What will it take to break away from this juggernaut?

The “insane and dangerous” campaign

In late January, Glen Ford of the Black Agenda Report was interviewed on The Real News Network. In response to the question of his thoughts on the transition to the Trump administration, Ford stated the following:

“I think that, to the extent that this outpouring of anti-Trump sentiment is also all caught up and all tangled with the Democratic Party’s insane and monstrously dangerous pro-war and anti-Russian propaganda campaign, that it is actually poisoning the well for any progressive movement under a Donald Trump presidency.

“So I think we should be very clear. There is no such thing as a progressive movement that is also pro-war. And there is no such thing as a progressive movement that is aligned with the CIA. And yet, that is exactly, exactly the position that the Democratic Party is taking, including its black luminaries, such as Congressman John Conyers, and Congresswoman Maxine Waters, and even Congresswoman Barbara Lee, who is considered to be the most left-wing person on Capitol Hill. All of them are busy attacking from the right, the very right-wing president, Donald Trump. And any fool should know that countering right-wing politics with even more right-wing politics can only lead to a disastrous and definitively right-wing result. You cannot create a progressive movement out of a McCarthyite, anti-Russian, pro-war propaganda campaign such as the Democrats are waging now and in which they have now enlisted the support of lots of people who call themselves progressive. And even some who consider themselves to be radical.

“Any movement that takes its cues from the CIA is a danger, not only to world peace, but it is a danger to itself. It’s a danger to the very civil liberties that a progressive movement claims that it’s trying to defend from the likes of Donald Trump. And, frankly, it’s just plain stupid and it’s stupid in a very peculiar and very American imperial kind of way.”

Should there be a Tea Party movement on the Left?

It has been mentioned that progressives should consider creating something similar to the conservative Tea Party. Articles have been written, suggestions made, and lists of the successes of the Tea Party in revitalizing and pushing the Republican Party to a more conservative position. In an interview in Monthly Review Magazine, Anthony DiMaggio of author of The Rise of the Tea Party: Political Discontent and Corporate Media in the Age of Obama (lauded by McChesney, Chomsky, and others) revealed the unpleasant reality of the Tea Party. Below is a list of his main points.

  • “This is the dirty little secret of the Tea Party; it’s not really a social movement, but a cluster of elitist interest groups operating locally and nationally variety.”
  • The Tea Party has failed “to systematically organize at the local and national level… Very few people actually turn out for rallies and planning meetings, compared to the large number of people who claim to be participating in these events according to national polling data.”
  • The leadership in Tea Party groups comes “from the highest levels of local and national Republican Party chapters and the business system.”
  • “The alleged Tea Party ‘insurgents’ who have led the Tea Party ‘revolution’ in Congress are extremely elitist in their policy positions and in terms of their economic backgrounds and their voting records are identical to non-Tea Party Republican members of Congress.”
  • The Tea Party organizers were largely autocratic, only interested in directing the agenda from the top down, with the help of local “Tea Party” candidates, who were really just Republicans running for office.
  • Their primary goal was returning a largely discredited and extremely unpopular Republican Party to power, contrary to the public rhetoric of the Tea Party that the “movement” had “nothing to do” with partisan politics.
  • “This ‘movement’ is—for all intents and purposes—a mile wide and an inch deep.

DiMaggio suggests that, instead of considering the Tea Party as a template for response, those on the Left should revisit Occupy Wall Street (OWS). He described OWS as having “Greater transparency in the political process” with expectations that “political officials make serious efforts to promote the common interests of the American public over expansive corporate power.” He stated that the public needs to “redirect their rage in more productive ways. Unlike OWS, DiMaggio recommended that new efforts “will need to develop a far more specific agenda with regard to how we will move forward in promoting a more democratic future…” as well as  “a set of demands that are separate from the corporatism being offered by the Democrats” He goes on to say that the “general rage” directed against Trump and his administration “is a good start, but it won’t get you very far.”

The DNC vs. Gabbard thing

Sometimes I am amused to read conservative writers’ perspectives of the Left, especially the situation between progressives and the neoliberal-controlled DNC. In April, Monica Showalter in The American Thinker shared her thoughts on the DNC talking heads’ attack on Rep. Tulsi Gabbard’s questioning last month’s bombing of Syria.

