I agree with most of what you are saying.
I still think there was a large institutional bias in favor of the Tea Party's agenda (the small government and deregulation parts especially), the powers that be were all too happy to facilitate such changes, whereas the left's reforms go more directly against the grain of power.
I don't know a lot about the dynamics between the Tea Party and the more established wing of the Republican Party, so won't comment.
I sure don't know how you get corporate money without the influence, so I disagree with you there, I think their money is intrinsically a corrupting influence and will no longer support any candidates who are taking it.
If we could modify the corporate charter so that their main responsibility was to the public good (a vague and undefinable concept but a necessary one) rather than to maximizing profits for their shareholders, then that wouldn't be true anymore. I have no idea if such a modification is even possible. If it is, it would be a great reform to push for.
From my point of view, the Sanders supporters were and are exactly what you're talking about, we have resolve, energy, and are more than willing to give everything we have to effect the changes we so desperately need.
There is a seemingly insurmountable corporate capture of our party leadership, so personally I feel like the party has chosen its side, and it isn't with the people. It would be much better to work for reform of the party, as you say there are huge obstacles to creating a viable third party, but at this point I can't see making any real progress from within the Democratic Party, it will be firmly in the hands of corporatists for the foreseeable future.
I hope many people such as yourself will continue to work within the party to make it better, and good luck with that, you will need it. I will keep my eyes open to see where the rightful home of the energy behind the Sanders campaign is, too early to tell right now.
edit to add: I kind of missed responding to the main point of your post, which is that you would like to see a Tea Party equivalent for our party. I am all for it, long overdue. As I said earlier, I think it will be much harder to do in our party with our issues, but if it could be done it would be the shortest distance between where we are and where we need to go.
Do you want the left to do what the Tea Party did, or are you knocking the part of the left that won't go along with the corporate agenda?
The Tea Party was not just a grass-roots thing, it was Koch-backed, so there's that. If you remember as I do, the news media amplified everything they did, much as they did Trump, giving them legitimacy they shouldn't have had. The reason being that the corporate money people are quite happy with a libertarian vision where government does little more than military and police, and gets out of the way of regulating corporate activities. Just more corporate capture.
There was also a grass-roots element to the Tea Party, but if it was only that, they would not have had the success they had. They served the interests of the powerful, and that's why they had such success.
There is no similar context for those of us on the left. What we want is to get corporations out of our government, to get our military out of most of the nations on earth. to get corporate-pushed carbon out of our atmosphere, and to get non-violent offenders out of prisons. Where is the institutional alliance for this set of demands? There isn't one. People want these changes, but profit-driven institutions do not.
I personally don't think the left has the clout to deliver the change we need in the time we need to do it (climate change being the most urgent driver). I think populists on the left and right need to put our differences aside enough that we can ally against runaway corporate capture. The divide and conquer strategies of the powers that be are very effective, and allow continued exploitation as the world crumbles.
So I would like to see a new entity emerge that rejects any corporate money in campaigns, and that has a narrow platform targeted to issues that don't split left/right. We have enough people and motivation to do this if we can get together with people on the other side, and with the more than 40% who have withdrawn from either side out of disgust for both of them.
Most of the urgent issues of today are not left/right issues. they are top/down issues. We can still work on left/right issues but should not let that get in the way of allying with populists all across the left/right spectrum for the cause of ending corporate capture, ending the support of the American (really a stateless corporate) empire, and immediately doing everything possible to fight climate change and transform our society into a sustainable one that proves good decent lives for its citizens rather than one that is essentially a vehicle for concentration of power into a few hands.
I will always fight for the issues of the left, I just think right now we need to get a few critical things done to even have any kind of inhabitable planet in the future, and we need to work with everyone who is willing to join in such an effort. It's too big of a crisis to leave to the left, we need everyone, and even then it won't be easy, since we'll be fighting every powerful institution. Tear down the left/right wall.
We all are, and the loads will just keep on coming.
They think they are burying us, not realizing we are seeds. Let's see what grows in this shit.
A new and improved DU and Democratic Party (unlikely in both cases), a lot of the 40% independents migrate to a new entity (the Green party, the UPP (http://www.unitedprogressiveparty.org/), the Democratic Socialist Party (http://www.dsausa.org/), or something else), JPR establishes itself as a vibrant progressive lab for change (likely), who knows?
I think it's important to put our energy into places not invested in corporate money and corporate interests, which to me means the ownership of internet sites we call home, and leadership of political parties. If it isn't with our agenda at the top, we should work in some more populist context, or we'll just continue to get screwed by institutional bias and barriers.
There's a great of energy looking for direction, we'll see what form it takes. Peace!
and I completely disagree with her statements about this situation vs. 1968.
