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View Diary: From the streets to the Congress: Has Occupy changed the political narrative? (150 comments)

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  •  From the Streets to Congress (1+ / 0-)
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    claude

    This is an outstanding article showing the dynamics of how citizen activism drives the political dialog of our nation.  Democracy is not a spectator sport.  Seeing the bitter resistance of the GOP to Banking Reform, Healthcare reform, and using diplomacy rather than force, voters should have turned out in force in 2010 to finish the job they started in 2008. Instead apathy held sway. All of the objectives of 2008 were not met therefore Democrats did not merit support in 2010. OWS changed all that. Now, if you are are Progressive, it is not an option to disengage from the political process. Us peasants are not pleased with the rape of this nations wealth by powerful interests and the GOP is even making stilted attempts at co-opting the message. All rational people have to do is consider the messenger.  

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    •  You're right sheepherder, this is not about (0+ / 0-)

      disengaging from the political process and letting the plutocrats carry whatever message they want to the still-dormant American public. But it is about not being afraid to tell the truth and hold Obama and democrats in general to account when they fail to live up to the ideals that the Democratic Party once stood for, the most important of which are (or used to be) a commitment to the expansion and protection of the political and civil rights and advancement of economic opportunities of working people, everyday people of all backgrounds.

      If we as critical thinking progressives cannot criticize our representatives, our elected leaders, for selling out and siding with the strong against the weak, then we are no better than the wingnuts that vote against their own economic self-interest because they swallowed the GOP lie that as long as they're in power, they won't have to worry about brown people coming from other places bringing their "un-american" values with them and taking their jobs.

      •  Then why didn't we do that in 2010? (0+ / 0-)

        If we were so certain we had been sold out, that the President was an appeaser or was actually obstructing the implementation of progressive policy then why in the world didn't we elect tons of progressive governors, senators and congressmen?  If it is was so easy to do why didn't we?  With a Progressive majority everywhere the President would have been forced to use his veto power over and over again to stop climate change legislation, prosecution of banks and war criminals and to stop the wars. So why in the hell didn't we do it if it is so easy?  Possibly because despite what some think the majority of voters aren't Progressive?  And the President has to work with what's out there not what we wish was.

        •  The Bush Tax cut were set to Sunset that year. (1+ / 0-)
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          Nada Lemming

          Nothing had to be done and they would have expired. I stead they were extended with a democratic majority and the Presidents urging..

          ...
          http://en.wikipedia.org/...

          The sunset provision allowed the republicans to get around the Byrd Rule:

          "a Senate rule that amends the Congressional Budget Act to allow Senators to block a piece of legislation if it purports a significant increase in the federal deficit beyond a ten years. The sunset allowed the bill to stay within the letter of the PAYGO law while removing nearly $700 billion from amounts that would have triggered PAYGO sequestration.[3]"

        •  Not true. In poll after poll after poll, when (0+ / 0-)

          asked about issues such as abortion, health care, wall street regulation and environmental protection a majority of Americans hold significantly progressive views despite what the  mainstream media and right-wing punditry might have us believe...

          Read this http://www.commondreams.org/...

          and this http://www.google.com/...

          This is a pretty good summary of the report itself
          http://www.democraticunderground.com/...

          This was a survey conducted by Media Matters and the Campaign for America's Future that has received very little media attention outside of alternative media organizations but which deserves a clearer look from those of us that think that the majority of Americans do in fact differ from the position of social conservatives on a number of significant social and economic issues.

          •  Then why can't we do it? Why didn't we do (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            squarewheel

            it in 2010?  People talk about President Obama having all of this momentum and mandate starting in 2008 but didn't progressives have the same thing?  Why then didn't we crush the tea party in 2010?

            I agree that the biggest question is the disconnect between the Progressive values that individuals have and how they identify as voters. Why do people with progressive values not want to identify as liberal?  I think part of the reason is the very successful branding of liberals by our opponents. It is this I think, that makes me and others fear the public perceptions coming out of Oakland. Right or wrong branding this new movement negatively will cause the same disconnect. People will continue to favor punishing the banks and lessening income inequality but they will never identify themselves as Occupiers or vote for an Occupy candidate.

            •  Which is why, I believe it is significant (0+ / 0-)

              that everyone, from the President down to democratic lawmakers and grassroots activist, stop feeding into the narrative that "sounding too much like a liberal" is undesirable and that "centrism" or "moderate" positions (read neoliberal in economic terms and somewhat inclusive in social terms) are what people are really looking for in a politician. This is bullshit and one of the great fallacies that the GOP message machine has most successfully peddled into the collective conscience of many but not all Americans. They have turned the word "liberal" into a dirty word as you rightfully imply.

              The thing is, we need to come out and take pride in our political identity, speak unashamedly about why, after years of struggles, disappointments and temporary setbacks  progressive values, movements and individuals have made America a better country for ALL of its people, and not just a privileged minority. And you can approach this from many angles, it does not just have to center on the African-American Civil Rights movement of the 60s but also the movement for the Female Right to Vote, the Union movement and its contributions to fairer labor laws, workers rights and improved living standards, the visionary ideas about environmental protection articulated by none other than Teddy Roosevelt in the early 1900s and that greatest, most praised of Great Society programs that have kept generations of elder Americans from lives of utter misery: Medicare.

              These are all achievements that would not have materialized were it not for the courage, vision, hard work and sacrifice of individuals that coalesced around a passion for justice, equal opportunity and the right of every individual in our society to live in dignity and freedom. These are certainly values that we can be proud of.

              But we must challenge the narrative. We must be as determined, relentless and passionate as the republicans have been in trying to demonize us, to spread the message that progressives have made America a better country, for ALL people. Explain to people why universal healthcare  is the better choice for all citizens, why it is in their interest that Wall Street be regulated, why taxing billionaires and corporations is not class warfare but part of the social contract between government and the governed by which those who benefit the most from the system should contribute the most to its survival, why investments in education will reduce crime and poverty, etc, etc.

              But there must be a clear commitment on the part of our elected officials, who are the most visible faces of the democratic party, to make this a priority. Unfortunately, this will not happen. The Democratic Party, for the most part, has become a subsidiary of corporate interest just like the Republican Party, though in a less vicious, racist fashion. They love to use populist rhetoric  but their track record speaks of corporate interests often above those of ordinary citizens. Bernie Sanders, who is a TRUE Democrat in spirit, chose to come into the Senate as an INDEPENDENT. That should tell you what an unapologetic progressive fighter like Bernie thinks of the current Democratic Party.

              To me it's obvious that since the Democratic Party has decided, until who knows when, to distance itself from its progressive soul instead of embracing it and using it to win the hearts of minds of millions of Americans, it is now the task  of grassroots movements like OWS to help America rediscover and embrace that oft-maligned side of her collective soul.

              •  It isn't "sounding like a liberal" that is the (0+ / 0-)

                problem.  In fact, that is one of the great things about Occupy is that people can talk about liberal concepts and it is being met with a positive response.  But keep up the flag burning and the focus on anarchy and see how long that lasts.  If you want to "challange the narrative", which is what we all want then you have to get people to listen--which Occupy has done.  If the forces on the other side succeed in marginalizing you by painting you as a bunch of anarchistic, selfish, envious losers who want to destroy the country and take everybody's property not only will you not "challenge the narrative" you will set back progressive policy for everyone.

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