Tag Archive | "Democratic Party"

Occupy the Democratic Party say misguided writers at The Nation

pics on Sodahead

Writers at The Nation magazine are calling for progressives to occupy the Democratic Party and take back control of it from the evil-bellied ones who control it now. Honestly, I don’t know whether to laugh or cry at the futility of their attempt.

How they plan to do this is unexplained. And really, who would want the rotting, corrupt, co-opted shamble that is the Democratic Party anyway? Also unexplained is how to take it over without also becoming slimed. And just how you Occupy the Democratic Party?

The primary writer at The Nation, “T.R. Runner”, is too timid to use his real name and also too timid to call for substantive change. All the change must happen within the Democratic Party. Third parties are evil, wicked, mean, and nasty. His faux rebellion appears tissue thin. It sounds like he wants a nice, orderly change of power with the Blue Dogs agreeing to politely exit their positions of power in the Democratic Party. Good luck with that.

Think3 Institute.

We see here how far Runner will go, and it isn’t far enough. The writer’s contempt for third parties on principle is plain enough. Runner is willing to risk driving “Blue Dogs” and other unprogressive Democrats out of the party, but is not willing to take a chance on a progressive exodus from an unreconstructed Democracy. In Runner’s imagination there can’t be a “real second party” in a multi-party system. Readers may infer that a progressive bolt must not happen no matter how often progressives fail to take control of the party. Runner, at least, wants nothing to do with the “wilderness”

Believing the change can come by reforming the Democratic Party from within is a fool’s game.

Peter Camejo wrote The Avocado Declaration in 2004. It details how a prime function of the Democratic Party is to siphon real protest into itself, where it then renders it inert. This has been going on for quite some time. After all, the Democratic Party back-stabbed the Populist Party in the 1890’s.

From The Avocado Declaration, which eloquently explains how both parties work to chanel dissent into it where it will be neutered, with the Democratic Party playing soft cop to the Republican hard cop.

For over 130 years the two major parties have been extremely effective in preventing the emergence of any mass political formations that could challenge their political monopoly. Most attempts to build political alternatives have been efforts to represent the interests of the average person, the working people. These efforts have been unable to develop. Both major parties have been dominated by moneyed interests and today reflect the historic period of corporate rule.

Every major gain in our history, even pre-Civil War struggles –such as the battles for the Bill of Rights, to end slavery, and to establish free public education– as well as those after the Civil War have been the product of direct action by movements independent of the two major parties and in opposition to them.

The Democratic Party is different. They act as a “broker” negotiating and selling influence among broad layers of the people to support the objectives of corporate rule. The Democratic Party’s core group of elected officials is rooted in careerists seeking self-promotion by offering to the corporate rulers their ability to control and deliver mass support. And to the people they offer some concessions, modifications on the platform of the Republican Party. One important value of the Democratic Party to the corporate world is that it makes the Republican Party possible through the maintenance of the stability that is essential for “business as usual.” It does this by preventing a genuine mass opposition from developing.

Neither party can be reformed from within because the apparatchiks and those who they are beholden to will not allow it. The change and pressure must come from outside their structures.

Posted in Politics

Imagine 200 Occupy Candidates This Year…

Imagine 200 Occupy candidates running for Congress this year –- independent of the Democrats and Republicans.

Imagine if these candidates were not careerist politicians, but activists and ordinary people, running as accountable representatives of a real, fighting movement of the 99%.

Imagine homeowners who are facing foreclosure running against local sheriffs, and pledging to stop all evictions.

Imagine teachers fighting union-busting; debt-ridden students fighting for free education; low-wage workers fighting for a living wage; and environmentalists fighting big oil.

Imagine them all running with tens of thousands of Occupy activists backing them up: going door-to-door, rallying, protesting, and using these candidates to build the power of our grassroots mass movement.

Last year, the Occupy Wall Street movement showed that when the 99% speaks up, the seething anger of millions can transform into social power and change the whole political landscape.

