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I was pleasantly surprised to see Howard Zinn's name right on top of the rec list. The diary highlighted some excellent points such as:

We don't live in a democracy . . . we live in a capitalist oligarchy, with some democratic representation.  In fact, we have enough democratic representation, it turns out, to occasionally get some things we want.  Have you ever heard of Social Security, Medicare, rural electrification, the minimum wage, or labor unions?  The capitalist oligarchy didn't want those reforms . . . but they were forced to accept them.

However, the diarist failed to answer one key question: "why were they forced to accept the reforms?" This is a question Howard Zinn has spent his career answering.

What matters most is not who is sitting in the White House, but "who is sitting in" -- and who is marching outside the White House, pushing for change.

Howard Zinn

Zinn has explored the causation of virtually every step of progress in American history. I unfortunately don't have enough time to discuss everything, so I'll focus on FDR and the New Deal specifically the labor movement.

The Roosevelt reforms went far beyond previous legislation. They had to meet two pressing needs: to reorganize capitalism in such a way to overcome the crisis and stabilize the system; also, to head off the alarming growth of spontaneous rebellion in the early years of the Roosevelt administration- organization of tenants and the unemployed, movements of self-help, general strikes in several cities.
A People's History of The United States

It was about more than electing democrat, FDR, the bankers, and the corporations were all forced to the left by ordinary people acting (often illegally) together. While a variety of movements came and went, the most significant was the labor movement. Howard Zinn spoke of a consciousness on the part of business and government that they must bend somewhat to popular will or break under the threat of revolution.

Perhaps it was such a consciousness that led to the Wagner-Connery Bill, introduced in Congress in early 1934, to regulate labor disputes. The bill provided elections for union representation, a board to settle problems and handle grievances. Was this not exactly the kind of legislation to do away with the idea that "the problems of the workers can be solved only by themselves"? Big business thought it was too helpful to labor and opposed it. Roosevelt was cool to it. But in the year 1934 a series of labor outbursts suggested the need for legislative action.

A million and a half workers in different industries went on strike in 1934. That spring and summer, longshoremen on the West Coast, in a rank-and-file insurrection against their own union leadership as well as against the shippers, held a convention, demanded the abolition of the shape- up (a kind of early-morning slave market where work gangs were chosen for the day), and went out on strike.
Two thousand miles of Pacific coastline were quickly tied up. The teamsters cooperated, refusing to truck cargo to the piers, and maritime workers joined the strike.

When the police moved in to open the piers, the strikers resisted en masse, and two were killed by police gunfire. A mass funeral procession for the strikers brought together tens of thousands of supporters. And then a general strike was called in San Francisco, with 130,000 workers out, the city immobilized. Five hundred special police were sworn in and 4,500 National Guardsmen assembled, with infantry, machine gun, tank and artillery units.

This general strike didn't just shut down a few businesses, it paralyzed the entire economy of a huge city and indirectly hurt countless companies who bought products imported from the West coast. This showed the power of ordinary workers to shut down commerce and it scared the shit out of the political and business establishment. Just listen to this San Francisco Mayor Angelo Rossi's response to the strike.

I must insist first that law and order shall prevail. Second that those desiring to furnish the people of san francisco with the necessities of life must be permitted to do so without hindrance. Third that the municipal government must continue to function the general public must and shall be served. I again appeal to the interested parties to permit the president's arbitration board to settle the controversy which besets us.

 Mayor Angelo Rossi

The LA Times respone was even more alarmist.

The situation in San Francisco is not correctly described by the phrase "general strike." What is actually in progress there is an insurrection, a Communist-inspired and -led revolt against organized government. There is but one thing to be done-put down the revolt with any force necessary.

Not everyone involved in this or other strikes was a communist, but there were many communist, socialist, and anarchist groups leading and involved in this and other 1930s strikes. These groups did want to overthrow capitalism, and while never a majority, they were growing in size and influence.

In addition there

That same summer of 1934, a strike of teamsters in Minneapolis was supported by other working people, and soon nothing was moving in the city except milk, ice, and coal trucks given exemptions by the strikers. Farmers drove their products into town and sold them directly to the people in the city. The police attacked and two strikers were killed. Fifty thousand people attended a mass funeral. There was an enormous protest meeting and a march on City Hall. After a month, the employers gave in to the teamsters' demands.

In the fall of that same year, 1934, came the largest strike of all- 325,000 textile workers in the South. They left the mills and set up flying squadrons in trucks and autos to move through the strike areas, picketing, battling guards, entering the mills, unbelting machinery. Here too, as in the other cases, the strike impetus came from the rank and file, against a reluctant union leadership at the top. The New York Times said: "The grave danger of the situation is that it will get completely out of the hands of the leaders."

Again, the machinery of the state was set in motion. Deputies and armed strikebreakers in South Carolina fired on pickets, killing seven, wounding twenty others. But the strike was spreading to New England. In Lowell, Massachusetts, 2,500 textile workers rioted; in Saylesville, Rhode Island, a crowd of five thousand people defied state troopers who were armed with machine guns, and shut down the textile mill. In Woonsocket, Rhode Island, two thousand people, aroused because someone had been shot and killed by the National Guard, stormed through the town and closed the mill.
By September 18, 421,000 textile workers were on strike throughout the country. There were mass arrests, organizers were beaten, and the death toll rose to thirteen. Roosevelt now stepped in and set up a board of mediation, and the union called off the strike

These massive strikes shut down entire cities or regions and were not just local disputes. Workers had a real sense of solidarity back then and the phrase "which side are you on" actually meant something. Grievances were widespread and strikes spread like wildfire. The revolt was so severe that the national guard and police had to be called in so that commerce would not be disturbed.

Scariest of all, this shook up the traditional AFL craft unionism and was often a spontaneous uprising from the rank and file against the union leaders wishes.

In 1934 and 1935 hundreds of thousands of workers, left out of the rightly controlled, exclusive unions of the American Federation of Labor, began organizing in the new mass production industries-auto, rubber, packinghouse. The AFL could not ignore them; it set up a Committee for Industrial Organization to organize these workers outside of craft lines, by industry, all workers in a plant belonging to one union. This Committee, headed by John Lewis, then broke away and became the CIO-the Congress of Industrial Organizations.

But it was rank-and-file strikes and insurgencies that pushed the union leadership, AFL and CIO, into action. Jeremy Brecher tells the story in his book Strike! A new kind of tactic began among rubber workers in Akron, Ohio, in the early thirties - the sit-down strike. The workers stayed in the plant instead of walking out, and this had clear advantages: they were directly blocking the use of strikebreakers; they did not have to act through union officials but were in direct control of the situation themselves; they did not have to walk outside in the cold and rain, but had shelter; they were not isolated, as in their work, or on the picket line; they were thousands under one roof, free to talk to one another, to form a community of struggle. Louis Adamic, a labor writer, describes one of the early sit-downs:

Sitting by their machines, cauldrons, boilers and work benches, they talked. Some realized for the first time how important they were in the process of rubber production. Twelve men had practically stopped the works! .. . Superintendents, foremen, and straw bosses were dashing about... In less than an hour the dispute was settled, full victory for the men.

This was the climate in which the New Deal was passed. General Strikes, lawlessness, solidarity, anti authoritarianism, and a revolutionary threat.

But what did Zinn say about Obama? He did endorse him back in 2008, but with conditions.

Even though Obama doesn't represent any fundamental change, he creates an opening for a possibility of change. That's why I'm voting for him, that's why I suggest to people they vote for him. But I also suggest that Obama will not fullfill that potential for change unless he is enveloped by a social movement which is angry enough, powerful enough, insistent enough that he fill his abstract phrases about change with some real solid content.

So is voting, blogging, and calling your congressman enough or is more action needed like we saw in the 1930s?

Update:
Reclist? Awesome. I hope we can use this as a positive discussion for how to organize and fight back against the oligarchy.

If this remains a respectful discussion, I promise to donate my tip jar to the center for Neopets rights, the foundation for world of warcraft refugees and other fictional online charities.

Also I suggest all of you read Howard Zinn's people's history which is available online here

Poll

Does America need a strike wave in the 2010s?

97%772 votes
2%20 votes

| 792 votes | Vote | Results

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  •  Tip Jar (313+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
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    Stop complaining, start protesting

    by Johnnythebandit on Thu Jun 16, 2011 at 05:27:37 PM PDT

    •  A massive resistance movement is needed NOW. (57+ / 0-)

      And it is absolutely true that all the major advances were brought about by massive resistance movements in this country.  From the end of slavery, to women's rights, to civil rights.

      The regressive forces will never go away and people need to understand this and never let the guard down.  The fight for freedom and against exploitation has to be a constant fight.  Freedom is not free (as the saying goes).

      The time to rise up and start a well-organized, disciplined, and extremely focused and relentless (massive) resistance movement is now.

      An informed citizenry together can act as a powerful FIST letting the sniveling sociopaths running the country now (Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, Bank of America, ALEC, the six corporate conglomerates that own the media), and their sycophants in government (the entire government, including both major political parties), ENOUGH!
      -------------------------

      •  A resistance movement might make (46+ / 0-)

        sense if anyone had actually pushed the Democratic Party to fulfill its promises and then pushed back - that's where resistance might make sense.

        What's missing is the initial forceful push.  No one has pushed Obama.  From the moment he entered the Oval Office people stood down and simply trusted him and the Democratic Leadership to "do the right thing".  It is only now after two and a half year that people from all quarters of the Democratic Party are beginning to realize that they should have been pushing since day one.

        What little pushing was done by a few brave souls was met by the majority of party members with condemnation and accusations that they were going to destroy the Presidency.  The reality is that those people had won on a number of important fronts such as healthcare, stimulus and jobs initiatives, this Presidency would have few to no serious threats to their electoral viability in 2012.

        Anyway, I think resistance is a leap ahead in the plan that has to start with the push and the demands...

        •  This is beyond party politics... The first thing (70+ / 0-)

          to understand, conceptualize, and digest is that we live in a corporatist oligarchy, and both major political parties are owned by them.

          I think people have a hard time facing this reality, even though is clearly manifested every day.

          Both things can be done... Work within the framework allowed by the neo fascist plutocrats and hence get involved in party politics (and vote for Obama), and also participate in a well-organized, focused and disciplined resistance movement.

          What are we resisting again?  Enslavement!  These neo fascist sociopaths are well on their way to do just that.

          The inertia, fear, apathy, disbelief, about the need to do this now is just the result of the manipulation people are being exposed to every day by the corporate-owned mainstream media.

          •  Right on, Ray... (did you ever do your (6+ / 0-)

            activist diary?) Did I miss it?

            Great comment!

          •  The Greeks are showing (26+ / 0-)

            us how it's done.

            "It's not a question of worrying or of hoping for the best, but of finding new weapons." -- Gilles Deleuze, Postscript on Control Societies

            by GiveNoQuarter on Thu Jun 16, 2011 at 06:47:46 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Well yes it is beyond party politics and no (40+ / 0-)

            it is not at all beyond party politics.  In many ways, this site was launched on the premise that the Democratic Party was a worthwhile entity to "take back" from the corporatist oligarchy - in those early days also known as the DLC.  I think that that movement hit its stride in 2006, but lost its power in the 2008 election because we never had any real options outside of the oligarchy - and many people refused to see or understand that.  I mean WTF?  A part term Senator comes out of nowhere to win the hearts and minds of the Kennedy's and Harry Reid and there is no "fix" in that mix?  Bullshit.  Any sane person who understands Washington and party politics knows that there is no such thing as an "outsider" who can rise to the level of being a serious Presidential candidate.  No such thing.  Simply does not exist.  

            I understood that Obama was in effect a piece on a much more complex and basically rigged game board.  People like Dennis Kucinich are NEVER going to win the party's backing!  Duh.  What I did not expect was the total and complete deference that we saw out of the Democratic Party caucus to Obama on just about every issue for two years.  To the point where they lost the fucking House no less.  The Congressional Black Caucus denied a meeting at the Obama White House about the extreme high rate unemployment for African Americans????!!!  WTF?  If that had been Bush, the entire Dem Caucus would have been screaming bloody murder.  But that's not what happened with Obama because we deferred and trusted.

            People are waking up some now.  Hopefully, that awakening will inspire the push.

            •  So here's the thing... You are upset and you are (12+ / 0-)

              pointing out all the things that are wrong, and of course, you are correct about those things.  So now is time to take action and go from getting mad to getting even.

              I have a very specific theory where the first thing I can do help in this cause (even if in a small way) is to first help define exactly what the situation is right now.  That is extremely important, but is the very first step.

              Once there is a consensus on that, then the next step is to start identifying what to do to really address the situation.  This is very difficult, but necessary, and requires exchange of ideas, debate, etc.

              Then we move to taking direct action.  Here's where people freeze, but there is no need to do anything extraordinary.  You can live your daily live exactly as you do every day and still contribute to an organize, focused, and disciplined (and massive) protest/resistance movement.

              What's needed is leadership to harness your energy.  I'm looking around to see if I can find the leaders I can report to :-)

              •  you won't find those leaders by looking around (6+ / 0-)

                now. they will arise as needed in a strike here and a strike there.  the Democratic Party has already chosen their side and it isn't ours, so, you won't find our leaders among them. you may find them among democrats but not among Democrats, i.e. in the rank and file maybe, but not in the hierarchy.

                blink-- pale cold

                by zedaker on Thu Jun 16, 2011 at 10:29:32 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  There are plenty of people worth following (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  poemworld

                  in grassroots movements today.  You just have to know where look.

                  I object to violence because when it appears to do good, the good is only temporary; the evil it does is permanent.

                  by Futuristic Dreamer on Fri Jun 17, 2011 at 12:48:36 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  don't leave me hangin' (4+ / 0-)

                    where?

                    My area is full of lefty activists, and we have a proud history of activism (Northern California) yet we still got bamboozled by Arnold. <3 poor Mary.

                    (Worse yet, as a state we've produced some of the biggest and most influential GoP creeps in history)

                    But I am, strangely,  more optimistic about my state than others.

                    The truth just isn't getting out. Our free press is a shamble. The internet is a valuable tool. Unfortunately, it's not fool proof and it's 100% corruptible.

                    We have to reach out to our friends and family members. Somehow.

                    I just don't understand the person who was a union worker, lives on a union pension + social security (after being forced into retirement in the late 80's) yet refuses to vote democratic and blames Dems for corrupting the system. And then, when I share my brother's plight (he's 72yrs on SS  being evicted due to some HUD changes) his wife says behind my back "she should be worried about her own situation, not her brother's".  How do I activate them?

                    Church every Sunday isn't helping:

                    "Helping widows, orphans, the sick, and others who temporarily cannot help themselves, is fine, but anything more than that is an anti-biblical trap into which some evangelicals are falling."

                    Will a strike reach them as they watch Bill O'Reilly snoop down and cage the squirreliest pink crusader he can to set free in their living rooms? I hope so.

                    We do need a strong national movement. And we have to stop insisting our  leaders  be perfect and beautiful and all the other ridiculous ideals we fancy.  The messiah is all of us.

                    From The Bible’s Most Misused Verse

                    Note Nehemiah 9: “When they were oppressed they cried out to you. From heaven you heard them, and in your great compassion you gave them deliverers.” Crying out is essential: as Psalm 103 notes, “the Lord has compassion on those who fear him.”

                    Hey a nut flush and I wasn't even betting.

                    Crying out is essential

                    ... but the lairds only have compassion on those who fear them...  ain't that the truth

                    So when's the next action? I've felt the pot coming to a boil for a decade now.

                    Let me speak proudly: tell the constable
                    We are but warriors for the working-day;
                    Our gayness and our gilt are all besmirch'd
                    With rainy marching in the painful field;
                    There's not a piece of feather in our host--
                    Good argument, I hope, we will not fly--
                    And time hath worn us into slovenry:
                    But, by the mass, our hearts are in the trim
                    Henry V  Act 4 Scene III ~ Will

                    Ready to Kick butt, I am! lol

                    “The most important trip you may take in life is meeting people halfway” ~ Henry Boye~

                    by Terranova0 on Fri Jun 17, 2011 at 09:40:21 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                  •  people worth following (0+ / 0-)

                    are not necessarily leaders or, more cogently, the leaders needed at the time, and that isn't to besmirch people worth following in any way.  

                    blink-- pale cold

                    by zedaker on Fri Jun 17, 2011 at 11:57:53 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                •  We start the parade (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  pat bunny, Gustogirl, zedaker

                  I guarantee someone in a convertible will drive to the front and claim to be the leader

                  We kidnap. We torture. It's our policy. Embrace it or end it!

                  by Mosquito Pilot on Fri Jun 17, 2011 at 04:28:03 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

              •  Where are you? I know a few (0+ / 0-)

                If you want pointers.

