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On April 4th, 1968, the day when Martin Luther King Jr. was shot down in Memphis Tennessee, the American left lost its way.  Less than a year before he was murdered, King set out to channel the energy and power of the Civil Rights movement toward ending poverty among all the races in the world's richest country. This metamorphosis of the civil rights struggle was called the "Poor People's Campaign".

Income and housing were the main goals of the Poor People’s Campaign. The campaign would help the poor by dramatizing their needs, uniting all races under the commonality of hardship and presenting a plan to start to a solution. Under the "economic bill of rights," the Poor People's Campaign asked for the federal government to prioritize helping the poor with a $30 billion anti-poverty package that included a commitment to full employment, a guaranteed annual income measure and more low-income housing. The Poor People’s Campaign was part of the second phase of the civil rights movement. Wikipedia
It is difficult not to believe that his murder was a direct result of this change of course. Certainly no movement has arisen since to replace or replicate the Poor People's Campaign. And it certainly is not for any lack of poor people:
Another 2.6 million people slipped into poverty in the United States last year, the Census Bureau reported Tuesday, and the number of Americans living below the official poverty line, 46.2 million people, was the highest number in the 52 years the bureau has been publishing figures on it.  New York Times -09/15/2011
What Dr. King was initiating was an evangelical "Liberation Theology" and if allowed to continue it could have electrified the United States. If begun again it could electrify it today.

America's first Nobel prize for literature, Sinclair Lewis once said that, "when fascism comes to America, it will come wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross". I would go a bit farther and say that any rebellion in the USA would have those characteristics to begin with.

To paraphrase the demon Rumsfeld, you have to go with the working class you have and not the one you might like to have.

Many progressives have problems with all of this, they are repelled by what they consider the gross superstition of creationism, for example. As to evolution, however, if progressives ever hope to win over working class white people and  black people, they had better not put evolution at the center of their program. Poor people never have liked Darwinism very much... think about it. What does "survival of the fittest" hold for them? What is their role in "the devil take the hindmost"?

Why are so many of the poor of America, white and black, socially conservative?

Because without a welfare state, the only institutions that offer any comfort or protection are the church and the family. The family is the first welfare state. In the USA there is no welfare state and the family is also under heavy pressure from the system. Single parent families are increasingly common, The United States has the highest percentage of single-parent families (34% in 1998) among developed countries. The United States has one of the highest divorce rates in the world, twice that of Denmark, Canada, or the United Kingdom. The divorce rate is highest among lower income couples. With reason, poor people in America are terrified: frightened people take comfort where they can. A divorced waitress with two kids who has to take them to an emergency room to treat their asthma can't be criticized for being a "Left Behind" enthusiast: she and her kids fly up to heaven and the stingy tippers go to hell.

She and her children will be saved, taken directly up to heaven and all the people who have ever treated them so shabbily here on earth will suffer indescribable torment and humiliation, which the chosen will be able to watch from heaven. This is a form of sedition... it goes against everything that the Tea Party, the Cato Institute and the Club for Growth stand for.

Imagine how the following text would sit with Ayn Rand or the Koch Brothers, in fact, can you imagine it being spoken at a Tea Party event?

'Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.' They also will answer, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?' He will reply, 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least among you, you did not do for me.' Matthew 25:41-45
Trying to make the Teabaggers square their program with the Holy Bible might short circuit the whole business. A text like this, and others like them from the world's great religions, are   the earliest expressions of the universal human hatred of oppression  and  thirst for social justice. As such they help give shape and a  common,  deeply rooted, electrifying language to express a growing  consciousness  that things are not as they should be. That is the language with which Dr. King chose to clothe his message and this is how Martin Luther King wished to be remembered:
I'd like somebody to mention that day that Martin Luther King Jr. tried to give his life serving others. I'd like for somebody to say that day that Martin Luther King Jr. tried to love somebody.  I want you to say that day that I tried to be right on the war question. I want you to be able to say that day that I did try to feed the hungry. I want you to be able to say that day that I did try in my life to clothe those who were naked. I want you to say on that day that I did try in my life to visit those who were in prison. And I want you to say that I tried to love and serve humanity.Wikipedia
All of this is about building consciousness and directing it into positive and effective channels. That is the political task facing progressives today. I am not totally pessimistic that this is impossible because all the materials are there ready to be taken up and put to use, however the only political figure in America  that ever brought all the positive threads of American culture and its ancient roots together in one package was Dr. King and surely that is why they took his life.

Dr. King's legacy  is why I think that some sort of "liberation theology" which makes full resonant use of the American people's most powerful cultural baggage, is finally going to be the only idea or movement that is going to truly change America. We have to take up the struggle precisely where Martin Luther King Jr. was on April 4th, 1968.

Cross posted from: http://seaton-newslinks.blogspot.com

Originally posted to David Seaton on Mon Jun 25, 2012 at 09:00 PM PDT.

Also republished by Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  American Left useless ? (9+ / 0-)

    That does not sit well with me .

    "Drop the name-calling." Meteor Blades 2/4/11

    by indycam on Mon Jun 25, 2012 at 09:12:02 PM PDT

    •  Maybe because it has limits to how amoral it (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MKSinSA

      will be to satisfy its corporate masters. So they don't egg on adherents to shot people or bomb government buildings or wish for peoples deaths or simply tell big pinocchio lies ( the boys should have turned into red elephants) or dog collar women and minorities and children to amuse thier perverted tastes...

      How can you tell when Rmoney is lying? His lips are moving. Fear is the Mind Killer

      by boophus on Mon Jun 25, 2012 at 09:32:17 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Self-imposed censorship (0+ / 0-)

        Thoughts we don't allow ourselves to think. It wouldn't do to alarm the authorities.

        The power of the Occupy movement is that it ....realizes a fundamental truth about American politics… there is no way to vote against the interests of Goldman Sachs.

        by orson on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 08:34:33 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  This diary is entitled, "Why is the American Left (6+ / 0-)

      so useless - II"

      It is second in a series.

      The preamble diary, "Why is the American Left so Useless", is here

      http://www.dailykos.com/...

      I believe we help each other in times of need. I want all our children to get an excellent education. Every American deserves health care. I love my country. I am a patriot. I am a voter. I am a Democrat.

      by mumtaznepal on Mon Jun 25, 2012 at 10:10:27 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Maybe not 'useless', but pretty damn (15+ / 0-)

      powerless.

      Don't let millionaires steal Social Security.
      I said, "Don't let millionaires steal Social Security!"

      by Leo in NJ on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 12:58:35 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Nor me. Frankly, I view the churches as our enemy. (13+ / 0-)

      They brain wash the innocent, they lie, they rape kids, they force their sheeple to ignore science, they pursue policies that actively hurt people.

      What we call god is merely a living creature with superior technology & understanding. If their fragile egos demand prayer, they lose that superiority.

      by agnostic on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 05:57:10 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  You are broadstroking (21+ / 0-)

        and that is not fair.  You choose to be agnostic and that is fine but for many on the left, the worship part of their life is as important as the ballot box.  

        What you believe is your choice, or choose not to believe and all of that is fine and good BUT the diarist has a great point that the majority of Americans DO care about their spiritual life and this is the problem with some on the left.  We have freedom of religion.  Or lack of it.  Respect their beliefs...cramming non belief is as bad as shoving evangelical.
        MLK understood that.

        We the People have to make a difference and the Change.....Just do it ! Be part of helping us build a veteran community online. United Veterans of America

        by Vetwife on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 06:09:26 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  the majority of people once thought the earth was (10+ / 0-)

          flat, too. Does that ridiculousness also deserve respect and compromise? Hardly.

          What we call god is merely a living creature with superior technology & understanding. If their fragile egos demand prayer, they lose that superiority.

          by agnostic on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 06:11:35 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Yes it does. Respect my right to believe or not (7+ / 0-)

            believe what I want.  Welcome to what's supposed to be America.   What is ridiculous to you is common sense to others.  People are individuals with their own perspective on ideas and ideals.  We don't all fit into ONE box.  Nor should we.  

            We the People have to make a difference and the Change.....Just do it ! Be part of helping us build a veteran community online. United Veterans of America

            by Vetwife on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 06:26:58 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Don't shove your non belief on me as I will (5+ / 0-)

              respond to that idea as much with as much passion as I do with snake handlers and evangelicals.   I strike back.
              I don't want ANYONE to shove their beliefs or non beliefs on me.  That is a fact.  I think I speak for most believers and probably most non believers.

              We the People have to make a difference and the Change.....Just do it ! Be part of helping us build a veteran community online. United Veterans of America

              by Vetwife on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 06:30:49 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Yours is a losing proposition (11+ / 0-)

                Take two small, equally sized groups - one consisting of scientists and rational thinkers, the other of the rabid right religious nuts. In the middle, the majority, not convinced by either side.

                The RR starts screaming about religious freedom, that abstinence is the ONLY policy, abortion is murder, and birth control insults god.

                The other extreme, under your approach, makes nice, tries to find compromise, tries to find ground upon which we can agree

                To those in the center, we look weak, unsure of ourselves, and unable to take a strong stand in favor of our position. Ergo, we lose. EVERY SINGLE FUCKING TIME.

                I say enough of that. Time to stand up to religious bullies and their fairy tales and shove them down their throats. Science, fact, truthiness - we need to actively defend them all from attack by religious freaks. Or we all lose.

                What we call god is merely a living creature with superior technology & understanding. If their fragile egos demand prayer, they lose that superiority.

                by agnostic on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 06:38:36 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  The religious rabid right I do agree need calling (6+ / 0-)

                  out but dammit you broadstroked and MLK was not a rabid wing nut.  You go ahead and stand up to John Lewis..I dare you.  Go ahead and call his belief out.   Don't expect people to follow you into that losing rabbit hole.   Go ahead and call fine people of faith who don't shove beliefs down their throat.  Go ahead....call out Barack Obama.....YOU WILL LOSE..you will find yourself alone with your principles and even the like minded you choose not to believe will have as much love for your broadstroke as they did for Madeline O'Hare.

                  We the People have to make a difference and the Change.....Just do it ! Be part of helping us build a veteran community online. United Veterans of America

                  by Vetwife on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 06:55:03 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                •  truthiness? (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  AoT

                  I will not defend that.  

                  I happen to agree, however, that on the hustings the left has been milquetoast compared to the right

                  The robb'd that smiles steals something from the thief. -- Shakespeare

                  by not2plato on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 07:57:55 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                •  You don't understand what "truthiness" is (0+ / 0-)

                  it's not the same as truth, not by a long shot--it's stuff that's by definition not true, but you'd like it to be. We've been defending ourselves against religion for 50 years and it has not made us more popular.

                  "All governments lie, but disaster lies in wait for countries whose officials smoke the same hashish they give out." --I.F. Stone

                  by Alice in Florida on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 09:30:51 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

              •  As an atheist, I feel the same way about... (14+ / 0-)

                ...not wanting anyone on either side of the political spectrume to suggest I have to go along with their belief system to get any kind of respect or "inroads" with them.

                This is the main problem IMO with this diary. While I agree that Dr. King's movement was powerful, and its lasting influence was indeed tragically stemmed after he was assassinated, I don't believe that all progressives and liberals need to adopt "liberation theology," or any kind of religiosity, for that matter, to effect change.

                If those in the Religious Left and mainline churches want to spearhead such a movement, all the power to them, but please don't insist I adopt the religious viewpoints just to appease the "independent voters" or go along with a type of religion I don't agree with. I can agree with and support the mission of the group (to serve the poor and to enable lasting change to end income inequality), yet I don't have to be religious to do that.

                Seen on Facebook: "Rich people are not the cause of a robust economy, they are the result of a robust economy."

                by boofdah on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 07:15:52 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  The irony, it burns. (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                agnostic, burlydee, Meteor Blades

                You just shoved yours.

                Religion has no place in the corporeal or in the arena of problem solving unless you are being dishonest in steering people to their "great reward" to effect some earthly end.

                Bad form.Religious or not. Unethical.

            •  different things (7+ / 0-)

              above you said we should "Respect their beliefs."  

              here, you say "Respect my right to believe or not believe what I want."

              those are two completely different ideas.  of course people respect your right to believe or not believe as you see fit.  

              just don't expect people to respect your particular tenets of faith, or beliefs. and don't expect people to respect you just for having them.

              besides, nobody needs organized religion/church to have a rich spiritual life.

              Die with your boots on. If you're gonna try, well stick around. Gonna cry? Just move along. The truth of all predictions is always in your hands. - Iron Maiden

              by Cedwyn on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 07:24:03 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  You're quibbling with fundamentalism, (9+ / 0-)

            wherein scripture is supposed to be understood as literally as science.

            All religion is NOT fundamentalist.

            It's here they got the range/ and the machinery for change/ and it's here they got the spiritual thirst. --Leonard Cohen

            by karmsy on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 06:44:22 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  perhaps you have a point. Looking at the nuns (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              karmsy, New Rule, burlydee

              on a bus, compared to the Dolan-esque pronouncements that clearly come from Rome, perhaps.

              But, for too long, where were the religious on Randian policies, on Ryan budgets, on IraqNam and Afghanistan? Where were they on domestic spying and targeted assassinations. I didn't hear any religious groups complain about Virginia's planned vagina groping. Or was that only due to the MSM's inability to do its job anymore?

              What we call god is merely a living creature with superior technology & understanding. If their fragile egos demand prayer, they lose that superiority.

              by agnostic on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 06:58:55 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Interesting point. (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                nickrud, FindingMyVoice

                There WERE religious people out protesting all these social ills you mention, although perhaps they just weren't organized enough and didn't have sufficient numbers to make much of an impact.

                It's here they got the range/ and the machinery for change/ and it's here they got the spiritual thirst. --Leonard Cohen

                by karmsy on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 07:09:10 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  The protests against the college of the (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  karmsy, WB Reeves

                  Americas was primarily religious as I recall*. Now that maybe because The Catholic liberation theology based response to the right in central America, while not officially sanctioned was effective enough so the right responded massively, resulting in the deaths of scores of prists and nuns.  
                  This is why the Pope is hitting the catholic left so hard.

                  *Friend, Unitarian and Catholic are the ones I am familiar with.

                  •  Absolutely correct (3+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    chalatenango, AoT, karmsy

                    SOA Watch was founded by people faith and has carried on agitation and non-violent resistance against the SOA and the policies it exemplifies for over a decade. Anyone who has attended their mobilizations can tell you that faith is a guiding motivation of the overwhelming majority of those who have participated. Not even the national security mania following Sept. 11th slowed them down.

                    Credit where credit is due.

          •  You have missed your point (0+ / 0-)

            which was that the churches are socially abusive, not that they believe weird things.  

            The robb'd that smiles steals something from the thief. -- Shakespeare

            by not2plato on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 07:55:42 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  The two are heavily correlated (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Roger Fox, blueoasis

              The most politically harmless church could be the Unitarian Universalists, who (I believe) don't even require belief in a god to participate.

              Then you move down the scale to people like the Southern Baptists, who have extremely strong faith and are also a very dangerous institution for socially liberal beliefs.

              Generally speaking, the stronger the religious beliefs, the more politically active and dangerous the organization is.

