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BILL MOYERS: Welcome. Take a look at this cover of the March issue of Harper's Magazine. The headline of the lead story reads, "Nothing left. The long, slow surrender of American Liberals." And to illustrate those morose words, there's an exhausted knight, shield shattered, slumped backwards on an equally worn out donkey with a most disinterested demeanor.

This Don Quixote hasn't got the strength to tilt at windmills, much less the Democratic party. Now this picture will stun many people including Democrats in the House of Representatives who at their recent annual retreat put forth a united front on issues ranging from minimum wage to jobs and immigration reform. And Republicans will scoff at the notion that liberalism is flying the white flag of capitulation, at least while a socialist president from Kenya occupies the White House.

But the author of the Harper's article is onto something. He sees the populist, progressive wing of the Democratic Party giving up to the corporate wing putatively embodied in Hillary Clinton sailing forth surrounded by a mighty armada from Wall Street.

Adolph Reed, Jr., wrote that article and he joins me now. He's a professor of political science at the University of Pennsylvania, a long-time student of American politics and a prolific author, editor, and columnist. Adolph, welcome back.

ADOLPH REED: Thanks. It's great to be back.

BILL MOYERS: Well, what do you mean nothing left?

ADOLPH REED: Well, what I mean basically is that if we understand the left to be anchored to a conviction that the society can be made better than it actually is and a commitment to combating economic inequality as a primary one, the left is just gone.

I mean, there are leftists around, certainly. There's no shortage of them. And there are left organizations, and there are people who publish left ideas and kind of think left thoughts. But as a significant force that's capable of shaping the terms of debate in American politics, you know, the left has gone and has been gone for a while.

I often note that, you know, working people in America got more from Richard Nixon than we got from Clinton or Obama. And it's not because he was our fan, right, it's because, you know, the labor movement and what has since been called the social movement of the '60s were dynamic enough forces in the society that even Nixon, who called himself a Keynesian, felt that there was a need to respond to them.

So that's how we got occupational health and safety, affirmative action like other stuff. So it's not, and, see, this is the key point, I think, right. Because one of the ways that our politics have been hollowed and a source of the collapse of the left is a forgetting, right? A kind of social amnesia about what movement building is and how and what social movements are and how they're constructed.

BILL MOYERS: In this piece you write, “If the left is tied to a democratic strategy that, at least since the Clinton administration, tries to win elections by absorbing much of the right's social vision and agenda, before long the notion of a political left will have no meaning. For all intents and purposes, that is what has occurred.”

ADOLPH REED: Look, I've never wanted to dismiss electoral action. But the problem is that it can only be a defensive engagement for us now. Because the way that the center of gravity in American politics has moved right, we're kind of dealt out of it.

So the only option that there is for us in the electoral realm is going to be finding the less bad candidate.

And what that means is in that there's no possibility of being able to push any of the sort of progressive, egalitarian ideas that would've popped up in FDR's campaign in 1944, right, or even Truman's campaign in 1948.

What we can do is try to have some influence on the least worst, right. But, I would never argue that we shouldn't pay attention to electoral politics. But I think we need to understand that that can't exhaust the scope of our political activity.

And we've sort of fallen into a groove of putting all of our political hopes into electing Democrats and just seem to have a lot of, you know, difficulty just getting off the dime of about trying to build around campaign issues, right.

Like, single payer health care, right, was a moment that's come and gone. I mean I've been pushing off and on over the years for universal free public higher education.

BILL MOYERS: You say that there're not many ideas, not much fight, not much dynamism on the left. But there are people fighting for immigration reform, for campaign finance reform, for environmental protections, for fair wages, for women's reproductive rights. I mean, aren't these important objectives and don't ultimately they add up to an agenda for change?

ADOLPH REED: 10:39:41:00 I'd say yes on the first question. Like, I'm not so sure about the second, right. Because, you know, the whole point of building a movement, right, is to unite the many to defeat the few.

I mean, like we can't compete with the money that the other side has.

BILL MOYERS: Organized people are the only answer to organized money?

ADOLPH REED: Exactly. Right. I mean, that's exactly right. So then the question becomes, well, how do we go about building the broadly based, mass movements that we need to try to have some effect on changing the terms of political debate, right? I mean, I'm a realist about this. I think that's what the goal has to be for the rest of my lifetime anyway.

BILL MOYERS:

You say "the left." Liberals, especially, are tied to the narrow strategy of electing at whatever cost, whatever Democrat is running. But, you know, Democrats won four of the last six presidential elections. Something's working for them.

ADOLPH REED: What exactly have we gotten out of the fact that they've won?

BILL MOYERS: Winning is not enough, you're saying.

ADOLPH REED: No.

I mean here's an illustration of the limits of it. President Obama in the speech he gave a couple weeks ago, the ballyhooed speech where he mentioned the word "inequality" a couple times.

He leaves the podium in effect and goes straight to try to, you know, strong arm his own party to support fast track for Trans Pacific Partnership.

So, I mean, what we've got is, like, a bipartisan neoliberalism, right, that's at the center of gravity of the American government. And to be clear, what I mean by neoliberalism is that, it's two things.

It's a free market, utopian ideology. And it's a concrete program for intensified upward redistribution. And when the two objectives conflict, I mean, guess which one gets put -- on the shelf? But both parties are fundamentally committed to this. And at this point, and I think we've seen this much more clearly since the 2008 election, the principal difference between Democrats and Republicans

Is the choice between a neoliberal party that is progressive on multicultural and diversity issues, and a neoliberal party that's reactionary and horrible on those same issues.

But where the vast majority of Americans live our lives and feel our anxieties about present and future and insecurity is not about the multicultural issues over which there's so there's so much fight. In the very realm of the neoliberal economic issues to which both parties are, in fact, committed.

BILL MOYERS: So, I hear you saying, Adolph, that while social and cultural factors are important to us, economic issues are the fundamental existential questions. And that the neo-liberal parties, both of them, devoted to promoting the interests of multinational companies and capitalism don't care what you think about cultural and social issues, as long as they control the process by which nothing interferes with markets.

ADOLPH REED: I think that's quite succinct.

BILL MOYERS: When Obama spoke about inequality and then a little bit later championed fast-tracking the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Aren't… Don't you take some encouragement from the fact that soon after Obama spoke, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid, minority leader of the House and majority leader of the Senate both said, no deal. We're not for fast track.

ADOLPH REED: Right, right.

BILL MOYERS: You know why they did, apparently? Because 550 organizations in this country essentially representing the base of the Democratic Party said, no, Mr. President, we're not going with you. And so Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi responded. You must take some encouragement from that.

ADOLPH REED: Oh, absolutely. Totally.

BILL MOYERS: So it's not dead out there. It's not a cemetery.

ADOLPH REED: Well, it's not quite. But, I mean, the lesson I take from it, too, is that it's the organization that sort of brings them to where we'd like for them to be, right? It's a pressure from underneath. And, you know, and that's what largely hollowed out, right? I mean, except for you know, I mean, some issues.

BILL MOYERS: Why is that?

ADOLPH REED: Because Wall Street controls the agenda. I mean, I go back again to the primaries in '92. And I was calling friends of mine that I had, you know, long connections with, you know, again in the South, early on. And the word that came back was that Clinton's people had come through and had said from the outset, look, our guy's going to be the nominee. Don't ask for anything. If you don't get onboard, then you won't have any access later, after we win.

So access, which is a kind of crack cocaine, has become part of the problem.

BILL MOYERS: Is this, you say both Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, heavily indebted to Wall Street, to financial interest, something that many people didn't pay much attention to when Obama ran in 2008. Is this why you suggest, not suggest, you in effect indict both of them for being nominal progressives?

ADOLPH REED: Well, it's not just that they got the Wall Street money. I assume that it's possible to get the Wall Street money and not do the Wall Street bidding. And you need to have, you know, money to win. But so I would say yes. It's the fact that they've done the Wall Street bidding that is what leads me to say that they're nominal neo-progressives.

BILL MOYERS: So does being on the left for you mean that it's not enough to do things that soften the consequences of inequality, but that we have to go beyond those reforms to change the system that produces inequality.

ADOLPH REED: Absolutely.

BILL MOYERS: And how do you change it?

ADOLPH REED: I'd say the first step has to be a focus on changing the terms of political debate. Because we've got to be able to put that issue back on the table, right? I mean, the issue of economic inequality, back on the table. I mean, even you know, the Democrats who raise it tentatively and back away as soon as they do.

Gore, with his odd little populist flirtation that he offered in the spring or the summer of you know, 2000, which provoked this torrent of outrage from the right wing. Saying that he's fanning the flames of class warfare, and that's not what we do in America, right? The same things happen, you know, with Obama. I can't even recall enough about the Kerry campaign, you know, to recall if he even made a gesture.

BILL MOYERS: You remind us of how leftist, progressive, liberals, a lot of everyday folks were swept up in the rhetoric and expectations surrounding Obama's campaign, his election, and his presidency. I'll bet you remember election night in Grant Park in 2008.

ADOLPH REED: Yeah, I do.

BILL MOYERS: Here it is.

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: This is our time to put our people back to work and open doors of opportunity for our kids, to restore prosperity and promote the cause of peace, to reclaim the American dream and reaffirm that fundamental truth that out of many, we are one. That while we breathe, we hope.

And where we are met with cynicism and doubts and those who tell us that we can't, we will respond with that timeless creed that sums up the spirit of a people. Yes we can. Thank you. God bless you. And may God bless the United States of America.

ADOLPH REED: The clip is interesting, right? Because you think about the clip and his utterances, right, were a collection of evocative statements. But there was no real content there, right? I mean, he didn't say, I'm going to fight for X, and I have--

BILL MOYERS: Against inequality or for equality--

ADOLPH REED: Right, right.

BILL MOYERS: --or for wages, or--

ADOLPH REED: Right, right. So it was as he said himself in one or both of his books, his move is to encourage people to imagine a better world and a better future and a better life for themselves through identification with him.

BILL MOYERS: And you say in your article that his content, essentially, is his identity.

ADOLPH REED: Correct.

