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A Time of Reckoning for Progressives


A Time of Reckoning for Progressives

Les Leopold

Over the next two years 1,400 Carrier air conditioner workers will see their decent paying jobs migrate to Mexico.


Organize, mobilize and resist? Absolutely. Under what banner, though? These continuing calls to action are doomed to sputter and fail if they If they default to supporting the Democratic party until such time as the party makes some drastic changes and that remains very much to be seen. New faces backed by a new set of billionaires is not change. More of the same party politics dressed up in a new wrapper to appeal to progressives is getting old. We've all been to that movie, many times. If the so-called progressive wing of the party is serious about change, it should at least consider a mass exodus from the party to start a truly progressive party of their own. Not holding my breath, though.


I think it's a time of reckoning for pundits like Mr Leopold. Sanders and the Progressive movement were well organized with a well defined working class platform. I wonder if you also blamed Nader for the Bush victory. Spare us your Joe Hill reference. His actions matched his words. Funny how Joe Hill is quoted in the halls punditry, time after time, following Trumps' election. He had something you likely do not possess: courage.


Extremely interesting !!!

In a short lived former career, I was a Canadian stockbroker, so this article interests. But that was a long time ago when I was a part of the financial system, just after the crash of 1987 to be explicit - and there were no derivatives and such - hedge funds and the like may have been around, but things were not like today, and I have been out of touch since I became a mountaineer in 1997.

This thread has inspired me to look more deeply into the world financial system, and I will read the author's book on such.

In the meantime, here is an article from The Guardian this morning, by Thomas Piketty:

PS: I just received a message from Thomas Mulcair, the head of the opposition New Democratic Party in Canada - ostensibly a social democratic political entity. In his message, Thomas notes:

"Like a lot of Canadians who are struggling to get ahead"...

That expression is in my opinion an example of what is wrong - Piketty's argument in essence - inequality.

Get ahead of whom?

In getting ahead, survival of the fittest in this financial world, there are those left behind, because this is a zero sum game.

Getting ahead is the problem we are not addressing.

This is not to disavow that there are significant differences in talents and abilities amongst people - but Cochise was first and always a member of his tribe - and sticking with them through thick and thin was what he did - not getting ahead !

Does this make sense - do you see what I am getting at?


Excellent commentary. If one were to nitpick, I would say that "Hillary Clinton’s benign neglect" of the working/middle classes and poor was not accidental, but pre-meditated and begun under Bill Clinton and carried-on under Obama - none (or their toady sycophants built ANY progressive Democratic base, quite the contrary, they sabotaged and undermined it catering to big-money, greed and the right.

Also, "Unless the party is captured by the Sanders forces (and the elite bosses stripped of power), there will be little or zero real change - already the same forces that lost mid-term elections, apparently were so concerned with their own interests they did nothing to change the dynamic, and losses to right-wing extremism - they built the losses, by not building a progressive Democratic (old school) coalition/base! Sanders showed clearly what was possible with a (return) dedication to the 99% and inclusive issues - instead he was beaten-up, sabotaged and all of us along with him by the Clinton/Obama corporate/banker/war machine and collusion with the right.

"The establishment Democrats will do next to nothing about the never ending rip-off of the American people by Wall Street elites" is an accurate assessment - those sell-outs must give-over power to the progressive Sanders wing or be removed entirely, or we are all buggered with our pants on for longer than 2 or 4 years..........

One should not bet the ranch on the comment below.
It could be unadulterated nonsense.

Yes, progressives should come together and organize, but until that happens, please consider this:

Trump is a loose cannon, unconventional and non-traditional.
His VP is, and his staff will be, conventional politicians who follow the rules. These people will follow the directions of their chief.

Trump is very egotistical, but he has said that he will be the president of all the people. That could mean that he does not want to be remembered as just another dismal Reagan, Clinton, Bush or Obama, all of whom pandered to the 1%, but he would rather go down in history as one of the truly great US presidents.

This desire to be remembered as one of the best might cause him to abandon his past economic philosophy as a rapacious capitalist, and so it's possible that he may turn out to be a great suprise to many - that is, a very decent president.

