The 99 Percent Fallacy

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I was chided (mildly) the other day about a comment I made to a fairly fervent Trump supporter who felt Trump might turn into one of the best presidents ever (would that be a Trumpbot?). My pushback to the commenter was evidently seen as contrary to the site's non-partisan, all views are welcome policy. The theory is we're all part of the 99% who have a common opponent in the One Percent. It follows with the "divide and conquer" concerns voiced by many whereby the ruling elite endeavor to create conditions to divide the public, making it easier to "conquer" us. It's like, "don't let them divide us, man".

Reality is different.

It isn't as simple as the very rich versus the rest of us, it's also about goals, agendas and ideology. If person A wants the Republican party to win and person B wants the Democratic party to win then they have different goals. They can't work together toward that same goal. If person A, the republican, and person B, the democrat, both want to work toward a common goal, then they can work together, unless other goals get in the way.

It's all about the goals.

If my goal is to try to enact a single payer health care system but someone else supports the republican party which does not support a single payer health care system, we could still work toward that goal if the republican person also supported single payer.

But it doesn't usually work that way. The reason Person A, the republican, supports the republican party is because of the goals, agenda and ideology of that party. So you generally are not going to find many republicans who you can work with toward that goal of single payer because of their ideology. Not to mention they actively support a political party that opposes single payer.

It's all about ideology.

If my goal is to oppose the duopoly (democratic and republican parties), seek a more democratic political system, and end Rule by the Rich, while another person's goal is to support Donald Trump and the republican party, that makes it difficult to work together. We don't want the same thing and in fact, Person A the republican, by virture of supporting Trump and the republican party, is in effect opposing my goal. The same could be said with a supporter of the Democratic party. By virture of their support for the Democratic party they are opposing my goal. How do people with competing goals work together?

They are not only opposing my goal by supporting Trump and the republican party, they are supporting a political party that wants to take me even farther from my goal, wants to make things worse.

Take war and imperialism, it's the same thing. If I want to end the wars and U.S. imperialism and someone else supports the Democratic/Republican party that wants to continue the wars and U.S. imperialism, then we can't work toward that same goal. They can't honestly say they are against the wars and U.S. imperialism while supporting a political party that does.
Well, they could but how many republican/democratic party supporters are really against the wars and U.S. imperialism? And if they are, why are they supporting a political party that supports U.S. wars and imperialism?

If I want a revolution and someone else doesn't, can we work together toward a revolution? Aren't we then working AGAINST each other? If they are supporting one of the oligarchy's political parties who are gravely against a real people's revolution or movement and will work to stop or defeat it, then they are in effect opposing a real people's revolution or movement.

We've got many divisions in this country. Based on class, race, religion, gender, but also based on ideology. We're never going to get 99% of the people to join together toward a common goal, that's impossible. The only possible common goal at that level would be ending Rule by the Rich and implementing an actual democratic political system. That's what the 99% thing is all about, the 1% get all the spoils and owns the government. So theoretically the 99% could join together to end that. Everything else would have to be decided by democracy, how it should be.

That's not to say there can't be changing sides. Someone supporting the republican/democratic party could decide they will no longer support the party and instead will support the people's revolution. But there's that ideology thing.

For example:

" A new website is asking students and others to “expose and document” professors who “discriminate against conservative students, promote anti-American values and advance leftist propaganda in the classroom.”

The site, called Professor Watchlist, is not without precedent — predecessors include the now-defunct NoIndoctrination.org, which logged accounts of alleged bias in the classroom. There’s also David Horowitz’s 2006 book, The Professors: The 101 Most Dangerous Academics in America. But such efforts arguably have new meaning in an era of talk about registering certain social groups and concerns about free speech.

