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Over and over the issues concerning many progressives has been brought up here and on many blogs. Occupy addressed many of those issues, despite the notion that there were no demands. There are plenty of demands in Occupy if you are paying attention. Despite all of this...It is difficult to see that Obama has retreated from his soft approach to banks, his detached approach to mortgage foreclosures, the continued eroding of civil liberties in this country and indeed, the world, support for austerity in Europe that is eroding their economy and will ultimately affect us, endless war...now fought with drones....name your issues, progressives. There has been little success on these fronts.

The question is to how to build the kind of dissent within the democratic party that will push back on these issues and demand some accountability, the kind of dissent that will result in better Democratic leaders and candidates.

The issues have been discussed and re-discussed over and over. What hasn't been approached, outside of Occupy, is how to build dissent within the party and push for those issues, push further left, push Obama left. Many don't connect the dots here: Wisconsin is a shinning example that organized dissent can and does work. Although I favored a national strike rather than a turn to electoral recall, the good people of Wisconsin and others are fighting a good fight for progressive ideals. It takes hard work, long hours and much communication with each other, not endless, tedious debate that degenerates often into a clash of egos.

Few are asking here: how do we push Obama and Congress further left on the important issues that Progressives know are critical? If this site is about electing better Democrats, than how do you make Obama a better Democrat? Organized dissent, that's how. There's no better place to do it than here, where you have a wide following and an even wider audience. It's not too late, but you've got to start asking some tough questions, and leadership is required from the owner of this site and the front pagers. Don't wait for the economy to grow worse next year as many are predicting with Europe faltering. There is no better time than during an election year to bring up important issues, contrary to what many say here. If you want these issues addressed not only on the campaign trail, but afterwards too, you've got to decide the issues are worth organizing over, and worth applying ceaseless pressure. Realize you will lose some battles, but always keep the end goals in sight.

Some suggested questions to start:

1. What kind of organization and pressure would it require to stop the erosion of civil liberties in this country?

2. How to do we stem the flood of foreclosures happening now, and set to increase drastically once the paperwork clog is worked out? What kind of pressure would it take on this administration and Congress to keep Americans in their homes?

3. Many progressives feel we undermine the most profound principles this country was founded on by killing civilians overseas, the collateral damages of war, with the use of drones and our troops. Many progressives feel we should redirect war funds to humanitarian concerns both here and abroad. What kind of a dissent movement would push this President, and Congress, further left on these issues?

4. How do we get insurance companies out of the equation in terms of providing health care? How do we build a national movement for universal health care? Corporations got the bailouts, but jobs still aren't being created to the drastic extent needed? How do we change that?

5. How do we end the concept of bailouts and too big to fail, when the rest of Americans are faltering, and there aren't enough decent jobs for those who can and want to work? What kind of organized dissent will it take to create economic justice?

Some of those questions may not be your thing. You may not agree with some of the questions. But I bet you have some of your own. I've seen them here posed and debated endlessly.

Dissent will ultimately make Democratic candidates stronger as they are pressured to address the issues that we all know must be addressed if we are to preserve the quality of life that is necessary for a flourishing culture. Organized dissent and pushing Democratic candidates and politicians further left would also help to drown out the media obsession with Republican talking points; the Occupy movement has already helped in this regard, but further pressure is needed to not only shift the debate, but to see some action through policy changes.  If protest isn't your bag, there are many ways to organize effective dissent; too many cooks in the kitchen is exactly what we need right now.

Progressives, and I know most of you are progressive...this is about rescuing our country from the corporate elite. It is our country; it belongs to all of us. Who is going to step up and help save it? Who will help push the Democratic Party back left where it belongs: representing the people and not the corporate interests?

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Comment Preferences

  •  Doesen't matter how far we push to the left (6+ / 0-)

    not only do they ignore us despite the facts on our side. We are shouted down by those that are perfectly happy with the way things are going.