BILL MOYERS: I can imagine that if President Obama were sitting here talking with you or you were at the White House talking with him, he'd say, Adolph, I understand your diagnosis. But what you have to understand is that pragmatism can be and often is an effective agent or tool or weapon in the long-range struggle for social justice.

And I know you're impatient, I know you believe in this restructuring of society, but we're not going to get there with the wave of a wand. And it takes just as it did in the civil rights movement, a long time for me to get here to the White House, it's going to take a long time for this country to get where you would take it.

ADOLPH REED: Right. Oh, I am absolutely certain that he would say something like that. I admit that this is kind of treading maybe, into troublesome water, but among the reasons that I know Obama's type so well is, you know, I've been teaching at elite institutions for more than 30 years.

And that means that I've taught his cohort that came through Yale actually at the time that he was at, you know, Columbia and Harvard. And I recall an incident in a seminar in, you know, black American political thought with a young woman who was a senior who said something in the class. And I just blurted out that it seem, that the burden of what she said seemed to be that the whole purpose of this Civil Rights Movement was to make it possible for people like her to go to Yale and then to go to work in investment banking.

And she said unabashedly, well, yes, yes, and that's what I believe. And again, I didn't catch myself in time, so I just said to her, well, I wish somebody had told poor Viola Liuzzo, you know, before she left herself family in Michigan and got herself killed that that's what the punch line was going to be, because she might've stayed home to watch her kids grow up. And I think--

BILL MOYERS: This was the woman who on her own initiative went down during the civil rights struggle to Selma, Alabama to join in the fight for voting rights and equality, and was murdered.

ADOLPH REED: Right, exactly. I'm not prepared to accept as my metric of the extent of racial justice or victories of the struggles for racial justice, the election of a single individual to high office or appointment of a black individual to be corporate CEO. My metric would have to do with things like access to healthcare--

BILL MOYERS: For everybody.

ADOLPH REED: For everybody, right? And this is something else, by the way--

BILL MOYERS: Not just a symbolic victory for one person?

ADOLPH REED: Right. Because the way politics has evolved since the 1980s is that what we get now is the symbolic victory for the single person instead of, right, you know, the redistributive agenda.

And fact of the matter is, that, right, if you take the simple numerical standard, since the majority of black America is working-class like, you know, the majority of the country. And since black Americans are disproportionately part of the working class, then a redistributive program that secures and advances the interest of working-class people will disproportionately benefit black people.

BILL MOYERS: What do you tell your students? Obviously they must be concerned about the lowered expectations of the economy, about the high cost of their college, the loans they own, whether or not they can get a decent-paying job. What do you tell them to do about the future?

ADOLPH REED: The students who come to me who want to be activists, I mean, one thing I tell them is that, look, if you want to do this kind of stuff, we've got to approach it like a Major League Baseball player, where if you are successful three times in 10, then you go to the Hall of Fame, right? Because you get beaten a lot, right?

BILL MOYERS: As an organizer, as an activist--

ADOLPH REED: Yeah, right.

BILL MOYERS: --as a champion of a cause.

ADOLPH REED: Well, I mean, especially on the left, right?

BILL MOYERS: Yeah.

ADOLPH REED: Right, because all the resources are kind of stacked up on the other side. So you lose more than you win. And I don't embrace, like, a cult of beautiful defeat. It's always better to win than it is to lose. But you've just got to, you know, not have expectations that are too high. And to just keep pushing, right? And trying to broaden the base, right? 'Cause that's a work that there is for us to do now.

BILL MOYERS: Your cover story in Harper's, "Nothing Left, The Long, Slow Surrender of American Liberals" is must-read. And I thank you for being here with me.

ADOLPH REED: Oh, thanks very much for having me.

Web Extra: The Surrender of America’s Liberals

February 25, 2014

In a Web-exclusive interview, political scientist Adolph Reed Jr. talks with Bill Moyers about his new article in the March issue of Harper’s Magazine – a challenge to America’s progressives provocatively titled, “Nothing Left: The Long, Slow Surrender of American Liberals.”

In the piece, Reed writes that Democrats and liberals have become too fixated on election results rather than aiming for long term goals that address the issues of economic inequality, and that the administrations of Bill Clinton and Barack Obama too often acquiesced to the demands of Wall Street and the right.

As a result, Reed tells Moyers, the left is no longer a significant force in American politics. “If we understand the left to be anchored to our convictions that society can be made better than it actually is, and a commitment to combating economic inequality as a primary one, the left is just gone.”

Producer: Gail Ablow. Segment Producer: Robert Booth. Editor: Rob Kuhns. Footage & Stills: AP Images, CORBIS & Getty Images.

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  • Anonymous

    Agreed. Progressives have all but abandoned the fight against economic injustice and we are too ready to pledge blind allegiance to Democratic candidates. .

  • Anonymous

    Yes, the political left has been gone for some time in the US. What we have now – have had for years – is far right and center right. Even Obama, who ran for president as a progressive, has proven time and again that he is neither a liberal nor a progressive. What he IS, is a politician. A politician who is willing to sell out Social Security and Medicare for not much in return. A politician who favors the destructive process of fracking, who is inches from approving the Keystone XL pipeline, while giving lip service to stopping climate change.

    Hillary Clinton, the current presumptive Democratic nominee for the next president, is also in favor of fracking, and is a proponent of the XL pipeline. She is a supporter and friend of Wall Street, going so far as to chide progressives for criticizing Wall Street and its complete lack of ethics. True progressives favor clean air, clean water, and ethical financial practices. I see none of that in Clinton.

    Bernie Sanders is the closest I’ve seen lately to a true progressive, and he’s an Independent. The democratic party doesn’t seem wide enough anymore to accommodate someone like him.

  • Anonymous

    Unfortunately, there are no progressive alternatives. At least, none who can win. I think a lot of people are voting Democrat now, not because they favor the Democrat, but because they can’t stomach the Republican.

  • Anonymous

    The talk surrounding Hillary Clinton’s yet-to-be-announced presidential campaign in a huge indicator of this. Articles and a major book have been written detailing her magnificent campaign and fundraising prowess. Who cares? What are her plans to make things better for Americans – for me, for you? That’s what I want to hear.

  • Anonymous

    Like Obama or not as a man, we now realize he didn’t stand for much of anything. He is not the Great Oz. He’s not even Oz after the curtain has been drawn back. He has no words of wisdom to take this country upward.

  • Anonymous

    Maybe people were wrong in expecting Obama to have a magic wand.

  • Betty Eyer

    I voted for Obama twice. But he’s not just acquiescing to the demands of Wall Street. He’s in bed with them. He’s really a moderate. Liberals have no voice these days.

  • Anonymous

    Seems the continual beating, and lack of leadership has created a big fat void. Obama has been a huge disappointment, he has no leadership, surrounded himself with idiots, and DNC has no focus or guts. It appears that we have a bait and switch with this administration. A

  • Anonymous

    So far, I see nothing magic about him. When I worked in the corporate world, I would have been fired if I had hired someone with so little experience for such an important position.

  • Anonymous

    Strange how people think that it is the president that decide the politic. 100s of people around him that informs and write papers and journalists that are story sellers. And the lobby.. and the deep-shadow state..
    There is a deeper change that is needed

  • JonThomas

    But there-in lies the catch though, does it not?

    Most anyone with experience elected to the office offers only – ‘more of the same.’ Those with a record of progressive action are almost un-electable on arrival.

    Barack Obama seemed, and was sold to voters as someone who could, and who wanted to bring change.

    He had just enough legislative experience to feel people’s sense of what was broken, and what needed to be fixed.

    He looked the part (please don’t take this as a prejudicial slant, it’s not. It’s an honest, straight-forward assessment of his skin color reflecting a likely sympathy with the needs of the under-served in this country,) and he talked the talk.

    He worked with community outreach groups, and people hoped he would bring THAT experience to the Presidency.

    Yep, he was in the perfect position to be curiously well-funded and elected.

    As much hatred as he receives from the right, it’s all just hot air. The constituents for whom the Right Wing and their pundits bloviate, are laughing all the way to the bank while they use his Leftist-sounding speeches to fire up their base.

    Whether it was his own ideology which led him to side with the Neo-Libs and to dance with the Wall Street-ers who brought him to the ball, or if he just over trusted his advisers, his legacy, thus far, will go down as a President who increased profits for the investor and corporate class, secured the future of health insurance companies, and brought the common person one step closer to corporate vassal-ship.

    If his speeches are what will be remembered, he will be used by the conditioning agents as an example of a great, brave President who stood up against the powerful and defended the weak and the poor.

    Eh, he still has a few years, let’s hope he surprises us!

  • Joan Harris

    Democrats and progressives have a tendency to create in their minds the Great Oz when they vote for a President. As a Democrat I’ve noticed this before Obama ever ran. Presidential candidates are human and deserve to have that taken into account . Even Obama said he is not perfect; he makes mistakes. Democrats would be less disappointed if they realize politics is an illusion.

  • Anonymous

    I hate to tell people this, the US is a center right nation.

    The left, and progressives in particular, are never going to win anything. Anyway the Democrats are now the party of Wall Street and special interests. The GOP, well they seem to be the party of extremism, and yet they keep chipping away at every social and economic program that has been enacted since FDR.

    The real issue here, and I think it transcends left or right, is we now live in a plutocracy that is verging on a oligarchy.

    There are few loan voices out there, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren are two, but I doubt that what they represent will ever gain enough traction to support a robust progressive agenda.

    We can’t even get a decent national health care system in place in this country. 34 states have voter ID laws.

    26 states have Stand Your Ground laws.
    24 states are right to work states.
    33% (Pew Research Center) of Americans do not believe in evolution. However if you break this down into political parties affiliation the numbers change somewhat. 43% of Republican do not believe in evolution to the 28% of Democrats.

    This is the nation we now live in.

  • Anonymous

    If I were still in the corporate world and only showed up for work 135 days a year, produced as little as Congress does, and prevented the company from getting anything done, I would have been fired right off the bet.

  • Jim Stiner

    Pessimism, especially political pessimism, is rampant at the moment.

