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A Modest Proposal for the Fractured Left

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Mythsaje Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-26-07 07:23 PM
Original message
A Modest Proposal for the Fractured Left
"Divide and conquer."

The enemy we face is fairly unified. There are different factions, but, in general, they share or will agree upon some basic ideological principles. They rarely work at cross-purposes to one another.

Not really a surprise, considering that conservatism IS restrictive by nature.

Corporate America wants what's good for business, the bottom line, and the size of their wallets. They have no real issue with the anti-abortion, anti-gay, hyper-religious social engineering of the Dominionists. As long as people continue buying their stuff, they don't care what the social landscape looks like.

Except in very specific instances, the Christian Right has no particular beef with business practices or deregulation. The leaders of the movement generally have enough money that they don't have to struggle against the vast inequalities put upon the American people by the top-down class war.

These two groups pretty much control the opposition, to one extent or another.

Now, on the left, we have the anti-war folks, the environmental folks, the pro-labor folks, the gay rights folks, the minority activists, AIDS activists, feminists, the drug war activists, the human rights advocates, animal rights activists, alternate energy advocates, anti-poverty crusaders, and so on. All too often these groups work at cross purposes--if not deliberately, then because of inherent differences in their basic philosophies. Environmental activists can be at odds with labor folks, for example, partly because labor is told that "we have to make these concessions because of the environmentalists," whether true or not. It breeds distrust. As it's meant to.

On top of that, you have the Democratic Party itself, which may adopt SOME of these values, but, at the core, has one value above all the others. Political success.

If there could be one set of basic principles all (or at least several) of these groups could decide to work for...in lobbying efforts, GOTV campaigns, boycotts, protests, etc, it would go a long way towards giving us a unified front to move against some of their most disagreeable practices.

I'm talking about some sort of far-reaching Leftward coalition that is made up of these groups who are willing to fight for a single set of basic premises.

*****

All humans worldwide deserve a certain level of basic dignity. The US should limit its dealings with any nation that does not meet a certain criteria with regards to human rights. We do not accept the premise that any segment of any population deserves anything less than equal rights in all respects with every other segment of the population.

The long term condition of our environment is a concern for all humans. Thus it is only rational to pursue clean energy alternatives, remove the incentives to cut costs by inadequate methods of waste disposal and pursue sound policies that will protect the environment in which we live rather than allow it to be slowly toxified by negligent caretakers. Opening up new industries and more stringently controlling the practices of potential polluters will not only be good for the health of the planet and all its inhabitants, it will also provide vast opportunities for employment in sustainable fields.

As it is obvious that factory farming as we know it not only causes immense environmental damage, but also poses considerable health risks to the consumer, it is in our interest to pursue more rational and humane methods of raising food stock. Maximum efficiency and corporate profits do not and should not trump the long-term health of either the planet or the population. Less "efficient" methods of animal handling would improve conditions, foster the cultivation of more nutritious and less bio-modified consumables, and provide more opportunities for employment in the ranching field.

We believe that extreme economic disparity is the result of massive deregulation and unfair taxation of the working people of this country and that those who benefit the most from the economic system as it stands are most reponsible for helping to foster a more equitable system for everyone else. We do not believe that the avoidance of paying taxes by those who gain the most from our economic engine is conducive to America's long-term prosperity. We do not believe that turning profits at the expense of our communities and individual workers benefits Americans or this nation as a whole. A strong American economy, justly regulated, can be a boon to people throughout the world, and can be used as leverage to induce change with regards to human rights in other countries without ever having to turn to the weapons of war to bring about desired change.

We believe that all humans, but Americans in particular in this case, have the intelligence and the will to shape a more equitable, sustainable future for all of us. All it requires is that we recognize the nature of the opposition and work to defeat it as a coalition of equals rather than a shattered and often ineffectual movement.

*****

It may need some work, but I believe this has some merit.

Any input would be more than welcome.





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jgraz Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-26-07 07:25 PM
Response to Original message
1. Damn, given the title I thought you'd be advocating that we eat the DLC.
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Mythsaje Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-26-07 07:26 PM
Response to Reply #1
2. Disappointed?
:D
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jgraz Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-26-07 08:41 PM
Response to Reply #2
6. Not really. I'm still kinda full from Thanksgiving
On the other hand, I suspect they'd make nice Superbowl snacks. They have all the right characteristics: greasy, mass-produced, highly-processed and really really bad for you.


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Cha Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-26-07 08:52 PM
Response to Reply #6
7. Yip,
junk, no substance, empty rhetoric..you could die!
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Kucinich4America Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-26-07 09:55 PM
Response to Reply #1
10. Wouldn't you get food poisoning from that?
Besides, I'm trying to eat less corporate produced, empty crap calories these days :evilgrin:
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lvx35 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-26-07 07:48 PM
Response to Original message
3. Its a fundamentally good idea.
Lou Dobbs is a pretty good divider of the right, because the corporate repubs are pro illegal immigration and could give a shit about safe imports. Also they could give a shit about gay/women's/abortion issues. The Christian right is more fond of social programs. So yes, the right could be divided, and if we advanced the right universal core principles we could make some of them switch. The question is, which ones do we want on our side?
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Spirit of 34 Donating Member (119 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-26-07 08:31 PM
Response to Original message
4. This part of the platform would be a deal-breaker for many socialists and anti-imperialists
We believe that extreme economic disparity is the result of massive deregulation and unfair taxation of the working people of this country and that those who benefit the most from the economic system as it stands are most reponsible for helping to foster a more equitable system for everyone else. We do not believe that the avoidance of paying taxes by those who gain the most from our economic engine is conducive to America's long-term prosperity. We do not believe that turning profits at the expense of our communities and individual workers benefits Americans or this nation as a whole. A strong American economy, justly regulated, can be a boon to people throughout the world, and can be used as leverage to induce change with regards to human rights in other countries without ever having to turn to the weapons of war to bring about desired change.

