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Thanks, Trump! We Now Have Two Opportunities for Bold Progressive Reform


#1

Thanks, Trump! We Now Have Two Opportunities for Bold Progressive Reform

Arun Gupta

If Donald Trump’s election as president was an earthquake that leveled progressive expectations, then his transition has slammed into the political landscape with equal force.


#2

"We are completely servile and have to wake up and take power; we are in a consumerist slumber from aloe vera toilet paper to Coke Zero; we live in a decaying society; the food we eat is all artificial; the environment is getting worse by the day; the schools are getting worse; rather than sit by passively, we have to seize control of the political machine."

Nicely said - an accurate summary.

Bothersome is the "we must seize power" part.

This is called reality of course - but it is still bothersome.

Is there no other way ?


#3

For people who say, let us just wait and see what Trump will do..... the same words may have been said on the Titanic as it was taking on water.


#4

Apparently we must be pushed to the extremities of corruption in order to address it!
We are at the verge! Appreciate the perspective in this article.


#5

"At no point did Bernie say we need new institutions, a new constitution, a much more democratic system of government.”

And that is exactly what is needed. A new constitution based on socialism.


#6

I think this is largely horseshit. Three reasons: saying it would have been terrible if Sanders had won the nomination, saying it's great that the left is more into electoral politics, and saying we can win with an appeal to the id, treating voters like the children they are.
First: Why does Panich assume Sanders would have lost? Polls showed that he, unlike Clinton, could have beaten Trump easily. The assumption that Trump would have won even against him, I think is based on an assumption that the game IS rigged in which case it ISN'T a good thing the left is wasting more of its energies on electoral politics (if true, which I question). And let's note that the reason Clinton beat Sanders despite his greater popularity is almost certainly the combination of tricks played by her allies in the DNC to ensure that outcome. These people are not going to allow a progressive to win the nomination next time either. And as for the "it's all about our pleasure versus theirs"--no it isn't, and treating voters like children seems unlikely to win anything. Resentment as being treated contemptuously was a key piece in Trump voters' motivations. I think a better agenda involves devolving political focus to cities and the surrounding countryside, crafting policies to protect minorities and women and the environment, and working with farmers and other rural people to sequester carbon while reducing emissions. A lot of this is already being done--it just needs to scale up and be better organized.


#7

I very much like the optimistic tone. Goodness knows sometimes optimism is but fleetingly glimpsed. Mr. Gupta didn't really lose me in his argument to a large extent until right near the end.
"A strong emotional appeal can be constructed from progressive politics. Bratsis says, “You can say: We are completely servile and have to wake up and take power; we are in a consumerist slumber from aloe vera toilet paper to Coke Zero; we live in a decaying society; the food we eat is all artificial; the environment is getting worse by the day; the schools are getting worse; rather than sit by passively, we have to seize control of the political machine.’”
These points will not win the average person over to become progressive voters, IMO. We are a consumer society. Railing against that will not win new votes. Emphasizing a "decaying society" and "worse" are not winning rhetoric. Trump won with Make America GREAT Again. A positive message is essential. Mr. Average Voter does not give a crap about "artificial" food. He wants variety and reasonable prices. And as far as the environment is concerned, here in rural southern Minnesota, farmers were up in arms some months ago fighting against mandatory buffer strips along creeks. Luckily this did get passed, but Mr. Average around here did not like it.


#8

If this election taught us anything about politics in the USA it's that elections will never again be a means of changing anything. The manipulation of the electoral process by Deep State entities was obvious for all who chose to see, and they aren't done yet. Actually, they are just starting to consolidate their power. Trump and the know-nothing Trumpsters are the least of our problem. He is running up against CIA disinformation put out to undermine his ascension to power and provide a pretext for an outright coup. The last time the CIA had a run in with a sitting president, they solved their problem the old fashioned way with a lone gunman with magic bullets.

These are dark times, folks. But they offer moral clarity where there was once ambiguity. We have it right before us what to do, organize locally, take care of each other, be ready to welcome refugees both foreign and domestic and above all don't engage in finger-pointing and hand-wringing over the state of the nation.


#9

"Is there no other way?" Big question. It will not occur without some kind of force. The truly peaceful way is through elections. Although a President would not consider the results peaceful. Think KFK. Our elections are a power brokered sham; and, this is not due to some Russia, or Russian hacking. We have seen that most recently in the elections of 2000/2014 and this year's Democratic primary (and possibly again in this year's Presidential election - again not by Russia/Russians). In my opinion we will never get the MIC out of our political affairs whose end results are controlled by the DEEP STATE. Our very economy relies in a large degree on WAR and an assumed STATE of WAR; no official war for the defense of our country has been legally declared by Congress since WWII. We have been fighting, overthrowing legitimate governments (our own included) and spying on and hacking other counties including, now, our own citizens practically my entire life of 71+ years. Many people in our country have been living seemingly comfortable lives unknowinlgy or caring about the above facts. For those who do know and care my only suggestion is to read the Declaration of Independence, fill in the blanks and then decide where we are as a people.


