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The Left Is Just Getting Started


#21

It seems to me the Democratic Party has been composed largely of a center left wing and a left wing at least since the days when the southern conservatives left the party. Sometimes the center left is stronger and sometimes the left. I think the center left grew when Bill Clinton became president and has remained the dominant wing since them. Some Democrats representing conservative states or conservative districts may even be right of center. The thing that makes sense to me is the party should reflect the US population left of the Republican Party. As the Republicans have shifted to the the extreme right I would expect more right of center Democrats to win elections. Also, I would expect more left Democrats to win as a result of the Occupy movement, the Sanders campaign, etc. But the main thing is there is dire need for Democrats of any stripe to win because the Republican Party is clearly heading toward fascism and the only obstacle to stop it is the Democratic Party.


#22

Lrx, I am a bit sorry to quibble so much about the left|right dichotomy, but these categories do a lot of work. There’s obviously no one universal usage, and usage appears to vary now more than it did, but that’s all the more reason to clear things up.

I see left and right this way:

  • Left = egalitarian, anti-exclusionary, anti-coercive.
  • Right = in-egalitarian, exclusionary, coercive.

It probably clarifies this a bit to point out that exclusion usually has to do with property and wealth, though it may also have to do with race or gender or age. But taking the terms this way, many actions of so-called “centrist” Democrats are very right-wing, often more so than the actions of some Republicans:

  • Wars in the Middle East through Syria, Libya, Central Asia, Northern Africa, the Saudi Peninsula.
  • The belligerent “turn to Asia.”
  • Gutting single-payer schemes when a solid majority of the population favor
  • More or less secret pacts to centralize control over distribution and trade (NAFTA, TPP)
  • The favoring of central and monopolist energy over ecological concerns
  • The prosecution and persecution of journalists and whistleblowers
  • Torture
  • Increasing drone strikes
  • Ongoing black ops operations in general
  • The rigging of elections and nominations and the general undermining of electoral process
  • Hiring out the services of government to lobbyists
  • Large favors to wealthy and to banks at the cost of the poor and less wealthy, as in the Republican and Democratic “bailouts” of 2008 and 2009, respectively.

I am sure that I have left things out, but this is probably overkill already. Doing better with gender freedoms is nice, but cannot carry the balance. Hiring minorities into a steeply tiered oppressive system makes some sense and some improvement because it reduces discrimination along one particular vector, but it does not really make things more egalitarian, only differently bigoted, differently unfair, and differently oppressive. Being more or less whatever than the Republicans is not particularly relevant to this, though it may be relevant to a vote in an election, depending.

If it “seems” that the Party is composed of left and center left components, maybe the words mean something different to you.


#23

I await the “left” to reach the understanding that the IWW did about the nature of today’s system and the task of creating a new society.

The working class and the employing class have nothing in common. There can be no peace so long as hunger and want are found among millions of the working people and the few, who make up the employing class, have all the good things of life. Between these two classes a struggle must go on until the workers of the world organise as a class, take possession of the means of production, abolish the wage system, and live in harmony with the earth…Instead of the conservative motto, ‘’A fair day’s wage for a fair day’s work,” we must inscribe on our banner the revolutionary watchword, ‘’Abolition of the wage system.”


#24

Great article! You are right! I’ve been waiting all my life for the wind to change and now it is changing, finally. Perhaps many in America are finally seeing that right wing so called conservative politics and policies are the wrong direction for America. We’ve been there and done that, and we don’t want to live in an American version of Nazi Germany either! Supply side economics doesn’t work. We don’t want to live in a giant military-industrial-for profit prison-police state with all the wealth going to the top, full of greed and corruption and self dealing politicians who lie and cheat and engage in cruelty and austerity for all the rest of the American people while they rape and plunder the entire earth and start for profit wars and are committing total ecological destruction and creating mass extinction of most of all life on this planet in the process, including human life.

We are beginning to see what must be done and that the answer is to take over and reform the Democratic Party because it is the only real way we have to reform things quickly because it takes too long to start a political party from scratch and it just divides the vote anyway. Most people still vote either democrat or republican and in order to get anything positive done we must first get the republicans out of the way, then push the democrats to the left as the phony Tea Party did for the right. We can do this, I know we can! Onward to victory!


