10 October 2005

Proposal for an American solidarity movement

I finally got a chance to read some of the blog discussions about the formation of a political coalition to challenge the status quo. Newshog has a good post titled Dinosaur Democrats that lists a number of reasons why we shouldn't buy into the naysayers' attitude that the Dems are the only option. When discussing a model for such a coalition, Newshog mentions some single-issue parties that have been able to put pressure on standard parties during close races. I really hope that this isn't the sort of thing other people are talking about. The Left's already balkanized enough. I'd personally like to see things turn the other way. Why can't we have a broad coalition--broad enough to even appeal to many conservates--that would leave behind trivial issues and focus on the real bread-and-butter sort of stuff?

The first item on the agenda should be to kick all the plutocrats out of office. At the same time, we can get rid of the entire system of corporate lobbyists. A broad coalition outside of the main parties should be able to find a handful of people among millions of Americans who are completely untainted by corporate money and secret business connections, someone with the right personal qualities from the right sort of background. In my opinion, anyone with extensive business ties (foreign or domestic) or with ties to former Democratic or Republican administrations should be immediately stricken from any list of potential candidates for office. There are plenty of people to choose from--why pick an insider?

Government intrusion into our lives is another issue where there's broad agreement. If we can just get people to turn off the boobtube and take their red pills for a few days running, I think we can even convince the vast majority of Americans that the current "international crisis" is a complete fabrication. Within the vast assortment of ills (potential and current) afflicting mankind, terrorism doesn't even make the list. I remember reading some news report on "all" the terrible acts of terrorism that Al Qaeda (or somebody...) has recently committed throughout the Middle East, and the number, viewed objectively, was miniscule. I'm sure more people die falling off ladders on any given day. Instead of the eventual trillion spent in Iraq, we could have saved everyone much trouble and spent a billion in research funds on improved ladder technology. If we would have simply stood unfazed by terrorist plots, terrorism would be proven to be just what it is--a violent drama staged by out-of-work mercenaries. These are the people we should target--not entire societies.

I also think that we could get support for new technological projects. If we stopped spending more than the rest of the world combined on defense, we could put the money into some bold initiative to set up windmills across the central U.S. This would employ people and put the U.S. on the forefront of a technological revolution. Unlike Bush's tax-cuts for the wealthy, this use of the nation's wealth would produce something that would ensure a bright future. Our grandchildren, instead of cursing us for using up all the oil close to the surface, would be praising us for our wisdom and hard work.

The first step in all of this is to get ALL of the current crowd of corporate-backed cronies out of power. And replace them with ordinary people who don't know any Saudi princes or Texas oilmen. And who don't even know each other. I think a broad coalition could do this. A first step might be to construct a list of the types of candidates that we would all be willing to vote for. We should also facilitate the creation of a political process that doesn't rely on huge amounts of money. Perhaps we could create an internal vetting process that would put us in charge of determining whether any given candidate had any long-term chances. Such a list could have excluded both Bush and Kerry at the outset of the last election. Any ideas?


Ted said...

Although I "formally joined" American Solidarity yesterday, I still have many doubts and am skeptical.

At this stage in the process, I'm of a mind that the balkanization you speak of may be a very good thing. I believe strongly that the various factions on the left must break completely from the Democratic Party and that those factions must be allowed to strengthen and clarify their visions. I believe we will find common ground, and therefore the foundation of a solidarity movement, through tolerance of diverse views on the left.

A more specific example: I agree with much of the vision and many of the goals of the Progressive Democrats of America. I disagree with some of what they're about. As long as they're members of the Democratic Party, I cannot feel solidarity with them - should they form a separate party, I could support them.

A last point: I'm really not interested in appealing in any way to conservatives, and would leave any coalition that wishes to do this. I'm no longer interested in being all things to all people. This is a time to sharpen, not dull, our blades.

Karlo said...

I partially agree with the last statement except that I think a wide attack on corporate influence and insiders might create the groundwork for a democratic politics where much more is possible. Much of the conservative movement is simply empty rhetoric put out as a distraction. I have no problem with independent groups within a larger coalition. But the larger coalition has to agree on specific agenda items to make it effective.

The Continental Op said...

Regarding my comrade ddjango's last point: I agree, if "appealing to conservatives" means hewing to a DLC-type "moderate" agenda. But it could also mean appealing to people who think of themselves as "conservatives" because they've been suckered by the right-wing noise machine (i.e. Tom Frank's Kansans and their cousins around the country). Some (though, I'm not as optimistic as Frank and his followers about how many) of those folks could be won over by a real progressive agenda and we shouldn't write them off.

Karlo said...

This is the point I'm trying to make although I can't articulate it well. I think the majority of points in the so-called conservative agenda are little more than artificial sweeteners. But there are some very good points that should be taken up and transformed in a progressive movement. The primary one is perhaps the idea that real value come from work and workers are therefore the center of any strong constituency. American workers largely gravitate to the Republican Party in spite of the fact that the party's promises to them are no more than a sham. A progressive movement should clearly state that workers should get the fruits of their labor. But instead of blaming the working or non-working poor, we should shift the blame to where it belongs--the fatcats who do absolutely nothing but take in ever larger pieces of the pie.