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Bill Michtom's Blog

Bill Michtom

Bill Michtom
Portland, Oregon, USA
January 29
Your most imperial you-ness
Patience of Job Computer Services
I was born at an early age and have continued to live until now. So far, so good.


MARCH 14, 2011 3:08AM

Time to Desert the Democrats

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People have a tendency to treat "Progressive/Liberal/Left/Democrat" as though the words are remotely equivalent. To do so is to lose control of the discussion before it starts. A Democrat is a member of, or voter for, a political party, one with no philosophy or principles, merely the desire to maintain itself.

The other three words can be described in terms of political philosophies and hoped for programs that generally include providing decent lives for the 98% of the population who are not rich or, at least, upper-middle-class.

Important parts of Progressive/Liberal/Left ideology are: no wars of aggression (the opposite of the American Empire's hallmark my entire life (1947-)); decent work for a living wage; the ability to easily join a democratic (small d) union; the importance of social welfare programs: unemployment, affordable, effective health care, defined-benefit pensions (NOT defined-contributions (401k plans)); accessible education for everyone through college for those capable and interested; a society welcoming to all, regardless of race, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, reproductive freedom, etc.

None of these are functional principles of the Democratic Party, most especially since the rise of the DLC under Clinton and the election of Obama.

Anyone who wastes time focusing on the origins of these policies among the right wing to deny the responsibility of the Democrats for enabling and continuing their expansion and normalization is, to my mind, a part of the problem, not the solution.

I feel that that people who consider themselves to be Progressive/Liberal/Left and yet support--or even tolerate--Obama and the Dems are delusional and self-defeating.

We must start making clear to the Dems that people on the left--and that is everyone who wants the society I sketched out above--must stop voting for, supporting or talking up--in any way--Democratic politics.

Yes, the Rs are marginally worse, but the margins are trifling and the continued support of the Dems does more damage than what the Rs may accomplish: It normalizes those policies, makes them bipartisan (Obama's excuse for every vile thing he supports and every good thing he doesn't).

If you want to change the country, stop voting for any politician that doesn't commit to complete repudiation of this president's viciously anti-human policies.

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Well, Bill. I feel your rage, and share it, as I've not been a big fan of the Dems over the years. But I have to quibble a bit. It's one thing to boycott "Obama and the Dems," but what about "Michael Dembrow and the Dems" or "Peter DeFazio and the Dems." These are Democratic state legislators and members of Congress, who, if we could only multiply them by 100, would pose a real progressive alternative to the Wall Streeters and militarists. I'm fine with "spoiling" being used to pressure Ds leftward, but we must remember the principled progressives within the party, at least until such time as a credible new party rises to eclipse the Democrats. If that happens, one can imagine progressive Democratic officeholders defecting to the new party, and moderate-to-conservative Dems and Republicans uniting in opposition to it. But there's a lot of movement-building between here and there, and I don't think it serves the movement to burn up too much energy on tactical splits in the meantime. Please do blast away at right-wing Dems, but don't trash the Democrats categorically as long as the Dembrows and DeFazios (and Wellstones, etc.) remain within it.
Joaquin, this needs another piece that I left out: my letter to my Congress critters, that makes it clear that I am speaking at the national level primarily:

Senator Wyden:

I have decided that President Obama's polices are completely unacceptable. Since entering office, he has expanded the wars, failed to create adequate jobs programs, been unwilling to follow the Constitution and our treaty obligations by investigating the war crimes of his predecessor, continued to redistribute the wealth of our country from the many to the few, consistently trashed the very people whose time and money got him elected so that he can continue to allow the banks that destroyed the world economy--and the manufacturers who have exported our jobs--to create record profits while the rest of us are without jobs, homes, pensions or prospects.

I am also writing to Senator Merkely, and Representative Wu, to inform them that I will no longer vote for any of you--will actively work against you--until you repudiate Obama's policies and refuse to support his corporate-pleasing agenda.

Thank you.
Great post. I'll support anyone who supports durable that excludes anyone currently in office I guess. They all support a "growing" economy and place that above the natural world, which by the way supports their insanity.