Friday, September 4, 2020

Advocate For Something Positive (and other thoughts)


Been reading my usual sources for several months; CommonDreams, CounterPunch, Rabble.Ca, Caitlin Johnstone, Tom Tomorrow, Jacobin, Press Progress, ... etc., etc., and so forth. Most of these sources contain excellent critiques of the rotten system we're all living under, but very few provide a sustained advocacy for anything positive and concrete. And you can search through the later years of this blog and find me saying on more than a few occasions my frustrations with progressive's failures to offer up a positive vision for their societies. Even environmentalism is usually packaged as a condemnation of humanity's/capitalism's crimes against the eco-system. When was the last time you read a celebratory description of an ecologically sustainable society/lifestyle that we could be living in right now if we had a change in our political-economy?

[Note: At some point later on I ran out of gas. There's a missing common dreams link. And other sections are just going to be the titles I put in. Fuck it. Who cares?]

Again, I advocated for "Workers as Citizens" (henceforth "WAC") as a way to change our political-economy.  Instead of advocating for some hopelessly vague revolutionary process, I said that we should use the pseudo-democratic system of our parliamentary system to give workers the power to design their own systems of governance in their workplaces. All workers would have the latent power to democratically reform the sites where they earn their livings. If a workplace was completely happy leaving the boss in charge and the authoritarian top-down system of orders and instructions in place, they were free to do so. (Although there would be certain "inalienable rights" such as freedom of speech and freedom from arbitrary dismissal that would exist regardless.) But if workers wanted to design a democratic form of governance, up to and including the whole purpose of the work place, what it made and how it made it, etc., then they could do so.  (There would be no expropriation of ownership though. If the employer was an individual who actually created the enterprise and personally owed its debts, this had to be taken into consideration. Neither owners or managers could be summarily dismissed or expropriated. However one can imagine the different power levels that would then exist between the employees and rentier shareholders.)

This empowerment of workers would be achieved via Parliament but would obviously have to be argued for outside of Parliament. I began talking about WAC in the 1990's. I anticipated YEARS of work communicating for it and building a mass-movement demanding it. But leftists have been wedded to the useless strategy of condemning neo-liberalism and vainly trying to recreate the Keynesian welfare state. (Or they were screeching incoherently about "revolutions" within tiny cliques of radicals.) I advocated FOR "democracy." I sought to utilize an already-existing vocabulary, an already known system of law making, already understood values, to push for a radical concept. To be perfectly honest I can't say that I understand what the North American left was really trying to do all those decades. Whatever it was it hasn't achieved much.


Somebody talked about the idiotic and senile Joe Biden's selection of the pro-elitist, authoritarian Kamala Harris as his running-mate as being some sort of "coalition building." What nonsense. Remember that the Democratic Party leadership STOLE the nomination from Bernie Sanders. So an illegitimate right-wing, authoritarian presidential candidate has selected a right-wing, authoritarian to share his ticket. That's just the DNC shitting on the left again.


Yes. Trump is, in most respects, worse than Biden (or Hillary Clinton). Again though, in at least one important respect he was better than Hillary Clinton. That maniac Clinton seemed to actually want to get into a shooting war with Russia over Syria. If you need me to explain the insanity of that to you, you are (at least at the moment) too far gone to be reasoned with. But regardless of who is worse in what way, the simple fact of the matter is that both the Democrats and Republicans embody a "death system" of suicide for civilization. Since they control the political system in the USA (which is itself controlled by the oligarchy) there can be no "political" solution ("electoral politics") to the problems they are facing in the USA. 

The Democratic Party's moral corruption and contempt for progressives is magnificently depicted in this video from Jimmy Dore. Listen to his words to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. The party allowed life-long Republican John Kasich to trash her after she's turned down her criticisms of her party's elites to try to go along to get along.

Speaking of AOC's attempts to get along with the vermin in charge of the Democratic Party, there's some good comments in this post at "CommonDreams" describing what AOC said during the 90 seconds she had to nominate Bernie Sanders for the party's candidate for President. (This was a formality since Sanders had the requisite number of delegates to be nominated.) Anyways, she used her minute-and-a-half to condemn the brutality of the USA's economic system and to praise the people's movement that is rising-up in opposition to it.

At one point, someone in the comments mentions the need for a third-party against the corrupt Dems and Repugs. One "Skip Moreland" answers with:

Never going to happen, the whole 3rd party meme.

1st there are not enough progressives to win any election except for maybe an isolated here and there election.

2nd Even progressives are not on the same page. We have too many issues to cover so we can’t really fight for one issue.

3rd As long as progressives are unwillingly to compromise, they won’t get anything they desire. You can demand purity, but you will never win.

My liberalism goes to the far left of many, but I know that w/o compromise, nothing I want will ever happen. If you won’t compromise, then you will always be pissing into the wind.