                I object to violence because when it appears to do good, the good is only temporary; the evil it does is permanent.

                by Futuristic Dreamer on Fri Jun 17, 2011 at 12:47:15 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  Heres one side. (0+ / 0-)

                Right now, our country looks a tad...confused. This is about the republicans mainly. What do you say about a group that simultaneously makes clear that they want to remain a global superpower, but who then go on to defund the very sciences that allow that to be the case?

                Ive pointed out to people who criticize what they see as pointless spending, that the first people who discoverd the atom had no idea what we would do with it. And yet, they try to cease it all.

                What possible motivation, what strategy, could be behind this? They must know that a "godless" country like China sure isnt banning stem cell research because of a strange and outdated notion.

                But this is where the confusion is. theres a lot of possibles, but none of them are really sane. And I just cant see any way to reconcile those two major diverging points.

                When someone's entire political narrative collapses under cursory examination, and yet that group still exists with that narrative, something bizarre is going on.

                A pipe shifted half an inch to the left. A coil rewound itself and began spinning in a counter direction. A piston that had been thrusting left-right, left-right, for millennia suddenly thrust right-left. Nothing broke, but everything changed.

                by kamrom on Fri Jun 17, 2011 at 08:48:12 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  That's all great, but don't sit aroung looking for (0+ / 0-)

                leaders!  Learn from the IWW and realize that we are most powerful when we're all leaders.

                Between excessive citizen activism and excessive trust or passivity, the former is far preferable to the latter. - Glenn Greenwald

                by An Affirming Flame on Fri Jun 17, 2011 at 11:23:20 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

            •  My position on the matter exactly (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              inclusiveheart

              I object to violence because when it appears to do good, the good is only temporary; the evil it does is permanent.

              by Futuristic Dreamer on Fri Jun 17, 2011 at 12:45:29 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  Dead on correct. (10+ / 0-)

            That's why the pie fights around here are totally useless.  It's an orchestrated distraction from people coming together for a common cause.

            "The bottom line is, we've got to wake up. We can't allow our disappointment in Obama to lull us into allowing a truly dangerous strain of conservative philosophy to gain any more traction than it already has." --ObamOcala 4/5/11

            by smoothnmellow on Thu Jun 16, 2011 at 08:28:33 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Some might be (28+ / 0-)

              orchestrated, I am not sure.  But other "pie fights" are about exactly what the diarist and Zinn are talking about -- the need to push Obama and the Democrats to the left.

              One faction believes in criticism and strong push from the left and another faction wants primarily to defend them.

              Sometimes the battles are about that fundamental issue. Other times they are more nuanced, about how to go about pushing from the left. And of course at other times they are utterly ridiculous and personal.

              So while these fights might look like just a lot of pie throwing, often, at the core, they are about something very fundamental and important.  We will get nowhere if all we do is act as a fan base.  I am not sure that we will get past that point on this site.  It remains to be seen.

              •  And it would help.... (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Lujane, Angie in WA State, blueoasis

                if people here continued to recommend actions that they're aware of -- as joanneleon recently did.

                •  Thanks (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Lujane, blueoasis

                  Yes, always -- We always need to look for issues and actions that we can support, ones that have real potential or ones that are genuinely in the best interest of the people and that are genuine.  That is always part of the work.  Not all of the work but part of it.

              •  The "strong push" (4+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                your neighbor, jm214, Matt Z, Imhotepsings

                Is only useful with organization, demonstrations, winning primaries and recalls, moving important liberal funders  to our side, enfranchising minorities, registering voters....

                In the form of comment on a blog they are no push at all but venting and an sadly they are used by some that just seek to sow discord

              •  Not exactly... (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Imhotepsings, msdrown, wishingwell
                One faction believes in criticism and strong push from the left and another faction wants primarily to defend them.

                I think there would be a lot more unity of purpose if there was less personal attack of the president. Many of us who support him also see the need for a strong push from the left - but don't want to join a bunch of people calling him names.

                It's also tricky because if the president is actually undermined from the left, what we will get in his place is exponentially worse. He needs to be pushed in a way that strengthens - which means bringing public opinion along, too. I see the LGBT political work as a model. In one year public opinion has moved from majority opposed to marriage equality to majority in support - and the president has gone from opposed to "evolving."

                "The eyes of the future are looking back at us and they are praying for us to see beyond our own time." - Terry Tempest Williams

                by your neighbor on Fri Jun 17, 2011 at 06:48:32 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  The way to push is to threaten him with (3+ / 0-)

                  loss of support.  "We love you but we wish you would do better" is not a message that will make him change a single thing he is doing.  Fear of losing an election, of losing votes in Congress of Democrats who will face an election again even after he is presumably reelected--these are motivators.

                  If I get a chance to talk to the President again during the caucuses I would tell him that it appears to me he is not on my side. and the side of the struggling middle class people who are my neighbors.  Wall Street is doing very well, but Main Street not so much.  Why do we have a debt commission instead of a jobs commission?  Why are we obsessed with the deficit when the country is in danger of a double dip recession?  Why did he talk about a team of rivals and then fill his administration with the Wall Street denizens who got us into this mess before he was elected?  Why doesn't he have the guts to appoint Elizabeth Warren and get on with doing something to help people who have been screwed by the mortgage mess?  

                  My message from the left is that I am not responding to all those chirpy emails and letters I'm getting from his campaign.  (Yesterday's was from Michelle.  I have nothing but admiration for her, but a nice photo of her family doesn't make up for the deficit of caring about my neighbors' struggles to keep a roof over their heads and food on the table.)

                  I have connected with a state senator who deserves to be reelected and that is where I am going to put time, money and effort this year.  I don't want Iowa to be Wisconsin.

                  Take the pledge on Social Security

                  by 2laneIA on Fri Jun 17, 2011 at 07:41:15 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

              •  Phrasing the push as about Obama failures fails. (0+ / 0-)

                America sucks and always has. Obama was a defensive vote. Any vote for a Democrat is nothing but a defensive vote.

                American government has always, really, truly, essentially, sucked.
                If we make our push against the figureheads we are just banging our heads on a brick wall and blaming the wall for our bruises.

                That's why the Obama outrage of the netroots frequently smacks of extreme naivite to politically experienced onlookers.

                Pushing FOR our issues is when we align our energies with a dynamic that has a history of results.

                It's the only damn thing that ever has or ever will work.
                Fuck the figure head, we can just hope that they are saner as opposed to maniacally insane.

                This is the most basic thing in the world yet we can't seem to get it right.  Which is a big damn problem.

                "In all chaos there is a cosmos, in all disorder, a secret order." Carl Jung

                by Unduna on Fri Jun 17, 2011 at 12:05:03 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

          •  Your comment is spot on (6+ / 0-)

            At the beginning of his first term FDR was pretty much in the same ball park as Obama.  What with the economy still heading south and the resultant general strikes there was a real fear among the oligarchs that a revolution was imminent which would overturn our capitalist system.  To avoid this eventuality FDR championed drastic reform measures.  The real question is whether or not Obama would respond the same way, not being much of a fighter.

            •  Could he respond the same way? (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              marina, evangeline135, calibpatriot

              Just how much of a hold do the oligarchs have on his sack?

              His governance has almost been a pure polar opposite to the philosophy of his writings and his campaign rhetoric. Was he a calculating, manipulating liar, or has he been "turned"?

              How would we know? Does it even matter?

              Folks on this site would like to believe that he's a hostage being forced to do things he's actually opposed to, like sabotaging the Public Option, or championing the Patriot Act, but is he? Or has he been on the oligarch's side all along, knowingly vying for all the perks of being their main puppet, and he just happened to be the best actor of the Democrat's '08 crowd? The maestro of all betrayers?

              He actually has the public support. Imagine his popularity if he'd have strong-armed and shamed the Senate into Medicare for All, and people were signing up for it in droves right now. Imagine his popularity if the DoJ was doing Wall Street perp walks every other week or so...

              He could galvanize the country right now if he wanted, or was allowed to.

              Which is it?

              It will matter, if the "push" from the public begins. If he's on our side, the "pushback" will be less violent.

            •  I am eagerly looking forward to his second (0+ / 0-)

              term.  As I do believe he will be more progressive. Yes, I seriously believe that and I always have. I think once he gets a second term, he will more likely to do what he wants. And I think he is going ot be more pro active, more outspoken and more progressive.

              Feel free to save this comment of mine and if I am wrong, I will admit it. Or post my comment in the middle of his second term and I will have to admit I was dead wrong.

          •  That does it. I am following you. Your (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            blueoasis, Ray Pensador, 3rdOption

            comments, the stuff you write is just kick ass.  Everything you write makes my day.  

            It gets on my nerves, and you know how I am about my nerves...

            by ciganka on Fri Jun 17, 2011 at 12:42:07 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  We worked pretty hard for a PO--We called & wrote (27+ / 0-)

          and demonstrated.  I've forgotten how many times I contacted Bill Nelson's office and Kendrick Meek's office.  I attended a demo outside Nelson's local offices.  Others here did far more than I did.

          Lot of good it did us.  We were conned all along into believing that we still had a chance when, in reality, a deal had been made early on.  What should we have done differently?  Should we have realized we were being conned sooner?  Should we have skipped calling our reps and taken it to the streets from the start?  Should we have been disrupting Town Hall meetings just like the teabaggers were in 2009?

          I'm curious as to exactly what we should've done instead on HC.  I also note that, in order to do what's being recommended here, we'd basically have to toss the Dems aside.  Maybe that's what's necessary, but it's contrary to the stated purpose of this site.

          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 Thu Jun 16, 2011 at 06:33:41 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  No, let me make the case that this paralysis (15+ / 0-)

            people seem to have when faced with the reality that we are under an increasingly exploitative plutocracy is part of the manipulation you are being subjected to.

            What happened in 2008 is in the past.  You don't have to do anything extraordinary or change your life or give up on your daily obligations in order to engage in a resistance movement.  The first thing you have to do is accept reality and understand that a neo fascist plutocracy is in place right now in the United States.  Just start there.

            Regarding the Democrats, keep voting for them (less of two evils)... But find other people who understand what's really happening and what to do next will be pretty clear soon.

            •  And join (5+ / 0-)

              a revolutionary anti-capitalist organization in your area.  The capitalist-imperialist system is moribund and we must be there with solutions when things really start coming apart.

              "It's not a question of worrying or of hoping for the best, but of finding new weapons." -- Gilles Deleuze, Postscript on Control Societies

              by GiveNoQuarter on Thu Jun 16, 2011 at 06:58:27 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  People know that. (15+ / 0-)

              Obama's fan club is just that; and with all due respect, wtf is with the Obi Wan stuff, grasshopper.     " But find other people who understand what's really happening and what to do next will be pretty clear soon."

              You are so new here.  This place isn't daily kos for no reason.  It was Kos and Howard Dean that took on the DLC/WS Democrats to begin with.  You are preaching to the choir, except for the small and very vocal fan club that marauds through here.

              What to do about "having no place else to go" is the real issue.   Trumpka is right about having a "snootful of this shit".   It is time to get a 2 x 4 and primary or recall everyone in sight.  A non-partisan "kiss my ass".  

              Again, I don't mean to be quarrelsome; but I came of age in the 60s, and trust me, most of you people don't have a clue what liberal is.   My generation took to the streets for their rights and got shot and beaten.   Today, a terse email to your so called representative and a pie fight on daily kos have replaced all of that.

              We know that both parties suck, and some of us have known it for the last 20 years, thanks to Wall Street Willie.   dailykos has known it since 2004 and has been grappling with it ever since.  

              What I want to know is what in the world so many Democrats are doing supporting the President's unilateral intervention in Iraq?

              What I want to know is what in the world so many Democrats are doing supporting tax cuts, which have bankrupted this country and given us the largest deficit in the history of the United States?

              What I want to know is why the Congress is fighting over the Patient's Bill of Rights? The Patient's Bill of Rights is a good bill, but not one more person gets health insurance and it's not 5 cents cheaper.

              What I want to know is why the Democrats in Congress aren't standing up for us, joining every other industrialized country on the face of the Earth in providing health insurance for every man, woman and child in America.

              What I want to know is why so many folks in Congress are voting for the President's Education Bill-- "The No School Board Left Standing Bill"-- the largest unfunded mandate in the history of our educational system!

              As Paul Wellstone said-- as Sheila Kuehl said when she endorsed me-- I am Howard Dean, and I'm here to represent the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party.


              If you don't stand for something, eventually you stand for nothing.

              by dkmich on Fri Jun 17, 2011 at 03:12:10 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  Voting for Democrats exacerbates the problem. (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              ohmyheck, politicjock

              If you say, "I disagree with him, but I'll still vote for him", you've just said, "I am your bitch."

              This is why the Progressives are laughed at and mocked by the Obama administration and the Democratic hierarchy. You are no threat whatsoever to the Corporatist control of the Democratic party.

              None.

              Zero.

              Zilch.

              The ONLY power you have over candidates is your vote.

              You can't contribute enough money to any one candidate, even collectively, to sway a single vote on any issue.

              The only thing you hold over their head is your vote. That's what they spend all that Corporate money to control. They advertise and manipulate to con you out of your only piece of power in our system, your vote.

              The moment you say, "I'll vote for him anyway", is the moment the campaign strategists check you off in their "we've got that sucker" box, and move on to the next fool they need to con out of their vote.

              You're done, you don't matter.

              All your comments and BS on this site mean nothing to the Democratic policymakers, because they own you already.

              Is Bernie Sanders such a bad model?

          •  I wouldn't say toss the dems aside (20+ / 0-)

            I plan to vote for Obama in 2012, but I also plan to try to do something between the elections and am not afraid to challenge the government and business elite. We need to begin building non-partisan issue based movements, and we need to use radical tactics such as strikes, sit ins, and other forms of civil disobedience.

            Most of the fights in the 30s weren't against the democrats or government, but the corporations and bankers, you know the people who own the government.

            Stop complaining, start protesting

            by Johnnythebandit on Thu Jun 16, 2011 at 06:51:21 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Don't forget the TV networks. (10+ / 0-)

              Switching off the Boob Tube has to be a priority.

              An honest man in politics shines more there than he would elsewhere - Mark Twain.

              by AreDeutz on Thu Jun 16, 2011 at 07:08:58 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  Toss the Democrats aside. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              politicjock

              You simply cannot compete with the Corporate cash that owns your party.

              Remember, the Clinton presidency caused our economic crash. NAFTA + financial deregulation were bought from the Democrats with Corporate dollars. The Republicans didn't do this alone, it was championed by the guy most of you still worship.

              And yes, Al Gore championed these policies as well. Remember him infuriating Ross Perot on Larry King over NAFTA? That killed all meaningful opposition right before the vote.

              Gore gave us NAFTA, and opened the floodgates. You're hearing the final gurgles of that Giant Sucking Sound that was our manufacturing base fleeing our borders, and abandoning our middle class standard of living.

              You are voting for the Democratic wing of the Corporatist party.

              Your blogs and diaries and comments haven't even nicked the armor of all that Corporate cash. You have no policy influence on any issue that is relevant to the survival of the middle class, our constitution, or our freedom: economic policy, foreign policy, and the formation of an internal police state.

              You're locked out of the bridge of our great ship, the Corporate Titanic. All you're doing is running around below decks with the other underprivileged, screeching "iceberg" to one another.

              This will continue as long as you keep dutifully voting for your Corporate masters.

          •  Hey - you are one of the few that I saw (16+ / 0-)

            who challenged the status quo at the time.

            But the people that I really respected were the people who wanted single payer and got removed from the committee hearings.  Too few supported them - and I doubt that you were one of the people who did not support them - just saying that few did support them.

            People gave the Obama Administration too much leeway, imo.  Everyone wanted to.  I was fucking "Bushed" by the time he came along.  After fighting for eight years and thinking that we'd won, it isn't inconceivable that people would have just been too tired to even consider worrying about the Democratic President not delivering on the issues that people had worked so hard to advance, spotlight and change as a result of the Bush years.  But that doesn't change the fact that we've lost ground as a result.

            •  We ran in place for 2 years, we're losing ground (19+ / 0-)

              each day now.  I hated Jebby when he was my gov, but Scott is, believe it or not, visibly worse.  Walker is turning purple to blue WI into almost a GOP version of a Khmer Rouge-style experiment.  

              There are 2 wings to the GOP today--the bats%&t crazy wing, and the terrified of the bats%^t crazy wing.  There appear to be 2 Dem wings--the totally owned by FIRE wing, and the split the difference between FIRE and labor wing.  In 2008--our POTUS campaigned as part of the latter wing, but he's governed as part of the former wing.

              What to do about it?  Beats the hell out of me at this point.  I loved what happened in WI, but it was never really replicated elsewhere, and it doesn't seem to be producing too many tangible results.  Maybe they'll dump some Gooper state senators, and maybe they won't.