              (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
              Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

              by Sparhawk on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 09:42:38 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Not all Southern Baptists (0+ / 0-)

                You're conflating Southern Baptists with the Southern Baptist Convention, which has been bleeding member churches ever since it betrayed its principles and began to enforce "conservative" conformity. Former Pres. Carter is a Southern Baptist but no longer a member of the convention, for example.

                You should check out a publication called "Sojourners."

              •  UU church has 7 principles, God is optional. (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                blueoasis

                There is no worship of a God, some songs refer to a creator, poetry and other readings may include the words because we take wisdom from where ever we find it.

                As far as being politically harmless, there are far more evangelicals who believe we are evil than there are UUs.

                I would attribute that to being politically effective.

                You may recall a RW talking heads inspired jobless man walked into the Tennesee Valley UU Church in Knoxville, TN  Sunday service in 7/08 and opened fire, killing 2 and wounding 5 because he wanted to kill liberals.  

                Fortunately for UUs, he was convicted and sentenced for life, not the death penalty we oppose.

                "People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed and redeemed; never throw out anyone. " Audrey Hepburn "A Beautiful Woman"

                by Ginny in CO on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 09:27:50 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

          •  Gee, agnostic, try to keep up. The flat-earthers (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Vetwife

            are long gone. And I'm not convinced that was the majority of people, anyway.

            You want to be an atheist, fine. If others have different beliefs they DON'T shove at you, leave them alone.

            If people are offending you, go after them where they are. Don't pretend you have a one-size-fits-all view on here.

            THAT is the position of the rightwingfundies.

        •  This is a great comment, thanks. (7+ / 0-)

          You've perfectly summed up the reason I (an avowed agnostic) have difficulty with so much "atheism" out there.

          It is moralistic and militaristic "fundamentalism."

          It's here they got the range/ and the machinery for change/ and it's here they got the spiritual thirst. --Leonard Cohen

          by karmsy on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 06:41:49 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  This is why we can't have nice things... (5+ / 0-)

            This is why Democrats will NEVER win a landslide election that can give us a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate.  This is why we can't enact game-changing legislation causing us to enact woefully inadequate change or merely to defend progressive policy enacted since the Depression instead.  Since EVERYBODY is so quick to turn on each other instead of coming together to work towards common goals, the Right will be able to outmaneuver and out-politic us more often than not.

            When CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere start decreasing, when we have Universal Healthcare, when defense spending comes down to a reasonable level and when our education / economic system gives most people a fair shot, THEN people can start chopping down the tent poles in our coalition if they want!

            •  What are you saying? (0+ / 0-)

              I'm subverting a potential Progressive coalition, by dissing atheists? Or Progressives need to make appeals to the masses that aren't tone-deaf to matters of religion and spirituality? I'm genuinely confused.

              It's here they got the range/ and the machinery for change/ and it's here they got the spiritual thirst. --Leonard Cohen

              by karmsy on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 07:25:55 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  Excellent point, and I blame the inter-tubz (0+ / 0-)

              although without the tubz we would not have Kos, which I love.

              I believe the internet and comment sections are wonderful places which allow excellent opposing views for all to discuss and view.  Yet, the internet also takes away the personal interaction, body language and tone, therefore, it makes some less likely to accept opposing views.

              Dum Spiro Spero - While I Breathe, I Hope

              by Dancing Angel on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 10:52:10 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  A Dem Fillibuster-proof Senate Majority (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              AoT, crose, blueoasis

              actually scares the crap out of me.

              My fear is that once they had one, they still wouldn't do any of the important things.

              What would be left for me, other than 100% cynicism?

              Stand Up! Keep Fighting! Paul Wellstone

              by RuralLiberal on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 02:21:06 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  To counter your argument, and to parallel your (6+ / 0-)

            "quibbling with fundamentalism" comment above, just as you say,

            All religion is NOT fundamentalist.
            I agree with you, and respect that not all religious people are fundamentalists. However, please understand that all atheism/agnosticism is not fundamentalist, either. My husband and I are both atheists but have our argumentative differences, and that's cool with us.

            It gets annoying to us as progressives that the Right views us as a monolithic front--a bunch of bots who march in lockstep to every issue and finite policy detail--when that is most certainly not the case. It must understandably get annoying to people in the Religious Left when some atheists and agnostics (and I am NOT one of them) lump all religious people in the same boat with the Religious Right.

            This being said, I am personally annoyed when people make assumptions about me based on their stereotypes and generalizations of atheists and agnostics.

            Seen on Facebook: "Rich people are not the cause of a robust economy, they are the result of a robust economy."

            by boofdah on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 07:29:12 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  Me too (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          AoT, joe wobblie
          the worship part of their life is as important as the ballot box.
          of course, in the opposite way
      •  Tell that to (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        HCKAD, WB Reeves, Vetwife

        the Unitarian Universalists, the United Church of Christ, the Sopciety of Friends (Quakers), Conservative and Reform Jews, Mainline Protestants, Episcoplains, and the Old Catholic Church that they are the enemy. Really? REALLY?

        "Valerie, why am I getting all these emails calling me a classless boor?"

        by TLS66 on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 07:44:25 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  "they pursue policies that actively hurt people" (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Vetwife

        Sounds like the Republicans to me.

        If you have been hurt by organized religion, too bad, so sad.

        Deal with it.

      •  So much for MLK, then. n/t (0+ / 0-)

        The '60s were simply an attempt to get the 21st Century started early....Well, what are we waiting for? There's no deadline on a dream!

        by Panurge on Thu Jun 28, 2012 at 10:27:59 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  does it make you uncomfortable? (11+ / 0-)

      Good. You should be.

      Smugness is one of the curses of the American left... a sense of both intellectual and moral superiority that reeks of condescension when trying to reach out to the very people we want to help. Class consciousness is lost on the bourgeoisie, because it's uncomfortable. If you're well-educated and well-off, even as a liberal, you have a lot more in common culturally with our corporate masters than you do with the rural and urban poor. If you find yourself sneering at people for the way they talk, or dress, or worship, it's a problem.

      It's easy for the left to turn to more comfortable causes, like marriage equality... fighting discrimination against nice white middle-class intellectuals like us. The rural poor? They can't relate. They see this as offensive, not as common cause. Now, how do you solve this? You can try to convince the rural poor to respect equality and diversity, but if you can't relate to them, why should they relate to you? (what this world needs is a gay country music star, other than kd lang)

      In capitalist America, bank robs you!

      by Orbital Mind Control Lasers on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 07:26:34 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I try to listen (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        AoT, organicus

        I'm comfortable enough, via my parents & my white privilege, I've got an OK job. But the way things are going, it's no guarentee. I try to support the "stop police brutality" without trying to speak for the people actually targeted. When I do speak it's usually "what he said, what she said" and how that contradicts how those in power are trying to spin a thing.

        I'm honest about my self-preservation motivation: the 1% wants everyone serfs. I could learn some survival techniques from poor brown solidarity, how communities help each other.

        The boss needs you, you don't need him. -- France general strike, May 1968

        by stargaze on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 07:38:07 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I worked my way up (6+ / 0-)

          I've made it to upper middle class, through education and hard work, but I was raised poor working class. I looked around me, even as a child, saw a world of crime and ignorance, and didn't want to live there.

          A cousin of mine is a Southern Baptist minister, totally fundie in his beliefs. But he also takes his ministry to the poor VERY seriously. He builds houses in Kenya, digs wells on Navajo reservations, counsels inmates on death row. When it comes to liberal values, he's a better man than 99% of the liberals I know. So why should we lose someone like him to the villains of Wall Street? It's a culture war thing, but it's not like the Wall Street vultures share a common culture with guys like him either. What they have done is convinced well-meaning rural Americans that people like us are "liberal elites" waging a culture war against them - that we are the enemy, not the rich.

          So half the battle is getting the rural poor to understand that Wall Street and their GOP puppets are their enemy. But the other half is convincing them that we're NOT their enemies.

          In capitalist America, bank robs you!

          by Orbital Mind Control Lasers on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 09:22:52 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  You nailed it (4+ / 0-)

            The culture war is the achilles heel of Progressives and the Left. Far too many are invested in an image of themselves as members of an enlightened elite who are far above the vulgar hoi polloi. They'd rather lecture folks than listen to them. This is the dirty little secret of the Right's success in painting Liberals and the Left as arrogant, overbearing elitists. Too many insist on living down to the stereotype.  

      •  Because all atheists are bourgeoisie (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        WheninRome, WB Reeves, burlydee

        as are all of the left.

        It's easy for the left to turn to more comfortable causes, like marriage equality... fighting discrimination against nice white middle-class intellectuals like us. The rural poor? They can't relate. They see this as offensive, not as common cause. Now, how do you solve this? You can try to convince the rural poor to respect equality and diversity, but if you can't relate to them, why should they relate to you? (what this world needs is a gay country music star, other than kd lang)
        The fact that you can follow up talk about condescension with this paragraph is fairly ironic.  You are doing here exactly what you accuse the left in general of doing.

        There revolution will not be televised. But it will be blogged, a lot. Probably more so than is necessary.

        by AoT on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 07:53:44 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  as a bourgeois atheist myself... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Vetwife

          Dude, I grew up with rural poor social conservatives. I can still hear my dad's pet phrase, "ed-ucated mo-rons" ringing in my ears.

          In capitalist America, bank robs you!

          by Orbital Mind Control Lasers on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 09:24:34 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Come now (0+ / 0-)

          Yes it is itself an over generalization but are you really going to argue that the larger point, arrogance and condescension on the Left, isn't a problem?

          •  Yeah, I'm willing to argue that it isn't a problem (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            AoT

            Prove to me that it is.  Prove to me the fact that some arrogant douche in Seattle is the reason that Kansas is so conservative.  It seems to me the reason the South and Plain states are so conservative has lot more to do with religions than the fact that some jackass in San Francisco listens to Sigur Ros and drinks over priced latte's.  

            •  That's not what's being argued (0+ / 0-)

              It doesn't speak well for your position that you have to invent arguments that haven't been made. Nor does speak well for anyone who endorses such strawman tactics.

              •  Please explain what is being argued? (0+ / 0-)

                It seems to me two things are being simultaneously argued.  That liberals need to stop being so condescending to rural whites and that the way to reach liberal whites is by using the bible and liberation theology.   By speaking their language.  But those points haven't been proven.  Liberation theology and Dr. King were very unpopular at the time of Dr. King's death.  Dr. King had a 30% approval rating amongst all Americans when he was assassinated.  I think these points sound very nice, but I don't think they are true and they certainly haven't been proven.  

                •  All you have to do (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  AoT, Alice in Florida

                  is look at the parent to AoT's comment that I replied to. Not a word there about latte sipping San Franciscans. Rather a sharp criticism of the Left's apathy, if not outright hostility, when it comes to the issues of concern to the rural working class and poor.

                  I've no more interest in policing the spiritual beliefs of others than I am interested in having someone police mine. If I can find common ground for progressive action, I don't care what their religious beliefs are. I'm certainly not going to reject collective action in order to indulge a sense of intellectual or moral superiority.

          •  The point here isn't about "the left" in general (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            burlydee, WB Reeves, blueoasis

            The point was referring to atheists and claiming that they were bourgeoisie, which is just wrong.  There are plenty of working class atheists and claiming otherwise just reinforces the stupid meme.

            And sure, there's a problem with some leftists being condescending, but compared to how arrogant and condescending the right is it's nothing.

            There revolution will not be televised. But it will be blogged, a lot. Probably more so than is necessary.

            by AoT on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 03:13:42 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  A fair criticism (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              AoT, Alice in Florida

              but the problem isn't one of aesthetics or courtesy. It's a question of classism. I can't count the times I've seen people on this site and in active organizing engage in derisive and degrading rhetoric aimed at people who support the Right Wing when it seems objectively against their interests. Theories for why this so usually devolve into some variant of "They're a bunch of ignorant, hateful, racist, redneck boobs. Fuck them." Yes, the right wing is also arrogant and condescending but they are smart enough to not direct their bile at their own constituency.

              If we really believe that people are not serving their own interest by supporting the Right, the sensible thing would be to ask them why they're doing so, rather than theorizing on the basis of them being some sort of alien other. This would require us to set aside our own opinions and self-regard long enough to have an exchange. It would require us getting outside our comfort zone and learning from those who ought to be our allies against the corporate elite but who find themselves on the other side because they hear nothing but contempt and sneers directed toward them from the Left. This not simply a perception created by Right Wing media, although they feed and exploit it. Like all effective propaganda it succeeds because it contains a kernel of truth.
               

              •  I agree completely (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                WB Reeves

                The amount of classism I've seen here and elsewhere among liberals is astounding in it's scope.  Of course, most folks don't really want to talk about that particular ism because it hits a bit too close to home.

                This not simply a perception created by Right Wing media, although they feed and exploit it.
                Major media in general both promotes that view of liberals and promotes a classist view of poor people.  I try to confront those shitty classist stereotypes when I see them but it can get a bit overwhelming.

                There revolution will not be televised. But it will be blogged, a lot. Probably more so than is necessary.

                by AoT on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 07:25:32 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

      •  Alas I have but one rec to give to this comment! (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        J M F

        It has been really uphill with my own family, raised on union living wages, environmentally concerned for forests and rivers, angry at the corporations and exporting of jobs.... yet many right-wing at the ballot box!

        Why? Because of the dripping condescension of their education, their speech, their questions (which are often of the low-info voter variety), their defensiveness around their choices of family and hunting and rural living.

        I am one guy here, people, lay off them long enough to get a few votes at least?

        (my quibble: what this world needs is more gay country music stars in addition to kd lang)

        Most people say that what some people say is pretty stupid.

        by nullspace on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 07:55:33 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  So the reason people in Tenessee vote conservative (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          AoT

          is b/c people in LA are too mean to them?  That sounds more condescending to me than what you are claiming liberals are doing to them.  For the most part, I don't see this great personal interaction between conservatives and liberals, that would make rural conservatives so offended by the actions of liberals that they would vote Republican.  What I see is an echo chamber of Fox News, churches and right wing radio, as well as their own friends and families, who have created an ingrained belief system that is often hostlie to liberal causes.   I see a lot of accusations of liberals infringing on religious freedoms and gun freedoms w/o a lot of corresponding evidence to back that up.  

  •  The content of the Diary (16+ / 0-)

    is excellent.

    It is being badly let down by a very poor choice of Title.

    I would be pleased to consider promoting this Diary further, but with that Title, I cannot.

    I hope that the quality of debate will improve,
    but I fear we will remain Democrats.

    by twigg on Mon Jun 25, 2012 at 09:14:12 PM PDT

  •  Only One Mention of the American Left (5+ / 0-)

    A totally unsupported assertion that "it" lost its "way" when King was shot.

    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 Mon Jun 25, 2012 at 09:55:30 PM PDT

  •  A worthy essay, but an odd title. (7+ / 0-)

    You'd either have to write more after your last paragraph to tie it to the title, or just simply change the title.

    Really, worth the read, but people aren't going to look because of the title. Not to say the left's influence hasn't declined since the Reverend Doctor was murdered, but the case for that hasn't been made.

    I hope you edit the title, or republish the essay soon with a different title.

    Just my opinion. Thanks.