The Bernie campaign IS a completely different view about wars and about how we go forward. No matter how the establishment tries to convince us that we're all on the same page, we're not, not even close.
Corporate money makes damn certain of that. It has its own agenda, and infinite resources to convince us to not believe our own lying eyes.
The endless wars, poverty, incarceration, opposition to populist reforms and candidates, the failure to launch a moon-shot or Manhattan-project scale effort (we need one at a much larger scale than either of those) to stop climate change as we are passing unthinkable climate tipping points, the dependence on corporate money and corporate media to astro-turf phony candidates into perceived legitimacy, this is what we're dealing with.
1968 had nothing on this. I have no idea how the Democratic convention will unfold. My guess is the police state will succeed in keeping protesters far away from the site, so that their protests can be mostly ignored, unless they get violent, in which case it will get tons of attention and used to delegitimize the protester's demands. Dissent inside the convention itself will be very heavily managed and controlled. So we may not get a repeat of the 1968 fiasco, but not because of less angst, instead because of greater control structures.
I hope with all my heart that we don't simply accept defeat and move forward with corporate Democratic hedgemony, that is unacceptable, and if it happens, we will have to find another way to continue this fight, which is about everything that matters in this world.
Presentation of non-supported allegations, repeated in so many different venues by so many establishment hacks who are getting their lead lines from the corporate-political pipeline, reinforce lies and misrepresentations to sell the American people on the need to attack people in foreign lands and spend all our money on the largest military machine ever seen on this planet.
It's worth looking at how this happens, how false or misleading premises are established as fact by endless repetition and selectively-edited quotes and clips.
I don't know if the majority of people will ever be capable of sorting through these kind of distortions to get any actual understanding of events. I doubt it.
So the only solution possible is to remove agendas from media. One way to do so is through democratization of media, such as what the internet allows. There are still distortions, but all sides are able to make their case, rather than only those who ally with corporate interests.
Another way is to prohibit for-profit corporations from doing news or political opinion on the airwaves or cable. A total non-profit news delivery model, with no corporate money allowed in the process. Kind of like what we need to do with our political campaigns.
We're not even close to having any actionable solution for this, nor even an agreed-on strategy. But until we do, the country will be running on consent given by people who are basing that consent on manufactured consensus and lies. And that''s no way to run a "democracy".
Vote how you like, no problem, but you lost me there, great post till that, really excellent.
I've posted this before, but I see the fight as one against corporatism, and my working metaphor is swimming in a rip-tide. A rip-tide carries you out to sea, where you drown on your own far from help. You can swim towards shore as hard as you like, the problem is, you get tired and the rip-tide doesn't. Eventually you end up sleeping with the fishes. Is that pragmatic? Some say it keeps us moving more slowly in that direction. I don't see any real benefit to that, it's the direction that matters more than the velocity.
The way to beat a rip-tide is to swim side-ways. Rips are unforgiving but they are often narrow. By swimming to the side, rather than just going with the flow or fighting in its opposite direction (in my mind the Republicans represent going with the corporatism flow, and voting for Democrats supposedly slows that a little so represents swimming against the rip), you get a paradigm shift. No more tractor beam to heartless corporate profiteering. Without that, you can manage to swim ashore and start a better reality.
What do we find when we swim sideways? If we swim one way, we support only candidates who refuse corporate money and the fealty it brings. I consider this a viable path. If we swim the other way, we start a new party that states as a founding principle that it won't accept corporate money and that its candidates can't either. I also consider that a viable path. Anything else, I see as political suicide.
So much for the land of the free.
And I don't remember voting for the installation of all of the surveillance cameras on every traffic signal either. They've been in place a number of years now, but I recall no actual pubic debate about it, or discussion of the costs, I just remember they gradually just quietly appeared. I see Merrily's post above, so I assume some or all of these cameras also record audio. It probably all gets stored, indexed, and served to various government agencies (and even worse, some private ones) from the monstrous data center they've constructed in Utah.
All my life we've joked about such things, now it's reality.
The dark side of this, and of drones, has yet to bite us, but it will. The fascist police state is being rolled out gradually, to allow people to acclimate to their incrementally lost freedoms.
The only way I can think of to address these problems is to get money out of politics, so we can have actual debates about what it is we want government to do for us, instead of learning after the fact what government is doing TO us.
The first step in that is to refuse to work for any condidate (freudian typo) who accepts corporate money. The entire fascist police state is the capture of our government by corporate money (which drives the war machine, extraction industries and cheap labor pools).
Bernie's candidacy is a great start. Also the list of Bernie Democrats tells us who is worth supporting. Once we get some people elected without corporate money, we will establish proof of concept, people will see who the genuine public servants are, and see the others as the frauds that they are. This is the road we must travel. On the journey, sing nasty songs to streetlights, you know they're listening.
