There Is No Progressive Movement

There is no progressive movement in this country. For just three examples, take the Pennsylvania AFL-CIO endorsing Arlen Specter over Joe Hoeffel, despite their completely different voting records on labor issues; NARAL first forcing Langevin out of the Rhode Island Senate race and then endorsing Chafee anyway; and now this lovely bit of self-ghettoization from the NJ environmental community:
Standing shoulder to shoulder with leading environmental activists, Republican Doug Forrester yesterday challenged U.S. Sen. Jon Corzine to break ranks with a Democratic party boss and help stop the development of Petty's Island. (...)

The environmental leaders said that by keeping silent on the future of the island, Corzine was risking defection by a key part of his political base.

"We really consider Petty's Island as a litmus test," Delaware Riverkeeper Maya van Rossum said at a Statehouse news conference. "It's an easy one. It doesn't take much thought or effort to do the right thing."

Jeff Tittel, director of the New Jersey Sierra Club, said his board is considering rescinding its two- week-old endorsement of Corzine, adding, "Jon Corzine may be a great environmentalist, but is he willing to stand up to the bosses?"(...)

David Pringle, campaign director for the Environmental Federation, said his group is in the middle of its endorsement process and that endorsing Forrester is an "extremely viable option."

But Tittel said Forrester would have a "long way to go" to gain a Sierra Club endorsement because of questions about his positions on preservation of the Highlands and suburban sprawl.

I see. Tittel has no intention of endorsing Forrester, he just wants to give him cover for his terrible environmental record by holding a press conference with him. I also find it interesting that this "litmus test" issue wasn't a problem when the Sierra Club endorsed Corzine two weeks ago. It is also interesting that another environmental leader would call endorsing Forrester a viable option despite Corzine's voting record and despite Forrester's environmental record: Doug Forrester Wants Taxpayers to Pay for Toxic Cleanups

According to a 9/10/2002 article in the Star Ledger. Forrester wants taxpayers to fund toxic cleanups. In 2002, Forrester said he would end the polluter pays system in favor of using income tax revenue for this purpose. Forrester "said, if left to him, his tax plan would replace the old method of funding the cleanup of the nation's abandoned Superfund sites by taxing only petroleum and chemical companies. Forrester also said he would support dedicating part of the federal income tax to help foot the bill." Good. They pollute, you pay.

Doug Forrester's Backers Are the Smog Problem

Next, we have his contributors. In a period of just two days, Forrester accepted $28,000 from midwestern coal interests. Four individual companies and their PACs each gave Forrester between $3,000 and $6,000. This is not including donations from other energy companies. And if you care about where environmentalists put their money in 2002, the Sierra Club alone spent $87,500 to work against his election.

It's clear that all this money from coal companies paid off. In a May 2002 Republican primary debate, Forrester - unlike his two opponents - refused to say that he would fight the EPA's relaxation of standards on Midwest coal plants. If pinned down now, Forrester will in all likelihood claim procedural problems, or find other ways of obfuscating. And if you're willing to take him on faith that he's looking for environmental balance despite having taken money from coal companies, great. But given the Republican Party's record on the environment, you'd have to be very trusting to believe that midwestern coal companies were just civic-minded and wanted the best for government in New Jersey.

Forrester Won't Protect New Jersey Drinking Water and the Highlands

And then we get to sprawl, and the destruction of New Jersey's natural resources (drinking water, space, etc). Forrester has voiced opposition to the bipartisan Highlands Bill, which protects New Jersey's Highlands open space and drinking water preserve. For favorable statements about the Highlands legislation along these lines, see the web sites of the Sierra Club-New Jersey (PDF), the Association of New Jersey Environmental Commissioners, New Jersey Future, and the Regional Planning Partnership. Forrester's position on this bill suggests that he will govern well, like a Republican.

Forrester Opposes Responsible Development

There are lots of examples of where Forrester gets dodgy on growth issues relevant to all of our lives. For instance, Forrester opposes current impact fees on developers for the damage they do. Damage is somewhat inevitable in development, so it's imperative that we make sure that the people who profit from harming the environment pay for cleaning it up. Yet, during the Republican primary, in May 2005, Forrester voiced opposition to impact fees on developers as they had previously been effected. Forrester was asked, "Do you support impact fees on developers?" He said, "I think that impact fees on developers have not been handled well, and the reason that they have not been handled well is because they've been handled in isolation." Again, if you're willing to trust someone who opposes responsible smart growth measures, and who has taken money from all sorts of anti-environmental interests, great. But that's a lot of trust for someone who won't discuss the environment in any substantive manner.

