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.
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.