    History would teach us that a candidate blessed with an ability to inspire has a great advantage at times such as these. Our current President realized this fact, with his ¨Hope¨ campaign, and it is a model that can work at any level of government.

    Progressives have a good chance, if they can whip-up interest in progressive solutions to our economic and social problems. The majority of citizens want these sensible changes, though they seem to be easily cowed by their more insensible and vocal counterparts in the regressive wing of the political arena.

  • Anonymous

    I take your points, but I just don’t see Obama playing well decades from noe. When you consider the despised Nixon’s opening up China and Lyndon Johnson’s many contributions, including civil rights, we see presidents can be recognized for achievements as well as wrongs.

    Maybe Obama will be like Carter and Clinton, who do have an afterlife in spite of mediocre legacies (and in Clinton’s case, unsavory personal behavior). But I just don’t see that Obama has taken care of business in his six years in office, and unless we undergo a huge crisis he handles well, I see little hope for him making even a “Top 40 Best” list. Healthcare could be his saving grace, but that could also be the nail in the coffin of his presidency. That will require time.

  • http://www.facebook.com/RPManke.solar RevPhil Manke

    TY! Old Liberal! I agree completely. Seeing what is happening in the US is not that complicated to an open mind! It’s time to vote “Green Party”!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/RPManke.solar RevPhil Manke

    JS,That’s a foolish conclusion in my view. Better to vote along the Green Party lines. Even if their candidates don’t get in office, a message will be sent.

  • http://www.facebook.com/RPManke.solar RevPhil Manke

    Unfortunately, the entire govt upper level would be fired under those conditions!

  • Anonymous

    I don’t agree with that at all.

  • http://www.facebook.com/RPManke.solar RevPhil Manke

    Just step out of the two corporate party illusion and vote the Green Party into state and national offices. Check out “Dr.Jill Stein” for POTUS.

  • Anonymous

    Good point. At the end of the day, both parties want the same thing: what is best for them. They have become indifferent to voters, and we must understand this reality. That is why it is foolish for some people to rely on and so deeply trust the government.

  • Anonymous

    We need to think of this next time we’re deciding whether to return officials to these posts.

  • Nimmi

    Another enlightening interview by our Bill Moyer. He makes it easy to see and understand the crux of the matter. People with money may not be in control but those that surround them and using their money to manipulate are.

  • Anonymous

    The same problem is echoed loudly here in the UK and globally, too – I read somewhere the term for this is “harmonisation”. There has been a huge shift to the right over the past 30 years or so, coupled with a keen sense that the interests that are being served are not those of the electorate. Perhaps we need a global movement which engages with the new dispossessed and espouses the best of the old left with some modern answers to the financialisation of absolutely everything

  • John Waters

    It’s really time for term limits, age limits and reduced benefits for serving for all politicians. They have made this a career and have gerrymandered the country into insuring just that. Until that changes, nothing else will. Certainly they won’t do anything about all the money involved… it is their nest being feathered!

  • Anonymous

    It’s simple: Obama is a Republican. The entire Democratic Party is Republican. That is, the Democrats are to the right where the Republicans used to be a few decades ago. The various Greens are unable to muster enough power. There is no singular organized Left with a unified agenda and a loud voice, only myriad groups each with a narrow progressive interest and no broad representation. How can we fix that?

  • Anonymous

    Yes, Obama is a moderate Republican and the Democrats are sellouts to the multinationals. We need a revolution, pure and simple.

  • Anonymous

    I am a radical socialist, and neither party is decent and the structure of this government is flawed. We need to change it all.

  • Anonymous

    I guess the sad truth is — what does Hillary Clinton have to prove? To mouth the words that she believes that climate change is real? That she is not an anti-women’s rights Neanderthal like many a Republican Congressperson or pro oligarchy candidate like Mitt Romney, or a ‘can’t make distinctions’ war-monger like McCain, etc. On this last score, she may have too much to prove!

    As a woman, I am excited that we will have the first woman candidate who once identified herself as a feminist and now has a chance to win. But then Thatcher (who I would never have voted for) was the UK’s first women, Sarah Palin the first Republican woman candidate on the Presidential ticket (an embarassment to the American education system & to women!).

    If Obama didn’t convince you that appearances (and most slogans/words) are a guarantee of almost nothing (yes, I know, what he inherited, and the Congress, but come on!) — well, the point is, I agree with the comment above.
    Either Clinton will make things better – which will include campaign finance report and Wall Street regulation, etc OR she will represent just a slightly different face to the same corruption and abandonment of democracy/civil society/a working economy (for the majority) in the USA.

  • Anonymous

    A major grass roots movement bigger than Occupy. But one gets the feeling that won’t be happening anytime soon.
    What I expect will happen is we’ll have a second Wall Street crash. Whether the taxpayers will be forced to bail out the banks again we’ll be a sight to see – if we live long enough to see it. If not – then we enter into another depression – and maybe things will get so bad for Americans that they’ll figure they got nothing left to lose.
    I will be surprised though if any major change happens any time soon. Too many Americans have fallen prey to the right-wing corporate propaganda, too many now think the government is the enemy and not the plutocrats who are at war with our democracy and ordinary working Americans.

  • Anonymous

    The biggest potential political power block in the US is comprised of the 50% of the population eligible to vote, who don’t. They don’t vote because on some level, conscious or not, they realize that neither half of the American Duopoly Party has anything to offer them, indeed is actively working against their interests, selling them out to the bipartisan corporate oligarchy.
    Anyone who seriously intends to dismantle the prostituted American sham democracy needs to set about building a third-stream mass movement that organizes all those disaffected, disenfranchised citizens by building independent political, informational, and economic infrastructures that serve the true interests of the citizenry by challenging, disrupting, out-competing and replacing the corrupted political parties, corporate media, out-of-control military and surveillance apparatus, and criminal financial institutions that have hijacked the Constitutional republic.

  • Paul C

    Wow, reading these comments make me feel like I must be a troglodyte. I see Obama as an elitist bolshevik bent on socialist dictatorship, and I consider myself as pretty moderate with a strong libertarian streak. Just how far left are you guys?

  • Anonymous

    Sadly, I agree with you, Jamenta. It feels like a mass Stockholm Syndrome and I can’t see how we overcome it.

  • Anonymous

    Agreed. But we can’t seem to find the leadership to launch such a revolutionary movement. Many of us know “what” we need but not “how” to get there from here. Not in any realistic way. For example, people say we just have to amend the Constitution in so many ways. Sure, but how is that gonna happen in the structure we have?

  • Anonymous

    As followers of Bill Moyers we’re not that far left. Left of center but not radical by any means. Sensible. We see that democracy is terminally dysfunctional if not dead, and unregulated, deregulated, nonregulated capitalism is destroying us, the people. Moderate libertarian sounds like an oxymoron. Government is not the problem; bad government, stupid government is the problem. Government is us. Working together for the benefit of all of us, not just the most aggressive few.

  • Anonymous

    All true, but these are the consequences of generations of deliberate, sustained ideological assault on the principles of egalitarian democratic self-rule, accompanied by a systematic dismantling of the institutions of popular democracy.

    The greed that begets oligarchy has been organized, diligent (and well-funded) to deprive the people of the financial, educational, legal, and political means to resist what you term oligarchy, which could also be identified as end-stage feudal capitalism or fascism.

    To regain their freedom, the American people will have to collectively come to their senses, reject the false ideologies that have colonized our consciousness, and collaborate in replacing the corrupt institutions that are enslaving us with popular institutions that restore our liberty.

    I suggest that this restoration is possible but only if the atomized and fratricidal factions of labor unions, environmentalists, students, women, people of color, Occupiers, progressive parties and the non-voting majority put away their narrowly-construed identity politics or apolitical absenteeism, and start rowing in unison toward the common dreams we share and can believe in.

  • Anonymous

    Not “in the [corrupted] structure that we have,” but in the virtuous and uncompromised structures we have the collective potential to build.

    Here are some tried-and-true freedom methodologies from the American experience:

    * Credit unions and state banks.
    * Worker-collective economic enterprise.
    * Trans-union solidarity and wildcat strikes

    And here are some emerging ones:

    * Voluntary withdrawal from the “free” (surveillance) economy
    * B-corporation public interest foundations
    * Citizen-supported, nonprofit investigative journalism
    *Third-stream coalitions gaining local elective office (I cite Richmond, CA as a shining example).

    There are even more possibilities to invent — and they all lie outside the chalk circle enclosures of futility that illegitimate masters have prescribed for us.

  • Anne Nelson

    Precisely why I didn’t vote for Obama over Hillary (who is NOT Bill). The right has gone so far to the right that to try to “meet them in the middle” means one has to go to the right, past the middle. And they are still whining it’s not far enough.

  • Anne Nelson

    It’s not how far to the left we are; it’s how far tp the right you are. Obama may be “elitist” in some senses, but “bolshevik” “socialist” and “dictatorship” have NOTHING in common with him. I’d bet you are 45 or younger. Those of us who grew up with parents who lived through the Great Depression and WWI, and grandparents who lived through the rise of bolshevism in Russia and WWI and lived through the Soviet Union Cold War ourselves think people who relate terms like you used for Obama are woefully ignorant and/or looney. PS I suggest you watch Doctor Zhivago to learn just how much of a ridiculous oxymoron the phrase “elitist bolshevik” really is. HINT: Zhivago is an elitist and Lara’s first husband is a Bolshevik. Watch what happens to the Zhivago family and then slap yourself for being ignorant enough to have ever used that phrase!

  • Anonymous

    …You must be in high school or college, the few years where the illusion of being a ‘radical socialist’ makes any sense…wherever socialism has been tried , it has created only misery. You curse the government in place and wish to replace it…with something equally tired and useless. Where are the great creatives of this generation?

  • Anonymous

    I agree, a Green White House would not work. Nice idea but not strong enough to withstand the complex and fierce political wars that would result. What is needed is a new kind of leader, the likes of which we’ve never seen. It’s seems like FDR was forced into the New Deal; it wasn’t his idea originally. JFK seemed like he was on the right track, enough so to get killed for it, but there remains some uncertainty about his intentions for Vietnam.

