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jpgray Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-31-04 06:58 PM
Original message
Lets talk about the fractured left (with civility, if we can)
I would summarize the problem this way: the field of major candidates at this point are all certifiably wishy-washy on the major issues of the day. They won't repeal the Patriot Act, they'll "fix" it. They won't repeal NAFTA/WTO, they "fix" them. They won't touch the defense budget, but claim they'll keep and even build on social spending, and yet they all support the "war on terror". They are "committed" to Iraq, but are fairly silent on how the current personnel problems won't be "problems" when they're in charge. Compare the stances of Kucinich to those of the major candidates and you'll see why the left is fractured.

With the left fractured like this, it seems to ironically come at times when an Authoritarian movement is on the edge of acquiring great power. Take Germany in 1930, when Communist leaders were violently split from the Social Democrats (mostly due to the killings of party leaders by a Social Democrat defense minister). The Social Democrats had the most seats in the Reichstag of any group, and the Communists saw them as the real enemy as compared to the gathering Nazi party. Under the guidance of Moscow at this point, leaders like Thalmann declared that the Social Democrats were blowing Hitler out of proportion as a scare-tactic, and contended that Adolf was just a paper tiger. Thalmann stated that the workers shouldn't "miss the Social Democratic forest for the National Socialist (Nazi) trees".

After the election of 1930, in which the Nazis did extremely well, Thalmann declared it would be Hitler's "best day", and that only "worse days" were ahead for him. Thalmann died in Buchenwald. He could not predict that Hitler would be able to crush independent political movements in Germany--he assumed he would be able to fight them as he did the SPD, and more easily since they would polarize the population more with their blatantly corrupt and inept policies. I hope no one faults me for seeing echoes of Ralph Nader in this, who has stated that he preferred a Republican win for POTUS.

While leftist activism is possible under a quite bourgeois Social Democracy, it will soon be muzzled under an Authoritarian government. The independent media was destroyed, and the rest consolidated. The leftist groups were persecuted, and disenfranchised while their leaders were imprisoned once Hitler had acquired a steady power base. How did he acquire this base of power? By appealing to the nationalistic and militaristic tendencies inherent in all peoples. Using war propaganda and building fear and hatred towards shadowy "outsider" villains both at home and abroad.

What are we experiencing now?

Leftist persecution:

Others, like the Green Partys Nancy Oden, have reported being detained by armed soldiers, or, like Green Party leader Doug Stuber, questioned by Secret Service agents, sometimes at such length that they missed their flights.

http://www.inthesetimes.com/issue/27/02/feature3.shtml

Media consolidation:

On April 19, the FCC voted 3-1 in favor of eliminating the "dual network" rule, which had prevented one television network from buying another. This rule change will immediately benefit Viacom, which will be allowed to own CBS and part of the UPN network.

The other rule, expected to be lifted or amended in a matter of weeks, is the "cross ownership" rule, which prohibits a company that owns a local newspaper from owning a television station in the same market. Waivers have been granted in the past (Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. owns New York television station WNYW and the New York Post, for example), but watering down or eliminating the rule altogether has long been a goal of industry lobbyists.


http://www.fair.org/activism/cross-ownership.html

I'm sure you don't need a link when it comes to blaming shadowy "outsider" villains for our problems, or war propaganda.

I guess the point of this is, how do we bring the left together? Are there historical examples of repairing a fractured left? In my opinion, if we leave an Authoritarian group in charge for too long, we'll miss the chance to build an effective opposition, so I am resolved to work for even an ineffective opposition in this case. What are your thoughts on this business?
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GreenPartyVoter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-31-04 07:03 PM
Response to Original message
1. Get the neocons out, then fix the policies
Right now, I see that we need to band together to get the neocons out of power.

Then I see the need to change the election system. (Here's my take on what it might look like if revamped as per the suggestions on my site: http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.ph... )

There is no reason we can't build a coalition of left-leaning parties, first to get Bu$h out of the WH and then in the Congress so we can get some decent policies crafted.
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Jose Diablo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-31-04 07:44 PM
Response to Reply #1
5. The election process needs attention first IMO
Without a valid election (corrupt voting machines, we not be able to get the neocons out.
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Ardee Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-31-04 07:19 PM
Response to Original message
2. How to bring the left together
would begin with a cessation of the villification of Ralph Nader perhaps.....I heard what he said and I understood what it meant, why continue to use his comment out of context as a wedge?

