How We Got Here – Can We Get Back?
“We have a deranged president…”
This pretty much says it all.
Thank you for your always honest writing, Mr. Atcheson!
From the article:
“We have no choice but to take the Democratic Party over, and make it ours.”
That’s easy for Atcheson to say—as if insurgents from Jesse Jackson to Larry Agran had never tried and failed. Brand D is where good people go to be ignored, and where good intentions go to be hijacked.
Thanks for all your work John Acheson - but I’m not buying it anymore.
The disconnect is the problem in all collapsing societies. The rulers may as well be on a different planet than the minions.
According to Joseph Tainter (The Collapse of Complex Societies), the Byzantine Empire was able to delay collapse for some two hundred years by simplifying.
Is that really our only aspiration ?
Isn’t that just another way of passing the buck to future generations ?
I think it is - I think we needs aim higher this time, as this is planetary in scale, and involves both the geophysical system as a whole, reeling towards some form of catastrophic bifurcation, and the geopolitical systems in all nation-states - which are obviously both failing as systems - and failing to address in any meaningful way the planetary scale problems.
Nation states were an invention of Westphalia - a sort of latter day Magna Carta - both of which were trickle down in their broad configurations.
Trickle down is not enough.
A democracy is rule by the people.
All is fair in love & war,
On the other hand, Trump knows he’s lying, knows it’s meant as an insult and a distraction from the policy direction that fascist corporate interests and villainous republican leaders have long intended to establish in their ideology of class warfare built on racism. Trump is a casino mob boss drunk on power who considers the human race largely disposable by any means. To him, we are nothing more than wage-slaves, mindless consumers and canon fodder. He is planning genocidal World War III as a solution to overpopulation. He’s taking over where Hitler left off. He views catastrophic climate change as another means of extermination.
Do you have a Crystal Ball, Wellan?
I think you’re giving the Casino Mob Boss a little too much credit.
It’s others, looking at the situation unfolding with bad intent.
Irrespective of Trump’s intent, Wellan’s hypothesis of the likely outcome of Trump and the GOP’s power monopoly is not the least bit off base.
The Democratic Party has moved so far to the right that if former GOP POTUS Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford were resurrected and attempted to run in a DEMOCRATIC Party primary they would be categorized as too far left and quickly shown the same Group W bench that Kucinich, Sanders and other progressives now occupy.
Nixon with the EPA, OSHA, AMTRAK, Clean Air Act and other progressive achievements in his legacy and Ford with Conrail, temporarily nationalizing six private railroads would both be dismissed as socialists or worse and would never be allowed anywhere near the GOP.
I agree and repeat, others, “corporate interests and republican leaders” are setting the agenda of class warfare, racism and WWIII for population extermination. When I hear media refer to those who “intensely dislike” Trump, they neglect people like me among millions who fear him as an evil modern day Hitler, who, in the 3rd Reich was supported by corporate interests - GM, Chrysler, Ford, Dupont, filthy rich industrialists and racist thugs.
“[T]here simply isn’t enough time to create a viable third party. We have no choice but to take the Democratic Party over, and make it ours.”
John, you’ve had some great things to say over the two years I’ve been alert to your columns - I think in particular of some of your Sanders and Democratic Party coverage. I’ve long felt you had a great rallying voice and some terrific observations and epigrams - some of which I’ve quoted more than once in argument. (“Sanders’ army is not his to command,” to take a prime example.) But your present rally to arms is as problematic and desperate as it is urgent.
First, you have long been on the edge about a third party vs. reforming the Democratic Party. I want to set aside - for the moment - the matter of which course of action - if either - might be more productive - in either the short or long run; only point out here that you’re rejecting a third party approach…from the point of view of someone who was never committed to it as a course of action in the first place.
Second, you call for taking over the Democratic Party, but you don’t say how - other than to offer morale boosting slogans adding up to, ‘We can do it if we all pull together and try.’ Would-be progressive activists need something more concrete and proximate than this - something geared towards analyzing past failures of internal reform efforts, and/or the path you are calling for, which would seem to be Sanders’ Our Revolution strategy.
Third, as I have argued in the past, a third party may be the most effective way to change the Democratic Party, whether or not we call that change a takeover. Democratic Party lesser-of-two-evilism depends upon not just the greater, alternate evil, but upon the absence of anyplace else to go. The U.S. version of the Green Party - that I’ve voted for since Nader - is one place, but, with its absolute rejection of work with both parties, it’s not a strong place to force the Democratic Party left. What I have argued could force Democrats left would be a parliamentary-type third party organization - whether an official political party or not - that explicitly refused to vote for the Democratic Party short of binding commitments to a negotiated party platform, high-administrative level staff appointments, and an actually democratic Democratic Party structure.
If the Democratic Party and its candidates were faced with an unequivocal demand - negotiate democratically or lose - I think they’d negotiate…
…but maybe not - in which case, what’s your takeover plan?
There’s no time to build a progressive third party, and there won’t be, as long as there is no network of strong labor unions. Without unions, I can’t see how any left party could be built.
As a Sanders delegate to the DNC, I saw first hand how the unions had been co-opted. They were die-hard Clintonites following orders from above with little understanding of the policies advocated by their candidates.
We need strong unions, absolutely, but they need to represent their constituents. At the Mo. Dem Convention, I asked a union worker why he was supporting Clinton when she had called TPP the gold-standard. He said he actually supported Sanders and had a house full of Sanders paraphernalia but the leadership had endorsed Clinton. At the DNC, union delegates would even stand and wave Clinton placards to block out Sanders supporters when a progressive point was made. They gushed when Tim Kaine spoke at our breakfast meeting, ignoring or oblivious to his stance on TPP and right-to-work.
Does America need a third party? Vote HERE
My experience in unions supports what you say. Most of them function along the lines of what Stalin called “democratic centralism,” i.e. a total dictatorship. But no matter what their flaws, unions do provide a democratic framework by which rank and file members can sometimes gain control of the organization and direct it to respond to actual worker needs. Of course, it usually doesn’t work out that way. When I was a national delegate in 1980, I felt proud to cast the only nay vote of 600+ delegates on a measure supported by the leadership - and found myself kicked out of the caucus before I left the hall. Ah, youth!