    The Internet is just the tail of the Corporate Media dog.

    by Jim P on Mon Jun 25, 2012 at 10:15:29 PM PDT

  •  The later speeches & sermons in particular, (15+ / 0-)

    of Dr. King were unlike any I had ever heard before, and I have not heard anything like them since.  They are at once inspiring, moving and heartbreaking to listen to now, knowing that since that tragic day in April 1968, the void that was left behind has never been filled.

    Wonderful diary.  The title, not so much.

    Skeptical scrutiny is the means, in both science and religion, by which deep thoughts can be winnowed from deep nonsense. Carl Sagan

    by sjburnman on Mon Jun 25, 2012 at 10:15:43 PM PDT

    •  Rec'd, as I didn't see the previous ... (5+ / 0-)

      ... title, but I did enjoy your essay. I disagree with your premise, but you were at least interesting. When you consider what the Left faces and has faced, including a corporate media, a corpratocracy, a military-industrial complex, a system seemingly designed to tempt Washington insiders with riches or power, fundamentalism, recent eras in which warfare was glamorous and necessary (WWI & WWII), and now Citizens United and SuperPACs, well, I think the Left has done pretty well. Not to say we can't do better, and I think the inequity of corporate welfare (i.e. current capitalism) is going to be the switch that turns on the Left again. At least eventually. At least hopefully.

      American minds are being changed right now about gay marriage, warfare, equal pay, immigration, the 1% and on and on. It will always be a fight, though, and I'm reminded of that first popular Progressive, Charles Dickens, who wrote in David Copperfield how heads would spin if England spent half as much on institutional learning centers for the young poor and elderly retirement facilities or the old poor that they spent on their big, handsome prisons. It is a fight, and it will always be a fight.  

      I would tip you, but the man took away my tips.

      by Tortmaster on Mon Jun 25, 2012 at 11:39:32 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Of course, "or" should be "for" in the ... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        theKgirls

        ... sentence that includes "elderly retirement facilities for the old poor ...." As Homer Dickens would say, "D'oh, bloke."

        I would tip you, but the man took away my tips.

        by Tortmaster on Mon Jun 25, 2012 at 11:56:54 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  The accomplishments of the left are relics (25+ / 0-)

        of the 1960s and 70s. There is a difference between progressive and leftist. The Democratic Party's last leftist campaign was Jesse Jackson's in 84. The idea of a great movement of the working class and the poor sadly died with Dr King. The victory of Bill Clinton and the DLC in 92 buried the influence of the left.

        Progressives technically speaking are to the right of the left. Terms like practical and pragmatic come to mind. I used to be a progressive, myself. I swung to the left when I saw the compromises made during the Clinton years and beyond. But I am not a purist.

        As a leftist I believe that my party should be the party of the poor, working class, disenfranchised. And the diarists point about elitism pointed at the uneducated is spot on.

        Before Dr King's great crusade against poverty there were other mass movements. From William Jennings Bryant to the Bonus Army these movements gave people hope. What hope do we as Democrats offer the poor and working classes today. We have policies bottled up in an obstructionist Congress but we lack fighters like Dr King and Bobby Kennedy who can galvanize a nation. And we have lost most of the recent battles for the loyalty of the working class by our insistence of compromise with the wealthy.

        As a leftist I have been disappointed by the lack of fire of Democratic advocacy. Other than Rev Jackson the last barn burner of a speech given at a major event that was a call to fight for the working class was Gov Mario Cuomo. Everything else has been about the greatness and the genius of the middle class. The concerns of the middle class. The working class are not the middle class. The poor are not the middle class. And equating the two classes only benefits the ownership class.

        We condescend to the working class instead of trying to listen to them and work for their best interests. With Americans lacking a college degree we are getting nowhere with our message.

        As a leftist I believe in economic justice along with a clean environment, equal rights for all, a country at peace and held in honor. And I believe in simple basic respect for all people no matter what they do for a living. Teachers, janitors, hotel maids, factory workers all produce and contribute in more important ways than do Wall Street and professional athletes And pay scales and social standing should reflect this reality. And this is the message that Democrats should bring.

        If they outspend us then we should hit the streets in protest. We should strike. We should march. And we should demand that our leadership, President included pick a side. Us or them. The wealthy or the poor. And stop trying to compromise with the people who already own most of everything.

  •  A bit of a muddle...... (26+ / 0-)

    .....but let's consider the key point I believe the author is trying to make:

    The political left has lost touch with it's traditional constituency.  The words "working class" have become pejorative. And for actual working class folks in this post-industrial, non-union era, liberal government has come to mean contempt for working class values.  

    As a day-to-day matter, the state is a pain in the ass for a man or woman trying to run a small construction business,  repair shop, or store.  The tax system is designed to turn most into criminals.  Bloviating politicians offer nothing to these folks except hot air, and the so-called left is really just as bunch of hacks who long ago sold out to the money party.

    Many of us had high hopes that Obama would revive the legacy of FDR.  He didn't.  Meanwhile, the cultural elite continues its mockery..  Big surprise that people are seduced by right wing bullies who cynically manipulate the despair of America's forgotten, hard working, patriotic regular folks.

    Labor was the first price paid for all things. It was not by money, but by labour, that all wealth of the world was originally purchased. - Adam Smith

    by boatwright on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 02:08:49 AM PDT

    •  Applause... (7+ / 0-)

      ...for the title change.

      And yes, the left lost its spiritual heart when it lost Martin Luther King.

      Labor was the first price paid for all things. It was not by money, but by labour, that all wealth of the world was originally purchased. - Adam Smith

      by boatwright on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 02:18:32 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  You mean "the democrats have lost touch" (8+ / 0-)

      The traditional left - labor unions, students, human rights activists, environmentalists - continue to speak and advocate for the needs of the poor and lower classes.

      It is the demcoratic party (i.e. the political left) that has lost touch with its traditional constituency.  Indeed, the democratic party now attends primarily to the needs of the wealthy and corporate donors who sponsor democratic party election campaigns - the traditional constituency of the democratic party has been left out in the cold.

      "The fool doth think he is wise: the wise man knows himself to be a fool" - W. Shakespeare

      by Hugh Jim Bissell on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 06:52:06 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  "Meanwhile, the cultural elite continues its (13+ / 0-)

      mockery."

      I believe this to be a central problem of the Left. We on the Left sit around and wonder What's Wrong with Kansas? Why do the poor and middle class so often vote against their economic interests?

      But, turn on the TV and watch the comedians and actors who identify with the Left. They run a constant barrage of self-congratulatory, elitist rhetoric that denigrates anything that is not from "the Coasts."

      Bill Maher can do all the insightful commentary he wants to. But when its wrapped in a sneering dialogue aimed at "Sisterfuck, Arkansas," the only thing that's going to get communicated is the sneer.

      The Right realized this long ago, and knows how to speak the language of the culturally conservative and religious middle.  They simply identify them as "my people."

      Us Lefties often come across as condescending, over-educated, and contemptuous. If more Lefties talked like Elizabeth Warren, we'd get more done.

      Liberals: Taking crap for being right since before you were born. - Driftglass (and the amazing Professional Left Podcast at http://professionalleft.blogspot.com/)

      by briefer on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 06:59:35 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I don't know (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        briefer, New Rule

        Scott Brown seems to have done a real job making Warren seem to be one of the contemptous elitists.  I'll bet a lof of people who don't know Warren's background think she's a Boston Brhamin as opposed to born in Oklahoma.

        "Valerie, why am I getting all these emails calling me a classless boor?"

        by TLS66 on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 07:56:18 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  OTOH, they're trying to attack her Okiness (0+ / 0-)

          (I'm an Okie, so I can say that) by attacking the whole "native american" thing. I'd say a good 50% of my friends here in Oklahoma claim native american blood, but their relatives were not on the Dawes Rolls.

          Attacking Warren for claiming native american background is just another version of "attack their strengths." It cuts off her ability to seem less elite (and, how she supposedly used it in academia just reinforces the elite meme).

          Liberals: Taking crap for being right since before you were born. - Driftglass (and the amazing Professional Left Podcast at http://professionalleft.blogspot.com/)

          by briefer on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 08:48:09 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  So people are voting for Republicans b/c Bill Mahe (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        AoT, Snarky McAngus

        and Chris Rock make fun of them.  Got it.  This seems like shallow, navel gazing from people filled with self loathing.  

        If you want rural whites to follow liberal ideals.. find someone willing to sell them on it!  It is one of the reasons I was so into John Edwards before he imploded.  He was willling to make the argument to rural whites that the current system of government wasn't working for them and that the Dems had a better plan.  Who else over the last 20 years has been directly making that argument to them? Bill Clinton didn't.  Obama hasn't.  Republicans aren't.  No one is making the direct, liberal economic arguments to rural whites b/c ARE POLITICIANS ARE BOUGHT AND PAID FOR BY WALL ST!

    •  He didn't? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      joe wobblie
      Many of us had high hopes that Obama would revive the legacy of FDR.
      One of them destroyed the organizational power of the Left to save capitalism.  The other had Polio.
  •  I like the prescription, (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Roger Fox

    ...but the diagnosis stinks.  What I think you're saying is that all the hard work of everybody who uses Kos is useless.  Fifty years' worth.

    And that's what we call trolling.

    Early to rise and early to bed Makes a man healthy, wealthy, and dead. --Not Benjamin Franklin

    by Boundegar on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 02:48:10 AM PDT

  •  Numbers here are highly suspect (14+ / 0-)

    You state:

    The United States has the highest percentage of single-parent families (34% in 1998) among developed countries.
    Living in Iceland, where there's a huge culture of single parenting compared to the US, this claim struck me as very unlikely, so I followed your link.  It references not a poll or a research paper, but a book called "Single Parents".  Not having a copy of the book, I can't see what the book is actually claiming.  

    The New York Times cites an OECD study that puts the US at the higher end of the spectrum, but definitely not at the top.  There's only perhaps 25 countries listed on the graph.  Iceland is not among them.

    This is different, about births to unwed mothers rather than single parenting of kids at any age. Quote from the summary: "The United States is not unique, nor does it outpace other countries, in nonmarital childbearing."  The US is at 40%.  Iceland is 66%.  

    Finding this claim suspect, I decided to check more.  Top divorce rates?  Well, This, which references Americans for Divorce Reform,  puts the US high up, but not at the top - instead between Australia and Denmark, and nowhere near the "double" figure mentioned.  Iceland ranked surprisingly low, although probably because most people here don't get married to begin with.

  •  In essence, we must learn to lie? (9+ / 0-)

    Because truths like evolution are too hard to swallow?

    What we call god is merely a living creature with superior technology & understanding. If their fragile egos demand prayer, they lose that superiority.

    by agnostic on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 03:53:48 AM PDT

    •  No, I think the point is that we need not make (5+ / 0-)

      evolution an article of liberal faith in order to foment solidarity against the forces of oppression.  

      While I find literal readings of Genesis intellectually revolting, I simultaneously do not see why I can't walk arm in arm with a fundamentalist against, say, the Supreme Court's Fascist 5 or Paul Ryan's "fuck reason" budget.....

      "There's no ideology [t]here [on the right]. It's just about being a dick." Bill Maher, June 22, 2012.

      by caseynm on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 05:15:09 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  There are certain compromises that should not (20+ / 0-)

        ever be made.  No good can come from it. Ever.

        There are certain truths. The Universe is around 14,000,000,000 solar orbits old. The speed of light is C. Pi equals 3.14159. Evolution is a fact. Global Cimate Change is a danger to us all.

        Science offers us far more workable solutions to our problems than any amount of prayer. Being willing to set aside the scientific truths, for a temporary, perhaps misguided alliance that must eventually hit a wall, is not being pragmatic, but self-destructive.

        One of the reasons that the religious reich of this nation have accumulated so much power is because of us. Because of such compromises. Because of efforts aimed at cooperation instead of confrontation with ineffable stupidity and the bible beating bastards who spawn it. The instant that we allow someone's religious fairy tales to drive policy "out of respect" is the day that we lose.

        What has such compromise and efforts at "understanding, respect, and cooperation" brought us?

        Here's one example, one that still has deadly consequences:

        Abstinence training.

        We take rare, needed resources and throw them willingly into the abstinence pit, knowing IT DOES NOT WORK, and what happens? STDs rise, unwanted pregnancies in teens rise, access to birth control becomes problematic, and abortion support and Planned Parenthood is under attack. Had we only said no to abstinence training, a lot of this could and would have been avoided.  But no. Fucking idiots in the Democratic Party decided that respect of the religious was far more important than scientific truths, so they caved in on Abstinence.

        You want to see a real travesty? Take a look at Africa and study how the attacks on condoms have cause AIDS to be even more widespread. Thanks to a goddammed criminal cabal that rapes children. We know it as the Catholic Church.

        What we call god is merely a living creature with superior technology & understanding. If their fragile egos demand prayer, they lose that superiority.

        by agnostic on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 05:54:30 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Another consequence/"compromising" to abstinence (6+ / 0-)

          "education":

          unwanted pregnancies in teens rise
          ...which leads to people falling into poverty.
          access to birth control becomes problematic
          ...which is a result of poverty (people simply can't afford it when they already have mouths to feed).

          And

          the religious reich of this nation have accumulated so much power
          partly as a result of poor and working-class people blaming one another for their lot, which makes the Powers That Be who control most of the money in this country simply laugh.

          And the vicious cycle continues...

          The mess that we have caused in this country to let powerful, greedy people misuse religion to get the things they want--to nickle and dime the middle class AND the poor at every turn--and for SOOO many voters to be stupid and/or willfully ignorant enough to buy into this shit is EXACTLY why I grew into atheism to begin with. I am so over our country's buying into religiosity and constantly using it as an excuse to belittle, demean, take rights away from, and constantly be cruel to other people.

          Seen on Facebook: "Rich people are not the cause of a robust economy, they are the result of a robust economy."

          by boofdah on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 08:13:46 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  WTF are you talking about? WHAT intellectual (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          saluda

          compromise? the fact that we share an oppressor? How is that a compromise? How about we share what is common among us and get rid of the fucking oppressor, and then we can worry about who's right about these other questions.

          Getting rid of the oppressor is not worth doing unless we all agree on what should happen afterwards? Stop the 1% ruling elite and you'll be amazed at what you can do in education.

          I agree on the values. Let's make real education possible first.

          "There's no ideology [t]here [on the right]. It's just about being a dick." Bill Maher, June 22, 2012.

          by caseynm on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 09:55:07 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  were you responding to me? (0+ / 0-)

            because I cannot seem to connect what you write to what I wrote.

            What we call god is merely a living creature with superior technology & understanding. If their fragile egos demand prayer, they lose that superiority.

            by agnostic on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 10:59:07 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Then get a clue. (0+ / 0-)

              "There's no ideology [t]here [on the right]. It's just about being a dick." Bill Maher, June 22, 2012.

              by caseynm on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 02:36:22 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  an insulting SOB, to boot. (0+ / 0-)

                what the hell is your problem?

                What we call god is merely a living creature with superior technology & understanding. If their fragile egos demand prayer, they lose that superiority.

                by agnostic on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 02:51:13 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  If your original comment was directed at me (0+ / 0-)

                  and I will be generous and concede that perhaps it was not, but if it was, then your comment was intended as an insult or was completely off the point of what I said.
                  My comment directly responded to your basic premise--that one cannot (apparently) have allies in the struggle against oppressors who disagree with a tenet of one's own ideology.

