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Beyond Protest: What Are We in Favor Of?

Beyond Protest: What Are We in Favor Of?

John Atcheson

George Costanza of Sienfeld famously tried to sell a show about nothing to NBC executives. It didn’t go too well.

When you get right down to it, that’s what the Democrats have been doing for decades now; it’s why they lost in 2016 to the most disliked, most distrusted candidate in the history of polling.


While Democrats have gotten too close to the corporate world they do stand for a lot things. Here is one big one, unlike the Republicans they believe in climate change and are in the fight to save human civilization from disaster. Also, unlike the Republicans who now seem to support authoritarian rule the Democrats support democracy which includes supporting the free press and court system. The Democrats also stand for expansion of health coverage and basically were the only ones to vote for the Affordable Care Act. The Democrats are also for clean air and clean water and have fought against Republican efforts to roll back regulations. The Democrats also are for giving undocumented immigrants a pathway to citizenship. The Democrats support sensible gun control measures to keep military assault rifles out of the hands of individuals with serious mental problems. The problem the Democrats have is that they are up against a blizzard of lies. The Republicans now have a whole network of institutions that perpetuate lies about almost everything. For the Democrats to do better in elections they need to get voters to be able to distinguish lies from the truth. Between Republican-biased think tanks, radio, Fox News, various websites, organized groups using social media and so forth this has become an extremely difficult task.

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The fact that it requires @Lrx to explain what the Democrats stand for illustrates Atcheson’s position, and one with which I agree. The joy I feel when I learn of the next protest, the next demonstration, the next great banner hang, is welcome to be sure, but dissent without a vision of the future and a strategy to get us there is a stop-gap measure. It will at best return We the People to the same capitalist/corporatist policies that brought on the emergence of full fledged fascism. Full systemic reform is required, not just a few bones the elite deem to throw to the people in order to get us off their backs.


Great essay, as always, from Mr. Atcheson, a clear-eyed observer whose analysis always rings true. Ralph Nader was recently on TV and made the not-so-often considered point that when the NRA or the fossil fuel industry wants something, they don’t bother holding public rallies or go around shouting slogans. They mount an organized assault and capture the political terrain. Popular support of progressive causes should make this easier for the Dems, but it takes a functioning political institution to carry it out and they seem to have been on a four decade long lunch break. Yes, by all means, look up the DNC members from your state and let them know in NO UNCERTAIN TERMS to vote for Keith Ellison for chair, unless they know of a more progressive and capable candidate. The failed old guard needs to stop trying to hold on to power, they are going to drown us all. If they refuse to gracefully admit their failures and abdicate, they need to be loudly DENOUNCED by the party and exiled. This very well may be the last chance they have to remain relevant.


This is a good essay, but beyond writing and debating it sounds like we need to unite, and not count on pols. Let’s remember the dems also bailed out Wall Street.


What DO the dems stand for? While they might be for clean energy, public schools and unions, it seems like the old Wall Street loyalty stands in front of all of it.


What Are We in Favor Of? A death blow to capitalism that is destroying Mother Earth. No livable planet, all else is a moot point.


Of course, and people are too busy on their cell phones to notice.

We’ve seen very little progressivism in the liberal discussion over the past quarter-century. They still call on us to take a stand to protect the status quo of the better off, the middle class alone. This remains regressive, not progressive.

Changing the coarse the US took would require a real People’s movement, for the common good. That’s a concept that was rooted of the public consciousness by the end of the 1990s. We’ve been deeply split apart by class and race. To ask what “we” are in favor of, would require identifying which “we” you mean.

The middle class are dependent on the very capitalism that they sometimes criticize. Unions are a privilege of the bourgeoisie, and because they were so effectively neutered, they serve little purpose in the US. Note that union membership is down to around a mere 11% of the workforce today.

Democrats are over for the foreseeable future, for a pretty basic reason. The Dem voting base had long consisted of the poor and middle class, workers and the jobless, for the common good. The Clinton wing split this base wide apart, and the past eight years confirmed that this split is permanent. The only choice the Dem Party has is to move further to the right in hopes of gaining the votes of disaffected Republicans.

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“Since Bill Clinton, the DLC/neoliberal arm of the party has capitulated to the politics of money and power, and embraced the Oligarchy.” It goes back further than that, Mr. Atcheson. It goes back to Thomas Jefferson, the father of children he bore into slavery and then wrote, “All men are created equal.”

America is not a democracy, we are a plutocratic oligarchic theocracy. Business is America’s emperor, money our god as much the Democratic Party as Republican. Republicans are more honest; Democrats are obfuscatory. Both are owned by money. I see no difference.


With the GOP within striking distance of having the power to burn the US Constitution, write and ratify a brand new constitution that outlaws all parties other than the GOP, the Democratic Party has reached the point of no return.

The Democratic Party has two options: 1) turn back the clock 50 years and become the party of the 99%, thereby attracting enough young voters (and many older voters) to vote for them in the 2018 midterm election to reverse the expansion of GOP power, or 2) continue their addiction to corporate money, keep losing elections and be consigned to the dust bin of history within 5 to 10 years as one party rule takes over…


He makes some good points. The DNC vision isn’t clear because the Party isn’t progressive but wants the progressive vote. Unlike the GOP, which took to heart the Powell memo because the Powell memo is conservative, the party conservative, the voter is conservative, and the vision is conservative. The Democratic party had a problem. The Powell memo went against everything progressive. It supported the democratic party neo-liberalism but ran counter to the values of progressives. Core Vidal explained it best when he said something to the effect that we have one party with two right wings. The Powell memo was not the death of progressive thought. The democratic party itself has always been the place where progressive values go and die. The New Deal was a fluke and the party has done everything possible to prevent any further progressive nonsense. They’ve made it clear from Henry Wallace to Eugene McCarthy and George McGovern, to Berry Sanders. The Super Dels are there for a reason and they made their purpose plain in this election. The party is organized to prevent a progressive take over. If it was going to happen, it would have happened by now.


Yes, the neoliberal version of course is everything for the good of the middle class- to them that means donor class. Even some rich people call themselves middle class. I say we should all be the climate class- I mean we all live on Earth and it’s our job to take care of it.

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Ah yes, and if they vote for Ellison all will be hunkydory - that means the Dems are once again worth supporting, eh?

“Might be” is the phrase - rhetorically, yeah, but they certainly haven’t acted as if they were …

And we could read Sarah Posner’s 2008 book and put real prayers back in our churches.

I believe the Koch brothers extraordinary marketing of the Corporate/ChamberOfCommerce/ProBusiness/AntiRegulation/Republican model through ALEC and all the dozens of organizations which promote both prepping of prospective candidates for office------at all levels of government---- with crafted financial advocacy and team support have reaped a bonanza of placements at -----all levels of government. It is a very organized, very focused effort that has given the bully pulpit of rule to Republicans throughout the USA.
The team with the best coaching, best practice, best teamsmanship, best strategy always has the greatest chance of winning.

They should have been consigned to the dustbin of history some time ago…

Yup - the Derms give lip service to all that stuff - then do the opposite …

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