Mainstreaming the Militia

by: David Sirota

Thu Apr 16, 2009 at 08:05


I'll be discussing the themes of this post all morning on AM760 here in Colorado. Stream the show live at www.am760.net - and join the conversation at 303-713-7600. - D

In my book, The Uprising, I have a chapter on the Minutemen that's called "Mainstreaming the Militia." I think between the media coverage of yesterday's Tea Parties and the national Republican Party effectively coming to the public defense of right-wing extremist groups against the Department of Homeland Security, that mainstreaming has gone into overdrive.

I'm not saying everyone - or even a majority - of those who attended the Tea Parties are violent extremists. But I am saying that there is a very calculated and coordinated campaign to mainstream extreme right-wing politics - and this shouldn't be surprising. The uprising that I reported on last year has only intensified since I reported the book, and as I noted at the time, that uprising is both a left and right phenomenon.

Indeed, the battle for the future of the country will be a battle between the left and right uprisings - a battle to see who can out-organize the other in the fight for the hearts and minds of the country. The Obama campaign's stellar organizing success clearly shows there's a progressive majority ready to be organized, but the right's counter salvos these last few weeks shows that if Democrats keep handing over trillions to Wall Street, there will be an opening for conservative populism.

So while we can (and should) ridicule the Tea Parties, we should also recognize that they A) highlight very real anger out there at government giving away the store to Corporate America and B) preview a long battle over economic policy that will unfold over the next few months and years.

David Sirota :: Mainstreaming the Militia

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fox news grass roots (4.00 / 1)
i have no doubt the tea party's  on 4/15/2009  were in large part driven by FOX news  and right wing talk radio.  now here's the question. i listen to progressive radio and it seems that progressives want to try to stop this type of orchestrated top down  organizing. and discredit right wing movements,  I'll by it.  but answer me this, in all honesty  back in may 2007  the nation saw huge massive demonstrations of immigrants  who opposed a bill that the congress had passed  that would have made illegal aliens felons  if caught  the numbers who took to the streets were impressive.  how did these folks find out about these orchestrated and organized protests?   many did on Spanish radio  i sure saw a lot of Latin America flags that day on nation news media.  who payed for those adds on Spanish radio?   mm-mm?  maybe the nation chamber of commerce?   big multi national cooperations?  I'm sure there were immigrant rights groups as well!  i must say how i find people who subscribe one particular political philosophy to try any way to limit or censor the other views very hypocritical!  i am an American  i don't support limiting anybody freedom of speech  whether i like their thoughts or not  but I'm seeing a lot of progressives  who are starting to border on fascism!  thats UN AMERICAN!  and it seems to me in the last 8 years any one who questioned the war  was labeled UN AMERICAN! 2 wrong don't make a right!

If you're seeing a lot of progressives bordering on fascism (4.00 / 1)
you might want to watch something other than FOX News.

And since when is pointing and laughing the same as censorship? Personally, I am all for the FOX News teabagging parties, I hope they have more of them.

It's good to remind the American people exactly what they rejected last November. No matter how bad things get, at least those crazies aren't in charge anymore

Montani semper liberi


[ Parent ]
censorship is coming (0.00 / 0)
listen to air America Sadie!  there are people  who are saying that they want  am radio shows right wing radio taken off the air!  thats what the fairness doctrine is about  forced government programming!  doesn't that concern you?  the government telling the public  what should be on the air?  you might not like right wing radio  but were is its government job to allow what people can listen too?

[ Parent ]
Personally (4.00 / 1)
I would love it if the American people were able to take control of our public airwaves away from the rightwing corporations that run them now.

Remember the Dixie Chicks hysteria, how they were blacklisted from radio for saying they were embarrassed of Bush?

Doesn't that bother you,  rightwing media conglomerates telling the public what should be on the air?

Montani semper liberi


[ Parent ]
IMF/World Bank (4.00 / 1)
I think we'll see, in a sense, the populist left's reply to the Teabaggers when the IMF and World Bank meet in DC at the end of this month - and thousands of Americans come to protest, disrupt them, and posit alternatives.