                  If that was not your basic premise, then what was? Because my point was that the diarist was saying that part of the problem the left has had is that it tends to be too uncompromising in the beliefs it wants/expects its allies to have and this was one of the things that MLK had going at the end of his life.

                  "There's no ideology [t]here [on the right]. It's just about being a dick." Bill Maher, June 22, 2012.

                  by caseynm on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 05:27:07 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                •  And WYFP?? (0+ / 0-)

                  You are the one who made a "response" to my comment that really did not address my comment, and then you have the gall to tell me I'm clueless.  

                  I repeat: What intellectual compromise? I have not made any, nor did I suggest anyone should. Unless allowing "less ideologically pure" allies help is a compromise? If that is not what you are saying, then your comment is beside the point.  
                  If that is what you are saying then you are an ideologue purist and I rest my case.

                  Even if everything you say in your first response to me is true--and it is, largely--it is completely irrelevant to my original comment.  Unless you wish to be fully honest and preface it by saying that we must have complete ideological purity on our side--which means no allies, just believers.

                  "There's no ideology [t]here [on the right]. It's just about being a dick." Bill Maher, June 22, 2012.

                  by caseynm on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 05:51:17 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  by your own words, you have no ideology, (0+ / 0-)

                    Apparently.

                    What we call god is merely a living creature with superior technology & understanding. If their fragile egos demand prayer, they lose that superiority.

                    by agnostic on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 06:23:20 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  No, you're a Bolshevik-like purist (0+ / 0-)

                      "There's no ideology [t]here [on the right]. It's just about being a dick." Bill Maher, June 22, 2012.

                      by caseynm on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 08:05:58 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                    •  You are the name-caller, sweetheart, (0+ / 0-)

                      and other than spewing pc litany that anyone who can read would agree with, you have not YET responded to me.

                      So please try responding to what I said instead of calling me names. Or, drop it.

                      "There's no ideology [t]here [on the right]. It's just about being a dick." Bill Maher, June 22, 2012.

                      by caseynm on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 08:13:39 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Must be alternate universes, because your (0+ / 1-)
                        Recommended by:
                        Hidden by:
                        caseynm

                        English is of a type that simply cannot be understood by mere mortals like mois.

                        What we call god is merely a living creature with superior technology & understanding. If their fragile egos demand prayer, they lose that superiority.

                        by agnostic on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 08:19:29 PM PDT

                        [ Parent ]

      •  Well, it would sure be nice if we could teach (6+ / 0-)

        enough people that Darwinism does not simply come down to "survival of the fittest". And that evolution is simply an apolitical fact and not part of some "faith".

        It then falls upon religious people to wrap their faith around it and if they then choose to dismiss it, we've got a bigger problem.

        Romney - his fingernails have never been anything but manicured.

        by Pescadero Bill on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 06:58:48 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Yeah, the diarist confuses (6+ / 0-)

          Darwin and "social Darwinism" which are two different things and have nothing to do with each other. Charles Darwin deals with biology exclusively, not politics. Social Darwinism is not a "liberal" belief but rather a right wing, Fascist concept.

        •  Not to put words in the diarist's mouth but (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          WB Reeves

          While I would agree the decline in scientific education might lead people to confuse darwinism and social darwinism, I do not think that is what is being said.

          I took it more to mean that the american political left has too often joined in the social darwinism rhetoric leaving working class and poor people out of the discussion entirely except as the butts of jokes.

          Several comments have noted things like Maher's joking on the goings on in stump-fuck nowhere-istan and I think that is pretty spot on.  What is hidden within contexts like that? The social, cultural, and political 'lessening' of the people being talked about .... social darwinism?

          The language of social darwinism is pretty infused in the political left of america too.  I am guilty of it myself in my more despairing and disparaging moments.

          Most people say that what some people say is pretty stupid.

          by nullspace on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 08:16:05 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  btw (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            mkor7, Vetwife

            I do like Bill Maher, I really do.  His stuff really helps me vent and look at the world a little differently.  But it doesn't help the left is what the diarist is suggesting, and I tend to agree.

            Most people say that what some people say is pretty stupid.

            by nullspace on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 08:17:50 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  If you expect to succeed at politics, (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      TomP, seabos84, boofdah, Upper West, WB Reeves

      I'd advise you to deliver truths with sugar on top and wrapped in a bow.

  •  Great writing (19+ / 0-)

    As to the question about why the poor are so "conservative" and obedient to conservative myths and memes, I would postulate that it's largely because the system of consumer capitalism that lies at the heart of the egregious rush to concentrate all the resources necessary for life and living into the fewest hands possible appears to give them all sides of the spectrum in explaining/promoting itself, and that this has caused a cognitive dissonance and paradigmic confusion as yet unseen on this planet.

    Think about it: if you "work hard" and "play by the rules," you can "have it all". Then, the obedience and selfless fealty required to succeed are wrapped in this ultimate, Utopian Individualism, the myth of the exceptional American, free to invent the things and circumstances he values by the tension in his own bootstraps, free from limitation and limited only by his imagination and desire. So you have, ultimately, a paralysis-inducing situation where the people know intuitively that the infinite expansion required by capitalism is at terminal odds and in basic opposition to the realities of Earth, which is a finite biosystem consisting of limited resources.  But the Carnival Barker is forever at them with the Superman Who Can Have It All myth, where their labor and their devotion to sustaining its intensity is allegedly going to provide them with resources beyond what they even imagine... resources of a quantity and a quality far in excess of what is healthy and sustainable for one person or group to possess if we are all going to have enough of the essentials to survive.

    It adds up to a confused terror-state of hunger and fear-of-deprivation where people cannot service the needs of community and their own individual needs simultaneously, and where further and further intensity of competition is required for the acquisition of the necessities in the ever-dwindling resource pool.  IMO, this induces people to sublimate and eventually discard values of community sustenance in favor of the time and endless effort it takes just to keep their own bodies and souls together as well as those of their immediate family, and here we are in what basically amounts to a Hell on Earth... or as Ayn Rand might have it, Perfection.

    Bottom line: in the 1930s (last Great Depression before the one we're in now, which the power structure is selling as some sort of Permanent Recession so they can keep people slaving away free of the downer feeling inherent in the realization that it's 1930 right now and we are all fucked and should just give up) the Left championed Socialism, the essence of which evolved into the Poor People's Campaign in the 1960s the diarist describes as the last real moment of power and relevance expressed by the Left before falling off the Capitalism-is-an-unquestionable-system-of-near-religious-infallibility cliff. If the Left is to regain relevance, it's going to have to rediscover the provision and articulation of a critique of Capitalism that tastes and feels relevant to the people Capitalism brutalizes, to the point where the haze of cognitive dissonance in the population (that's right, the proletariat) can be broken and clarity about how the demands of the system are in diametric opposition to the ongoing efficacious existence of our species can be articulated to these masses and absorbed.  This, with the goal of creating action for real and substantive change around how humans relate to the finite resources that Capitalism, in its fantasy, demands be infinite.

    "Some of you are going to die... martyrs, of course, to the Freedom that I will provide!"

    by emperor nobody on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 04:00:42 AM PDT

    •  to simplify it (23+ / 0-)

      we have forgotten how to make people come to the realization in their own lives that the terminal competition required by the system has caused them to have to hate their neighbors and to have to hurt and destroy their fellowmen to succeed for themselves.

      "Some of you are going to die... martyrs, of course, to the Freedom that I will provide!"

      by emperor nobody on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 04:05:50 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  This dissonance is not unique..... (7+ / 0-)

      .... to modern capitalism.  Consider the social and economic relationship between a medieval lord and his serfs, or even an antebellum planter and the house salves.  these regimes were also characterized by unquestioned belief in non-rational religious models,  brutalization, and violence.

      One thing missing from the current situation is the role of union organizers and old-fashioned precinct captains in educating the masses as to where their true interests lie.

      Often when I hear my small town "conservative" neighbors mirroring the nonsense they hear on Fox News, I ask:  Do you think the doubt and fear you are feeling might  be because the Mitt Romneys of the world are simply lying in order to steal your money, and hasn't this been going on for a long time, and how come in spite of all the good sounding talk, nothing ever seems to get better?  

      One can see the wheels turning.......  I note that our leaders on the "left" NEVER ask these questions, and do not teach, but rather add more every day to the fog.

      Labor was the first price paid for all things. It was not by money, but by labour, that all wealth of the world was originally purchased. - Adam Smith

      by boatwright on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 04:55:38 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  An alternate explanations (9+ / 0-)

      I too often wonder why poor people vote for conservative candidates who seem so patently and diametrically opposed to the interests of the poor (Romney, Trump, Perry, et al).  Here are a couple of alternative explanations.

      1) Those poor are racists and approve of the racist sloganeering of the white, wealthy elite even as the policies enacted by those elites ensnare the poor in continued poverty.

      2) The alternative to "work hard, play by the rules, and you can have it all" is too horrible to contemplate.  In reality, only about 1% of Americans get to "have it all" whether they work hard and play by the rules or not.  (In fact, most of the people that "have it all" got there by breaking the rules.)  But to admit that only 1% of Americans get to "have it all" is to admit that we are largely powerless and our fates are determined by outside forces over which we have no control.  Human psychology is such that most people prefer to cling to a lie or mistaken notion than to admit a painful truth, especially when that painful truth is our near-total lack of control of our lives.  Politicians tap into this unwillingness to admit the painful truth by giving voters an "other" to blame: "see, the reason you aren't rich is because of those illegal immigrants, or the mulsims, or the liberal elitists.  But I will fix all that".  This kind of campaigning covers up the painful truth, and provides an easy course of action: vote for Joe Blow, and he'll remove the obstacles to getting rich.

      "The fool doth think he is wise: the wise man knows himself to be a fool" - W. Shakespeare

      by Hugh Jim Bissell on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 07:26:06 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Agreed (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        New Rule, SQD35R, blueoasis

        usually, success in one's life is determined by factors outside our control. ... the family one is born into, the wealth they have and the connections they've made.  Theoretically, while everyone has an equal opportunity to become what they want, in real life it hardly works that way. If it comes down to a person born into an average middle-class family (even lower-class) who is his high school's valedictorian, and gets excellent grades in college (whether it's one of the Ivies or a state school) versus some rich kid of mediocre talents born to a family descended from people on the Mayflower and only goes to Harvard/Yale because he's a legacy admission, the rich kid of mediocre ability will win almost every time because of wealth and connections.  Now, the "average" person of nonetheless exceptional ability .. do you think he's going to blame the circumstances he was born into because Mortimer Richkid IV got the job and he didn't? I doubt it.

        "Valerie, why am I getting all these emails calling me a classless boor?"

        by TLS66 on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 09:45:16 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  I'd just like to point out that those nice social (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Upper West, TLS66

      democracies in northwestern Europe with universal health care and cooperative management and parental leave and long vacations are essentially capitalist economies.  If the lefties here think that that a revolutionary overthrow of private ownership and imposition of a state run economy is a political program with a bright future, lotsa luck.

      Where are we, now that we need us most?

      by Frank Knarf on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 07:37:28 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Capitalism bridled and saddled and broken to ride (5+ / 0-)

        thus put in the serviced of the citizens rather than trampling all over them. It's a clear and obvious improvement.

        If it's
        Not your body,
        Then it's
        Not your choice
        And it's
        None of your damn business!

        by TheOtherMaven on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 09:01:55 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  It's this simple: (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        blueoasis

        If you do not levy confiscatory taxes on the plutocrats of capitalism, and use those revenues to "impose" an economy that provides food, water, education, housing, health care, and transportation (mostly through markets that are either tightly regulated or even directly administered by a government of the people, by the people and for the people), you are going to live in a society where an ever-growing fraction of the population is ill-fed, ill-educated, ill-housed, and ill-cared for when, um, ill.

        The mathematics are simple and inescapable.

        If all you can offer in response to this imperative is, "lotsa luck", then you are surrendering to inevitable social collapse.

        To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

        by UntimelyRippd on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 05:11:34 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  diary in and of itself ! (0+ / 0-)

      "..The political class cannot solve the problems it created. " - Jay Rosen

      by New Rule on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 01:16:57 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Wild foot stomping applause & cheering. (6+ / 0-)

    Thank you.

    I used to be Snow White. And then I drifted. - Mae West

    by CherryTheTart on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 04:48:54 AM PDT

  •  From the very beginning, the social movements (17+ / 0-)

    in this country had their roots in the church. You look at every major movement in this country that has expanded or restrticted the political franchise and at its root you will find a church. From the ending of slavery, to prohibition, to womens suffarage...all the way up to civil rights and the current anti abortion movements. Even the NLU and the Knights of Labor organized, founders of the American labor movement, were organized mainly through Catholic parishes.

    Your point is very well made.. You aren't going to get anywhere with poor folks as long as you're hostile to Jesus. Its just that simple.

    I don't care what your statistics say. What your scientific research says. What some liberal academic who arrives in the ghetto via commuter rail has to say. If you're hostile to Jesus, you may as well shut up.

    So, we leave all the folks open to the nasty ideology of the other side who is more than willing to push the religious buttons they like, on things like abortion and gay equality.

    When a new christian leader comes along who can unite poor whites, blacks and hispanics together, its gonna be a wrap for both the ideological right and the establishment left.

    •  I'm not so sure of that (11+ / 0-)

      Particularly as the younger generation increasingly does not believe in organized religion, much less a central Jesus role (up to one in four apparently do not possess any belief in God)

      I personally would be a bit Leninist on this: I wouldn't emphasize the irreligion and atheism that many on the 'left' have - and further, there has generally been a strong religious component of social reform - but I wouldn't let it influence clear thinking on what policy changes need to be made and how to make them. 'What is to be Done', in other words. Any more than the right, the Koch Brothers and their puppets in Washington lose sleep over the blatant contradictions between their position and what the Gospels actually say. Camel's through the Eye of the needle anyone?

      By the way, it is precisely my lack of belief in any human involved heavenly entity whatsoever that drives my progressivism - cold financial calculations for me say I should support that undead blood sucking vampire Mitt Romney - and I assure you I do not intend to change a bit.

      An empty head is not really empty; it is stuffed with rubbish. Hence the difficulty of forcing anything into an empty head. -- Eric Hoffer

      by MichiganChet on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 05:36:05 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Yeah, I'm not buying it. (8+ / 0-)

      50 years ago I might have bought that argument.  But the populace is changing.  Younger people aren't as interested in 'church'.  They may still 'believe', but they're happy enough to believe that the important part is how they act, rather than if they park their butts in pews once or twice a week.

      They're more interested in helping the poor, preserving the environment, allowing people to have abortions, allowing gay people to marry each other.  They are 'hostile' to the positions of organized religion, and either take that into either avoiding churches or working to remake them into something that the 'Faithful' of 50 years ago wouldn't even recognize, and would probably consider heretical.

      The only reason churches were so influential was that they occupied the position of 'major social institution'.  Outside of the government, they were the number one organized structural tie that bound entire communities together.  

      Now we have all sorts of new self-organizing tools, and people are learning to structure themselves beyond the bounds of geography to achieve even larger goals.

      •  Well, we shall see. Time will tell. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        J M F, New Rule

        Mostly what I see people using these new tools for is making money, entertainment and porn. But perhaps you might be right.