#25

I like the idea of making affordable low income cob and adobe and straw bale cottages. There are many states where cob and adobe would be feasible as a building material. It is very inexpensive, fireproof, and makes beautiful, non toxic homes. It is very labor intensive, but unskilled labor intensive, anyone, even kids can build with cob and adobe. We could put lots of able bodied homeless and out of work people to work building these low income homes using recycled building materials. I plan to build my home this way some day. I want off grid solar and wind powered electronic cottages like in the Alvin Toffler book from the 1970s the Third Wave. People could grow some of their own food and have chickens and dairy goats and semi homestead and still have a full time job. It is possible in many places to not need much if any extra heat or use just small wood stoves, especially with very well insulated homes. Few people know this because the fossil fuel companies don’t want us to know, but we can now build homes that can heat, cool, and electrify themselves! Why not build these kinds of homes for low income and elderly people? Then no one would have to worry about heating and electricity assistance for needy families, they could be free! That is what the utilities and fossil fuel companies are afraid that we will find out that we can do and they will lose billions on profits!


#26

No, you are correct. However, the difference today is that the all too often thwarted further left wing of the Democratic Party is now rising and working to take power away from those in the Democratic Party that you so clearly pointed out in your post, that are not standing up for left wing policy changes that this country sorely needs, like single payer, universal health care, affordable housing, and a clean environment and to stop climate change by drastically switching over to wind and solar and electric or biodiesel cars, to address income inequality, and government corruption, election fraud, and things like this.

This article is describing the left wing takeover of the Democratic Party that is happening now in order to address those very concerns that you cite, not to just blindly go along with the old Democratic Party as it has been over the years. So don’t get confused. This is not about embracing the Democratic Party as it is, but instead is an ongoing revolution and takeover of the Democratic Party to make it become the party that it ought to be, one that you would want to embrace, not the one we have now, but better. This is evolving and happening now and we all must help this change occur as best we can so the party can become one we are proud to vote for, a party more like a combination of the Green Party and Democratic Socalist party platforms combined, rather then the standard Democratic Party fare.


#27

Yes, and this is exactly why progressive millionaires need to buy Clear Channel radio and get the progressive message out to people on free talk radio. We need a real left wing truth telling version of Limbaugh to provide some pushback to the right wing radio and media monopoly and its rhetoric. I could make them all look like the liars, phonies, and stooges for big money that they all are and show everyone how much they lie, con, and manipulate people and I would do it for free. I could do it blindfolded with one hand tied behind my back easily. I would love to do it! I could make them eat their words and show everyone how much they lie and mislead people until no one would ever want to listen to them unless they really love all of their racist ranting dog whistle stuff.

Even then, racists and bigots don’t want to be lied to and ripped off by con men. Once they realize how much they have been used and manipulated, perhaps even they won’t like it. As it is there is almost no one on free talk radio to oppose whatever the right wing pundits say. My girlfriend once told me that all the talk show hosts on free radio say the same things so it must be true. I told her that there are always two sides to every story and every issue and if you only hear one side over and over, that it is propaganda and you are being lied to. She still doesn’t get it but I’ll bet she will change her tune if there are more radio talk show hosts on free radio who oppose what Limbaugh and Beck and Howie Carr and Hannity and others say on the radio. That is what is missing, as the left is not as savvy about getting its messages out to the people as those on the right are. Besides, the right wingers are lying about everything and scapegoating everyone else for all the things that these very same right wingers are doing in spades themselves, and most of the things they accuse other people of doing are false accusations. If more people actually knew this we could get more citizens united together as a stronger force that our government would be forced to have to listen to, because we would be united for our common self interest, rather than being split into two warring factions. This is why they divide and conquer us. If we were more united they could never stop us and they know this so they keep trying to lie to us and confuse and divide us.


#28

Not all wealthy people feel that way, but I admit that probably many do. It has been very fashionable ever since the eighties for wealthy people to put down the poor and engage in class warfare and predjudice against the poor, much like predators who disrespect their prey as many wealthy people get that way by exploiting the workers, especially low paid workers. It is much like the rapist who tells everyone that his victim asked to be raped or somehow deserved it. They get together and talk about how they should never have to pay any taxes to help anyone else and all of their money belongs only to them, and how evil the democrats are for wanting universal health care that will increase their taxes, etc. The idea that it is stupid to care about anyone other than one’s self started in the eighties. Trump is a product of the eighties philosophy, much like the movie Wall Street.

