Closing thoughts on Netroots Nation

David Dayan ponders the role of progressives trying to work for change and the Netroots Nation goal of electing more of them within a Democratic Party establishment that doesn’t much care for them. He sees some hopeful signs among organizers but little from DC.

And yet. On the panel in which I participated on the foreclosure crisis, I took up a theme about the pathetic Obama/Treasury foreclosure mitigation program being a failure of liberalism, a confirmation of Ronald Reagan’s infamous statement that the most dangerous words in America are “I’m from the government and I’m here to help.” HAMP is not a liberal program, but it’s coming from a government seen as liberal, and the consequences are dire for millions of people as well as most everything we care about. And without resetting the housing market, we’re not going to fix the economy ever. The Administration seems far too content to ride this out and rely on cycles of economics, still wedded to a belief that the health of the banks means more than the security of the people. This would ring a death rattle for the middle class and basically consign them to no future.

While I admire the determination and zeal of Netroots Nation, they seem befuddled by the continuing and never-ending support the Obama Administration gives to big banks. A radical might say, well, that’s the job he was hired to do, not that Obama has any qualms about it. He’s a corporatist. So, given the corporate dominance of the political system, is the slow Netroots Nation approach of electing progressives going to produce change? I don’t think it can, at least not in the time frame needed.

Also, please consider Peter Camejo’s The Avocado Declaration, wherein he explains how a primary historical role of the Democratic Party has been to co-opt genuine dissent and render it meaningless.

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  • “I don’t think it can, at least not in the time frame needed.” This is an important point. imho, the only way to break the corporate dominance of the political system, as you put it, is to elect candidates who are not beholden to the parties that represent corporate dominance of the political system. One of the arguments against third party and independent alternatives to the corporatist puppets in the Democratic and Republican parties is that it will “take too long” to build a third party etc. In reality, we no longer have any time to waste pretending that the Democratic and Republican parties are not part of the problem rather than the solution.

    • Steven L M

      I agree. As electorally loyal as i have been to the Democratic Party, what we really need is a party (or maybe two) to completely REPLACE both the GOP and the democratic Party.

      • WE need multiple parties, and a parliamentary system, like virtually all other democracies have. Then smaller parties can play a role in government too.

  • DJ

    I find it just a little ironic that this self-described progressive writes, “without resetting the housing market, we’re not going to fix the economy ever.” He’s promoting that neo-con ideal of build and sell, borrow and buy.

    I recognize that housing, along with cheap fossil fuels, is one of the primary drivers of our economy. I used to be a Realtor, and I watched farmland and wilderness get gobbled up by developers. It made me ill every time a new subdivision opened. Housing only drives the economy when we’re building more of them as fast as we can.

    A real makeover of the economy won’t rely on consumption and waste to keep people employed. It’ll be a painful transition, but it won’t be “more of the same.”

    • That’s one of my points, Netroots Nation never seriously questions the underpinnings of the economic system. Subprime was the fault of the Bushies, they seem to say, forgetting that Glass-Steagall was repealed under Clinton with his urging. The problems aren’t just with one party, it’s with the structure of the system as a whole and with increasing corporate control of DC

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