The Logistics

November 14, 2011 Category: Civil Society Party


Let X = Obama administration and the Democrats in the House / Senate. 

A question is often asked, “What can progressive Democrats do about X?”  The answer is quite simple: Not very much, so long as they are Democrats. 

As a Democrat, one is persuaded to support his party…which means going along with whatever it is that the party insiders decide.  Dissidents cannot go up against the party simply because party “machine” won’t stand for dissent.  Consequently, Progressives are told to sit down and shut up…and expected to vote for DP candidates the next time around.

Progressives are those looking for a genuine social democracy.  Since FDR, Progressives operated within the Democratic Party simply because that was the only available vehicle by which they could be empowered.  But now the DP has served only to dis-empower (and marginalize) them. 

In order to play a role in the political process, Progressives require a political party explicitly devoted to Progressive ideals.  That means a party dedicated to measures to effect social and economic justice.  This means the steadfast support for organized labor, for cosmopolitanism, for humanism, and the promotion of participatory, deliberative democracy. 

So why do Progressives stick with a party that often betrays them?  The DP certainly doesn’t appreciate—let alone champion—Progressives.  It sometimes even mocks them.  It consistently takes them for granted in each election cycle, then summarily dismisses them until the next campaign (when lip service is offered in order to woo them).

Obama made the “Cleveland mistake”: capitulating to the corporate and banking interests that he was elected to stand up to.  (It eventually took TR to do what Cleveland was elected to do.)  Look what happened to Cleveland. 

The CSP would be the vehicle Progressives need in order to actually make a difference.  It would be a true People’s Party: a party of and for the rank and file.  In other words, it would be everything the DP claims to be but is not.

In the 1960’s, under the leadership of LBJ, the DP purged itself of its right-wing elements (the racist “southern Democrats”) in order to effect civil rights legislation.  In losing its retrograde contingent to the G.O.P., the DP incurred a debilitating loss of power that—barring Bobby Kennedy and four years of Carter—wasn’t recovered until Clinton.  Yet even Clinton championed Neoliberalism, pushing right-wing economic policy throughout the 90’s.

For all the progress he made domestically, LBJ was a disaster in foreign policy—capitulating to the right-wing agenda.  Likewise, insofar as Carter capitulated to the right wing, his presidency was a failure.  (Even more illustrative of this trend was Reagan: Insofar as he went along with the furthest-right of his party, his presidency was disastrous; insofar as he bucked the far-right wing and was a centrist, he was able to make some noble headway.)

Now, we are almost half a century after LBJ’s rise to the presidency and the ensuing exodus.  This next exodus from the DP will be to the left (into a truly Progressive party) instead of to the right (into the G.O.P.)  Due to the fact that Progressives have heretofore comprised a crucial part of the DP’s constituency, the DP will probably not survive this second exodus.  The “blue dogs” and the Democratic corporatists may well have to go where they’ve belonged all along: the G.O.P.  Others will have to make up their mind: Am I a Republican or am I a Progressive?  The result of this will be two parties: the “Grand Old” one, and the new one.  Here, the nation will be left with an ultra-right-wing party and a Progressive party.  In other words: a REAL ALTERNATIVE.

Since 1980, if there had actually been a genuine opposition party to the right wing, the disastrous free-market / supply-side policies that have dominated the last three decades would never have been allowed.  Corporatism would have been kept in check, and corporate socialism reigned in.  The military-industrial complex would not have been allowed to conduct its activities with impunity, and war profiteering would not have been such a bonanza.

It is only via a truly Progressive party that the abiding hope of socially responsible people over these past three decades shall not have been in vain.  It is only by the CSP that the noble aspirations of Progressives can be realized.  It is only through the CSP that civil society can become a reality—a society that values BOTH capitalism AND socialism in their healthy forms, operating within delimited domains—a society that values both free enterprise and public works.

Currently, amongst the electorate, people are cynical and resentful—and we can’t blame them.  They don’t trust those in high government positions because such figures tend to be disingenuous wheeler-dealers, shameless opportunists, craven careerists, or simply down-right corrupt.  The challenge for ANY new party is to give the People candidates they can TRUST.

This can only be done by having a party where there are no ulterior motives—a party quarantined from the conflicts of interest that currently plague the system.  The only way to do this is to ensure that any candidate has absolutely nothing to personally gain (financially) from any legislation / policy they promote.  This includes ensuring that anyone with whom he may be in league has no such vested interest either.

The logistics can be broken down into four steps:

STEP ONE:  Articulate a message (the raison d’etre of

STEP TWO: Galvanize a base (a portion of the electorate that serves as the party’s “core”)

STEP THREE: Mobilize a movement

STEP FOUR: Organize an effective electoral program (a systematic process to find candidates and get them into office)

            The first step, then, is elucidating the credence of progressive ideas.  This means putting forth the reasons for the specific policy proposals.  This can be done by offering cogent arguments in a public forum.  Not only does the case need to be made not for social democracy itself, the case needs to be made for the best way to get there.  This is a matter of generating awareness, and then spreading awareness.

