Skip to main content

I often criticize some elements of the left and the progressives for obsessing about anything Republican.  What animates that criticism is that I see the phenomena as the result of the effects of manipulation by the corporate media conglomerates who, after all, own most of the media outlets used to disseminate "progressive" programming.

My point is that it amounts to a ruse, a lie, to manipulation, and it serves to distract people from conceptualizing what a true PROGRESSIVE movement would look like.

And since I'm referring to cognition, one cannot dismiss the power of propaganda.  The right wing is, and always has been, the masters at it.  I've been observing this phenomena for years, and as I've seen them tear down the regulatory infrastructure in order to pillage and defraud, buy off the two major political (corporatist) parties and turn their politicians into corrupt stooges used to help transfer wealth and power to the ruling elite, weaken the labor movement (union busting), and implement (what I consider) neo-fascist legislation (voter suppression, stand-your-ground, i.e., creation of armed right wing militia laws), I can't help but be in awe of how effective they are.

I'm sure many readers know how we got here: A group of thinkers, philosophers, and business leaders coalesce around a common world view based on laissez faire capitalism and set out to influence the entire socioeconomic landscape.  They create think tanks (or marketing and public relations propaganda shops) like the American Enterprise Institute, CATO, the Heritage Foundation, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and (what I term) neo-fascistic organizations like the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), and the National Riffle Association (NRA).

They then partner up with other (again, my interpretation) neo-fascistic groups in the form of fundamentalist religious organizations, taking advantage of the world-view nexus between ravenous capitalism and religious fundamentalism, based on the deep-seeded influence of puritanical thought in the fabric of the nation, which sees poverty, illness and misfortune as the result of sin, and wealth, blessings and abundance as the result of hard work and enterprise.

Then, they systematically go about taking all the steps necessary to implement that world view, working mainly outside the confines of democracy, by using accumulated wealth and power to buy off and influence the politicians (the great majority of them, in both parties), and hence taking control of the entire power structure.

And to my amazement and disappointment,  I see the feeble progressive movement acting as a deer-in-the-headlights.  Always reacting (more than taking "preemptive" action); always complaining about the meanies in the Republican party and the right wing, and corporations, and ALEC, and the NRA; always backing down, and explaining, and being apologetic.  In total disarray, rejecting anything that has even an appearance of organization, discipline, strategy.  Dissipating their energies on countless  causes (environment, animal rights, workers' rights, pollution, too many fast food restaurants in certain neighborhoods, etc., etc.).

How has that worked out?  Wealth and power continues to accumulate at the top, at a faster and faster rate; corruption in the entire system of government, from local municipalities, to counties, states, and the nation, continues to spread on our way to becoming a veritable Banana Republic; fascistic laws are passed at a faster and faster rate, across the entire country (violation of privacy; voter suppression; license to kill).

And then, those who could actually create a platform for a true and powerful progressive movement, like Van Jones, and others, end up diluting its power by creating the illusion that they are the real thing, while at the end of the day, they are just apologists of the system, and political operatives.

And so, sadly, what we end up with is a carefully-choreographed manipulation of liberals and progressives, which in actuality is not that dissimilar than that of the less intelligent FoxNews viewers, paid for by the same corporatist interests.

Progressives, pardon my French, but wake-the-fuck-up!  Break free of this bullshit manipulation we are being exposed to every single minute of the day, 24/7.  Think.

What would a true and powerful PROGRESSIVE platform would look like?  That's the questions, ins't it.  Yes, I understand that the exact answer to that is above my pay grade, but having a general idea should not be that hard.  What is clear is that the liberal and progressive movement is moribund (Wisconsin recall notwithstanding).

Start with the media... If the outlets are owned by corporatist media conglomerates, then, ultimately, we are being fed the same bullshit as the (average) less intelligent conservatives, even if presented in different form.

Understand the nature of the two party system... It is basically a one-party corporatist (and utterly corrupt, and fascistic) system, with two wings that act as Good-Cop-Bad-Cop, but who serve the same (pay) masters.

Yes, if given the choice of voting for an outright fascist party (Republicans), vs. the more  "humane" (but not less beholden to the corporatist hegemony), the Democrats, I will vote democratic.  And yes, of the two corrupt corporatist party, I think there is a better change of reforming the Democratic party.  But it would take a mighty struggle to eventually do that.