              Even there, the activity appears to have been channeled into electoral politics.  Clearly, there's an imbalance between street heat and electoral politics, and I'm not sure what to do about it.  I'd like, however, to see what happened in Madison occur in a lot more state capitals.

              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 Thu Jun 16, 2011 at 07:08:06 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  you misunderstand Zinn and the diarist (14+ / 0-)

              I understand what you say but you're mistaken to think that Obama or any President will support the kind of change we need without what Zinn prescribes; a movement that can shut down commerce and paralyse the countries capitalist functions. he said....

              Even though Obama doesn't represent any fundamental change, he creates an opening for a possibility of change. That's why I'm voting for him, that's why I suggest to people they vote for him. But I also suggest that Obama will not fullfill that potential for change unless he is enveloped by a social movement which is angry enough, powerful enough, insistent enough that he fill his abstract phrases about change with some real solid content.

              Pushing Obama doesn't mean writing angry letters or making calls to the White House. For FDR it took a general strike(s) and blood in the streets. Same with JFK on civil rights and LBJ on the Viet Nam war. American has never elected a liberal president but some presidents have done liberal things out of pure necessity. But only when forced to by an angry, organized and powerful electorate.

              America could have chosen to be the worlds doctor, or grocer. We choose instead to be her policeman. pity

              by cacamp on Thu Jun 16, 2011 at 09:45:41 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  Contrary to the stated (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            blueoasis, An Affirming Flame

            purposes of this site maybe, but I don't see much of an alternative.  

            The liberal class betrayed us.  We have nothing to apologize for.  

            "It's not a question of worrying or of hoping for the best, but of finding new weapons." -- Gilles Deleuze, Postscript on Control Societies

            by GiveNoQuarter on Thu Jun 16, 2011 at 06:55:13 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Demonstrated? (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Imhotepsings

            Hard? you say? how hard compared to unionizing? how hard compared to civil right activism? how hard compared to picketing?

            We made a few calls, less than the other side (paid or not), we shouted a lot here but little out there, we did not convince many people, we did not put any pressure on politicians . No one has lost his primary due to the vote

            We are quite self contained and delusional about how much weight a few posts and diaries have

        •  See Dan Choi and LGBT community for (15+ / 0-)

          the blueprint...

          the only group that refused to take no for an answer is the only group that has a seat at the table.

          Imagine if unions were as willing to take a stand...

          "Senator McCain offered up the oldest Washington stunt in the book - you pass the buck to a commission to study the problem." - Senator Obama, 9-16-2008

          by justmy2 on Thu Jun 16, 2011 at 06:45:37 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  A Binary Choice (0+ / 0-)

            True, but that illustrates that you need an issue which is a clear Yes or No to make opposition really work - they fought DADT and everyone in power had to line up on either side.

            So we need to have our issues defined that clearly and find out where people stand.

            Let them eat hope and change.

            by Athena on Fri Jun 17, 2011 at 06:55:59 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  Before Obama's inauguration (6+ / 0-)

          a wide range of progressive writers and groups were saying precisely this: that Obama needed an energized progressive movement at his back. Often cited was a supposed FDR quote, "I agree with you. Now make me do it." The Nation, Mother Jones, and a laundry list of groups all said the same thing.

          And then very little happened. The progressive sectors addressed in this vein in December 2008 and January 2009 just lay down and trusted Obama and the Democrats "to do the right thing."

          What's missing? Clearly many people know what needs to happen.

          Isn't it a progressive alternative vision of where the country needs to go that's organized and independent of liberal elites (and foundation money) and is focused on that agenda—and not on finding a good candidate to support (who can then "do the right thing" and let us go back to sleep).

        •  Not trust they'd "do the right thing" (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Imhotepsings

          More that our idea of "pushing" is writing angry comments, diaries or snark. We call names, make accusations and bitch.

      •  Honestly, (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Ray Pensador, lotlizard

        I think we have yet to hit the critical mass required for an organized opposition.

        If we want to get to the necessary critical mass, we need to start communicating with our fellow Americans who are blissfully watching Dancing With the Stars while our collective wealth and protections swirl down the drain.

        We need to steal the Tea Party from the oligarchy, because if they knew what we know, they'd be ready to pitch in.

        It will take a massive effort to overcome the misinformation, disinformation and lack of information so deliberately prevalent in American society today.  This is what me must counter if we are to get Americans to stand up.

        How can we do that?

        Open for suggestions...

        Government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth - Abraham Lincoln

        by Gustogirl on Fri Jun 17, 2011 at 08:53:40 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Drive the Minimum. Slow down. Only go (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      zedaker, OleHippieChick, semiot, chipmo

      40 or 45, or 55 at the most. The Interstate that passes through Georgia has signs posted that the legal minimum speed is 40 MPH. Slow the entire country down to a crawl by driving the Speed Limit. It is legal, it is nonviolent, and it is something everyone can do without joining a mob or carrying a sign or a gas mask.

    •  Excellent diary. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      blueoasis

      Frightening -- but not moreso than the prospect of inaction.

      The hungry judges soon the sentence sign, And wretches hang, that jurymen may dine.

      by magnetics on Fri Jun 17, 2011 at 03:35:44 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I made this same point in a diary on Zinn (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Johnnythebandit

      over a year ago. It was treated with screams of Obama-defending, which says more about some people here than it says about the diary.

      And I did not think the other rec list diary was dishonest or wrong. The quotes were clear enough to me.

      Your diary, however, has some rich history, and I'm glad to see this on the rec list.

      I've made this point repeatedly in these diaries:

      1)FDR was a comprise: he triangulated. To his left he had Huey Long, radical unions (they were not like today's in size or ideology) and the Socialist Party. To his right he had the populist Father Coughlin, who was a New Deal supporter initially, and anti-communist Democrats.

      FDR's landmark achievements like Social Security were a compromise between, at one end, far better ideas from the left.  FDR refused to sign an anti-lynching law that had a wild support of a majority, even a majority of southerners.  FDR was not always brave. He did fly in the face of public opinion sometimes... but to get things through a Democratic caucus that included (especially southern) bigots.

      2) Change comes from the bottom-up, not the top-down. Nothing accomplished by any president in history for the people was done without major sacrifice, whether recently or close enough in the past to have changed the public.

      Some Kossacks refuse to live in this street world. For them, it's enough to read the horror stories on the web every day. People in Des Moines don't need to be clamoring for single payer, while the left pushes for something farther left. It's enough to have Obama, Arlen Specter and Joe Lieberman in office.

      I notice that many recommends are given to the person who has a good answer, with hardly any given to the person who asks the right question. That is backwards to me; without that question, the good answer might never have come.

      by Nulwee on Fri Jun 17, 2011 at 09:36:55 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Waiting around for Washington to act (28+ / 0-)

    for the benefit of working Americans is a losing proposition.  Washington will only do what concerted, persistent action forces them to do.

    "I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel." Maya Angelou

    by ahumbleopinion on Thu Jun 16, 2011 at 05:34:42 PM PDT

    •  Yes, Like Dems who were preoccupied (5+ / 0-)

      with one of the members photography which set off a firestorm of anger and a explosion of action in the Democratic party against one of their strongest voices in congress. This, more than anything exemplifies the gnat like attention span of the members particularly when major issues of import threaten the very viability of the country.  

      What a bunch of petty pussies who can't find enough internal strength to fight for their core platform against determined opposition so instead they attack themselves until members are taken out and shot especially the very few with enough nerve to stand for important issues  .

    •  Zinn wrote extensively about the New Deal (10+ / 0-)

      It was the substance of his first book, LaGuardia in Congress and the basis for his doctoral thesis at Columbia in which he makes the case that the New Deal consisted of legislation previously introduced in Congress by Rep. Fiorello LaGuardia, who later became a best-loved mayor of New York City.

      Just weeks before the 1932 general election, Roosevelt laid out a plan for mandated state unemployment insurance nationwide along with social welfare. Even then, he insisted on remaining what we now call a fiscal conservative. "Obviously he had not faced up to the magnitude of expenditure that his program would involve," Freidel recounts. "Obviously too, he had not in the slightest accepted the views of those who felt that the way out of the Depression was large-scale public spending and deficit financing."

      Six days later, on October 19, FDR delivered a speech in Pittsburgh that blasted the federal budget for its "reckless and extravagant" spending. He pledged "to reduce the cost of current federal government operations by 25 percent." And he proclaimed: "I regard reduction in federal spending as one of the most important issues of this campaign." If he'd stuck to such positions, the New Deal would never have happened.

      As the fall campaign came to a close, the Nation magazine lamented that "neither of the two great parties, in the midst of the worst depression in our history, has had the intelligence or courage to propose a single fundamental measure that might conceivably put us on the road to recovery." Looking back on the 1932 campaign, Freidel was to comment: "Indeed, in many respects, for all the clash and clamor, Roosevelt and President Hoover had not differed greatly from each other."

      The Socialist Party's Norman Thomas, running for president again that year, had a strong basis for his critique of both major-party candidates in 1932. But in later elections, when Thomas ran yet again, many former supporters found enough to admire in FDR's presidency to switch over and support the incumbent for re-election.

      "The Roosevelt reforms went far beyond previous legislation," historian Howard Zinn has written. Those reforms were not only a response to a crisis in the system. They also met a need "to head off the alarming growth of spontaneous rebellion in the early years of the Roosevelt administration -- organization of tenants and the unemployed, movements of self-help, general strikes in several cities."

      Major progressive successes under the New Deal happened in sync with stellar achievements in grassroots organizing. So, in Zinn's words, "Where organized labor was strong, Roosevelt moved to make some concessions to working people." The New Deal was not all it could have been, no doubt, but to a large extent it was a stupendous result of historic synergies -- made possible by massive pressure from the grassroots and a president often willing to respond in the affirmative.

      from May, 2008
      Party Like It's 1932: The Obama Option
      By Norman Solomon

      /

    •  Zinn explained that and it ain't our side (6+ / 0-)

      All American presidents have always been on the side of the status quo so they must be forced to act on behalf of the people. Zinn said...

      We don't live in a democracy . . . we live in a capitalist oligarchy, with some democratic representation.  In fact, we have enough democratic representation, it turns out, to occasionally get some things we want.  Have you ever heard of Social Security, Medicare, rural electrification, the minimum wage, or labor unions?  The capitalist oligarchy didn't want those reforms . . . but they were forced to accept them.

      In other words don't bother to bash Obama it's counterproductive. Get out and create a strong enough movement to force him to do the right thing.

      America could have chosen to be the worlds doctor, or grocer. We choose instead to be her policeman. pity

      by cacamp on Thu Jun 16, 2011 at 09:51:57 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  You are twisting Zinn's words (4+ / 0-)

        Nowhere in that quote of yours does Zinn even remotely suggest anything like "don't bash Obama, it's counterproductive."  When you say "in other words" you are not telling us what Zinn actually said, you are telling us what you wish he had said.  The reality is however that Zinn did plenty of Presidential bashing during his time on this Earth, it is ridiculous to suggest that he was opposed to others criticizing Presidents.

        I challenge you to name a single President that Zinn was not harshly critical of and I am willing to bet I can find a quote of him criticizing that President.  The only way you may even have a chance at winning that challenge is if you choose a really obscure President because a People's History of the United States is harshly critical of just about every President our nation ever had.

        •  no, you don't understand Zinns words (6+ / 0-)

          Try to understand this...
             

          Even though Obama doesn't represent any fundamental change, he creates an opening for a possibility of change. That's why I'm voting for him, that's why I suggest to people they vote for him. But I also suggest that Obama will not fullfill that potential for change unless he is enveloped by a social movement which is angry enough, powerful enough, insistent enough that he fill his abstract phrases about change with some real solid content.

          He further went on to explain that every president from FDR to JFK to LBJ was a part and parcel of the status quo and had to be forced into doing the peoples will. In the first two sentances he endorses Obama and campaigns for him. But in the last he explains Obama must be forced to do the will of the people. Bashing a democratic member of the oligarch can only replace him with someone from the facist right, so Zinn implores us to "envelope" him with a strong social movement in the same way FDR was enveloped to force him to pass social security or JFK was on civil rights or LBJ was on Viet Nam.

          And kindly note that I said "bash" not criticize. But if Zinn is to have any meaning its for people to understand that the USA has never elected a liberal president. The ones who passed liberal legislation were forced to do so by an angry and well organized electorate. So vote for and support Obama against the forces of the right but organize the people if you expect real change. Criticize policy and acts but vote for him and campaign for him as Howard Zinn did above. History shows it's the only way to accomplish the peoples will.

          America could have chosen to be the worlds doctor, or grocer. We choose instead to be her policeman. pity

          by cacamp on Thu Jun 16, 2011 at 10:25:05 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I understand Zinn's words very well (7+ / 0-)

            I have read most of his major work and I even wrote a twenty-five page research paper on his life and contributions when I was in college.  I know his positions very well, and I assure you when he talks about a social movement enveloping Obama he is absolutely not talking about a movement that refrains from criticism of Obama.  I challenge you to find me a single President that Zinn did not bash, he was harshly critical of those who have held power in this country and it is absolutely false to suggest that he would not want us to fight against Obama's policies.

            •  i think you are misreading his words (0+ / 0-)

              harshly critical vs. critical vs. bashing is semantics.

              you are both right.

              but the obama cheerleaders have to stfu.

              obama needs defending from the right wing attacks, but he also needs to be enveloped just the way zinn suggested.

              I am awaiting delivery of my new DK4 signature

              by BlueDragon on Fri Jun 17, 2011 at 05:13:52 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  ignore the right wing attacks (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                ohmyheck

                they call obama a socialist which is untrue, they complain about his economy even though he is the same as bush. That's just right wing propaganda. The only thing that can convince people it's false is actions that result in a better economy and we have to criticize Obama on the facts, that he is too conservative on the economy, in order to get him to change. And not just crticism but massive strikes like Zinn describes all over the country. The only way to get that to happen is to keep repeating the truth and if you see the truth as criticism of Obama oh well.

              •  No. They don't need to STFU. (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Nulwee, Imhotepsings

                Because we should defend what is being done right as well.  The problem with some progressives is being distracted by complaining instead of agreeing to a specific plan of action.

                "The bottom line is, we've got to wake up. We can't allow our disappointment in Obama to lull us into allowing a truly dangerous strain of conservative philosophy to gain any more traction than it already has." --ObamOcala 4/5/11

                by smoothnmellow on Fri Jun 17, 2011 at 07:34:20 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

            •  Here's where you're wrong again... (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Nulwee

              For all these years you've misunderstood the great man so bragging about your "studies" won't make it right. But the main place we disagree is about two words i.e. being "critical" and "bashing". By bash I meant the personal things like one often reads here like "he's just like Bush" or "he hates working people" or "he sold his soul to the devil".

              On the other hand being critical of his policies is both needed and something Howard and I both do with gusto. We also both understand the need to vote for him and to ask others to do the same. His election to both Howard and I is an important component of reform since it's impossible to move our common agenda under far right rule. You with me so far?

              If you read what I said as carefully as you claim to have read Zinn then perhaps you'll see you're having your hissy over a mere lack of understanding of my meaning. I'm trying to tell people that organizing a strong movement to force Obama's hand is necessary to move him to do the things Zinn and I both want for the nation. It does no good to "bash" him with superficial and personal attacks but if actual criticism comes from within a powerful and organized electorate we can do great things. get it?

              America could have chosen to be the worlds doctor, or grocer. We choose instead to be her policeman. pity

              by cacamp on Fri Jun 17, 2011 at 09:34:10 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  You seem to have a problem discerning (0+ / 0-)

                the difference between criticism and personal attacks.  It seems that any and every criticism of Obama IS a personal attack, in your eyes.  So, you lose any and all credibility when it comes to discussing Obama's policies and actions.

                "Take away paradox from the thinker and you have a professor." Soren Kierkegaard

                by ohmyheck on Fri Jun 17, 2011 at 11:16:35 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  bullshit, I criticize him more than you'll ever do (0+ / 0-)

                  I have organized anti-war rallies and made my views known in many places around the nation. Read what the fuck I say before you go making stupid judgements. Fighting for liberty and freedom has been my lifes work. I knew Obama would do what he's doing when he was elected, just like Clinton did, but I also know that the battles are won by a well organized people fighting for their rights day after day and never stopping.

                  Obama was never my savior so I'm not at all disappointed in him or his party. I knew he would perform just as he has because the country has never elected a progressive and it never will. He's just like FDR, JFK and LBJ or Bill Clinton, all of whom, except FDR, I supported but organized the people against certain of their policies. I've been fighting the staus quo for most of my seventy years.

                  I learned that when I fought alongside Cesar Chavez during the grape strikes and I saw it put to practice when we fought in the streets against the war and in the south for civil rights. I've put my beliefs to the test during a lifetime of struggle and many people right here on dkos know my years of leadership in the fight for the rights of working people. Ask Meteor Blades or Deoliver47 if you don't believe me.