Professor Watchlist, launched Monday, is a project of Turning Point USA. The group’s mission is to “identify, educate, train and organize students to promote the principles of fiscal responsibility, free markets and limited government.” Its national college and university field program works to “identify young conservative activists, build and maintain effective student groups, advertise and rebrand conservative values, engage in face-to-face and peer-to-peer conversations about the pressing issues facing our country,” according to its website. The group’s founder, Charlie Kirk – a millennial who has emerged in some conservative political circles as a major player — did not immediately respond to a request for comment about Professor Watchlist, but he promoted it on social media."

http://www.globalresearch.ca/anti-american-leftist-professors-being-watc...

Does that sound like someone who radical leftists could work with to change the capitalist system and overthrow the establishment? Would they work with me to arrest the .01% ‘leaders’ for Wars of Aggression, treason, Crimes Against Humanity, fraud and looting worth tens of trillions? I don't think so, I would bet they would actively work against such a Revolution. I would imagine most of them are not of the One Percent but of the 99 Percent. What if they visited C99?

Back to working with Trump and republican party supporters. I understand all viewpoints are supposedly accepted on this blog, the only rule being DBAD (don't be a dick). However I've seen more than a few run off because their views didn't fit in with the majority here, i.e., Clinton supporters. Trump supporters seem to have been treated a little differently based on the perception from some that Trump and his republican party administration might not be that bad, certainly not as bad as Hillary Clinton.

I can't stress enough, a REPUBLICAN PARTY administration that is for war and imperialism, unregulated capitalism, privatizing Medicare and Social Security, a fascist police state, and serving and enriching the top ..01% that rule over We the Serfs. A party that will work to KILL any working class or Serf's revolution or movement.

No, for me there's no working with that. Anyone who supports that is not on my team, they are my opponent. There is no room for discussion or debate, the only way to change that would be for them to come over to my team. If not, that's how it will stay.

This isn't a time for Pollyanna "Imagine all the People" chants, we're in a war of ideologies. Those of us wanting truth, justice, equality and real democracy are getting creamed. There's no room for niceties when considering the stakes. The future of this country is at stake. The existence of the planet and the human race is at stake. I've got kids and grandkids, screw these people who want to take away their futures and screw those that want to support those that want to take away their futures. You can't expect me to want to work with them if they want to work against me and mine.

We need solidarity for a people's movement against the oligarchy, their systems and institutions. We need a common goal. It won't be the 99% that does it. It might be 80%, 50%, 20%, who knows. Those that want it will have to join in with others around the planet to form a global people's revolution against the global oligarchy and the hateful, greedy, violent and criminal ideologies around the planet. We'll have many opponents but our cause is just and that's what will win in the end. It has to.

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Bisbonian's picture

I have argued with you on the feasibility of some of your goals...but I agree with the goals. Most of my argument probably comes from my own frustration with the results, so far. Anyway, I am going off to try some non-violent, direct action...partly to see how it works, partly because I really support the goals.

And it's all your fault. Okay, some of it, anyway Wink

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"I’m a human being, first and foremost, and as such I’m for whoever and whatever benefits humanity as a whole.” —Malcolm X

Big Al's picture

There's a lot of people out there that want it, we have to find a way to do this. Good luck on your actions. I had a conversation with my 68 yr old sister over the holiday and she said she's so frustrated she'll willing to do anything, walk the streets in protest, put her body on the line. She's a 5'2" little old lady and she's never done that, but she's ready.

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bondibox's picture

I gave Trump the benefit because I think he's serious about rooting out institutionalized corruption. You'd think that's something both sides could agree on. Problem is when it comes down to brass tacks it's gonna turn partisan and one side is going to cry foul.

But when he nominated Betsy Devoss for Education Secretary I started to bristle.

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F the F'n D's

Big Al's picture

as it did with Obama in 2009. In the end we have to remember he's a republican party president with a republican party majority in the House and Senate. That's nothing to be hopeful about imo no matter what Trump said on the campaign trail.
His appts in the foreign policy arena are very troubling and not at all what he indicated in his speeches.
But we know all about speeches.
I think we need to move on and find a way to change things outside this political system.
Agree about Devoss, she goes along with the rest of the republican ideology.