I have several reactions to this. First, why are there around five or six different environmental organizations in New Jersey alone? It is as though "Let's Split," a remake of David Bowie's "Let's Dance" which I plan to record soon, is the theme song of the progressive "movement." Second, why would any environmental leader say that endorsing Forrester would be a viable option considering what is clearly his atrocious record on the environment, which includes taking large sums of money from major polluters? Third, even if you have no plans on endorsing Forrester, why would you hold a Corzine-bashing press conference with him? Apart from improving Forrester's election chances, exactly what would such a press conference achieve? Even worse, after such a press conference is splashed all over the news, is there any way Corzine can actually support your demands without looking like a tool of "special interests?"

Labor, environmental and civil rights groups often seem to be under the delusion that they can accomplish their goals separate from the progressive movement as a whole. This is, of course, hogwash. Labor, environmental and civil rights groups are entirely dependent on broad, electoral coalitions in order to pass the sort of legislation they need to achieve their aims. Because Arlen Specter is still a Senator from Pennsylvania, labor, the environment and civil rights all suffer. If Lincoln Chafee remains a Senator from Rhode Island, labor, the environment and civil rights will all suffer. If Doug Forrester becomes Governor of New Jersey, again labor, the environment and civil rights will all suffer.

The whole thing is a giant clusterfruck. The only reason the Governor's race in New Jersey is close is because of the corruption, both real and perceived, in the New Jersey Democratic Party., which is directly related to what made the Sierra Club angry in the first place At the same time, the Sierra Club and other environmental groups have no business helping the election chances of an rabid anti-environmentalist like Forrester. We are left with a situation where it is very difficult to hold our own party accountable, while simultaneously the hopes of the entire progressive movement are shifted into equally unaccountable, non-partisan, single issue ghettos that have no loyalty or coordination with each other, and are forced to throw the occasional very public, anti-Democratic temper tantrum in order to maintain their non-partisan veneer. That is the pathetic state of progressivism in this country, and is exactly why we have taken giant steps backwward over the past five years. At the same time, Republicans have built massive, internal, infrastructures that guarantee radical conservatism remains ascendant within the Republican party.

This is why Democrats lose elections. While conservatives have built a massive, national movement, there is no progressive movement to speak of. There are no institutions where these single issue groups can work with one another. There is no mechanism through which we can help build discipline within those organizations. Even with the ongoing silent revolution, many Democratic parties remain entirely unaccountable to their members and profoundly unreformed.

I can rant and rave about this crap all I like, but the fact is that nothing is going to change unless there is an institution through which it becomes possible to hold elected Democrats in line, hold progressive interest groups in line, and provide a location through which they can hammer out broader agreements, nothing is going to change. The fact of the matter is that as progressives, our existing means of achieving our hopes and dreams in this country are completely broken, and it is everyone's fault. Jon Corzine is one of the bright shining stars of a possible progressive future. He is one of very few possible progressive Presidents, but he must win this race to do so. Everyone keeps thinking that it isn't close and Corzine will blow Forrester out, but there is no way you can take a deeper look into this campaign and come away still believing that. Not only is Corzine's ten point lead illusory because he has a much higher name ID, but in New Jersey you could not have a better example of just how completely screwed up the progressive movement actually is. There is no way we should lose this election, but because there is not progressive movement in this country, there is a very good chance that we will.

We are in a lot of trouble.

Tags: Democrats (all tags)

Comments

37 Comments

Simple
No one wants to stand that far left.

Thats reality.

Move to the center where the votes are and the effect of being in control will far outweigh idelogical purity issues.

by donkeykong 2005-06-30 05:58PM | 0 recs
What?
This has nothing to do with ideolgical purity. This is entirely about how ther structure of our organizations is self-defeating. To confuse our strucutral problems with ideolgical issues and to sublimate everything under Dmeocrats either not being centrist enough or not being progressive enough entirely misses the point.
by Chris Bowers 2005-06-30 06:04PM | 0 recs
Re: What?
But I don't get the point...the Sierra Club is trying to make hay and Corzine has to figure a way to appease them and get the job done. Many Non-profits want to appear less partisan and more consistent and hence they don't want to let the "pollute-n-burn" Democrats off easy.

The environment has taken a back seat to other issues this decade, and those groups like the SC want to get themselves in the limelight again to raise more money. Me thinks Corzine is smart enough to get himself out of this.

by risenmessiah 2005-06-30 07:17PM | 0 recs
Re: What?
How can they be less partisan when looking at the actual actions, voting records and language of the parties to which they are cozing up to? Less partisan would mean, if I understand the facts here correctly, that they would have to support their own underlying goals less because each party is so clear on where their leadership stands on these issues. It's one thing if this was the former Republican governor who was the head of the EPA who at the very least acted in a manner suggesting she cared about these issues.
by bruh21 2005-06-30 07:30PM | 0 recs
Re: What?
Right...the Sierra Club does not want to appear to be a wing of the Democratic Party. Many orgs and non-profits are upset with the treatment the AFL-CIO got by the "New Democrats" in 1990s and want the politicians to compete for their attention.

