Politics and Interest

Continuing the look back over the first decade of Barataria, this piece is from April 2007. It outlines a disease which has since consumed us – an inability to accept the need to work things out. 

“Politics” is a dirty word.

A common phrase in our world is that we “need to keep politics out” of a given situation. It seems to come from a noble intent, which is the desire to make rational decisions that are best for everyone. But what is it that we are trying to keep out?

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Chaos versus Order

There seems to be some greater conflict in the world, Everyone has a theory as to where the batle lines are drawn – liberal versus conservative, white versus non-white, Muslim versus infidel, young versus old. Not all of these can be right at the same time, which brings to mind two questions:

What is the “real” conflict? And why is it not obvious?

The battle, if there is a real one, is primarily a matter of general anxiety. It’s an internal conflict within many people who have lost a sense of hope for a better tomorrow. But outwardly, it manifests itself into a battle between stability and chaos – a conflict between the preservation of what order exists and a desire to wash it away in order to make way for something, anything else.

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Ready for the Main Event?

Before the circus came to town, it was Barataria’s position that we’d all be wise to ignore it as much as we possibly can. Obviously, we don’t heed our own advice.

Then again, things are happening which may point right at the heart of the problem – the flurry of Washingtoonia that actually winds up making a difference. In the great three ring circus of government it’s time to keep your eyes firmly on the center ring – and whether the supposedly tamed bear eats the Ringmaster.

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Walk & Talk

As the Tenth Anniversary of Barataria approaches, we will be featuring posts from long ago which contain themes which carry through to today.  Organizing in a changing world is probably the most critical concept all around.  The standard position of this blog is that everything good comes at a “strong half-step back” – far enough away to have some perspective but close enough to keep your hands dirty.  This is an example of that in practice from 2010.

Organizations that thrive in a changing world all have one thing in common – a strong strategic focus.  They know their objectives and strategy very well and communicate them effectively.  What is less obvious is that a good strategic plan comes from individual people.  It takes a lot of skill and a little planning to work it up into a real plan, but there is never any substitute for the old “walk and talk” – getting to know the clients, customers, employees, citizens, or any other way you want to define the people of an operation.

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Firm Hand

What happens in a Democratic-Republic when the most powerful person has an agenda which seems at odds with the legislative body?

We found out today when Janet Yellen, who is not at all orange, testified before the Senate Banking Committee for the first time since … well, really since all Hell broke loose. Financial issues have largely taken a back seat since the circus came to town and the opportunity to return to such a basic issue had the wonderful air or normality to it.

That didn’t stop anyone from trying to bring in the clowns, of course. But real leaders, like Yellen, know better than to take the bait. It was delightfully boring, as all banking should be. But it still had its moments.

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New Line of Thought

This piece is actually from an old blog I had in 1999.  This was before the current Depression, before the Millenium, and indeed before the word “blog” was commonly used.  This is part of a retrospective heading into the tenth anniversary of Barataria this April.  It is presented unchanged from 18 years ago.

Politics is often defined in America by an intense partisan struggle. The language used is one of division: red states versus blue, Fox versus NPR. Not only is most of this nonsense, it is actually dangerous.

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Staying Positive

Anger over the latest moves of the Trump administration continues to bubble over. There seems to be a fresh outrage every day – now including a major diss of the Australian Prime Minister. What can everyone do?

Stay positive. It’s hard, sometimes, but it’s critical. Fortunately, it’s becoming easier every day. As much as Barataria and others have criticized marching as not nearly enough, it’s still critical as a tool for organizing. More importantly, it seems that everyone has had a great experience so far and has kept hope alive.

Morale is critical for us to last out this administration and stay focused. So far, it’s working very well.

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