Back From Tulsa
BUT FIRST YOU HAVE TO WANT TO CHANGE (OR WHY THE GREENS ARE LIGHT YEAR AHEAD OF THE DEMS!)
ITS THE PLATFORM STUPID!
This past weekend I had the honor of gathering with Greens from around the country in Tulsa.
You can read the official GP release about the event at:
It is awe inspiring to meet with so many amazing activists and reformist.
I will be writing more extensively on some of the projects that will come of out of the meeting but for now I want to hit briefly on a few points, and share another persons thoughts.
I cant move on before putting a plug for the National Parties Peace Committees work.
US GREEN PARTY PEACE COMMITTEE (GPAX)
The Pax Committee had a meeting where the Greens Presence in Sept 24th was discussed. Greens from around the country will be traveling to DC for the National rally. State and local Greens will also be hosting events. Including an event in Palm Beach County that my local Greens will participate in.
GPAX will also be exploring providing more materials on CO's, OPT OUT, and counter recruitment for local and State Greens to utilize.
So I came home all ramped up about what was happening with GPAX and other projects. Then a new Green in my area brought up the topic about the PDA. Major bummer.
And tell you the truth, I don't have time to worry about the Dems right now. I think it is up to them to worry about the Dems. I have a Party to focus on. But I keep hearing these Dems begging for Greens to just go Dem.
And it frustrates me. Because the truth is there are a lot of great Progressive Dems who work with me all the time on Progressive issues. As the saying goes, some of them are my best friends.
But the sad thing is, it is like the other old saying goes...
FIRST YOU HAVE TO WANT TO CHANGE
The progressive dems can shout all they want at the DLC and they will continue to be ignored. And all the energy they are using bashing their head against an unmovable wall, could be using to build a viable peoples Party that reflects their values. Your Party should reflect your views. Your job as a member of the party should be to promote your and the parties' goals to the outside. Not scrambling like crazy just to get some recognition.
I just hope when the Dems are done ignoring the progressives whommanage to snooker into voting for their barely discernable from the Republican candidates, those progressives will still believe in Democracy enough to join the Greens, instead of just dropping out of the process disgusted and beaten down.
Whenever I ask progressive Dems whether they have read both the Green Party and the Dem Party Platform. The answer is no. I have not met a Dem yet who has read both. I like to think they will get around to reading at least their own parties platform, which should be enough to send any true progressive running for cover. But with all their organizing and knitting orange caps, taking the time to read the document they are rallying around doesn't come up for many. And if it did,they would bow their head in Shame.
It is a document declared to military dominance. If you took out Party references, I bet many Dems would assume it was the Rep or another conservative Party's Platform.
I would love for Dems who fall in the progressive catagory to take the taste test.
Read both Platforms. See which one leaves an unpleasant taste in your mouth. See which one taste like Democracy.
BTW the Greens dont take Corporate Money. You can see where the Dems get theirs below.
Tip one for progressive Dems: you wont win a bidding war with multinational corporation.
Tip Two will be on my next Blog
Below I have included Arianna Huffingtons Peice about the sorry State of the DLC.
I included her piece because at the bottom is an interesting collection of sites that provide background on the DLC and Dem Party, and to be fair it wouldn't be right to include her research without her opinion.
The Democrats 2008 Choice: Sell Out & Lose, Or Stand Up & Win
The 2008 Democratic presidential candidates this week are busy genuflecting at Corporate America's altar - otherwise known as the Democratic Leadership Council (DLC). Now, it's true - the DLC is really just a group of Beltway-insulated corporate-funded hacks who have spent the better part of the last decade trying to undermine the Democratic Party's traditional working class base - a base that had kept Democrats in power for 40 years and now, thanks to the DLC, has been forfeited to the Republicans. Even so, the fact that these presidential candidates feel the need to bow down to the DLC is a troubling sign about whether the Democratic Party is really serious about regaining power in America.
Let's just look at the cold, hard facts about the DLC and its record. The DLC has pushed, among other things, the war in Iraq and "free" trade policies, using bags of corporate money to buy enough Democratic votes to help Republicans make those policies a reality. They have chastised anyone who has opposed those policies as either unpatriotic or anti-business - even as a majority of Americans now oppose the war in Iraq, oppose the DLC's business-written trade deals, and are sick of watching America's economy sold out to the highest corporate bidder. Additionally, in Orwellian fashion, the DLC has also called its extremist agenda "centrist," even though polls show the American public opposes most of their agenda, and supports much of the progressive agenda.
