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A New Authoritarian Axis Demands an International Progressive Front


#62

Why the hell would you look to a post on Commondreams for that answer? I get it that you are asking rhetorical questions, but maybe just state your argument without them. I think we should build up third parties at the local level first, since it is easier to win local elections than it is to win national elections. That way you build up an infrastructure. The DSA is currently doing this. Maybe, if it grows large enough, it can break off from the Democratic Party, which I don’t think can be reformed. You build up that infrastructure, and you don’t need one national left of center party.
You get a number of progressive and radical politicians, and they can form voting blocks in government. When it comes to national candidates, like the president, down the road, they might be strong enough to run third party candidates that can fight through the rigged system in this two party state. Until that happens, it is tough to say. We do live in a democracy, and so no one owes the Democrats a fucking thing. They owe voters something, they have to earn the vote. So, if a person identifies with the actual platform of the Green Party, or whatever else, you have no right to chastise them. That is an authoritarian mindset. You appeal to them and offer policies that are a net-positive. If you can’t show that the two parties are a net positive for most people (I know the macroeconomic data well, things have gotten progressively worse no matter who is in power for most people), then what is the exact argument? That the Democrats will make things worse at a slower pace? No wonder turnout is so horrible in this country. There were good people in the Communist Party in the USSR, does it mean you couldn’t critique the Communist Party and couldn’t work towards building an alternative, especially on on the left?

A large percentage of people simply don’t vote. You might notice that many of the DSA type candidates that are winning, they are winning because they are focusing on those that don’t often vote, or at least, not nearly as much as other groups. So, who votes in lower (often much lower) numbers? Low income groups, the poor and people of color, groups that neither party really give a fuck about. And those groups are for policies that neither party at the national level supports, and their donors oppose.

I also think that working outside of the electoral arena is far more important that voting, and is fundamental to democracy. Many in the labor movement were ideologically opposed to voting. They instead focused on organizing unions, forming worker owned cooperatives, producer cooperatives, mutual aid societies, taking over land, organizing strikes and boycotts, mass direct action, and the political system was forced to respond. We didn’t get many of the things we not take for granted simply because of voting. We organized and scared those in power. And because of that, we got the 40 work week, the weekend, overtime pay, safe working conditions, child labor laws, environmental protections, the right to vote, civil rights, etc.

Voting is important, but not anywhere near sufficient.


#63

No, they aren’t saying that. They are simply acknowledging objective reality. Wages for a majority of the country have stagnated since at least the election of Reagan. Some studies show wages haven’t grown since the early 70’s, real wages that is. The costs of housing, education and healthcare have been far outpacing wage growth for decades, which the ACA only moderately improved. Private debt has exploded, infrastructure is crumbling, we never do nearly enough to address the environmental crisis, inequality is the worst it has been in a very long time, the political system is thoroughly corrupt. Your argument seems to be that people that call for third parties or think that they system is a net negative, which makes the argument as far as the power of voting pretty weak, are wrong, but you can’t really show any data that the system has been anything other than horrible for most people. You also cannot deny the record of the Democrats (Clinton in particular, but Obama as well, Carter even on a few things) in getting us here. So, if the Democrats cannot be reformed, and the two parties have rigged the system in ways not radically different than what one party states do, what’s the answer? Don’t pretend that working entirely with the Democratic Party is any more of a sure thing as what you are critiquing, and don’t pretend that we are here or got Trump because of the Republicans only.

The truth is that radical, structural changes are needed economically and in order to deal with the environmental crisis. What’s the chance of the Democrats being at all open to that any time soon at the national level? And if not, how does that not strengthen the far right? The context that produced Trump and the Tea Party is not only not going to go away in the absence of those radical changes, the context will actually be more favorable to the far right. Cause they’re going to offer to throw a monkey wrench into the system and because so few people vote now because of how rotten the system is, a group like that with such unpopular ideas will have much more power in the state than they do in society.

Again, the left is just dealing with this in an honest and direct way, and people to our right don’t have very good responses.


