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View Diary: How To Win: Raising money for populist candidates (59 comments)

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  •  Populism is a word (1+ / 0-)
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    with more than a century of meaning behind it. And most of what it has achieved has been recorded in the history books as being particularly ugly. There was a time when it meant something different in America but thanks to the Palin and the Bush Administration, that is no longer the case.

    I've spent the last 15 years in Africa and have seen this form of politics play out again and again. It is pointless, divisive and ends up hurting the common man more than helping him.

    Words I prefer?
    Common sense, inclusive, progressive, unifying

    We are divided enough and no progress will be made until someone figures out how to start bringing us back together.

    •  The term "Populism" has been perverted (5+ / 0-)

      We need to reclaim it, and restore it to its 19th Century roots as an economic ideology.  If the leading world corporate powers want to return us to a new Gilded Age, then we need to fight back the way the American people fought back then, by banding together and demanding an end to strongarm tactics like outsourcing.

      And there are Democrats who are already officially using populism as their moniker: the Populist Caucus in the House.

      Sherrod Brown 2016

      by Stormin on Fri Jul 12, 2013 at 08:03:11 AM PDT

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      •  Yes, we need to restore understanding of (2+ / 0-)
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        Stormin, invisiblewoman

        the 1870s to 1810s populist movement of the Farmers Alliances and Non-Partisan League that developed many of the policy ideas later implemented in the New Deal. Particularly important is reviving the ideas of the greenbackers, who formed the active core of the Farmers Alliances and Non-Partisan League, because it was the greenback economic ideas that were the central theme around which the Farmers Alliances and Non-Partisan League organized. From Wikipedia:

        The Ocala Demands was a platform for economic and political reform that was later adopted by the People's Party.

        In December, 1890, the National Farmers' Alliance and Industrial Union, more commonly known as the Southern Farmers' Alliance, its affiliate the Colored Farmers' Alliance, and the Farmers' Mutual Benefit Association met jointly in the Marion Opera House in Ocala, Florida, where they adopted the Ocala Demands....

        The "Demands" adopted by the Ocala convention called for the abolition of national banks; the establishment of sub-treasuries or depositories in every state, which would make low interest direct loans to farmers and property owners; the increase of money in circulation to not less than $50 per capita; the abolishment of futures of all agricultural and mechanical productions; the introduction of free silver; the prohibition of alien ownership of land, the reclamation of all lands held by railroads and other corporations in excess of what was actually used and needed by them, held for actual settlers only; legislation to ensure that one industry was not be built up at the expense of another; removal of the tariff tax on necessities of life; a graduated income tax; the limitation of all national and state revenues to the necessary expenses of the government economically and honestly administered; strict regulation or ownership of the means of public communication and transportation; and an amendment of the United States Constitution providing for the direct election of United States Senators.

        A discussion I highly recommend is Democratic Money: A Populist Perspective, by Lawrence Goodwyn and William Greider, Remarks presented on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the Populist Sub-Treasury Plan for financial reform 9 December 1989, St. Louis, Missouri, which addressed the problem of the corruption of the meaning of "populism" and focused on the economic policy of the democratization of money and finance:
        The Populist movement built itself on a model of economic cooperation intended to combat the two sources of financial pressure that plagued farm communities 100 years ago -- vise-like credit conditions and a pinched, inflexible currency. By the end of the 1880s, hundreds of thousands of Americans had been drawn to Populism's organizational seedbed, the Farmers Alliance, through its cooperatives and vibrant system of grassroots education.

        In December 1889, Alliance representatives met in St. Louis along with leaders of the Knights of Labor in an attempt to coalesce the great urban and rural organizations of America's "producing classes." That gathering knit the ties that would underpin Populism's insurgent moment on the stage of national politics in 1890 and 1892. But what made the St. Louis convention memorable was the report of its Monetary Committee, an audacious program for financial reform authored by Texas Alliance leader Charles W. Macune.

        Macune's Sub-Treasury plan, based on years of cooperative experience, was both visionary and intensely practical . It proposed that the federal government establish a warehouse to store crops after harvest in every county that raised at least $500,000 of farm produce each year. These "sub-treasuries" would become the instrument of money creation -- a way for farmers to borrow against their crops and land at low interest or to sell those crops at market value and be paid in a new national currency. Money supply would rise or fall flexibly, in tandem with the nation's productive capacities. The cost of credit would shrink as farmers borrowed through their own national government rather than a restrictive private banking system. And agricultural prices would rise from their crushingly depressed levels.

        Macune's plan to harness the monetary authority of the nation on behalf of its citizens formed the centerpiece of Populism's battle for economic opportunity. Conventional minds derided it mercilessly -- "the wildest idea conceived by sober man" sniffed the New York Times. But broader thinkers like Richard Ely, founder of the American Economics Association, and John Maynard Keynes applauded its viability. Indeed Macune's ideas anticipated Keynes' commonsense premise that monetary policy must support production of real goods. Though they were watered down, even twisted, in execution, Macune's notions also informed the establishment of the Federal Reserve System in 1913 and the New Deal's farm programs two decades later.

        Today's collective memory of the nineteenth century populists and their financial reform efforts is fuzzy at best. "Populism" itself has become a debased currency, pasted at random by all manner of labelers on all manner of political figures and phenomena. Alexander Cockburn in the Nation and Alexander Haig in the 1988 New Hampshire primary agree that "populism" means pandering to popular prejudices. Pundits across the ideological map decree that Lee Atwater, chairman of a party committed to enhancing the fortune of creditors, is a "populist" -- perhaps because his proper upper-middle class upbringing occured in South Carolina instead of Georgetown or Sutton Place.

        After being subjected to so much reflex sneering and romanticism, so much journalistic laziness and political confusion, the "P" word, for all practical purposes, may be unsalvageably disconnected from its roots. But if populism can still be about anything real today it must surely be about democratic money.

        A conservative is a scab for the oligarchy.

        by NBBooks on Fri Jul 12, 2013 at 08:58:56 AM PDT

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      •  Worry less about the name and more about policy (3+ / 0-)

        You are on the right track but don't say enough about clean and renewable  energy and other ways to secure global warming as jobs that will be here.  The infrastructure for smart grid, coastal hardening, retrofitting all will be here.  In addition, as transoceanic transportation gets more dicey and expensive, stuff made in China and shipped can be made more cheaply here.  The real alliance is between workers, enlightened business and climate hawks, bringing vulnerable communities along.  It is happening already in some places, but going backwards in others, like TX and NC.

        Don't bet your future on 97% of climate scientists being wrong. Take action on climate now!

        by Mimikatz on Fri Jul 12, 2013 at 09:33:34 AM PDT

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        •  THANK you!! (0+ / 0-)

          Just what we need: to argue about nomenclature, instead of policy.  NOT!
          Seriously, folks, when you get into a long wrangle over what words to use in describing your policies, before you've even agreed what the policies should be, ya look like a bunch of (I can't find a polite descriptor), too busy trying to impress each other with your erudition, and knowledge of esoterica.
          Focus on the policy now, descriptors will come later.

          •  This is a diary about supporting (0+ / 0-)

            populist candidates. I don't support populism from the left or the right. In fact, it scares the crap out of me. You don't like what I have to say? Skip my comments. There are plenty of others for you to love on.

            What to you is 'erudite esoterica' has just destroyed my life and forced me to leave my children half way around the world  while I come back to the States to earn enough money (and work through bureaucracy) to get them out so they have a more reliable future. The country I left is being destroyed by leftist populism. The country I've come back to is being destroyed by right wing populism. This isn't esoterica to me.  

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