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

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