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Adolph Reed, Jr. is a professor of political science at the University of Pennsylvania. In the March issue of Harper's he writes Nothing Left—The long, slow surrender of American liberals. A version without a paywall can be found here. The An excerpt:

But if the left is tied to a Democratic strategy that, at least since the Clinton Administration, tries to win elections by absorbing much of the right’s social vision and agenda, before long the notion of a political left will have no meaning. For all intents and purposes, that is what has occurred. If the right sets the terms of debate for the Democrats, and the Democrats set the terms of debate for the left, then what can it mean to be on the political left? The terms “left” and “progressive” — and in practical usage the latter is only a milquetoast version of the former — now signify a cultural sensibility rather than a reasoned critique of the existing social order. Because only the right proceeds from a clear, practical utopian vision, “left” has come to mean little more than “not right.”

The left has no particular place it wants to go. And, to rehash an old quip, if you have no destination, any direction can seem as good as any other. The left careens from this oppressed group or crisis moment to that one, from one magical or morally pristine constituency or source of political agency (youth/students; undocumented immigrants; the Iraqi labor movement; the Zapatistas; the urban “precariat”; green whatever; the black/Latino/LGBT “community”; the grassroots, the netroots, and the blogosphere; this season’s worthless Democrat; Occupy; a “Trotskyist” software engineer elected to the Seattle City Council) to another. It lacks focus and stability; its métier is bearing witness, demonstrating solidarity, and the event or the gesture. Its reflex is to “send messages” to those in power, to make statements, and to stand with or for the oppressed.

Adolph Reed, Jr.
This dilettantish politics is partly the heritage of a generation of defeat and marginalization, of decades without any possibility of challenging power or influencing policy. So the left operates with no learning curve and is therefore always vulnerable to the new enthusiasm. It long ago lost the ability to move forward under its own steam. Far from being avant-garde, the self-styled left in the United States seems content to draw its inspiration, hopefulness, and confidence from outside its own ranks, and lives only on the outer fringes of American politics, as congeries of individuals in the interstices of more mainstream institutions.
With the two parties converging in policy, the areas of fundamental disagreement that separate them become too arcane and too remote from most people’s experience to inspire any commitment, much less popular action. Strategies and allegiances become mercurial and opportunistic, and politics becomes ever more candidate-centered and driven by worshipful exuberance about individuals or, more accurately, the idealized and evanescent personae—the political holograms—their packagers project. […]

The crucial tasks for a committed left in the United States now are to admit that no politically effective force exists and to begin trying to create one. This is a long-term effort, and one that requires grounding in a vibrant labor movement. Labor may be weak or in decline, but that means aiding in its rebuilding is the most serious task for the American left. Pretending some other option exists is worse than useless. There are no magical interventions, shortcuts, or technical fixes. We need to reject the fantasy that some spark will ignite the People to move as a mass. We must create a constituency for a left program—and that cannot occur via MSNBC or blog posts or The New York Times. It requires painstaking organization and building relationships with people outside the Beltway and comfortable leftist groves. Finally, admitting our absolute impotence can be politically liberating; acknowledging that as a left we have no influence on who gets nominated or elected, or what they do in office, should reduce the frenzied self-delusion that rivets attention to the quadrennial, biennial, and now seemingly permanent horse races. It is long past time for us to begin again to approach leftist critique and strategy by determining what our social and governmental priorities should be and focusing our attention on building the kind of popular movement capable of realizing that vision.


Blast from the Past. At Daily Kos on this date in 2013John Roberts has always had it in for the Voting Rights Act:

Three decades ago, when John Roberts, now chief justice of the Supreme Court, was just a Reagan-hired grunt in the conservative movement's efforts to roll back the clock on progressive achievements, he became the point man for defeating the 1982 renewal of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Which has led close observers to expect that he will be part of a majority of five that will all but demolish the act based on the case the court heard oral arguments on Wednesday.<...>

Now, with Shelby in the dock, the hope of activists is that perhaps Roberts has moderated his stance. But in a ruling in 2009, he seemed to echo Reagan's view that there could not forever be "punishment" of the South for past behavior. One modification of the law that leaned in the critics' direction in the 1982 renewal gave jurisdictions the option of bailing out of Section 5 if they could prove they no longer needed to be under federal supervision. Roberts stated in that 2009 case that the Justice Department had made the bailout provision "all but a nullity." But in the years since that decision, more than a hundred jurisdictions have bailed out. Shelby County hasn't been able to argue it deserves a bailout because in 2006, it gerrymandered away the district of the only black city council member in one county town.


Tweet of the Day:  

.@SenSanders nailed it on @CNN. "If you can't afford to take care of your veterans, then don't go to war": http://t.co/... #IAVA
@PaulRieckhoff



On today's Kagro in the Morning show, Traditional media gets hold of the Jindal-Malloy NGA confrontation. Guess what? "Both sides!" Greg Dworkin gives us reason to hate "fact checking" again. Conservatives attempt to rationalize Arizona. When did conscientious objection become a zero-consequences free pass, anyway? More on the lunatic lobbying for a bill banning gays from the NFL. Ian Millhiser connects the current "religious liberty" objection to racism. HuffPo & TPM on the Brown Univ. student who shut down the RI NRA. Sort of. More corruption too blatant to feel real: a documentary on the judge who took kickbacks from private prison operators for oversentencing kids.