  • Anonymous

    …and when he’s done, you can slap yourself for being so self-righteous!

  • Anonymous

    …and when he’s done, you can slap yourself for being so self-righteous!

  • Paul C

    Maybe elitist is not the term you would use, but Stalin, Mao, Gomulka, Kadar, Ceauscu, etc,and currently Lil Kim set themselves above the people they ruled (as did their ruling class) and definitely lived the high life while their people suffered. I call that elitism. And I am 61 and also work extensively in the former socialist countries of Poland, Mongolia, and even once in Russia. I work with working class people who ALL remember what they call Socialist Times. Their memories are not good.

  • Paul C

    If you think that libertarians are not moderate than you should read up on it. A true not the right wing extremist the mainstream TV media tries to paint us as being; no libertarian would care about gay marriage or outlawing drugs, just the opposite- a libertarian wants to let people live however they want so long as they are not hurting anyone.. A libertarian would consider a woman’s right to choose her business, not the governments. No libertarian would have voted to bail out Wall Street. You might be shocked at what might happen to evil capitalism if it was not propped up by the government, whether Democrat or GOP. They are two sides of the same coin, both are owned by the wealthy.

  • Anonymous

    Socialist? Do you know what that word means? He isn’t even a liberal…and what socialist policy? The health mandate? Got news for you…I am mandated by a Reagan era law requiring I pay for all the people who choose not to buy coverage policies then show up at the ER. I know 3 people, ALL with good jobs who choose not to buy policies and got expensive free care at our local ER. I thought you guys hated moochers.

  • Law ‘n order

    To anyone who was paying attention, Obama revealed himself as pond scum when he voted for telecom immunity well before his first election as president.

  • Anonymous

    No she’s not. She’s far more fascistic than Bill ever was.

  • Law ‘n order

    You are not moderate. Obama is a hard right winger, trying unsuccessfully to deal with lunatic right-wing Republicans. The American eagle is the only bird in the world with two right wings.

  • Jason

    Same can be said of capitalism…

  • Anonymous

    Libertarianism is far right simply because it believes in a free market and in the myth of equal exchanges of goods. A huge delusion. Capitalism hurts everyone and they believe in the free market…

  • Anonymous

    That’s not moderate. That’s far right.

  • Dallas

    Obama and his clan are nothing but chronic liars. No ism fits their discription..

  • Anonymous

    Yet another reason I vote Green Party. Greens do get into office; the corporate media just don’t report it, making the Green Party virtually invisible. But our Green votes send a message.

  • Jason

    I’m not even going to be nice about it. This country is full of a bunch of brain-washed authoritarian morons. It has no hope.

  • William Anton Walters

    Money =/= free speech, despite what the Scalia 5 say.

    If you want a demonstration of this, create a blog and yammer on every day about how much you support Al Qaeda for 6 months. That’s free speech.

    Then send 100$ to an Al Qaeda affiliate and explain to the authorities that it’s “free speech.”

  • thfan

    These comments and this article is BS

  • Anonymous

    Errr, “whenever socialism has been tried it only creates misery”??? It seems are you misinformed and conflating one type of collectivism(ie Soviet Communism), as a justification for dismissing all collectivist or socialist efforts. Evidence shows that many socialist economies have actually prevailed quite well. Scandinavia up until recently for example has done extremely well, they have an amazing high quality of living, and a pretty “good” government based on a social security system.

  • Windell Cotton

    Wall street regulates our government not the other way around. Makes me sick when the right calls Obama and the Clinton’s liberal. They are conservative and the right is just bat crap crazy.

  • Windell Cotton

    Correct! She’s a Neo-Con!

  • Anonymous

    In a socialistic society all people would have health care. They pay for the peace of mind coming from not worrying about going bankrupt over medical costs, and seeing sick and deranged people in the streets or paying for costly emergency room bills. This is about what kind of person you are, not tea party, libertarian, anarchist, Occupy, Democratic or Republican ideology.

  • Anonymous

    Very well said, spread. We see that our capability and hope for sane discourse has been destroyed by the convergence of the destruction of public education, propaganda, and Citizens United. I never thought things could get this bad this fast, wait, yes I did, since Vietnam, multiple assassinations, Silent Spring, Reagan, Bush, Cheney, Enron, Fox, etc., and so on.

  • Anonymous

    Truly, there are thousands of people calling for this every day, experts, insiders, PhD’s, all manner of scientists, educators, authors, and millions of just plain folks, all have creative, tried and true and new brilliant ideas on how to fix this. Some are working together every day in their very own communities to make change.
    It’s purely a message distribution problem, the media is owned and operated by oligarchs who need us to feel helpless, enraged and afraid. We are far from it, and we could fix this in a week if we acted like it.

  • Patricia Stidham-Burns

    It wasn’t just organizations that helped in getting “Fast Track” stopped. Citizens all over this country called, wrote, petitioned, nagged,etc..to help stop this also.

    On the issue of the “Nothing Left: The Long, Slow Surrender of American Liberals.” I can’t say that I disagree with him on much. It’s harder and harder to be a Liberal and win on many issues.

    The inmates are loose and they are running the WORLD! $$$$$$$

  • Anne Nelson

    Paul C. And the top 1% of this nation is not elitist? Also please note I said Obama might be elitist in some sense. Moreover, Stalin overthrew the true bolsheviks to establish the kind of system he, Mao, etc. ran. I do not disagree at all that what we experienced as communist nations were more elitist than communism. Dictatorships with a superficial nod to “communal rule,” just don’t PO the guys in Moscow, Bejing, etc. I simply don’t see much different about the USA today and many of those nations. Our govt is bought and sold and screw the other 99%. PS do not mistake me for someone on Obama’s “support team.” By no means am I defending any of the regimes you mention, nor some of those you didn’t mention.

  • Anonymous

    Hillary is capable, but you might choose to reexamine her husband’s presidential legacy, Monica withstanding (or kneeling).
    The seeds of the current financial downturn were sown during his two terms. Several months before he left office, the economy began to slow considerably. Bush inherited a sluggish economy and Clinton’s failures to handle growing concerns about terrorism. As for Hillary’s go at national healthcare, the jury, being the public, is still out on affordable healthcare. She may need to run against it.

    I get the feeling I am being manipulated by media to believe she is the **only** candidate we should seriously consider, and I object to this. I need to hear from her what her plans are to revitalize education, infrastructure and the economy. I don’t care about her fundraising skills. If she has a serious platform to help Americans, I might consider voting for her – but I would be more likely to consider her if, for whatever reason, her unsavory husband was not in the picture.

  • Pat Branigan

    They did not surrender, they succumbed. They succumbed to the greed that seems to have taken over the hearts and minds of Americans. The Puritans seem to have won the day.

  • Paul C

    I agree with you on most all points. I certainly am no supporter of or apologist for the oligarchs and robber barons who run not only this country, but the world. There is not a pair of clean hands in Washington that I am aware of.

  • Anonymous

    If Elizabeth Warren became POTUS in 2016, we would see real progress. She’s one of the few who stands against the 1% in favor of ordinary Americans. But Democrats will nominate Hillary who will favor Wall Street and, once again, the plight of middle class & poor will be cast aside.

    There are two economies. One is prospering as never before and that belongs to the elite class…the 1%. The other is descending into third world status and that is where the rest of us dwell. Nothing will change for ordinary Americans until we reform the system.

  • Betty Eyer

    The whole spectrum has moved to the right.

  • Anonymous

    Adolph is totally correct in centering the discussion on equality/economics. For this is exactly where our quality of life and the survival of democracy hang in the balance. The key element missing from the national discussion is that the principle attraction and motivation of America and the health of our economy are only possible with the rise of a large, inclusive middle class. Perhaps there was a time where our minorities were such a small portion of our society that we could pass them by, but that time has gone.

    The first step in this quest for an inclusive, growing middle class is to discard any economic theory that assumes that our economy is inherently stable and that our current malaise is merely a temporary perturbation. Nothing could be further from the truth. The principal driving force causing the destruction of our middle class is the rapid and accelerating advancement of technology which is reducing the labor content of goods and services through automation and outsourcing. This is not in and of itself destructive until we place it in our current corporate environment which has restricted competition and the power of labor. The lack of these counterbalancing forces means that the technology-based labor savings are not shared with the workers in the form of lower cost goods or higher hourly pay

  • Anonymous

    This why we are witnessing the destruction of our middle class and why, over the past 40 years of the Information Technology Revolution, we have seen payrolls fall from 52% to 44% of GDP.

    This is not the first time in our history that we have faced technology-led inequality. The development of the cotton gin, the threshing machine, the tractor, the mechanized loom, the sewing machine and the typewriter brought about similar rises in inequality followed by panic and economic collapse in the 1890′s and 1930′s.

    This time around we need to find a way of restructuring our economy so that federal intervention is constant rather than coming to our rescue only after much damage to our people has already taken place.

  • Anonymous

    I’m sorry, but no. One person is neither a quick fix or a long term strategy. If a progressive movement represents the people, then it must B E the people, not an inspiring figurehead and speechmaker, but hundreds, thousands, tens of thousands of dedicated city council and school board members, county and state legislators, mayors, police and insurance commissioners, and civil service professionals. The world we want will never happen unless WE are building it every day.

    Don’t put it on Warren or Clinton or Sanders or Obama or any other personality. We either give rank and file progressive public service or we lose.

    I haven’t done enough, but I do some. If you won’t run for office or move your career to service, it isn’t enough to give money. You (we) have to at least do the recruiting work, find the best people we know and encourage THEM to run, to serve. If we don’t, the resulting vacuum will attract the hacks, narcissists, and bought boys we are used to.