Now, you could make a credible argument that the DLC's corporatization/Republicanization of the Democratic Party was justified, had it led to electoral success for Democrats. Few would argue that today's split-the-difference Democratic Party hasn't followed the DLC's policy direction over the last 10 years. That means the last 10 years of elections really have been a referendum on whether the DLC's model - regardless of any moral judgements about it - actually wins at the polls.
And that's when we get to the real problem with the DLC - its policies are BOTH morally bankrupt, and politically disastrous. The rise of the DLC within the Democratic Party has coincided almost perfectly with the decline of the Democratic Party's power in American politics - a decline that took Democrats from seemingly permanent majority status to permanent minority status. In this last election, just think of Democrats' troubles in Ohio as a perfect example of this. Here was a state ravaged by massive job loss due to corporate-written "free" trade deals - yet Democrats were unable to capitalize on that issue and thus couldn't win the state because the DLC had long ago made sure the party helped pass the very trade policies (NAFTA, China PNTR) that sold out those jobs.
To counter, the DLC holds up Bill Clinton's 1992 win as proof that its policies win elections, but that is so dishonest it's laughable. First and foremost, almost everyone would agree Clinton ran a very un-DLC-like populist campaign for President in 1992, and won far more on the strength of his charisma/personality than any policy platform from a bunch of pencil-pushing geeks at the DLC in Washington, D.C. Secondly, since that 1992 victory - with the exception of Clinton's 1996 victory over one of the weakest GOP challengers in modern history - Democrats have been roundly destroyed in national election after national election.
Thus, we are brought back to the bottom line: with the DLC, Democrats get all of the bad policies, and none of the good electoral outcomes - it is the worst of both worlds.
Why is this the case? Because, above any one issue, Americans don't think Democrats stand for anything. They hear Democrats say they stand up for America's middle class, but then watch as the DLC loudly supports things like Social Security privatization (which the DLC's Wall Street backers love), "free" trade that sells out American jobs (which the DLC's corporate backers love), and wars that send middle-class kids off to die for lies (which the DLC's neo-con ideologues love). The DLC attracts undue attention to itself and these awful policies by claiming to speak for Democrats, attacking the Democratic Party, and reinforcing dishonest right-wing lies about progressives - a surefire way to get press attention. What's left is a widespread impression that the Democratic Party deliberately misleads voters about its priorities, cares only about its own political advancement, and possesses absolutely no core convictions.
Thankfully, the rise of a new populism within the Democratic Party is challenging the tired, hackneyed suits at the DLC, as is alternate fundraising sources that allows candidates to ignore the fat cats who fund the DLC.
But make no mistake about it: the Democratic Party is in the throes of a battle for its soul - a battle that will decide whether Democrats will ever be a majority party again.
On one side, you have the DLC which seeks to remold the Democratic Party into a wholly-owned subsidiary of Corporate America, controlled by a tiny cadre of conservative-leaning elitists in Washington, D.C. who are desperate to hang onto their power over the Democratic Party apparatus in Washington, D.C. These are the people who are so desperate and conniving, they viciously attacked Howard Dean in 2004 and now ruthlessly attack grassroots groups like Moveon.org who, unlike the DLC, actually goes out and does the hard work of trying to WIN elections. They are also the same people who are now working overtime to undermine Democrats' opposition to President Bush's extremist economic agenda.
On the other side are progressives who want to see the party go back to what made it successful for decades: a willingness to stand up for America's middle class.
The 2008 presidential candidates would rather there not be this choice, and that's why they are trying to have it both ways, speaking at the DLC conferences, while reassuring progressives they are real Democrats. But ultimately, that won't be possible. Each of them will have to make a choice - kiss the elitists' ring, sell out to the highest corporate bidder, and be ridiculed on the national stage for standing for nothing other than fat cats and political expediency. Or, actually follow the lead of conviction politicians, ignore the D.C. cocktail party circuit, create a principled McCain-like image, and stand up for the millions of Americans who the DLC and the Beltway crowd have arrogantly alienated for so long.
We've tried the former for many years now, and it has meant loss after loss after loss after loss (the repetition of this disastrous formula kind of makes you wonder whether the current crop of Democrats actually enjoys losing). Personally, I don't like losing and I don't like selling out, so I'm hoping the Democrats reject the DLC model and change course. While it might be a fine life to be a comfortable-in-the-minority elitist in the cushy confines of Washington, D.C. where the consequences of selling out are muted, out here in the real world, the results of Democrats' permanent minority status in national politics have very real and very harsh effects - and its time for a change.
Polls show DLC agenda is not "centrist":