#10

So where/what is the "genuine alternative" that Panitch seeks to build? If he's planning on building it from the so-called Warren/Sanders wing of the Democratic party, good luck. This "wing" that gets a lot of air time in progressive discussions is, in fact, little more than a cubicle or two in the corner of the party, nor is it all that progressive. The core of the party remains fiercely neoliberal and pro-Clinton and disdains Sanders style populism. How many times do progressives need to travel down this road only to discover that it is the same old dead end?


#11

I think this is the craziest article I have come upon since Trump won the election. Anyone who doesn't understand the Trump winning and Clinton losing is a disaster doesn't understand anything about democracy. I would not worry at all about any opportunities for progressive reform due to Trump. I would worry mainly about whether we can preserve democracy in the US and stay out of a disastrous war(s). I would also worry about the possibility of nuclear weapons being used on populated areas and whether global efforts to fight climate change can still move forward.


#12

Some interest here, but tossing out "change the Constitution" as if it would be as easy as switching from white to whole wheat bread strains credulity. Bernie is well aware, I'm sure, of the difficulties with this. Sure, call a Constitutional Convention, all the enlightened will attend, resulting in the ideal progressive document for the 21st Century, what's more likely to happen, is a new constitution would be drawn up with none of the protections that do exist in the present document by a Convention dominated by the Right. Remember the present Constitution was drafted by men who had no authority to do so, they were sent to Philly to amend the Articles of Conferation, to make them more workable. Maybe the writer has a different approach to changing the Constitution but if he does it isn't mentioned in this article.

The psychologizing of politics here is not convincing, imho.


#13

Has Trump gone too far which will finally wake up millions of Americans?

When Bernie from the start of his campaign said that only a movement of millions will make a difference, it sounded like a long shot.

Then he brought millions into his campaign and brought issues out in the open.

Then the DNC, the power structure in the democratic party, squashed his run in order to continue their neoliberal economics.

Without this campaign, many, many people would not have learned the damage that the Clintons and the Clinton wing of the democratic party, the damage that they did to the country and how they trashed the New Deal legacy.

The democrats have won many elections by being "the least bad option" but that strategy failed this time.

There is now a clear and present danger that the country will be trashed. Public education could be put on life support. The law could be even more forcefully used to shut down protests. The courts will continue their march to the right which will keep them in power for several decades. The finance monopoly will continue to run the show and when the next crash comes there will be less ability to recover. The military and spies will continue to get money and be even more present here in the homeland. And of course, the greatest threat to earthbounds is upon us and to trash science which provides readings on what is going on, and to put down "water protectors" is to continue the short term power grab of the oligarchs.

If all these possibilities happen, or even some of them, there might be an armed revolt and with the power of the military, it will be put down brutally. Not sure that they will use cluster bombs on our own people, but for sure people will be murdered.

The title of an article here yesterday, or the day before was something like "The Response to Trump must be strategic."

Yes, And the last gasp of the DNC is before Dec 19, tomorrow when electors vote, maybe even the democrats will be willing to stand up for the country. And to get beyond Clinton and Obama Republican Light rulers who succeeded in putting in place Republican policies.

Maybe the clear and present danger from Trump will be enough to get people involved in redesigning politics necessary for our times.


#14

Or as on SNL news last night, it's like giving a chimpanzee an AR15, and hoping he won't fire it.


#15

Or Obama's let's see how this plays out on his non-decision on the DAPL. How it has played out so far is one young protector losing her arm, another her eye while an elder lost his life from cardiac arrest.


#16

Interesting note about Mr. Average, since most farms in The Heartland are owned by millionaires, who got rich off federal programs. And, who can't acknowledge they were saved by dubious products like ethanol in our autos and high fructose corn syrup being pushed into our kitchens. Why rich farmers get the " john wayne icon award ", and a free pass on the disaster of industrial farming in the 21st Century, is amazing marketing. And, speaks to the power of public relations over the truth
The break up of the farm-labor coalition is long overdue and ties into Mr. Gupta's assessment of the left's overall " honey do " list. These break ups of myths, of going back to the fields and doing god's work for example, are necessary to advance real progressive values and healthy lives for Mr. Average and the rest of the modern-day workforce. 1%er farmers are not natural allies of the 99s anymore. They are pampered and coddled elites of the State and Crony Capitalism, just like the Big Energy Oily-Garghers.


#17

You make a lot of good points. I'm a formerly large farmer who now no-tills a relatively small acreage. I've gotten a lot of government 'welfare' support. That said, out here in rural America, most people realize that farmers love to spread their money around and that the more farmers get, the more they spend. Most farmers do a wonderful job of pretending they and they alone EARN their money. Farmer's welfare money is WAY different than other people's welfare money, don't you know? And farmers seem to universally hate government regulations and let everyone around them know just how "horrible" those dang regulations are. It's not easy to change this thinking, because most of them innately KNOW they are correct.


#18

The same things were said by the German people as Hitler was raising to power.
"Let's give him a chance, how bad could it get?"


#19

Time to take action. For the Hurricane Trump is approaching.. I am moving to Canada and moving off of the Grid....


#20

Is that cowardice or simply a smart move? I do not know, and it's not for me to say, anyway.