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Comment Preferences

  •  Question for Jon Stewart. (5+ / 0-)

    Was that gentleman on Al Madrigal's interview segment just a token black, or what? I don't get it. He was never acknowledged throughout.

    After 65 years, the ONLY thing I know absolutely and positively about life is that the check is SUPPOSED to be in the mail. That's it. Nothing else. PERIOD.

    by franklyn on Thu Feb 27, 2014 at 08:33:31 PM PST

  •  From the excerpt (29+ / 0-)

    It sounds like Adolph Reed Jnr about nailed it.

    If we are going to take the Democratic Party to the Left, it's going to start with the local precincts and labor unions.

    I feel so damned tired at times.

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

    Who is twigg?

    by twigg on Thu Feb 27, 2014 at 08:37:44 PM PST

    •  Exactly which "we" are you referring to? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      duhban

      Democrats in general?  Democrats who read leftist blogs? Democrats in  Blue states?  People in labor unions? Who? Where?

      There are plenty of union members around the country who are against unions.  How do you think RTW swept across the country in formerly blue states so quickly without that much resistance?  I'm not understanding how you think "taking the Party to the Left" is going to work.

      •  "Democrat" is a label (16+ / 0-)

        which appears to mean less and less as time goes on.

        Did you know there are more registered Democrats in Oklahoma than there are registered Republicans? Guess who they vote for.

        I mean liberals, progressives, socialists. I mean people who put the needs of people first .... call them what you will, but the Democratic Party is the vehicle and right now it resembles little more than the GOP from the seventies.

        It will work the way the Republicans managed to gain such a hold, on the country and the Democratic Party.

        They started in the sixties, and they started locally.

        You know, I will support the candidacy of the Democratic nominee, even though I think that a former corporate lawyer who sat on the board of Walmart is hardly likely to do much to change the status quo. I will support her because the alternative is unthinkable, but not for one minute will I expect much to change.

        I am simply saddened that we are reduced to this .... The best we can muster is Hillary Clinton, a politician I have nothing against yet there is little to get excited about.

        Yeah, folk will cheer when she wins, and she will win, then the disquiet will start, then the recriminations and the fights :: sigh ::

        What the author of that piece was saying is that all that is irrelevant. A national spectacle that progressives cannot change, unless and until that change comes from the ground up ... and I don't much care which state is first.

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

        Who is twigg?

        by twigg on Thu Feb 27, 2014 at 09:10:31 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  "Democrat" means nothing these days (19+ / 0-)

          other than "I'm offended by overt racism and sexism, extreme homophobia, and some sort of abelism.  I'm almost certainly not a young Earth creationist, or hardboiled Randroid"

          That's all I can really come up with, after a couple of years of watching people cheer the violent overthrow of Democratically elected governments, praise bank bailouts, and make repeated 360 degree turns on mandated private health insurance.

          We're no longer a workers party.  Maybe we never were, and my perceptions were just skewed by mistaking my Grandparents and Parents reasons for being in the Democratic Party for the actual unifying elements of the Party.

          Maybe I'm just like Greenwald, instead of dreaming of a Pre-Bush America that respected civil liberties I'm dreaming of an equally fictional Pre-Clinton Democratic Party that valued workers.

          I do know that throwing in the towel three years before a Presidential Primary will absolutely never result in changing a damned thing or improving anyones life.  Even Obama had to move three nudges back to the Left to get re-elected, shying away from SS cuts, raising his Minimum Wage target back up, and dropping his official position of objecting to gay folks getting married.

          Having absolutely no sense votes must be earned just leaves them ignoring the Left completely.  Even if Clinton and her NeoLiberal bullshit are the best we can do, we'll still be better off for having made her fight for the votes of the Left.

          Welcome to the Whole Foods of the blogosphere.

          by JesseCW on Thu Feb 27, 2014 at 09:56:31 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  No, we WERE a workers party before this... (10+ / 0-)

            Before we started letting these far right-wingers define the arguments. Before we started letting them label any little thing the government does to make live better for regular folks as the fucking Soviet Union. Shit, we can hardly even repair roads and bridges without these assholes hollering about the USSSR. Oh and ask that the wealthy pay a little more and it's full on Nazi Germany we're talking about.

            The problem is there was a key moment in our history when Democrats desperately needed to have the balls the size of FDR's...and they didn't.

            •  No, we WERE a workers party before this... (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              twigg, JeffW

              The current Republican party rank and file is made up of people who don't understand much about anything. It's hardly surprising that they think American infrastructure built itself.

            •  I'd say there was a critical moment when (0+ / 0-)

              the American Left needed to have the guts of generation that pushed FDR far to the left of his original platform.

              Instead, most of the commentary here and on the corporate media catering to the soft left (MSNBC) was about The Tea Party and whatever latest bullshit Dick Cheney was spouting.

              During a year long victory celebration, we defeated ourselves.

              Welcome to the Whole Foods of the blogosphere.

              by JesseCW on Fri Feb 28, 2014 at 01:49:52 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

          •  Reed warns (11+ / 0-)

            not to be preoccupied with candidates and elections.  The important thing he says, and I agree, is to work on building movements and organizations with sustaining, independent power of their own, completely free of the dominant presence of politicians or parties.  To do otherwise helps perpetuate the existing relations of power, which in this case is our powerlessness.

