Progressive Independence at FireDogLake

Unlike the Daily Kos and Red State, which explicitly aim to do nothing more than reproduce the reigning two-party political status quo, FireDogLake does not appear to have a policy prohibiting independent thought or third party advocacy.  At the very least, Greens and Socialists who write there  need not hide their affiliations for fear of expulsion.  It seems in recent days there has been a significant uptick in third party and independent agitation at the progressive site.  Some excerpts:

From Jeff Roby:  "How to destroy the Democratic Party and build an independent alternative"
Democrats and independents, and Democrats getting religion and newly proclaiming their independence, continue to act out an oft-repeated ritual.  Democratic loyalists point out that they can influence policy from within and, more importantly, that’s where the working class can be reached, for better or worse.  Independents point out the utterly craven sellout by the Democratic Party where corporate America holds the high ground and has abandoned any pretext of progressivism.  Both are correct.  Both perform their rituals of beating their heads against a brick wall until their heads bleed, Dems begging for crumbs, independents settling for their sub-1% of the national presidential vote.

In the past, I have argued for a progressive* Democratic/progressive independent alliance.  Still a good idea — Dump Obama has been its tactical embodiment.  But Dump Obama is dependent on a challenger entering the Democratic primaries.  So what we need is a plan that goes beyond 2012, and is not dependent on the whims of even most progressive Democratic politicians.  So we need a better look at what we are up against.
A follow-up post from Roby:  "You say you want a revolution" 
I’ve taken a look at various 3rd party programs, and would like to focus on the Greens, as their program is the most developed. While it is not explicitly socialist, it nonetheless raises the issues and contradictions endemic to even an explicitly socialist party.  Many of their platform points are quite good, sensible environmental measures, clean government processes, logical corporate regulations, i.e., liberal reforms, the perfection of capitalism. Others are what I would call system-busters — changes that would not be able to be implemented within the boundaries of capitalism as we know it, or changes that would be system-busters if rigorously carried out, such as the Greens “Participatory Democracy, rooted in community practice at the grassroots level and informing every level, from the local to the international.”
From jest:  "On the cataclysmic realities of a 3rd party"
what the most influential portion of the party has become: a maimed, old, disgrace of its young former self. And unfortunately, it has metastasized, and spread to base of the party, and the Left in general.  An instructive case of this was the AR senate race, won by John Boozman-R . After the departure of Bill Halter in the primary, many on the left were dejected as there was no progressive candidate to support in the general election; the Republican cruised to victory with nearly 60% of the vote. That’s probably how the history books will be written, but that is not true at all.

There was a progressive candidate in the AR senate general election who had legislative experience, supported Medicare for all, curbing corporate abuses, and all the ideals we hold dear. I think you know where I’m going with this: John Gray-G, the complete opposite of the Dorian Gray-esque Lincoln who lost the race.

There is a lot of censorship in the media regarding independent candidates, so there is not much coverage on him. But he more than held his own at the AR Senate debates, where most of his focus was not about environmental issues, but economic ones, despite what most Green Party detractors believe & expect.

So, how did progressives in AR react to having a sensible alternative to the reprehensible corporatist Lincoln?

Progressives preferred the corporatist Democrat, Lincoln, who also had no chance of winning, by a factor of 20. Gray got less than 2% of the total vote. 100% of the people in the Democratic party found this man’s message abhorrent.  Think about that. . . .

And yet these same “progressives” complain that they have no candidates on the ballot to vote for.   What about the 2010 SC senate race between DeMint & Greene? No options for progressives?  Wrong . . . .
From Liz Berry:  "The majority of Americans are fed up with the Tea Party/Republican and the Democratic parties"
Those who say that the USA are polarized are correct, but it is NOT the 50/50 polarization that is implied to us via the propaganda of mainstream media. If you were to believe them you would think that American opinion is split right down the middle. This is a perfect example of the propaganda technique of telling half the truth and not the whole truth. American is polarized all right–but it is damn sure not “down the middle.”

We are polarized 70/26 with 3% on the fence. THE MAJORITY FAVOR DUMPING BOTH PARTIES. The only question remaining is how do we organize to create a real democracy.
From Matthew J:  "No Confidence Protest Vote 2012"
our political system is controlled by legalized bribery of various forms.  Politicians feel free to act in their own interests after getting elected rather than actually representing the people who elected them . . . 

I strongly believe the first step we need to take as a citizenry is to join together in a way that sends a strong and clear message to our country and the world that says Americans want a government that is actually responsive to the people that are governed . . . . .

In this post I will lay out a strategy that I believe is pragmatic, practical, and has a reasonable chance to work.  The basic idea is to run a campaign not for a particular candidate but instead against both the Democratic and Republican parties.  The genesis for this idea is that both parties are rather hopelessly corrupt and non-responsive to the citizens at this time, yet the structure of our system does not offer meaningful opportunity for 3rd party or independent candidates . . . .

To my knowledge there has never been a coordinate protest vote (or no confidence) campaign (please share in the comments if you are aware of such a movement).  This would be a new experiment in grassroots democracy.  A coordinated protest vote campaign would encourage as many voters as possible to cast protest votes for actual people, but people who are not affiliated with the Democratic and Republican parties.  Rather than promoting a specific candidate such a campaign would encourage voters to cast a protest vote for any 3rd party, independent, or write in candidate they wish.  It would be extremely important that these votes are valid and counted.

1 comment:

TiradeFaction said...

FireDogLake is much better than that shithole DailyKos. :) FDL is on fire with these good independent minded posts as of late, hopefully the "official" authors of the site take note.