So a true powerful progressive movement would be truly independent and free of influence from the corporatist public relations propaganda shops that permeate the entire society, and it would be totally independent from the corrupt one-party (two wings) political hegemony.

It would be cohesive; it would have a clear set of bold goals.  Here are three easy ones: One hundred percent unionization of the labor force; single payer universal health care; public financing of elections across the country (including local elections).

But here's the most important aspect: It would be in-your-face, unapologetic, unafraid, and share an almost cult-like conviction about its goals and aspirations for a better society.  A society based on the rule of law, applied equally to all without bias or prejudice; a society that shuns and condemns excesses, extreme greed and avarice, and understands that one of the most important roles of government is to prevent dangerous accumulation of wealth and power into the hands of a few plutocrats.

The state of affairs of the progressive movement is so dismal, that some see the choices between what we have now (the faux "progressive" media programming, and self-serving "leaders") and a "guerrilla movement."  That is absurd, and I would argue, that that is precisely the type of effect the manipulative media landscape is designed to engender.

You have to understand and conceptualize that what is truly radical, and criminal, and extreme, is the current state of affairs, where "corporations are people; my friends."  Where a very small group of people have been able to pillage and plunder the nation's coffers with total impunity; where war profiteers have been feeding at the tit of America for far too long.

That is what is truly obscene, and radical, and extreme.

A progressive movement that fully understands that, and coalesces around the never-ending goal of forming a more perfect union, has some very simple (intellectual) tools at its disposal, including the U.S. Constitution, and the respect for knowledge, science, and the most sacred aspect of a true free and modern society, secularism.

Let's get to it...


Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

  •  A very well thought out diary (8+ / 0-)

    That also speaks to some truths which are not comfortable to face but must be to be able to move forward

  •  I agree with much of what you say (9+ / 0-)

    both here and elsewhere.

    However, I worry about people making false equivalencies about Rush, Bill and Glenn being the mirror image of Rachel, Lawrence and Ed. There's a helluva lot more honesty,  integrity and useful information on evening MSNBC than you'll find anywhere on Fox.

    Rachel's story on the Michigan Republicans illegally passing laws for "immediate effect" being just one of several examples in one evening.

    Just want to make sure we're clear on that.

    If history demonstrates anything it shows that campaigning and voting are necessary but insufficient. If you aren't part of publicly visible, uncompromising, irresistible dissent, you are still part of the problem.

    by Words In Action on Tue Apr 10, 2012 at 10:22:18 AM PDT

    •  You're falling for Good Cop/Bad Cop. (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Ray Pensador, Mannie, George3, chipmo

      Of course the R's are toxic, and gleefully pull any Evil ploy they can conceive.

      I'd argue that a politician who markets himself as a Reformer in a time when Reform is desperately needed to avert a collapse of democracy, and then governs as a full-on Corporatist is just as bad as the Bad Cop.

      If you keep voting for the Lesser of Two Evils, you end up with an Evil, unjust government.

      "the tranquilizing drug of gradualism" - MLK

      by 3rdOption on Tue Apr 10, 2012 at 10:56:28 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  "start with the media" (6+ / 0-)

    in what way?  what's the plan?  convince a couple mega billionaire progressives to do the converse of what you name in your 4th paragraph?  or something else?

    and how do you "start with the media" if you want to AVOID... what did you call it?

    influence from the corporatist public relations propaganda shops
    do you understand how media works?

    I see this as a rant, and was looking for something meatier.

    This comment is dedicated to my mellow Adept2U and his Uncle Marcus

    by mallyroyal on Tue Apr 10, 2012 at 10:23:06 AM PDT

    •  Yes, I understand how it works. I have lots (6+ / 0-)

      of experience in advertising and marketing (I'm actually a consultant)...

      Here's the process that needs to be followed:

      1. Reveal the lie that is the current so-called progressive programming, so the propagandist know we caught up to their game.

      2. Once this happens, work on a strategy to dismantle the media conglomerates.  Corporate media conglomerates put out trash.

      3. Actively work on creating and supporting new progressive media outlets free of influence from corporate media conglomerates.

      And most importantly, either stop, or greatly diminish TV viewing; in it's current form, its manipulative propagandist effects (especially the media landscape in the U.S.) is extremely toxic.