But, this year, the 1% is making a comeback, using their domination of electoral politics. Had hundreds of independent working class candidates run, it would have been a different story.

And that’s why it’s absolutely crucial to support the few candidates who are running and challenging the two-party corporate duopoly this year.

Credit: capitolhilltimes.com

In Seattle, Occupy activist and Socialist Alternative candidate Kshama Sawant – a teacher – is running for State House against the most powerful legislator in Washington State, Democratic Party leader and House Speaker, Frank Chopp.

For the rest of the article, please visit The North Star.

Posted in Politics, Running

Why the Democratic Party is in trouble

“There’s no there, there.” The Democratic Party seemingly has few core values it will stand and fight for. Instead we get endless and craven compromise. Worse, the Democratic Party, having abandoned its traditional values, no longer appeals to those who would have supported it in the past.

The lack of message from the Democratic Party was made clear to me this weekend at a family event while talking to two relatives. We agreed the system is corrupt, the economy is in dire condition, bankers who should be criminally indicted haven’t been, way too much federal money has been used to bail out Wall Street without helping Main Street, and so on. Their anger was palpable.

This should be fertile territory for the left and the Democratic Party to organize and recruit in. But instead, both of my relatives are hardcore Romney supporters, see him as an agent of change, and Obama as a puppet of financial interests.

A few decades ago they would have been Democrats. But that was before the Democrats pissed in the face of their traditional constituency of the poor, unions, working class, and minorities and instead reinvented themselves as tepid, gutless alternatives to the Republican Party. But the Republican Party has deftly taken populist anger and directed it into their party. Meanwhile Democrats ramble on about making government bigger and how we need more taxes. And that’s no message at all, or at least not one that resonates.

One of those relatives I talked to is a high level tech executive, the other a systems consultant. They are smart, savvy, and well-informed. And they think the Democratic Party is composed of idiots and that Obama will lose. In the 1960’s, they would have been Democrats.

The rising populist anger in this country should belong to the left. But instead the collapse of the left has allowed the right to hijack this rising tide of discontent.

I’m a populist and discuss politics with people on all sides of the spectrum. We populists get along with just about everyone. Guess what, plenty of right wingers are pissed about the same things that liberals and progressives are.

But the Democratic Party is oblivious to this anger and what to do with it. Plus they have no real message.

Posted in Politics, populism

Liberals think Democratic Party stands for what it did decades ago. Big mistake

Many liberals and progressives bemoan what Obama and Democratic Party does. They think the Democratic Party still stands for what it did in the 60’s; for the poor, the working class, minorities, social justice. But it doesn’t and hasn’t for years. Those who run the Democratic Party abandoned all that decades ago. That’s why they don’t fight for what progressives think they should. They aren’t progressives or liberals and are basically contemptuous or ignore of such views.

Look, LBJ had huge flaws but he wanted the Voting Rights Act passed and he twisted arms to do it. After it finally passed he said, “There goes the South for a generation.” I can’t imagine any ranking Democrat today taking such a bold move, unless of course it was to support the banksters and big business against the interests of the rest of us.

Many progressive Democrats are confused. They think Obama is somehow one of them who tragically went astray. He’s not. Neither was Bill Clinton, who owns direct responsibility for our financial collapse and recession because he presided over and encouraged the repeal of Glass-Stegall, the decades-old law that had limited the power of banks. Once the law was repealed, the insane speculation and plunder began.

My Scottish expat friend and fellow podcaster Steve Hynd says “Bush was America’s Thatcher, Obama is America’s Tony Blair.” Blair was no liberal and neither is Obama. Reform is not possible within the Democratic Party. Other alternatives must be explored.

Posted in Politics

Is Obama a wimpy disaster?

Well, they've already declared class war against us, haven't they?