If the above is true, a lot will hinge upon his ability to override the directives of his neocon controllers (a.k.a advisors) who will no doubt try to steer him into building a capitalist utopia.


I don't see democrats as progressives. The article is attempting to commingle these words.

Democrats are not progressives. This election proved that once and for all.


to port_lookout:

I think there is something there in your post. Trump has been able to identify - to run on - and to WIN - with his acknowledgement of what Americans are most concerned with - good jobs - or more specifically - good jobs for those whose former good jobs are gone overseas or south of the border.

BUT - he is a monster - and in the end, I think, that will override all of his egomaniacal aspirations.

Undoubtedly Hitler identified the prime humiliation of the German race - and won a democratic election by doing so.

My own naive hope is that Americans will see this in the months and years ahead, before it is too late.

Piketty (see link in my comment), identifies "growing inequality" and "global warming" as the two most significant threats to humanity today.

I would add several more existential threats, first and foremost - nuclear energy in both its commercial and weapons manifestations.

Ciao !


Hi jneastra.

Good question.

I have no confidence in the Democrat Party. The leadership and infrastructure are permeated with those represent the interests of plutocrats and the military/espionage industries. These interests will fight to retain their power and they have ample resource to mount vigorous resistance to change for a very long time. Right now, rather than acknowledging the work that needs to be done to address concerns of middle and working class Trump voters, the spin that is being put out is that Hillary Clinton won the popular vote by some 2 million votes. This ignores the reality that Trump got support of nearly 60 million voters and other right wing candidates (Libertarian Johnston and extreme-Right McMullin) got over 5 million votes.

I have been organizing in my community. While I've been working under the banner of the Green Party, I've been working, more broadly, just to bring people together to develop community led solutions to some of the many problems we have locally. The neo-liberal assault of the Democrat/Republican Party has done a lot of damage to communities and community bonds. I come from a time when, among Latinos, there was a general sense that 'mi casa es tu casa' - my home is your home. Times have changed. Now many Latinos in my community expressed something along the lines of 'mi casa es mi casa, pa'l carajo tu' - my home is my home , f-you'. Most Latinos where I live didn't vote, some because they couldn't, others because they expressed the sense that all politicians are the same - i.e. they do nothing for you. Of the Latinos who said they were voting, one was voting for Stein, the others were voting for Clinton or Trump (maybe 50/50). The Latinos voting for Trump, told me that they hoped he'd get jobs. When I asked about friend and family that might face deportation, a common response was only the lines of: 'The only thing that matters to me starts at my front door and ends at the back door'. It is clear that we have a lot of organizing work to do and that it will take a lot of effort and a very long time to change the dynamics that now permeate in communities such as mine. It sucks that we're gotten to this point, but our only option now, is to organize for progressive change.


"For starters, Sanders should deploy his prodigious list of small donors to raise substantial funds to build a national movement infrastructure."

Seriously? Throwing more of my hard earned money down that drain didn't make any difference the first, second, third.........time.

The system is broken and more of the same is not my idea of inspiration.


Thanks very much for your comment(s) and especially the link to Piketty's Guardian article.



Great ideas and observations. However, at this point not sure how effective collective action can occur as identity politics has absolutely saturated consciously and unconsciously almost anybody vaguely who might be liberal or left. Jesse Jackson said how he would reach somebody like a white steelworker. He said that he would convince the worker he had more in common with his fellow black workers than with the race of his boss. You want to bet somebody will stand up and start talking about the privileged of white union workers at the shop and the issue then becomes black vs. white union workers.. The irony is that factory owners used race to divide the workers, and now liberals use race to divide workers. The whole collective reaction from the left, whatever that is now, was to scream race and sexism. But some pointed out the class based nature of the vote for Trump, and now there are increasing attacks on using a class based analysis as sexist and racist. Or as in the case of former Clinton campaign communications director Jess McIntosh who claimed it was women with “internalized misogyny”.

Face it. Trump won the gender and class war. And the democrats have neither the tools nor ideology to reclaim reclaim any sense of being for workers. Can organizers outside the democrat party do it? I doubt it.