#64

This is pure fabrication. What a horrible thing to always repeat. First off, who in their right mind could deny that the “centrists” have far more in common policy wise with Trump than the left? I mean, if Trump is in favor of tariffs on some raw material imports, and Lori Wallach agrees on that policy, is she “merging” with Trump?! The actual left has been on the only group to actually challenge Trump, and lets not forget that the damn centrists pushed for the historically unpopular candidate that was so horrible that she managed to lose to Trump. The left was interested in challenging people like Trump and the policies he supports. The “centrists” would have led us where they have to this point, which is to move us in the same direction, but at a slower rate.

I am really sorry to hear about your wife’s cancer. I wish you both nothing but the best.


#65

The only words I’d change in your fine heartfelt assessment of the political crisis are “in the bargain” in the paragraph that begins “I can’t be bought for any price.” There’s no bargain to be had destabilizing Earth’s ecosystem. Perhaps filthy rich fossil fuel moguls and armament manufacturers consider suffering and death a bargain worth the price, a price they won’t pay to prevent. I believe they’ve been planning WWIII all along including both Bush administrations.

Real solutions that Sander’s mentions as technological advances will absolutely NOT include self-driving cars, buses, trucks and drone delivery. Force all democratic party leaders to admit this fact, NOW, and a real uprising will occur against the reckless filthy rich of this world. Thanks for sharing your excellent post.


#66

A Populist party might be better described as Moderate rather than Progressive. Progress is after all meant to benefit everyone, but that’s not how progress is perceived. The Moderate moniker actually represents the ‘majority’ from both sides of the left/right political divide. Populist Party Moderates willing to welcome reformed republicans and disillusioned democrats, after the November elections, not before. The fight should be between the two parties. A 3rd party would be a distraction from important discussion before, but would add to discussion afterward.


#67

We are in the middle of a national emergency.

The Republicans are blocking the votes of more and more minorities, students and anyone else who is likely to vote Dem.
Their gerrymandering turns majority Democratic states into solid Republican legislatures, who then do a similar job on congressional districts.
Their Supreme Court has LEGISLATED, UNLIMITED HIDDEN MONEY for their candidates, while they continue to blather about “original intent.”
In short, we are losing what’s left our democracy.

Unless we get these bastards out of power, ALL of our democracy will soon be gone, and we will have no option but to engage in a civil war, which WE WILL LOSE because, to be blunt, the Crackers have way more guns than we do, and know how to use them.

THEREFORE, although I am a Green and a workers’ control Democratic Socialist, I will be making phone calls tomorrow for a Democratic congressional candidate a 100 miles from my home, who supports Medicare for All and a $15 minimum.

WE DO NOT HAVE THE TIME, now, to be persnickety. After we have evicted the Greedy Old Psychopaths, THEN I will gladly debate the surest path to Socialism. But now, vote for any Democrat you can stomach, and in a year and half we can work on getting more Berniecrats past the primaries.


#68

No doubt this idea is probably an out of the blue pipe dream, but imagine if you can a world where no material thing had any value; money, gold, antiques, automobiles, yachts, buildings- all totally worthless. Imagine further a people who have no desire to own anything knowing well that ownership of things brings with it that destroyer of freed spirit and happiness better known to us as worry. what kind of government would be suitable in such a world. Imagination might lead us into basic priorities: food shelter, health care, old age security. Possibly education and art.
Starting to sound a bit Democratic, isn’t it?


#69

The two parties of note are a diversion from issues that matter and are both representative of the anti-social, ecocidal rule of money. I specifically wrote “Progressive Populist” meaning left-focused on the common good. This is a more accurate description of politicians like Sanders and Ocasio than “Socialist.”


#70

Actually, we do have the time to be persnickety.

The future depends on not settling for the same bullshit that got us here.


#71

Hmmm a lot of heated discussion related to this article. Bernie’s analysis of the status of things in the US and the rest of the world is spot on. His vision for what the world should be is lofty and not unrealistic but here then is a question that I would ask him and all of you. How are you going to accomplish this vision? I wholeheartedly agree with many posters the the “Democratic Party” is not the answer. And flipping the House is not the answer either.

