We are being overwhelmed with ever more accounts of evil done in our name, and being urged to respond by signing petitions, taking other 'one click action items' and donating to an endless number of seemingly good causes. While not denigrating those efforts or the idealism of most of the people involved, it really does feel like just so much pissing into the wind. It is painfully obvious that we have been losing ground for a long time, yet we continue to do more of the same thing. Is it not time to try something more than impotent squawking? We offer this as a step in this direction - to at least start a conversation.
Can we agree that we are at a disadvantage in that we cannot outbid those who have bought 'our' politicians while using their wealth to pervert administrative bodies and corrupt the judiciary? We cannot compete with money. We can only compete with people, but people have to be organized. We must openly look at how the Tea Party rose so quickly and face the fact that it was not just money like the Koch billions. Our only option is to somehow empower those of us on the real left to speak with one voice, working together where we can and not castrating each other when we cannot. The question is not "what can we do?" but "how can we do it?"
Rob's discussion can be a good place to start but it is essential for it to be moderated so that trolls, single cause fanatics, and infiltrators are not able to derail us before we even get started (as so often happens). First, we should promptly and carefully refine this discussion, then expand it to include people and organizations most likely to be responsive. The central question is what to organize around and, as the Left is extremely fragmented (the XL pipeline; health care; corporate depredations; the Middle East; civil rights; human rights; climate warming; etc., plus talk about possible Presidential runs by Sanders, Warren, and even, heaven forbid, Hillary, and even about yet another "third" party - CA already has seven on the ballot).
A central, national, focus to organize around is essential. It is immeasurably more feasible to agree on, and organize around, a national basis, and use this organization to help local people and issues than the other way around. The obvious place to start is around national elections but it would be premature, and a mistake, to divert human and physical resources, to work for a Sanders or a Warren now. First, let us come up with specific proposals, based on principles we agree on. This could become the glue that binds us together. These could also become the basis for support for local candidates. Promoting these ideas nationally would necessarily provide local support with little or no additional cost or effort.
I t would be useful, or even inspirational, for us to consider putting these proposals on a dedicated web site or page in the form of needed legislation and/or administrative rules: Single Payer; eliminating tax loopholes; bank reform; corporate responsibility; the right to privacy; etc. Maybe entitle it s omething like "If They Cared: Laws We Need".
It would be essential for groups and individuals to agree to work together and support the whole where they can without requiring everyone else to agree on or support pet causes others may consider tangential or even irrelevant. In other words, I should be willing to support your proposals for finance, tax, or health care reform without my insisting that you include support for my snail darter or pet conspiracy. Another essential thing is to maintain a positive orientation - looking for how to accomplish something, not subverting progress by always finding obstacles.
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I suggest two parts to this discussion. One is how to engage more individuals and, subsequently, groups. The second part is to develop succinct wording to reflect what could constitute the platform. It would be essential to begin part two with elements on which it is easy to agree rather than trying to address all aspects of all problems at the same time. Here is a step in that direction, recognizing that each element is worthy of a separate discussion. Something has to be done and we have to stop waiting for someone else to do it. Pete Seeger lives!
1. Medicare shall be expanded to provide comprehensive health care coverage for all American citizens and other legal residents, funded by eliminating the Unearned income taxation exemption and savings through controlling excessive drug and hospital and doctor charges. All federal employees, including Members of Congress, shall be entitled only to the same coverage at public expense.
2. The same Unearned income exemption on Social Security taxation shall be eliminated, along with the cap on taxable Social Security income, insuring long term viability while reducing the rate for everyone.
3. There shall be a one percent tax on real estate and financial instrument sales, including but not limited to stocks, bonds and futures.
4. Military and intelligence spending is to be gotten under control and adult supervision.
5. Patent law reform.
6. Restoration of Constitutional rights