  • Anonymous

    What you wrote is simplistic and silly. You think Elizabeth Warren stands “against the 1%?” Most of the 1% are doctors. lawyers, tenured college professors (like Ms. Warren), hospital administrators, executives of charities, talented software engineers, middling successful athletes and other entertainers, college football and basketball coaches, and so on. The hedge fund managers and financial sector royalists might be the top .1%, or the top .01%. An annual income of $237,000 puts you in the top 1%. That’s a great income, but it doesn’t make you an oligarch. Stop bleating about “the 1%.” It’s just stupid. Besides, even among the very wealthy, there are good people. Warren Buffet supported Obama. Bill Gates gives away multi-billions, and Zuckerberg just gave away a billion dollars.

  • Anonymous

    I’ve got news for you: the middle class is not liberal. Once people have a little stake in the economy–a house, a car, a decently paid job or small business, an expectation for a better life for their kids–they become protective, distrustful of change, fearful of loss, and anxious about things they don’t grasp. In other words, conservative and paranoid, like Dobbs in Treasure of the Sierra Madre. The right, as always, preys upon those anxieties and fears, plays them like a violin. So far, all liberals have been able to do is tell them, “Hey, don’t worry.” That’s why they are always back on their heels, politically. Winning elections is what is going to revive liberalism, not the other way around. It matters who’s in power.

  • Jeff Blanks

    It has long roots, back to the ’70s. They knew they’d done some silly things back when they were Dirty Hippies and such, and they wanted to prove they’d “grown up” and wanted to make it up to their parents. So they came up with their own hippie-bashing program, with punk rock and “alternative” and neo-retro and Back to JFK and Back to FDR and gosh, weren’t we silly when we were Dirty Hippies? In other words, liberals have become a kinder, gentler sort of Puritans; even gay marriage and gays in the military are really a way of throwing Dirty Hippies under the bus. And now look where we are. (Heck, even OCCUPY wants to throw Dirty Hippies under the bus.)

    They told themselves they’d lost, but they just stopped fighting–maybe to keep the peace, but they did. Subsequent generations haven’t really been any better, having had their cynicism built in from the beginning.

    But we could have the world they hoped for back in the ’60s. We just have to get up and start moving, and understand that this is the work of a lifetime and that we haven’t “failed” just because it’s hard or it’s taking longer than we thought.

  • Jeff Blanks

    You see things very wrong. What “Bolshevik” would institute the Health Insurance MARKETPLACE? What specific policies make you think of him as a socialist? What even *is* an “elitist”?

  • Anonymous

    Good luck with that! The only economies that have ever had “constant federal intervention”–at least since primitive monarchies–have been communist, and I don’t think that’s a model that’s going to sell very well. The private sector is certainly never going to demand “constant federal intervention”, so the only avenue to, shall we say, consumer-oriented federal oversight, is to elect people who believe in that. That is certainly possible.

  • Jeff Blanks

    Then why do you listen to their mouthpieces when they try to tell you who Obama is–who we are? Why do you just eat it up without questioning?

  • Jeff Blanks

    Nobody is suggesting that the Soviet system be implemented here. Anyone telling you such a thing is either mistaken or lying, and it’s hard for me to think they’re mistaken. OTOH, many of us look with envy on the Swedish system. You might do well to learn how to figure out the difference.

  • Jeff Blanks

    But when it comes down to brass tacks, libertarians support the Republicans, because they believe when Republicans tell them about Them Damn Hippie Liberals.

    We’re quite aware of how the present economy is being propped up by the government, but letting the pirates run free is no solution either. Any publicly traded business should have at the very least a board of directors that’s at least half made up of employees or people chosen by the employees. Some regulations have to be in place to ensure that all businesses act on the up and up. If you Don’t Trust Government, why would you trust anyone else?

  • Anonymous

    You are wrong about one thing: one person means a lot. It matters who’s in power, and while it is certainly important to try to to elect progressives at every level, all the time (like the right has elected their adherents over the past 30 years), the power that that one charismatic leader can wield is enormous, particularly in helping all those thousands of people actually WIN their elections to the school boards, etc. Look at how much FDR, Kennedy, and LBJ changed the course our society was on. Of course it’s no use to sit around and hope for a Messiah, but it doesn’t hurt to be looking for one either.

  • Anonymous

    Yeah, Americans never used to be ythis greedy. [eyeroll]

  • Jeff Blanks

    We need to JOIN THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY. We can’t depend on the parties to reform themselves any more than we can depend on it for any other institution. We have to join it and reform it ourselves. That’s what Democracy For America tried to do, and considering how small they are they’ve actually had some success.

  • Anonymous

    Well right about ALEC, etc., but this is also what is known as struggling for power in a market economy. Do you really think the greedy character of corporations is greater now than, say in 1934-1936, when they conspired to assassinate President Roosevelt and supported the rise of fascism in Germany and Spain? Where’s the Democratic ALEC?

  • Anonymous

    Read a book about Nixon. Better, read one of Nixon’s books! Then you would delete that silly comment.

  • Anonymous

    To paraphrase, Two things are needed for the resurgence of liberalism: the first is money, and I forget what the other one is.

  • Pat Branigan

    True very true. I was in grammar and high school at the time of the deep sixties rebellion but then the poor little rich kids that were at the forefront realized they needed to get back on the road with Mom and Dad. They got their degrees and “grew up”. I never got to be with them as i was a minor and my Dad made Reagan look like a flaming liberal. My Social Dem liberalism was a great disappointment to him. I know there are a lot of believers out there, and no we can’t give up but we must pick from leaders that not only can talk a good game(Obama) but act. Though, he might learn yet.

  • Anonymous

    My point was, in accordance with the opinion of this author, the left had abandoned the fight against economic injustice, and has become impotent. In fact, there are two economies, one that is prospering & one that is declining…and the vast majority of us are in the declining economy. All of our economic growth over the past 30 years has gone to the top one-hundredth of one percent, who now make an average of $27 million per household. For the bottom 90 percent of us, the average is around. $30,000.

    Economic inequality is a significant contributor to our sluggish national economy because it’s a strong middle class that is necessary to buy goods & services. Without a strong middle class, we’re all in trouble, including the wealthiest.

    I agree with the author. Progressives need to prioritize economic equality.

  • Paul C

    I agree with your points, and like your idea of employees on the board, there are some very successful businesses built on that idea.
    What I said was that I was a moderate (that means I like to look at both sides of an argument before choosing one or neither) with libertarian streak (which means I distrust allowing others run my life).
    All of you should try to realize that we probably have more in common than we have differences. I came here for new ideas and discourse, not as a troll. And to tell you the truth I was amazed at the many opinions people here have of the President which are pretty much the same as mine.

  • Paul C

    I would certainly like to see all soft money, indeed, all money that does not come from individuals (with a strictly enforced cap) taken out of elections. I think maybe we could all agree that the campaign financing that exists now is not giving value for dollar.

  • Rhonda Thissen

    While I agree with your point, on the flip side, some on the right make a big fuss about the eeevil gubmint coming to take people’s guns away and force them into same-sex marriage while simultaneously complaining about government workers being lazy slobs. With all the stories in the media about incompetence in government, how is it that people are so afraid of the government taking their rights away when it care barely fight its way out of a paper bag? It’s just ridiculous hyperbole. I don’t implicitly trust government (and if I were a racial/ethnic minority, I sure wouldn’t trust law enforcement), but neither do I believe that government is the evil empire.

  • Anonymous

    Good point.

  • Anonymous

    I agree with him but I think it’s better for Dems to win elections than to let the crazy tealiban types take over the country even if the Dems I have to vote for are wholly owned subsidiaries of Wall St.

  • Anonymous

    he didn’t say differently.

  • Anonymous

    Of course there has been constant federal intervention in the past in the form of Glass Steagall, the SEC and labor laws. I believe that we need to fine any company whose ratio of profits to payroll drifts higher than the history for that company. The fine would be equal to 100% of the excess. Such a plan has the following advantages:

    Avoids one-size-fits-all solutions and tax and redistribute which is affected by the current political whims of government.

    Allows corporations to determine for themselves how to most effectively allocate payroll increases

  • Tim Tim

    I consider this misguided. He blames the left for no coherent persuasive response to false noise network plus dark money ads. I agree the far left could help achieve goals we Liberal desire by accepting baby steps. The far left are characterized by ego tripping on how pure their demands are. Same with far right, hint hint.

    Other than that, I refute this premise based upon the fact that we elected Obama twice… against said network + ads.

  • Anonymous

    For most humans it’s a need to belong. Many people no longer practice a religion, and aren’t even spiritual, so they need to belong to something bigger than they are.

    That is probably why many fall lock-step into the “belief systems” of political parties and movements. They repeat the beliefs as if they’re reciting a denominational creed. It’s as if they are hypnotized. “They’re taking our guns away.” “It’s racial injustice” – whoever “they” are and whatever “it” is. On both sides political leaders and their hangers on (the Limbaughs, Jesse Jacksons, Al Sharptons) who encourage anger and hate. It is sad that people allow themselves to fall for it, but it is often the uneducated and the disenfranchised who do. The Government is not an evil empire, but many of its leaders are no longer acceptable to me.

  • Mike

    So you’re only thinking in terms of elections and which party is in power. Have you been paying attention to anything the Obama administration has been doing and NOT doing these past years? Your part of the problem he is talking about.

  • mcalip

    I invite you to go out and ask people why they voted for Obama the second time. The most frequent answer I got was that he was the lesser of two evils. They already thought they knew what he was capable of and Romney scared them!

  • Shlomo Goldstein

    the government will reflect the elites of a society. The harvard-washington complex does not care about the problems of ordinary americans because it is not representative of normal americans.

    There are solutions to a degenerate and foreign elite, but they aren’t political ones.

  • Anonymous

    Yes, it has to come from the people! No elected politician can replace that. However, if we have someone on top that will open the doors for us, rather than oppose us, it will be much more effective, don’t you think?

  • Rhonda Thissen

    I’m definitely with you there. I watched an American Experience episode the other day on the political career of Hubert Humphrey, and at the end I nearly wanted to cry with the wish that he were still alive today. We need someone like him to bring a sane voice to our nutty political process. I was hoping President Obama would be that person, but unfortunately, he turned out to be a disappointment in a lot of ways.

