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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 5/14/13

To Save the Democratic Party, We Must Risk Destroying It

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My title thesis, I imagine and hope, is guaranteed to raise hackles. No doubt far-left progressives--many already Greens--will dismissively scoff, "What politically half-awake soul gives a flying frack about saving the Democratic Party?" While mainstream centrist Democrats will plangently wail, "What, and let those batshit-crazy Republicans destroy the country? Are you friggin' INSANE?"

I'll get to these objections in due course, for that's my purpose in writing. But first I wish to establish some solid common ground, evident to me as a relative newbie, both reader and writer, of OpEdNews. And how better to establish common ground than by quoting that deeply divisive individualist Friedrich Nietzsche?

Yes, Nietzsche!--whose "Beyond Good and Evil" can be quoted, for ANY purpose--fair or foul--in this eternally recurring universe. So, here I quote him to mine: "I listened for an echo and heard nothing but praise." Aspiring to be far more mensch than Ubermensch--and perhaps more honest (or unevolved?) than dear Friedrich in my liking for praise--I admit to being gratified by the warm reception my idiosyncratic scribblings have so far received at OpEdNews. Nonetheless, if political activism (perhaps on grounds of Nietzsche's despised conscience) is one's chosen channel for praiseworthiness, one pretty soon wearies of the praise and starts eagerly scanning the airwaves for that goddamn echo. Here too--and far more importantly--my neophyte's experience of OpEdNews has been a DEEPLY gratifying one.

See, I'm tickled to my tootsies (if such frivolous language is permissible here) to be an alarmist among fellow alarmists. Now, it's pretty damn hard to be Cassandra if things aren't headed for the deep shitter, or Chicken Little if the sky isn't really falling. Every once in a while one would like a nod of distressed agreement, or a pal holding corroborating sky-shards. But here the pals holding sky-shards are almost too numerous to mention; what's more, their prophetic-doom scrawlings, like my own, seem inevitably to land among the most popular pieces on offer. Almost like some paradoxical "Cabaret," where the "prophets of doom" hell-bent on "wiping every smile away" are precisely the ones apt to evoke the widest smiles. For when things really ARE headed down the shitter, the best voices of HOPE in our Pandora's Box are the ones who've correctly diagnosed the intolerable problem that needs to be ATTACKED.

Now if I quote Nietzsche, that specialist in paradox, it's precisely because the best minds are deeply attracted to paradox--that clash of vital truth with perceived conventional wisdom. For nowadays the conventional wisdom--as represented by the "idiot wars" affirmers of the status quo--is hardly wise, whereas we who angrily, nauseatedly repudiate the status quo hold the key to ANY livable human future. It's in that context I return to the URGENT problem of the Democratic Party.

Yes, the Democratic Party, so disgustingly "whitebread" and clueless that what halfway enlightened soul wouldn't repudiate it in a heartbeat? Especially under Barack Obama, that supposedly progressive inheritor of MLK and the black heritage of fighting predominantly white oppression, but in reality its veiled-neocon champion and--let's face the reality--Uncle Tom for the white 1%. The only way forward--for folks of any race--is to vehemently repudiate Obama as so much political "toxic waste." Progressives need to draw renunciation of Obama and all his satanic neocon, pro-corporate works as their political "line in the sand."

Paradox upon paradox. Just as we must repudiate our first black president in no uncertain terms if we wish to see progress for blacks, whites, and oppressed people of all colors and ethnicities alike, we must repudiate the Democratic Party--ostensibly our only VIABLE organ for progressive values--if we wish to see real progress. And I personally see no way of reforming the lackey servitude of today's Democrats to Big Money than by threatening to destroy it. The "lesser of two evils"--as represented at its sinister worst by Barack Obama--has simply become too evil to tolerate, and WILL clearly destroy our climate, sacrifice most of us to unchecked globalizing capitalism, and repress real democracy for the sake of 1%ers' status quo if left on its current unchecked course. And Progressive Democrats of America, probably the best ESTABLISHED force for reform in the Democratic Party, have simply not proved radical enough to effect the needed reforms. Democrats need to face bigger threats than simply being "primaried." Like a massive defection of progressive voters from the party.

For desperate circumstances, desperate remedies. So does splitting the Democratic Party between real progressives willing to bolt from the party and Obama-style faux progressives surrendering daily more deeply to pro-corporate and--plutocrat--governance risk handing electoral victory to Republicans? Of course it does. But Democrats' purely evil regressiveness on climate change--represented at its worst by Obama's nearly certain approval of the XL pipeline--makes the risk well worth taking. Moreover, the "batshit craziness" of Republicans is such that even a split among Democrats might not suffice to guarantee their election. Both remaining Dems and REAL progressives bolted to a new third party could loudly emphasize the continued economic beggaring of the American 1% under Republicans--and the almost guaranteed fascism of "Repulsives" when faced with widespread popular dissent--as arguments to keep them from power. When government "of the people, by the people, and for the people" is plainly needed most, the ludicrous party that wants to drown government in a bathtub hardly has much of a future. Which is why--in our desperate circumstances--I think we can safely take the risk of splitting Democrats.

And to Green and nonaffiliated lefties, I simply ask, What's your strategy for electoral success? Where have you ever once succeeded in attracting betrayed progressive Democrats, whose numbers simply dwarf your own? No, only one young movement, though small because new, has a VIABLE strategy for getting real progressive voices a desperately needed say in American politics. Check us out at or at .

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Patrick Walker is co-founder of Revolt Against Plutocracy (RAP) and the Bernie or Bust movement it spawned. Before that, he cut his activist teeth with the anti-fracking and Occupy Scranton PA movements. No longer with RAP, he wields his pen (more...)

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