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Wasserman writes: "The 2016 Sandernista groundswell and the Rainbow Tsunami of 2018 have marked a historic shift."

Jeremy Ornstein of Watertown, Massachusetts, cheers on fellow environmental activists as they occupy the office of Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) to press for Democratic support for a Green New Deal. (photo: J. Scott Applewhite/AP)
Jeremy Ornstein of Watertown, Massachusetts, cheers on fellow environmental activists as they occupy the office of Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) to press for Democratic support for a Green New Deal. (photo: J. Scott Applewhite/AP)

The Democrats Have Nowhere to Go but Left

By Harvey Wasserman, Reader Supported News

07 January 19


he Democratic Party has nowhere to go but left.

The 2016 Sandernista groundswell and the Rainbow Tsunami of 2018 have marked a historic shift.

The diverse wave of millennial activists that has poured into the Congress is unprecedented. And the public support for real change – a Green New Deal – is undeniable.

The real message: the three-decade triangulation of the Clintonista New Democrats has been transcended.

The faux mantra from bloviating experts, petulant pundits, and high-priced consultants has been droning on since the coming of Ronald Reagan: the Democrats must forever tack right to attract “swing” conservatives in the “mainstream middle” between the two parties.

But in the Age of Trump, such voters are all but extinct. The middle ground has cratered. The swing constituency (if it ever existed) has disappeared into the abyss. What matters now is excitement, commitment, clarity, and REAL CHANGE ... none of which can come with a corporate/compromised agenda.

Since the Great Society sank into the Vietnam quagmire, the only major federal program meant to benefit the working/middle class has been Obamacare. The gap between rich and poor has become a bottomless pit. What matters now is substance. And it’s coming from the post-corporate left.

The original New Deal is the ultimate historic role model. It put millions to work, revived a crashed economy, guaranteed food and education for the poor, served the environment, and gave the nation hope and real change.

The New Frontier/Great Society established Medicare, opened pathways to social justice and bottom-up prosperity, and (until it sank in Vietnam) promised so much more.

Now Sandernista/Millennials want a Green New Deal to take it all to a new level. The Green New Deal must replace our Earth-killing fossil/nuke burners with 100% renewables, creating millions of jobs along the way. With that vital transition must come Medicare for All and answers for staggering medical debt, massive student loans and soaring college tuition, homelessness, a swollen imperial budget, and much much more. In time this of global crisis, there’s no doubt about it: This Green New Deal is our essential route to ecological and economic survival.

It’s also the last hope of the Democratic Party. A deeply divided, dangerously embittered nation can no longer tolerate political timidity.

For a new generation of activists, that means going inside/out.

In the left lane, it means maintaining the Green and other independent organizations for ideological clarity and an outside power base.

Such campaigns demand no compromise. That means unflinching solidarity for ending the empire, abolishing nuclear weapons and banning torture, a ban on nuclear and fossil fuels, converting quickly to 100% renewables and efficiency, demanding mass transit, solving homelessness, protecting organic food, banning GMOs, winning universal health care, abolishing student and medical debt, protecting the right to vote, universal hand-cast/hand-counted paper ballots, getting money out of politics, meaningful gun control, full racial/gender/sexual preference equality, and much more.

All that demands a coordinated network of independent grassroots organizations and at least one true progressive political party completely free of all corporate influence.

At the same time, converting the historic Democratic Party to an organ of real social and ecological change remains essential. The 2016 Sandernista campaign made the party bend. In 2018, some real progressives poured through the cracks in its corporate wall.

The midterm elections also showed that a real leap forward has no room for a circular firing squad. The agreement to disagree, and work both sides of the road at once – an inside/outside strategy – is vital to victory.

Those who want to work on the outside should by all means do so. Those who can maintain their principles while working inside the party must also do what needs to be done.

Nobody is going to be 100% pure. Nobody can rightfully claim to have all the answers.

But we do know this:

By and large, the cultural/identity revolution the Baby Boomers lit in the 1960s has hugely succeeded. America is far from entirely remade. But in terms of diversity, we’re now a very new nation in many important ways (partly as witnessed in the faces of this new Congress) since Jack Kennedy won the 1960 election, essentially with black votes. He rightly proclaimed the coming to power of a new generation, then didn’t live to see its hopes bashed in the imperial futility of global conquest … or its victories in making this a far more diverse and open society than the one that killed him.

Six decades later, the Millennials must now lead and win the economic, anti-imperial and ecological battles we need to survive.

The Solartopian conversion must be funded not by new taxes, but with money re-directed (as suggested by Code Pink and others) from the imperial military budget. It must happen as soon as humanly possible.

In the Age of Trump, the middle ground is gone.

So while we use independent organizing to make the hard place of what we stand for irreducibly clear, the rock of inside organizing must crack open and transform the Democratic Party.

That won’t be easy. But it should be fun. And our survival depends on it.

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Harvey Wasserman’s Green Power & Wellness Show is podcast at; California Solartopia is broadcast at KPFK-Pacifica, 90.7 fm, Los Angeles. His Life & Death Spiral of US History: From Deganawidah to Trump to Solartopia will soon be at your social media marketing partner


A note of caution regarding our comment sections:

For months a stream of media reports have warned of coordinated propaganda efforts targeting political websites based in the U.S., particularly in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election.