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institutionalized corruption. His vocal "pardon" of Hillary and the Clinton Foundation signal his intentions, loud and clear. Perhaps the Clintons have "the goods" on him as well, so he wouldn't dare. However, Congress is still working on Hillary's case, so let's see what happens when The Don becomes prez.

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NCTim's picture

... institutionalized corruption. His gilded life style is only possible because I/we bailed him out. No quarter for Trump.

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The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself. - Friedrich Nietzsche -

divineorder's picture

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A truth of the nuclear age/climate change: we can no longer have endless war and survive on this planet. Oh sh*t.

NCTim's picture

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The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high to pay for the privilege of owning yourself. - Friedrich Nietzsche -

Shockwave's picture

This highlights the power of those that want to privatize everything. Betsy wants to privatize education and Erik the military.

Trump/Bannon are in a different league. They may want the same but they will say whatever they think will give them more power.

40 days before the election, Breibart.com featured this item;

Trump for Single Payer? Wow! Welcome to the Twilight Zone.

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The political revolution continues

Unabashed Liberal's picture

is a travesty; although, under 'O,' Democrats legislated a dedicated stream and increase of 33 percent funding for Charter Schools.

Education reform appears to be mostly a matter of degree (incrementalism), not a major difference in policy, IMO. And, whether or not they're covert, or overt, about their policy agenda/legislation.

On another topic, my concern regarding the so-called 'recounts' (or whatever they're called), is that they are a distraction from ongoing budget negotiations to pass another CR (replacing the CR that expires on December 9).

Considering that this is 'O's' last shot at destroying the Social Safety Net, I regret that many progressives will likely not have their eye on the ball.

Thanks for this essay, Al. You're right--there is no 'pure' 99 Percent.

Dash 1

[Edit: HTML Code]

Mollie


Pie Fights Logo For Signature Line #1

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Everyone thinks they have the best dog, and none of them are wrong.

Everypne will blame Trump when they finally find out.

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I've seen lots of changes. What doesn't change is people. Same old hairless apes.

find allies where we can. If we agree on thirty percent of our respective goals, I have to find a way to work with you on that thirty percent. The other seventy percent won't get done, but I'll take that thirty for now.
This seems to be the issue, whether you call it purity, or true belief or all or nothing, this seems to be the sticking point across disparate goals. If it's not 100% agreement, then You Suck, no, YOU SUCK, and we lose that thirty percent possibility.
Polarization, yes, but not that alone. An unwillingness(inability) to have real give and take in hashing out solutions, let alone defining the problems.
I got no answer, just more questions.
And yes, I DO suck.

peace

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Ya got to be a Spirit, cain't be no Ghost. . .

Explain Bldg #7. . .

If you’ve ever wondered whether you would have complied in 1930’s Germany,
Now you know. . .
Sign at protest march

Big Al's picture

where we can, I'm just saying it's not going to be the entire 99% and much less than that depending on what your goal or goals are. If you feel you can be allies with the republican party to accomplish some of your goals, then that's what you should do. As I said above, my goals are adamantly opposed by both major political parties so there's no allying possible.

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Alligator Ed's picture

Unless there is change in the power structure of the Democratic party, there will cease to be a Democratic party through atrition within 4 years. What fills the vacuum.

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gulfgal98's picture

Maybe I am misunderstanding you here. It seems as though you are saying that the duopoly will always stop our goals. I prefer to think outside the duopoly and organized politics when looking at goals. I have long posted here and over at the other place that all major change comes as a result of social movements. It does not take 99% to be working in a social movement for it to be successful. I have read somewhere that 10 to 15% firmly committed people is all that is needed to effect major social changes.

As for the politicians, they are the guardians against change. However, once a major change sweeps the country, the politicians often capitulate. This is exactly why the Occupy Movement had to be shut down when it was and why Democratic mayors and governors were the ones ordering the shut downs. It was getting far too close to actually becoming a power in change. This last election may be shown to be the last time the American people will accept the corrupt system we are living under. It may end up with pitchforks in the streets or it may go the way of a quiet transformation to avoid pitchforks in the streets.

