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

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  •  Regressive Wins Don't Invalidate Progressives (1+ / 0-)
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    TiaRachel

    Most of the problems with progressives or progressivism this diary enumerates are simply their defeats by regressives, usually called "Conservatives". However, the regressives are regressive because progressives earlier won, and regressives undo those wins.

    Yes, the main problem with progressives is that they don't win enough. The main reason is not their weakness, but their regressive enemies' strength.

    I suppose the diary's correct in implying that progressives are flawed in that they don't try to change the system overall, but rather work within it to rebalance it towards progress. Since regressives made the system as it stands today, that balance naturally falls towards regression, so progressives will tend to lose. Real progress must make fundamental changes, as regression has to its advantage.

    I mean Constitutional amendments, like one defining a person as a natural human (to exclude corporations). Of course the regressives have already mined that harbor, planting "people from conception" traps to ward progressives away from a definition rather than common sense. But that change is necessary.

    More change than that is dangerous. The Constitutional system, and the American system built upon it, is mostly the best way for people to join together to protect ourselves. From foreign enemies, from rival states, from governments, from corporations, from malicious or incompetent neighbors. There's plenty we've learned was a mistake in the Great Experiment, but mostly it's good and effective.

    We have to apply the lesson we've learned that democracy is not the republic, that the Constitution creates each in a complementary union, that Constitutional republican democracy is not capitalism nor any other specific economics. That capitalism alone values only property, not people. That capitalism is balanced by laborism in something we've never actually seen in this world, but that socialism approximates (more in the Arctic countries excepting Russia).

    If we replace the Constitution, or even the majority of it, rather than just fixing its flaws, some fundamental (such as the suicidal 2nd Amendment or the unamended slavery protections, or the mercantile intellectual property tradeoffs against free expression, the disproportionate Senate, etc) -  some acquired, if only by exploiting omissions (such as corporate and fetal personhood, gerrymandering, media lying and concentration), we will collapse into tyrannies. Regressives are stronger without the good majority of the Constitution to protect us (and themselves) from them. The Constitution would be replaced by corporate anarchy, warlords.

    In short, progressives need to win more. Progressives need strategic wins like the Voting Rights Act, universal telephone/electricity and education, collective bargaining. Progressives need to win enough to get out of the transition from robber barons that the 20th Century brought, into real power to real majorities of really informed and critically thinking people.

    But if a diary like this can discourage progressives enough to stop progress, then they can't beat the much tougher regressives. More discussion, but as a basis for consensus and binding action.

    "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

    by DocGonzo on Tue May 28, 2013 at 05:53:17 AM PDT

    [ Parent ]

    •  Onward and upward! (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      BruceMcF, ek hornbeck, tardis10
      Most of the problems with progressives or progressivism this diary enumerates are simply their defeats by regressives, usually called "Conservatives". However, the regressives are regressive because progressives earlier won, and regressives undo those wins.

      Yes, the main problem with progressives is that they don't win enough. The main reason is not their weakness, but their regressive enemies' strength.

      Yes!  We can have the middle-class utopia we so desire!

      (end snark)

      So it's the conservatives' fault that the progressives end up voting for what are (in effect) conservative political figures such as Barack Obama?

      And it's the conservatives' fault that progressives spend a lot of time and energy defending their voting choices?

      Or maybe just that it's the conservatives' fault that even the best progressives seem to be reduced to spectator roles while capitalist industry steadily devours what's left of planet Earth?

      Or are you saying that, once progressives achieve some sort of critical mass, their strength will overwhelm the conservatives, and the problem with capitalism will somehow magically melt away?

      ***

      I'm sorry you missed it, but I am indeed saying that the problem with progressives is that they fail to recognize that the design flaw in our civilization is called "capitalism."  Here's what I said:

      In general, the progressive critique of American society's political dysfunction cannot bring itself to name, correctly, the design flaw operating in both politics and the economy.  The name of this design flaw is "capitalism," and understanding it as an operating principle of the capitalist world-system is quite necessary to understanding why progressives may have had success in the Progressive Era, but cannot seem to find much of it (outside of legislation protecting gay rights, and a few initiatives here and there to legalize marijuana) today.
      And where you said:
      But if a diary like this can discourage progressives enough to stop progress, then they can't beat the much tougher regressives.
      Yeah that's pretty funny too.  So it's ME who's stopping the progressives from achieving progress now?

      The rest of it I don't get.  Amending the Constitution to end corporate personhood is going to end control by the super-rich how again?

      "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 Tue May 28, 2013 at 06:59:13 AM PDT

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      •  Note that corporate personhood implying ... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ek hornbeck

        ... civil rights for corporations was never in the Corporation in the first place. It was created from scratch by a series of late 1800's judicial decisions, starting with one in which it was only featured in the clerk's summary of the decision and was never actually present in the decision.

        So its there by precedent stretching back to ... nothing.

        It was the Supreme Court justices what done it because they wanted to, and under the current two party corporatist oligopoly, amending the constitution to specify that they got it wrong will only cause a momentary inconvenience as the Court finds another way to give the corporations what they want and need.