I never went in for that kind of attitude. I knew it was bad then, but I felt that that was the way the wind was blowing and I couldn’t stop it. Everyone kept saying it’s not the sixties any more. People who cared about others were labeled as sick codependents instead of being seen as very valuable members of society. Sociopaths were seen as being almost the ideal then, and they are seen that way sometimes even now in some circles on the far right. There is a difference between being codependent and an enabler versus being a real caring person. Being caring is not sick or a sign of mental illness as long as one doesn’t get carried away with enabling the person one cares for to not take care of themselves in the end. Caring enough to help others while empowering them to help themselves is good and not sick. It is really very sick to be totally selfish, as we are all connected and our welfare depends on the welfare of others as well as just on our own personal individual welfare. No person is an island. The wealthy really need the poor and the middle class and the workers, they could not live without them, they just don’t want to admit this to themselves or take any responsibility for our common welfare upon which they also depend, like it or not. Arrogance and ignorance and total selfishness are very ugly traits.

They don’t realize what inhuman monsters they have become. I am much happier than guys like Trump will ever be because I like myself just as I am even though I have to live with disability and chronic pain and I am poor, I am still pretty happy overall. I would never trade with any of those rich guys. It took me many years of hard work to fix my inner being to where I like it and I am very happy with myself the way I am, even though I am very ugly on the outside and I can’t do the things I want to do like I used to.

Money does not equal happiness. Sometimes I think that their obsession with wealth and money is a vain attempt to find happiness via materialism, but it will never work. Happiness is emotional, psychological, and spiritual peace of mind and they don’t understand or value it because it is priceless and can’t be bought. I connect to the source of all power through the creator or life force of the universe. I don’t need money for that and they don’t value or understand this source of power that is full of love and truth, nor do they seek it out as I have.


#29

I very much appreciate and respect your honesty and openness to share with all of us here…thank you Susan! The “poor” once had the ability to live - a place where they could just be, even if “poor” in monetary terms, but rich in spirit and community. Many, including myself, have chosen to live life among those people. …but even that ability to live and have a roof over ones head, has been stolen from us…by those of little or no consciousness, conscience, or concern for the lives of others, or for our Mother Earth and all Her creatures, especially corrupt politicians who serve wealth rather than the people. Keep the faith!


#30

Well, that’s great if it happens, Pookie. I would be as happy to see it come through the Democrats as anywhere, given that it might arrive.

But there are more than a couple ways one can get confused in this. When I see that these candidates can leave aside the party machine in general elections and on the House floor, I will feel that I have clearer information.

I don’t by mean to imply that the either|or here will be discreet or clear even then. Take the case of Bernie Sanders. I’d have voted for Bernie Blue or Bernie Green or Bernie Pink. He has called himself a socialist, though that does not appear entirely accurate. But because he ran Blue and endorsed the person who stole the nomination, funds and volunteer work delivered to his cause went to shore up that corruption.

Sanders has done good work, I don’t mean to demonize him, and the man has to make his own decisions. But I am not beholden to whoever or whatever might lead him to that. Sanders is not actually going to take on the Democratic command mano a mano, so it looks unlikely that “Our Revolution” or “the Resistance” will either.

The question arises in what sense any of these are controlled opposition, to what extent honest compromises. With people like Ocasio-Cortez and Trailb, it is too early to tell, at least for me and with the sources of information that I have. Bill Clinton ran a pro-labor campaign in 1992, apparently in utter cynicism. Barack Obama campaigned as an antiwar candidate, again in utter cynicism. One would hope that it is obvious that race and presumably also gender do not guarantee any certain set of policies.

We should know by these and others not only that an individual candidate might be lying, but that co-opting candidates who have some cache to the left, even if only by their demographic status, is standard methodology by the Party machine. I doubt that the party wanted an Ocasio-Cortez primary challenge, but I am more certain that they have sent people to speak with her. I am glad to see that she has an endorsement from Bernie Sanders; I would have gladly accepted that in her circumstance. But I would be a fool to not wonder what conditions that came with, given that “Our Revolution” has fallen short of even electoral opposition and that Sanders himself continues to espouse the “Russian interference” line to cover for those who stole his candidacy.