    Education is a progressive discovery of our own ignorance.

    by Horace Boothroyd III on Fri Jan 13, 2012 at 01:00:31 PM PST

  •  It may be a futile gesture, but (4+ / 0-)

    I'm struck by how similar this is to the gay/lesbian critique of Obama.  I'm not sure exactly what kind of pressure we  brought to bear on the administration, but we did get it to move in the right direction by threatening to cut off our financial support of the next campaign.

    For the rest of you, why not show up at every town hall your congresscritter or his/her opponent (in case yours is a Republican)and ask those questions?  If you're here as a TU you most likely have some activist inclinations, no?

    It may not work, but you'll feel good doing it.

    All it takes is security in your own civil rights to make you complacent.

    by Dave in Northridge on Fri Jan 13, 2012 at 01:19:26 PM PST

  •  I Think Occupy Has Done a Great Job (5+ / 0-)

    ...of starting the conversation though--through no fault of their own--media has largely lost interest at this point.  The further to the left the bills that end up on Obama's desk, the further to the left bills he will end up signing.  I also think we need more public discussion about how insane the things the Republicans actually want are.  This gives the President an easier target.

    Good conversation to start for sure.

  •  Why push Obama further left? (6+ / 0-)

    To get him closer to where the majority of this country is.  We have two parties so far to the right of actual center, the system is completely off the rails.  On issue after issue (and, yes, I'll even raise the dreaded Public Option once again), two-thirds of the country or better stands where I stand.  But Obama and Democrats are off in the far right corner standing alongside their completely nut-job Rethuglican friends calling the two-thirds or better "far-left", "fringe", and "extreme".

    Why push Obama further left?  It'd be insane not to try.

    "Power concedes nothing without a demand; it never has and it never will."—Frederick Douglass

    by costello7 on Fri Jan 13, 2012 at 01:41:31 PM PST

    •  To Get Obama Closer To Where The Majority Of (0+ / 0-)

      this country is???  Are you located in the USofA? Because the majority of this country is anything but left of center.

      Perhaps you missed the 2010 elections where 60% of White-Americans voted for TeaBigots, and where 38% of the electorate described themselves as Moderate and 42% self-id as Conservatives? For the math-challenged, that leaves 20% who self-id as Liberals. And Liberal is not equivalent to Progressive.

      I know reality bites but this is supposed to be a reality-based community....

      I am not now, nor have I ever been, a member of the Republican Party.

      by OnlyWords on Fri Jan 13, 2012 at 03:32:42 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Give me an issue (0+ / 0-)

        --a specific issue--where the polls say the public is "right of center".  Legalization of drugs--roughly 50/50.  Medical Marijuana--75% favor.  Public Option--66 to 75% in favor.  Completely socialized medicine--roughly 50/50, depending upon how the question is phrased (phrase it one way, you'll get as low as 35% in favor--phrase it another, you'll get 65% in favor).  End the war in Afghanistan--closing in on 90% in favor.  Keeping abortion legal--roughly 70% in favor.  Tax the rich--hell, even 55% of registered Rethugs want that and at least 66% overall.  Prosecute the banksters--between 66 and 80%.  Gay marriage is better than 50%, now.  Ask about "civil unions" and you'll get 70% or better.

        Support for the death penalty is around 60%, which is the lowest its been in 40 years.  Gun control is actually more popular with Americans, if you look at all the numbers, than the media ever lets on.  I always thought gun control was a losing issue for Democrats anyway.  Nonetheless, 62% favor banning automatic assault weapons outright.  Only about 37% support banning handguns.  Overall, ask the basic and vague question of whether there should be more government control of guns in this country or less and you'll get a 50/50 split.

        Most people don't think about what their political affiliations are.  They automatically assume they are in the middle.  And they assume the middle they're in must be moderate or conservative because even liberals like you tell them we're a center-right country.