In this case, I think the local chapter just wanted to make sure they treated this gaffe by Corzine as harshly as they would have if he were a Republican candidate.

by risenmessiah 2005-07-02 02:21PM | 0 recs
Re: What?
I wrote about a closely related subject last night, How To Rebuild Support for Progressives, coming out of a discussion at BopNews, Democrats: The Party of Losers, saying we need to build organizations that reach the general public to promote core Progressive values rather than talking about narrower issues to already-committed memberships.  Over time that will help build more overall public support for our candidates and all of our issues.

It's the same argument as the AFL-CIO split.  One side says they need to do more get-out-the-vote efforts, focused on a declining base.  The other says they need to start organizing and growing the base.

by davej 2005-07-01 08:44AM | 0 recs
Re: Simple
Specter over Hoeffel has nothing to do with left or right. This has to do with who is going to bring home the bacon. I worked on the polls in PA during 2004. Let me tell you what I heard. I saw people with Kerry and Specter buttons walking into the polls in predominantly African - American neighnborhoods. You want to know why? It certainly isn't this false dichotomy that you raise. I asked people as I was helping them with their polling questions about why they had split ticket buttons. Their answer, to the person, was "Specter has done for us, Bush hasn't." It was that simple. The rest of this is just idealogical crap fostered into the reality of how people vote by the left and right. Simple as that.
by bruh21 2005-06-30 06:15PM | 0 recs
Re: Simple
"Move to the center where the votes are"

Is that how the Republicans are so successful?

Or are they working to move the public to where they are?

by davej 2005-07-01 08:52AM | 0 recs
Seriously...
Your tirades are getting annoying.  This is going to piss you off, but you obviously don't know the "environmental movement" very well when you say something that shows your ignorance (and I don't mean that derogitorily) as follows: "why are there around five or six different environmental organizations in New Jersey alone?"

There are HUNDREDS of environmental organizations in New Jersey alone.  Why?  Because each and every one of those organizations are working on very different causes... from local to statewide, to nationwide.  Some are very local land trusts.  Some promote parklands in inner cities.  Some are advocacy organizations for individual state parks... some are promoting "right-to-know" laws.  some promote organic farming.  some promote recycling.  some pick up litter off of highways.  some sue the shit out of polluters.  some rescue animals.  some promote raptor conservation.  some promote reptilian conservation.  some promote clean water.  some... clean air.  some advocate for state parklands.  some buy land to put into state parks.  some promote smart growth.  some want to save nesting turtles.  some promote biking in downtowns.  some promote more public transportation.  some recycle computers  some recycle cell phones.  some promote composting.  some promote better gas mileage... et.  fucking cetera.

So, Chris, The "environmental movement" is best summed up by a lot of individual people, individual organizations, doing their part to make their local, state, country, or world a better place to live.  You would not have the "Nature Conservancy" the largest land trust in the world, who really takes a global view on saving the "last great places"... be in charge of buying 2 acres in blighted downtown Wherever, New Jersey.  That's not "their thing".  They have biologists / ecologists employed to purchase viable tracts of land to promote the longterm survival of biodiversity.  They aren't promoting inner city youth baseball fields.  That is why there are "like 5 or 6 -TEEN THOUSAND" environmental organizations in this nation.

The "environmental movement" is not a political movement.  The "environmental movement" is not a "movement".  It is a hodgepodge of organizations each doing their own thing... doing something to make the world better... and SOMETIMES, their concerns overlap politically.  and when that happens, you get "5 or 6" get pissed off at some Senator not understanding their concerns.  And in a local setting... these very local organizations, who are concerned with VERY SPECIFIC issues... yes... if a senator pisses on their pet project... a worthwhile project which they spend countless volunteer hours on... then you can bet your ass they're gonna be pissed off.  and you can bet your ass they'll withhold an endorsement, if they have a political side to their organization.  as they should.  

The proper question would be, "Why is Sierra Club courting a known polluter?"

My guess... they're just putting Corzine's feet to the fire to let him know he really fucked up.

by NCDem 2005-06-30 06:43PM | 0 recs
Re: Seriously...
The "environmental movement" is not a political movement.  The "environmental movement" is not a "movement".  It is a hodgepodge of organizations each doing their own thing...

