Progressives – 2 years Wasted

( – promoted by buhdydharma )

This was a reply to a comment in a GOTV diary called Suppose Your Actions Swung the Election. I compare what I saw happening (and not happening), to what could have happened, that would have made a big difference.

Unfortunately, there’s been little organizing of dispirited Dem voters.

One could see, within 4 months of Obama getting elected, lots of bitter postings by disappointed Dem voters. But did you ever see even 1 ad saying “Obama voters: bitterly disappointed?”, or something similar?

I did notice some individual postings on forums saying they’re not going to vote, again, or, at best, urging others to vote Green. This went hand in hand with lots of denunciations of Tea Partiers, but no organizing of a progressive Tea Party. Gee whiz, how’d that work out?

On the plus side, jeffroby has been trying to get lefties to organize (full court press; lately Dump Obama), but he has no budget ($$) to do so. Dump Obama has been met with enthusiasm at FDL, but it’s too early to tell if it will take off and become a solid force for change. Very recently, Rayne posted a series of “angry left” diaries at FDL, culminating in her should-be-famous roadmap diary. This diary gives a good overview of what getting organized, in the sense of activists having their hands on the levers of power, would look like. Unfortunately, no attempt was made by Rayne or FDL to organize for a movement to achieve that level of roadmap organization! Instead, Rayne simply threw out a challenge to all her readers, essentially saying “Well, I plunged in, and you should, too!”

If somebody has time on their hands, it’s be good to see if any of the major lefty blogs has made any official efforts to organize a progressive proto-voting bloc, which minimally needs to publicly declare their intention to remains a coherent entity through multiple election cycles, and vote as a bloc based on their own, internal voting, which occurs before real world voting. I don’t believe any have, though FDL has backed Accountability Now, which is a step in the right direction, but still lacks the bottom up control via a voting feature I’m looking for. Also, honorable mention goes to OpenLeft for front paging some diaries by Nancy Bordier on the Interactive Voter Choice System, which would maximally automate and systematize voting bloc activities.

In short, there’s basically been 2 wasted years. Lots of complaining, dissemination of scandal info, and analysis, but relatively no support and direction for the sort of organizing of progressives that would most challenge the Dems. One would have hoped that blogs with progressive readership would have led the revolution, but they’re not doing so.

Well, going after Social Security was a disaster for Bush. Maybe when Obama attempts the same, it’ll set off a change reaction. (Change reaction – get it?)


My recommendations for short and long term voting strategies for a Dump Obama movement


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  1. At this point some sort of effort to organize a Democratic-Left political force as simply another voting bloc, would be to an attempt to cure the symptoms of our politi9cal malaise with more of the cause of that malaise.  We need to organize not either for or against any politician.  The habit of ceding all of our power, or rather, actively putting all of our power in the service of the career ambitions of politicians has continued only to strengthen their hegemonic positions while organizationally neutering ourselves.  The emphasis on electing, or even defeating, this or that pol, always and immediately calls uppion us to begin surrendering our own self-interests to serve an electoral result.  When our biggest problem is trying to convince working Americas that we have interests worth defending, and that we alone can be responsible for identifying and defending our self-interests, to immediately turn around before building our own self-organized power and put ourselves at the disposal of yet another politician simply reiterates what got us to where we are.

    I realize institution-buiding must look hideously flawed to progressives and leftists right now.  We see on the one hand, how groups like UFPJ turn out to be nothing but partisan front-groups used to steer progressives and leftists back into the Dem Party feedlots, and on the other, how authentic expressions of working-class power like ACORN are allowed to be torn to shreds by the right while Dem pols sanctimoniously moralize that ACORN and its members “had it coming”.  But without our own institutions built on social solidarity, class self-awareness, and a goal of lasting community, we will forever be atomized and powerless to defend even our own most basic self-interests.

    • Mu on October 28, 2010 at 2:42 am


     . . . at Huffington Post.  

     I did orange off-and-on for 6 years, from July 2004 til into July 2010.  No more.  

     A day or two ago I asked here — in a comments thread — about the apoplexy and conniption fits I can only imagine the ‘bots at orange going through, to wit:  what I speculate is a mixture of unbridled adoration of The One and unalloyed anger towards anyone who fails to share in said adoration.  Much as it’s been for the past 6-18 months*, but more so.

     Well, over at Huffington Post I got a taste of it, a peek.  There’s an article up there now (Wed night) about President Obama meeting with “progressive bloggers” (you can pretty much guess who all that is).  When several people, including me, opined in sum “Too little, too late” . . . whoa Nelly!  the ‘bots, the Posse, descended upon us!  How DARE we!  We must love Republicans (never getting, you know, getting, that our disappointment with the President has been his fawning at and over Republicans, at Democrats’, and America’s, expense since January 20, 2009).

     Anyway, my point is that although I don’t do orange any more, I did get exposed to what it must be like there these days.  Whoa!


    *Of course, there was Primary Season, where I simply had to take a several month hiatus — it just got to weird and intense there.  Then there was the run-up to the General Election, which I happily participated in:  it was Obama (and what he promised, and us) vs. McCain/Palin.  Then there was the cautious optimism during the winter and spring of 2009.  Then came the less-than-what-was-needed Stimulus Package.  Disappointing, but, hey, you can’t win ’em all.  Then came the 2009 Summer of Equivocation/Capitulation over the Public Option (never mind Single Payer).  And THAT’s where the lines began to get drawn between we, the Democrats, who liked but were becoming disappointed in and with Obama, and the bots, who would defend The One over and about and regarding anything and everything.  And it’s been downhill ever since.


    • banger on October 28, 2010 at 4:06 pm

    First, the “left” in America barely exists as an movement based on some commonly agree-upon intellectual or moral framework. The essence of American leftist thought comes down to “it’s not fair!” and other pathetic statements about the real world of politics. The real analysis of our political economy does not exist.

    Second, the left does not understand that politics is about helping your friends and punishing your enemies and that means power. By power I don’t mean electoral power but something a little deeper. Cuban-Americans in south Florida understand power–they have, for 50 years dominated U.S. policy on Cuba. We can look at the Israeli lobby in this country, not that large, but able to utterly dominate not only the U.S. policy not only with Israel but the entire world, at least for awhile, when the neo-con faction had power in this country (thankfully this power has waned).

    Third, courage is not very great on the left-side of the political spectrum. Not only are people afraid of the authorities but they are unwilling to risk their privileged economic situation on organizing real communities and collectives. Without a committed collective or union of some kind meaning that resources are pooled and decisions about major life issues are collective, there is no way at all that the left can have any influence on politics today. Are you willing to give up your house, your life-savings maybe your life? Probably not.

    The most likely situation is that things will fall apart within the next 2-5 years for everyone and being left or right will not be that relevant. Hopefully, some communities can be established that are real and not virtual but I see little evidence of that since the liberal/progressives are just as obsessed by radical individualism (which precludes communitarianism, communism, collectives and real community) as the right, maybe even more so.

    I maintain that there is no way the left in this country can be or will be an effective political force. The time for that is over–we are headed for two possible futures: neo-feudalism or fascist authoritarianism or some combination of the two. That’s it. No chance of anything else considering the utter degradation of American culture today due to Americans of all stripes addiction to fantasies. Most Americans have no idea of what is really going on in the world or in their own country. Republican or Democratic its just pro-wrestling and not real. The power lies with those (duh!) who have the money and the juice to impose their will and, I assure you, they will continue to do so and will do anything including mass killings to keep their positions.  

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