Quite frankly we have done better then what I have expected. Back in the 50s’ I would have never thought that we would have won some battles, considering what we faced. A black president, same sex marriage, white people supporting BLM (which hasn’t happened since the 60s’.).

Really how do you expect to win when you are such a minority? Think you can pout long enough and people will accept your demands?

It took over 40 yrs for the workers back in the 1890s’ to win any of the battles they fought for. Long bloody battles of strikes and marching to win any rights for workers.

And the rich have managed to defeat them in the end, since reagan. And they will continue to as long as the ave american isn’t going to fight back. And I see no such movement. They aren’t standing up. Instead they go along with the divide and conquer tactics and refuse to accept that they share anything in common with the minorities.

Back in the late 1890s’, white people refused to accept the blacks and communists to join their movement. But eventually they did and that is when they started to win. They had to compromise with people they disliked.

Want to win? Then you must compromise. Don’t and you will always lose. AOC recognizes that. Purity means you lose, always.

There was some excellent pushback against that drivel:

"BigB" writes:

Progressives have compromised their values in every election in US history. In truth, it is progressives who are the only voting block that ever “compromises.” Think about it. Does the Christian Right compromise? Do the corporate democrats compromise? Did the Tea Party compromise?
In realty, the time has come for progressives to not get off their asses, but to stay on them, away from the polls. Tell the Democratic Party that we have an electoral bomb strapped to our chest, and we are willing to set it off by NOT VOTING UNITIL WE GET WHAT WE WANT. That how the Koch’s and the Tea Party did it. That’s how the Christian Right did it.
We need to tell Joe Biden, the DNC, and every other democrat, that unless we get their promises, in writing, that single payer and green new deal are passed and implemented in the first quarter of next year, we withhold any and all current and future support for the Democratic Party. Period.
Yes, I am willing to die on that hill, to give a Donald Trump four more years. Because let’s face it, where will we, the nation, and the planet, be after four more years of corporate democratic rule?
As a progressive, I would like to apologize to the rest of the nation. Like many of you, I have voted for the lesser of two evils. I have contributed to the utterly corrupt and untenable duopoly that has run this nation into a goddamn iceberg. However. I promise to never do it again. Starting right now, I refuse to vote for any candidate that isn’t progressive.

And "mbob" adds:

Very sketchy analysis.

Progressives are about 1/3 of Democrats (Democrats are 30% of voters ) and over 1/2 of Independents (Independents are 40%). That makes 30% of voters Progressive and only 20% establishment Democrats. There are more Progressives than establishment Democrats and the demographics will continue to favor Progressives over Democrats.

Progressives simply need to leave the Democratic party and unite with their Independent brothers and sisters to form a progressive workers’ party. As long as Progressives remain Democrats, they have no future. (It is not true that the Democratic party is center-left. Robert Raymond wrote a January 2019 op-ed in Truthout showing that “The Democratic Party is Farther to the Right than Most Voters.” This wouldn’t even be arguable except for constant MSM misrepresentation of what “moderate” means.)

It is true that Progressives don’t compromise. They merely fold utterly. That’s why they’re ignored – not because of their numbers. Over 90% of Democrats (i.e., both the progressive ones and the establishment ones) favored a 10% reduction in the 2021 proposed military budget. The vast majority of Democratic representatives voted against their constituents interests and suffered no consequences. This is not an exception: it’s the rule. Progressives expect nothing from their party, get nothing from their party, and continue to support their party.

As far as “being on the same page,” it looks to me that Progressives are on the same page when it comes to the most important matters such as peace, economic justice, protection of democracy, GND, M4A, protecting and expanding Social Security and Medicaid, combating racism and sexism. How much more unity do you need?

The true cause of the lack of progressive parties is the existence of the Democratic party. That’s its primary intended purpose. It’s not meant to be a home for Progressives, it’s intended to be their prison. Together with their supposed rivals, the Democrats control the entire election process, from which candidates are eligible to appear on ballots, how debates are conducted, how votes are counted, who gets media coverage, the whole story. The major parties are (major party is?) the reason there are no progressive parties.

And I can think of nothing to add to those excellent rebuttals.




lagatta à montréal said...

Well, I'm in the réseau écosocialiste here, which is somewhat linked to Québec solidaire, though not all of us belong to that party. We have been contemplating alternatives. The so-called "degrowth" movement has some, but a friend in Italy says he likes many of their ideas but not their name as asking people to be "poorer" sounds very elitist.

Today I'm off to the inauguration of a small park within large Parc Lafontaine where children will learn how to cycle properly, fluidly and safely. (Such installations are common in Denmark and the Netherlands). Since I was a member of Le Monde à bicyclette... decades ago... I'm invited along with other veterans this morning.

I'm very interested in continuing this conversation, and hope that others are too.

By the way, what is that ferocious-looking little creature?

thwap said...

It's a Tasmanian devil. The other two creatures are from Tasmania as well but I forget what they are.

There's a nice David Attenborough video about Tasmania.