            The second step involves getting people involved.  This can be done by getting people excited and revved up.  This involves issuing a clarion call for active participation.  Motivation to participate is based on a coherent set of specific policy proposals.  They must be proposals that people can connect to the desired outcomes.  “This is WHAT we want, and this is WHY we want it.”

            The third step is about channeling the harnessed energy into a program of collective action—collective action that is both well-organized and sustained.  This means a coordinated effort to make things happen.  (This involves finding and mobilizing resources—financial as well as human capital.)

            The fourth step is about orchestrating an actual get-out-the-vote operation for CSP candidates.  This means translating awareness into actual participation.

            In sum, the CSP will only work if it is well-organized, and the product of a sustained effort.  The key to facilitating a progressive change, then, is WSCA (well-organized, sustained collective action).



Step Forward

The CSP represents Republican-ism in its original form: anti-plutocracy.  This is the progressive Republicanism of Thomases Jefferson and Paine, then of Lincoln, then of Teddy Roosevelt.  It is a Republican party that ceased to exist the day TR left office.  It is the party that Eleanor Roosevelt would have wanted, and of which Martin Luther King Jr. would have dreamed.

This was the original Republican ideal.  It’s time to bring it back, under a part with a new name.  This way, the U.S. may finally have a political party without an Orwellian name.  The idea—as outlandish as it may be—is that the CSP will actually be for the conditions requisite for a civil society.  Unlike the DP and G.O.P., the CSP will be for participatory, deliberative democracy—for social justice.  Consequently, it will be categorically against corporatism and plutocracy.

Democrats are waiting for Godot, but Godot’s not coming.  The mission of the DP has always been the same: Do whatever we can to satisfy the G.O.P.  Placate the right wing at every turn…while trying—every now and then—to eek out some sort of minor improvement here and slight tweak there…without appearing to be socialists or un-patriotic or wimpy.  This has been the modus operandi of the DP for decades.  While Republicans are maestros at staying on-message, the DP has mastered the art of caving in.

The United States needs a Progressive party with both mettle and rectitude—neither of which the DP possesses.  While Republicans proudly proclaim to be “conservative”, the Democrats apologize for seeming too “liberal”.  Is it any wonder, then, that the DP is abysmally ineffective?  Is it any wonder that “liberals” are so disorganized, so powerless, so ineffective?

Many people vote for Democrats simply because the Democrats support organized labor better than the Republicans do.  But the DP doesn’t support organized labor nearly enough.  Nor does it recognize the crucial role that the ability to organize plays in a democracy.

Many people vote for Democrats simply because they do a better job supporting a woman’s right to terminate an unwanted pregnancy than the G.O.P.  But the DP doesn’t support women nearly enough.  When is the last time you heard a Democrat make the simple public statement: “There is nothing immoral about getting an abortion.  To those who think it’s wrong, please keep your superstitions to yourself.

Some vote for Democrats because they seem to give a shit about the poor; but they don’t care nearly enough—or do nearly enough—for the disenfranchised in this country.  Indeed, year after year, they utterly fail to address structural inequalities.

Some vote for Democrats because there’s a slightly better chance that they won’t COMPLETELY capitulate to corporate power.  But that’s not nearly good enough.  A party must take a bold stand against corporate power, not just pay lip service to doing so.  Look at the track record, not the rhetoric.

Some vote for Democrats because, every so often, they might make a token gesture towards civil rights for gays.  But token gestures aren’t good enough for the gay community.  When is the last time a Democrat made the simple statement, in public, “There is nothing immoral about being gay.  If you’re expected to die for your country, you should have the right to get married.  If you’re in love, you should have the right to get married.”

Some vote for Democrats out of an abiding hope for that there will someday be sufficient regulation and oversight of the financial industry…or an abiding hope for substantial campaign finance reform…or substantial healthcare reform.  Yet all those hopes have been dashed over and over and over again. 

If you want regulation, oversight, transparency, and accountability for investment banking, don’t vote for the Democrats; it’ll never happen. 

If you want meaningful campaign finance reform, don’t vote for the Democrats; it’ll never happen.

And if you want universal public healthcare, someone who will stand up to Big Pharma and AHIP, then don’t vote for the Democrats; it’ll never happen.  The DP will never take such a stand simply because they have no genuine interest in taking such a stand.  As long as we place our hopes in the DP, these things will never become a reality.  There will only be lip service in order to placate us in perpetuity.  Are we really that naïve?

If you want to cut the military-industrial complex in half, don’t vote for the Democrats; it’ll never happen.  If you want to legalize marijuana, don’t vote for the Democrats; it’ll never happen.  If you want a mag-lev, mass-transit rail system in this country, don’t vote for the Democrats; it’ll never happen.  If you want to put an end to corporate socialism and the massive subsidies to gas companies and agri-business, don’t vote for the Democrats; it’ll never happen.  If you want a steeper progressive tax algorithm, and an end to the huge corporate loop-holes in the tax code; don’t vote for the Democrats; they won’t do it.  They’ve had their chance, and they refused to EVEN TRY do ANY of these thing.