        Support Lesbian Creative Works with Yuri anime and manga from ALC Publishing

        by BruceMcF on Tue May 28, 2013 at 09:11:21 AM PDT

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      •  Utopian (0+ / 0-)

        Try to be more careful reading what I wrote, instead of trying (and failing) to sound cool.

        My point is that progressives are up against stacked odds. Which includes a Democratic Party that is Conservative, with more in common with the regressives in the Republican Party. With a media that is so thoroughly corporate that it's Conservative to regressive itself, even before its regressive corporate sponsors step in. Progressives have little power, but being right about most goals and many methods has given progressives a lot of victories. Despite being outmatched in the system. The point is that the main blame is on the opposition to progressives.

        Which doesn't exclude progressives from some blame. Failing to recognize the diversity and depth of their enemies is their fault. Failing to prioritize, say, primary challenges to bad Democrats is their fault. Failing to sue to prevent new laws favoring regressives, especially structural ones like under Citizens United, is their fault. But Citizens United isn't primarily their fault, and it's a bigger problem than the lack of lawsuits and legislative organizing to beat it.

        What progressives are entirely to blame for is treating the Democratic Party like its home. Progressives should treat it like Tea Partiers treat the Republican Party: a vile tool to use while remaking it in your image. They don't.

        As for your particular role, yes, you are helping stop progressives from making progress if you discourage them with things like this diary. Progressives are more vulnerable to attacks from "the left", or at least from people who state goals in common with progressives. Especially if those attacks have some weight, like believing Obama's presidency was a progressive victory apart from a big symbolic step away from racism and avoiding far more regressive alternatives.

        So if you read more carefully, you'll see that regressives like Republicans aren't the only obstacle to progress. Nor are exaggerating demoralizers like you a big obstacle. But they and you have their roles in preventing progress.

        Now, if you honestly don't understand how amending the Constitution to prevent corporate personhood, which among other problems gives entities who aren't people power in a democracy, I'll explain it to you. But first you'll have to give some sign that you're reading my posts more carefully, and can understand what I write. Otherwise I won't waste your time or mine with such an empty gesture. The progressives reading already understand this obvious measure. They also understand that the Constitution is better than what would replace it in the conditions we've got.

        "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

        by DocGonzo on Tue May 28, 2013 at 08:38:07 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Here's where I stand. (0+ / 0-)
          Now, if you honestly don't understand how amending the Constitution to prevent corporate personhood, which among other problems gives entities who aren't people power in a democracy, I'll explain it to you.
          Doc, I read that sentence pretty carefully, and decided it was a sentence fragment.

          I'll summarize my point as briefly and as simply as I can here.  If the progressives are only looking for a middle class utopia, and trying to "solve" all of our problems with nice shiny (read: untenable) utopian concepts while leaving capitalism as it is, then it's really of no consequence that they are "outnumbered" by "conservatives."  They could constitute the vast majority of the American public and they'd still be hopelessly compromised.

          You want to characterize the progressive dilemma in this regard as being an incidental flaw.  I'm telling you it's a feature, not a bug.

          "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 Wed May 29, 2013 at 08:55:02 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Understanding (0+ / 0-)

            That sentence was perfectly grammatically correct. I suppose I'll try to explain why we need a Constitution tweaked to satisfy progressives, not a replacement for the Constitution. But if you can't distinguish a complete sentence from a fragment, you probably won't get it.

            If the progressives are only looking for a middle class utopia, and trying to "solve" all of our problems with nice shiny (read: untenable) utopian concepts while leaving capitalism as it is, then

            That's a false premise. Progressives are looking for justice, equal opportunity for all with protections from misery, equal responsibility for all in protecting everyone's health and education. None of that is "utopian", or any of your loaded terms. None of that is even capitalist - it's much more "laborist", and more consistent with socialism than with capitalism. It's not even primarily economic, though it values people more than property - which conflicts with capitalism. It's not "middle class" either, for the same reasons.

            All of that is built into most of the Constitution. A few parts should be removed, like intellectual property monopolies violating free expression and unlimited arms to undefined militias, along with unlimited military and spying violating privacy. After centuries of experiment we see they've failed. A few parts should be added, like defining people as only natural humans (however physically augmented) and defining the right to privacy so as to demarcate public from private domain. The disproportionate Senate, the gerrymandering, the lack of an explicit voting right - those must be fixed too. The vast majority of the Constitution, though should remain, because it works.

            And because removing the Constitution would simply leave us without organization to prevent the even faster rise of corporate warlords, worse than the ones it replaced.

            If you're going to cast the debate in your loaded terms, with predefined conclusions built into false premises, you're never going to understand the real debate.

            "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

            by DocGonzo on Wed May 29, 2013 at 02:07:40 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  And critique of those claims doesn't change the .. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ek hornbeck, tardis10

      ... fact that Cassiodorus is not a progressive, not even a radical progressive, but has other inclination. The fact that he's not a progressive doesn't mean that he's not on the left and it doesn't mean he shouldn't have a place in a coalition to try to wrench control from the psychopaths that are driving the car over a cliff.

      Support Lesbian Creative Works with Yuri anime and manga from ALC Publishing

      by BruceMcF on Tue May 28, 2013 at 09:07:47 AM PDT

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