Join the fight to give students a real voice on campus: Forstudentpower.org.

This is scary! (0.00 / 0)
I have seen some pretty scary thought developing in left/progressive circles...on suppressing opposition. The flavor that's developing is not to counter the argument made by the teabaggers but to shut them up, take away their right to assemble. This is extremely disconcerting. I don't like the feeling that we MUST agree in order to save America from itself. Now maybe there are many right-wing extremists, but there are left too and assembling for a cause they see worthy doesn't make them 'extreme' just because you disagree with it! This thought police is not what we're about. Their message needs to be outsold to eclipse theirs, but we should not press to shut them up. Here's a great article in SFC that sums it up well...

http://www.realclearpolitics.c...


interesting point but ... (4.00 / 8)
Please note that Sirota's post says nothing about shutting anybody up.

These people's statements are extreme because they are extreme (Obama = Hitler, Secede, overthrow the government, and calls for violence), not because I disagree with them.  You are in essence defending them, under a guise of free speech that in fact is not under attack.

Full Court Press!  http://www.openleft.com/showDi...


[ Parent ]
Exactly who (4.00 / 5)
is calling for taking away their right to assemble? Liberals are the ones who GAVE them the right to assemble.

Links, please.

Montani semper liberi


[ Parent ]
Extreme Right Wing infiltration? (0.00 / 0)
Mr., your assertion is false. You wouldn't be able to provide any real evidence, except what is fabricated in the web site which you use as your signature.

This type of innocently sounding sheepish communication to disguise the introduction of a false idea is likely to be seen more and more in months and years to come as the extreme right wing becomes marginalized because its antics, lies, and distortions are already well known and dismissed as they should be. If ignoring lies and distortions is silencing, so be it. But you will be able to post here without restrain or restriction...  

A National Progressive Alliance, is the only viable solution.

http://www.openleft.com/diary/...


[ Parent ]
Isn't the whole point to showcase the potential for violence? (4.00 / 4)
I'm not saying everyone - or even a majority - of those who attended the Tea Parties are violent extremists.

Isn't the whole stunt specifically about creating the threat of violent extremism?  Plenty of them will be violent as soon as they're given instructions to be violent, judging from what we know of the right-wing mindset.


Yep. (4.00 / 2)
There is no MLK in the history of the rightwing. They don't believe in non-violence.

Montani semper liberi

[ Parent ]
You mean the current one? (0.00 / 0)
I don't think so.

Montani semper liberi

[ Parent ]
upload in real time... (4.00 / 2)
...the radio isn't coming up here in Los Angeles, will have to listen later after posting from the 760 station. Reports have it the Teas will do a follow up on July 4th - more symbolism than substance IMHO but continuing to speak up , speak out, speak often, agitate, and offering real-world solutions from the left coast to the east coast would be a good starter!

The reaction (4.00 / 7)
of the left, generally, to the Tea Parties has revealed its current vacuousness.

However small the crowds might be who turn up for these Tea Parties, how much vitality and breadth does the left itself demonstrate these days for any issue?

It has been remarkable to see how much time, energy, and, truly, all consuming obsessiveness the so-called left has devoted to attacking the Tea Parties. Go to blogs such as DailyKos, and one sees little else; likewise, progressive pundits like Rachel Maddow, Keith Olbermann, and David Shuster can't seem to stop talking about them.

And, of course, the sheer vulgarity of those attacks is like nothing else I've seen from either the left or the right. When talking heads on cable like Maddow and Shuster and even Anderson Cooper start talking like 12 years olds giggling over a subject taboo for 12 year olds -- or, in Somerby's analogy, like Beavis and Butthead -- and acting as if it is the highest, most sophisticated wit (we know what "tea-bagging" means! Do you??), then a sickness has descended on our discourse and politics.

Is this the end product of the left blogosphere, the culmination of the sensibilities it has engendered? Does it all come down to repetitions to the point of nauseum of "Tea bagging"?

