“… whether a political structure works”

There’s a test for whether a political structure works, any political structure. A political structure exists in order to make sure – this is what we have supposedly set it up for – that nobody takes advantage of anybody else, because if we didn’t have a political structure, people would ride roughshod over other people. And so we set up a political structure to defend us against this. We set it up supposedly so it will prevent people from exploiting others, prevent some people from getting rich and keeping others from getting very poor, to prevent some people from holding all power and denying power to others, to prevent people from discriminating against other people for irrational reasons. And we also set up a political structure to keep the peace, because this is important to people. They don’t want to die.

On every one of these counts, most political structures in the world have failed.

Howard Zinn, “Southern Influence in National Politics,” in Howard Zinn Speaks: Collected Speeches 1963-2009. Edited by Anthony Arnove. Haymarket Books, 2012.

One response is to want to cry.

Zinn, however, seems to have thought this was something people needed to try to do something about. That’s probably a better approach …

red line embellished

Image: “Chicago Board of Trade Building,” Antoine Taveneaux, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

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