So what is the answer to my question? Well how do you convince people with divergent views life styles religions cultures to come together for a common cause to change the current situation as described by Bernie? Face it people you can’t. Even the most charismatic “progressive” leader couldn’t. Let’s look deeper at the problem. You can call it anything you want but it’s a struggle between “good” and “evil” that had been going on since the beginning of time. There is a saying that goes like this…

“Evil triumphs when good men/women do nothing”.

So then the issue is this. First we have to face up to two facts. First Evil has triumphed and second We The People are at fault because we didn’t heed James Madison’s words when he was asked what had been created at the Constitution Convention, and he said “A republic if you can keep it”.

We haven’t haven’t kept it we have been asleep at the wheel and took the Republic for granted. We were not diligent. We assumed the system of checks and balances would preserve and keep our Republic in place while we enjoyed its freedoms and it’s mantra of life liberty and the pursuit of happiness. But while we were doing this Evil was not sleeping and has been quietly planning a quiet coup which has been completed with the election of Trumpty Dumpty.

So what to do what to do? Again a good question? There is no precedent or lesson in history to look for an answer…

So is there hope? Yes there is always hope but hope has to be partnered with a realistic plan. Flipping the House and spending countless hours obsessing about “Russiagate.” is not a plan.

So what is the answer? Peaceful protest? How many times in history had this brought any change? Not many.

Where would we be today if the folks that were responsible for the Boston Tea Party had gone to England and protested outside the gates of the kings palace?

The basic problem with the American people is most of them left or right don’t have clue how bad things really are and if you tried to tell them their answer would be “it couldn’t happen here the Founding Father’s made sure it couldn’t “ Well friends if they were alive today they would shocked but not surprised by what had happened especially the rise of capitalism.

Let me make another point and that is who is mostly responsible for the rise of facsimile authorities, the EU China Japan? No as Pogo the comic character said “ we looked for the enemy and it was us”.

So since We the People are mostly responsible for the problem We the People need to be leading the effort to solve the problem and there is only one way this problem will ever be solved and that is if We The People put our differences aside and join together to start a Second American Revolution by calling for a country wide general strike no work no school no nothing until they (you know who they are) realize that if they don’t recognize us and agree to make some changes like Bernie said all their profits stock wealth etc will quickly go away and also the rest of the world will lose its “full faith in the credit of the USA” and demand we pay them all the money they have invested in those worthless T bills they own.

We The People are 300 million how many are they?

So People what will it be? Action or as the Borg in Star Trek said “compliance”?. The choice is yours.


#72

I appreciate your use of the term ‘Populist’ because it can reach both sides of the political aisle, as can the term ‘Moderate’. The term ‘progressive’ however, has connotations that conservatives might consider a code word for causes (socialism, liberalism, a welfare safety net) they’ve been led to distrust. I agree with a populist 3rd party whose agenda embraces moderates. All we have now are ‘extremists’ in charge, big business fascists, racists and ineffective unproductive anarchists.


#73

Nothing will happen to make Bernie’s dream come true unless the people who call themselves Democrats are willing to threaten the politicians with leaving the party behind if the politicians keep up the same old routine. Trump may be a crazy person but he took his cue from the people who called themselves Republicans and slashes and blunders his way toward giviving them what they thought they wanted. And the politicians are afraid of Trump and even more afraid of the electorate. No one thought he could beat out 18 other candidates to get the nomination. The Democratic constituency must set the agenda and eliminate candidates one by one who do the same old song and dance. And be willing to lose another election if the politicians blow them off or not enough people get the point. Just being a Democrat is not enough. The Green Party has a platform that any Democrat could get behind. Be prepared to abandon what hasn’t worked for many years. We really have nothing to lose.

I want us to stop killing people in foreign countries. I don’t want my tax money buying bombs that fall on terrified children and parents. Any candidate who does not put that first on his or her agenda will not get my vote or my money.