                  Too many fucking armchair liberals expect a president to come along and do their work for them, I don't, I've known too many of them in my life of activism and organizing. I don't ever believe a president or any other politician, all of them are a part and parcel of the ruling class. I believe and work for the power of the common people to take and protect their own freedoms and rights. I always will.

                  America could have chosen to be the worlds doctor, or grocer. We choose instead to be her policeman. pity

                  by cacamp on Fri Jun 17, 2011 at 11:46:26 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

  •  It's Only Been 2, Basically 1 Year for Ordinary (27+ / 0-)

    people to begin to suspect how serious our situation is. By the time FDR swore in the Crash was 3 1/2 years in the past, and the stock market had slid down more than its 1929 losses.

    It's just too early for 1930's style energy and emotion.

    We've got the added obstacles that we don't have much means to bottleneck most local economies if we wanted to, since so much of the economy is global, and there's a large pro-corporatist religious movement the right has been mobilizing since the beginning of the rightwing revolution back in the 60's.

    It is going to take rude behavior to establish some kind of government for the people here; but a big chunk of the people will be with the power structure defending authoritarianism.

    This is a real mess.

    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 Thu Jun 16, 2011 at 05:44:12 PM PDT

    •  It's a mess but it's fixable (12+ / 0-)

      Labor in the early 1930s was as small and weak as it is today. While globalization makes it harder, the internet has made international solidarity easier. The workers in China, Egypt, and Greece have many of the same grievances as we do. We should coordinate our struggles against the corporate empire and support one another.

      Also, American workers can still have an effect. Longshoremen and teamsters can effectively shut down imports. And bombs, guns, and weapons which are used throughout the world are manufactured here.

      Stop complaining, start protesting

      by Johnnythebandit on Thu Jun 16, 2011 at 05:58:32 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  We have to want to change The Family Business (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        blueoasis, semiot, lotlizard
        And bombs, guns, and weapons which are used throughout the world are manufactured here.

        Manufactured here, with tentacles in every state to ensure no budget is ever cut, and tens of thousands of employees voting against their own interests who wouldn't dream of contradicting "management," or halting production of the implements of death from above for which we are so famous and popular.

        How do we change The Family Business? Our national karma's in the crapper because of it.

        Anti-imperialist, anti-capitalist socialist roader here.

        by OleHippieChick on Fri Jun 17, 2011 at 03:53:39 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Stop using your credit cards. (4+ / 0-)

      Stop paying the bills.  

      That's really all it takes.  They live off your money.

      Oh, and remember "No taxation without representation" ? ? ?

      Does the Government in Washington represent you, and your interests, or the rich, and theirs?

      Fake Left, Drive Right . . . not my idea of a Democrat . . .

      by Deward Hastings on Thu Jun 16, 2011 at 06:27:13 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  It is pretty pathetic that there are probably (0+ / 0-)

        hundreds of thousands of kossacks still using Wells Fargo, US Bancorp, Citi, Bank of America and Chase after all the diaries kossacks like myself have written on those leviathans.

        I notice that many recommends are given to the person who has a good answer, with hardly any given to the person who asks the right question. That is backwards to me; without that question, the good answer might never have come.

        by Nulwee on Fri Jun 17, 2011 at 09:40:44 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Things may be "global." But if you have enough (5+ / 0-)

      people in Tahrir square ...

      Good points, though. It may take things getting much worse. It's exciting to see Labor come alive again. Once they plutocrats really flush things down the toilet, the slumbering classes may awake. Maybe. They didn't have the same stultifying media in the 1930s that we have now ...

    •  Oregon and Michigan were pretty much in a (0+ / 0-)

      depression for ten years... and at least Oregonians couldn't have been happier with their misery.

      You're right, though. We're only watching a storm on the horizon. Anger will percolate and build and swell for years. Who knows what's ahead of us.

      I notice that many recommends are given to the person who has a good answer, with hardly any given to the person who asks the right question. That is backwards to me; without that question, the good answer might never have come.

      by Nulwee on Fri Jun 17, 2011 at 09:39:41 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  No Communist party. They were many of the (13+ / 0-)

    foot soldiers in the '30s and, while many did so for patriotic reasons, others did not.  Regardless, those foot soldiers are gone and their movement lies utterly discredited.  Heck, you can cause heart attacks by calling folks 'socialist', even though most of the rubes haven't a clue what it means or how much they rely on it every day.

    Labor provided many of the remaining foot soldiers. With labor but a fraction of what it was both as a % of work force and industries with large labor components - not to mention how many of the rubes have completely swallowed the relentless anti-Labor lies - its a wonder it can even defend itself, as it is having to do in WI, ME, OH, MIGH etc.  Indeed, that points to another weaknesss in your 'prescription'- labor is shooting its wad just to defend a fraction of the protections it won over the years.  How do you expect them to also provide foot soldiers in your movement?  Hope they understand they have to vote D and show up to do so, but don;t expect many to be able to do much more.

    The last major component was students.  Bless their hearts.  While they are no where near as energized as in the '30s or '60s, many do still fly the idealism flag.  But there are simply not enough.

    Ni, this is the time for education, dare I say it marketing progressive ideals and demands.  That's how the Thugs did it with a much less attractive agenda (except for the right wing religious).

    Anyhoo, that's my 2 cents.

  •  What Zinn said specifically about Obama (24+ / 0-)
    What next for struggle in the Obama era? November 5, 2008. The day after the election.

    I CONFESS I am excited by the thought of Obama becoming president, even though I am painfully aware of his limitations--his smooth, articulate intelligence covering up a quite traditional approach to domestic and foreign policy, aided and abetted by a group of advisers recycled from the Clinton administration and other parts of the Establishment.

    Does he really think Robert Rubin will come up with a bold approach to the economy? Or that Madeleine Albright will carve a new path in foreign policy? (It was she who ran around the country in 1998 to defend Clinton's bombing of Iraq, warning of "weapons of mass destruction.")

    If Richard Hofstadter were adding to his book The American Political Tradition, in which he found both "conservative" and "liberal" presidents, both Democrats and Republicans, maintaining for dear life the two critical characteristics of the American system, nationalism and capitalism, Obama would fit the pattern.

    His obsequious joining with McCain in approving the $700 billion "bailout" for the financial giants is a sad sign. See my article (I say arrogantly) in a recent issue of the Nation about the bailout, as a futile "trickle-down" act, instead of using the money directly for the people Obama claims to represent.

    So it will take a revivified social movement to do for Obama what the strikers and tenant organizers and unemployed councils and agitators of the early 1930s did for FDR, pushing him into new paths, so angering the superrich that FDR, in one of his best moments, said, "They hate me, and I welcome their hatred!"

    Obama needs such fire. It is up to us, the citizenry--and non-citizens too!--to ignite it.

    Howard Zinn: written for l'Humanité in Paris  

    OBAMA'S HISTORIC VICTORY
    by Howard Zinn

    Those of us on the Left who have criticized Obama, as I have, for his failure to take bold positions on the war and on the economy, must join the exultation of those Americans, black and white, who shouted and wept Tuesday night as they were informed that Barack Obama had won the presidential election. It is truly a historic moment, that a black man will lead our country. The enthusiasm of the young, black and white, the hopes of their elders, cannot simply be ignored.

    There was a similar moment a century and a half ago, in the year 1860, when Abraham Lincoln was elected president. Lincoln had been criticized harshly by the abolitionists, the anti-slavery movement, for his failure to take a clear, bold stand against slavery, for acting as a shrewd politician rather than a moral force. But when he was elected, the abolitionist leader Wendell Phillips, who had been an angry critic of Lincoln's cautiousness, recognized the possibility in his election.

    Phillips wrote that for the first time in the nation's history "the slave has chosen a President of the United States." Lincoln, he said, was not an abolitionist, but he in some way "consents to represent an antislavery position." Like a pawn on the chessboard, Lincoln had the potential, if the
    American people acted vigorously, to be moved across the board, converted into a queen, and, as Phillips said, "sweep the board."

    Obama, like Lincoln, tends to look first at his political fortunes instead of making his decisions on moral grounds. But, as the first African American in the White House, elected by an enthusiastic citizenry which expects a decisive move towards peace and social justice, he presents a possibility for important change.

    Obama becomes president in a situation which cries out for such change. The nation has been engaged in two futile and immoral wars, in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the American people have turned decisively against those wars. The economy is shaken by tremendous blows, and is in danger of collapsing, as families lose their homes and working people, including those in the middle class, lose their jobs, So the population is ready for change, indeed, desperate for change, and "change" was the word most used by Obama in his campaign.

    What kind of change is needed? First, to announce the withdrawal of our troops from Iraq and Afghanistan, and to renounce the Bush doctrine of preventive war as well as the Carter doctrine of military action to control Mideast oil. He needs to radically change the direction of U.S. foreign policy, declare that the U.S. is a peace loving country which will not intervene militarily in other parts of the world, and start dismantling the military bases we have in over a hundred countries. Also he must begin meeting with Medvedev, the Russian leader, to reach agreement on the dismantling of the nuclear arsenals, in keeping with the Nuclear Anti-Proliferation Treaty.

    This turn-around from militarism will free hundreds of billions of dollars. A tax program which will sharply increase taxes on the richest 1% of the nation, and will tax their wealth as well as their income, will yield more hundreds of billions of dollars.

    With all that saved money, the government will be able to give free health care to everyone, put millions of people to work (which the so-called free market has not been able to do). In short, emulate the New Deal program, in which millions were given jobs by the government. This is just an outline of a program which could transform the United States and make it a good neighbor to the world.

    ###

    (written for l'Humanité in Paris but no longer online at the then URL.)

  •  The one thing we cannot allow is (4+ / 0-)

    for more Republicans to be elected to local, state and federal positions.  We've seen their agenda in Wisconsin, Florida, Ohio, Michigan and other states.  We have to demonstrate to the Democratic party that even though we don't want Republicans, we have great demands of the Democrats.  Get some backbone and stand up for "we the people."  Obama must show greater leadership for liberal causes - writing letters is a small part of the pressure, but we must demonstrate, strike and make it very clear what our expectations are....and settle for nothing less.  This is not going to be easy especially in light of "citizens united" decision which makes prostitutes out of politicians.  The massive recalls in Wisconsin and maybe Michigan should be a message to both parties that "we're mad as hell and not gonna take it anymore."

    "Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the universe." A. Einstein

    by moose67 on Thu Jun 16, 2011 at 06:04:43 PM PDT

    •  This seems to me to be exactly the wrong paradigm! (7+ / 0-)

      If our first priority is to not allow Republicans to be elected at whatever cost, then we will get what we have always got: weak Democrats. We will be told that we must support Democrats that don't support Democratic, much less progressive, policies because they are all that is electable.

      I call BS on this view. Resources are finite and they should only be expended on Democrats that are willing to support Democratic principles. What exactly did we get by having "Democrat" Ben Nelson on the Senate? Nothing good, that's for sure. Sometimes to build a strong house, you need to tear down some existing, warped wood and replace it with new, unblemished wood.

      When I perceive the fight to be rigged, I don't wanna grow up. The Ramones

      by tgrshark13 on Thu Jun 16, 2011 at 07:20:07 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  You are missing the forest. (0+ / 0-)

        Your question about Ben Nelson is the wrong paradigm.

        We should have won senate races in Pennsylvania, Maine, Missouri and New Hampshire and made the Specters, Liebermans, Baucuses and other bad agents if not irrelevant than less necessary for bill passage.

        I notice that many recommends are given to the person who has a good answer, with hardly any given to the person who asks the right question. That is backwards to me; without that question, the good answer might never have come.

        by Nulwee on Fri Jun 17, 2011 at 09:43:47 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Beating Republicans with near-Republicans. (7+ / 0-)

      This does nothing to advance liberal policies.

      Democrats need to stop shitting themselves over being in the minority; they need to be as resourceful and relentless as the Republicans.

      I'm not holding my breath.

      The real enemy of the good is not the perfect, but the mediocre.

      by Orange County Liberal on Thu Jun 16, 2011 at 07:40:54 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  The problem isn't the color of the jersey (0+ / 0-)

      it's the sport they're playing.

      We already have death panels. They're called insurance companies.

      by aztecraingod on Fri Jun 17, 2011 at 10:57:07 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Zinn is right (11+ / 0-)

    but it takes a lot of energy and commitment to create a powerful social movement. I think I'll just carp and whine about how Obama hasn't changed things enough while I watch TV tonight.

  •  One week before he died, he said this (39+ / 0-)
    Howard Zinn on Obama's first year as president

    January 22, 2010

    From Howard Zinn, in response to The Nation's asking what the highs and lows of Obama's first year in office have been:

    I've been searching hard for a highlight. The only thing that comes close is some of Obama's rhetoric; I don't see any kind of a highlight in his actions and policies.

    As far as disappointments, I wasn't terribly disappointed because I didn't expect that much. I expected him to be a traditional Democratic president. On foreign policy, that's hardly any different from a Republican--as nationalist, expansionist, imperial and warlike. So in that sense, there's no expectation and no disappointment. On domestic policy, traditionally Democratic presidents are more reformist, closer to the labor movement, more willing to pass legislation on behalf of ordinary people--and that's been true of Obama. But Democratic reforms have
    also been limited, cautious. Obama's no exception. On healthcare, for example, he starts out with a compromise, and when you start out with a compromise, you end with a compromise of a compromise, which is where we are now.

    I thought that in the area of constitutional rights he would be better than he has been. That's the greatest disappointment, because Obama went to Harvard Law School and is presumably dedicated to constitutional rights. But he becomes president, and he's not making any significant step away from Bush policies. Sure, he keeps talking about closing Guantánamo, but he still treats the prisoners there as "suspected terrorists." They have
    not been tried and have not been found guilty. So when Obama proposes taking people out of Guantánamo and putting them into other prisons, he's not advancing the cause of constitutional rights very far. And then he's gone into court arguing for preventive detention, and he's
    continued the policy of sending suspects to countries where they very well may be tortured.

    I think people are dazzled by Obama's rhetoric, and that people ought to begin to understand that Obama is going to be a mediocre president--which means, in our time, a dangerous president--unless there is some national
    movement to push him in a better direction.

    Originally published in The Nation.

    Republished by Seven Stories Press, one of his publishers. This originally appeared in The Nation as part of a larger discussion assessing Obama.

  •  I really believe we are doomed (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    historys mysteries, cacamp

    I miss the activism of those who fought for those things we now seem poised to give away and lose. (Wait for the wisdom that comes from Biden.)

  •  Kind of sickening to see Howard Zinn (13+ / 0-)

    co-opted by right-center Democrats and oligarchs, but not surprising.  They're clearly getting desperate.

  •  The speech Zinn wanted Obama to hear (10+ / 0-)

    UtneCast: Howard Zinn Talks About His New Documentary
    Jeff Severns Guntzel. December 11, 2009

    "I asked Zinn to pick a speech he'd like to have performed for President Obama and who he'd pick to read it. He picked a piece read by David Strathairn and we've included a recording of the Strathairn reading here."

  •  Change: Vision and Reality in Obama's Presidency (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    4kedtongue

    Howard speaks at Boston University where he taught for 24 years.

    The Promise of Change: Vision and Reality in Obama's Presidency

    /

  •  It's time. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SoCalSal, OLinda, evergreen2, Imhotepsings

    Unfortunately, I don't think our side is willing to take on the personal risk and sacrifice you describe above.  Who here is really willing to risk their jobs or a little jail time or a club to the face or a bullet?  There are a few but most of us are a bit too ... comfortable for that.

    IMO.

    •  Social Movements often appear out of nowhere (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      monkeybox, BlueDragon, semiot, TomP

      America was extremely passive and repressed in 1960, but after a few black college students sat at an all white lunch counter in the south, the civil rights movement took off.

      Many of the famous strikes started as small local disputes and turned into national uprisings.

      The underlying discontent today is widespread and all it takes is a spark to start a revolution as Tunisia and Egypt showed.

      Stop complaining, start protesting

      by Johnnythebandit on Thu Jun 16, 2011 at 07:27:05 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Tell me ... (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ozsea1, BlueDragon, Imhotepsings

        Do you think that the spark has to be something relatively disruptive?

        In Wisconsin, we've been extraordinarily polite.
        That's great if you don't want to offend but ...
        it's also fairly easy to dismiss.

        In contrast, strikes and sitting at the all-white lunch counter is radically disruptive for people who want their employees to work and their customers to be white.

        •  Sit-down are "polite". Disruption isnt a constant (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          monkeybox

          Does the spark "have to be" disruptive?  No. Civility is not fatal to reform in and of itself.  

          There is no widespread support for a general strike right now, so where are the strikers going to come from and who will they impress?  Different tactics for different times.