      •  I do too, it's why I asked. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        what are your initial thoughts on how this movement would go about your #2?  this is the sticking point for me.  it's all well and good to say how things SHOULD be.  I'd like to hear some concrete action steps.

        I gave you one of my initial thoughts.  they've got billionaires, we do too.  how do we get them to step up?  this stuff won't happen for free.

        This comment is dedicated to my mellow Adept2U and his Uncle Marcus

        by mallyroyal on Tue Apr 10, 2012 at 10:36:58 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  There's Also the Shortage Problem (7+ / 0-)

      1. There aren't all that many progressives. Most Democrats are compassionate conservatives. You'd have to completely repeal Reaganism just to stop the masses losing wealth share to the rich, and there is almost no power base wanting to do that.

      2. Shortage of billionaires. That whole founding and development of the rightwing revolution was led by big money and supported by top private power. There isn't a single billionaire actually fighting to make the US progressive.

      All we have is some few million progressive individuals and maybe 10-15% of elected progressive reps. No progressive party, no big money progressive market, no imperialistic progressive religion, no overarching movement at all.

      What ever happened to the progressive movement? --He's over there.
      Image Hosted by

      There are finally rumblings but it's still very very early.

      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 Tue Apr 10, 2012 at 10:42:16 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  well I dunno about not having the numbers (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        penguins4peace, gulfgal98

        and not having the billionaires.  part of the propaganda Ray mentions was used to render the word "liberal" a slur.  if you break down by actual policy positions, there are actually a lot of "progressives" or "liberals" in this country.  they just don't want to call themselves either of those things.  

        Winfrey and Soros and Cosby (as a few "for instances") could give the Koch brothers a run for their money, pun intended.  so what Ray's talking about CAN be done, it'll just take a generation or more, and billions and billions of dollars to do it.

        but another of my issues with this rant (besides the fourth word in the title, which exposes the ego involved) is the whole "we've got to be cultish" thing he said.

        I mean come on.  yeah I wish you all good fortune with your leftwing cult, 'cause I ain't joining.

        and among this herd of cats (pride? whats the word lol) I dunno how many people will be down for that.

        This comment is dedicated to my mellow Adept2U and his Uncle Marcus

        by mallyroyal on Tue Apr 10, 2012 at 10:48:26 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Pardon me, but I think this is a good example (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Aspe4, FutureNow, quill

        of an issue that needs to be addressed.  Start with the power of your convictions.  Don't worry about actual or perceived limitations (i.e., the number of true progressives, etc.).

        Believe in something, strongly, and stand by it, and people will follow you.

  •  That tge free movement of finance is equal.... (0+ / 0-)

    with the free movement of peoples.  

    Why is money more free?

  •  Keep hammering it home, Ray! (6+ / 0-)

    The status quo, the way things are right now, is not normal. It is not acceptable. It is, as you say, radical, criminal, and extreme. Reform is a band-aide and band-aides aren't going to fix this gushing arterial wound.

  •  Nope (4+ / 0-)

    This is just one fanatical and unrealistic preference of one person on an internet discussion board.

    I have no idea what a "true progressive" movement would look like, but my guess is that it would be conceived by millions of progressives, not posted as a take it or leave it set of criteria by one anonymous poster.

    One hundred percent unionization of the labor force;
    No, it would be unionized to the extent that employees desire to be unionized.
    It would be in-your-face, unapologetic, unafraid, and share an almost cult-like conviction about its goals
    Nope, it wouldn't be cult like because that's the antithesis of rational progressivism.

    I could go on but what's the point.

    •  Maybe that's the salesman in me. I've been at (6+ / 0-)

      it for years.  You usually shoot for the stars, set your visions and goals very high, and you end up achieving more.  In sales, good salespeople are sometimes called "rainmakers" because they achieve numbers that others didn't think possible.

      Let me explain to you the effect of boldness, and to some extent, propaganda.  I've seen it, and see it every day.

      You walk into a room for a negotiation, and the person at the other table says, Ok, I think we could probably agree that it is not realistic to think that we could ever again reach 15% unionization in the labor force... At the other side of the table, and with a straight face, your position is that it should be 100%, and that the only reason some workers reject unionization is because they are misinformed.

      The other person looks at you, expecting you to laugh, and say you were joking, but you are dead serious; no joke.

      You see, that's how the right-wingers role, and I am very impressed with that.