Bingo!  

by CentrismIsForLosers 2005-06-30 06:55PM | 0 recs
Re: Seriously...
Your explanation doesn't get to his point, as I understand it. His point being that wouldn't these enviromental organizations be better situated working together rather than a part?  What you call a tirade, is a question about strategy, and how best to accomplish differing goals. I talked this week to a women who used to head up a coalition of different African Americna groups. She pointed out in one succient sentence the value: "We had each others back." Do you think progressives now have each others back? As Conservatives have learned. That they can either sink a part, of swim together. Do you think progressives get this right now? I think the Conservatives want to win more than we do- I don't mean just ont he level of lying- I mean generally the desire to work together even if they don't readily have the same end goals.
by bruh21 2005-06-30 06:57PM | 0 recs
Re: Seriously...
"The "environmental movement" is not a political movement. The "environmental movement" is not a "movement". It is a hodgepodge of organizations each doing their own thing... doing something to make the world better... and SOMETIMES, their concerns overlap politically"

Getting a lot of things done that way these days?

by Chris Bowers 2005-06-30 07:38PM | 0 recs
Re: Seriously...
I agree with you that progressive groups need to take the long view and that blasting Corzine (an environmental champion in the Senate) is counterproductive.

I think part of it is being stuck in the 70s worldview where everyone basically agrees that we should protect the environment and so you can lobby Republicans and expect to win.  It's time to recognize that time is past, and progressive issue groups need to elect people like the right-wing has been doing if they want to make things better.

But, for all that, environmental groups in New Jersey are actually getting a lot done, including protecting the Highlands and cleaning up cars and busses.

by Steve P 2005-07-01 08:16AM | 0 recs
Re: Seriously...
over 100,000,000 acres of land have been protected in conservation easements and acquisitions from hundreds of independently acting land trusts throughout this nation.
by NCDem 2005-07-04 05:46PM | 0 recs
Re: Seriously...
Are you familiar with the discussion around "The Death of Environmentalism"?  That essay says that environmentalists are not effective because they take a narrower issue-oriented approach rather than forming alliances with the larger Progressive movement to reach out to the broader general public to promote more core Progressive values.
by davej 2005-07-01 08:56AM | 0 recs
Some general points
a) NJ is close on paper, not reality. I don't care what the polls say in June. I've been in the NYC/NJ area now for 4 years. I have heard a lot of talk of Republicans doing this and that here, and it hasn't happened. In other words, I believe the numbers you see are Forrester's ceiling, and not his floor. People should still run as though they are down. And, Corizine is. I have seen several of his ads already. He seems to be leaving nothing to chance. He needs to continue this.

b) Generally, I agree with you. The problem in the progressive side of the country is that we are weak as a movement. A lot of people talk a good game, but aren't able to create the coalitions that used to win in the past because it has devolved for various reasons into bickering factions that still imagine that we have a progressive majority that can afford to argue, or are delusional like NARAL enough to believe that, despite voting records of so-called RINOs, they will come out in support of NARAL's goals. Did Chafee do this?

But, the problem is deeper than that. This is a general problem of discipline among progressives. When people like Biden, a moderate, can come out on naitonal television and attack other members of his party without political cost, it is not surprising that others feel they have nothing to lose in supporing Republican candidates over Democeratic candidates. Let me be clear- we have the right to critique each other- but we should realize this costs us publically. Where possible, it should be done behind closed doors. This- in other words- is not about Dean. It's about a general point of how we conduct our business in public.  The reason why they, progressives, believe there has been no need for discipline is because they are right. What exactly do they have to lose when the Democrats are so willing to be fractious even within Democratic ranks? What do disloyal Democrats have to lose for being disloyal if the rank and file requires nothing more of them? Or, if we can't even define ourselves outside of saying- "Not the bush"

Yesterday, on Hardball (I say this as a non Deaniac) I found it instructive that Dean's position regarding Iraq has not been mirrored by the rest of the party. He essentially says-and I admit I agree with his position- that Bush got us into this mess, now it will take Democrats to get us eventually out of it in the "correct" way.  I am going to quote a Republican here- Collin Powell- "we broke it- we got to fix it."  And, Dean was left to be silenced by Hardball because he had no answer as to why Biden and other Democrats can not fully just say this. It's a position where most Americans- including my conservative independent friends are right now. This isn't, for those who will argue this, a purity test. It's a loyalty test, and a messaging test. Or rather a messaging test, and a loyalty.

First, what's our message- and do we need to agree perfectly with each other on the language, is it enough to say that we agree on the general principle? Over a D Kos, for example, I found people arguing with the idea that even if Kos is horrible at discussing women's right issues such as abortion- so long as he support a woman's right to choose, is this not enough? The general answer was the same- a lot of angry tirades because the wording was not to their liking.

I said rudely, "As a gay guy, I don't care if Kos calls me a fag so long as he treats me like a citizen, and by the same token, I don't care if someone says they are my friends and treats me like a fag." The same is true of how progressives should look at "allies."

