Skip to main content

View Diary: Why I don't claim to be a progressive (154 comments)

Comment Preferences

  •  Perhaps (11+ / 0-)

    You could enlighten is where you disagree.  Sine you asserted that you do.  

    Bad things aren't bad! And anyway, there's mitigation!

    by Nada Lemming on Mon May 27, 2013 at 05:37:57 PM PDT

    [ Parent ]

    •  I don't think incrementalism is effective anymore. (43+ / 0-)

      And I certainly think we ought to revive the class struggle, rather than looking to maneuver around it.

      I think progressivism is inappropriate to an era in which we aren't progressing toward anything.  Our first order of business is to stop the capitalist train before it runs off of the global warming cliff.

      "The problem with the Left isn’t that it’s too austere and serious; it’s that it doesn’t take itself seriously enough to make the changes necessary for political practice." -Bhaskar Sunkara

      by Cassiodorus on Mon May 27, 2013 at 05:42:02 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I think she was asking (10+ / 0-)

        MB, but I liked your comment anyway.

        There was also a rebuttal to the Stetson diary and then a rebuttal to the rebuttal

        Don't trust anyone over 84414

        by BentLiberal on Mon May 27, 2013 at 05:44:27 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Was asking MB (7+ / 0-)

        It was sort of a hit and run noncommittal comment.  

        Bad things aren't bad! And anyway, there's mitigation!

        by Nada Lemming on Mon May 27, 2013 at 05:46:03 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  When Did It Ever Work, Except Maybe For Culture (22+ / 0-)

        issues where no real money is at stake? The masses have been losing ground to the rich for 35-45 years depending on how you measure. The only thing that ever improved for them was incomes in the 90's bubble, but their expenses kept pace and they gained no ground.

        The people other than particular demographics haven't gained ground since our final liberal President, LBJ.

        All I ever saw from incrementalism since that time has been moderation of the downward spiral.

        We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

        by Gooserock on Mon May 27, 2013 at 05:54:21 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  This NYT arcticle on ACA shows dangers of (24+ / 0-)

          incrementalism.   I had to pick my jaw up off the floor after reading this excerpt:

          Proponents of the law say the Cadillac tax is helping bring down costs by making employers pay attention to what their health care costs are likely to be in the long run. “It’s really one of the most significant provisions” in the Affordable Care Act, said Jonathan Gruber, the M.I.T. economist who played an influential role in shaping the law. “It’s focusing employers on cost control, not slashing,” he said.

          Cynthia Weidner, an executive at the benefits consultant HighRoads, agreed that the tax appeared to be having the intended effect. “The premise it’s built upon is happening,” she said, adding, “the consumer should continue to expect that their plan is going to be more expensive, and they will have less benefits. ”

          Let's focus on the (literal) $ quote here again:
          The premise it’s built upon is happening,” she said, adding, “the consumer should continue to expect that their plan is going to be more expensive, and they will have less benefits. ”
          I'm not sure what's worse, the politics or the policy of that approach.  The politics really suck given the fact that unionized workers (a nominally core Dem constituency) tend to have the more generous plans.  Kicking people in the shins is not usually the best way to get them to run your GOTV efforts every other fall.

          This excerpt is equally enlightening:

          The trend is accelerating. The percentage of employers revising their plans as a result of the tax has increased to 17 percent this year from 11 percent in 2011, according to a survey of United States companies released this month by the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans.

          Although the tax does not start until 2018, employers say they have to start now to meet the deadline and they are doing whatever they can to bring down the cost of their plans. Under the law, an employer or health insurer offering a plan that costs more than $10,200 for an individual and $27,500 for a family would typically pay a 40 percent excise tax on the amount exceeding the threshold.

          I've always called myself a progressive--maybe I should adopt a different term.  I sure as hell would like to have the chance to adopt a party whose approaches were more similar to mine.

          Some men see things as they are and ask why. I dream of things that never were and ask why not?

          by RFK Lives on Mon May 27, 2013 at 07:27:33 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Our plan announced at the beginning of the year (7+ / 0-)

            (when our copays had gone from 10% to 15% already) that our copays would go to 20% January 2014.

            In two years, 2012 to 2014, our out-of-pocket on health care will have doubled.

            Umm....  Is a sarcastic "thanks a lot" appropriate here?  

            These are not exactly what I'd call "Cadillac plans," having very high deductibles to be met (those are increasing as well) before the plan covers anything at all. And our plans are not "costing" the corporation all that much, since they are self-insured and only use the evil health insurance companies to "administer" their plans.

            "The law is meant to be my servant and not my master, still less my torturer and my murderer." -- James Baldwin. July 11, 1966.

            by YucatanMan on Mon May 27, 2013 at 10:41:05 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  My Thinking on This... (11+ / 0-)

          ...got started in earnest last summer, because of a comment of John Stossel, of all people.  I don't watch Fox, so it was probably video embedded in a diary here, but at one point Stossel half-shouted, "The era of shared prosperity ended in the 70's!"  I started wondering about that.  I was born in 1970 so my personal memories of that time are obviously about my home and immediate family, and nothing more.  Hell, Led Zeppelin and Queen had barely hit New Hampshire by the time I was growing aware of anything.