I am very sad to agree with all of it.
I remember when Bush (W) was being funny, he was speaking to a room filled with wealthy donors. He said something about how some people called those donors wealthy elites, but that he calls them his base.
I think the corporate wing of the Democratic Party, which is doing everything in its power to assert that it now IS the Democratic Party, has fallen to that level, where their base is no longer the average voter who wants so-called progressive policy as security from the ravages of untempered capitalism, their base is now the wealthy donor class and their policies are the ones the donor class wants, nothing more.
As to the rest of us, as this Nevada incident and countless others show, they really do want to smash us. They'd much rather have us join the unorganized and disempowered ranks of the unaffiliated independents than have us working to reform the party from within.
I think we should not make that choice, it's what they want and it gives us nothing. We need to work within the party, and kick ass, not settling for corporate policies, or we need to get very serious and start a competing party from the left that organizes with all of the urgency our situation demands. We can probably do both things simultaneously until a new party has a real primary, or until we get power back from the corporate Democrats.
I don't think I've ever seen anything from Skinner to suggest he is an ally of actual progressive reform, the corporate wing of the party is where it's at for him (I'd love to be wrong but there's too much evidence) so as well as looking hard at what party to work with, we need to look equally hard at what web home to use. I suggest one whose ownership is an ally rather than an adversary.
It's going to get worse before it gets better, but as you said, the battle is joined. Thanks for your posts, I often enjoy them.
For decades now, I've been listening to women say how if women ran things, the world would be a better place, run with compassion, kindness, nurturing, diplomacy, non-aggression, and generally laying the opposite of all of the above on men and the patriarchy.
To that, I say bring it on! I'd be thrilled to live in such a world.
Hillary in no way embodies the promise of a less militant more nurturing leadership. I'd say the same for many women in power. I won't get into all of the issues involved with that, there are many, from having to conform to system norms to gain power, to some of the problems being human nature as much as they are male nature.
No matter the reason, at least not for purposes of this discussion. The sad reality is that electing a Margaret Thatcher, a Condoleeza Rice, a Claire McCaskill, a Hillary Clinton, a Sarah Palin, a Carly Fiorina, does nothing towards reaching those goals.
We not only have to elect or promote women to positions of power, we have to elect or promote the RIGHT women to positions of power. Jill Stein is such a woman. An up-and-comer is Seattle's Kshama Sawant (can't be POTUS, foreign-born). Elizabeth Warren (good on Wall St. issues, I need more convincing on other issues). Plenty of others too.
Hillary Clinton is not one of these women, and never will be. She has taken the other road, seeking full membership in and ideological solidarity with the forces that are the fundamental problem in our nation and our world.
Thank you Jill Stein for bringing this to the attention of many who would otherwise not have thought about it.
You say we're in a 2-party system, but the electorate has left them both, because they are owned by the same large corporate donors.
"It's a numbers game. So, either you recognize who your opponent is, work to beat the living shit out of that opponent and make changes while you're in a position to, or you get left behind and whine about it."
I recognize who my opponent is, it's the donors/owners of both major parties. And it's well past time that everyone else recognizes this too. The numbers game supports my argument, not yours, voters who refuse to affiliate are by far larger in numbers than those that belong to either party.
The ideological struggle you speak of is mostly contrived by the powers that be, so we don't notice the Acme, Inc. armored truck being loaded up with all the money of the Treasury, to be shipped offshore to tax havens for the wealthy. We are up against an existential crisis as a species, climate change, are besieged by terrorists who are blowback to the policies of U.S. military "adventurism" and regime change that are done by both parties, globalization and the trade policies that enable it are eroding opportunities for good secure jobs (also pushed by both parties), on and on. I define our ideological struggle differently than you.
Finally, there's a great deal of general harm (your term) that is caused by corporate Democrats, who are using the people-first cred our party cultivated over long years of standing up for the little guy, to pass corporate agendas the people would more fiercely resist if they were being pushed by Republicans.
There are certainly real left-right divisions between Democrats and Republicans. Unfortunately, the far more urgent problems (climate change, endless wars, poverty, exploitation of desperate labor pools, mass incarceration and the police state, an out-of-control financial industry, many others) largely transcend these divisions. The presumptive party nominee is on the wrong side of every one of these issues, as is the party leadership. At this point our party has pretty much succumbed to corporate capture.
Can it be fixed internally, in-party? I certainly hope so. Many of us have watched this primary and seen what our party really stands for, and we're not seeing any sign of reform, the party has instead doubled-down on corporate supremacy. Defining our mission as simply opposing Republicans enables this.
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