Wording is not at issue when one is thinking of loyalty- loyalty is about action. If someone is supporting an action you generally agree with- either specifically, or as a strategy or tactic, then what else is there? Yet, if we look at the actions of many on the progressive front, there is this general need to agree with word choice. It remains me of the debate of the early 90s between those who argued vehemently between being called black versus being called African American- like the discssion had some value regarding the issues of real progress? Black or African-American- if you don't have health care, you still won't have it either way.

Second, what is loyalty.  To some loyalty means Big Brother. To those people, I would say get a grip. Loyalty can mean many things- not all of it bad. FDR's efforts to create the New Deal required  loyalty- would anyone call that big brother? Loyalty, here for progressives would mean looking at the world through a different lesne than is now used. It's about action outcomes versus wording. It would be about not going into public without a disciplined message (special respect to the discipline of Pelosi and Reid the other night for example). In short, loyalty is about the same thing it's always been about. Realizing we do have long term, if not always, short term interest in common. That it is smarter to deal with each other to achieve the long term interests, before the Republicans can deny us both. We have seen this with NARAL with Chafee. What did he do with their endorsement- did he support pro choice judicial nominees? No, he supported Brown.

Basically, everything I am saying is complicated because it would require a seachange in the progressives that I know. I don't see that happening. For it to happen, they would have to admit that we are no longer in the majority in terms of legislative, judicial and executive controls, and that means we have to rethink the world around us. It doesen't require centrism. It requires new tactics. Learning from the devil about how to sell our position. It would mean having to be willing to change. Who sees this happening with people who will argue ad nauseum over the most unimportant offenses such as that an ally doesn't say something the way we want?

by bruh21 2005-06-30 06:50PM | 0 recs
Do we really have two parties,that are independent
?

Or is it all a big act, with a real, 'secret' ruling party in control behind the scenes and the GOP and Dems as we see them, just ACTORS in a charade..

Don't laugh.. This is the way the Nazis and others like them have historically seized power...

They had two parties, an inner and outer circle.. The outer circle had no idea of their long-term goal which was eventually to eliminate parlimentary democracy..

I have a feeling that here, if the legislators get too 'democratic' somebody reins them in.

Threats if some kind, maybe? That would not be unreasonable, considering the huge amounts of money that are avaialable to the supporters of 'winners' of the 'looting America' secret inner party..

It's the biggest theft in history.. the biggest loot..

by ultraworld 2005-07-01 05:16AM | 0 recs
Re: Do we really have two parties,that are indepen
I have no idea if there some illumninati out there behind the scenes controlling things, and have no way of knowing. I can speculate about what I do see, not about what I don't see. As for facism, yes, in our present system of concentration power there are parrallels, but that doesn't mean it will end up the same way. Concentration of power is something that anyone can plainly see with issues like the FDA cozying up to big pharma, polluters writing their own rules at the EPA down to faith based inniative (which, I think in theory are okay, but in practice faith based approaches are being used from what I am reading to carry favor).

What this all means in the long term- I have no idea. What I do know is that its besides the point to issue I am writing to whether there is a strong or weak progressive movement in the country. What's preventing the progressives from suceeding are the things I mentioned- now that you have brought it up- like all AMericans a sense of victimhood. The need, for example, to imagine that some mysterious other is attacking us when  a lot of this stuff we have self inflicted because we refused to be disciplined long enough to do more than bicker amongst ourselves.

Or, to add a new flavor to this, we have cults of personalities or anti personalities. ie, Deans v Anti Deaniacs. Which when you listen to both sides are reducible to being about personality on both sides. I happen to like Dean, and think he has his heard and mind in the right place, but he's really just one guy.  The idea of looking at him as some saviour is a mistake. By the same token, raking him across the coals in the public sphere isn't about some hidden cabal, it's about the naked interests of those running for higher office such as Biden who on this and a few issues represents the worse impulses- other issues being the bankruptcy bill. Do I think that means Biden is some secret tyrant? No. I think that means he is acting in his self interest (or what the thinks is his self interest), and not considering the resulting effects of party and country.

See, the thing is in my world view you don't need a secret force to do anything. The system is mucked up either way. My suggestion is worry less about some hidden cabal, and figure out how to make the public forces you do see stronger. Don't play into the game of spliting up forces that are natural allies. As was stated above- the enviromeantalists may each have their agenda, but they all natural allies and should be working together with others who ae their natural allies and stop playing into the games.  I am going to leave you with an example. Do you know who Harvey Milk was? He was the first openly gay politician in perhaps US history who ran and won a Supervisors (City Council) position in SF. He did so building an unlikely coalition of conservative Italian old timers, blacks, gays, Latinos, progressive whites and Asians. You when he did this? Back in the 70s. You may wonder how he did this? There is this great book called the Mayor of Castro Street. What was great about this book is that it pointed out how the progressives used to think before the present generation took over. There was such a high level of pragmaticism among them.