”The recent comments by prominent Clinton-supporting Democrats calling  for the head of Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii for not toeing the party line on U.S airstrikes against Syria…calls to mind that they have been hostile to her ever since she supported Bernie Sanders in the Democratic primary, that same primary Tanden and company went to such lengths to rig against Sanders and for Hillary Clinton according to WikiLeaks.  Worse still, she met and talked with Donald Trump after the 2016 election, once again, doing her own research – and for them, in full Trump Derangement Syndrome, an unforgivable sin.  Now they are calling for Gabbard’s head, for not following the Hillary Clinton party line – Hillary is on record as supporting the strikes.

“The Democrats have impressed us mightily by their party discipline in getting legislations accomplished. [obvious sarcasm] The flipside is this disgusting tendency to purge for the slightest deviation.  If ordinary Democrats, such as those who voted for Gabbard in Hawaii, can›t wise up about this, then perhaps it›s time to break that party up and go third party.  The enforced orthodoxy of the commissars against the Democratic Party›s Bernie Sanders types is pretty darn disgusting.”

What we have in common:

  • A Quinnipiac University survey, found that 72% of respondents said the government should not cut funding for scientific research—something proposed by the White House.
  • 74 percent of those surveyed believed that most poor people work hard, but aren’t able to work their way out of poverty due to the lack of economic opportunities. (SPARCC)
  • Overall, 47 percent of Americans now worry about hunger and homelessness “a great deal,” tied with 2016 as the high in the trend. Previously, concern had been as low as 35 percent in 2004 and as high as 45 percent in 2001, the first year Gallup asked the question.
  • Among Americans making $30,000 or less a year, 67% worry “a great deal” about hunger and homelessness—highest percentage going back to 2001.
  • A poll conducted by the Campaign for Free College Tuition found that state-level programs to make college tuition-free enjoy 69 percent support in red states and 78 percent support in blue states
  • 71% would prioritize developing alternative energy sources such as wind and solar power over the production of oil, gas and coal. (Gallup)
  • 72% favor spending more government money on solar and wind power. (Gallup)
  • 68% believe global warming is caused by human activities (Gallup)
  • Dissatisfaction with the way things are going in the U.S. (Gallup)
  • States Clinton won – 68%
  • States Trump won – 73%
  • Require companies to provide family leave for parents after the birth of a child – 81% (Gallup)
  • Enact a $1 trillion program to improve U.S. infrastructure, such as roads, bridges and tunnels – 76% (Gallup)
  • While members of all party groups are more likely to say paper bags are less harmful to the environment than plastic ones, slightly more Democrats (77%) and independents (74%) than Republicans (67%) consider paper the better choice. (Gallup)

“Come together” and send money

On the first day of what the press is calling a “unity tour,” I received one of those mass-email messages from DNC Chair Tom Perez. In it he writes that he “couldn’t be more excited to talk to Democrats all across the country about how we’re coming together as Democrats and fighting back.” For most of the rest of the email he complains about Trump—“unmitigated disaster”, must “stand up to Donald Trump and his lackeys,” etc. Then he asks for money.

Not once does he mention anything about mending fences between the DNC and Sanders supporters for all that WikiLeaks revealed about the DNC manipulation during last year’s primaries. Add to that the weird case of why Tom Perez was urged to run for DNC chair in the first place. As Clio Chang of the New Republic puts it, “the case for Tom Perez makes no sense. If Perez is like Ellison—in both his politics and ideology—why bother fielding him in the first place?” According to Glenn Greenwald, it was “the Obama White House that worked to recruit Perez to run against Ellison.” Does this sound like an organization trying to create “unity?”

And then just last month the DNC failed to adequately support Democratic candidate James Thompson in Kansas’ 4th Congressional District where Republicans outnumber Democrats almost two to one.

Thompson, a veteran and civil rights attorney, ran for the House seat vacated by CIA Director Mike Pompeo. With only last minute help from the DNC in the form of DNC voter files and robocalls (his request for $20,000 from the DNC denied), Thompson came within a little under seven percentage points of the Republican candidate even though the National Republican Congressional Committee pumped close to $100,000 in campaign ads during the final days of the campaign. When one considers that Pompeo received 61% of the vote in the November election to his opponent’s 29%, Thompson’s success in pulling that number of votes, with little DNC support (read no money), is impressive.

Minnie (Sylvia Smith) is a long-time Wipster, Evergreen grad, and resident of Thurston County, who is not really all that radical.