While Obama has been a disaster for most of us, he’s been wonderful for the elites and has plenty of backbone when it comes to defending their interests.

Marc Cooper

The Democratic Party establishment has plenty of backbone. It is strong, not weak. It shows absolutely no fear whatsoever in promising its perpetually yearning constituencies one thing and then delivering mostly the opposite of what has been promised. The party pays the piper, period.

So, yes. We are, indeed, witnessing a fairly significant failure — perhaps a full-blown disaster– emanating from the White House. But it’s of one piece with the Congressional Democrats (or to be precise, with the overwhelming majority of them).I repeat one more time: we not only have a President that betrays the hope he engendered, but we have an entire dysfunctional and non-responsive political system at which to gawk in fear and loathing.

He adds that in most countries with high unemployment and growing disparities in wealth you would see peasants with pitchforks. Well, we are seeing that here but it’s not from the left, it’s from the Tea Party. Meanwhile, too many liberals and progressives wait for Obama to morph into the mighty Liberalman they are sure he really is. Good luck with that.

Louis Proyect

Over the next couple of years, the U.S. ruling class will be forced to sharpen the blades and become more aggressive in the class war. At a certain point, the appeals to Obama to stop acting so “wimpy” will ring even more hollow than they ring today. He is not spineless. He is not cowardly. He is not an appeaser. And he is no George McFly. He is rather a bold, combative and fearless fighter on behalf of the class that funded his grubby rise to power and nothing will stop him except a bloody nose—metaphorically speaking.

Remember, Obama was backed very early and with huge contributions by the investment banks.

Posted in News

Democrats having nervous breakdown


Mark Halperin in Time

Is it hyperbolic to say the Democratic Party is in the midst of a nervous breakdown? I have been covering national politics since 1988, and I don’t remember a situation quite like this. The signs of a crack-up are everywhere.

Democrats are understandably — and largely justified in being — frustrated that they lost an election based on Republicans defending tax cuts for the wealthy that are only expiring because of a budget gimmick championed by George Bush — and based on criticism of their apparent lack of concern over the deficit, by a party that has shown no past or current seriousness about deficit reduction and the hard choices involved. Losing those political fights was as inexplicable as it was hard for the Democrats. Maybe that’s why Thursday seemed to have donkeys melting down all over the place.

It’s not inexplicable at all. Establishment Democrats and in particular Obama don’t fight back. They don’t throw punches or make it clear that if they are screwed with there will be consequences. So the opposition has no respect for them and certainly doesn’t fear them.

Had the Republicans tried similar tactics with LBJ, they would have been smoking rubble. “You’ll kiss my ass in Macy’s window and smile when you’re doing it.”

The only real question is, are the Democrats gutless poodles or are they basically in agreement with the Republicans but don’t want to admit it?

Posted in News

Democratic governor. Democrats are elitist and gutless

The Fighting Poodles of the Democratic Party prepare to do battle against Republicans

Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland

Democrats suffer from an “intellectual elitism” that prevents them from adopting the type of populist tone to relate to voters, he said. And while President Obama had made a series of monumental legislative advancements — any one of which would have been “historic” in its own right — he fails to recognize that he is being “slapped in the face” by his Republican critics.

Perhaps the real truth is that Obama is basically complicit with the Republicans. I mean, he did work with them secretly to kill a probe by Spain into war crimes by George Bush.

“I think there is a hesitancy to talk using populist language. I think it has to do with a sort of intellectual elitism that considers that kind of talk is somehow lacking in sophistication. I’m not sure where it comes from. But I think it’s there. There’s an unwillingness to draw a line in the sand.”

That says it all. The overweening arrogance and implied elitism of the mainstream Democratic Party is just killing them. People in the heartland know when they’re being condescended to and told that urban elites know what’s best for all those untutored unwashed goobers in the country who really need to STFU. Bizarrely, this approach has backfired badly for Democrats. Who would have imagined that could happen?. Plus, they never take a stand on anything so why should anyone respect them?