            "Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will." ~Frederick Douglass

            by ActivistGuy on Fri Feb 28, 2014 at 12:45:23 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  Well I find it.... (6+ / 0-)

      ....odd that he is publishing it in Harper's.  That working class paper.  He may be correct but it seems like a lot of academic wankery.  Has he even organized a TA union at his university.

      We Glory in war, in the shedding of human blood. What fools we are.

      by delver rootnose on Thu Feb 27, 2014 at 08:58:34 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  You make a good point. (5+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        melvynny, Floande, KJG52, Chi, JVolvo

        But look at how the "Change we can believe in" turned out.

        Yes, I know it's complicated and no, I don't blame the President for much of it .... nonetheless, have things really got much better for the working poor, the unemployed, the middle classes?

        I do not deny the achievements, they are considerable, but with the exception of the ACA, how many of the changes have been structural?

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

        Who is twigg?

        by twigg on Thu Feb 27, 2014 at 09:12:55 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Not much.... (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          melvynny, Floande, 1Nic Ven, shaharazade

          ...and the ACA isn't all that structural in that it still relies on the private insurance model.

          Can't say I know what to do and I would like a populist labor movement to develope but to be successful labor has to move beyond manufacturing and government services into the service sector and technology corporations.

          We Glory in war, in the shedding of human blood. What fools we are.

          by delver rootnose on Thu Feb 27, 2014 at 09:35:27 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I do think that the ACA will end up (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            duhban, SaraBeth, twigg

            being a structural change. For one thing it changes the way that we look at healthcare, less a privilege and more of a right. Keeping private ins. in the mix isn't all that bad, we can morph it easily into a system like Germany's or Australia's.

            And daddy won't you take me back to Muhlenberg County Down by the Green River where Paradise lay. Well, I'm sorry my son, but you're too late in asking Mister Peabody's coal train has hauled it away. John Prine

            by high uintas on Thu Feb 27, 2014 at 10:05:57 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I agree. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              high uintas

              And Switzerland has a single-payer scheme that is managed by private insurers. They are regulated up to the eyeballs.

              France also uses private insurers to implement one of the best systems in the world.

              The USA, ironically, has Medicaid, which is very similar to the government managed UK Healthcare system.

              The US knows how to do this, we just need to do it for everyone.

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

              Who is twigg?

              by twigg on Fri Feb 28, 2014 at 04:51:04 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

      •  He was a labor and community organizer... (10+ / 0-)

        ...in North Carolina.

        Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

        by Meteor Blades on Thu Feb 27, 2014 at 09:16:12 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Thank you delver (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        duhban, Glenn45, SaraBeth
        it seems like a lot of academic wankery
        That was exactly the taste I had in my mouth while I read it. Maybe I'm wrong, shit I don't know but there seemed to be quite a bit of hyperbole and well...wankery.

        He said

        With the two parties converging in policy, the areas of fundamental disagreement that separate them become too arcane and too remote from most people’s experience to inspire any commitment, much less popular action.
        And
        This dilettantish politics is partly the heritage of a generation of defeat and marginalization, of decades without any possibility of challenging power or influencing policy.
        Srsly?

        And daddy won't you take me back to Muhlenberg County Down by the Green River where Paradise lay. Well, I'm sorry my son, but you're too late in asking Mister Peabody's coal train has hauled it away. John Prine

        by high uintas on Thu Feb 27, 2014 at 09:38:15 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Do you disagree with that? (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          JesseCW, Chi, LanceBoyle, twigg

          Are you seeing some great shining vision of rampant liberalism in the last two decades that the rest of us don't see?  

          •  No (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            duhban, SaraBeth, MT Spaces, Satya1

            but believe it or not I really do think that the ACA is going to grow into a big fucking deal, just as Medicare did before it. I also believe that the movement towards equality is worth celebrating.

            Neither of those things would not have happened with a conservative in office and yes, I do think they are the legacy of liberalism.

            And daddy won't you take me back to Muhlenberg County Down by the Green River where Paradise lay. Well, I'm sorry my son, but you're too late in asking Mister Peabody's coal train has hauled it away. John Prine

            by high uintas on Thu Feb 27, 2014 at 10:02:27 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  bingo (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              high uintas

              Reed pretty much leaves those out of his piece.  And they are major advances.  He also doesn't address the broken aspects of Congress and how it is set up to fail.  (That anything as complex as ACA got out of it is a miracle.)

              And apparently the problem of corporate money buying Congress doesn't seem to bother him much.  And likewise the Citizens United decision doesn't play into his thinking.  

              And he thinks Al Gore would have invaded Iraq? Whoa.

              He does have a few accurate things to say.  But I would say he is about 40% hit and 60% miss.

              I'm not liberal. I'm actually just anti-evil, OK? - Elon James White

              by Satya1 on Fri Feb 28, 2014 at 06:48:53 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  Conjecture (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              delver rootnose

              It might but it since it still leaves all the key elements of a broken and very expensive system in place there is significant prospect that the change will be middling tinkering rather than a major shift.  Until we see major savings and a real end to abuses, it will be very hard to tell. The for profit insurance industry survives and is still very powerful.

              •  It is conjecture (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                delver rootnose

                but it's based on past programs "birthpangs". Yes, the system survives but is less powerful. As for actual meat on the bones changes I see them all around me in the relieved looks on people who have insurance for the first time in years.