  • Anonymous

    The United Steel Workers of America and the Mondrogon Cooperatives of Spain have just formed a joint venture in the US in Cleveland, Cincinnati and Pittsburgh. Worker cooperatives, democratically controlled and focused on Main Street not Wall Street coupled with municipal, region, state owned public banking and credit unions can by pass Wall Street, big banks and big box brand name stores. What if Wall Street had a trading day and nobody came? Besides, who has more power over you, everyday than your boss, wouldn’t it be more democratic if you elected him or her?

  • Anonymous

    But the public and the Congress had to “make him do it.” Companies didn’t like the “New Deal”, until they started getting their “piece of the action” by government contracts for construction of public works projects, supplying building materials, construction equipment and tools for the dams, highways, parks, water and sewage treatment plants etc. of the WPA, CCC etc. They have always hated Social Security, unemployment insurance, all “entitlement programs” and “burdensome regulations” like FLSA, NLRA, SEC EPA, OSHA, and DOL.

  • Anonymous

    Humphrey would be too high-caliber for today’s corrupt politics.

    Re: Obama, voters allowed their emotions to get the best of them in 2008. But I place more blame on media than anyone or anything else. For both election cycles they failed to present Obama as he was – and is. It was a great injustice to this country and its voters. I get that people were tired of George Bush, but in 2012 Obama’s own political operatives and media hangers-on presented a dark, unfounded picture of Mitt Romney.

    Obama’s polls show that people have lost faith and respect, and the sad part is, it is not all Obama’s fault. This said, if healthcare shows any success in the coming 2-3 years, he may save his legacy. I honestly don’t see this happening. In 2009 we heard that 30 million people were uninsured. So what has happened to their plight? Why does the administration no longer speak of them, show concern for them? We have been deeply manipulated by a man who did not deserve to be president, and by media who have taken us for suckers. I think they may be right about that.

  • GregoryC

    Disagree. Remove the word “liberal” in describing the middle class and ask what they seek: preservation of Social Security & Medicare, quality/affordable education for their children, upward mobility in meaningful employment paying a living wage, affordable access to healthcare. Regardless of political description, I think many people ultimately want these things for themselves, their children or the younger generation.

  • GregoryC

    That’s what Gore Vidal said.

  • GregoryC

    Corporate media rarely covers anything meaningful. PBS recently had a program with on TPP with 2 guests: The US Trade Rep from 1989-1993 (NAFTA) and Lori Wallach from Public Citizen. Wallach was terrific. I was surprised to see any meaningful coverage, albeit brief, on PBS though.

  • GregoryC

    Imperialism. Neoliberalism.

  • GregoryC

    Agree. End gerrymandering of districts. Close the revolving door. End nepotism for jobs through political contacts — families of members of Congress, former Presidents children serving on Wall Street, corporate media, hedge funds, failed regulators, enriching themselves through connections. Quit appointing ambassadorships to those who bundle money for your political campaign.

  • GregoryC

    I don’t think I’d describe Obama as moderate — out doing the Bush-Cheney neocons, PNAC, with regime change/imperialism in the middle east, Africa, pivot to Asia. Libya, Sudan, Honduras, Venezuela, Syria, Ukraine, Pakistan, expanding AFRICOM to every nation on the African continent except Eritrea and Zimbabwe. That doesn’t sound moderate to me.

  • Anonymous

    Exactly, Paul. It’s my understanding that it was the unions that were able to threaten FDR politically, enough to make him do the New Deal, WPA, CCC, etc. And the unions had the power to do that because the union membership rate was around 30%+ at that time, as opposed to 7% today. Reagan began the war against all unions when he fired the air traffic controllers. Since the 1980s we have been essentially a Republican nation, driven to cut taxes and raise (not lower) debt, primarily thru expanding the military-industrial complex, all in order to shrink the government (that’s us) to bathtub size. All the while, the Democrats have been fully complicit and enabling. And so here we are, their mission nearly accomplished. In order to fix all that’s wrong, the changes we need are myriad and enormous.

  • Anonymous

    To clarify and to connect the dots: Republicans (with the Democrats) drive up the debt thru expanding the military-industrial and financial complex. Cheney said that debt doesn’t matter! Then when the debt is driven up to intolerable levels (think insolvency) and taxes (revenue) have been cut, the only “solution” is we have to cut, cut, cut all the New Deal “entitlements” (really, earned benefits) in order to pay the interest and principal on all that debt. Shrink all government spending, except on the military-security complex and the banks. FDR’s debt was good debt as it expanded the economy; the neocon debt we have now is bad debt that’s destroying our economy and our security.

  • Anonymous

    Of course they want these things for themselves. So do poor people. I was just pointing out that a large middle class does not guarantee the “survival of democracy.” We live in a society where political power is transferred at the polls (thank God) and the votes of the middle class have to be wooed. Most people can’t even identify which candidate or party is more likely to promote “preservation of Social Security & Medicare, quality/affordable education for their children, upward mobility in meaningful employment paying a living wage, affordable access to healthcare.”

  • Anonymous

    Okay, I guess I misunderstood what you mean by “constant federal intervention.” The probability of the federal government injecting itself into all of industry the way it has into, for example, commercial fishing, is highly remote. The main purpose of federal regulation is to protect the normal citizen from the depredations of corporatists, who, by law, consider only returning a profit to shareholders. Your idea of an excess profits tax is interesting, but unlikely. I think a guaranteed income– or reverse income tax, as Milton Friedman called it, would be good.

  • Anonymous

    So, you’re saying you hate democracy? This country, like every country, is full of people who believe what they’re told, and it’s the right wing doing most of the telling. The left just has no propaganda program to match them.

  • Anonymous

    Nixon gave us the EPA and the Energy Department, took us totally off the gold standard, instituted price controls and opened relations with “Red China” at the peak of the Cold War. Seems to me he would be considered far left of center in today’s political climate. Sure he was paranoid, but that afflicts those across the political spectrum.

  • Anonymous

    I believe that tax-based solutions are passé since they require higher taxes and distribute according to a one-size-fits-all formula. They are also subject on both the revenue and disbursement ends to the current political whims of congress.

    Far better to influence corporations to increase payrolls proportionally to profits and let them decide for their company where they can most effectively apply the extra payroll dollars. The government is then not in the financial loop except to collect higher taxes on the increased payroll.

  • Stephen Hymel

    The most important “truth” regarding the future direction of our country and the world for me, is: things change and usually for the better because people die; and those that follow them have had diff. life experiences, diff. understandings and beliefs, diff. worldview, diff. priorties. What/who “informs” most GenX’ers and Milliniums today are not what/who informs folks over 50. In 5 years there will be lotsa of view changes, but in 25 years huge changes! We’re already beginning the see the words “liberal” and conservative less connected to how young folks identify themselves!

  • Anonymous

    I’m starting to like it. Except that it’ll take some work to remain fair. A reasonable employee/profit ratio can change over time. I’m liking this more. Good idea!

  • Anonymous

    @paulroden – That’s very exciting news I wasn’t aware of; thanks for adding to this thread. The established media order works overtime to suppress the history of successful populist institutions, so it’s important to remind people of remarkable stories like the Mondrogen Cooperatives (they survived decades of brutal Franco fascism; that’s resilience!).

    Also, this mention of Cleveland reminds me of the exemplary story of “the boy mayor” Dennis Kucinich who was pilloried for refusing a privatization big-money scheme to sell off Cleveland’s city-owned power utility (Muni Light). Dennis won the utility battle but lost the mayor’s office.

    Twenty years later the city of Cleveland issued an appreciation acknowledging that Dennis’ defense of the publicly-owned utility had been the right thing to do, and in the years since had saved the city $150 million.

    So, add public ownership of utilities (gas & electric, water, and broadband) to my previous list of alternative public-interest institutions that citizens can implement at a local level.

    Anyone interested in seeing what Congressional
    courage and a rational platform for national progress look like, should read the Kucinich profile on Wikipedia.

  • Chuck McCoy

    You’re suggesting that the problem is that the “far left” hasn’t been accommodating enough to those to the right of them? If only we could get these ego trippers to loosen up on their values, we might be able to get more stuff in our begging bowls? And electing Wall Street candidate Obama twice was a huge victory for progressives? Really?

  • NotARedneck

    This has been a long time development. It started when the new deal policies that raised so many WHITES out of poverty were going to be applied to minorities, especially blacks. The resistance started and intelligent, progressive voters and their politicians started to merely attempt to maintain the gains that they already had made – expecting that eventually the majority would realize that these policies were important and effective.

    Unfortunately, those who were helped the most by these policies were bigoted, fundamentalist imbeciles from the south and rural areas and they were happy to be able to contrast their “success” with “those lazy ni***rs” who they not only despise but wanted to keep in their place as an exploitable labour source.

    The rest is right wing history. They won the sales job, even as their policies have harmed almost everyone. But hey, racism sells among imbecile RepubliCON voters.

  • Diogenes in OR

    Wow, katgurl, you are absolutely incorrect in your assessment of socialist governments. All of the governments of western Europe are socialist to one degree or another, including Germany, the currently most successful. As for replacing our “tired and useless” “government in place”; we don’t need to replace it so much as fine tune it. There are many steps that can be taken to get us there, some of which have already been discussed. The desired end result would be something a lot closer to that “tired and useless” European model that you so decry.

  • John McNay

    Bill, if you want to further this argument, let’s do a segment on my new book, Collective Bargaining and the Battle of Ohio. We need to tell the story of progressive victories!

  • Anonymous

    I agree with you. That is good news , but just one thing….Mondragon, not Mondrogon, started in 1987, well after Franco’s death in 1975. Yes, the people who formed the cooperative had survived Franco, but not Mondragon itself. It’s post-Franco.