          Anyway, I'm no historian, and I can't talk in detail about economic and social trends, but I can point to two very important things which happened then.  First, US domestic oil production peaked in 1970, right on Marion King Hubbert's predicted schedule.  Peak oil officially became a thing.  (Since oil discovery had peaked in the early 60's, and production would eclipse discovery in the early 80's, this was part of a very important trend.)  Second, "The Limits to Growth" was published in 1972 and scared a whole lot of people, some badly enough that they spent decades and millions of dollars trying to refute it.

          And it's those people who spent all that time and money trying to defeat the principle of economic and physical limits to the earth system, that I think of as the ones who have been engineering the demise of democracy and shared prosperity.  Whether cynically, knowing the limits are real, or ignorantly, thinking they could never exist (I lean strongly toward the former), these people have resolved to carve existing society up and give themselves the lion's share.

        •  Progressives (0+ / 0-)

          work, push, gain one or two people - lose four.   The American dream is in rags and being readied for mud huts and goats.    We have science grads comes out of ears and no jobs for them.   Yet, they want more H1B visa folks to run their Wall Street computers.  

          I am a liberal, and I refuse to call myself a progressive.  I reject Progressive's because they haven't accomplished squat except to run away from Rush's tar brush.   I feel betrayed by the progressive movement, which is why I shut my wallet to them.   They keep spending money to elect people who want to hurt me.   The least I can do is make sure it isn't "my" money.

          What we need is a Democrat in the White House. Elizabeth Warren 2016

          by dkmich on Tue May 28, 2013 at 05:36:50 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  the class struggle never ended (24+ / 0-)

        it's just that the winning side gets to pretend there is none.

        The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

        by Laurence Lewis on Mon May 27, 2013 at 06:18:51 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Incrementalism would have helped in 2000 (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Larsstephens, kaliope, JerryNA

        We wouldn't have had 2 unfunded wars; we might not have had 9/11 and thus the "war on terror" and thus a lot of the civil liberties problems you mentioned; we might not have had the banking collapse; we might be closer to doing something about climate change, etc etc.

        The problem I have with non-incrementalists is that they seem to WANT Republicans to win so that the country will "wake up" and suddenly we'll somehow have single payer, full green energy and everything else we want.

        There is no alternative to incrementalism given the system that we have. It's highly, highly unlikely that in one election we'll get a Senate, House and President that will go that far.

        2000 was the perfect example. We got 8 years of class struggle, capitalism gone amok etc.

        It's been 4 years and you're ready to concede defeat, give up and I suppose start over again.

        Are you willing to accept US wars in Syria and Iran? Are you willing to accept no action on climate change? I'm not willing to risk it.

        When we stop putting leaders from the past up on pedestals and ignoring their flaws, we can start seeing our present leaders for what they really are.

        by PhillyJeff on Mon May 27, 2013 at 07:12:01 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Al Gore wasn't, and isn't, anything but a neolib. (12+ / 0-)
          We wouldn't have had 2 unfunded wars; we might not have had 9/11 and thus the "war on terror" and thus a lot of the civil liberties problems you mentioned; we might not have had the banking collapse; we might be closer to doing something about climate change, etc etc.
          These are the progressive disciplinary talking points, meant to discourage the faithful from deviating from the Right And True Path of Always Voting For The Neoliberal Democrat.  It's all based on a set of unprovable "what if" hypotheses.  There was a mandate to overthrow Saddam Hussein throughout Clinton's administration (as Scott Ritter never tires of pointing out), and Clinton signed Gramm-Leach-Billey, the ultimate cause of the financial crisis of '08-09.  That Robert Pollin book "The Contours of Descent" is good for you.  And, as Joel Kovel points out in his book "The Enemy of Nature," Gore was the biggest anti-environmentalist in the Clinton administration.  His "faith" in global warming (or, rather, in global warming as a sales pitch) is connected to his visions of retirement, not of public service.

          Ultimately, I believe, I must have missed the election which selected our Supreme Court members back before 2000.  I'm such an apathetic voter.  Will you ever forgive me?

          It's been 4 years and you're ready to concede defeat, give up and I suppose start over again.
          I think the author of this statement doesn't have me in mind as the intended audience.  Since I'm not a progressive, I haven't conceded defeat.  Maybe someone who self-identifies as a progressive would like to take up this one?

          "The problem with the Left isn’t that it’s too austere and serious; it’s that it doesn’t take itself seriously enough to make the changes necessary for political practice." -Bhaskar Sunkara

          by Cassiodorus on Mon May 27, 2013 at 07:42:51 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Are you saying (7+ / 0-)

          you don't know we're already in Syria and Iran?  We've been funding what used to be a terrorist group in Iran for years.  In Syria, how do you think the rebels get their arms, ammo and supplies?

          It must be nice to see what you want to see and believe only the other guy serves the war machine, wall street and big oil.  

          And no, the president is not a progressive.  He is a classic conservative, even by his self description.  