        As for voting for TeaBigots in 2010...  That's a far different dynamic than you'd like to present.  The very first thing you have to understand is that the economy sucks ass.  In a bad economy, voters will almost always vote for the party out of power.  Leading into 2010, the Dems had it all, including historic majorities in the House and Senate.  Economy sucked?  Bad news for Dems.  Secondly, House districts are gerrymandered to the nth degree.  A reliably conservative district could be expected to swing harder right; it was built that way.  Given a choice in Senate races, most states rejected the outright TeaBigots while also still voting against Democrats.  In state races, they certainly took their anger out on Democrats--especially in states where Democrats had had control of the governor's mansions or legislatures.  Bad economy?  Bad news for those in power.  Simple equation that has NOTHING to do with where the center of America is today.

        Add into that equation who typically votes in off-year elections--older, "whiter" Americans and people who are pissed.  In 2006, people were sufficiently pissed about the Iraq war to vote in Democrats to end the war.  Did Democrats end the war?  Noooooo.  But...but...we didn't have enough Democrats.  So in 2008, they gave Democrats historic majorities.  Did Democrats end the wars?  Noooooo.  Did they "fix" the economy?  Not so much that anyone would notice.  Did Democrats punish the banksters?  Not in the least.  So in 2010, the people who were pissed enough to vote in an off-year election were people pissed at Democrats.  And off-years are already older and "whiter" by nature.  In 2012--with the full electorate voting--you'll see Dems retain the WH (bad economy means it may be closer than it should be, but Obama will win), pick up seats in the House and lots of them (I see it finishing at a nearly 50/50 split), and I wouldn't be the least bit surprised to see Dems even add a seat or two to their Senate majority even though more Dem seats are up for election this year.

        Issue after issue, this country is center-left.  Had Obama been farther to the LEFT--had he moved to prosecute banksters and had he pushed for the Public Option istead of selling it out in a back room deal with a lobbyist--I doubt his losses in 2010 would have been as pronounced.  I can't prove it--except to point out that voters in Massachusetts elected Scott Brown because they wanted a Public Option--but neither can you prove the reverse.

        If this were truly a center-right country, there would be no recall efforts against Republican governors and their poll numbers would be far higher than they are.  Most people don't think in terms of "right" and "left", of "conservative" and "liberal", when they go to the polls but they know that they do not like the policies pursued by Rethug governors and legislatures since 2010.  And that fact alone proves America is not a right-wing or center-right or "conservative" country.

        "Power concedes nothing without a demand; it never has and it never will."—Frederick Douglass

        by costello7 on Sat Jan 14, 2012 at 09:44:13 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  It's a very interesting majority then. It's so (0+ / 0-)

      far to the left that it decides to vote for right-wing candidates in 2010. It must have a twisted sense of humor.

  •  Maybe because conservatives outnumber us? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    OnlyWords, FG

    At least that is according to Gallup.

    Perhaps it's not a push of President Obama, but of the public to vote as favorably to our agenda as they poll?

    Perhaps it because it is the Congress, particularly the Senate, that needs pushing?

    Perhaps it's the state parties who fail to develop viable candidates that need the push?

    Hard work ahead for those serious about changing the trajectory of the last 35+ years and understand that it isn't going to happen in two, or eight years; and that it is going to take more than one POTUS.

    "There is nothing more dreadful than the habit of doubt. Doubt separates people. It is a poison that disintegrates friendships and breaks up pleasant relations. It is a thorn that irritates and hurts; it is a sword that kills.".. Buddha

    by sebastianguy99 on Fri Jan 13, 2012 at 02:49:20 PM PST

  •  Obama can not be pushed left (0+ / 0-)

    He has a job to do, as Bush did.   He has to deliver to the special interests that supported him to be elected.

  •  Work outside the Party (0+ / 0-)

    Working within the Democratic Party is a waste of time. Efforts there are coopted and homogenized. The only thing that will inspire Obama to move back to the real middle (that is leftward) is if he sees his old 2008 base disintegrating beneath his feet fast enough that he could lose re-election. Then he'll say whatever he needs to to rein it in. Sorry to be this cynical, but presidential politics is just so much Punch & Judy.

    This little part of his 2008 base (me) is utterly demoralized, and cannot vote for him again.

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