I can't help but think that if the left blogosphere had had something more constructive to do, it would not be so obsessed with this issue. It is a sign of its own current emptiness that it can find nothing that animates it more than engaging in the most repetitious of childish bile.

Today, I'm sorry to say, the left in aggregate has no meaning or purpose; it has no soul.


Indeed (4.00 / 3)
All this reveals the fundamental hollowness at the core of Obama-centric/Dear Leaderist politics.

Since criticism  or even mere mention of the ever-mounting record of capitulations to Wall Street, defense contractors, and the corporate right generally is off the table, all that's left for the Obamaphiles to do is to snicker at the remains of what it sees as its vanquished enemy.

This is particularly disconcerting since there are many potentially constructive avenues for activism.  For example, on another thread I suggested that we figure out a way to force Pelosi to make good on her call for a new Pecora commission.

But since doing so would involve (implicitly) bringing into question the trustworthiness of the DP leadership,  I'm not optimistic that this, or similar sorts of mobilization (e.g. A New Way Forward) have any chance of getting off the ground.  

I can't say I'm surprised by this outcome.  Ken Silverstein had the right line on this back in 2007 when he came out in support of Hillary based on the logic that with Hillary taking office one could move directly into opposition whereas with Obama, it would take months and likely years for the left to recognize where it was situated within Obama's weltanschauung (i.e. nowhere).

That's where we are.  We are sick and need to get well.



[ Parent ]
Speak For Yourself (4.00 / 4)
1.  If a story has made it to the MSM, then the different talk show hosts have to bring up the matter. (Also, I did not know the left was strictly made up of Daily Kos and MSNBC hosts.) Yet, if we do not call have context for this "story" and call out its utter bullshit out,  then who will?

2.  The sheer vulgarity of the left is like nothing you have ever seen? What are you smoking, seriously?  Maybe, you should visit the the right-wing echo chamber and get a wake-up call?  Or, make it easy, just go www.mediamatters.org.  I think a few recent murders were linked to different right-wing media personalities of late.

3. I wonder if any you were bitching when Keith Olberman or Daily Kos were fighting back against these sick and hypocritical bastards during the Bush Administration?

4. Oh, speaking about Governor Dean, maybe you should visit his web-site to fight back against the medical insurance through various grassroots and netroots tactics.  Maybe, you could spend a $100 to help the cause along.

5. I don't what "left blogosphere" you have been hanging out in, but there are many different causes and movements to get involved in.  Just visit that vacuous turn-coat left Nation Magazine website or more pointedly go to commondreams.org, and you can find more to do than all your constant whining.

6. Please, cry me a river.
 


[ Parent ]
frankly0 makes the point more vehemently than necessary... (4.00 / 1)
...but he is absolutely correct that the avalanche of juvenile "tea-bagging" snickers is a sign of an aimless, unserious politics.

[ Parent ]
I disagree. (4.00 / 1)
Public opinion is kind of chi.

Add to this, authoritarian followers want very badly to fit and be accepted, much more so than normal people. It is an Achilles Heel for them.

Ridicule is a potent weapon, it would be folly to give it up.

Montani semper liberi


[ Parent ]
I'm all for ridicule and mockery... (0.00 / 0)
...but it needs to have substance behind it.  Silly sexual innuendo has none, and it seems like a particularly bad way to try to tap into genuine working class populism--which I think should be the goal of any response from us to this kind of thing.

[ Parent ]
Actually (0.00 / 0)
I do wish the "respectable" liberals on tv would take the high road and leave that kind of thing to grunts like us in the blog trenches.

It's like listening your parents talk dirty. Embarrassing.

Montani semper liberi


[ Parent ]
Again, Your Equating Certain Media Outlets (4.00 / 1)
with the entire left and progressive political discourse.
I do not think the Southern Law Poverty Center is taking this lightly; nor may I add, the FBI or HLS.  
A quick informative take on this would be Media Matters.
Boehlert has a lot of excellent columns about this subject.

[ Parent ]
Point taken (0.00 / 0)
As I said above, I don't necessarily endorse frankly0's broad indictment.  Perhaps I've simply been reading too much dKos.