For example, Mr. Milk in order to obtain the support of Union groups on gay rights inniatives that he was seeking to pass, he endorsed the unions in their struggles. He did some horse trading of interests. The unions came out in support of the gay rights efforts of Mr. Milk. He showed them loyalty, and they showed him loyalty. The unions were made up off conservative white guys saying what this fag to do with us, and yet, he built a bridge with them anyhow to the point that at the end the union leader was saying, I got your back on whatever you want to do. It's a fundamental different view of progresive politics built on winning. Amongst this whining over turf that I now see- I simply don't see this kind of commitment to a movement beyond petty territory.

by bruh21 2005-07-01 06:29AM | 0 recs
Re: Do we really have two parties,that are indepen
You should really check out this book, "Understanding Power": http://www.powells.com/biblio/1-1565847032-3

It deals with why the two parties are so similar, and why populist, progressive themes are routinely ignored by politicians and the media.

In short, yes, there is a ruling elite that controls the Republicans and Democrats.  No, it is not secret.  It is proudly operating right under your nose.

by lazybob 2005-08-03 12:34PM | 0 recs
Two Ethics
Food for thought:

"Conservatives" see moral action as self-discipline: toil for sustenance, gotta keep those emotions and instincts under control. Stoic as opposed to romantic; outcomes over intentions.

"Liberals" see moral action as self-sacrifice: charity, transfer payments, progressive taxation, welfare, make room for the downtrodden, tread lightly on the earth. Intentions over outcomes.

The concept of self-sacrifice is central to Christianity, and Chirstianity is the moral code that predated Darwinism and to the extent it has resisted Darwinism, societies have prospered.

Self-discipline is subordinate to self-sacrifice in Christianity, you deny yourself not in order to buy that fancy new car, but to benefit spiritually from the experience and to feed and clothe the poor.

The progressive movement flounders or "doesn't exist" because there is not a strong enough philisophical consensus. Christianity, especially in America, is more about the will to power and circling-the-wagons-against-change than self-sacrifice, so most progressives have moved on. The problem is that they have moved on in oh so many directions. I see no change to this trend barring catastrophe.

by Paul Goodman 2005-06-30 07:21PM | 0 recs
Re: Two Ethics
Unfortunately, I have to agree. And you said it much more elegantly too.
by bruh21 2005-06-30 07:31PM | 0 recs
No, its not moral..
Conservatives see themselves as entitled to more than liberals.. so they seek huge government welfare payments, no-bid contracts, highly profitable military spending projects, special treatment for their pet 'faith based programs' and scam NGOs..

They trumpet 'self reliance' because to them, the main function of a government should be to protect their wealth.. everywhere on earth, as they don't really see national boundaries as meaningful - on them, just as needed limits on markets applicable to their new-serfs..us..

They see their era as threatened..so they are trying to take as much as they can while they still can..

Liberals do see a future, a one in which Americans will need, somehow to support themselves.

They see the increasingly desperate need to stop the theivery governments and corporations and aggressively conserve money for our nation's future, which conservatives laugh at because for them, the concept of 'nations' is a joke that died a long time ago with colonialism..
(they were then the colonialists, but the obligations of colonialism grew inconvenient, the corporate way more profitable)

This will require a decision by the mainstream, those who care about this country.. the real patriots, to expose the thieves and prosecute them for treason, which will take courage..

by ultraworld 2005-07-01 05:27AM | 0 recs
Re: No, its not moral..
Liberals have the same sense of entitlement. They think they shouldn't have to compromise over issues (I dont mean centrism), and get it precisely the way they want it, and nothing else. That's what so many of these debates on D Kos and here are about. Differing liberal perspectives- down to the point of endless debates over word choice. THe thing is  - in order to have these arguments assumes we have time for these arguments when we do not. It's not about some secret cabal trying to take over. It's about people not willing to listen and realize that what divides us does not equal what should keep us together. So, my point here is that self interest of feeling entitled isn't on one side- I believe its a part of the American id now. THe point about morality is right because it's more a point about what keeps the group together- its single ethics- whatever you want to label it. Whereas the progressives refuse to see we have unifying ethics
by bruh21 2005-07-01 06:39AM | 0 recs
Weeding Out Democratic Corruption and Cosiness
Wonderful subject.  I believe that we have to build up our grassroots to the point where we make sure our Democratic political leaders have the encouragement, support and resources to weigh and act on issues without bowing down to the will of big corporations - unless that will is in alignment with the will of the people.  Let's require our Democratic leaders to be impeccably honest and to come to us for money rather than to the big guys.  