Strickland said he was dumbfounded at the party’s inability to sell the idea that the rates for the wealthy should be allowed to expire. “I mean, if we can’t win that argument we might as well just fold up,”

I’ll happily come to the funeral. The Democratic Party is long past its expiration date.

“I saw what CNN said after that meeting yesterday. A line saying the president said he should have been willing to work with the GOP earlier. What? After all of this you don’t realize these people want to destroy you and your agenda? How many times do you have to be, you know, slapped in the face?”

Remember, this is from a Democratic governor.

Posted in News

Palace revolt in the Democratic Party

Soros on Obama. “I am used to fighting losing battles, but I don’t like losing without a fight.”

Big Democratic donors plan to ignore Obama, fund their own initiatives to fight back.

The only real question is whether Obama’s passivity is due to him being in way over his head or because he agrees with the Republican agenda. But, whatever the reason, I can’t recall any previous president who virtually never fought back against attacks. Can you?

Posted in News

Both parties are complicit in our economic collapse

No, that can’t be, some say. The recession is clearly all the fault of the other political party. They are the evildoers. We are the good guys. Actually, no. When it comes to our economic crisis, which was triggered by the cratering of the subprime market, both parties share much blame. The policies and actions of both parties, along with their deep coziness with the financial sector, created a bubble that was destined to explode. Garbage securities were sold with no accountability or regulatory oversight. Long-standing laws limiting bank power were repealed. Federal entities guaranteed mortgages that should never have been issued. And now, with the foreclosure debacle upon us, it’s clear that fraud and corruption are rampant.

Regulatory agencies were gutted and rendered as ineffective as possible under both Bush Administrations. They cut budgets so the agencies would be understaffed and made it clear that ambitious prosecutions would not be welcome. This was done in the Randian belief that markets, if only left alone by an interfering government, would regulate themselves. Can we please throw this bizarre belief in the scrap heap of history? Markets, if left alone, do not play nice. Rather, they turn into pirates. The events of the past few years conclusively demonstrate this.

Under Clinton, the Department of Housing and Urban Development undertook to increase home ownership from 60% to 70%. Subprime mortgages were the vehicle for this (by a bizarre coincidence, these were also the mortgages that Wall Street made the most money from.) Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac backstopped the mortgages by guaranteeing them. Clinton cheerfully presided over repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act, a law which had been in effect since the 1930’s and which prevented certain types of bank mergers. These two actions led directly to the creation of the subprime bubble.

The floodgates opened. All manner of NINJA (No Income, No Job, and No Assets) mortgages went flying through the system, were bundled together and securitized. Wall Street made billions. Since the regulatory agencies were snoozing, no one cared much that the foundation for all of this, subprime mortgages, was made of sand.

Financial bloggers like Calculated Risk and Mish were way ahead of the mainstream media and the government on predicting the collapse of subprime. They were early and right. Subprime imploded and took the economy with it. The states where the real estate bubble was the most extreme, like California. have suffered the worst, with high unemployment and foreclosure rates.

Obama was backed early and with huge contributions by Wall Street. He was their guy. Hillary was too independent for them. McCain thought them to be “spoiled brats and ruthless opportunists” who would take bailout money, keep it, and then pay themselves huge bonuses. (He was right.)  This is from Charles Gasparino’s new book Bought and Paid For: The Unholy Alliance Between Barack Obama and Wall Street.,He details the decades-long alliances of both parties with Wall Street. And if you’re a liberal who thinks the book must be suspect because Gasparino is a conservative, then you don’t get the point. Both parties are culpable.

Obama had no such qualms about with Wall Street. He told them their mortgages were swell and then, after the economy collapsed, asked them for advice on how to fix it. Did he understand he was asking the architects of the disaster how to rebuild what they previously destroyed? Apparently not, because he bought several of them, Geithner and Summers among them, into his administration. Obama also allowed accounting rules to be neutered so banks no longer had to mark-to-market. They instead are now permitted to price their holdings as they deem fit. They then book illusory profits and pay themselves more huge bonuses. You and I have to mark-to-market. The big banks don’t.