[ Parent ]
I defy (4.00 / 5)
you to find, even on the worst right wing cable channels, anything like the crudeness of the ceaseless "teabag" and other sexual innuendo jokes one finds on MSNBC and, with Anderson Cooper, on CNN.

Really, it is a new low in vulgarity, and is achieved by the left media, and egged on by the increasingly mindless left blogosphere. And take a look at virtually any left blog (OpenLeft happily excluded) and see how much of the discussion is dominated by "teabagging" and all the unclever wit that they can concoct (say the word slowly! Ha ha ha!) around it.

Fox is certainly terrible in many, many ways. But, on the score of sheer vulgarity in discourse, MSNBC, the most slavish of all Obama supporting networks, clearly has it beat.

And I'd like to see anything going on on the left that represents a genuine movement for policy issues. As small and trivial as the Tea Parties might be, they're a hell of lot bigger, and capture a hell of a lot more energy for change in policy than anything the now pathetic and abject left can seem to muster.


[ Parent ]
I remember the Monica Lewinsky affair. (4.00 / 2)
They spent $40 million of our money on that, and had the entire corporate media playing along, for months.

Is anything Anderson Cooper said anything worse than the Starr Report? Really?

Montani semper liberi


[ Parent ]
Again, I Don't Think You Read Any Of The FBI's Or (4.00 / 2)
The Southern Poverty Law Center--or any of the Homeland Security Report.  What goes on the conservative airways and its blogosphere is the biggest cesspool of political discource imaginable.  Not to add, it has had deadly ramifications. Literally.

Again, instead of whining, open up your eyes: Progressive Democrats for America alongside others have been fighting for single-payer health-care; Rethink Afghanistan has a lot more traction; the recent protests against the bank bailouts would helped, maybe if you attended; again go to Howard Dean's site, so we have a definite public option and splurge: $100; these are just a few examples. There a hundreds of movements--just because you don't see people dressed in the flag at a phoney "Tea Bag Party", means that progressives are not doing anything. Do we need to do more? Of course.

Good idea:  Maybe you start a movement.


[ Parent ]
the point is not that nothing is going on ... (4.00 / 1)
... but rather that not enough is going on.

That good organizations exist and are doing good things is not in question.  Nor that individuals can find virtuous things to do.

But the vigorous outreach, the militant tactics, in proportion to the size of the crisis are not adequate.  That groups are now working to move the homeless into foreclosed homes, and that police are reluctant to move against them, is the kind of glimmer of hope that I have in mind.  Tactics outside the box.  I consider such moves more significant than big demonstrations that reduce to bus schedule logistics.

For chrissake, why would any progressive argue that the left's response is okay?  Who is served by such complacency?

The who is those who are trying to cover the Democratic Party's ass!

Full Court Press!  http://www.openleft.com/showDi...


[ Parent ]
I'm so tired of this "debate" (4.00 / 5)
On the one hand, I agree strongly with frankly0.  The response to the teabagging from our "progressives" on cable news has been ludicrous and bordering on the disgusting.  Make all the fun you want of the right wingers - but they are trying to build their movement while we are, judging by the results, doing little but sitting around watching Keith and Rachel.

So, true, what movement are WE building?

On the other hand, all the handwringing about Obama-bots etc. also misses the point.  Frankly0, when will I hear YOU promoting something concrete being done to put left-populist pressure on Obama?  Where's the discussion of the Single-Payer rally or the EFCA rally?  I think we ARE going to need things like this.

sTiVo's rule: Just because YOU "wouldn't put it past 'em" doesn't prove that THEY did it.


[ Parent ]
OK, I'll bite. (4.00 / 4)
Take, as a concrete instance of the problem, the New Way Forward demos last weekend which Mike Lux promoted here and which I tried to do some organizing for.

Not surprisingly, they were, all things considered a wash out.  My attempts at organizing met with almost universal apathy and there is no mystery why.  Namely, most of those who would be otherwise open to participating have bought into the fiction that, as Lord Mike puts it in a posting below, "the left won the election" so we can safely "take a rest."