          Stop. Stand up. Make a sign. Walk around in public. Be polite and orderly and the rest takes care of itself. Want to shake up the Plutocrats? Demonstrate your attention to politics.

          by Quicklund on Thu Jun 16, 2011 at 08:42:38 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Something can be disruptive and polite (0+ / 0-)

          Disruption is necessary though imo and I the Wisconsin protests were disruptive. Many teachers went on sick out strikes, and tens of thousands occupied the state capitol rotunda disrupting the political process.

          The real strength of the movement was that the protesters hung in there for weeks and refused to allow business as usual to continue.

          Stop complaining, start protesting

          by Johnnythebandit on Fri Jun 17, 2011 at 07:27:23 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  To clarify .... (0+ / 0-)

            I agree that polite might not be exactly what I meant.
            IMO, the Wisconsin protests were disruptive in a sense but not to things that conservatives really care about.  Conservatives were at best (worst) inconvenienced and felt no real pain.  What was disrupted was, what, public education?  government?  

            The owners of those lunch counters, in contrast, actually had their livelihood and control over their property/business and their ability to discriminate freely placed in jeopardy.  

            Civil disobedience or non-violence, it seems to me, works best when the people targeted experience the resistance as an existential threat.  

      •  that's too simplistic (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        evergreen2, Imhotepsings

        the civil rights movement took generations of preparations and resistance over years. No way it took off from the kids sit-ins even though they were influential. All movements take long and hard community organizing if they are to succeed. For the labor movement there were organizers in place(many of them communists) to take advantage of any spontaneous uprisings.

        America could have chosen to be the worlds doctor, or grocer. We choose instead to be her policeman. pity

        by cacamp on Thu Jun 16, 2011 at 09:11:52 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  The "us" you refer to is the DK crew, right? (0+ / 0-)

      And as numerous demographic surveys have shown, this is a relatively privileged group compared to our society at large.  Many are white, male, middle-aged, educated and upper-middle income.

      That's not where the revolutionary fervor is going to come from.  People like that have too much to lose.  At best, they can play a supporting role.

      However, there are many millions of people in this country, and around the world, who have far less to lose and far more to gain by undertaking serious, sustained direct action that fundamentally challenges our political-socio-economic system.  A great many of us are, or can be convinced to be, ready for the kind of risks that will be necessary.

      Between excessive citizen activism and excessive trust or passivity, the former is far preferable to the latter. - Glenn Greenwald

      by An Affirming Flame on Fri Jun 17, 2011 at 12:42:25 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Johnny the bandit, write for us please. (4+ / 0-)

    Won't you do a little diary for Anti-Capitalist Meetup one Sunday?

  •  One little inspirational source (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    worldlotus, BlueDragon, semiot, TomP

    that's easy to access:

    "The War at Home" is a Wisconsin Education TV production from 1979.  It focuses on the anti-Vietnam War movement in Madison, Wisconsin from 1963 up through the Army Math Building bombing.

    Great stuff.  Direct action.  Lots of archival footage that reminds us how idealistic, open and honest we once were.  Debates about all the issues that confront the social movements that Zinn loved.

    It's available on Netflix (I know.  How fucking middle class.)

    And it uses one of my favorite tunes as a bit of a theme song:

  •  Zinn on Obama before the election (6+ / 0-)

    Interview with Kaveh Afrasiabi, professor of international relations at Bentley College (near Boston.)

    Kaveh Afrasiabi: Democratic presidential candidate Senator Barack Obama is running on a platform for change and, yet, he does not seem decisive on important domestic or foreign policy issues. Do you agree?

    Howard Zinn: I agree his proposals do not meet the need. On the war, where we need an immediate withdrawal of troops he asks only a partial withdrawal and seems to want to keep the private contractors there. Furthermore, his peace position on Iraq, if you can call it that, is countered by a "war position" on Afghanistan (he says, bring troops out of Iraq, send troops to Afghanistan!) and also on Iran ("keep our options open", which means military force must be an option). He has talked about not just opposing the Iraq war but the "mindset" that led us into the war.

    He clearly has not changed his own mindset about the use of military force. His domestic agenda likewise does not go far enough, despite his rhetoric his "universal health care" plan is not universal. It still depends on individuals taking out insurance, working with insurance companies, instead of the government guaranteeing everyone free health care (the single-payer system, which other countries use successfully at half the cost of our inadequate system, and which both Obama and [Hillary] Clinton studiously avoid).

    KA: What is your reaction to the criticism that Obama lacks the necessary experience to occupy the Oval Office?

    HZ: The experience argument is ridiculous. No one has the experience of being president until he or she is president. Other experience - being a senator, being governor, are not compatible. We have had "experienced" presidents who have been disastrous ([Ronald] Reagan was a governor, [George H W] Bush senior had loads of experience in various posts) - the important thing is intelligence and values. Obama has the intelligence. Experience is not his problem. His problem is a rather superficial approach to both foreign and domestic policy.

    KA: Obama's critics have attacked him for not being patriotic enough, but doesn't his premise of "change we can believe" also entail a new, more enlightened sense of American patriotism?

    HZ: The patriotism argument is nonsensical, just a cheap way of drawing on the American culture of "patriotism" which is an inadequate approach to policy. Patriotism is defined in the traditional culture as obedience to government, which is an anti-democratic concept, indeed, totalitarian. It is also defined as favoring militarism and war, which is against the interests of the people, and patriotism should mean defending the interests of the people, not the government, not the wealthy elite. Obama should meet the charge head on and insist on his definition of patriotism commensurate with the 21st century realities rather than the archaic, conventional one.

    KA: Should the left in America support Obama?

    HZ: Obama will be better than the alternative, so we must support him at the polling booth. But before and after election day he should be subject to sharp, bold criticism to move him forward.

    KA: Do you have any recommendations for the Obama camp?

    HZ: Stop talking about Hillary, talk about [President George W] Bush and [John] McCain, and their continuation of the war and business as usual. Talk about changing this country from a war-making country to a peaceful one, talk about the need to discipline greedy corporate America, about true health security with a single-payer system, about learning from the policies of the New Deal - government-created jobs, etc, but going beyond that.

    All of this will be welcomed by the electorate, who have declared their opposition to the war and will welcome the idea of immediate withdrawal from Iraq. Obama should talk about how American security comes through strength in our relations with the rest of the world, how he can heal the enormous wounds inflicted by Bush, by building bridges to other people when in comparison the Republican nominee perpetuates the discourse of fear and insecurity.

    Zinn on Obama in American history

  •  see my diary (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    farbuska, ozsea1, Johnnythebandit

    about Zinn's warnings about Obama.

    By far the most rec's for me ever.

    We need to push back hard, hard, harder.

    I am awaiting delivery of my new DK4 signature

    by BlueDragon on Thu Jun 16, 2011 at 06:42:27 PM PDT

  •  Too bad anytime progressives attempted (15+ / 0-)

    this...

    Obama will not fulfill that potential for change unless he is enveloped by a social movement which is angry enough, powerful enough, insistent enough

    They were shouted down and asked if they also wanted a pony...

    Oh well...

    "Senator McCain offered up the oldest Washington stunt in the book - you pass the buck to a commission to study the problem." - Senator Obama, 9-16-2008

    by justmy2 on Thu Jun 16, 2011 at 06:44:02 PM PDT

    •  not so (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      evergreen2, Imhotepsings

      Bashing Obama may have been shouted down but the whole meaning of Zinns words are not to bash Obama and think he's going to save you. He said support Obama like he did but get out and organize a movement that will force him to react. Don't beg Obama to give you a pony get out and organize the people to take a whole herd.

      America could have chosen to be the worlds doctor, or grocer. We choose instead to be her policeman. pity

      by cacamp on Thu Jun 16, 2011 at 09:20:00 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  You lost me (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ohmyheck

        at "bashing Obama."  If you cannot stop using offensive language to describe those of us that actually want to see real change, by describing critique as "bashing," then you are part of the problem.

        Arrrr, the laws of science be a harsh mistress. -Bender B. Rodriguez

        by democracy inaction on Fri Jun 17, 2011 at 04:40:49 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Arguing over semantics (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Imhotepsings, cacamp

          is just plain fucking worthless. We will not build the necessary social movements to effect positive change by worrying about what the meaning of "is" is, which is -- DUH! -- the whole point of this diary!

          "Lash those traitors and conservatives with the pen of gall and wormwood. Let them feel -- no temporising!" - Andrew Jackson to Francis Preston Blair, 1835

          by Ivan on Fri Jun 17, 2011 at 07:17:28 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  let me explain "bashing" vs "criticism" (0+ / 0-)

          to me the difference between criticism and bashing is that bashing serves no purpose. Bashing is things like "he's just like Bush" "all of you are Obamabots" "he wants to be king" "he hate working people" plus all the worse things the wingnuts throw at him.

          On the other hand actual criticism is on policy things. I detest the war in Afganistan and often say so. I believe he's wrong in his assesment of the situation. He can and should be criticized on many things, I support doing just that and do so myself.

          But Zinns main point and one that I agree on is that all presidents are a part and parcel of the status quo and must be forced to do the right things. They must be "enveloped" by a strong social movement just as FDR was on social security, JFk was on civil rights and LBj was on the Viet Nam war.

          If that makes one a "part of the problem" I'm guilty.

           

          America could have chosen to be the worlds doctor, or grocer. We choose instead to be her policeman. pity

          by cacamp on Fri Jun 17, 2011 at 09:55:00 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Once you define yourself (0+ / 0-)

            as an Obama apologist as you and many, many others have, I will no longer take you seriously.  You (and the rest) are obviously not smart enough to understand the dynamics at play that might cause someone that supported the hell out of Obama in 2008 to now say "he's just like Bush" and I know this because I've tried in good faith and on multiple occasions to have a rational discussion about it only to be met with contempt, ridicule and willful obtuseness so I am done with the "good faith" with you and your fellow apologists.  That bridge has been burned.  You are also not smart enough to tell the difference between criticism and "bashing" because whenever the former occurs, your fellow apologists go out of their way to label it as the latter.  Every.  Goddamned.  Time.  You are all very much part of the problem.

            But Zinns main point and one that I agree on is that all presidents are a part and parcel of the status quo and must be forced to do the right things.
            That's great rhetoric but I know you don't believe it.  Because whenever anyone around here starts talking about forcing Obama to do something, you and all your apologist buddies start piling on, hijacking threads and attacking everyone that doesn't have glowing praise for Obama.

            You words mean nothing to me, what I pay attention to are your actions.  And your actions, and the actions of your Obama-defending peers, betray your lofty rhetoric.  None of you have credibility.

            I know that you, just like the rest, love Obama.  I know that you, just like the rest, are a centrist and as such, you're getting everything you want from Obama.  I know that you, just like the rest, hate the left as much as you hate the right.  But parading around here all dressed up like a liberal so you and your buddies can covertly keep the waters nice and muddy as you try to convince real liberals here to not believe their lying eyes is just too much, there are no words that can strongly enough express my contempt for what you and your buddies do here every day.  I don't pretend to be something I am not but you and your cohort are anything but honest about who you are.

            Well I know who you are and I don't like you.  And if you and your neoliberal friends are going to continue to play these games, I am going to do what I can to expose you as the frauds you really are.

            You and the rest are a cancer on progress.

            Arrrr, the laws of science be a harsh mistress. -Bender B. Rodriguez

            by democracy inaction on Fri Jun 17, 2011 at 12:26:58 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  hahahhahHA! stupid but funny as hell (0+ / 0-)

              you dumb motherfucker you better go to my page find out my name and google it. I've done more fighting in my life than you'll ever think about doing. I've led an armed insurrection against the USA and its army for 73 long days at Wounded Knee. I did time in Americas worst joints and organized the 'revolutionary coalition' of all races while in a place where you would be sucking dicks to live. I fought in the streets of Chicago and in the grape fields of California before you were born. I marched in deadly places for civil rights and stood strong with my fellow vets against an illegal war. A small minded fuckhead like you could never reach up high enough to touch my balls.

              Stupid people can sit at a computer and call names but you and no one in America can ever tell me to my face that I don't stand strong for the people. I've done it motherfucker and I don't hide my name, check it out before you say stupid things as if you're half the warrior I am. I also travel all across America if you still care to meet me and say your shit to my face, any fucking time any fucking place. I'm well known for my deeds, are you?

              America could have chosen to be the worlds doctor, or grocer. We choose instead to be her policeman. pity

              by cacamp on Fri Jun 17, 2011 at 11:21:19 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

    •  You can't just demand it from Obama. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Imhotepsings, Unduna

      You have to demand it from all of them.  That's the real disconnect here.

      "The bottom line is, we've got to wake up. We can't allow our disappointment in Obama to lull us into allowing a truly dangerous strain of conservative philosophy to gain any more traction than it already has." --ObamOcala 4/5/11

      by smoothnmellow on Fri Jun 17, 2011 at 07:21:08 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  My favorite scene from "Sicko!" (14+ / 0-)

    Where the American expatriate living in France said that the difference between the two counties was that in America the people are afraid of the government, while in France the government is afraid of the people.

  •  If not for TARP and unfreezing credit, (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BlueDragon, Imhotepsings

    we would likely have had a repeat of bank closures, people unable to get money from banks, and paychecks not issued. Unemployment would have been much higher. Situations like that of the 1930s that lead to general strikes.

    Maybe it takes more pain for people to get angry enough for a general strike to effect real change. I can't wish more pain on any one. But I'm wondering how a general strike would work in the USA.

    •  Any evidence of this? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      BlueDragon, ohmyheck

      Bank closures to be sure, but we had those anyway. Making sure individual investors are covered is a government function that was overseen well. How exactly did TARP and unfreezing credit (assuming one believes that has happened) prevent paychecks not being issued? I understand it is a right wing meme that we needed to give away the store to the TBTF banks or else, but the lending market really has not resumed to any great extent.

      When I perceive the fight to be rigged, I don't wanna grow up. The Ramones

      by tgrshark13 on Thu Jun 16, 2011 at 07:26:50 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Numerous reports from news sources and (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        BlueDragon

        subsequent books about frozen credit in the fall of 2009. Some banks were not making overnight inter-bank transfers to cover daily deposits/withdrawals. Among the companies that could not get credit to cover payroll and expenses were Harley Davidson, GE, Verizon, McDonalds, and car makers. Those are companies that I remember. Check out the Federal Bank report for the full list of companies that were loaned money by the Fed because they couldn't get money from banks.

  •  Yes (5+ / 0-)

    Yes, yes, yes, a thousand times, yes, and yes again, until the end of time.

    You have expressed what I was trying to say in comments in the other diary, that voting, blogging, and calling your Congressman isn't nearly enough. That's not even the bare minimum. That stuff's like breathing. It's something that should come so natural that we don't even need to talk about it, much less think about it. Direct action is the only way forward. When we had direct action, things went well for us. When we forgot about it, the powerful reasserted their hold on power. The solution, it seems to me, is plain and simple, as clear as the sun and the moon in the sky.

  •  great diary, thanks (4+ / 0-)

    it seems sometimes the entire democrat party just wants to be wise republicans. obama is in my little view leading the way to a teaparty president.

    americans must at some point begin to protest the trillion dollar military, which will be in more or less constant use. you cannot spend that kind of money and not have a use for it.

  •  as soon as i find a job (5+ / 0-)

    i promise i'll go on strike

  •  WI Not Enough? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Quicklund, blueoasis
    Obama will not fullfill that potential for change unless he is enveloped by a social movement which is angry enough, powerful enough, insistent enough that he fill his abstract phrases about change with some real solid content.

    The trouble is, there isn't just one social movement that needs demonstrators.  And the other trouble is, there is no corresponding focus by the administration on any one social movement that is in line with the people's will -- such as DADT, or equal marriage protection, or single payer health coverage, or tax increase for the wealthy, or union busting, or attack on women, or. . .

    Readers & Book Lovers Pull up a chair! You're never too old to be a Meta Groupie

    by Limelite on Thu Jun 16, 2011 at 07:23:45 PM PDT

  •  about Obama...about Obama...about Obama... (5+ / 0-)

    I think you're missing the forest for the trees.

    Zinn's point is that it wasn't ABOUT FDR/isn't ABOUT Obama, especially not if you want to get anywhere.

    Yet- on every single issue - what's the diary here?

    OBAMA'S failure to support marriage equality.

    OBAMA'S
    "catfood commission".

    OBAMA'S failure to to negotiate a middle class-only tax cut extension.

    OBAMA'S failure to get a a public option done.

    You're putting the cart before the horse - as Zinn has written and you've excerpted, the New Deal wasn't the vanguard of that movement - it was a response to that movement... a forced response... not an "FDR save us!".

    I'm sorry to say, but if folks want to take to the ramparts - general strikes, what not - I won't be joining.  It's not that I think all is well.  It's not that I don't sympathize on plenty of issues.  In fact, there are certain to be rallies and marches where I will come out.

