming said.

As to the reverberations of the strike of 2003-2004, this contract makes up for some of the damage done, Dreier says.

Veteran grocery store worker and union negotiator Bentzen is pleased with the current contract terms that she had a hand in shaping.

“When the public speaks out and says, ‘Hey, I know what youre doing is wrong’ - yeah. They listen.”

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