1. We believe that extreme economic disparity is the result of massive deregulation and unfair taxation of the working people of this country and that those who benefit the most from the economic system as it stands are most reponsible for helping to foster a more equitable system for everyone else.

Extreme economic disparity is the result of capitalism. Exploitation of labor is the cornerstone of capitalism, and extreme economic disparity is naturally generated by the engine of capitalist growth, and is necessary to create wealth under this economic framework.

2. We do not believe that the avoidance of paying taxes by those who gain the most from our economic engine is conducive to America's long-term prosperity.

Taxation can only partially redistribute wealth within an advanced capitalist nation, but does nothing to prevent the superexploitation of Third World labor by these same nations.

3. A strong American economy, justly regulated, can be a boon to people throughout the world

The history of American imperialism during the Cold War does not support that statement.

4. and can be used as leverage to induce change with regards to human rights in other countries without ever having to turn to the weapons of war to bring about desired change.

Okay, right here you're gonna lose a LOT of the anti-imperialists and the "anti-globalization" crowd. The vast majority are opposed to America using economic leverage to remake the world in her own image (which we already do through the IMF, the WTO, various sanctions and embargos), and believe this country has no business telling others what to do in any event.
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Mythsaje Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-26-07 09:10 PM
Response to Reply #4
8. Can't please everyone...
And, in the end, human rights and dignity trumps cultural relativity.
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Spirit of 34 Donating Member (119 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-26-07 09:47 PM
Response to Reply #8
9. Didn't say you could or you should
Edited on Mon Nov-26-07 09:47 PM by Spirit of 34
But if this is your platform you may have to define "The Left" to the exclusion of anti-capitalists and anti-imperialists,

And yes, I agree with you about human rights trumping local customs. But people have to stand up and fight for those rights, they should not be unilaterally imposed by a foreign imperial power. Further, attempts to do so by imperial powers have met with very mixed results, sometimes resulting in a counterproductive backlash. Finally, the power to impose your cultural, social, economic, and political paradigm does not simply end with human rights/dignity-- hegemons have a tendency to attempt to enforce all of their norms/customs/systems..."Everyone imposes his own system as far as his army can reach"-- Stalin. You can easily replace "army" with "economic muscle".

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Odin2005 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-26-07 10:15 PM
Response to Reply #4
11. Last I heard this site wasn't Marxist Underground.
But what the hell do I know, I'm one of those non-Marxist left-wingers the Marxists deride as petit-bourgeois "utopian" socialists. :eyes:
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jgraz Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-26-07 10:38 PM
Response to Reply #11
12. Funny how that big tent only extends to the right
:shrug:
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Spirit of 34 Donating Member (119 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-26-07 11:14 PM
Response to Reply #11
13. The OP asked for input I gave it
I politely disagreed with the nature of economic disparity and also noted that if the OP is looking for points of unity amongst the "fractured Left", the last part might exclude anti-capitalists and anti-imperialists.

I am sorry if this upsets you, but hardly surprised. When someone offers a differing opinion, others often get upset (and in your case, presumably project past acrimonious debates upon their opponent).

Oh, one last thing-- I'm not actually a Marxist. I agree with Marx's basic analysis of capitalism, but not all of it (for example I'm somewhat suspicious of his "labor theory of value", or at least his application of it, which is a crucial tenet of orthodox Marxian thought). And I have even more serious concerns with his historical dialectic theory and his assumptions about the historic role of the proletariat, his belief in end-stage communism, as well as a lot of other things he talked about.

But if it makes you more comfortable to view me as an inflexible Marxist, don't let me stop you.
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Odin2005 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-26-07 11:33 PM
Response to Reply #13
14. Oops, sorry. I'm an ex-Marxist and so am somewhat "sensitive" to Marxist-sounding rhetoric.
My bad!!! :spank: :dunce:
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Joe Fields Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-26-07 08:39 PM
Response to Original message
5. Yes. We need to organize, and the sooner the better.

Not only are we having to fight the republicans, but we are having to fight the leadership of our party. They have flat ignored us.

I believe that most of us on the left share the same ideals. One cause may overshadow another a little bit, but I believe we are, for the most part for the same things. But there seems to be an almost prideful stance of fierce independence. We revel in the fact that we don't march in lock-step, like the republicans, and the republicans laugh at us, because we are so unfocused in our purpose. Sometimes, marching in lock-step for a cause that is worthy is necessary.

I would say taking our country back from criminals is a worthy cause.
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