This is the attitude which is shared broadly on the left now and is reinforced time and time again, even by those who will readily agree that Obama needs "to be pushed to realize his potential."

The assumption that we have a friend in the White House, that Obama is a progressive at heart, that we need to give him time etc. all this is responsible for why there is no opposition and will insure that his will be a failed presidency.

The reason why some of us spend so much time rebutting these attitudes on the left is that a change in attitude is what is needed for a real opposition to emerge.

And make no mistake: an opposition is exactly what is needed.  

To repeat what Ken Silverstein said, we need to dispense with the fiction that the left is regarded by the White House as anything other than the opposition.  The sooner we move on to that point, the sooner we can start making real progress.


[ Parent ]
I think you're right about the problem, maybe not about the solution (4.00 / 2)
Yeah, we all would like nothing better than to take a rest.  And that's not what's required.  You're far from wrong.  But it's depressing to think otherwise and I don't think you appreciate why that's important.

I'm not sure Silverstein's right.  The White House won't SAY it regards the left as the opposition - publicly.  To do so would be to admit that "change" was bullshit.  This gives us a lever.  A weak lever, but a lever still.  We need to get smarter about how we apply it.

Obama is going to do what Obama is going to do.  What we say here is of little moment.  But I think you're wrong if you think that our way forward is to remove the blinders by shouting over and over what a sellout Obama is.  We need mass rallies and marches around Universal Health Care, EFCA, etc. regardless of whether Obama is for them or not.  You won't get people to come to them by saying at the top of your lungs "we've been had again".  That demobilizes more than it mobilizes.

As long as the White House won't publicly attack (as opposed to disagree with) the left, we have space to organize.

Pessimism of the intellect, optimism of the will.

sTiVo's rule: Just because YOU "wouldn't put it past 'em" doesn't prove that THEY did it.


[ Parent ]
Of course we agree that (0.00 / 0)
"We need mass rallies and marches around Universal Health Care, EFCA, etc. regardless of whether Obama is for them or not."

The question is why is there so little energy going into organizing anything of the kind and why is there so little interest in the attempts which are being made.

The answer is contained in the posts below which show a desperate will to believe that the reality of a Obama presidency has some connection with the hype.

Just as the guy who got ripped off buying the used Chevy Vega doesn't want to hear about the duct tape around the fenders, and the wire coat hanger holding the muffler in place a similar denial needs to be punctured among the Obamabots before they will re-emerge as constructive members of the progressive community.

Our job, now more than ever needs to tell the unvarnished truth even when-especially when-the truth is uncomfortable to many of us.

At the moment, they are serious obstacles to progress-as should be obvious.


[ Parent ]
You better watch out... (4.00 / 3)
or someone will go militia on you!

You've hit a bullseye (4.00 / 4)
The Obama campaign's stellar organizing success clearly shows there's a progressive majority ready to be organized.

The question then becomes why this organizing is not, or is barely, happening?  I read about job fairs that are mobbed and overwhelmed just by the sheer numbers of unemployed job-seekers.  If progressives could show up there with flyers asking them to do, just about anything, join whatever.  Why not, it's so damn obvious?

A few thoughts:

(1)  Progressives indulge in a smug majoritarian philistinism.  By that I mean that they smirk that the right is now an increasingly bitter minority of the electorate.  Sirota at least doesn't smirk.  But it should be made explicit that a tightly organized militant minority can exert tremendous force (as they are), even if it has no pretensions to becoming a majority.  In their hearts they know they're right.  The left's majoritarianism paralyzes them from speaking truth to power, from expressing the sheer outrage of the millions in America being impoverished today, which would send a chill down the spine of every Democratic Party hack in this country.

(2)  Which brings up the fact that the Democratic Party, Obama included, is working overtime to chill out any independent organizing of this outrage.  "I'll protect you from the pitchforks," Obama says to the bankers, without organizing the people to pick up their pitchforks.  Night after night on Olbermann and Maddow, we see Democrats, even the best of them, telling people to chill out, we'll handle it.  Howard Dean explains how we can't "demoralize" the bankers.