                I see court after court overturning same sex marriage bans and an Admin that ended DOMA and all it's shit. Don't tell me that doesn't signify real change.

                I also see a group that is scrambling to rig voting laws and scapegoat anyone in their way. They see change too, and they don't like it.

                And daddy won't you take me back to Muhlenberg County Down by the Green River where Paradise lay. Well, I'm sorry my son, but you're too late in asking Mister Peabody's coal train has hauled it away. John Prine

                by high uintas on Fri Feb 28, 2014 at 09:41:57 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

          •  There's a real difference (10+ / 0-)

            Between saying that there is no "rampant liberalism" and what the author is saying, which is that the differences between the two political parties are so miniscule that most can't tell them apart.

            I sure as hell can tell the difference between the party that wants to make voting easier. And the party that doesn't. I can tell the difference between the party that wants to take away my reproductive rights. And the party that doesn't. I can tell the difference between the party that is very inclusive. And the party that is deliberately racist, sexist, and homophobic.

            It is those differences that keeps me voting for the Democratic Party.

            Time is of no account with great thoughts, which are as fresh to-day as when they first passed through their authors' minds ages ago. - Samuel Smiles

            by moviemeister76 on Thu Feb 27, 2014 at 10:03:04 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  You missed his point (8+ / 0-)

              He isn't saying there is no difference, he is saying that the policy consensus has swallowed much of those differences, especially on economic policies and areas it touches. Going small bore has left the Democratic Party with a laundry list of policies rather than a different vision for society.  Except for a few small areas mostly around social policies where the religious are most rabid there aren't any big policy disagreements between the parties.

              •  In my world (5+ / 0-)

                Reproductive rights are not small. Neither are voting rights. But maybe that's just me.

                Time is of no account with great thoughts, which are as fresh to-day as when they first passed through their authors' minds ages ago. - Samuel Smiles

                by moviemeister76 on Thu Feb 27, 2014 at 11:01:19 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •   (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  high uintas

                  Nor is equality and equal opportunity.

                •  Sure (0+ / 0-)

                  But those alone can make a comprehensive policy platform. People wonder why we have an economic system that robs the poor to give to the rich, but the answer isn't hard to find when our "liberal" voters care only about reproductive and civil rights.  

                  Furthermore we see the effects of liberal surrender on reproductive rights.  Even on reproductive rights we have lost a ton of ground by going soft right with increasing restrictions and peddling a position that "fights" for reproductive rights while saying that abortion is a bad thing.   Instead of going hard on it and not giving ground Democrats have lost ground with watered down approaches that end in bad compromises.  

                  Similarly on equality, we ended up with Democrats endorsing DADT and DOMA.  I can't think of an area where being soft right has helped. Maybe one could argue DADT was a stepping stone to equality, I don't know

              •  He says it very poorly (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                high uintas

                Part of his argument to back it up is by saying that the GOP would have goaded Al Gore into invading Iraq (had Gore been sworn in).   LOL.

                Personally I thought he got about 40% of his piece pretty well, but 60% was poorly done.

                What is the critical difference for Reed between the left support for policies like gay rights, immigration reform, the Jobs Act and healthcare reform (all major policies) and having "a different vision for society".

                Reed seems to reject the hard work for those advances with a simple "The left has no particular place it wants to go."  And he goes to the old line of equating the two parties, which I would not expect of a poly sci prof.  I don't know whether to think of this as ignorance or foolishness:

                With the two parties converging in policy, the areas of fundamental disagreement that separate them become too arcane and too remote from most people’s experience to inspire any commitment, much less popular action.
                Having a lofty vision is a great thing and we all need that. "Make no little plans", is advice that also works in the political context.

                But guess, what?  A lot of liberals do have lofty visions and they mostly revolve around social justice.  That Reed cannot see the unifying element among the policy advances Democrats have made, is part of his problem.  But then sometimes there is a fine line between vision and hallucination (Gore invades Iraq).  

                Also some of us have experience with good old Chicago/Alinsky organizing and know how incremental approaches to change can work.  It's good to have the vision, but it is wise to consider that you may not be able to get there in one move.

                I'm not liberal. I'm actually just anti-evil, OK? - Elon James White

                by Satya1 on Fri Feb 28, 2014 at 07:10:08 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  There is a distinction. (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Satya1

                  Between us liberals and the party.  Liberals exist but are effectively excluded from most policy debates.  Yes liberals have a vision but almost no positions within government to promote those because democrats (eg DLC) have  made sure to stifle this vision. (Would Gore have gone to war in Iraq?  Depends on how much away his VP had I suspect).

                  The point isn't that there are liberals in the US it is that the democratic party pays them no mind.  Consider the fate of the people's budget or the public option. Instead of fighting for SS we have major party leaders haggling over the size of the chained CPI. Those are the fights reed is talking to.

                  It is likely true that cobbling together a package of social policies and fear of the right will win some elections but no more

                  •  Here's the deal. (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    Mindful Nature, high uintas

                    I think you have a good point.  Excellent ones on a certain level.  I also thought of the peoples budget myself while reading the piece.

                    My problem with the piece is that it leaves us all reading things into it that Reed doesn't say.  He takes time to mention a number of different issues and criticize a number of things.  I did not detect any mention of the people's budget or chained CPI though.  And that makes my point.  It strikes me that the only way his piece works is if we make up some of the content for him.  In other words, he expresses himself poorly.