The financial blog Zero Hedge has done a superb job of exposing financial fraud and criminality. They say The fraud started at the very top: With government leaders of both parties. So, what do we do? Yelling that the other side is to blame is pointless and self-defeating. Instead, citizens on all sides of the political spectrum can educate themselves on these issues, insure that the issues stay in the public spotlight, organize in their geographical areas, and then maybe gain real political power. This is precisely what the Populist Party did in the 1890’s. They were farmers who were losing their farms to predatory banks and being gouged by crop speculators. They joined together to form co-ops to buy their goods at a fair price, and then became a national force. The trust-busting of Teddy Roosevelt was certainly influenced by the populists.

We’re seeing an upsurge of populism now. As far as I’m concerned, bring it on. Because something needs to be done.

(Crossposted from CAIVN)

Posted in News

The next two years: war between the parties, and war within the parties

Major schisms are forming within both major parties, and last night’s election makes this all the more obvious. There will now be open warfare within both parties, as the factions vie for dominance.

On the Republican side, Tea Party candidates did well enough that they can no longer be ignored, denigrated, or cynically exploited by party insiders, much as they might want to. Instead, GOP leaders now want to stop Palin, and by association, the rest of the Tea Party. It’s not just that Palin is unelectable as a presidential candidate; it’s more that her insurgency, along with the Tea Party, is a direct threat to the power base, funding, and influence of the Republican elite. A rambunctious Tea Party simply cannot exist within the current confines of the Republican Party. Something will have to give. What Palin is attempting is precisely what netroots wants to do too: storm the citadels of their party then seize control. But, the Empire will strike back, make no mistake about that. (So far, Palin has been more successful in her attempts than netroots, why is this?)

Progressives and the left are in revolt against Obama. This is certainly a major reason the Democrats did badly in the midterms. “The base was demoralized, not because the Dems went too far left, but because they went too far right.” says Ian Welch. The Democratic Party abandoned, ignored, and back-stabbed its left flank only to find they needed those votes. Oopsie. So what did they do to win them back? Why, they insulted progressives and mocked them for their supposed stupidity. Bizarrely, this tactic appeared to have alienated those it wished to attract. Who could have predicted such a thing could happen? Certainly not the Democrats. On the other side of this are those who want the party to be ever-more centrist and accommodating. As with the Republicans, these two factions can no longer co-exist, even semi-peacefully.

The battles within the parties will likely lead to splits and to the formation of third and independent party runs in 2012. This will happen on all sides of the political spectrum, and maybe in the center too, if Bloomberg runs for president. We are living in highly unstable political times. The implosion of the economy and the resultant unemployment and anger will not be going away soon. That’s what’s fueling the schisms in both parties, along with the belief that elites in both parties are remote, isolated, and don’t have much of a clue about what to do, and that they’re old and in the way.

Of course, with the Democrats getting clocked in the House races, it’s a whole new gridlocked-filled day in Congress. There will be much sound and fury, signifying nothing, as the parties go at each other. Well, the Republicans will certainly go at the Democrats. Whether the Democrats will ever learn to return a punch remains to be seen. But they still control the Senate and Obama has veto power, so in all likelihood, not much will be accomplished in the next two years. But it needs to be. The economy is ailing, the infrastructure crumbling, and can you hear it in the distance, the sound of peasants with pitchforks?

So, what changed in this election? Sure, the Republicans picked up a big victory, but whether they will be able to get a legislative agenda through remains to be seen. Both parties will have to deal with internal revolts. Given such an unstable landscape, long-term predictions are pointless. We’ll just have to wait and see what happens.

(crossposted from CAIVN)

Posted in News


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