    I don't begrudge anyone here doing that - I just begrudge this general "DAMN YOU OBAMA!!!" bent for those issues.

    I honestly believe that if Zinn were alive and participating in this discussion -- he'd probably agree -- "Why are you all so damned focused all the time on what Obama did or didn't do?"

    Full Disclosure: I am an unpaid shill for every paranoid delusion that lurks under your bed - but more than willing to cash any checks sent my way

    by zonk on Thu Jun 16, 2011 at 07:48:44 PM PDT

    •  Thanks (4+ / 0-)

      I think have it right about the horses and the carts.  Demonstrations are called for.  If they were happening in all 50 states on the scale they are in Madison, that would start to shake some complacencies.  Demonstrations at this stage are realistic, but not widespread general strikes.    

      Strikes are going to happen all over, when most cities haven't seen so much as one person carrying a sign?  

      Stop bitching.  You need zero other people to start marching.  Other people will then find you.  It worked for me.

      Read the tagline.

      Stop. Stand up. Make a sign. Walk around in public. Be polite and orderly and the rest takes care of itself. Want to shake up the Plutocrats? Demonstrate your attention to politics.

      by Quicklund on Thu Jun 16, 2011 at 08:55:38 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Right, Zinn meant; stop the Obama bashing (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      evergreen2, Imhotepsings

      I repeat...

      Even though Obama doesn't represent any fundamental change, he creates an opening for a possibility of change. That's why I'm voting for him, that's why I suggest to people they vote for him. But I also suggest that Obama will not fullfill that potential for change unless he is enveloped by a social movement which is angry enough, powerful enough, insistent enough that he fill his abstract phrases about change with some real solid content.

      Stop blaming Obama because it will only put America in the hands of much worse. Support Obama in the election but get you(our) asses out and force the matter. Wisconsin is a good model of a place that didn't need some savior to fly in to save the people, they took to the streets to save themselves.

      Obama bashing is the lazy activists way of avoiding the hard work of organizing the people and getting the job done.

      FDR was forced to betray his class and enact his reforms. JFK and LBJ wanted to slowdown and wait on civil rights. Over and over the icons of liberal governments wern't really in the vanguard of social change. They followed the people and so will Obama if the people lead and force the issue.

      America could have chosen to be the worlds doctor, or grocer. We choose instead to be her policeman. pity

      by cacamp on Thu Jun 16, 2011 at 08:58:33 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  That quote does not mean "Stop the Obama bashing" (8+ / 0-)

        When Zinn says that Obama needs to be enveloped by a social movement he means that Obama needs to be surrounded by angry citizens who are not afraid to call him out on his policies.  Read A People's History of the United States and you will see that Zinn was harshly critical of just about every single President this nation has ever had.  Even sacred cows like Lincoln and Jefferson were harshly condemned by Zinn, while he praised those who protested against those Presidents.

        Zinn would NEVER say anything even remotely like "Stop the Obama bashing" and if you think he would you clearly have not read his body of work.  

        •  I think he would (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          puakev, evergreen2, Imhotepsings, burlydee

          but NOT because he didn't think Obama should be bashed, but because too many people, far too often, make that the centerpiece - the point isn't that Zinn would be defending Obama by any stretch of the imagination... it would, essentially, be "bash Obama, but that shouldn't be your focus".  

          Not saying it applies to you, but I think it's a fair reading of this site to say that for a lot folks and in a lot of cases, it is.

          Full Disclosure: I am an unpaid shill for every paranoid delusion that lurks under your bed - but more than willing to cash any checks sent my way

          by zonk on Thu Jun 16, 2011 at 09:31:59 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Zinn was harshly critical of many Presidents. (6+ / 0-)

            There is no doubt that Zinn wanted people to see the big picture and realize that politics was about more than a single person, but that certainly does not mean that he didn't want people to target powerful authority figures for criticism.  I have read most of Zinn's major works and he spent plenty of time critiquing individual Presidents and other powerful figures, he focused plenty on individuals but he never lost sight of the big picture.

            Zinn made it clear before the last election that he did not expect Obama to change much, nor did he ever have much faith in any other candidate bringing about real change.  Zinn never felt the ballot box was very effective at bringing about change, he felt that direct action was the only way to truly change things.  Much of the direct actions that Zinn praised were aimed at exposing Presidents and other powerful individuals, just read A People's History and you will find dozens if not hundreds of examples of this in just that single book.  To suggest that he would oppose "Obama bashing" or harsh criticism of any other President for that matter ignores his large body of work in which he focused intensely on ordinary citizens who stood up to Presidents.

            •  Zinn said to stop Obama bashing and organize (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Imhotepsings

              Try to understand this...

              Even though Obama doesn't represent any fundamental change, he creates an opening for a possibility of change. That's why I'm voting for him, that's why I suggest to people they vote for him. But I also suggest that Obama will not fullfill that potential for change unless he is enveloped by a social movement which is angry enough, powerful enough, insistent enough that he fill his abstract phrases about change with some real solid content.

              He further went on to explain that every president from FDR to JFK to LBJ was a part and parcel of the status qou and had to be forced into doing the peoples will. In the first two sentances he endorses Obama and campaigns for him. But in the last he explains Obama must be forced to do the will of the people. Bashing a democratic member of the oligarch can only replace him with someone from the facist right so Zinn implores us to "envelope" him with a strong social movement in the same way FDR was enveloped to force him to pass social security or JFK was on civil rights or LBJ was on Viet Nam.

              And kindly note that I said "bash" not criticize. But if Zinn is to have any meaning its for people to understand that the USA has never elected a liberal president. The ones who passed liberal legislation were forced to do so by an angry and well organized electorate. So vote for and support Obama against the forces of the right but organize the people if you expect real change.

              America could have chosen to be the worlds doctor, or grocer. We choose instead to be her policeman. pity

              by cacamp on Thu Jun 16, 2011 at 10:14:07 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  A social movement is not what you think it is (5+ / 0-)

                Read Zinn's books and you will see that the social movements he writes about are not focused on cheering on a particular candidate, they are focused on challenging powerful interests.  When he said he wanted a social movement to envelope Obama he was not suggesting that movement should be supportive of Obama, he was suggesting they take Obama to task.

                It is true you used the word "bash' instead of criticize, but Howard Zinn was very blunt and he bashed just about every President there ever was and he bashed them hard.  

              •  Stop it, just f***ing stop it (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                ohmyheck
                The ones who passed liberal legislation were forced to do so by an angry and well organized electorate.
                You're trying to have your cake and eat it too, you're trying to say that we need a grassroots movement but utterly fail to understand that it is in response to an ineffective president.

                Where do you think the "anger" comes from within the electorate that spawns movements for real change?  Right now, the left is angry, precisely because Obama failed to deliver what he promised.  This is the anger that will get a real grass roots movement started, but that's really not what you want, is it?  You want the grassroots movement, you just don't want anyone to be angry at Obama and you utterly fail to understand that one can't exist without the other, nor that anger at Obama is entirely justified.

                You and the rest really need to get over your infatuation for Obama, you don't get to have your cake and eat it to.  People are angry at Obama and have every valid reason to be angry at him, that's how grassroots movements are started and that's how a grassroots movement will get started to take on this government.

                You're tying to thread a needle that can't be threaded, you want change, you just don't want to see your guy criticized and one cannot exist without the other.

                I am beyond fed up at you and all the others here that are standing in the way of progress.  Your attitude is a cancer to progress and you and the rest really need to get the f*** out of the way.

                Arrrr, the laws of science be a harsh mistress. -Bender B. Rodriguez

                by democracy inaction on Fri Jun 17, 2011 at 05:47:40 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

            •  I have read a People's History (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Imhotepsings

              I think you're misrepresenting my point.

              A People's History isn't 43 chapters of essays about how 43 powerful men failed the people.  The mentions and criticisms of Presidents are certainly there, but would you not agree that criticism of Presidents makes up a rather small minority of the book?

              There's a heck of lot on various strikes, labor leaders, movements, and people other than Presidents.

              I do not claim to be an expert on either Zinn nor the book - I read it once, years ago - but my recollection is very much that his larger thesis and purpose was to avoid focusing on the same 43 men we all generally learn about in high school... except perhaps to say "Here's what they didn't tell you, now let's get to the people of the era and those other than the Presidents".

              I'm saying that I believe Zinn would say that the problem here is that people are "Obama bashing" to the near exclusion of anything else.

              Full Disclosure: I am an unpaid shill for every paranoid delusion that lurks under your bed - but more than willing to cash any checks sent my way

              by zonk on Thu Jun 16, 2011 at 10:18:41 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  A People's History examined many things (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                KJG52, ohmyheck, lotlizard

                It is certainly true that a very large portion of the book was about social movements rather than Presidents, but critique of the various Presidents did take up a substantial portion of the book as well.  The purpose of the book was not so much to avoid the stories we learned in High School history classes as it was to present those stories from a different perspective.  Zinn would present perspectives on Thomas Jefferson through the eyes of slaves, he would look at the perspective of the Native Americans whose people were killed in acts of genocide when examining Andrew Jackson or Christopher Columbus, he would look at FDR through the eyes of the Japanese who were thrown in internment camps.  While the book is about far more than his views on the Presidents, he certainly does go after all the Presidents very harshly through a very substantial portion of the book.

      •  Yet again (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ohmyheck, poemworld

        you and the rest of the Obama "defenders" have it completely wrong and completely misunderstand what Zinn and the diarist mean.

        You totally miss the point that if Obama had kept the promises that he made, no one would be disappointed with him.  And that disappointment is the very basis for a grassroots movement to force the government's hand.  It is because Obama over-promised and under-delivered that we're even having this conversation right now.  And it is the anger at Obama for failing to keep his promises that is the very impetus for a grassroots movement.

        Believe me when I say we get it, you really like Obama.  You don't want people to say bad things about him and you take it personally when someone does.  This is well more than clear.  You and the rest also really need to get over this and stop taking it personally.  If you don't want to help (and it is clear that you don't), fine, but stop standing in our way.

        Stop calling it "Obama bashing" whenever someone is critical of Obama.  It isn't, it only looks like that to you because you are taking it personally.

        I, for one, have had it with people like you, standing in the way of progress because you're personally offended whenever someone says something about Obama that isn't glowing praise.

        I'm not going to be nice about it anymore, hide rates and TU status be damned.  You obviously have no appreciation for how you are standing in the way of progress and standing up for the status quo and that is absolutely the wrong prescription for change.

        Real change is what we want and the only way real change will come is if enough people get pissed off about the hand their government has dealt them.  And yes, part of that equation is being critical - and rightfully so - about the president.

        So if you and the rest can't stand the heat, then get the hell out of the goddamn kitchen.

        Arrrr, the laws of science be a harsh mistress. -Bender B. Rodriguez

        by democracy inaction on Fri Jun 17, 2011 at 05:31:26 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Talk about (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ohmyheck

      missing the forest for the trees.

      Obama made promises and then failed - for whatever reason - to fulfill them.  I don't know about you but when anybody makes me a promise and then fails to fulfill it, it makes me angry at that person that broke their promise.  And that anger is the basis for a grass roots movement, it is precisely why we're talking about this now.

      If everyone was happy with what Obama was doing, and he was fulfilling the promises that he made, there wouldn't be so many people so disappointed with him and ready to take to the street.

      If Obama hadn't over-promised and under-delivered, there would be no need for any kind of grass roots movement to force the government's hand.

      So the "DAMN YOU OBAMA!!!" that you lament is entirely necessary to get a grass roots movement going.

      You and the rest need to stop taking it personally.  We all know how much you like Obama and wish that no one would ever say a negative word about him but you and the rest need to wake the f*** up and join the rest of us in the reality-based community; Obama did not live up to the promises that he made and if he did, there wouldn't be so much anger at him and we wouldn't be having this conversation right now.  That's on Obama and not on the people that are criticizing him for it.

      And until you and the rest realize this and treat Obama's critics with some respect instead of your usual contempt, you can expect the pie fights to escalate as you and the rest find yourselves on the wrong side of history.

      Which side are you on?

      Arrrr, the laws of science be a harsh mistress. -Bender B. Rodriguez

      by democracy inaction on Fri Jun 17, 2011 at 05:06:36 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  There is a famous statement by (6+ / 0-)

    Roosevelt about how he needed the left to push him in order for him to get the legislation he wanted passed.  

    The thing is, I don't think Obama really wants the same things we do, so it's not a matter of us applying pressure from the outside that gives him cover to do the things he really wants to do.  I think that he likes the status quo and treasures stability and civility.  Outside pressure from the left is something to be resisted, and we can see this not just from his actions, but from the in-fighting.  For instance, his support of Blanche Lincoln and his chief of staff calling Bill Halter supporters (in her primary challenge) "Fucking retards" quote-unquote.  Of course, Blanche went on to lose the election, as we know, but at least they were assured that if a Democrat won, they would maintain the status quo.  

    So I don't think pressure from the left will help as long as we have Democrats like the ones we have now running things.  The Democratic Party is broken.  It needs to be fixed.  That means first firing or replacing the ones that represent us now.

    •  Hmmmm..... (4+ / 0-)

      I don't think the powers that be in Egypt really wanted to respond to Egypt's youth.  But they were confronted with a choice:  respond or be like Syria.

      So they responded to the youth.

      To assume that first you have to have people in office with secret desires in their hearts to do better by the people isn't self-evident.

      Maybe you just have to have enough people in power who would rather not massacre their people?

      •  I agree, (5+ / 0-)

        but we'll never get there from here.  The worst damage we can do to the ruling elite is to not support them when they come to us expecting our automatic votes and money based on the "lesser of two evils" argument.  Inasmuch as protests, however, imply that they won't get our support and that we've reached out Dan Choi level of outrage, then yes, it does help.  

        (Hooray for Dan Choi today, by the way.)

        I posted this in my Thursday Classical Music series diary a couple of months ago.  It's highlyrelevant to the discussion.  Lyrics by Bertolt Brecht, circa 1930 or thereabouts.

        •  This (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ohmyheck, poemworld

          is what so many Obama defenders here either fail to understand or refuse to understand:

          The worst damage we can do to the ruling elite is to not support them when they come to us expecting our automatic votes and money based on the "lesser of two evils" argument.
          That's precisely the opposite of the approach that they would prescribe.  Just read their comments right here in this thread for all the proof you need.

          On the left, the biggest impediment to real progress are Obama's tireless defenders.  They are purposefully standing in the way of progress and for no better reason than they don't like it when people say negative things about their guy and that they take it personally whenever someone does.

          They are concern trolls in the extreme and I have had more than enough.  As I said in a previous comment, hide rates and TU status be damned, I'm not going to be nice about it anymore.  Real change doesn't come by being nice.

          Arrrr, the laws of science be a harsh mistress. -Bender B. Rodriguez

          by democracy inaction on Fri Jun 17, 2011 at 05:58:59 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  not so and Zinn explained it well (7+ / 0-)

      If a movement swept the country and disrupted government, interupted commerce and stopped the flow of goods Obama and the democrats would be forced to react. They may not want to but they would have to respond. Absent such incentives they will not act. Worrying about what he wants don't get shit done, Zinn says he's a part of the ruling class as were all the other pressidents who enacted liberal legislation, FDR, JFK, Truman and LBJ all needed to be pushed and forced by strong activist movements who would shut down the country if they didn't act. Only then did they move the country in the peoples direction.

      America could have chosen to be the worlds doctor, or grocer. We choose instead to be her policeman. pity

      by cacamp on Thu Jun 16, 2011 at 09:30:40 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I would strike. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    katiec, blueoasis, poemworld

    But my striking wouldn't really impact my city.  Nobody would care if a bunch of lawyers went on strike.

    There are those that look at things the way they are, and ask why? I dream of things that never were, and ask why not? -Robert F. Kennedy

    by JSCram3254 on Thu Jun 16, 2011 at 07:58:03 PM PDT

  •  Finally. (4+ / 0-)

    Someone who finally, totally gets it.  Thank you.

    "The bottom line is, we've got to wake up. We can't allow our disappointment in Obama to lull us into allowing a truly dangerous strain of conservative philosophy to gain any more traction than it already has." --ObamOcala 4/5/11

    by smoothnmellow on Thu Jun 16, 2011 at 08:13:15 PM PDT

  •  As someone who did a major college paper on Zinn (9+ / 0-)

    I thank you for setting the record straight on who Zinn was, he was not a person who would advocate that we just go along with the person sitting in the White House.  In fact he would advocate that people organize mass acts of civil disobedience and seriously agitate the people in power.  He did suggest people vote for Obama in 2008, but his endorsement was by no means glowing.  Zinn did not even have much faith in the electoral system, he voted sometimes but skipped many elections because he did not feel that he could in good conscious vote for anyone on the ballot.  I don't want to speculate on what Zinn would have to say about the 2012 elections because he is not around to speak for himself, but I guarantee that the Obama loyalists would not be happy with what he had to say.