                    In the section where he mentions single payer (he didn't mention public option anywhere either) he is more accurate and starts to mention a key problem with election cycles.  But this paragraph illustrates another of my critiques of his piece.  He never mentions structural problems that create dysfunctional congress, never mentions the corporate funding problem.  It's as if he doesn't understand how broken the existing system is and how it works (when it does).

                    When Congress is divided and diverges between the parties as much as it is now, why exactly does Mr. Reed think that by listening to liberals, Dems will overcome the entrenched Repub opposition?  And how is that supposed to work?  (BTW, I understand and agree to a point that liberals don't get listened to.  But not to the complete neglect Reed seems to portray.)

                    I'm not liberal. I'm actually just anti-evil, OK? - Elon James White

                    by Satya1 on Fri Feb 28, 2014 at 08:24:20 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  BTW, I get his sarcastic tone (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      Mindful Nature, high uintas

                      when criticizing the excessive demands by Dems on electoral politics.  I agree with his assessment that there is an element of self serving promotion there.  

                      However at the end of the day, while electoral politics is not the only game, it is part of the vehicle for creating change.  And ultimately there is a structure to it that is controlled mostly by corporations and has too many ridiculous built in bugs to be effective for complex long term solutions.

                      When I'm talking about structural bugs, I have the kind of thing in mind presented by Sven Steinmo and Jon Watts in their piece "It's the Institutions, Stupid" that describes the multi-decade struggle for health-care reform in terms of how it was handled by (mostly) Congress.  It was written in the aftermath of the Clinton failure on the issue.

                      It disappoints me that Reed's only hint at structural problems is by dismissing them as an "excuse".  Especially for a poly sci prof, that seems either naive or ignorant to me.

                      I'm not liberal. I'm actually just anti-evil, OK? - Elon James White

                      by Satya1 on Fri Feb 28, 2014 at 08:54:27 AM PST

                      [ Parent ]

            •  And (0+ / 0-)

              Sure activists vote, but obviously that's not enough.

            •  I too can tell the difference, & your examples are (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              moviemeister76, Floande, KJG52

              ..some of the best.

              But I had a different take on Reed's comparison of republicans vs Dems by what he wrote here here:

              With the two parties converging in policy, the areas of fundamental disagreement that separate them become too arcane and too remote from most people’s experience to inspire any commitment, much less popular action. Strategies and allegiances become mercurial and opportunistic, and politics becomes ever more candidate-centered and driven by worshipful exuberance about individuals or, more accurately, the idealized and evanescent personae — the political holograms — their packagers project.

               - emphasis added

              So describing the difference between progressives and republicans as miniscule kind of leaves out some important distinctions.

               It's more of a similarity of tactics and allegiances (I suspect big money donors fit that bill) between the left and the right that Reed is targeting as the mistake because then the policies themselves tend to become less & less left/progressive and more right wing/status quo or these days - reactionary

              Tactics and allegiances of the GOP which when adopted by Dems and then expecting results that do NOT mirror republican objectives, being the mistake.

              A mistake that is uninspiring to activist movements and popular action - imo

              •  I don't know if all the tactics are the same (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                high uintas

                I think on the national level, the tactics are sufficiently different. The more local you go, however, the more they become tactically similar.

                Time is of no account with great thoughts, which are as fresh to-day as when they first passed through their authors' minds ages ago. - Samuel Smiles

                by moviemeister76 on Thu Feb 27, 2014 at 11:28:43 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

              •  You're point is a good one (0+ / 0-)

                but the problem is that if that is Reed's main point, he states it so badly.  I mean kicking that section off with:

                With the two parties converging in policy, the areas of fundamental disagreement that separate them become too arcane and too remote from most people’s experience to inspire any commitment...
                ACA, immigration, voting rights, gay rights:  All major efforts, all illustrating two parties wildly diverging, all heavily invested not just in electoral politics but grassroots organizing as well.

                Some of us have gotten past Reed's hangup.  For whatever reason, we need a face.  Americans needs various personae to channel discussion.  It's likely an archetype built into the species.  But it isn't now and never has been the whole struggle.  Look at the pressure exerted on Brewer to veto.

                An important distinction for progressives though has always been that channeling everything through a handful of candidates is inherrently anti-progressive.  And if that is a large part of Reed's message, then he failed.  Others have stated it much better, including Gary Younge and Ezra Klein.

                No, while I like some of it very much, Reed reads like a muddled mess.

                Here is Gary Younge discussing the problem with progressives falling for the "great man theory".  I think it not only says what this aspect of Reed's message is about more clearly, but points out where Reed over-reached into fantasy:

                there is the self-satisfied smirk of the pundit for whom the itch to say "I told you so" has become too irresistible not to scratch. Absent any other coherent political or electoral strategy that might get us from where we were to where we need to be, they got their disillusion in early to avoid the rush. Refusing to see any potential in the mobilization of huge numbers of young, black, Latino and union workers who took part in his (Obama's) campaign, they understood the energy and excitement as little more than a moment of mass delusion. Like a broken clock, they just had to wait until the moment when they could pronounce themselves correct. In the words of Friedrich Engels, "What childish innocence it is to present one's own impatience as a theoretically convincing argument!"