(3)  Then there's the culture war.  It simmers under our radar.  The whole cowboy culture of Wall Street, gone wild under Bush and still reigning supreme (Observe and Report) is overwhelmingly a male rape culture.  Anything goes.  I believe that part of the right's revulsion at Obama is that he gives off a slight air of femininity.  (Maureen Dowd, for all her triviality, once picked up on this.)  I believe that part of progressives love of him is this as well.  (After all, OpenLeft has trashed his programmatics often enough.)

The whole male structure is threatened.  One of the worst features of unemployment, for men, is that it emasculates them.  Women are now the majority of breadwinners in this country.  This may not appear on the headlines.  But those who want an uprising must consider why someone joins an uprising.  Poverty itself doesn't do it.  Emiseration theory is completely bankrupt.  There is a risk in uprising that at odds with people's short-term individual interests.  A system which utterly depends on the majority acquiescing to their exploitation by a  minority utterly depends on short-term individualism trumping all.  Why do people sometimes transcend their individuality?

It's in the gut.  The right thrives on defense of this male culture, a culture so pervasive as to be rendered nearly invisible.  Nearly.  But Observe and Report is one sign that this male culture has to reveal itself with the bloody hammer that has always been there.

Far-fetched, you say?  Then consider that the most progressive act in Afghanistan was the march of hundreds of Afghan women protesting the government's acceptance of the sanctity of rape in marriage.  At the risk of their lives.  Literally.  Acceptance by a government that we are sending troops to support.

Consider that the most effective organizing in this country has been around gay marriage.  Don't ask me the "mechanism," it's in the gut.  It's a culture war issue that the Democrats have tried to run away from.

I'm not saying that there is a direct path from confronting the rape culture to the uprising on the progressive side.  But I am saying that there will never be a progressive uprising without confronting it.  Without going for the gut.

Full Court Press!  http://www.openleft.com/showDi...


A lot of comments are missing the point entirely... (4.00 / 6)
Our NHS director felt she had to apologize for telling the truth... that right wing violence is on the rise, and the right is trying to make that OK in the minds of the public?

The left is no more "apathetic" than the right.. They only drew 250,000 after a giant media campaign and tons of right wing money thrown at the cause.   The prop 8 protests drew three times as much with nothing backing them up except sweat.

Yes, the left is calmer now than it was.  Why not?  We won the election, and we are moving towards getting the stuff we want... of course we are calmer now... At the very least, we know that the Republicans are powerless to keep damaging our society for the moment...  After the 8 year nightmare, many of use are convalescing... at least until the next major battle.

But, if our progressive agenda gets threatened, expect a lot more activism from us... in the meantime, most of us need a break...

REID: Voting against us was never part of our arrangement!
SPECTER: I am altering the deal! Pray I don't alter it any further!
REID: This deal keeps getting worse all the time!


Thanks For Some Damm Perspective Mike (4.00 / 3)
     

[ Parent ]
How many times does it need to be said? (4.00 / 3)
The "left" did not win the election. Obama won the election.

We are not "moving towards getting the stuff we want" if want we want includes, for example, reasonable military budgets, protection of civil liberties, removals of barriers to union organizing, a response to environmental crisis commensurate with the problem, the beginnings of a reversal of the grotesque inequities in distribution of income and wealth, etc.

While patience can be a virtue, that's the last thing we need now. The "activism" you mention needs to happen now.


[ Parent ]
John (4.00 / 2)
     Name one President in history that got the progressive agenda you are calling for after 35 years of market principles and conservative hemegominc rule?  
    How long did it take Lincloln to sign the Proclamation? What about the tenets of the New Deal? Do you remember FDR really disliked a man named Keynes? The New Deal took some time, with road-bumps along the way.  Not to add, there were a big move towards Communism in this country--it was at least palatable--a long of people thought that Russia had the right economic system. Maybe, on an domestic front, LBJ. But, the historical context at bread and butter issues was building.  Would LBJ signed the Civil Rights Bill into without Martin King Jr. and the civil rights movement?