Youre suggestion that the left would or should join the centrists in support of a candidate who exemplifies most of what the left is fighting ,however fractured and at odds that left may be, is also a vain cry lost in the wind. I for one will never support a centrist or a fraud (names withheld to avoid a censure),and with Kucinich's hopes going,going .....well I wonder who the Green Party will nominate?

I refuse to make a bunch of cartoon characters out of Bush and company, other than for personal amusement of course, and I believe that this nation's commitment to democracy is far stronger than was Germany's in the thirties.Bush is already losing support in his own party among REAL conservatives and , the more he and his cronies assault our rights , ruin our economy, and kill our children in foreign deserts the more the people will rise up against him.

I see no need for the left to abandon its principles , run contrary to its political ideology out of fear of one man. Far worse than Bush, imo, is the abandonment of the progressives and liberals by the democratic leadership, the folding of the former large tent, leaving behind only a " me too (only less) " party. As Nader (oh heavens the antichrist)stated so aptly, if the democrats refuse to BE democrats than far better the GOP win, as this will force out the incompetent democratic leadership and effect change in the democrats , change for the better.

A message that is not very popular but one in which I believe is the only way we are going to get rid of From, McAuliffe and company and return the dems to th eleft of center. I am perfectly content to vote Green until that happens and let Bush rub the mess int he noses of every voter ( and non-voter) until they are damn sick of it!
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jpgray Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-31-04 07:27 PM
Response to Reply #2
3. Bush poses a very serious threat in my opinion. I'm sorry you don't agree
I agree with Nader's views, and I submit that no one but Kucinich will pass your test in the Democratic field. But still, my main enemy in this election is the Republicans.
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Ardee Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-31-04 07:36 PM
Response to Reply #3
4. a threat, well yeah
Edited on Sat Jan-31-04 07:39 PM by Ardee
but a comparison to Germany in the twenties and thirties is way over the top.He certainly does not represent a need by the left to abandon its principles and ideology and run flocking to some democratic candidate who is nothingg more than Bush-lite.

Who besides Kucinich addresses the bloated military budget, who besides Kucinich addresses the Patriot Act, who sees the need to end the corporate stranglehold on governmental policies, well , perhaps Peter Camejo does but noone on the current democratic slate will effect the real changes we so desperately need besides Dennis. So, in short, no Dennis no Ardee.

You see a threat from Bush, I see a much wider cast of culprits including those complicit with GOP policies and strategies, those democrats who voted down the line for Bush, those who dragged my beloved party into the mud of right wing modeling after the GOP. i see no reason to vote Bush out and some other Bush in......you think this is bad, just wait until Jeb is installed in '08......wake up people!
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jpgray Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-31-04 07:59 PM
Response to Reply #4
6. You can't create a leftist shift by giving the right more power
That's what Thalmann tried to do, and it blew up in his face. There is a misconception that if you entirely neuter the undesirable bourgeois element of the left that a new major party will consolidate around the liberal element that's left over.

As far as I know, that has never happened in history.

What happens is the Authoritarian right grabs power whie the opposition is bickering, and in response the bourgeois faction of the left becomes reactionary, leans further to the right or is destroyed entirely. Once that happens, the liberal faction of the left is brutally crushed by the right, who has during all this time been consolidating power. It happened in Japan, it happened in Germany, it happened in Spain, it has happened all over the world.
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LosAngelesDemocrat Donating Member (69 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-31-04 08:28 PM
Response to Reply #6
13. Right shift to left shift (Demographical Analysis)
Any democratic gains in the short term a all going to be up hill strugggles. In my mind it more to do with the majority of people pursuing their short term interest and not being to percieve the greater society at large. I tie that with the advent of suburbia and the distancing of different groups (rich/poor, young/old, rural/urban, religious/secular, minorities, different religions) from each other. The expectation and perception at that point is that government it too big since they can't see what it does that indirectly improves their lives. However, with a polulation explosion, and the desire to urbanize more vertically, I see trends that will change people's perception for the necessity of governmental programs.

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Iverson Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-01-04 08:24 AM
Response to Reply #6
14. You've just identified the Democrats' problem.
Indeed a left shift will not come from giving the right more power.

The insistence upon giving the right more power does not become magically palatable simply because the candidate doing so assigns a capital D beside his or her name.

The question becomes whether one will retain a voice, albeit smaller, and a little self-respect or whether one will let so-called friends and allies extinguish that voice while pandering to the agenda we're all supposedly against.