    •  As a loyalist, I guess I would say (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      CS in AZ, Imhotepsings, poemworld

      That first and foremost, I would and will readily stipulate that Zinn would more than likely say DON'T vote for Obama.  I don't know what he would or wouldn't say either, but I don't think anyone is trying to claim that he'd be even nominally, lesser-of-two-evils supporting Obama... I think he'd, frankly, tell people to quit yammering on blogs and get your asses into the streets.

      My point - and I think a lot of people on the loyalist end would agree - is that as much as many of us are familiar with Zinn and what he wrote (and I'm really just using Zinn as a proxy for something larger), but we don't agree with him up and down the line,

      Like a lot of people here, I arrived at Dailykos by way of the old Dean for America.  We were here (and at DFA) because whatever our personal ideologies - we were trying to win elections.  Period.  

      That's not something Zinn was especially keen on - as you say, he hardly thought voting and campaigning for mainstream candidates was all that effective.

      I understand that this site has added to its mission "and better" to the original purpose "more" Democrats.  I get the better - but I think we also need to get the "and".

      I likewise understand - and am quite glad - that this site has moved beyond candidate advocacy.  

      However, I still come here first and foremost for electoral issues... candidates... who to vote for... advocating for those candidates... etc.

      Absent Kos making some grand pronouncement on a new site mission statement - which we all know he won't do (and good for him) - that means a lot of us are frankly, going to fight for what this site means.

      It wasn't a revolutionary clearinghouse when it started nor was it an ideological thinktank... I'm in no way saying those things aren't welcome - I obviously have no standing to do so and in point of fact, I don't at all mind occasionally discussing those things.

      However, at the end of the day, I became a kossack to participate more effectively in the democratic and Democratic process... for all its limitations, for all its faults, for all its bumps - I still believe in that and still come here for that.

      I feel pretty confidant that at this point, my mind isn't being changed... so where does that leave us?

      Full Disclosure: I am an unpaid shill for every paranoid delusion that lurks under your bed - but more than willing to cash any checks sent my way

      by zonk on Thu Jun 16, 2011 at 10:07:43 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  asdf (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        House of Gin, ohmyheck
        I feel pretty confidant that at this point, my mind isn't being changed... so where does that leave us?
        I'll tell you where, get the hell out of the way.  Changing your mind, or the minds of the rest of Obama's tireless defenders here isn't required for real change.  What is required is for you all to stop abetting the status quo and get the hell out of the way of the rest of us that actually do want real change.

        Right now, you and the rest of the Obama "loyalists" or "defenders" or "trolls" are the biggest impediment to progress here.  So if you won't join the effort for real change, the least you can do is to get the hell out of our way and stop apologizing for Obama.

        Arrrr, the laws of science be a harsh mistress. -Bender B. Rodriguez

        by democracy inaction on Fri Jun 17, 2011 at 06:07:28 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Oooohhh -I'll get right on that, tough guy (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Imhotepsings

          Let me clue you in on a couple things, son...

          First - just a little fashion tip - those jackboots you seem to be obliviously sliding on?  They're not Doc Martins, no matter what Firedogzeroanonymoushedge.com told you.

          Second - get the hell out of the way?  Make me.

          Third - your "Intro to Pretending You're an Online Revolutionary" instructor should have told you, but if you're going to play the "They have the guns, but we have the numbers" game -- you really ought to have the numbers.  You don't.  By any measure.  I'd offer to help you get a refund on the course, that's what us liberal elite loyalists generally try to do - help, but I'm allergic to e-spittle.

          Finally, we're both ultimately guests here... if the big Orange guy wants either of us out of the way, that's his call.   However - given his budding punditry career on the TV, the fact that he's got several other, non-political for-profit ventures going, and seems pretty much wedded to the system -- if and when he decides enough is enough around here, I have a very strong suspicion I'll be the one sticking around.

          Full Disclosure: I am an unpaid shill for every paranoid delusion that lurks under your bed - but more than willing to cash any checks sent my way

          by zonk on Fri Jun 17, 2011 at 07:19:24 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  This site is clearly about more than democrats (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            ohmyheck, poemworld

            I don't know if you noticed, but the majority of diaries are about things other than candidates and elections. Many people on here write about advocating for issues such as psychodrew on gay rights or slinkerwink on single payer. Some people write diaries about their cute cats and dogs. There have been several protests such as USUncut which are discussed here.

            Might I add that during the strike wave of '34, the democrats actually picked up seats (9 in the house, 9 in the senate).

            Stop complaining, start protesting

            by Johnnythebandit on Fri Jun 17, 2011 at 07:50:25 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  As I said in the original comment (0+ / 0-)

              that spawned the "get the hell out of the way" request -- I understand that.  In fact -- just quickly glancing upwards -- I specifically expressed 'gladness' at the site's expanding mission.

              Either we find a way to reach detente - or the squabbles will get in the way of what both of us want.  Keep in mind, though - this site is a very, very small part of the larger 2012 Obama/Biden reelection effort.   The time us loyalists spend arguing here is virtually meaningless in the grand scheme.  To what extent would that be true from your POV?

              In no section or individual comment will you ever find me demanding fealty or 100% agreement with any Democrat...  You'll find varying degrees of instances where I've expressed frustrations and disagreements myself, yes - even with the guy in the executive chair.

              What most of us loyalists reject is when reading threads here sounds like reading threads at freeper... and yes - just because there's no Kenyan secret Muslim stuff here - doesn't really distinguish a lot of the discussions here from there.

              My first goal here - shared by a lot of others - is electing Democrats.  Better Democrats wherever possible, but more Democrats first and foremost.  This place serves an ancillary role in our broader efforts - a place to research candidates in primaries, a place to talk strategy, a place to just talk.

              The question - so where does that leave us - was an honest one... and if the answer is "the hell out of each other's discussions", then so be it.  I would just say - the corpus of possible targets I can reach out to beyond specific places here is a pretty large....  Can you say the same?

              Full Disclosure: I am an unpaid shill for every paranoid delusion that lurks under your bed - but more than willing to cash any checks sent my way

              by zonk on Fri Jun 17, 2011 at 11:41:37 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  Beat it, troll. n/t (0+ / 0-)

            Arrrr, the laws of science be a harsh mistress. -Bender B. Rodriguez

            by democracy inaction on Fri Jun 17, 2011 at 11:48:35 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I am reccing your comments, (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              democracy inaction, lotlizard

              but that doesn't help.  You are correct, they need to get out of the way.  Unfortunately, here at DKos, they will not stop until Markos tells them to go elsewhere, which won't happen.  

              In the the bigger picture, most citizens are NOT paying attention.  On purpose.  The whole debacle is just too much for them.  I see it every day.  THAT is the real problem, out there.  They are overwhelmed by the unbearable truth that the house of cards is in slow-motion collapse.  Everyone knows it.  No one wants to talk about it.

              They won't listen to you or me, DI, because it is too awful to comprehend.  So, IMO, the whole Thing is going to have to become insufferable and totally unavoidable to anyone alive and breathing.  Ya, that bad.

              "Take away paradox from the thinker and you have a professor." Soren Kierkegaard

              by ohmyheck on Fri Jun 17, 2011 at 11:54:54 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  How did I put it before? (0+ / 0-)

              Oh yeah, make me...

              Full Disclosure: I am an unpaid shill for every paranoid delusion that lurks under your bed - but more than willing to cash any checks sent my way

              by zonk on Fri Jun 17, 2011 at 02:13:26 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  Nonetheless, (0+ / 0-)

            I think you and Obama supporters haven't grasped the lesson in the Bill Halter and  Blanche Lincoln defeats.

            In the current political climate the relatively conservative side can indeed win the primary contest against the Leftist side inside the Democratic Party easily.  But despite that the conservative candidate still loses the conservative-leaning swing voters  to the Rightist candidate (i.e. Republican) in the General anyway.  Because that is the way the status quo gets broken when it becomes unbearable.

            Yes, Obama has become the status quo candidate.  And there's a whole new 'party' out there which is out to bust up the economic affairs status quo from the right.  For your average swing voter the story of 2012 is that the GOP will break that status quo, the Democrats (as presently composed) are out to maintain it.    

        •  You know what? Fuck you! (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Imhotepsings, poemworld

          Get the hell out of "our" way, my ass! You're not in any "vanguard" of anything as far as I can see.

          This will have to be a MASS movement! It will have to include both the Obamabots and the Firebaggers, everybody in between, and tens of millions of people who are not even IN that continuum.

          Obama is irrelevant. He's just the poor schmuck who happens to be occupying the White House right now. Other than voting for him, because the alternative is worse and he'll win my state (WA) without breaking a sweat anyway, I won't be lifting a finger for him, because clearly there are bigger fish to fry.

          And suppose we quit arguing over what Howard Zinn said or meant. Zinn is dead and gone and he's not coming back, and he is no more or less imbued with any great insight -- or full of shit altogether -- than the next guy. How about we look forward instead?

          From my reading of U.S. history -- which is neither infallible nor unassailable -- there has always been an oligarchy of capital that has always sought to maximize its leverage, at the expense of working people, and that as Zinn correctly states, all of our presidents have sought to serve that oligarchy first and foremost.

          All except one, that is. Only one president in this nation's history called out the banks for the power-hungry bastards that they were, and took his best shot at smashing their power.

          Yep. It was the guy in my .sig file, the one president who, regarding the concentration of capital,  actually did what Zinn would have had him do, and for whom the venerated, sainted Howard Zinn saved his most vicious venom, vitriol, and vituperation. Go figure.

          So don't follow leaders. Watch the parking meters. It's up to US and what WE do, and not so much who the president is or what the president does. None of us, presidents of historians, is perfect or ever will be. And no mass movement ever will be.

          But anything that keeps us from achieving that critical mass is just so much bullshit. Please try to keep that in mind, and let's avoid these petty arguments.
           

          "Lash those traitors and conservatives with the pen of gall and wormwood. Let them feel -- no temporising!" - Andrew Jackson to Francis Preston Blair, 1835

          by Ivan on Fri Jun 17, 2011 at 08:07:52 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Thanks, interesting comment and history (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Imhotepsings, zonk

        of the origins of this site. Very good to know.

        I'm a relative newbie, having joined just over three years ago, during the 08 presidential primaries. I was brought here originally as an Obama supporter, and I got here directly in the wake of the Hillary supporters famous "writers strike" and leaving DKos en masse... DKos was reported on other sites as having become "Obama Central" (said with great derision mind you), so that's why I came here.

        I was an Obamacrat. I got in to politics to elect him president. I'm still registered to vote as "prefer not to state" regarding my party affiliation. I've almost rejoined the Democratic party twice, once in 08 when I was supporting Obama, and once in 2010 supporting Randy Parraz for the senate nomination here in Arizona. Both times I changed my mind. The first time was because I came here to DKos and although I loved the active Obama support here at that time, I also found ongoing articles on the rec list and front page and in the comments talking about the various way that "Democrats suck!" and I figured why bother joining this party. I can support Obama without joining the party.

        Then in 2010, Randy Parraz was a fantastic, progressive democrat, who really spoke passionately about what it meant -- supposedly -- to be a democrat. Wow! Let me say, if all the democrats actually believed as he does and acted it as he does, I would be one again for sure. If he had won the primary and took on McCain, I was going to sign up as a dem. But alas, the democratic party establishment here anointed someone else, a weak candidate who was by no means a strong progressive and he spoke for nothing, and McCain got a cake walk ... and Randy got trounced in the primary. I realized then that I was not going to join the Arizona democratic party.

        Randy is working now, still, like he did before the election, tirelessly on the state level to take on evils like Russel Pearce and Joe Arpaio. He's leading the effort to recall Pearce. He still rocks. He's still a democrat, as far as I know. But word is that he doesn't plan on another round in electoral politics as a candidate. He's an organizer. He works within the system to challenge and change it.

        You know what he does not do? Sit around on blogs complaining about Barack Obama. Or complain about president Obama on immigration. Or anything else. He fights and works on the changes he believes in, here in our home state.

        I think Randy and a lot of us who agree with him, well me anyway, we will still vote for Obama in 2012. But our focus on a day to day basis has to be on what we can do, on the ground where we live.

        The idea that there will be widespread walkouts, strikes, sit-ins again to force change... well, I see no sign of that happening. Until and unless things get a lot worse first. I can't say I hope that happens. But the complacency of so many people is depressing, I will say that. It is hard work, but efforts like the recall of Russel Pearce here in Az, are worth the effort and I think it's the best use of my own efforts and money to support that, now.

        I do also believe that we need to re-elect Obama, because the alternative is worse and more dangerous. That is what Zinn advise in 2008, I'm not sure he would say differently now. But sadly we can't know his opinion... and we all still have to decide where to invest our personal efforts. People who sincerely believe that the country would be better off with another republican president again (and yes, that is the alternative) confound me... maybe they think it will hasten the revolution?). That's the only explanation that makes any sense to me.

        But I don't think it will work... and I don't think I want to live through the revolution. See, that's the real problem, is that in the US our lives actually are comfortable enough, just barely sometimes, to keep us going. The corporate powers that be have it down to a science (literally) on how to keep the population compliant and under control. I suppose it is true that another few years under BushCo, with the economy in a dive-bomb, might have lead to the massive depression and unemployment that would cause the next revolution. But instead we got someone to stabilize things... Obama. In looking back, that's what appealed about him. Stability. Bush was nuts and reckless, and god knows McCain and Palin were completely insane. Obama... soothed us. That's what we needed and wanted. People responded to that and he won big over crazy and reckless.

        I think that will prevail again in 2012. I hope it will. Doesn't mean I love Obama anymore, but better-than-the-alternative actually is a reasonable criteria for me when voting.

  •  Great diary (0+ / 0-)

    Strike wave in the 2010?  No one can see that far ahead.  None will occur in 2011.  But who knows what a half-dozen years will bring?

    Stop. Stand up. Make a sign. Walk around in public. Be polite and orderly and the rest takes care of itself. Want to shake up the Plutocrats? Demonstrate your attention to politics.

    by Quicklund on Thu Jun 16, 2011 at 08:28:09 PM PDT

  •  Beautiful history! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    evergreen2, Imhotepsings

    What a terrific labor history.  

    Lots of silly Obama comparisons in the comments, though.  

    The history shows the dire differences between then & now...real hunger, 25% unemployment, mass homelessness, actual solidarity.  There's no rising tide of progressive activism today, just a zillion keyboard critics.

    If ever.

  •  I really want to thank you for this.... (4+ / 0-)

    diary.  And thanks to those who have thus far participated.

    Hope there's much more of this to come, and hopefully out of such great conversations will come ideas for how each individual can participate in creating a real movement for change.

    This is one of the most hopeful diaries I've read on DKos.

    Thanks again.

  •  One of the best diaries I have seen (8+ / 0-)

    in a long time.

    The answer to your question, IMHO

    So is voting, blogging, and calling your congressman enough or is more action needed like we saw in the 1930s?

    is more action is needed. Both things are important. But more action is definitely needed.

    I am not sure if this site is going to be the place for that.  If the mission of the site is electing Democrats, that is not enough.  Not nearly enough.  We need a movement that pushes and pressures.  There is a lot of resistance to that here.  It remains to be seen whether the mission will broaden in scope.  Kos has hinted at that, I think. In any case this site is an important cog in the wheel but if it cannot serve the purpose of helping to organize  "more action" it is not a show stopper.  There are other ways.

    I want to thank you for telling this part of the story, one that I was not aware of:

    But it was rank-and-file strikes and insurgencies that pushed the union leadership, AFL and CIO, into action.

    I think that I can see this happening today too -- rumblings, more than rumblings, in the rank and file.  Over the past few years, the connections between the netroots and labor is encouraging too.  I know that there was some organization among the unemployed too, but I have not kept up with that so I am not sure how that is going.

    Thanks for the diary.  We need more of this.  I hope you will decide to write on this topic again, whether it be about historical parallels or about how we need more action and about how simply supporting candidates and working on elections is not nearly enough.  There was a time for that, I think, in the 2006-08 timeframe but now we need to find ways to push them. They are essentially ignoring us and taking us for granted, telling us what we want to hear before elections and then instead of delivering, they serve the corporate masters.

  •  "Arm the homesless" (3+ / 0-)

    I saw that written on a guitar at the celebration when Obama was elected.

    It seemed pretty radical but It makes sense in light of the powerlessness we are feeling.

    •  Tom Morello has that written on his guitar (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      blueoasis, BlueDragon

      He is most famously known as the guitarist for Rage Against the Machine, but has also played for Audioslave, Street Sweeper Social Club and has a solo act in which he is often referred to as the Nightwatchman.