I also was not a Deaniac but I certainly respect what he is saying and doing and how he is teaching other Democratic leaders what they too can do.  I think he is one of the only Democratic politicians who gets it and that is partially because he is not in bed with the corporations unless what they are doing makes sense.

by lynnallen 2005-06-30 08:16PM | 0 recs
The Sierra Club
has made some really bad moves lately. As a member, I'd like to believe it's part of a larger plan to fulfill one of the club's primary missions, to preserve as many wild places as possible; however, that's a broad jump across a wide stream unless one assumes that kissing ass to radical wingnuts is part of the plan.  

The Sierra Club is the most wildly popular environmental group ever created; however, it has always wrongly suffered from the perception that its membership is somehow militant and, therefore, out of the mainstream. Rather than sticking to its guns, the Sierra Club is moving further in the wrong direction in order to prove what cannot be proven.

The recent board elections were a "big puke." Less than fifteen percent of the membership participated. With few exceptions, the establishment candidates were losers and the opposition candidates were even bigger losers. Without significant change, I believe the Sierra Club will lose the wind in its sails as a progressive force for positive environmental protection.

by Seldom Seen Smith 2005-06-30 08:58PM | 0 recs
Environmentalism is dead
Environmentalists have killed environmentalism. Grist magazine had an excellent roundup of the controversy over the failure of the environmental movement The Death of Environmentalism: Global warming politics in a post-environmental world.

Our thesis is this: the environmental community's narrow definition of its self-interest leads to a kind of policy literalism that undermines its power. When you look at the long string of global warming defeats under Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, it is hard not to conclude that the environmental movement's approach to problems and policies hasn't worked particularly well. And yet there is nothing about the behavior of environmental groups, and nothing in our interviews with environmental leaders, that indicates that we as a community are ready to think differently about our work.

Thinking of the environment as a "thing" has had enormous implications for how environmentalists conduct their politics. The three-part strategic framework for environmental policy-making hasn't changed in 40 years: first, define a problem (e.g. global warming) as "environmental." Second, craft a technical remedy (e.g., cap-and-trade). Third, sell the technical proposal to legislators through a variety of tactics, such as lobbying, third-party allies, research reports, advertising, and public relations.

The arrogance here is that environmentalists ask not what we can do for non-environmental constituencies but what non-environmental constituencies can do for environmentalists. As a result, while public support for action on global warming is wide it is also frighteningly shallow.

The environmental movement's incuriosity about the interests of potential allies depends on it never challenging the most basic assumptions about what does and doesn't get counted as "environmental." Because we define environmental problems so narrowly, environmental leaders come up with equally narrow solutions. In the face of perhaps the greatest calamity in modern history, environmental leaders are sanguine that selling technical solutions like florescent light bulbs, more efficient appliances, and hybrid cars will be sufficient to muster the necessary political strength to overcome the alliance of neoconservative ideologues and industry interests in Washington, D.C.

I had never heard of Petty's Island so I googled it and found out the environmentalists are doing exactly what was described in The Death of Environmentalism. Forrester Attacks Corzine on Environment for Views on Petty's Island Project

They haven't even completed an environmental review?

In a six-paragraph response, Mr. Corzine staked out a wait-and-see approach, saying that he would not take a position on the project until it undergoes a more thorough environmental review. But he said he would not summarily oppose the project because it could bring desperately needed economic development to the blighted Camden waterfront.

I don't know anything about Camden waterfront. Is it a depressed area and will developement of Petty's Island help working Americans?
"I have been and continue to be a very strong advocate for the protection of our open spaces and environmental heritage," Mr. Corzine said. "We must and can, however, have urban redevelopment, economic prosperity and environmental protection."

Mr. Corzine also raised concerns that the company that owns the island, Citgo Petroleum, is only offering to make the 400-acre parcel a nature preserve to avoid the expense of having to clean up contamination caused by years of use as a shipping terminal and storage depot.


If Corzine is right and the environmental impact statement shows extensive industrial contamination, how much will it cost the taxpayers?
by Gary Boatwright 2005-06-30 09:33PM | 0 recs
Cannabis Zach,
my blue heeler, says anybody with a paw can do a google search.