As for forming alliances, I firmly believe it is possible to do so as a result of my years with the Peace vigil. I talked to many people of all political stripes and found that on that one issue, we could find common ground with most of them, even avowed conservatives. Each alliance stands on its own. In other words, the same people who may agree that all these wars are bad and we should get out of them, may not agree on other issues, but the fact we could find agreement on the issue of war opens up the dialogue. And that dialogue is between people, not political parties.

If I have misread what you are saying here, I apologize for being dense. I am rushed this am so I did not have time to reread it. I do believe that you have posted something that spurs some great commentary and I will check back later when I have more time.

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Do I hear the sound of guillotines being constructed?

“Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable." ~ President John F. Kennedy

Big Al's picture

I'm saying for my goals, the duopoly is my opponent because it works directly against them. For others, it may not be depending on what their goals are. If someone's goal is repealing Citizens United, and the Democratic party or even Trump takes that on, then there could be an alliance with them. Or increasing the minimum wage, etc.

But my goals like I said are in effect related to abolishing the duopoly therefore the duopoly and those that support it won't be an ally.

It's a conundrum relative to political parties. Can people support a political party that supports war and imperialism while also being against war and imperialism? Are they really against war and imperialism if they support the duopoly? I understand people do just that, or try to, but what does that bring them and those who are against that political party directly because of its support for war and imperialism?

It goes to what we've seen with the republican supporters (generally) against Obama's wars but for Bush's wars while democratic supporters (generally) were against Bush's wars but for Obama's wars (and imperialism).

I certainly support spreading the truth and engaging in dialogue about the key issues, we have to do that. But there are certain segments of the 99% because of their ideologies who will not be swayed. I'm sure you've seen that too in your Peace vigils.

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gulfgal98's picture

What I have found in my personal experience with the Peace vigil in a small southern town was there was very little ideology when the barriers of communication were opened up. I believe many people cling to ideology just like they cling to religion. It is a comfort and something familiar but when you talk with them, you find that often the ideology they profess is not necessarily what they truly believe in. Too many people have been propagandized by the media. They have no idea of the fiscal costs of these wars, nor the number of civilians we have killed as a result. Most times when we would tell them, they were horrified at both.

The most ideological person I met in the four and a half years of doing the Peace vigil was a very young fundamentalist preacher. I found it hypocritical that he could enthusiastically support the killing of innocent people, including children, because they were not Christian. With most other people we met, including self professed conservatives, we were able to find some degree of common ground.

IMHO, the real duopoly is the neoliberal/neoconservative ideological duopoly. Very few of the 99% understand these ideologies. The duopoly manifests itself in the two major parties as well as some of the minor parties. But the duopoly is the neoliberal economic ideology that funnels money and power upward to the meritocracy and the neoconservative ideology that believes in the spread of American hegemony via military force. Most politicians in our current system have characteristics of both, some more than others.

This is an excellent essay with great comments.

edited for a typo

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Do I hear the sound of guillotines being constructed?

“Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable." ~ President John F. Kennedy

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snoopydawg's picture

possibility to get the third way democrats out of office if they were gone.
But the DLC way is now so entrenched in the DP, I don't see that happening.
Obama ran the biggest bait and switch campaign and is as bad or worse than a DLC democrat.
Since he took office, congress lost both houses, but what's more important is how many states went Red.
He took office with the biggest mandate but pissed it away spending 6 months on the ACA while ignoring the housing crisis, the 'shovel' ready infrastructure bill, and his stimulus was full of tax breaks for the damned people who didn't need it and so it failed to stimulate the economy.
And numerous people told him that it wasn't big enough.
I see now why it wasn't. He was listening to the same people who had been responsible for the economic crisis in the first place.
The HAMP program to help people stay in their homes was full of fraud and again he did nothing to stop it. Over 4 million people ended up losing their homes because his head of the DOJ came from a law firm that defended the banks.
The rest of his cabinet posts were all industry insiders and how can anyone except the fox to guard the chicken coop?
So the Clintons were stopped from getting back in the WH, but Trump is now putting people in charge of var