                While these two camps are driven by different impulses, they have two important things in common. First, they share a right-wing assumption, made famous by Thomas Carlyle, that history is made by "great men" rather than the far more complex interaction of people, time, place and power. Their ire is trained on one man and one alone. Not a system, institution or kaleidoscope of forces but Obama. If he were better, things would be different. If he tried harder, he could succeed. Such charges betray a devotion to a man and reverence for an office that is indecent in a democracy and incompatible with left politics.

                Second, it suggests that this "great man" exists as an abstraction, in the absence of other forces, constraints and material realities. What movements might support or oppose him and what events might distract him are, to these detractors, apparently irrelevant. They reduce politics from an engagement with the world as it is to an act of will to construct a new world out of whole cloth. In this world the need to get sixty votes in the Senate, and the compromises that might emerge from that reality, have no meaning.

                I'm not liberal. I'm actually just anti-evil, OK? - Elon James White

                by Satya1 on Fri Feb 28, 2014 at 07:38:39 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

        •  I don't know... (4+ / 0-)

          ... From what I read I fear he is correct but somehow the way he said pisseed me off.  It is not much different from what is said here but it seemed so dismissive of the efforts of others.  If he is so correct maybe he could help out all these people he thinks are doing it wrong.

          I mean for Christ sake Markos and the blogosphere have at least gotten more people in the same virtual place than this professor has.

          Maybe I am still pissed at my college polis I prof who required we buy over $300 of his own books only to never use them in the class.

          We Glory in war, in the shedding of human blood. What fools we are.

          by delver rootnose on Thu Feb 27, 2014 at 10:35:08 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  not just you (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Glenn45, SaraBeth, MT Spaces, high uintas

          I read it and was left with the sour reminder that if the piece had been writen a decade ago it would have been easily propaganda for the Green Pary and third partists in general.

          Der Weg ist das Ziel

          by duhban on Thu Feb 27, 2014 at 11:31:20 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Perhaps wankery is the appropriate place for the (0+ / 0-)

          left, just as it is for libertarians.

          Left and right are fun. Left and right are fine for fleshing out underlying principles and generating ideas, but government is a practical matter and a big bloody mess in a diverse nation.

          "The left" and "the right" may be little more than stalking horses and scapegoats in our country.

          LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

          by dinotrac on Fri Feb 28, 2014 at 06:31:56 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  Well (4+ / 0-)

        Perhaps working folks could use an introduction to a little careful and rigorous thinking. God knows mainstream approaches go far too much from "gut feeling" and "common sense" without any real reflection on what is going on

  •  Holocaust survivor Elia Miranski, 91 (33+ / 0-)
    Holocaust survivor Elia Miranski, 91

     photo Unknown-3_zpsdbd59b76.jpeg

    Photobucket

    Mr. Miranski was killed yesterday while crossing the street in Silver Spring, Maryland.
    Elia Miranski, 91, was struck as he made his way across Route 29 using a walker.

    (snip)

    Miranski lost his family to the Nazis when they stormed Minsk in 1939. He escaped from a fortified castle and spent years struggling to survive.

    Source

    Mr. Miranski was killed by a school bus.  The children on board had just been to the White House.

    From the Holocaust Museum:

    Elia Miranski, born on August 3, 1922 in Mir, Poland (present day Belarus), describes growing up in a poor, moderately religious family but experiencing no antisemitism until the German invasion in 1939; his parents’ deaths in the first few days of the occupation; escaping with his brother, Israel, from the ghetto which had been set up in a castle; joining Russian partisans in the forest; blowing up railroad tracks for two years; trains near Valozhyn, Belarus; planes dropping supplies; others taking the wounded away from the front lines; Russians mobilizing all partisans into the army; being wounded by the Germans; traveling back to Mir after the war; working on a dairy farm for seven years as a supervisor; moving to Minsk, Belarus and working as a house painter; getting married and having a daughter; going to Israel in 1972 and then to the United States in 1995; thinking day and night about his wartime experiences; and going back to Mir from Israel for a memorial ceremony in the cemetery.
    Listen to the Holocaust Museum Interview here.

    WJLA TV

    USA Today.

    Remembering.

    Photobucket

    Be sure you put your feet in the right place; then stand firm. ~ Abraham Lincoln

    by noweasels on Thu Feb 27, 2014 at 08:40:46 PM PST

  •  Reagan Democrats (4+ / 0-)

    That's what we get by following Reed's advice....

    In loyalty to their kind, they cannot tolerate our minds. In loyalty to our kind, We cannot tolerate their obstruction.

    by mojave mike on Thu Feb 27, 2014 at 08:44:29 PM PST

  •  This is one of the Arkansas Teabagger clowns (17+ / 0-)

    who is trying to take Medicaid coverage away from his fellow Arkansans, because something and something about the budget.

    Oh, did I mention that this moron had his life saved (he was paralyzed in a car accident) by the coverage that he received under the Medicaid program? Yup.

    Who deserves to get Medicaid?

    Arkansas Rep. Josh Miller, who benefited from the program after a devastating accident, makes the case against expansion in his home state.

    Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

    “I would like to get rid of the homophobes, sexists, and racists in our audience. I know they're out there and it really bothers me.” ― Kurt Cobain

    by Jeff Y on Thu Feb 27, 2014 at 08:46:52 PM PST

  •  40 Years On, Finally It's Getting Noticed (26+ / 0-)
    With the two parties converging in policy, the areas of fundamental disagreement that separate them become too arcane and too remote from most people’s experience
    The alarm clock has been ringing since 1977. About time someone started to wake up.
    The crucial tasks for a committed left in the United States now are to admit that no politically effective force exists and to begin trying to create one.
    Exactly. We've had 2 conservative political parties for 30-40 years. Just because people, policies and organizations aren't Republican, doesn't mean they're not conservative. The idea that the middle class should not be in decline for the benefit of global ownership has been too radical for either party since Disco. I don't know where a liberal party is to be found in that consensus.

    I don't know if there's any American history that can inform liberals about how to proceed from this position; I'm thinking 3rd world populist movements probably have much more application for our situation. In any case nothing from the New Deal forward is of any value in showing us how to proceed, despite the many valuable policy ideas from that period.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Thu Feb 27, 2014 at 08:47:07 PM PST

    •  Thank goodness......I thought I was alone here! (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Agathena, Chi

      The "Moral Majority" started over 30 years back.  They built their base on school boards, county commissioners, city councils, library boards etc.  They moved their elected up and out into broader and more public areas.  Each time we gave ground, we discounted them as "soccer moms", "retired guys" etc.  Yeah, well, remember the soccer mom from AK?  Yes, she's a fkng joke, always was, even there.  She got elected from a split ticket.....think about that when you Vote.

      ~Arianna_Editrix-- I willingly accept Cassandra’s fate, To speak the truth, altho’ believ’d too late

      by Arianna Editrix on Thu Feb 27, 2014 at 10:13:59 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Colbert's Laser Klan animation segment: LOL /nt (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Jeff Y

    Warning - some snark may be above‽ (-9.50; -7.03)‽ eState4Column5©2013 "I’m not the strapping young Muslim socialist that I used to be" - Barack Obama 04/27/2013 (@eState4Column5).

    by annieli on Thu Feb 27, 2014 at 08:49:36 PM PST

  •  Good night. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Aunt Pat, annieli, jan4insight

    Today's diary:  Breaking:  DC Mayor clarifies what nondiscrimination in health care means

    Someone who probably doesn't give a shit about transgender rights came along and crapped in that diary because he didn't like Vincent Gray.

  •  We need to form a movement (8+ / 0-)

    We share common goals even though we are involved in different causes. I am tired of professional politicians.

    One guy that IMO has a chance to lead a movement is my friend Kai Newkirk of 99Rise.

    Daily Kos an oasis of truth. Truth that leads to action.

    by Shockwave on Thu Feb 27, 2014 at 08:51:56 PM PST

  •  at last - a manifesto for Semi-Socialism™ (7+ / 0-)
    Finally, admitting our absolute impotence can be politically liberating; acknowledging that as a left we have no influence on who gets nominated or elected, or what they do in office, should reduce the frenzied self-delusion that rivets attention to the quadrennial, biennial, and now seemingly permanent horse races. It is long past time for us to begin again to approach leftist critique and strategy by determining what our social and governmental priorities should be and focusing our attention on building the kind of popular movement capable of realizing that vision.

    Warning - some snark may be above‽ (-9.50; -7.03)‽ eState4Column5©2013 "I’m not the strapping young Muslim socialist that I used to be" - Barack Obama 04/27/2013 (@eState4Column5).

    by annieli on Thu Feb 27, 2014 at 08:53:17 PM PST

  •  Many trenchant observations by Reed (12+ / 0-)

    in that essay. Thanks for the link.
    I like this one:

    When Democrats have been in office, the imagined omnipresent threat from the Republican bugbear remains a fatal constraint on action and a pretext for suppressing criticism from the left.
    But I haven't finished reading it yet.

    Support Small Business: Shop Kos Katalogue If you'd like to join the Motor City Kossacks, send me a Kosmail.

    by peregrine kate on Thu Feb 27, 2014 at 09:00:18 PM PST

  •  Not sure I entitely agree with his analysis (4+ / 0-)

    I think that one of the problems of the left is that it used to be permanently outside the formal political system, which it was forced to make up for with ingenuity and tenacity. I.e. it had energy and drive. Then it crashed the gates and became a part of the system, and thus the establishment, and lost its energy and drive. It became just another component of the system, albeit its left-wing one, but a component nonetheless, expected and required to play by the rules, which it did. Thing is, the right, having always been part of the system, has always been at home within the system, unlike the left, and long ago learned how to wield power within it, something the left has yet to really learn, being still a relative newcomer to power and insiderism.

    It's sort of like the difference between old and new money and power, or the aristocracy and bourgeoise. The former is always more comfortable with its money and power, while the latter is not. It has to grow comfortable with its money and power and understand how to use it, something that old money and power learned long ago. Eventually it will, but it's not there yet.

    The establishment left is part of the establishment whether it thinks so or not, and needs to either learn how the establishment works and work it properly, or go back outside the establishment and fight it from without. I think that would be insane. We're inside the tent. Let's figure out how things work in it, and make them work for us. Meantime, a new generation of lefties currently outside the system needs to rise up and take up the old left's place and push for change from outside the system, including pushing the stodgy old left now within the system to get up off its ass and do something for a change.

    The old left appears to me to have settled for a second class status within the system, always accommodating the right that it still treats like its rightful superiors, the way a British commoner is expected to bow to the queen. To hell with that shit. Kick their asses, then kick them in the nutsacks. They're shriveled little trolls who need to be shoved aside like the French aristocracy. If it won't do that and grow a spine, then the new, emerging left will do it for them, and take their place. We didn't crash the establishment so we could become watered-down versions of its former and really current rulers. We crashed it so we could do could. We once did that, and it's time for some more.