  • Diogenes in OR

    Here is the problem, Nicole. Our president is, at heart and notwithstanding his community organizer background, an academic who avoids open confrontation, and whose political beliefs are those of a moderate corporatist who would have been right at home in the Republican party of Nixon or Ford.
    He lacks the stones to have done what every populist progressive would have wanted in 2009 when the Dems controlled both houses of Congress: taken a strong populist agenda to the Dem congressional leadership and said “pass this”. The House would have been no problem; all it takes is a one vote majority as long as the rank and file falls into place with you. The Senate presents a different problem, but strong leadership willing to change the arcane rules of the Senate (none of which are cast in stone OR the Constitution) would very nearly guarantee the legislative outcomes.
    Reinstating Glass-Steagall, holding CEO’s of the bailed out financial institutions accountable, complete withdrawal from Iraq and Afghanistan within a year, single payer universal health care; all of those policy initiatives and more to further populist progressivism were all doable had Obama really had those as his policy goals. We elected him to follow that path; unfortunately those goals were NEVER his. It has become obvious that he was a creature of the Wall Street moneyed elite from the start, and never had any intention of pushing true populist progressive policies. He threw us a few bones from the social end of things, especially with regards to codifying equal rights for all, but his administration has been a severe disappointment everywhere else. Blaming the Rep’s for stonewalling is a convenient excuse for failing to take action when the Rep’s would have been little more than a speed bump on the road to real populist progressive changes.

  • Diogenes in OR

    I repeat this every time a ‘Green’ says vote Green Party for POTUS: a Green Party vote at the presidential level is nothing more than a protest vote, and will help elect the worst case Rep in a close race every time.
    Vote Green at the local level, organize and win locally,as the Vermont Progressives did. Build a viable legislative presence from the ground up. But only vote Green for POTUS if you are willing to accept a repeat of 2000, where enough votes were cast for Nader in key states to give the election, with the (un-Constitutional) help of the Roberts court, to Bush the lesser, otherwise known as Shrub.
    Apologists continue to argue that Gore lost because he ran an uninspired race, which has some truth to it. But Nader continued to run hard right down to the wire in key battleground states, when he KNEW that not only could he not win, but that he would not even garner the necessary 5% of total votes cast nationwide to give his party needed national recognition. That willful and conscious decision on Nader’s part took enough progressive votes from Gore to put Shrub in the White House. It also destroyed Nader’s credibility, as his disastrous run in 2004 demonstrated

  • Diogenes in OR

    While there is some factual value in what you say, it was more than just bigoted, low information voters that brought about what we have now. What we had was a ‘perfect storm’ of backlash, commencing in the late ’60′s and continuing through the Reagan years. The 1964 and 1968 Civil Rights Acts and the 1965 Voting Rights Act gave birth to the Republicans’ ‘Southern strategy’, which eventually brought your “bigoted, fundamentalist imbeciles” into the Rep Party..
    The 1973 Roe v Wade decision mobilized the religious social conservatives to implacably oppose a woman’s right to choose, and helped keep your “b.f.i.’s” voting Republican, as they were quite cynically, and successfully, pandered to by Right wing strategists.
    Add to the above the post Viet Nam war malaise, pile it on top of the energy crunches of the ’70′s, the chorus from the Right that Carter was ineffectual at best and a disaster at worst, runaway stagflation that resulted from policies that principally were not of Carter’s making, the Iran hostage crisis, and you have the stage set for ‘The Great Communicator’ and his smooth talking “morning in America” message that quite literally pulled the proverbial wool over the eyes of the voters.
    The Right found their message and messenger in “St. Reagan”, and the left began to lose their way.

  • Anonymous

    Nixon was also a red-baiting, cold war tub-thumper, opposed the nuclear test ban treaty, and killed more people (Americans and Vietnamese) in Vietnam than the French, JFK and LBJ combined. Starting EPA (he got caught up in the first Earth Day celebration) and OSHA doesn’t make you a “radical socialist.”

  • Anonymous

    Not at all; the vast majority of “Tea Party” voters were and remain already-voting members of the Republican Party or Libertarian or other minor right-wing parties. They are not new participants in the electoral process, and they are not comprised of any of the political constituencies I described as “third-steam.”

    The “Tea Party” is also not a political party, which means having state recognition as a ballot-access entity.
    I agree with you that the Tea Party movement is nothing more than an Astroturfed front for fascistic billionaires, who are politically victimizing the dupes they’ve recruited to be their brownshirts.

  • Anonymous

    Are you really shocked to learn that a leading politician has told lies? Obama’s far less of a liar than Bush, or need I say it, Cheney. Snap out of it.

  • Anonymous

    Everything I am proposing is predicated on people organizing together, and I suggested a number of primarily local-level, un-coopted vehicles for doing so.

    Thanks for the link to the Simon talk. I don’t have a TV so I haven’t been following his shows, but I will download and listen to that talk.

    Passionate, insightful films, novels, and even TV shows with a social conscience have a powerful role to play in instilling awareness and emotional identification.

    But after the show is over, the audience has to get off the couch and make the transition from ideation to working reality.

  • Anonymous

    Libertarianism is an idealistic and simplistic ideology based on the assumption that the less government interferes with any human activity, the better. It’s a nice idea when it comes to personal behavior, but it’s absurd to apply those principles of personal liberty to societal institutions, particularly the marketplace. And it’s also quite dangerous in international relations.

  • Anonymous

    In Sweden (or is it Norway? maybe both), every corporate board of directors must be 50% female. I’d vote for that!

  • Anonymous

    Of course. There’s no such thing as a “free market.” Capital, as we all know, tends to create monopoly. An unfettered free market is eventually hamstrung by the vicious and avaricious few players who stop at nothing to dominate their market. How “free” is that market?

  • Anonymous

    I agree!

  • Guest

    VOTE 3rd Party. The DEMs and REPs are corrupt to the core.

  • Anonymous

    Play the game of :Follow the Leader” and you get what you deserve. Changing the name to “progressives” is just a shell game. Indeed, no left in America. No working class base, no base among poor people. Dems murdered the Panthers. Busted the unions. Pandered to civil servants. No memory loss here. Political elite never wanted the base. The agenda needs to be re-defined and prioritized. Local autonomy- more regionalism, less centralization of Old Left. Progs hop from Dems to Greens without batting an eye. No home constituency outside of academics and utopian gentrified urban centers. Greens don’t care for progs. They don’t want to develop the Green Party, they want to use it for THEIR antiquated agenda. The workers movement is not centered on unionization. The democracy issue is not centered on voter registration. The ecological issue is not centered on accepting the concept of global warming. Dems are gaming at best and ruling at worst. Whenever Greens show a bounce in popularity, Dems change the rules and progs just sit there and watch.

  • Matt

    Read Chris Hedges’ “Death of the Liberal Class.”

  • carlin123

    Hey Bill get a friken hair cut.

  • Anonymous

    Following your metaphor, let’s say you’re on America’s Team but the reigning champion in the league is the Oligarchs. You choose real-ass or lesser-ass for your captain without knowing that both of them came to America’s Team from the Oligarchs and they have no interest in giving you the coaching (progressive policies) or leadership you need to defeat the mighty Oligarchs. And the reality is, you haven’t been able to identify somebody else on your team with the stature (skills, knowledge, strength, and willingness) to lead your team. There’s also Team Green, full of really smart players, but unfortunately they aren’t the best athletes and their fan base, while highly enthusiastic, is too small and diversified to support them to a winning season.

    To make matters worse, the Oligarchs are ruthless and break every rule in the book at will. Meanwhile the referees (regulators) have torn pages out of the rule book and spend most of their time chatting with each other on the sideline.

    We need to find a new leader with extraordinary vision and strength, who is all for America’s Team, one of us, not one of them. We need them to work from a third party, not from within our two party system, and we need them to build a singular unified agenda. He or she will have to be willing to risk being assassinated if they ever become a real threat. And we who join will have to risk the full force of the Oligarch’s repressive power.

  • Anonymous

    We on the Left are very good at bashing the Republicans. People like Paul Krugman have been doing it every day for years. Our Bill Moyers is nothing less than a national treasure. For those of us who are awake, it’s pretty clear what’s wrong.

    What is lacking, however, is a national leader who will begin to counter the Right (Democrats as well as Republicans) – every day – not with complaints and rebuttals but with a program of positive and practical steps that all of us, with re-education, can begin to rally around. It’s not enough to complain, for example, that we need to amend the Constitution in this way or that; we need steps that we can believe in and that are do-able, not pie-in-the-sky hopes and wishes with which we try to “influence Congress.”

    But, given our so many divisions, how do we find such a leader? And how would we know we could trust such a person, given our betrayal by Obama?

  • Anonymous

    As I read the discussion comments here I feel the point of this critical discussion between Moyers and Reed is being missed. It is no longer about Republicans and Democrats because they are both of the same neoliberal mindset. Yes, what it is going to take certainly is a true leader, a champion of the people. But under the current two-party system that will not happen because with both parties in the same ideological camp of neoliberalism and with campaigns being sold to the highest bidder we will never be allowed a real choice, until we find a way either to recapture the Democratic Party as the party of the people or change the system to allow more than a choice between the current parties in our exclusive “two-party system”. We are not given real choice here in the US, not when credible alternative candidates like Kucinich and Nader are locked out of debates and denied ballot access, not to mention being completely ignored by the media. In many other pseudo “democracies” around the world, millions of voters boycott the elections as a protest against having no real choice. Perhaps that is what we need to do to wake up a Republican Party that is like broken record and a Democratic Party that takes its base of voters completely for granted. I have pledged to never again vote for the lesser of evils. That is not real democracy. Ours is not a real democracy.

  • Anonymous

    steven a johnson: The Democrats may have done
    a great thing by electing Mr. Obama, and I was
    in that battle bag and baggage, but President
    Obama, even from the very beginning with a
    majority of Congress, tried nothing to enact what
    he campaigned on. Mrs. Clinton will do even less.

  • Cougar90210

    You are correct about the blind allegiance of party regulars to their titular heads, and I don’t have a simple solution for how this reality gets changed. Politics these days (and perhaps it has always been so) is nothing but theatre – a show for the mass audience brought to us by the “sponsors” and “patrons” who provide the funding to make the show possible (and who will split up the “gate”). But I will say that someone like Ron Paul is not the answer, at least not from what I have seen and heard from him.

  • Cougar90210

    Sadly, I must agree with you – about both Pres. Obama and Ms. Clinton.