I had never heard of

I don't know anything

My mother always told us children a little knowledge is a dangerous thing.  
 

by Seldom Seen Smith 2005-07-01 12:36AM | 0 recs
Re: Cannabis Zach,
My father taught me that a lot of know it alls are damn fools.
by Gary Boatwright 2005-07-01 06:23AM | 0 recs
Re: Environmentalism is dead
That is a very good article. The same thing could be said about pretty much every single issue group, however. At least someone in the environmental movement realizes the problem.
by Chris Bowers 2005-07-01 05:23AM | 0 recs
Absolutely Correct
Chris Bowers is precisely correct.  Case in point.  I live in a allegedly progressive state in the Northeast, and have been active in progressive politics for most of the twenty years of my adult life.  I have been frustrated by this balkanization phenomenon since I first got involved twenty years ago, and it is clearly evident in the state where I live now.  Here, we actually have had a "coalition" of groups: unions, women's organizations, environmental groups, etc. that created a formalized structure for jointly endorsing state legislative candidates with the stated aim of electing a progressive majority.  However, that structure has devolved into what amounts to little more than a monthly confabulation of political insiders who vie with one another to demonstrate to eachother how tied-in they are to what's happening in political campaigns they know about or in which their organization is involved.  Joint endorsements, when they happen, mean almost nothing. Rather, they are a reflection of endorsements the member organizations have already made in advance of the joint endorsement process - thus, the member organizations' internal institutional needs drive the process, not the reverse.  There is little or no coordination of campaign activities on the ground in districts where joint endorsements are provided, little or no communication by the organizations with their members in those districts about the endorsed candidate and his or her positions on the progressive issues or values the member organization advances or the issues or values of other member organizations, no joint activities, and no sense or determination that candidates will be held accountable by the coalition in the future.  Member organizations feel no compunction about endorsing candidates whose positions are directly antithetical to that part of a progressive agenda advanced by fellow member organizations.  No grassroots progressive infrastructure is created that lasts beyond a single campaign in a single district.  There is zero sense of "all for one and one for all."  Finally, member groups have contributed little if any financial or organizational resources to the coalition organization itself.  Thus, the foundation and private support that maintained coalition staff having lost interest and gone elsewhere, the coalition itself will soon cease to exist, leaving this state with no place for progressive groups to coordinate.  This is the state of the progressive "movement" in my state.
by Jimbob Kinnikin 2005-07-01 02:55AM | 0 recs
Re: Absolutely Correct
The thing is, this is a coalition, not an alliance.

Coalitions are far more fragile.  There is no sense of "all for one" and "one for all" because each group puts it own interests first.  They are really put together out of short-term expediency.

Alliances, on the other hand, develop over time and have fairly strong bonds.  The members are more in line with overall goals; otherwise, they can't be part of the alliance.  You may have fewer groups, but more loyalty and coordination.

by v2aggie2 2005-07-02 07:10PM | 0 recs
Got to feed the monkey
I didn't make it through all of the comments, so I appologize if someone said this already, but the AFL-CIO backing Specter is about getting something on the other end.  

The game is play or get played.  Everyone compromises their position for the sake of taking steps forward.  Everyone but Bush...

But to say that there's no progressive movement in this country is jumping the gun.  

by www deadissue com 2005-07-01 05:05AM | 0 recs
Re: Got to feed the monkey
Specter is a different issue- I agree. It's a bringing home the bacon issue. But this diary is correct about balkanization in the progressive movement which leads to wasted resources and efforts.
by bruh21 2005-07-01 06:44AM | 0 recs
Blogosphere and Bonding
Maybe if the party changes the "democracy bond" to have earmarked funds?

Remember that shirt that said "I am Dean's special
interest".

How about this one"

"I am not an  ATM machine. "

Give credit to Trippi, he understood people
were in pain and were trying to double
down their last bet on America.

I say:
Let Democracy Bonds be Earmarked and represent
a true stake in America. Have it tagged
and ready to go. As much as the party
needs coherence, the blogosphere could
use a bit of it too. We should have
a council which takes in votes equally.

by turnerbroadcasting 2005-07-01 05:48AM | 0 recs
So
Who holds our Wednesday meetings?  Who's got enough clout to get everyone in a room and get some kind of coordination between these groups?
by sco 2005-07-01 06:10AM | 0 recs
Re: So
that's my thing too- I think there needs to be some kind of organization whose only fuction is to act as a mediator and coordinator of different interests among Democrats, progressives and issues orgs toward the greater goals of the progressive movement- a group who has as its only fuction the idea of sink apart, swim together
by bruh21 2005-07-01 06:46AM | 0 recs
The problem with interest groups
The problem with interest groups is that it is difficult to keep everybody happy all of the time.

In unions for example, while they are typically Democratic in leadership, that doesn't necessarily reflect itself in their membership.  For example, our local party has a fairly good releationship with one of our unions in terms of their leadership, which is Democratic.  However, the union membership is mostly Republican, so the leadership has to be sensitive to its membership.

At the end of the day, the interest groups are accountable to their memberships, not the Democratic Party or the Progressive Movement.  So nobody should be surprised when they don't "toe the line"

by v2aggie2 2005-07-02 07:31PM | 0 recs

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