      They come up with the craziest bullshit ideas of stuff you thought was decided hundreds of years ago, from denying evolution, to trying to force the teaching of creationism, to trying to deny women their right to use contraception, to passing fascist, licence to kill laws.  But they ain't joking, and they get results.

      So, I'm not joking either; if you ask me, personally, what would be my goal for unionization in the country, I with a straight face, and with total conviction will tell you that it is one hundred percent.  And I'm not joking.

      Regarding your broadside name-calling (fanatical, etc.), I just brush that off as the effects of fear.

      •  I agree Ray (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Ray Pensador, lostinamerica

        I think some critics don't seem to get this extremely important and obvious point, which has been repeated so many times in so many ways but never seems to stick: politics may be about "the art of the possible", but what's possible depends on where you stand at the start of negotiations, and how serious your opponent thinks you are. If you start with a strong (some might say "extremist") position and give the impression that you're not going to back down, then a lot more will be "possible".

  •  This is an important discussion to keep pushing (7+ / 0-)

    So, thanks for pushing it.

    To me, this diary is just beginning to get somewhere.  

    This is probably the problem with blog posting.  So far, the potential for deliberation that might yield new breakthroughs is always cut off just as the discussion begins because of the structure of it.

    From reading diaries and comments since first signing on in about 2004, I think there has been an evolution.

    For a few years I was living on the Navajo Nation and learned that one of the traditional wisdoms was that if a few people went off to school and became knowledgeable, it wasn't the change that was needed.  The entire community needed to rise.  

    There has never been a national discussion of what progressivism is or could be or what to do about anything, and this site goes back only a few election cycles.  

    I think part of the problem is that there are mixtures of local and state or national and then international issues that are hard to differentiate.  Sometimes a generalization works for all levels, and sometimes not.  

    There also is a divide that I have seen between people who have succeeded in helping to elect people to get into office or who have actually served in office and succeeded - and those who are left to theorize.  A lot of times when those without much experience are in the majority, voices of experience are hooted down.  That is politics.  

    Progressivism has to be informed by realism and experience and by strategic thinking, or it won't succeed.  Fortunately, there is a long history of success to build on.

    The Republican drive  to overthrow the progressive successes of the '60s and earlier is very real.  The prime characteristic there is not the money, although that is important.  The prime characteristic is the sheer persistence and determination to overcome no matter how long it might take.

    That would be a good thing to emulate.  A lot of people who are progressive fundamentally see politics as something they have to deal with reluctantly and therefore have only a short term interest in.  

    It didn't used to be that way.  Before the '70s, when the automated processes came in, civic participation used to be a part of life like high school proms and little league baseball.  It was not a special deal.  

    Restoring that sense would go a long way to turning the trends in the right direction.  

    We really need to be thinking beyond Obama.  He is the result of the history of the past 35 years, and we should be about using his time in office as a time to build up for the future beyond 2016.  

    We need a second 8 years.  A big part of the sense of things being a bit adverse is that fact that it is really the Republicans who have laid the foundation and we have to do quite a bit of work just to get back to where we really ought to have been.  

    hope that the idiots who have no constructive and creative solutions but only look to tear down will not win the day.

    by Stuart Heady on Tue Apr 10, 2012 at 10:56:30 AM PDT

  •  The problem is the left doesn't know how to make (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ray Pensador, chipmo

    capitalism work, and is afraid of fundamentally critiquing it, because there is very little discussion or awareness of any alternatives.

    Think whatever you want about his prescriptions, Marx's critique of capitalism was fundamentally sound: as opportunities for quick growth subside, the need for ever growing profits will force wages (and environmental and labor standards) downwards - which will eventually lead to even less real growth - which will lead to increasing pressure - and - and so on and so on.

    Keynesian economics and re-distributive taxation was just a quick-fix band-aid which masked this fundamental flaw, and is proving increasingly incapable of keeping the whole awful mess standing. And although a tax on the rich may still be a damn good idea right now (both economically and politically), it will not bring back good jobs, raise wages, or give us a sustainable economic system.

    The only reason our standard of living has not severely declined in the last 30 years (although it is really starting to), is because we are working more (both as families and individuals).

    As long as the left accepts that the driving principle of our economy should continue to be: money must make money, the left will continue to flounder and fail to offer real solutions.

    Just my two cents, anyway.

    I do very much appreciate your diaries.