[ Parent ]
You are confirmed John's point (0.00 / 0)
It took a lot of activism, over a long period of time, to push FDR and LBJ to those points. The infrastructure had to be in place to push when necessary. If we are demobilizing instead of mobilizing, we could be missing out on key opportunities where a mobilized progressive movement could make waves. Theres no excuse not to be organizing, really, no matter who is in power.

[ Parent ]
Let me tell you what the Ron Paul types are thinking: (0.00 / 0)
1. First they ignore you. (Establishment Elite)

2. Then they laugh at you. (Daily Kos)

3. Then they fight you (Janet Napolitano)

4. Then you win.

I'm not sure President Rick Perry is something to laugh about.

As of now we are one Black Swan event away from Civil War / Soviet-Style Collapse.

Why? Because Obama couldn't figure out that you don't give people's hard-earned money away to thieves.

Was that what we elected Obama to do?

Is he really that stupid? Or is he part of the con?


That was Ghandi's formula -- (0.00 / 0)
again, part of the philosophy of nonviolent resistance to which the Right does not subscribe. They believe in violence, they are the ones who emptied the shelves of the gun stores when Obama was elected.

I don't think they will successfully make the transition out of stage 2, except for the occasional flare up of domestic violence which will win them few friends.

Montani semper liberi


[ Parent ]
Censorship and Obama's Swing Rightwards (0.00 / 0)
I don't see what David is saying an issue of censorship, exactly. However, the topic has surfaced!
Political shenanigans where opposite ideologies attempt to silence the other is a sign of extremism. On the other hand, there has been outrage at the fact that extremism right and left has intentionally generated distortions and lies about opponents, which require huge sums of money to overcome. There was a deterrent to such activities, and it was a law repealed around Reagan's time which required equal time is given to the opposition by media when they aired accusations and attacks to character and behavior.
The problem is that falsehoods and insulting fabrications are incredibly powerful to stir people into a rage followed by attempt to block such ideas.
To debunk false ideas, Open Left should have a "Truth" web site, not with just counter PR, but always naming the individual source of the lie and distortion, giving the named individual the right to rebut with facts. Falsehoods are never generated by a group of people. Always by an individual that makes it seem that "everybody knows and sees it," with the intent to defraud and deceive to manipulate the minds of others.
In light of such web site, people wouldn't have to spend their energy feeding their own anger at lies.

Having said all that, I think the key issue is the right-left battles that David talks about, which make Obama's actions the pivot point.
The very fact that, "Democrats keep handing over trillions to Wall Street," makes a case for mounting an organizational effort from the left with a national progressive party to pull Obama back to the progressive roots he said he came from.
One could say, "Let's give Obama a chance," which would allow him to gradually shift left. The question is, how long; and if actions are the manifestation of intention, what would happen to cause Obama to change his intention, except the pressure of a formally organized progressive force?
Some commentators in this thread have pointed out at our inaction. It is time we bring our left consensus to the next level of action, not just demonstrations, and letter writing, but a formally organized national progressive party.  

A National Progressive Alliance, is the only viable solution.

http://www.openleft.com/diary/...


What are we doing? Where's the Action (0.00 / 0)
Many of the commentators on this thread are asking or remarking on how it is that progressives are not doing anything much, if any. For many years progressives have discussed and discussed, and sometimes formed into special interest groups which work hard to take up important issues, but they have yet to coalesce into a united front.

I know it's difficult to read every thing every commentator writes in a system as broadly participated as this one, so I dare continue to repeat my call for a national progressive party and platform.

I'm guessing there's a back off from forming such party because historically, with a few exceptions, third parties never really got anywhere.

We're not getting anywhere as it is, why not become one of the historical exceptions? There are prevailing conditions that indicate such a party would be successful, even if all it does is show itself in numbers, and be the decisive 20% that gives negotiating power with the Dems, or Obama...  

A National Progressive Alliance, is the only viable solution.

http://www.openleft.com/diary/...


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