Thus: on a progressive website calls for excluding Kucinich and Sharpton from debates after two whole primaries in small states.
Thus: "liberal" support for welfare reform, media consolidation, war, etc.

"Once that happens, the liberal faction of the left is brutally crushed by the right, who has during all this time been consolidating power."

Sadly, my impression is that if the right propaganda is applied - ooh, say, call the crushed group "Naderites" - my centrist brethern will eat that stuff up with relish. Even so, suicide as alternative counsel is unpersuasive.
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Ardee Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-01-04 03:26 PM
Response to Reply #6
17. didacticism vs reality
Edited on Sun Feb-01-04 03:27 PM by Ardee
Your attempts to compare the conditions within Germany in the twenties and thirties with the current conditions within the USA is really quite silly. Further it adds nothing to the point you so desperately attempt to make.

In a nutshell ,you are asking the left to give up everything it holds dear to support a candidate that is the antithesis of what makes folks leftist in the first place. Not a snowballs chance in hades, sorry.

What you should really be doing is working within the party you see with blinders firmly in place to make it a party that welcomes and listens to the input of the left. In short I see little hope that either major party gives a damn for that which is most important to the left, as well as to families everywhere.The Democratic Party has self destructed ,imo, and the dreadful performance of that party in the mid term elections has done nothing to awaken the reactionaries who now are all that remain under that collapsing tent.
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LosAngelesDemocrat Donating Member (69 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-31-04 08:10 PM
Response to Original message
7. the art of coalition forming
There are many ways to form coalitions. Historical example that energized the left would be say the 1960s and the civil rights movement that combined with the antiwar protests. Though there were still splinter groups like the the Dixiecrats that broke off to the Republican party and the Black Panthers. The thing to understand is the republican party (though not as diverse as the democratic party) is still not a monolithic voting bloc (except federally when blackmailed by the party leadership). That's where one opportunity lies. Moderate suburban voters, moderate either socially or economically. As for the far left, in terms of ideals there is not much difference. The real difference between the green and democratic party is "to what degree" and "by what methods".

If I was in a democratic strategy meeting, like the one they are having this weekend in DC focusing on this election; I would try to keep Dean in the race as long as possible to give his base a platform in the democratic party. Secondly unconstructive negative attacks should stop. Kerry seems like the frontrunner and may get the nomination so he needs the support of all the other diehard supporters for the other candidates which requires him to reign in his supporters and provide an more restrained and measured expression of their support for him. It may sound like a double standard between Kerry and Dean with their supporters but it's a unique situation that has occurred in the reformation of the far left into the left and it needs to occur with out the republicans being able to captitalize on it (labeling, typecasting, and spinning the whole democratic party as liberal nuts). Ironically, a stage such as this "competition" gives us shelter against them saying that this was a "left-wing conspiracy" which if they did would increase voter turnout amonst their far-right base.

Strategies for winning...

Make sure the whole left votes as a bloc and maximize voter turnout in this base.
Don't incite higher voter turnout in your opposition's base through partisan retoric, stereotyping, or undiplomatic campaigning
Focus on key constituences in middle...by co-opting your republican's concerns/attributes but with providing a more progresssive and effective response and appearing much better at it...

This election is going to be won within a 2-8 point spread. Us democrats can lose it on the far left or the middle. It makes it difficult, but there needs to be patience. Thoughout this campaign there are going to be times when some democrats feel marginalized. but it has to not to do with that the candidate doesn't care, but by the nature of this election and the necessity of campaigning to a wide array of groups.
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jpgray Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-31-04 08:16 PM
Response to Reply #7
9. The 60s also fractured the left
1968, many refused to hold their noses for Hubert Humphrey, and in came Nixon. This was another time where a perceived "milquetoast" guy without antiwar credentials was the nominee. We may have the same situation in 2004, and again the left may abandon the nominee in droves.

It's true that the right isn't a monolithic voting bloc, but I want our party to move left, and that means abandoning much of the moderate/Republican-crossover vote. No major candidate will wholly please the far left, but I agree that activists should be given room to live in the nominee's platform.
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Ardee Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-01-04 03:34 PM
Response to Reply #9
18. the sixties built the left movement
and scared the bejeesus out of the right, resulting in their redoubling the efforts to take over this nation...nice job they did too.
Humphrey didnt have a chance really ,after Johnson bowed out in New Hampshire, and he still gave Nixon a run for the voters...that election was pretty darn close. The left may have sat that one out, at least some of them certainly did, but today we have an alternative to not voting. We have the Green Party wherein leftists might express their complete disapproval of the strategies and course of the Democratic Party. Will that enable the re-election of George W., sure it might at that. But that will not be the fault of the left, it will be the fault of the democrats for not offering any real choice.
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Pathwalker Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-31-04 08:12 PM
Response to Original message
8. A small suggestion: with humor and honesty.
Take back and change the meaning of the word "Liberal". " In America today, you're a liberal if...fill in the blank." Like a Jeff Foxworthy skit, but one that makes fun of "Conservatives".