    We may have democracy, or we may have wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can't have both. - Former Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis

    by RageKage on Tue Apr 10, 2012 at 11:27:31 AM PDT

    •  Capitalism, socialism, Constitutional democracies, (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      RageKage, aliasalias

      etc., are mainly constructs and tools to organized societies.  The problem is not with the proclivities of any particular system, but with with the tendency of ruling elites to want to accumulate wealth and power.

      That has been the case through history.

      The bottom line is this: there should be a marketplace where people can trade good and services freely; the government should collect taxes without which it cannot exist; the system should prevent dangerous accumulation of wealth and power into the hands of a small ruling elite, and thus create policies that maintain a just and sustainable distribution of income.

      •  I don't disagree (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        I just think that this:

        there should be a marketplace where people can trade good and services freely; the government should collect taxes without which it cannot exist; the system should prevent dangerous accumulation of wealth and power into the hands of a small ruling elite, and thus create policies that maintain a just and sustainable distribution of income.
        is not enough in the modern world.  There are simply too many of us, and our resources and productive capabilities are not spread evenly.  We need an economic system which can sufficiently organize our production and allocate out output.  It is not as simple as simply having "a marketplace where people can trade good and services freely."

        Capitalism is one way of doing this.  And I think in circumstances where there is the desire and opportunity for rapid growth, it works quite well.  I daresay it is probably the best system if the only goal is rapid growth and there is plenty of room to grow.  I don't think that is the case anymore.

        We may have democracy, or we may have wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can't have both. - Former Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis

        by RageKage on Tue Apr 10, 2012 at 11:49:17 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Bingo. (0+ / 0-)

          "Capitalism is one way of doing this.  And I think in circumstances where there is the desire and opportunity for rapid growth, it works quite well.  I daresay it is probably the best system if the only goal is rapid growth and there is plenty of room to grow.  I don't think that is the case anymore."

          Exactly.  I cannot count the number of times I have heard people reflexively say "Capitalism is proven to be the best economic system."  Best for what?  For growth and for the ability of people at the top to accumulate wealth, yes.  That's about it.

          Check out this book review of The Invention of Capitalism.

          Yep, despite what you might have learned, the transition to a capitalistic society did not happen naturally or smoothly. See, English peasants didn’t want to give up their rural communal lifestyle, leave their land and go work for below-subsistence wages in shitty, dangerous factories being set up by a new, rich class of landowning capitalists. And for good reason, too. Using Adam Smith’s own estimates of factory wages being paid at the time in Scotland, a factory-peasant would have to toil for more than three days to buy a pair of commercially produced shoes. Or they could make their own traditional brogues using their own leather in a matter of hours, and spend the rest of the time getting wasted on ale. It’s really not much of a choice, is it?

          The bourgeoisie had better watch out for me, all throughout this so called nation. We don't want your filthy money, we don't need your innocent bloodshed, we just want to end your world. ~H.R.

          by chipmo on Wed Apr 11, 2012 at 05:58:36 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Where to start...find the common ground with those (4+ / 0-)

    initially intrigued by the TP movement.  There is common ground!

    Why do people dislike "government"?  Government has ceased to work for the common man; people see their tax dollars benefiting a select few and basic rights being diminished along with the prospects for a middle-class life.

    The genius of the Corporatist/Dominionist cabal is the ability to misdirect the anger that people feel.  That anger can be tapped into by Progressives and directed like a laser at the correct targets...but it is being done by very requires the "common touch."  No one "schooled" Elizabeth Warren...she lived it!  People warm to her and her vision because there is no hint of elitism; there is righteousness.

    Robert La Follette, Wisconsin's leading Progressive, was fond of "reading the roll" to expose those people and corporations (both in and out of his party) that worked against the interests of "the people."  THAT needs to happen again.

    100% public financing of elections across the country with NO private donations MUST be the first concerted Progressive push; it will be fought vehemently by both political parties; but it is an issue that resonates with the 99%.  I would add equal amounts of public service air-time allocated by media outlets as a condition of their licensing for all candidates.

    "I'm frankly sick and tired of the political preachers across this country telling me as a citizen that if I want to be a moral person, I must believe in 'A,' 'B,' 'C,' and 'D.' Just who do they think they are?" Barry Goldwater

    by ranton on Tue Apr 10, 2012 at 12:02:02 PM PDT

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site