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Howard Berman

Hi I suspect the people didn't rush to the scene of the crime to defend democracy because our lives, political too, are not in the publci square but rather online.
When John Lennon was assassinated for instance all my school mates rushed from Brooklyn by subway to Strawberry Fields- there is no street life in the old sense for people to rush there- the Trump supporters were not in contrast spontaneous but orchestrated

Aaron Lercher

You are describing a situation in which security forces are too compromised to intervene either to defend institutions vigorously or else to act overtly to overthrow them: security forces are politically paralyzed. Also, they are not fighting among themselves.

I participated in a defense of Buffalo NY institutions by self-selected citizens in 1992. The mayor (a rightwing populist) had invited rightwing anti-abortion protesters from throughout the US to come to Buffalo to blockade abortion clinics in April that year.

The scale on each side was hundreds, not (tens of?) thousands. Even so, the degree of preparation, organization, and motivation needed for the defenders to succeed was very high.

Crucially, there was the political hurdle of deciding in advance that the local police were too compromised to be reliable (which seemed obvious to me at the time). The people who made that judgment were quite far to the left, splitting the abortion rights advocates. They turned out to be correct in that case. Only a small faction grasped the moral imperative Popper proposes, and we needed to constitute an organized group by splitting from established groups.

Is this kind of situation, on a larger scale, likely in Washington DC? There would need to be continued political paralysis by security forces in order to leave an opening for leftwing defenders to confront rightwing attackers.

Also, leftwing escalation would risk uniting security forces and rightwing elements against them.

Aaron Lercher

What I wrote earlier might have suggested that the leftwing defenders of Buffalo institutions remained marginal after April 1992. No. The rightwing populist mayor did not run for another term. The next mayor supported abortion rights. When other anti-abortion blockades were proposed, these were met by a show of force by state-level and local police.

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Here's a link to my past blogging (and discussions involving me) at: New APPS.


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