Hillary Clinton had plenty of things for the working class jobs. The Democrats did not neglect the working class during the campaign. She has a proposal for over $200 billion for building infrastructure and a large program to help coal mining communities. The economy has created jobs for over 80 straight months I believe and the unemployment rate is under 5%. The poverty rate has been falling and real wages for the middle class has been increasing. If this election was about jobs Clinton would have won. Altough, it is hard for a party to win three straight terms as people seem to want change as if somehow whatever the change in things will be for the better. People often do not vote their economic interest. It appears hating Muslims in particular is popular among the working class and obviously progressives can't go there. And the same applies to hating African American, Hispanics, and Asians. That is not something for progressives. Then there is hating people because of the sexual preference and that is also off limits for progressives. Of course, not all members of the working class are full of hate. But I think many are. I would guess it was a lot of working class people who were waving flags at the beginning of the Iraq war. That is certainly not something progressive were doing. In any case, there seems to be a large gap between progressives and the working class. Getting working class votes does not seem likely.


You seem to be acting like the Democratic party is some kind of entity detached and in the heavens - out only recourse being to curse it or praise it like the weather. Why cant the left simply take over the Democratic Party as they are in the US. They need to start going to the meetings and get on the committees and throw the old order out.


Indeed!! Thank you, been saying this for years now. We need to come together for strength and solidarity. Individual movements are great but not as great as they could be if we mobilized and all came to each others protests.
I'm all in whether it's Bernie, the Greens or any other, if they can bring everyone together we will overcome a great deal of the crazy stuff Trump thinks.


You do know that working for change takes longer than 9 months to produce results, don't you? Trump is a result of conservatives patiently organizing, organizing, organizing within the Republican organization starting with Goldwater's embarrassing loss.

No, please tell me - what specifically have you done or are planning to do over the next few years to change things - name the organizations, committees, affinity groups, etc....


We need to rethink our overriding commitment to identity politics. It is preventing us from doing as Mr. Leopold suggests. We need to focus less on people's identity status, and more on actual policy issues.

If you talk to the working folks who comprise Trump's followers, I think you would find that the one thing above all others that galls them most about us, is these identity politics, and the attitude of moral superiority we project on anyone who will not conform to our 'politically correct' ideology.


This article brought me to tears! Unless progressives rise to the call being suggested in it, we/they will be nothing more than an angry group of protesters that is mocked by the establishment.
I have come to despise the Democratic Party of which I have been a long-time member. They are the proverbial 'wolf in sheep's clothing' – spewing dishonest verbiage to working people about how THEY are the Party of the People - when the truth is that they are the 'Party of their like-minded elites'.

They are FAR more dangerous to working people, however, because they CLAIM to be the only Party that gives a damn about them. Working people, women and minorities have placed their support in/with the Democratic Party - often based on little more than its claims of being THEIR party and/or based on the HISTORICAL (FDR for example) Democratic Party that WAS indeed the party of the people.

If progressives ever hope to effect meaningful change in this country, they/we must take meaningful action. The action described in this article would be a GOOD first step! Whether or not the current Democratic Party will welcome the progressives - and abandon its alliance with the elites - remains to be seen (although highly unlikely in my humble opinion).


And who exactly made you chief interviewer on CD?

Or should I say chief patronizer?


There is zero evidence of nuclear power affecting or planetary or biosphere systems, none whatsoever. The impacts on human health are small and limited to the immediate vicinity of two lone accidents in its history - only one of them producing any fatalities. It totally pales next to other industrial accidents or industrial pollution emissions. You are much more likely to get cancer from grilled chicken or aflatoxins in peanuts than from a nearby nuclear power plant.

This "nuclear power is a threat to us all" is right up there with global warming denialism - and is, in effect, a form of global warming denialism because it uses scientific ignorance and superstition to oppose most abundant, and lowest environmental impact source of energy there is. Come see what the wind industry is doing to the Appalachian ridges in my area - all to produce, intermittently a quarter of the power a single nuclear unit produces 24/7.