In 2000, the CSP would not have stood by and allowed a man to be illegitimately installed into the presidency.  It was not just a fraudulent election in Florida—orchestrated by the G.O.P.; it was the sheer, utter incompetence of the DP that was to blame.  The DP’s delinquency resulted in an illegitimate presidency for eight years.  The Republicans were just being themselves in pulling off that despicable stunt; but shame on the DP for letting it happen.  There are times to take a stand, and that was one of them.  It was OBVIOUS what had happened, yet the DP did nothing.  The CSP would have done something.

We can do better.  We’re capable of so much more.  It’s high time we had an organized party that actually backed Progressives.  Why are Dennis Kucinich and Anthony Weiner the odd-balls in the DP when it is THEIR views that are most in keeping with the common good?  Such statesmen need a party that they can call home—not where they’re outcasts.  In the DP, the best statesmen are marginalized.  This is unacceptable.

Progressives have enough on their hands criticizing the Republicans.  We shouldn’t have to be occupied with shaming our own party as well.  That’s why the CSP is the future.  It’s time to show that people power can beat corporate power.  We don’t have a lot of money, but we have great values and determination, and that should be good enough.

The CSP will now be the primary mechanism available to progressives for WSCA.  It will serve as the vehicle for social justice.



Progressives need a party with mettle—a party that will galvanize them.  For decades now, so-called “liberals” have had neither a strong voice nor a way to influence legislation.  This country needs a party that will get humanists excited—and that will actually translate their ideals into policy.  The primary vehicle for empowerment is a well-organized, orchestrated effort: a new political party.  A party dedicated to social justice.  A party for civil society.

Welcome to the CSP.

Howard Dean and Democracy For America now have a party that they can be proud of. now has something worth moving on to.  Progressives now have a vehicle by which they can mobilize.  Progressives now have a mechanism by which they can coordinate their activity and collaborate with one another.  There is now, finally, a way for those with progressive ideal to forge solidarity nation-wide…and actually have someone to vote for.

No lobbyist will come knocking on our door—with promises of exchanging money for legislative favors.  Lobbyists aren’t disinterested parties innocently trying to provide legislators with “useful” information, nobly transcending their vested interests, as they love to claim.  (The level of naivete required to swallow such a baldly absurd claim is astounding.)  If enough public servants belong to the CSP, K Street would essential be rendered impotent…and thus irrelevant…and eventually obsolete.  God willing.  The only parties “lobbying” figures in public office should be non-profit civic organizations and individual civilians.

Completely quarantining a political party off from conflicts of interest and dubious motives is an intractable task.  But with the CSP, at least c.o.i. will not be ENDEMIC.  While there’s no way to be COMPLETELY immune to c.o.i., there are ways to drastically minimize them.  This can be done by identifying c.o.i. where it exists, and then scrupulously taking precautions against the dubious motives they entail.)

{Reference Bernie Sanders’ article: Unequal Protection p. 280.}

Of most powerful Democrats, we could ask: Is taking care of the needy really THAT inconvenient for you?  Heck, it’s not inconvenient for me…and I’M not even rich.  (Perhaps that’s why I haven’t chosen a path to opulence.)  Maybe we need more people in public office who are neither rich nor have hankerings to accumulate personal wealth.  Perhaps we need people who don’t care how rich they become.  Public service, after all, should be service to the public—not to oneself.  Indeed, the Halls of Power could use a few less people who shop on Madison Avenue and a few more people who shop at T.J. Maxx.

Corporatists that label themselves “Democrats” are still corporatists. 

If you don’t like it, stop voting for them.  Instead, use your energy to make others aware that things won’t change so long as people keep electing candidates who will push right-wing policy.  Blame the voters, not the politicians they elect.  However, anger at such voters isn’t the answer.  The only solution is EDUCATION.  Only a well-informed citizenry can be expected to vote intelligently.  Very few people knowingly vote foolishly.  Most people mean well.

We must stop apologizing for being Progressives.  When you’re right, you shouldn’t need to apologize for it.  Yet, within the constraints of the DP, that’s all Progressives find themselves doing.  (And, no, Rahm Emanuel, we are not “retarded”; you’re just a douche-bag.)  When one has the moral high ground, cringing is usually not part of the plan.  When we demand the conditions on which civil society is predicated, we mustn’t defend the stance as if we were somehow guilty of peddling a dubious elixir…or trying to “pull a fast one” on the country.  Incessant, chronic capitulation to the G.O.P. machine isn’t “realism” or “moderation”; it’s cowardice.

The DP has survived based on one sales pitch: “It’s a slight improvement over the Republicans, so shut up and be thankful.”

Well, thanks, but no thanks.  From here on out, we’re going to demand a tad-bit more than that.  If we want a real alternative to right-wing policy, it will be there—waiting for a decisive vote.  On ballots, next to the column with the heading “Democrat”, there will now be a candidate under a column titled CSP, ready to be selected.  The first step is to find aspiring statesmen, and get them on the ballot.  The second step is generating awareness, getting the word out.

Where there’s a will, there’s a way.

Margaret Mead once said: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world.  Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”  The CSP is a way to galvanize Progressives, and empower them to make a difference.  It’s time that thoughtful, committed citizens acted.

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