          Bad things aren't bad! And anyway, there's mitigation!

          by Nada Lemming on Mon May 27, 2013 at 08:04:04 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  The problem I have with incrementalists (7+ / 0-)

          is that they make sweeping overgeneralizations like this:

          The problem I have with non-incrementalists is that they seem to WANT Republicans to win so that the country will "wake up" and suddenly we'll somehow have single payer, full green energy and everything else we want.
        •  The only reason there is no alternative to (6+ / 0-)

          Incrementalism is because people keep saying there is no alternative to incrementalism.

          When these people drop their sloppy, fearful, petrified thinking, there will be an alternative to incrementalism.

          A slower bleed-out is not a sustainable value.

          by MrJayTee on Mon May 27, 2013 at 09:46:56 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Re: Gore--imaginary progressive Administrations... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ek hornbeck, JustinBinFL

          are so much better than real ones.

          Carter, Clinton and Obama better represent "progressive" reality than the pretend Gore Administration.  Neoliberalism, imperialism and a growing police state, just like the Republicans.

          •  So basically all you guys are ok with (0+ / 0-)

            The failures on green energy, climate change and civil liberties.

            You're with all of the hundreds of thousands of dead brown people and Americans since 2000.

            Because hey, Gore would have sucked. So we're better off with 8 years of Bush.

            That's not progressive IMO, but that's just me.

            When we stop putting leaders from the past up on pedestals and ignoring their flaws, we can start seeing our present leaders for what they really are.

            by PhillyJeff on Fri May 31, 2013 at 08:11:13 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Since nobody said this: (0+ / 0-)
              So we're better off with 8 years of Bush.
              it's an argument you've smuggled in.  Attributing to others stuff which they don't believe is not persuasive.

              As Greg Palast pointed out, the 2000 election was won by a concerted effort at election fraud by Republicans, with a certain degree of Democrat complicity, certified by the Supreme Court.  Progressives look at this reality and:

              1) Entertain romantic fantasies of a Gore Presidency
              2) Hate Ralph Nader and his supporters
              3) Disdain leftists who would think otherwise

              You want to talk about failures on green energy, climate change, and civil liberties?  Maybe you could start by addressing some of the actual arguments made in this diary.

              "The problem with the Left isn’t that it’s too austere and serious; it’s that it doesn’t take itself seriously enough to make the changes necessary for political practice." -Bhaskar Sunkara

              by Cassiodorus on Fri May 31, 2013 at 04:20:28 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

      •  History of incrementalism (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Cassiodorus, Larsstephens, ArthurPoet

        You just argued that conservative incrementalism has been winning since Reagan. And now you say that incrementalism is the problem? That doesn't make sense to me. If anything, we should learn from our adversaries' successes.

        If we abandon our allies and their issues, who will defend us and ours?

        by Bryce in Seattle on Mon May 27, 2013 at 07:38:17 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  I think I understand where you'd like the (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Cassiodorus, Aunt Martha

        discussion to go - and I hope I do because I very much agree with the need for a dramatic change in tactics.  However, it  seems your objection to using the term "progressive" relates to the fact that it doesn't match the use or ultimate effect of the term a century ago.  At that time the progressives had not yet achieved the goals we're trying to protect today, but were instead working toward those goals.  Similarly, today we realize there is a set of goals we need to work toward as progressives.  Do you feel that we need a different collective term because our goals are different, or, can we keep using the term progressive, but realign it to a different set of goals?

        Finally, I want to tell you I really enjoyed reading your diary, and couldn't agree more that a change in goals, and the sort of people we need to lead us, is very much needed.  Another decade of the same-o, same-o will sink us!  I've started thinking that I should switch to voting for the most bat-shit insane Republicans to try to hasten the fail - while there is still an Eco-system to save.

        -7.38, -5.38 (that's a surprise)

        Why must we struggle to protect the accomplishments of Democrats of the past from Democrats of the present? -- cal2010

        by 84thProblem on Mon May 27, 2013 at 08:32:45 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Although, if I was presented with a candidate that (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Cassiodorus, Aunt Martha, lotlizard

          I though actually reflected what I consider to be progressive / liberal / democratic values and the will to govern that way, I'd still vote for them.

          Of course, that's what I thought I was doing in 2008 ...

          -7.38, -5.38 (that's a surprise)

          Why must we struggle to protect the accomplishments of Democrats of the past from Democrats of the present? -- cal2010

          by 84thProblem on Mon May 27, 2013 at 08:38:30 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  This part has your question: (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          lotlizard
          Do you feel that we need a different collective term because our goals are different, or, can we keep using the term progressive, but realign it to a different set of goals?
          I don't see how the term "progressive" is going to retain much of its original meaning if we were to use it to describe people who were, for instance, socialists.  I think that our goals need to be different now because, fundamentally, the capitalist system is in a far different position now than the position it had at the beginning of the Progressive Era.

          "The problem with the Left isn’t that it’s too austere and serious; it’s that it doesn’t take itself seriously enough to make the changes necessary for political practice." -Bhaskar Sunkara

          by Cassiodorus on Mon May 27, 2013 at 09:08:11 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site