      •  It's a mistake to lump "young people's" (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        J M F, New Rule, WB Reeves, blueoasis

        attitudes into a recognizable and describable "groupthink" almost as much as it is to stereotype an ethnic minority. The diversity is still there, and unfortunately it includes enough Dominionists and Randians and every other dysfunctional outlook that we're not going to be able to just sit back and wait for them to die off.

        I'm accosted at least a couple of times a year by young men on bicycles wearing slacks and white shirts who want to share what an "angel" (aptly named "Moroni"?) purportedly told a con-man in the early 1820's for instance..

        I want a living planet, not just a living room.

        by Anthony Page aka SecondComing on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 07:49:07 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Certainly. But (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          blueoasis

          the general trendlines are easy enough to read.  We're not looking for anecdotal evidence, we're looking at percentages, and polling has been clear.  The numbers are trending towards the left, no matter how many times Mormons cruise your neighborhood.  

          We can't 'rest on our laurels', because it is in our hands to either slow or enhance the trends.  Republicans keep trying to push back the tide, we're here to open the floodgates.

          •  I'm still wary (0+ / 0-)

            There seems to be a pattern of "Great Awakenings" - a cyclical jump in religiosity in modern American history, and in "Amercia" at least - The mega-churches and storefront evangelical outreaches are going strong in my neck of the woods. New ones are still opening their doors.

            It's anecdotal to be sure, but my little slice of suburban hell is in purplish-blue California and not in Bill Maher's Sisterfuck Arkansas.

            You're right - statistics don't lie. The trends are there. For now.

            I want a living planet, not just a living room.

            by Anthony Page aka SecondComing on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 09:36:08 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  Bingo. Recced for this quote. (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Vetwife, julifolo, LucyMO, J M F
      You aren't going to get anywhere with poor folks as long as you're hostile to Jesus. Its just that simple.
      It is the reason you will find me speaking against anti-religion comments on this site.

      Do NOT get in a religious war with Republicans.  If believers get the idea that the Democratic party is a bunch of athiests, we will lose, and lose every time.

      •  Some liberals tend not to get that. (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Vetwife, LucyMO, FindingMyVoice

        They don't see how religion is a refuge for poor folks. Somehow, they think poor, oppressed folks will be inspired by lab results and logic trees.

        Its why the establishment left keeps shrinking. Somewhere along the line they got disconnected from the folks they care about.

        They seem to be attracted to my neighborhood though. Moving in quick. Always gathered among themselves, never associating to much with their neighbors. Such goes gentrification.

        I invite them to church.

        •  You're soooo right... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          lurker123, J M F

          "...religion is a refuge for poor folks".  I grew up among those poor folks and though my mother made sure I was education by her own hand, no matter what it took, I see this every single day.  It's black and white.  It says God loves you and there's a reason for all of your suffering.  When you die you go to heaven, and if you're good all the awful things you've had to go through will pay off through eternal life on golden streets.  What uneducated, cash-strapped person working a demeaning job that almost breaks their body after only a few years wouldn't find that appealing?!

          Ironically, I think a lot of uneducated and thereby often poor people can be helped to understand "science" and "logic" if we help them view it through a religious context.  I know that sounds crazy, but I find in my own life when I'm talking to those people (and believe me where I live, that's 99% of the population) that when I use their religion to make my point, it sinks in sooooo easily.  

          We need to USE the message like Dr. King did.  Jesus said "clothe the naked, feed the hungry..." he didn't say, "I've got mine and go stuff it if you don't have yours" and he didn't say "I'll make you all rich and give you anything you want on earth if you just love me enough and the right way".  I say this as an agnostic myself, but the "true" message of the new testament is the old democratic platform... FDR style.  So let's remind everyone.  The right succeeded in using it for their powers, so it might feel dirty and gross, but we need to use it for the good of the people.  

          Be still when you have nothing to say; when geniune passion moves you, say what you've got to say... and say it hot. - D. H. Lawrence

          by LucyMO on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 08:13:06 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  When Marx said that religion was the 'opiate' (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            LucyMO

            of the masses, he did not say that to make fun of the masses or to look down on them for being fools. Rather, Marx understood that in a capitalist world red in tooth and claw, religion is what the poor turned to as a salve against the harshness of early industrial capitalism.

            I'll grant you that, in the years since, Marx' statement has become something of a sneer at the masses for allowing themselves to be numbed by religion to the class struggle. But that is not anything near Marx' original intent, as far as I am able to understand it.

      •  I'm an athiest, but I get this (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Vetwife, WB Reeves, blueoasis

        I can't fully relate, but I'll take another person at their word.

        I will normally believe someone is good, until they disprove themselves. Someone says "God tells me to fight injustice" I'm with them. Unless the "injustice" is "I can't impose my religion on others to stop gay marriage" or some such.

        Quaker god-talk to end wars or Habitat building houses, etc., etc -- more power to them.

        Giving birth (giving life) should be a gift not an obligation or women and poor people are 2nd class by definition

        by julifolo on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 07:21:01 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  That speaks more to American intolerance as a (0+ / 0-)

        whole than it does to any particular political ideology.  

      •  Better to die on my feet... (0+ / 0-)

        ...than live on my knees.

        (-5.50,-6.67): Left Libertarian
        Leadership doesn't mean taking a straw poll and then just throwing up your hands. -Jyrinx

        by Sparhawk on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 09:28:58 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  jesus ain't the only game in town..... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        burlydee, blueoasis

        and since I have no evidence of any of it, I have to plug in the variables to see if the formula is valid.

        And it isn't. There are poor jews and muslims and hindi and wiccans and buddhists. I have surely left out a few and the agnostics, athiests and empiricists to boot on that list, I am not amused, nor persuaded. I am marginalized.

        You need to drop the jesus thing. If you have faith, it shouldn't matter. What I believe has no bearing on what you believe, because it isn't tangible. What the poor lack IS tangible.

      •  Do people really believe that Democratic (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        blueoasis

        politicians are hostile to Jesus?  This BS is making my head hurt.  You are accepting the Fox News framing.  How many times does Obama have to burnish his christian bona fides before we accept that no amount of burnishing will make conservatives believe he isn't hostile to religion?  

        The great majority of Dems are christian - black, hispanic and white - all christian.  95% of Dem poltiicians are christian.  Yet somehow I'm suppose to believe that the presence of some mean talking agnostics are the reason the right wing is so powerful.  "If the atheists and agnostics would just shut up, we'd win South Carolina!"  Not buying it.  

        When protecting contraception, fighting for equal rights of gays and fighting for the right to reproductive choice is equated with attacks on religion, you are fighting an argument with some people you just can't win.  

    •  This is one of the reasons that the right... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      J M F, Vetwife, blueoasis

      demonized Obama's religion. His denomination and church are and have been leaders in the progressive movement in our country and the right did not want Obama to be seen as a Christian. Do you remember when his denomination wanted to run a TV ad about how they welcome all in their church and the networks said no. Obama's faith is dangerous and the right had to squash it, just as MLK's faith was dangerous to the ruling elite.

      Plato's " The Cave" taught me to question reality.

      by CTDemoFarmer on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 11:02:21 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  One potential other lesson to take (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    native, Deep Texan, J M F, New Rule, blueoasis

    away is that it is a mistake to depend too much on any single individual.  Successful corporations, organizations, or any other group of people set up lines of and procedures for 'succession', and when one person leaves or dies, are able to continue forward with their plans.  Depending on a single messianic figure is a recipe for disaster if that figure disappears.  Charisma is a truly useful asset, but no one batter, no matter how good, can carry an entire team to the world series.

  •  I don't think social conservatism is more than 50% (0+ / 0-)

    of the motivation for poor and middle-class folks to be voting Republican. It's shocking to me how many broke people think that somehow they're broke because of Obama (they've been broke for decades), OR that somehow their taxes will go up when they get more money as a gift from the IRS each year than I've ever seen on a return. Social conservatism as an effective movement is literally dying off....we still have to improve our messaging with billboards, commercials, etc etc etc to drive home just how full of shit Republicans and their media windbags are.

  •  Oh, and further (7+ / 0-)

    There is a tradition of religious pluralism in this country that makes any movement for social justice compatible with liberation theology as well as 'secular' leftism - what I would call intellectual sophistication. Please try not to take this as truly demeaning. What it means is that I would absolutely support using established religions to undermine the current economic order, so long as they do not infringe on the religious or social liberty of others.

    Oh yes, one other thing - now I am really warmed up: it is painfully clear that widespread education is essential to a broadly prosperous society, and so with education and enligtenment, the poor and oppressed will gradually lose, I suspect, their attachment to religion as social polilcy. Perhaps I am being a bit Marxist in this (something I never thought I would write), but I see no reason to not break their chains so they can cull the living flower, rather than the dead one which adorns the chains of poverty and despair

    An empty head is not really empty; it is stuffed with rubbish. Hence the difficulty of forcing anything into an empty head. -- Eric Hoffer

    by MichiganChet on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 05:43:00 AM PDT

  •  It isn't just the gross superstition of (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Deep Texan, blueoasis

    Creationism that is the problem (although it is), but the idea that some supreme being created man (and I mean "man" in the testosterone sense) as a special being with the right to do whatever he wants because of that special bond. That notion is arguably the most dangerous idea that religion is responsible for and needs to fade away, for all of our sakes.

    As far as the weakness of the American Left goes, it all comes down to money. The Right have a lot more of it, and that advantage is just too overwhelming right now. Given the Citizens United situatioin, I'm not sure how that can change anytime soon.

    If I don't see you, for a long while, I'll try to find you, left of the dial.

    by mithra666 on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 05:43:06 AM PDT

    •  But it is not just money but it helps a lot (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      organicus, New Rule, Tam in CA

      It is also an astonishing amount of knowledge.  Data as to living patterns, wedge issues, basic voter drivers, demographics, etc. etc. The modern corporo-archy has at its back a wealth of control capability that is leveled at the average U.S. consumer.  It has control over congress, and over both parties to some degree, creating for us some illusion of freedom that provides some control over the population.  As long as they can provide some level of prosperity as has been defined for us, things are fine.  When the pot is stirred a bit, by the need for adjustments in living standards on a national level, either here or abroad, then we need some strife to allow for those adjustments to be made.  Enter the TPers, the New GOP, etc.  This nonsense was meant for show all along.  And it has worked well by distracting our attention away from massive loss of wealth, poor health care choices offered, and worker realignment within a lower economic class - lets call it worker revaluation.  

      The "war on women" is also distraction.  This whole thing was intentional.  The GOP WANTED to be called out for it.  It is the way of taking a queen while attacking a pawn as far as they see it.  This was played well on the ACA stage.  The whole point was to have this play out in the format that it did.  Forget this repeal and replace stuff.  It is a mechanism by which other social safety-net programs will be attacked.  And how cleverly and deftly they got the elderly and the poor to play into those plans.

      The trick in my view, is to get the liberal left to begin to see this for what it is.  A much deeper and concerted effort on the part of a well funded, and well informed drug pusher.  It does little good to ask someone on bath-salts, "hey why are you surfing on that car?"  

           

  •  It's a good date to pick (0+ / 0-)

    I'm not sure, though, that you're free of the disdain you condemn in your discussions of the poor. From the point of view of active ideology, there is no difference between the commenters above who have faith that there is something called "energy" and another who has faith in creation. Both are inductions and explanations based on observation and experience. A genuine class critique can demonstrate that all the boasting of the sneering liberal (as opposed to left) is merely another form of class -- "See my wealth? I have college education! You can tell because I hate religion." (This being the result of a long narrative itself that has, in truth, been industrial and capitalist.)

    The first criticism of capitalism came from the church. The most consistent criticism before Marx came from both resistant church structures and radical churches. In any system where paternalism exists (and the post-reconstruction south counts), morality cannot tolerate the immorality of capitalism.

    Christianity is not a political system any more than the scientific method is. One is a religion, and the other must not be. The religion loses itself when it becomes a power structure, and the science gets false when it becomes a faith.

    Every reductio ad absurdum will seem like a good idea to some fool or another.

    by The Geogre on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 06:14:03 AM PDT

  •  First Step - End The Litmus Testing (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Frank Knarf, organicus, WB Reeves

    One of the main problems of the left today is intolerance for differing views.  This is a mirror of the same problem over on the right.  There are many people who, decades ago, would have been considered in the mainstream of the Democratic Party for example.  Nowadays, you can be in agreement with other progressives on seven of ten issues but still be called all sorts of names if you differ over the other three.

    A wise political leader and political movement sees the necessity of looking past disagreements and building instead on what you have in common.  

    "Hidden in the idea of radical openness is an allegiance to machines instead of people." - Jaron Lanier

    by FDRDemocrat on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 06:28:48 AM PDT

    •  But at some point you have to have some backbone (0+ / 0-)

      to your beliefs, or you become a hodge podge of issues, which I actually think more closely describes what the Democratic Party really is (a hodge podge of different issues w/o a central backbone to rely on)

      Despite all the great claims of the liberal litmus test we have a blue dog president, a blue dog senate and until 2010, a huge blue dog caucus in the house.  It seems Dems are very much likely to vote for people who don't agree with them on every issue.  But you tell me, what is the uniting philosophy of the Democratic Party? Not of leftist or blue dogs, but of the party. I have no idea.  

      •  Uniting Philosophy of Democrats (0+ / 0-)

        To me it boils down to:

        - equality of opportunity (not outcomes)
        - protection of civil rights and civil liberties
        - free enterprise and free markets balanced with protections for workers and consumers
        - a strong military focused on protecting our country
        - a strong but appropriately limited role of government in advancing these interests

        "Hidden in the idea of radical openness is an allegiance to machines instead of people." - Jaron Lanier

        by FDRDemocrat on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 09:40:04 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I've really enjoyed this diary, thanks, (0+ / 0-)

    although I'd worried about the title. (You do get "genius" contributors to this venue who make simplistic declarations about this or that broad historical movement, as if theirs were the only interpretation of history possible. I generally shoot those people down without delay...)

    Thanks for pointing out that MLK Jr. was taken-out, perhaps not for his work against racism, but as soon as he started trying to organize poor people. Similar story, Malcolm X.

    It's here they got the range/ and the machinery for change/ and it's here they got the spiritual thirst. --Leonard Cohen

    by karmsy on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 06:50:56 AM PDT

  •  Another possible factor (0+ / 0-)

    to explain the "social conservatism," generally, of poor people. Perhaps it's part-and-parcel of the relative political conservatism of less-affluent people, generally.

    Well, does anyone like facing up to betrayal? In this case, it's the political Right that's massively let down poor people, and continues to do so. The "family values," look at one way, are what this element cloaks itself in. Isn't it sometimes easier to pretend some dysfunctional institution or ideology hasn't failed you, that it "works"? This willful blindness--because the truth is too painful--may be what kept George W. Bush in office through two terms.

    It's here they got the range/ and the machinery for change/ and it's here they got the spiritual thirst. --Leonard Cohen

    by karmsy on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 07:05:46 AM PDT

  •  Darwinism Does Not Mean Survival of Fittest (8+ / 0-)

    "Fittest" is a value judgment, and has nothing to do with the theory of evolution, which simply says that traits helping an organism adapt to their environment tend to be preserved in a population.