We too were alarmed at the patterns we were, and still are, seeing. It is clear that the provocateurs are far more savvy, disciplined, and purposeful than anything we have ever experienced before.

It is also clear that we still have elements of the same activity in our article discussion forums at this time.

We have hosted and encouraged reader expression since the turn of the century. The comments of our readers are the most vibrant, best-used interactive feature at Reader Supported News. Accordingly, we are strongly resistant to interrupting those services.

It is, however, important to note that in all likelihood hardened operatives are attempting to shape the dialog our community seeks to engage in.

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Marc Ash
Founder, Reader Supported News

+15 # BetaTheta 2019-01-07 15:23
Yes, and to all those who moan that Pelosi, Booker, et al are irredeemable corporatists, start leading from the bottom. "Leaders" are always on the lookout for a parade to jump in front of.
+5 # economagic 2019-01-08 08:51
Good point. The "three-decade triangulation of the Clintonista New Democrats" has NOT been transcended -- YET. Pelosi is still trying to have it both ways -- stability and business as usual -- while ceding an acre or two to the realists, the ones who recognize that stability and business as usual are melting away before our very eyes. Her cronies are deeply reluctant even to go that far.

Sluggo says "the 'swing' conservatives in the 'mainstream middle' between the two parties," the ones that the Democratic party has supposedly been chasing for the past THIRTY YEARS, are "all but extinct," if they were ever anything but a myth. He's right. William Butler Yeats said "The center cannot hold," and he said it a century ago.

We cannot allow the fossils to drag us down. The only way forward is forward.
-22 # MikeAF48 2019-01-07 15:29
Orson Welles on the radio "the martians are coming the martians are coming."
+1 # Jaax88 2019-01-07 23:43
Isn't that what Trump is crying about? How can there be a national emergency when Trump has been flaying away at the issue for 2 years or more? If e starts on building barrier I would watch to see who gets the contracts. Probably those close to Trump in some way. I am very suspicious of the employment numbers for December as Trump is notoriously a liar and his appointees are not much better and even worse, how can those numbers be give credence without independent verification? Especially at a time when the economy is possibility Trump's only good news and he needs that to maintain any claim of doing good.
+12 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2019-01-07 20:30
This is really good. But remember that Trump ran to the left of Hillary on almost every issue. His right wing populism has many issues in common with left wing populism. Sanders' trips to Trump strongholds like W Va and Michigan show that right wing populists will come over on issues like healthcare, infrastructure rebuilding, and others.

It was Bill Clinton who said a year ago that the Demo party was not going to move to the left. And Hillary is even more right wing than Bill. We've got a big job moving them out of power.

This is a very good article and we need to keep talking up the move to the left by the Demo party. It is funny to think that Trump is scaring a lot of people to the left.

Code Pink is totally correct in the plan to move the budget of the empire into a solartopia.
-1 # chapdrum 2019-01-07 22:07
Agree, but not putting money on it.
-3 # indian weaving 2019-01-08 06:33
The USA must now be controlled and run by no one older than 30, starting at 18. These are whom we can trust to lead the world to a better life and the USA to a decent culture. Get rid of almost all congress and administration and start over with the youngest bravest smartest 30 year old and younger, many are ready to lead the USA now.
+5 # rivervalley 2019-01-08 06:56
Beta - politics are already at the bottom; Progressives are leading from the top, and there are millions of people already in the campaign. Mike must be talking about TheWall; Climate Change is hardly an Orson Wells script, even if that's how Faux Gnus reports it. Harvey's right on!
+5 # 2019-01-08 08:00
OK!! Go left not west young Dems! Start anew with no Pelosi, Booker, et left on board. Sandernistas arise. Carpe Diem.
+4 # David Starr 2019-01-08 09:35
Can the Democratic Party be reformed? As Wasserman says, it won't be easy. New/Corporatist s Democrats with their "Third Way" will try to get in the way. But the change is beginning: With the newly elected progressives now in power, the changing of the guard has begun. Now, it's a matter of following thru to the objective of transforming the Dem Party into a genuine working class party.

But if not, then it's a matter of the objective conditions changing to where a third party/coalition can gain influence and challenge the Republicrats... .and win.
+5 # WorkingClass 2019-01-08 13:53
It will not be easy to wean the corporatist off the big money teat. Having said that we must, since until we do the corporate dems will continue to dance with those who brought them to the dance.
+4 # lfeuille 2019-01-08 19:29
It's true. Going left is their only option if they want to be a viable political force. But too of the leaders don't know it yet or willfully refuse to believe because it would threaten their own comfortable economic situation.
+6 # chapdrum 2019-01-08 21:37
We (the collective/soci ety) could stop pretending that we are helpless before the rogue corporations.
0 # librarian1984 2019-01-11 20:28
We may think they have nowhere to go but left .. but they always find a way to move RIGHT.

Did anyone here, twenty years ago, think we'd see the Democrats lauding W and the CIA?

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