If they’re really trying to unseat the party machine, that’s great. I’ll have to see it.


#31

In some ways that is only a very typical attitude for the rich, and perhaps more so for the fairly rich and for the upper middle class who emulate some idea that they have of them.

There was a window of fallout from the Vietnam war and the recoil from what two world wars had made of Americans (along with others), along with some holdover from the remaining communists and fellow travelers from the 30s.

But that largely washed away in a river of propaganda. The attitudes of young people who have “found” conservativism are for the most part very familiar. They are more sophisticated about race than folks were who had been born about 1900, but less so about class.


#32

Thanks for your thoughtful reply.

Most of us would like to be rich. But money comes with its built in prejudices. Birds of a feather stick together and that’s more obvious in social circles. They don’t call them “exclusive” for nothing.

One problem is that being wealthy makes rich people actually think they are better, smarter, better looking, etc., when its the money that made them what they are, not necessarily their personal or hereditary qualities. Old money often talks of “good breeding” as their deserving qualities, not from having money.

Having money run our lives is a big mistake. It is doubtful that we can abolish it, or at least cap personal wealth to avoid extreme inequality and more to the point, dictatorship. But who knows, if everybody voted for it…?


#33

Despite Bernie’s progressive push, the center right today, characterized by the Clintons, the DNC and other neolibs, are in control of the Democratic Party. It won’t deal with the basics, particularly money and revolving doors in politics and the need to regulate them.

Instead, its going after Assange, a real progressive hero and a journalist most agree deserve the Nobel. Dems don’t seem to be attracting progressive voters that way, on the contrary. It looks like a distraction at best, but a crime at worst, a violation of the first amendment.

DNC serves WikiLeaks with lawsuit via Twitter

As CBS News first reported last month, the DNC filed a motion with a federal court in Manhattan requesting permission to serve its complaint to WikiLeaks on Twitter, a platform the DNC argued the website uses regularly. The DNC filed a lawsuit in April against the Trump campaign, Russian government and WikiLeaks, alleging a massive conspiracy to tilt the 2016 election in Donald Trump’s favor.

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/dnc-serves-wikileaks-with-lawsuit-via-twitter/


#34

Excellent post. The mass media (capitalist propaganda) seeks to confuse people as to what the “left” means.

From Wikipedia:
“The terms “left” and “right” appeared during the French Revolution of 1789 when members of the National Assembly divided into supporters of the king to the president’s right and supporters of the revolution to his left.”

So, the term “left” has a revolutionary origin. For most of the history the term, left was synonymous with being anti-capitalist. So a leftist could not be a candidate for a capitalist party - which is what the Democratic Party is.
So the DSA running as candidates in a capitalist party should be considered contradictory and counter-productive to genuine leftism.


#35

Hi Emphyrio,
and oh the irony. Isn’t it the Left that supports public radio and television------shame on you NPR—disingenous R U : 0


#36

Not necessarily. Much of the white-first movement is borne from the fear of losing ground and resentment of minorities doing better (financially and otherwise). This stems from the fear that Caucasians will soon be the minority in this country and also exacerbated by the systemic loss of employment due to globalization for millions of non-college educated white males in this country. Loss of income, opportunity, hope. They’re just blaming the wrong people.

“We need an integrated society, and at the same time need to create as much socioeconomic fairness as we can, so what relationships people have across group lines are egalitarian relationships. … That’s the one thing that can create trust between people on each side of an us-them divide, and the only thing in the long term I would put my money on to reduce prejudices.”


#37

Progressives sometimes like to connect everything to class and economic condition, but it’s often much more complicated than that. The New Deal was great, for example, but as historian after historian has noted, it was only so as long as unions weren’t forced to integrate and benefits were limited to white people. As benefits expanded, white support for social spending retreated. One of the Reagan coalition’s key constituencies was educated business class white professionals that responded to cultural issues, like busing and affirmative action. Their economic situation had little directly to do with their politics—maybe they wanted tax cuts—but more to do with what they perceived as forced social-cultural mandates.