      He also happens to be a big time political activist who lists Howard Zinn as one of his major inspirations.

  •  I think we're beginning (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Imhotepsings

    to see that movement coalesce in Wisconsin and other states like Florida where the GOP has over played their hand. And I hope we have a strong movement of anger backing Obama going into the 2012 elections.

    “There can be no happiness if the things we believe in are different from the things we do.”-Freya Stark

    by in2mixin on Thu Jun 16, 2011 at 10:16:30 PM PDT

  •  Unfortuantely, (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BlueDragon

    the psychopathic sociopathic plutocrats have had 75 years to propogandize, medicate, and generally beat figuratively the passive, an ignorant populace into submission. So called Reality TV, no real news, Wrong Wing Noise machine, repeat over and over  the simple Talking Points-Unions no good,Unions no good, unions no good, Liberal is a slur, the latest sex scandal, well you get the idea.
     The only thing that will work is a series of strikes where the plutocrats crap their pants because of the millions saying "Hell no, we won't  take your shit  no more" at  the point of the figurative pitch fork.

    What do we want? Universal health care! When do we want it? Now!

    by cagernant on Thu Jun 16, 2011 at 10:29:59 PM PDT

  •  Zinn bookmark. ty. (0+ / 0-)

    “Do not think that I came to bring peace on Earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I came to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law." - Jesus

    by Jose Bidenio on Thu Jun 16, 2011 at 11:13:26 PM PDT

  •  The United States is not really united. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BlueDragon

    Those Republicans are elected by majorities in their districts. Hard to believe, isn't it?

    I voted with my feet. Good Bye and Good Luck America!!

    by shann on Thu Jun 16, 2011 at 11:55:23 PM PDT

  •  Nice. I was totally flabbergasted by the other (5+ / 0-)

    diary. That  diarist implies that people like Joan Neleon are whiners whereas she was writing the diary as an act of dissent/spreading the truth. It is a form of protest and also a sign of critical thinking - which is very essential for a citizen in a democracy.  

    It is very true We the people need to lead. "When people lead, the leaders will follow", so says my favorite author David Korten. Democracy is ours if we claim it as our own (Bill Moyers, I think) . Use it or loose it.

    On the other hand, Harry Bellafonte debunks the myth of "make me do it" (or I will snooze). Obama apologists should realise that he should not use it as an excuse. Pressure or not, he has no excuse.
    http://www.blackagendareport.com/...

    NYT reader comment (via Susan Ohanian) : Arne Duncan great example of peter Principle. Failed in Chicago; then promoted so he could repeat failure on national scale.

    by Funkygal on Fri Jun 17, 2011 at 12:09:17 AM PDT

    •  Obama is doing what he thinks is right. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      wishingwell

      Why should he need an excuse for that?  Just because somebody disagrees with his methods, his tactics or even his goals and they talk about it on the internet?

      •  Yeah, like record transfer of wealth from main (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        neroden

        street to wall street and the rich , killing innocent people, women & children  in wedding parties abroad, cutting backroom deals with Big pharma, endorsing Bush-Cheney national insecurity policy - yeah courage of conviction from Obama indeed. Gobama !!!

        NYT reader comment (via Susan Ohanian) : Arne Duncan great example of peter Principle. Failed in Chicago; then promoted so he could repeat failure on national scale.

        by Funkygal on Fri Jun 17, 2011 at 06:58:52 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Nixon was doing what he thought was right (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Funkygal

        and he needed excuses because what he was doing was not popular.  

        That's why Obama needs excuses.  Most of the time, EVERYONE is doing what they think is right -- Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot, Mussolini, Franco, etc.  But if what they're doing is not actually popular, they need excuses.

        Read pp. 1-7 of Krugman's _The Great Unraveling_ (available from Google Books). NOW.

        by neroden on Sat Jun 18, 2011 at 05:37:32 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Those that (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      neroden

      apologize unconditionally for Obama are nothing more than concern trolls in the extreme.

      Arrrr, the laws of science be a harsh mistress. -Bender B. Rodriguez

      by democracy inaction on Fri Jun 17, 2011 at 06:11:11 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  They did it in Wisconsin (0+ / 0-)

    because things got so bad in that state the citizens had to take up the pitchforks to try and stop it.

    Because of unemployment insurance and other safety net programs we don't have bread lines, because of FDIC there wasn't a run on the banks so things just aren't bad enough to cause riots.

    If the Republicans get power they will get that bad.

  •  A big experiment in how far to gouge people (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    blueoasis, ohmyheck

    how much of a reduced share of the wealth can be tolerated by the public at large... if it is done slowly over decades... the Overton window of economics is like the boiling frog myth up to where the frogs get fed up.

    The wealth controllers had to make do with less vampirism and grudgingly allow a solid middle class to grow... and some even realized it had a beneficial effect overall and even to their bottom line... but later incarnations of wealth hoarder-grabbers chafed at what to them seemed like restrictions on their ability to grab their rightful portion of the pie and whittled away at anything and everything that seemed to get in the way of a bigger bottom line... and took great pains to control the law, and legislators, Media and the talking heads, Education and the educators... bit by bit so that they could even evolve the average person's understanding of reality... mostly this was a by product of the other grabs.. but the Think tanks the moneyed underwrote have been well aware of the effects of what they were pushing for was doing and would do...

    But finally even the flim-flam side show shell game becomes too obvious right about the time that enough of the population of dispossessed reach a critical mass of deprivation, powerlessness and outrage. The cleverer among the Oligarchy knew it was coming... the crash of their 60 year pyramid scheme... so they put it off for as long as possible and even hoped to siphon off public outrage by redirecting blame and surf the faux populism of the Tea party to a new phase of dominance shortcutting a detour to a rebuilding phase where the middle class gets at least partially restored.

    A great many of the more clever cashed out ahead of time and along the way so could care less what happened and left a combination of greedy winners atop the economic pyramid and a younger group of greed-meisters demanding the same scale of pillage and profit from the smoldering ruins of a great economy... Time has run out on the Skimming game they have run at the expense of most Americans not to mention a sizable portion of their own class. they are drawn to where the money is and when too much blood was sucked out of the lower reaches they turned on each other... and even then defend each others right to stab each other in the back.

    When they get to the point where they have engineered a society where they make the offers nobody can refuse or even question, the un-good and powerful largely escape the effects of the harm they eventually cause. Nobody to say "no" or enough to them until things get just too extreme. And that is the problem. Once the greedy gain too much control they cannot tell each other "OK that is enough if we extract more profit than this there will be problems".. like an alcoholic or hard drug addict... "just a bit more... what harm can it do... I deserve this... this is good for the country"... etc. And like a addictive personality Amoral psychopath they smile, cajole and manipulate to get what they want far past the sustainable point of what the public can bear. And they play this game for as long as they can and usually way past the soft recovery zone and into the crash landing that requires a long painful recovery.

    Pogo & Murphy's Law, every time. Also "Trust but verify" - St. Ronnie (hah...)

    by IreGyre on Fri Jun 17, 2011 at 02:52:05 AM PDT

  •  The diary misses the major characteristic of the (6+ / 0-)

    environment in which the New Deal was passed: 4 years of the Great Depression.  We are nowhere near the circumstances of 1933.

    I suggest dealing with the present rather than trying to relive supposed "glories" of the past, particularly when the present and past differ in hundreds of ways.

    I could expound on the fact that the New Deal didn't fundamentally change the system either (in fact, the far left in FDR's day said that the New Deal was passed to PRESERVE the current system - tweak it around the edges and toss a few crumbs to the masses to silence the calls for actual fundamental change; the far left hated FDR), but it would fall on deaf ears for those that revere FDR the legend rather than honoring FDR the man.  And it would be an academic exercise anyway.  As are ALL discussions that revolve around comparisions of current presidents to those of the past.  It's a waste of time beyond academic exercise.

  •  Excellent diary, thank you (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    blueoasis

    The only thing I an add is that this October 6th event is starting to sound promising.

    Some pledge to take.

    At this point I'm just catching up with the news and looking for clues about other supporters.

  •  The key - Organized Illegal Activity (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    poemworld

    It is clear that the interpretation of law by our courts is arbitrary and the police are only among us to compel behavior that benefits the rich.

    Now to come up with ideas and implement them.  Perhaps starting with preventing banks or new purchasers from taking custody of foreclosed property, or maybe some creative monkeywrenching.

    Distrust of authority should be the first civic duty. - Norman Douglas

    by Fossil on Fri Jun 17, 2011 at 03:58:11 AM PDT

  •  Thank you for this diary (0+ / 0-)

    What bothered me about the other diary is that it sounded like Zinn's quote's were being used as a justification for maintaining the status quo. The "it takes a thief to catch a thief" argument to justify the hiring of the same people who engineered perhaps the largest transfer of wealth we've ever seen in this country.

    When you hire thieves don't be surprised when you get robbed.

  •  I've felt like we needed a General Strike since (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    pat bunny, poemworld, neroden

    the lawlessness of Bush43.

    Maybe things do need to get worse before people will get off their butts.  I think common ground could even be found with working class conservatives with respect to the collapse and bailout of the mortgage industry/ wall street.  Would it be too much to hope that we could stand together on this issue and DEMAND a full accounting and reckoning (prosecutions), and remedy (reforms)?

    Excellent diary.

    It's the fascism, stupid!

    by lastman on Fri Jun 17, 2011 at 05:41:01 AM PDT

  •  Well stated. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    pat bunny, Johnnythebandit

    Zinn is one of the most influential authors I've read. I'm just not sure what happened to the left. It blows my mind that through Bush's stolen election and endless wars, we were essentially a yelling squad.

    Blogging is great and all, but mostly only effective if it's actually used to build non cyber-space movements.

    Pionta Guinness, le do thoil!

    by surfbird007 on Fri Jun 17, 2011 at 06:19:19 AM PDT

  •  Lots of ideological hurdles to overcome (0+ / 0-)

    As frustratingly and perplexingly evidenced by the continued power of and support for the GOP and its far-right policies, we have a lot of ingrained problems to overcome that even the hugest strikes aren't going to fix:

    --A deep sense of white superiority and entitlement among "values voters", who otherwise share a lot more with the left than they do with the oligarchs that they paradoxically revere even as they spit in their faces

    --An equating of social, legal and economic justice and fairness with the loss of freedom and a conversion to some weird European-style socialism that would turn us all into beret-wearing effete Frenchies

    --Misdirected prioritization among these same "values voters" from economic issues that affect most Americans to "values" issues that don't really affect most of them, let alone hurt them (e.g. abortion, gay marriage, school prayer).

    Basically, millions of voters, who overwhelmingly constitutute the GOP's base and without whom it would have long ago become the fringe minority party that by all rights it should have become, have been brainwashed by the GOP and its powerful propaganda machine into voting against their own economic interests by convincing them that "values" issues--that don't affect most of them--are infinitely more important.

    These people should be our allies in this endless struggle with the rich and powerful, but instead they've been captured by the GOP to serve its interests, against their own, in a brilliant, if clearly evil, strategy of divide and conquer. And until we can win back large numbers of these people, I doubt that we can have a viable left. At the very least we should win back "Reagan Democrats", working and lower middle class types who share nothing, really, with the GOP, but have been tricked into thinking that they do, over "freedom" and taxes and "welfare queens". The more rural, "values voter" types will take a lot longer to win back, but if we can win back Reagan Democrats, we will have taken a HUGE step in the right (er, left) direction.

    "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

    by kovie on Fri Jun 17, 2011 at 08:18:13 AM PDT

  •  Zinn Wasn't Much of an Historian (0+ / 0-)

    He was really a propagandist for extreme leftist, anti-liberal positions.  His stories about the New Deal basically represent a leftist fantasy, not an accurate depiction of what happened.

    Most of the social reforms of the New Deal were modeled on programs that had been pioneered by Al Smith, FDR's predecessor as NY governor.  Frances Perkins was a top Smith aide who designed many of these programs in NY, and FDR brought her to Washington as Secretary of Labor.  Perkins was the driving force behind programs such as Social Security and the National Labor Relations Act.  Read Kirstin Downey's The Woman Behind the New Deal
    for a more accurate description of the origins of the New Deal's progressive reforms.

    FDR was always accutely aware of the limitations on how far left he could go, since conservative Southern Democrats were an essential component of his governing coalition.  Thus, Social Security did not include health insurance, as Perkins had proposed, and was financed through the regressive payroll tax rather than a progressive income tax, as Perkins had also advocated.  New Deal programs also kow-towed to Southern racism, as in the exclusion of domestic workers from both Social Security and the NLRA.

    There was never really a serious prospect for a left-wing revolution in the US in the '30s.  However, FDR was very much aware of the dangers posed by the right.  The general strikes the diarist talks about launched the first round of what later became known as "McCarthyism" as Texas Rep. Martin Dies conducted Congressional investigations of communist infiltration of labor unions, something that nearly brought about an effort to impeach Perkins and the abandonment of the social programs Perkins supported.  The biggest popular force challenging the New Deal came from the right, not the left, in the form of populist Fascism exemplified by Huey Long and Father Coughlin.

    The left has always had trouble understanding this country so it prefers to invent its own reality.  This nearly undermined the New Deal, and I fear that the foolish intransigence of the left today may make Obama a one-term President.

    •  me thinks you're not much of an historian... (0+ / 0-)

      slapping a bunch of labels on Zinn doesn't diminish the fact that he worked on, researched and wrote about history from the perspective of common humanity, often oppressed and ignored. another fact is that history as we've all usually been taught it is blatant propaganda for an anti-democratic, pro-wealth and power elite. and while your points may be well-taken (i'm not that well versed with this aspect of history), i do know enough, from reading Zinn, Chomsky, Eagleton, and in labor history generally to discount your analysis. for example, the exclusion of african-american labor from the new deal led to campaigns by blacks to "win welfare." that racism has acted as an obstacle to progress is obvious, but that there has been progress nonetheless is even more remarkable. finally, your remark that challenges to the new deal came more from the right than the left misses Zinn's point completely: the left was propelling the new deal by it's agitation, education and organizing. of course the right would react; that's what reactionaries do. you can read more about this in Edward Herman's znet post here. peace

      "A union is a way of getting things done together that you can't get done alone." Utah Phillips

      by poemworld on Fri Jun 17, 2011 at 11:46:39 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Awesome diary love Zinn TY n/t (0+ / 0-)

    “The most important trip you may take in life is meeting people halfway” ~ Henry Boye~

    by Terranova0 on Fri Jun 17, 2011 at 09:40:55 AM PDT

  •  excellent diary! i have 2 quotes to contribute... (0+ / 0-)

    i think the american philosopher William James hit the nail on the head in his classic "Varieties of Religious Experience":

    “The prevalent fear of poverty among the educated classes is the worst moral disease from which our civilization suffers.” William James

    i have a favorite quote by Noam Chomsky:

    "Optimism is a strategy for making a better future. Because unless you believe that the future can be better, it’s unlikely you will step up and take responsibility for making it so. If you assume that there’s no hope, you guarantee that there will be no hope. If you assume that there is an instinct for freedom, there are opportunities to change things, there’s a chance you may contribute to making a better world. The choice is yours." Noam Chomsky

    I love Chomsky, Zinn, Terry Eagleton and other great thinkers, writers and activists. Things are going to continue to get worse because what is currently underway is the sheer domestication of humanity, the fitting of us to wear saddles while a tiny minority wear spurs. Domination in its purest forms is on display and will continue to escalate until we either wake up, unite and stop it or we are witnesses to the establishment of a new dystopia and the likely murder-suicide of our species.

    "A union is a way of getting things done together that you can't get done alone." Utah Phillips

    by poemworld on Fri Jun 17, 2011 at 11:31:31 AM PDT

  •  Phrasing the push as about Obama failures fails. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    oysterface

    Reposting this comment:

    America sucks and always has. Obama was a defensive vote. Any vote for a Democrat is nothing but a defensive vote.

    American government has always, really, truly, essentially, sucked.
    If we make our push against the figureheads we are just banging our heads on a brick wall and blaming the wall for our bruises.

    That's why the Obama outrage of the netroots frequently smacks of extreme naivete to politically experienced onlookers.

    Pushing FOR our issues is when we align our energies with a dynamic that has a history of results.

    It's the only damn thing that ever has or ever will work.
    Fuck the figure head, we can just hope that they are saner as opposed to maniacally insane.

    This is the most basic thing in the world yet we can't seem to get it right.  Which is a big damn problem.

    "In all chaos there is a cosmos, in all disorder, a secret order." Carl Jung

    by Unduna on Fri Jun 17, 2011 at 12:17:18 PM PDT

  •  Thank you for this (0+ / 0-)

    After reading the wreck list's mountain of revisionist twaddle  about Howard Zinn yesterday, I was beginning to think I was the only Kossack who'd ever actually read him. :-)

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