  • Ken

    Tim Tim is not part of the problem. You are. He explains the problem, offers a solution. And you respond by blaming him, explaining nothing, and offering no solution yourself. Your response was warm moist air, compared with his thick, juicy and complex argument that I could sink my hungry brain into. My hats off to Tim Tim. I think I get it.

  • Monica Kaye

    I’m an African American woman in her early 40′s and I did not vote Obama in either election. I have to add that I’m not a Republican, Tea Party member, or member of the radical left. In 2008, I found the ordination of Obama and the fervent devotion of his followers, sorry, supporters unsettling and I wanted no part of the movement. I voted for Nader. In 2012, I voted for Stein simply based on the issues important to me. In this article, Reed calls out Obama and corporate Democrats as the manipulative opportunists they are. I hope that it is eye-opener many Democrats need to leave the Demopublican party for greener pastures. The truth is that anything might be better than what we have now.

  • Monica Kaye

    What about left-wing libertarianism and Libertarian socialism?

  • Monica Kaye

    Stop the madness. Democrats are going to beat that horse to death. You forget that Gore did not win his home state of Tennessee (the Green party did not have many votes in that state). With TN, Florida would not even been in play. I’m not ignoring the voting irregularities but please stop saying that Greens are the reason Bush won. Democrats use the Gore defeat as a scare tactic but some of us know what’s going down.

  • Anonymous

    Amazing eye opening post….a star in a night sky.

  • Anonymous

    You should know that posts which use the word ‘titular’ require a PG 13 rating.

  • http://functionalculture.blogspot.com Constructive_Feedback

    @Monica Kaye:

    As a “fellow Black” I too observed the very same molestation of the “Black Community’s Institutions” that converged into Political Opportunism. After more than 50 years of Bayard Rustin’s “Vote Your Way Into Black Community Salvation” scheme – the Black Racial Services Machine compelled Americanized Blacks to look past their local failures and seek hope in “Nationalized Social Justice” through Obama.
    I voted “None Of The Above”, however.
    When my frat brother challenged me on my decision by asking “OK – now tell me why you never abstained from registering a vote for President in the past, especially under ‘Bush’ ” –
    I proved that I was one step ahead of him, having thought out my justifications as I told him:
    “I have never been given cause before to withhold my vote per the Black Racial Services Machine’s all out compromise of Black Community Institutional Integrity”
    The legacy of the “Obama Era” for Black America is NOT found in any “scandals within the Obama Administration”.
    Instead it is the total compromise of Black and Progressive stances that had previously REGULATED the government against Imperialism, Surveillance and Government Violations of personal rights.
    With Obama expertly granting the Progressive Coalition a few vital trinkets in their fight against the right wing – they vowed THIS TIME to not disrupt the relationship with the President – like they did against Johnson and Vietnam.
    Who cares about a few drone bombings in Yemen, Libya, Pakistan, Somalia and Kenya, anyway?

  • Monica Kaye

    That sounds like an incredibly civil challenge. In ’08 people were called all kinds of names for not falling in line and praising Obama. For the first time in my life I really began to question my blackness and wonder if there was something amiss in me. It was like I was on a different wavelength.

    Now it is more troubling that Black people are cheering on the drone strikes and standing aside and had nothing to say after Obama authorized the execution of a US citizen without trial (because we trust him and he’s going to be POTUS forever). The world has gone mad.

  • Monica Kaye

    What are baby steps in your opinion?

  • Monica Kaye

    i think the Reed’s point is that political solutions are not the answer and economic changes needed can only be initialed by mass action from the Left.

  • Cougar90210

    Sorry about that verbal “malfunction.”

  • Tim Tim

    Well, something sort of like when political compromise is suddenly forbidden by the opposition party. And it’s either give way in to get a little bit of what you want, or else get nothing done. And a portion of the far-left act like marionettes, carping for Obama ‘to make’ what we want to happen. The other rejection of moderate policies is voiced by when Progressives demand so many ‘superior ones’. The moderate’s response is he’s President of the other ~50% of the country, too. What is important to remember: holding to the center is far far far more difficult than following purely one or the other end of the spectrum.

  • Tim Tim

    This convolutes in a manner that kills what analogy you began. I can tell you that, given the world you describe — which has a hearty share of reality — you end up with Bushes when a slice of the far-left votes for a third party.

    My challenge to you: figure out how to win in the world as it is. Britain can’t even make a tri-partite government work, and that’s what you get with a third party. No, there must be majority rule.

    Also, you need to acknowledge that the other ~50% of America is opposed to all the progressive agenda. So, why do you think you ought to impose it upon them? This is the underlying rationale for being a Centrist Prez.

  • thinkerman

    It is easier to change the direction of a boat than to build a new boat. Progressives might consider how to co-operate and operate in a more effective way within the Democratic party. Or within the Republican Party for that matter. If you can’t swing the Democratic Party, how much harder to swing a country as a third party? Anyway, a third party will split the vote primarily with the Democrats, assuring a permanent Republican government. Learn from the Canadian situation. Don’t go there.

  • rltmlt

    I agree with you Monica ! Like you, I voted for Nader in 2008, the first time I have ever voted for someone not directly supported by the Democrat Party. Nader correctly identifies the current organizations in Washington as a “Two Party Duopoly”, two sides of the same corporate coin. I didn’t vote in 2012. Considering the 2010 Supreme Court’s approval of Citizen’s United and the introduction of endless quantities of private money into our election system, these elections are all but predetermined by those with the largest financial resources. Why should I waste my time going through the motion of voting. I’ve become a big fan of Black Agenda Report, Glen Ford, and his staff who openly attack those Black leaders who have sold out to the moneyed interests and are dedicated to keeping their boot on the back of all other Black Americans who are just trying to survive in an increasingly racist environment !

  • Monica Kaye

    B.A.R. is required reading on Wednesdays. I don’t agree with all of their opinions but I appreciate their point of view.

  • Robert Henry Eller

    Yes, yes, yes and yes! Can I hire you as my ghost writer?

  • Robert Henry Eller

    I’m following you now, Diogenes. Not to be confused with stalking.

  • http://mendaciousbeing.tumblr.com/ typhoeus

    The Democratic Party is not “the left.” That is one of Reed’s major mistakes here. The “left” holds a critique of capitalism, in varying degrees, that the Democrats don’t hold. Even “liberals” aren’t really “the left.” They’re capitalists, to varying degrees, and that is why they have no fundamental argument against Democratic leaders, who are largely corporate capitalists. What’s happening is progressive Democrats are the ones “surrendering”: to neoliberal Democrats. That is the problem. It is the true American left that recognizes this as THE problem prohibiting left progress. The American left is fighting that problem.

    Which leads to Reed’s second major mistake: his dismissal of all leftists as meandering. He denigrates Kshama Sawant, for one, and the Green Party (“green whatever”) while looking for a left leader, as if such a leader can exist, to pool the entire left together to focus on one thing. It is progressive Democrats who are meandering, not the left. Sawant is a Green, by the way, elected as a Socialist Alternative candidate with Green backing.

    Reed says that labor must participate in creating a new political force. . . . The Democratic Party has enveloped labor, progressives (think PDA), antiwar activism, environmental activism, and much more, only to de-politicize these movements and people. The Democrats now want to envelope Bernie Sanders. Reed fails to see that the Democratic Party is THE major impediment to left political and social/activist progress.

    Reed’s right that we need a “politically effective force,” but he’s wrong that that force doesn’t exist. That force is the Green Party. The Greens knows that rejecting the Democrats is the first step toward building an effective electoral force. He is absolutely wrong that we must choose the “less-bad candidate.” That is where the failure begins.

  • Paula

    I would prefer that Bernie Sanders run as an Independent, but only if he is able to debate with the Dems. If he is not allowed a voice as an Indie, then I am (hold my nose) ok with his running as a Dem. Although I will work hard on his campaign, I know there is a good chance he will not be elected or even nominated, but Joe/Jill Public needs to hear what he has to say.

  • http://mendaciousbeing.tumblr.com/ typhoeus

    If he runs as a Democrat his issues will be ignored by Clinton when she crushes him in the primary. Clinton will not adopt any of his issues upon beating him and upon his subsequent endorsing of her. Sanders and his issues and any social and electoral movements surrounding him and those issues then disappear–they get eaten by Clinton’s neoliberal Democratic Party.

    That is what is going to happen
    unless the left tells Sanders to reject the Democratic Party, as the left always should do anyway–since the Democratic Party is not left, but is instead very much a neoliberal, capitalist party.

  • Paula

    If he does not run as a Dem his ideas will not be heard. The expectation is not that Clinton will accept his ideas, but that citizens will and that those citizens will push for some of the changes that Bernie will put forth. You can pat yourself on the back for voting Green, but you wasted your vote. I think we can push the Dems to the left and it is the route/card that we have been dealt. Because of climate destabilization the world is facing really hard times, maybe human extinction, we have to take the fastest path.

  • Paula

    I will remind you that Congress is as powerful, more powerful, than the President. And there are a few things that Ron Paul has a correct stance on, but he is a laissez faire capitalists – far from what would be good for we the people.

  • Paula

    Since Reid did not get rid of the filibuster, there was really never a Democratic majority.

  • Paula

    I will ask you and everyone reading this how many times have you written your Representatives this year? When citizens do get upset and communicate we generally see some result, like not fast tracking the TPP, like we didn’t bomb Syria. Tell your Reps what you want – email, call, often. Get involved.

  • http://mendaciousbeing.tumblr.com/ typhoeus

    The waste is to raise issues to Clinton and to be “heard,” only to lose to Clinton and support her. This does nothing; this does worse than nothing–it turns progressivism into regressivism. The Greens and socialists are actually creating an alternative to the neoliberalism that progressive Democrats keep supporting: we are running campaign and are working together and are winning. Progressive Democrats are the ones wasting their potential. They have the potential to do something revolutionary, but they do not have a bold revolutionary mindset. The Democratic Party is a corporate-capitalist party and it needs to be opposed. Clinton needs to be opposed. Sanders as a Democrat does not oppose her; he facilitates her nomination and election.