    Dinosaurs were well-adapted to their environment. As a species they were more successful than humans. Dinosaurs ruled the earth for about a hundred million years and humans have only been around as a distinct species for maybe 3 million (depending on what you call "human"). Strictly in terms of survival dinosaurs are far more successful than humans. We'll be lucky to make it to 10 million years, let alone 100 million.

    And, as of now, we have about the same probability as they did of being smashed flat by an asteroid.

    The dinosaurs were much more successful than humans, and that's why they're laughing at us.

    But that doesn't mean I want to be a dinosaur!

    •  T&R even though I disagree (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Liberal Thinking, blueoasis

      ...for the most part.  Also "I am not totally pessimistic that this is impossible" is not felicitous :}

      I suspect  won't find much traction in this forum, people I have met here -- of all religious stripes and backgrounds -- have bought their independence of mind too dearly.  Dicken's monstrous children were ignorance and want.  It is not enough for many of us to banish want alone.

      ...j'ai découvert que tout le malheur des hommes vient d'une seule chose, qui est de ne savoir pas demeurer en repos dans une chambre.

      by jessical on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 07:19:27 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  whoops sorry liberal thinking (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Liberal Thinking, blueoasis

      that was supposed to go to the main thread :(

      ...j'ai découvert que tout le malheur des hommes vient d'une seule chose, qui est de ne savoir pas demeurer en repos dans une chambre.

      by jessical on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 07:19:55 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  There's a Simple Answser (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Upper West, J M F, New Rule, saluda, blueoasis

    The main reason so many people in this country (erroneously) consider themselves conservative is because liberals don't have giant, tax-free institutions working weekly to convince them that they should be liberal.

    Besides, these people are deluded. Most Americans are liberals. If you ask them about any important issue, they come down on the liberal side, usually by 60-70%.

    Most people in this country believe in fairness, justice, and the rule of law. They are generous and helpful. They believe in love, even if they don't always practice it, which is a matter of consciousness more than politics.

    I think everyone in this country has an inner liberal, that part of them that really wants to do good and is self-less in the pursuit of that. It may be repressed and chained up inside, but it's there, and we have an obligation to reach people's inner liberals and bring them out into the open.

    Christianity is deeply liberal because the basis of Christianity is love. When our opponents talk about issues we need to be right there asking, "Is this policy you're advocating loving? Is it Christian?" We are the mechanism of God's love.

    We can move the country back to the center, but we can't do that if we think of ourselves as defeated and losing this battle. The battle will be here long after we're gone. Some of it will be won and some lost. But the basic question for us is where we stand. If enough liberals stand up and say what's true for them, I believe we will transform the political landscape.

    Afterward, a few, beleaguered conservatives will be shaking their stunned heads and going, "Wha'happnd?"

  •  So make a new one (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    joe wobblie
    you have to go with the working class you have and not the one you might like to have.
    Sure, it will be hard work and take many years, but we're already starting on that road with the truly different culture of Occupy, which itself came out of decades of cultural building of punks, hippies, anarchists, and travelers.
    An existing different culture is a prerequisite to a different society, because you have to have people who are invested and are willing to work and fight for it.
    •  Ran I don't want to get into squabble (0+ / 0-)

      but this cultural argument had whiskers when I was kid. Where has it ever worked?

      •  As if anything else is working? nt (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        joe wobblie, WB Reeves
        •  That depends on whether (0+ / 0-)

          you take a long view or a short one. If you were to examine the early history of the Labor struggle in the US up until, say 1928, you'd probably conclude that it was a failure, at least from a radical perspective. Then came the crisis in 1929 followed by victories in the 1930's that essentially transformed both society and Labor in ways that would have been considered inconceivably radical only five years earlier. Would this have happened without the long decades of apparent failure that had preceded the crisis?

          Similarly, the vibrant radicalism of the 30's and 40's was seemingly extinguished by the Cold War anti-Communist purge. Yet the Radical impulse of those decades re-emerged with a vengeance in the 60's, led by the popular mobilization of the Civil Rights movement. This produced  a genuine social and political revolution that overturned the Jim Crow regime in the south. The radical character of this transformation is sometimes difficult to appreciate for those who didn't witness it first hand. Just as it was difficult for the 60's generation to appreciate the radical character of the transformation that occurred in the 30's.

          It's become a cliche' to say that the movements of the present stand on the shoulders of the movements of the past but like most cliche's, it contains more than a grain of truth. Instances of radical social transformation are not outbursts in a void. They aren't produced by a particular strategy employed by radicals. Rather, they are the culmination of a multiplicity of trends and a variety of strategies over time that combine effectively in moments of systemic crisis. This is only to be expected since mobilizing sufficient human resources for such change requires addressing a multiplicity wants, desires and aspirations.

          To be clear, I accept that counter cultural strategies have a role to play, as they have in the past. As I indicated earlier, the cultural argument has been around since before I was born and has made significant contributions. It's difficult to imagine the advances made by women and LGBT people over the last 40 years without consideration of the preparatory role played by counter culture. However, that very fact argues for an effective symbiosis of different movements rather than the exclusive pre-eminence of any single strategy.          

          •  a splendid theory if the goal is recuperation (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            joe wobblie

            Personally, I only care about eliminating capitalism, not making things better within capitalism.  The LGBT movement has become exclusively about incorporating non-heterosexual people within the middle class (marriage, the military- perhaps the strongest pillars of conservative society!); the civil rights movement has made practically no progress economically or socially, except for a few lucky enough to escape individually; the gains for labor from the '30s have effectively all been rolled back.  Some revolutions!

            •  Well as I indicated (0+ / 0-)

              It's difficult to recognize a real social and political revolution if you haven't experienced one.

              If these transformations were nothing more than the "recuperation" of Capitalism, I hardly think that Capital would have spent the last three decades trying to roll them back.
                 

              •  That's how it works (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                joe wobblie

                Undermine the genuinely revolutionary desires with some crumbs that seem to give people what they want within the system, but which actually does nothing to change the power dynamic.  Then, after everyone has been individualized by the relentless gears of coping with living within the system, take back the crumbs.

                •  Now that's an interesting theory (0+ / 0-)

                  If true, nothing short of apocalypse would qualify as a social and political revolution. In fact, it almost sounds as though the theory were designed to discredit every known example of revolution.  Understandable I suppose, considering how some of them have turned out. Rather like the Christians who ascribe every atrocity committed in the name of Christ to people who weren't "true Christians."

                  For myself, I think we should learn from historical experience rather than asserting that our theories of "how things work" tell us everything we need to know.

                  •  Fine, then explain (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    joe wobblie

                    -how there is no de facto segregation
                    -how the goals of the LGBT movement haven't been completely channeled into two of the primary bastions of conservative society
                    -how the gains of the labor movement haven't been basically completely rolled back
                    -how the organization that made these revolutions possible still exists

                    •  But we don't agree (0+ / 0-)

                      on the basics. The existence of de facto segregation isn't equivalent to de jure segregation. Just ask anyone who had to live under the latter system. Or go to South Africa and tell them that the abolition of Apartheid was a pointless exercise. That's the clear implication of your argument.

                      I don't know about you but I was around when the first Gay Liberation Front was founded in my state. If you think that they weren't attempting to work through the existing party structures you're mistaken. They like all the popular movements of the sixties followed the example of the civil rights movement. They combined electoral action with direct action and had both legislative and judicial agendas as well. I'm not at all certain what you think is the difference between then and now.

                      As a Union militant, I'm only too aware of the defeats that Labor has suffered over the last 30 years but to claim that these amount  to all its gains being "completely rolled back" is defeatist hyperbole. It makes a great deal of difference in both work place organizing as well as general agitation that union membership a legal right rather than a pretext for being shot on sight.

                      I find your last point more than a little odd. I thought you identified as an anarchist? I wouldn't think that you would put such a premium on organizational or institutional continuity. I would have expected that you would place more reliance on spontaneous creativity. Each period of struggle gives rise to the particular forms of organization that are suited to its circumstances. That is why I (and my Union local) have supported the occupy movement despite organizational differences. It is why I will continue to support them as long as they are capable of positive action.

                      There is no authoritative blueprint for radical social transformation. There is only trial and error informed by historical experience.

                      In any case, I wasn't making an organizational argument but a strategic and analytical one. If you want to understand how revolutionary change occurs, you have look at the actual unfolding of historical events and their development rather than through a theoretical lens of how things "ought" to be.

                      •  asdf (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        joe wobblie
                        The existence of de facto segregation isn't equivalent to de jure segregation. Just ask anyone who had to live under the latter system. Or go to South Africa and tell them that the abolition of Apartheid was a pointless exercise.
                        Maybe not pointless, but not successful either.  The worst abuses have stopped, but now in addition to the evil bastards with white skin there are evil bastards with black skin.  Weren't they just bulldozing shantytowns to make way for a big football tournament?
                        If you think that they weren't attempting to work through the existing party structures you're mistaken. They like all the popular movements of the sixties followed the example of the civil rights movement. They combined electoral action with direct action and had both legislative and judicial agendas as well.
                        I didn't say they weren't.  I don't know, personally.  I'm saying that if they did then it was a mistake.
                        As a Union militant, I'm only too aware of the defeats that Labor has suffered over the last 30 years but to claim that these amount  to all its gains being "completely rolled back" is defeatist hyperbole. It makes a great deal of difference in both work place organizing as well as general agitation that union membership a legal right rather than a pretext for being shot on sight.
                        Yet when it was unions were ascendant.
                        I wouldn't think that you would put such a premium on organizational or institutional continuity. I would have expected that you would place more reliance on spontaneous creativity.
                        I don't see why there would be a conflict between the two.  Actually, I do see, but I'm constantly trying to convince those who don't believe in large-scale organization of the error of their ways.
                        There is no authoritative blueprint for radical social transformation. There is only trial and error informed by historical experience.
                        I think there's a basic format that works, which might be summarized as "prefigurative federation".

                        IMO only when a lot of people are already participating (openly or clandestinely) and invested in an 'alternative' society do they have the motivation to defend it and help grow it.  Thus, for example, Stonewall, which I think was not a 'political' or 'gay rights' riot so much as a spontaneous mass civil-defense action; or the Wisconsin rupture last February, the motivation for which came more from our feet and bones than from our heads.

                        If you want to understand how revolutionary change occurs, you have look at the actual unfolding of historical events and their development rather than through a theoretical lens of how things "ought" to be.
                        But first there is the question of whether or not historical events are actually revolutionary, or if their appearance as such is just part of the trick.
                        •  Thanks for a substantive reply (0+ / 0-)

                          While we are still not in agreement, at least we have greater clarity about how we differ.

                          Maybe not pointless, but not successful either.  The worst abuses have stopped, but now in addition to the evil bastards with white skin there are evil bastards with black skin.  
                          But isn't this a necessary stage in the development of the struggle? The realization that color doesn't equate to common purpose? Wasn't the abolition of Apartheid required to clarify this contradiction?
                          I didn't say they weren't.  I don't know, personally.  I'm saying that if they did then it was a mistake.
                          A mistake? Considering that "homosexual activity" used to be classified as criminal and punishable by imprisonment its difficult to see how you draw this conclusion. Particularly since such "criminal activity" included things like cross dressing and same sex dancing. Do you really think we would be strategically better off if this were still the case?
                          Yet when it was unions were ascendant.  
                          When might this have been? At the time the Haymarket martyrs were judicially lynched? When the Pullman strike was crushed? When the Homestead striker's wives and children were murdered by gun thugs? When southern textile mill strikers and their families were rounded up en mass and herded into detention? By what objective standard was the Labor movement ever stronger than it was in the late thirties and forties?
                          I don't see why there would be a conflict between the two.  Actually, I do see, but I'm constantly trying to convince those who don't believe in large-scale organization of the error of their ways.
                          Here, at least, there is some ground for agreement between us.
                          IMO only when a lot of people are already participating (openly or clandestinely) and invested in an 'alternative' society do they have the motivation to defend it and help grow it.  Thus, for example, Stonewall, which I think was not a 'political' or 'gay rights' riot so much as a spontaneous mass civil-defense action; or the Wisconsin rupture last February, the motivation for which came more from our feet and bones than from our heads.
                          Alternative or subcultural? If we are talking about the cultures of resistance characterizing oppressed populations, I think the second is more descriptive of reality. Definitely so in the case of the Gay subculture of the sixties that birthed the Stonewall rebellion.

                          Cultures of resistance are as much the product of oppressive conditions as they are the result of the autonomous activity of the oppressed. If the structures of oppression were to disappear, they would not be replaced by the cultures of resistance. Rather, those cultures being freed from the conditions that gave rise to them, would immediately begin to mutate and morph in new and unpredictable ways.

                          This is observable. The end of Jim Crow also meant the end of the parallel economic structure that had grown up in the African American Community. The end of the legal prohibitions on the GLBT community meant the end of the subterranean, twilight gay culture that had existed pre-Stonewall. The collapse of the repressive culture that had dominated the 50s also signaled the end of the 60's counter culture. Cultures of resistance, where they are successful in liquidating oppressive structures, of necessity render themselves obsolete.

                          This isn't an argument against building cultures of resistance, quite the contrary. It is simply a recognition that no structures that we may build under the status quo will be adequate for the reality following a radical transformation of our social conditions. To use your term, we can at best "prefigure" what comes after.

                          But first there is the question of whether or not historical events are actually revolutionary, or if their appearance as such is just part of the trick.  
                          A trick by whom? By those who organized, fought, suffered and died in the struggles that won the victories of the past? Or were they merely hapless puppets dancing on the strings of the power elites? Are we to believe that the entire history of popular struggles for human liberation is nothing more than a series of clever manipulations by the ruling class? I think not.

                          We live in a finite world governed as much by objective circumstance as by our own subjective yearnings or designs. Our chances of creating a liberated world are largely dependent on our ability to give proper weight to each of these and on our ability to successfully navigate the contradictions inherent in the present one.    

                                 

                          •  asdf (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            joe wobblie
                            But isn't this a necessary stage in the development of the struggle? The realization that color doesn't equate to common purpose? Wasn't the abolition of Apartheid required to clarify this contradiction?
                            In the case of the US, now it's just that much harder to get people to organize, because those who would be inclined to do so are now told that they can succeed on their own and that if they fail then it's their fault and they're just a loser (I think Occupy is an outburst of people who reject that idea, but it's just a matter of time until a new capitalism-justifying idea is thought up- our task is to figure out a way to categorically reject them all, to stop believing anything that is said to justify it).
                            A mistake? Considering that "homosexual activity" used to be classified as criminal and punishable by imprisonment its difficult to see how you draw this conclusion. Particularly since such "criminal activity" included things like cross dressing and same sex dancing. Do you really think we would be strategically better off if this were still the case?
                            It's just become open-source as more clandestine violence by individuals and thugs who are not brought to account by the law; and you still have cases like Cece Mcdonald.
                            When might this have been? At the time the Haymarket martyrs were judicially lynched? When the Pullman strike was crushed? When the Homestead striker's wives and children were murdered by gun thugs? When southern textile mill strikers and their families were rounded up en mass and herded into detention? By what objective standard was the Labor movement ever stronger than it was in the late thirties and forties?
                            In 1934 there were four general strikes in cities and regions of the US.  Do you think the New Deal would have happened if there wasn't a serious revolutionary threat?  FDR, who told the bankers that he was their best friend, just did it out of the goodness of his heart, right?
                            Are we to believe that the entire history of popular struggles for human liberation is nothing more than a series of clever manipulations by the ruling class?
                            As individuals, not really, except for a few cases of paid shills (today called "Libertarians") who long ago sold their souls.  As a class, maybe.  It's more a result of something like Brownian motion, but which tends toward certain equilibria and effects under the conditions.
  •  Yes to DELIVERING, no to "building consciousness" (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    boatwright

    "building consciousness" is EXACTLY where 'the left' has lost its way!!

    we gotta a bunch of let's-have-meetings-and-talk-like-teddy-white white collar jerk offs who couldn't manage a coffee stand, much less DELIVER hot coffee -

    never mind figure out how to effectively manage and DELIVER a community service like unemployment or retraining or K-16 education or health care ...