"You're a Liberal if...you're to the left of Atilla The Hun."

"You're a Liberal if... you think George Bush is the possible reincarnation of Napolean." (avoids that Hitler comarison).

"You're a Liberal if you think George Bush is somehow "channeling- or posssesed by Richard Nixon's ghost."

"You're a Liberal if you think Dick Cheney might be a clone."

"You're a Liberal if you think the Constitution wasn't a "FIRST DRAFT".

You're a Liberal if you think torture is Unamerican."

"You're a Liberal if you think giving up your freedoms because it makes them hate us is one of the stupidest things you've ever heard."

Anything funny you can think of that takes back the meaning of the word "Liberal", widening it to include anything that ISN'T a caricature of the Extreme Religous Right, the Pnac'ers - whatever floats your boat, and makes them LAUGH. People are scared,people are angry, and they need moments of laughter that can drive that message home. I have been doing this with people and I have noticed that they will also start nodding, while laughing. They seem to appreciate that moment of offering a lighter perspective, a chance to laugh, even if only for a moment; and it also makes you seem saner than the Idiots In Charge.
Anyway, that's been working for me.

TAKE BACK THE MEANING OF THE WORD LIBERAL. With Humor.
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jpgray Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-31-04 08:20 PM
Response to Reply #8
10. Difficult right now, with the media the way it is
They just got a huge quid pro quo from the FCC, so it will be interesting to see how they play this--whether they cover 2004 in a way that's similar to their attacks on Gore in 2000 or not.

But challenging the country's perceptions of "liberal" and "liberalism" is extremely important, and humor is an excellent avenue. Note the respect and influence comics such as Garafalo or Franken have amongst the left.
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Pathwalker Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-31-04 08:26 PM
Response to Reply #10
12. Of course you are right. I was referring to doing so
nationwide,but as individuals - one on one at work, or out in public. Perhaps either Franken or Garafolo could use something like this too. Maybe Carville, or Begala - whomever. But, in the meantime, we could start a trend across America. One joke at a time. Making FUN of the Conservatives. It seems to work.
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tinanator Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Jan-31-04 08:20 PM
Response to Reply #8
11. That is a great idea! Run with it!
I want your assignment finished by tomorrow.
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sweetheart Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-01-04 08:36 AM
Response to Original message
15. Note for the democratic leadership
To bring together the coalition, the back room of the democratic party should be one HOT place right now.

BRING ALL THE LEADERS TOGETHER IN A UNITY ADMINISTRATION. Invite Nader in also as a cabinet post, say head of the EPA or whatever. Invite McCain in and do the very thing the republicans failed to do in not winning this last election, be inclusive.

I am deeply hoping to see all these candidates shaking hands and working together embracing the "splinters" with a magnetic goodwill that we come together beyond our differences. The omen for the electorate doing this, is that the leaders can do it.

I hope to see hillary clinton, al gore, AND all the current candidates working as 1 party to win office. Speaking well of each other in public and keeping the family spat in the back room once this primary is settled.

If they include dennis kucinich in the administration, i will feel satisfied that it is not just a zero=sum-game party, that it sees the shades of gray in the real world.
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NashVegas Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-01-04 08:47 AM
Response to Original message
16. The Fractured Left
Edited on Sun Feb-01-04 08:48 AM by Crisco
Is so fractured because it has allowed itself to be.

Looking at candidates isn't going to solve the problem, one instead must look at the issues that divide the left into its disparate groups, honestly, and take the long-range view.

The horsecarts go in a zillian different directions, but where the hell are they going? What's the goal?

Our politicians can't decide this for us and they'll never get the pack all going in the same direction towards a goal unless they're willing to talk to and level with us.
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ElsewheresDaughter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Feb-01-04 03:38 PM
Response to Original message
19. i see no "fracture" just a hairline splinter .....Dems & Liebemenites
Edited on Sun Feb-01-04 03:40 PM by ElsewheresDaughter
and this is why i stay out of GD 2004Primary...to many bone crushers in there.
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