    'the left' has lost its way cuz we got tooo many pompous over educated over credentialed asses who think that writing the next containment strategery is IT, who think that being the next david halberstam or george kennan or rodin think statue is IT.

    (pst! I know that sounds like that f'king lying junkie fascist toadie rush would say ... oh well... have you figured out what I think of the lying fuck? )

    screw 'building consensus" - that is license for Dukakis - Kerry - Gore upper middle cla$$ dilettante piss ass shitbag LOSING campaigns - and it is license for supporting these goddam DLC Third Way New Dem yuppie scum sell outs who have managed to win... so they can sell us out and scare us with "lessor of two evil" !!

    let's DELIVER - and lets rub it in people's faces that

    WE DELIVER and THEY TAKE.  

    rmm.
     

    Yond Cassius has a lean and hungry look; He thinks too much: such men are dangerous

    by seabos84 on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 07:31:09 AM PDT

    •  Occupy got "income gap" visible, is saving houses (5+ / 0-)

      It's very good that they got that onto the table for discussion.

      I've read stories about different groups helping to stop fraudulent foreclosures on houses. Lots of neighbors show up to help. And lots of opportunity for discussions and bonding as they keep the numbers up waiting for the police to decide to go away and try later. If there was a "save houses" group in my town, I'd answer to the calls.

      The boss needs you, you don't need him. -- France general strike, May 1968

      by stargaze on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 07:45:57 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Wow (0+ / 0-)

      "Liberals" usually find dog fights horrifying.  Guess what?
      The liberal agenda is already lying dead with its throat ripped out.

      To recover what is being stolen, the value of our labor, there will be blood.  I hope it will be metaphorical political blood, but whatever, it will not be pretty.

      Labor was the first price paid for all things. It was not by money, but by labour, that all wealth of the world was originally purchased. - Adam Smith

      by boatwright on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 07:47:17 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  The left lost its way on free trade (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    J M F, WheninRome, Tam in CA, blueoasis

    As soon as Al Gore and Bill Clinton doubled down on NAFTA - that was it for the left.

    The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. --George Orwell

    by jgkojak on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 07:45:28 AM PDT

  •  Try a non-Marxist class based critique that ties (0+ / 0-)

    together much of the noise on this thread:

    http://www.scottlondon.com/...

    "The Revolt of the Elites", Christopher Lasch.

    Where are we, now that we need us most?

    by Frank Knarf on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 07:48:06 AM PDT

  •  Nice piece (6+ / 0-)

    Very important topic.  Perhaps OWS could take a page out of this.  

    Of course, there are lots of reasons why the poor and lower middle class are conservative.  But conservative has nothing to do with religion.  Being religious does not make people conservative.  We all know that.  

    Nonetheless, it is interesting that the lower middle class whites are the most difficult demographic for the progressive message to penetrate.  It is not a part of this message that one must give up religion or embrace Darwin.  However, it is a piece of this message that fighting one another is no way for us to move forward.  

    Sadly, the lower middle class is the most prone of all classes to wanting to see others punished.  The lower middle class is the most adamant about law, law breakers and points of order.  See the book, Moral Indignation and Middle Class Psychology on that.  

    This demographic (working white folk without college degrees) is key to Romney and the republican party.  They make up the bulk of the religious right, and of the tea party, and of the birthers, etc.  The progressive movement is unable to cope with them sometimes: they are repulsed for assorted reasons, I am sure, including rampant sexism, homophobia and racism among this class.  Superstition?  Sure.  That too.  Add to it vindictiveness.  And crankiness, and irresponsible willfulness of belief (birtherism, anyone?).  

    This class wants to see others suffer and supported  Hitler's pogroms against Jews, homosexuals, intellectuals and members of provincial legislatures.  

    This class is the class in which the anti-abortion bigotry is based, is the class most convinced that their government is out to get them, most convinced they need a gun, most convinced that your pension is costing them dearly, and so on.  They would love to see you lose your pension, love to hear that you had your wages slashed, love to see your food stamps taken away, and love to hear that you are unemployed.  

    The desire to see others suffer, or be brought low, is not endemic to actual poverty.  It is endemic to the lower middle class.  The entire Republican hate and resentment routine, on which most of their platform rests, is aimed at this class.  With the support of this class, they can do almost anything for their rich backers without repurcussions.  

    The robb'd that smiles steals something from the thief. -- Shakespeare

    by not2plato on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 07:52:47 AM PDT

    •  It's pretty inviting (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MKinTN, not2plato, blueoasis

      ..after being shit on all day and coming home to a hovel, to turn on FOX "News" after listening to Rush Limbaugh on the drive home in your piece of crap truck tell you who you ought to blame for your life sucking so hard.

      Programming works.

      I want a living planet, not just a living room.

      by Anthony Page aka SecondComing on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 07:58:21 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The Dems fail to see how to deal with this class (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        organicus, blueoasis

        I would have said something about that in the comment, but it would turn this into a diary.  

        Nonetheless, consider: the Dems have a message that can appeal to this class.  They can take advantage of the same resentments that drive this class to be the most divisive and strife ridden class.  The feel very stepped upon, and resentful of the system.  The R's take advantage of this resentment far more than the D's, who really do need to take a lesson or two in how to, as Nietzsche called it, "orchestrate the resentments" like priests have always done.  

        Aristotle wrote that only the middle class is attached to the laws and feel that obedience to law is advantageous to them.  The rich feel that the law is holding them back, while the poor feel that the law is holding them down.  Thus neither rich nor poor care for the law, and are potentially revolutionary.  The middle class is least likely to revolt and feels that the law and its maintenance are important.  

        The lower middle class feels that the law is important and is not inclined to revolution.  At the same time, however, they compare themselves with the rest of the middle class and feel resentment against assorted real and imagined causes that they feel are advantageous to others or disadvantageous for themselves.  

        Among the easiest things to hook them with are monied interests in politics: the money in politics disgusts them and can bring their morally indignant blood to a boil.  R's like to associate their opponent with monied interests, D's need to be more effective on this point to make inroads here.  There are several others as well: TARP, Patriot Act, Fair Pay, Minimum Wage, etc.  

        The D's need to look past the moralism they like to preach and see that they lost the WI Recall of Walker BECAUSE A MAJORITY THOUGHT THE RECALL WAS IMMORAL.  

        That is, the R's got the moral indignation vote way up in their favor.  If a study was done, I am certain that the percentage of lower middle class voters who felt that way was significant compared to other classes.  

        The robb'd that smiles steals something from the thief. -- Shakespeare

        by not2plato on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 10:58:12 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Convince the downtrodden that they're (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          blueoasis

          .."middle-class" and half the battle is won. They'll fake it 'till they make it and when the other shoe drops they are pissed. The shoe dropped like an anvil a few years back.

          99% of us on a pie-chart are fighting each other for the crumbs. It's little wonder that the pepper-spray and the human corrals came out re Occupy as quickly as they did. Speaking the truth to power scared the hell out of the private jet-set.

          I don't buy into the "both Parties are the same" spiel - But if "the D's" in DC wanted to change our societal structure and make it more fair it would be easy-peasy. They don't. The poor can tell. Can see it a mile away. At least this poor person can.

          Power corrupts etc..

          I want a living planet, not just a living room.

          by Anthony Page aka SecondComing on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 02:41:12 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  How to dialog with believers without believing (0+ / 0-)

    Three different approaches occur to me off the bat, probably you wont like the first two:

    1.) Henry of Navarre, who has a Protestant on being asked why he converted to Catholicism in order to become king of France, “Paris vaut bien une messe" (“Paris is well worth a Mass”). He later was considered the best and best loved king in the history of France.

    2.) Pascal’s wager:

    “God is, or He is not.” But to which side shall we incline? Reason can decide nothing here. There is an infinite chaos which separated us. A game is being played at the extremity of this infinite distance where heads or tails will turn up… Which will you choose then? Let us see. Since you must choose, let us see which interests you least. You have two things to lose, the true and the good; and two things to stake, your reason and your will, your knowledge and your happiness; and your nature has two things to shun, error and misery. Your reason is no more shocked in choosing one rather than the other, since you must of necessity choose… But your happiness? Let us weigh the gain and the loss in wagering that God is… If you gain, you gain all; if you lose, you lose nothing. Wager, then, without hesitation that He is.
    This one is perhaps more appealing:

    3.)You have no problem when talking to a believer, the problem can only be his or hers. Your heart and mind have no problem in agreeing with Jesus’s social doctrine as outlined in Matthew 25:41-45, even though you don’t see him as the “living God”.

    The question is rather for the believer. If he or she believes that Jesus died in agony on the cross to save them from their sins, where do they get off not believing and not practicing what their lord said in Matthew 25:41-45? The ball is in the believer’s court.

    Number three seems to be the one to go with, an argument which you could defend honestly and without hypocrisy.

    •  Pascal's wager is full of holes. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      wide eyed lib, Sparhawk, LucyandByron

      First off, it argues for polytheism.  Why not believe in yet another god, just to be sure?  Just keep adding them to your list to cover your bases.  Of all of the infinite deity possibilities, why just the Judeo-Christian one and all of the associated beliefs/ practices?  Then there's the issue that worshiping one god could tick off another - better select wisely!  And the issue that believing in a god simply because of a wager or to better yourself could tick off a god.   Then there's that sticky issue that you can't just make yourself "believe something" for the purpose of a wager.

      And, in fact, why not extend the argument beyond gods?  There could be an invisible troll lurking behind you Right. Now., waiting to eat you if you type too quickly.  Should you go out of your way to type very slowly to appease the keyboard troll?  It's just a minor inconvenience, after all, and your life is at stake!  Will you do that?  No, of course you won't.  You consider the possibility of a keyboard troll unlikely enough that you can effectively dismiss the possibility rather than having it rule your life or even merit a wasted second of your thought process (beyond reading this comment).  You do this even though your very life is at stake if you're wrong!

      There are an infinite number of possibilities in this world, and one can only function if the highly unlikely ones are dismissed.  Atheists find the concept of a deity, at least in the traditional sense, highly unlikely.  And hence...

      •  Thank you (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        WheninRome

        When I first told my older brother I was an atheist, he gave me Pascal's argument, basically boiled down to "it's safer to believe in God."

        My response was complete and utter shock. You can't pretend to believe, and if God is everything that Christians believe (s)he is, then it's highly unlikely that (s)he would be fooled by faked belief anyway.

        And what kind of hypocrite would I be if I were constantly pretending to be something I'm not?

        P.S. I typed this very slowly.

        "Rick should scat. Mitt Romney needs to be left alone to limp across the finish line, so he can devote his full time and attention to losing to President Obama." -- Maureen Dowd, NYT, 2/29/12

        by wide eyed lib on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 08:28:01 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Pascal's wager (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        blueoasis

        It is said to be the beginning of probability analysis.  

    •  My (simpler) response to Pascal (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      WheninRome, burlydee
      Why would a loving God be so arrogant as to demand my belief?
      (And who would want to believe in a non-loving God?)

      The GOP: "You can always go to the Emergency Room."

      by Upper West on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 08:54:05 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Yes! I follow Jesus, not God (0+ / 0-)

      Old Hippies Never Give Up!

      by ravenrdr on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 02:17:32 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  There's something else you're missing. (7+ / 0-)
    Why are so many of the poor of America, white and black, socially conservative?

    Because without a welfare state, the only institutions that offer any comfort or protection are the church and the family.

    They fear that SOMEBODY ELSE is getting all the goodies.  For instance, with ACA, those people who did not receive immediate visible benefits, assumed that SOMEBODY ELSE must be getting it... and that somebody else must be [Mexicans or gays or corporations or welfare cheats or liberals or abortion clinics or whatever].  It stands to reason that it MUST be one or more of those groups because everybody knows there's all this ACA money flying around the place, the biggest socialist takeover in the history of the world!  So where is it?  It must be them.

    And it's like that with welfare.  Black people.  Not like me.  Unemploment?  I have a job.  It's for poor, shiftless people that don't want to work and don't take pride in it, like me and my peer group.

    Etc., etc., etc.

    If progressives were smart, they would wage class warfare on a massive total war basis and demonize the holy living shit out of the wealthy with rational and irrational and just plain stupid simplistic arguments when everything else runs out.  Make THEM the OTHER.  

    But we don't do that.  And they run scared when some progressive does (witness Booker and Clinton and Ed Rendell, for example).  Because they have their own inside the beltway comfy peer group that doesn't like that.  

    If you want to mobilize the people, remind them that they are the victims.  And do it without shame.

    Not that anybody will ever listen to me.

    •  Stop me if you've heard this one before (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Dumbo

      A CEO, a conservative and a progressive are all sitting at a table when a plate with a dozen cookies arrives. Before anyone else can make a move, the CEO reaches out to rake in eleven of the cookies. When the other two look at him in surprise, the CEO locks eyes with the conservative. "You better watch him," the executive says with a nod toward the progressive. "He wants a piece of your cookie."

      --Enlighten the people, generally, and tyranny and oppressions of body and mind will vanish like spirits at the dawn of day. - Thomas Jefferson--

      by idbecrazyif on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 08:13:55 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Liberation Theology (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    J M F, blueoasis

    The last time Liberation Theology came into the conversation was when America was obsessing over Jeramiah Wright (former pastor of Trinity United Church of Christ, where Sen. Obama was a member) and his comments that God might not look favorably on America for its treatment of the poor and down-trodden.

    The democratic party and Pres. Obama ran away as fast as they could, trampling a few liberation theologicians as they did so.  This democratic party has not returned to include liberation theology in its political tent, and this is a loss for the democratic party as Mr Seaton points out.  

    A close reading of the New Testament show Jesus to be a prototype liberal, and the New Testament itself to be one of the most complete and earliest collection of liberal thought in print.  The liberal ideals of love, tolerance, and care for our fellow beings all derive from the New Testament.

    Meanwhile, over in the conservative churches, the Old Testament holds sway.  The angry and punishing God, the fire and the brimstone, avoiding the fruits of the tree of knowledge, creationism, Leviticus, etc. all get top billing.  Prayers are offered up in Jesus' name, but his teachings get little mention.  Conservative politicians find the stories of the Old Testament helpful in recruiting voters.

    So I don't think it is quite correct to say the Left has abandoned religion and theology to the conservatives.  I think the democratic party has, just as the democratic party has shifted rightwards and largely abandoned it traditional constituency.  While the conservatives cherry-pick their religious thinking to conform to their politics.  

    The Left would be wise to steer clear of the perversions of both mainstream parties.

    "The fool doth think he is wise: the wise man knows himself to be a fool" - W. Shakespeare

    by Hugh Jim Bissell on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 08:28:30 AM PDT

  •  When the left really lost (0+ / 0-)

    was in the 1972 election when the liberal antiwar wing took the nomination with George McGovern as the nominee. The Democratic establishment made it quite clear that they would rather reelect Nixon than lose control of the party.
     

    •  Anyone would have lost to Nixon in '72 (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      J M F, blueoasis

      the better question is for 1968: why didn't the liberal anti-war left realize that HHH, even considering his support for LBJ's war, was an infinitely better choice than Nixon.

      As for McGovern and 1972, he is used for the phony baloney CW view that the Democrats "went left" not only by nominating McGovern, but in the rest of the '70s and '80s until centrist Bill Clinton steered them in the right direction.

      If anything, the Dems recoiled from liberalism after '72, nominating Carter who (notwithstanding his post-Presidency liberalism) was the most conservative Dem nominated since before FDR.

      And Mondale was (is) an HHH New Deal protege.  And Dukakis was (is) a liberal technocrat, hardly Jesse Jackson.

      The argument that Dems "moved left" after McGovern is one of the great Cokie-Robertsian CW myths that makes me furious.

      What happened is that through racist appeals, voters moved right, becoming convinced that extensions of the New Deal were stealing from them for the benefit of minorities

      The GOP: "You can always go to the Emergency Room."

      by Upper West on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 09:10:10 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Terrific diary. Tipped and Rec'ced. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    David Seaton

    Really great work here.

  •  I love your writing style, so "painterly," elegant (0+ / 0-)

    I do not however, agree with the premise that it was King's assassination and the left's inattention to proper progressive business after this seminal event that led to the dissolution of their intent.

    In my mind King was but a gallon of water in the river of many gallons that went around a bend.  We all went around the bend together.  King was not the bend, just a traveler on the path of the river like us, little drops of water.

    Q.)Now, what caused the bend in the river?
    A.)  America's economic and military role in the development of the planetary resources for profit.

    Loss of religion without a surrogate, sexual and Civil rights, Fundamental extremism, exploitation of one human by another, etc., etc.,  all contributed to the river for sure.

  •  The American Left is at war with itself. (5+ / 0-)

    That's why it is in trouble.

    Liberals typically bash the folks to their left, mock alternatives to our current system, defend our current system, despite knowing it's not working. They do so, generally, because they have not done the work necessary to really understand leftist alternatives and the history behind them.

    The only way for the left to be potent again is for liberals to end their war on the folks to their left, to debate them respectfully, to admit common ground when they see it, and disagree respectfully when they don't. Disagree with them after they've done sufficient research, instead of relying on hand me down, conventional "wisdom".

    I know how this all works, having once been a liberal meself. I once was in their shoes, and looked at those to my left with great suspicion.

    Until I remembered my inner radical, studied the left again, with new eyes, its history, and its possibilities. Until I broke free of conventional wisdom and learned to think for myself, without party, without preconceptions about the past, present and future. I had to go back to the future, so to speak and renew my own bond with social and ecological justice.

    As for what we leftists need to do? We need to step back into the light, get out of the shadows of Academia, and concentrate on economic inequality issues, first and foremost. Ecology should be an equal concern, because it includes all of us. The left has gone too long focusing on Identity Politics and must now broaden its concerns to all working class people, regardless of race, religion, geography, gender, etc. etc.

    That includes the South.

    In short, the left has to unite and work together, and our twin concerns should be economic justice and ecological sustainability.

    •  No, the American Left must broaden its tent (0+ / 0-)

      Look at the comments  to this diary. Those who champion Belief A are disdainful of the Belief B people. Those that cling to Ideology A are suspicious of those who espouse Ideology B.

      And, meantime, what are those on the right doing? They are all shutting up about their differences and working together to GAIN POWER. POWER is what it is all about. Those on the Right are only interested in POWER, and will ally with those they hate to get it.

      We need to agree on a few basic tenets: ecology, civil liberties, equal rights-  and join with anyone of good will who will work for them.

      The Left has always been good at splintering, to the glee of the Right. Look at Germany in the Thirties. Look at the Egyptian Spring movement- too many parties who can't work together on the Left allows the Islamists and the militarists to gain control.

  •  It started before then (5+ / 0-)

    When the labor unions, Hollywood, and other progressive groups kicked out the communists and socialists during the Red Scare in the late 40's/early 50's.

      The brief revival of the left during the 60's never hit the peak it had in the 40's.

    Callate o despertaras la izquirda! - protest sign in Spain

    by gjohnsit on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 09:38:43 AM PDT

  •  This is wrong, on so many levels. (0+ / 0-)
    Because without a welfare state, the only institutions that offer any comfort or protection are the church and the family. The family is the first welfare state.
    The family and the church teach self reliance, and independence, the things that give human beings their dignity and sense of self worth.  With those things, no welfare state is necessary.   But for the sick and the weak, who cannot fend for themselves and who we must always have a duty to care for, we must seek to reduce the dependency and hopelessness created by the welfare state.  When the safety net becomes a hammock, it ceases to serve its proper purpose.   Europe is finding that out right now.  We will, too, in short order.

    You don't need to firebomb Dresden to prove that you can fly the plane.

    by SpamNunn on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 10:18:04 AM PDT

    •  You live in a "garden of pure ideology". (0+ / 0-)

      For the umpteenth time, Europe's problems ARE NOT CAUSED BY THEIR SOCIAL SAFETY NETS, and the countries in the best financial shape have among the strongest social safety nets.

      The '60s were simply an attempt to get the 21st Century started early....Well, what are we waiting for? There's no deadline on a dream!

      by Panurge on Thu Jun 28, 2012 at 10:38:10 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Tea-Vangelicals have a distorted view of religion (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    burlydee

    I think it unlikely that you will replace their point of view with liberation theology.  Their theology is the opposite of liberation theology.  They believe that we are all meant to suffer in this life and that the "righteous" (whatever that means) will be raptured up for the next life.  

    A successful revolution will have to build a counter-culture.
    Perhaps it may revolve around religious principle that are counter to the tea-evangelical "this life sucks" theology.

    "The real wealth of a nation consists of the contributions of its people and nature." -- Rianne Eisler

    by noofsh on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 10:21:02 AM PDT

  •  If I may offer a view (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LucyandByron, blueoasis

    Liberalism - true liberalism or progressivism, died in 1968. With the assassinations of RFK and MLK - it stopped the two movers who could have likely moved the 'working poor' agenda forward. The country would perhaps be very different now.

    However, the wider issue beyond religious belief among liberals and conservatives is how the left has been segregated based on the issues themselves. We cannot seem to unite under one issue or movement. If one movement or issue springs up like immigration, then several other players 'invade' that particular issue - perhaps contaminating it and the message. The Occupy movement is the last issue oriented campaign to suffer this fate. Occupy was invaded by the homeless campaign; then the cannabis campaign. Direction gets lost and then the movement stops...moving. The message gets diluted and everyone goes home frustrated.

    If true liberalism is ever to get momentum, the left must unite and stay on message behind one single movement. That's how the civil rights movement was so successful. There was no dilution of message or direction. We liberals need to focus, pick an issue and stick with it. Our success rate would be much higher.

    •  Primary contradiction (0+ / 0-)

      The man on all the Chinese money talked about priorities: the "primary contradiction" and secondary contradiction.

      For me the primary contradiction is the enormous mass of working poor in the world's richest country... I think the left should concentrate on that first... all the other issues would fall into place once that solving their suffering was considered the national priority.

  •  Hello, my name is Bill, and I am useless (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    blueoasis

    Near the end of his life, George Carlin said something like...I have lost hope for these sons-of-bitches. Now I just sit on a hill and revel as they destroy each other.

    John Steinbeck in The Pearl painted the picture of what America has become today. For the promise of a little security, many Americans will turn on their brothers and sisters. The 1% has bought the best sadists, the best politicians, and the best religious leaders...I am useless and it's ruining the last quarter of my life.

  •  A single defining event? The whole left, at once? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    burlydee, SQD35R, blueoasis

    It makes for nice storytelling, the Cliff's Notes version. I'd place it closer to 1977-1980. We had just been through the Church Commission (CIA crimes) Vietnam, Watergate, ejected a President, and perhaps most important - OPEC had ginned up the First Great Oil Crisis - it seems like we had it in the palm of our hand, we knew what to do, and it's wouldn't all be easy.

    At some point, a few people figured that they better get control of the TV's, the radios and the newspapers. Rupert Murdoch, for sure, General Electric CEO Jack Welch was famous for calling the senior political reporters of GE-owned NBC into his office and telling them what the news should say... far-fetched? He BRAGS about it in his autobiography! The second largest defense contractor in America (GE) owns the - liberal television network?

    I place the final nail in the coffin of the American Dream as November 6, 1984. I can understand the first election of Ronald Reagan, Carter wasn't all heroic like we like our heroes to act, but in 1984? Everyone knew that Reagan and Bush 1 were up to their TITS in the entire debacle of the savings & loan "crisis", underwritten by Adnan Kashoggi's bank - BCCI, Iran Contra, you name it.

    But we didn't CARE - Reagan told us we were cool, brave, rich, handsome and strong, and by God that's how a President is SUPPOSED to talk. And if you can't solve problems in an hour (44min minus commercials) like those handsome, brave cool strong guys on our TV,  I DON'T WANNA HEAR ABOUT YER FUCKING PROBLEMS! Hey! Lets lower some more taxes!

  •  I Contend MLK "Had" to Be (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    blueoasis

    taken out in part due to his compelling leadership; (he became a cross cultural catalyst), but also because of his activism against the Vietnam war.

    Here King arrives at the heart of his subject:

    "Over the past two years, as I have moved to break the betrayal of my own silences and to speak from the burnings of my own heart, as I have called for radical departures from the destruction of Vietnam, many persons have questioned me about the wisdom of my path. At the heart of their concerns this query has often loomed large and loud: 'Why are you speaking about the war, Dr. King?' 'Why are you joining the voices of dissent?' 'Peace and civil rights don't mix,' they say. 'Aren't you hurting the cause of your people,' they ask? And when I hear them, though I often understand the source of their concern, I am nevertheless greatly saddened, for such questions mean that the inquirers have not really known me, my commitment or my calling. Indeed, their questions suggest that they do not know the world in which they live.

    In the light of such tragic misunderstanding, I deem it of signal importance to try to state clearly, and I trust concisely, why I believe that the path from Dexter Avenue Baptist Church – the church in Montgomery, Alabama, where I began my pastorate – leads clearly to this sanctuary tonight."

    You need to read the entire speech.

    "what if a war was given, and nobody came?"

    The warmongers/profiteers must have forced or coerced conscription to carry out their wars for them. King knew poor blacks and whites would die in large numbers in Vietnam-- of course he had to speak out against this-- thus he was a threat.

    http://antiwar.com/...

    "A civilization which does not provide young people with a way to earn a living is pretty poor". Eleanor Roosevelt

    by Superpole on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 03:10:51 PM PDT

    •  Right-wing answer to your question: (0+ / 0-)

      "Someone always comes.  If that someone isn't challenged, then what?"

      The '60s were simply an attempt to get the 21st Century started early....Well, what are we waiting for? There's no deadline on a dream!

      by Panurge on Thu Jun 28, 2012 at 10:33:52 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  2 problems I have with this essay (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    saluda, blueoasis

    1. Poor, socially conservative blacks already vote democratic by a huge, vast majority.  So lumping them together with poor whites seems to do more to obfuscate the problem.

    2. Dr. King and his movement was highly unpopular with rural whites in the South and Midwest.   Only 30% of the population viewed Dr. King positively at his death, despite his religious views.  When you answer the question of why that was - than I think you will understand the power of right wing politics and the limits of blaming latte liberals.  

  •  King, JFK, RFK (0+ / 0-)

    To me the 3 go together.  3 assassinations in a short amount of time.  To me it revealed the power of the wealthy few connected to government who could pull off 3 murders and cover them up so successfully.  While King was essential to the Civil Rights Movement, he was becoming vocal about not going into Vietnam.  I believe JFK and RFK also did not want Vietnam.  What would have happened if history had changed course at that time?  Perhaps the cost of the military-industrial complex would not have caused  social services to be underfunded.  We might have had more balance between the corporations and the people. From that point until now the left has had only enough influence to keep the illusion of democracy.

  •  What a steaming pile of horseshit (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    David Seaton

    From first sentence to last.

  •  I disagree completely (0+ / 0-)

    Yes, Martin Luther King was a man who did great things in the time he was on the earth, sadly shortened by a misguided white guy, who should never have been allowed to get that close to the Reverend.  But, that being said, I do not believe in any way that the left has lost its way, it has had to compromise with a very vocal and frankly misguided Republican party that HAS lost its way.  It is not us that changed, it is them.  They are saying Ronald Reagan, once the figurehead of all that was right and good about the Republican party (as much as I disagree with that), his ability to coalesce a group and get consensus is what is missing in today's Thugs.  They want it my way or the highway, they don't seem to care a whit about their constituents, unless it is three months from election time.  All the things they have done to block GOOD laws from being enacted because they were favored by Democrats or brought to light by the President, just shows how misguided and frankly self-serving and hateful they have become.  If Obama likes it, they are against it.  Period.  So, to say that the left has lost its way, when we pretty much are the same party with the same ideals we have always had, only maybe even a little broader, same sex marriage, fine, women's personal rights, sacred.  Helping the poor with a hand, crucial.  To say that we have lost our way is to say that the Teabaggers are on the right track, and by my view, their train derailed when Sarah Palin became their poster idiot.

    "My Momma always taught me to play by the rules, and if you don't that's called cheatin'." - Donna Brazile

    by jjmn on Tue Jun 26, 2012 at 10:49:09 PM PDT

    •  It depends on what you mean. (0+ / 0-)

      We know (or think we know) where we want to go, but can't seem to agree on how to get there.  And different people have different priorities.  And they have different ways of reacting to the rise of Reaganism--most of them rather ineffective, which is the nub of the issue.    

      The '60s were simply an attempt to get the 21st Century started early....Well, what are we waiting for? There's no deadline on a dream!

      by Panurge on Thu Jun 28, 2012 at 10:31:40 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  It's not either/or. (0+ / 0-)

      Maybe both sides are on the wrong track.  

      The '60s were simply an attempt to get the 21st Century started early....Well, what are we waiting for? There's no deadline on a dream!

      by Panurge on Thu Jun 28, 2012 at 10:32:27 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I have always been shocked at the Right (0+ / 0-)

    I have always been amazed that the Right professes to be "Christian."    This is obviously false--as anyone who reads the Bible, especially the New Testament--knows.  My (UNF Freshmen) students were amazed when I read this to them.  They were avid (professed) Christians, but they had never heard this. . .How can the Right profess religion without reading or discussing it?  I have to admit, this avoidance is impressive propaganda!  

    Old Hippies Never Give Up!

    by ravenrdr on Wed Jun 27, 2012 at 02:11:13 AM PDT

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