    Progressive means progress, which means movement, which requires pushing. Sit still and you cease being a progressive. You're just someone who talks.

    "Reagan's dead, and he was a lousy president" -- Keith Olbermann 4/22/09

    by kovie on Thu Feb 27, 2014 at 09:00:44 PM PST

    •  I come closer to agreeing (4+ / 0-)

      with your take than with Mr. Reed's. Progress is just that, it's in a constant state of moving forward. He seemed to carve off a slice of time and encased it in defeatist amber.

      And daddy won't you take me back to Muhlenberg County Down by the Green River where Paradise lay. Well, I'm sorry my son, but you're too late in asking Mister Peabody's coal train has hauled it away. John Prine

      by high uintas on Thu Feb 27, 2014 at 09:48:38 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Idiots with Guns: (12+ / 0-)
    Second Amendment Man Shoots Defenseless Chipotle Restaurant, Goes Free:

     Utah man buying lunch at a Chipotle counter Wednesday had a hilariously klutzy moment Wednesday when he hilariously dropped a bag containing his handgun and it hilariously discharged, firing a slug of hot metal that hilariously missed the other humans who had gathered there to eat and not be shot at. Haw haw haw!

    Via Utah-4 TV:

    Sandy Police say the man removed his backpack to pay for his meal and accidentally dropped it.

    When the bag hit the floor, the handgun he had inside accidentally discharged.

    A woman who was eating lunch with her family just a few feet away spoke to ABC 4 Utah about what she saw, "We we're all just eating lunch. I was there with my family and suddenly there was a loud bank and everybody stopped and froze because it was obvious that it was louder than a balloon or dishes crashing…A gun went off."

    Luckily the bullet hit the floor and lodged into the concrete.

    "What's scary about it is the gun hit the floor and went off," said the woman. "But had the gun hit another way could have shot anyone in the restaurant, my family included."

    The man with the gun reportedly picked up the backpack and the shell casing, got his lunch and then waited outside for police.

    The man holds a concealed weapons permit in Utah, which is easier to get than temple garments—or, evidently, a Chipotle burrito.

    http://gawker.com/...

    “I would like to get rid of the homophobes, sexists, and racists in our audience. I know they're out there and it really bothers me.” ― Kurt Cobain

    by Jeff Y on Thu Feb 27, 2014 at 09:01:02 PM PST

  •   Nothing Left—The long, slow surrender ... (9+ / 0-)

    Rants like this are fun to write and certainly there is some truth there -- e.g. the importance of re-organizing labor -- but his thesis rots from the inside: a population that would "slowly surrender" is one that is going to be unable to do this: "It requires painstaking organization and building relationships with people outside the Beltway and comfortable leftist groves."

    Also, when were the Halcyon days of the Left in America?

    "Mr. President, I'm not saying we wouldn't get our hair mussed. But I do say no more than ten to twenty million killed, tops." General Buck Turgidson

    by muledriver on Thu Feb 27, 2014 at 09:08:52 PM PST

  •  Chinese Solar investors sad...oh wait, excited (5+ / 0-)

    chinese solar investors are sad about slowdown in sales, grid not keeping up, but happy that China and Japan investments in solar are the biggest..or something.

    It's going to take some not quite a friendly democracy like China to get solar installed on the emergency basis it needs to be installed, with all the grid accessories needed as well.

    Lots of damage will be done in doing it, who really knows how the damage of panic solar will be compared to the all but inevitable climate change Changes to be wrought upon us and out other plant and animal companions that share this wonderland called Earth.

    ..................

    I am reading a book about Eels, called 'Eels.'

    What fantastic, mysterious,  and strange creatures they are. The book has the essential cultural references and history in the native history and culture of the Maoris...typically trampled by the Europeans. Science takes a very backseat to the cultural history if the Eel around the world in human cultures.
        A great book, paralleling the knowledge of so many 'too little, too late' species, and very parallel to the MW salmon vs people problems.
        And yes the Maori's also have their share to answer for as well...but on a tinier scale. Ironically, the imported NZ trout were reintroduced to parts of the NW.

    Like the native peoples here in the northwest they are actively and doggedly doing the hard lifting in species and environmental rehab.

    This machine kills Fascists.

    by KenBee on Thu Feb 27, 2014 at 09:09:02 PM PST

  •  We're on the verge tonight of a huge (13+ / 0-)

    rainfall dump in Southern California which we desperately need, and all the media can talk about is the coming "disastrous" mudslides in the recent burn areas north of L.A.

    And all along they've been in agreement about how "disastrous" the drought is. Snow is coming to our mountains, which we need, and people will be happily skiing in our local resorts, but the "catastrophic" headlines dominate.

    Just one word: shit.

    "The soil under the grass is dreaming of a young forest, and under the pavement the soil is dreaming of grass."--Wendell Berry

    by Wildthumb on Thu Feb 27, 2014 at 09:12:24 PM PST

  •  Stupid Human Tricks on Letterman tonight (5+ / 0-)

    This was my favorite one.

    donald trump hair photo: 17 10814_0_donald-trump-bad-hair-3.jpg

    “I would like to get rid of the homophobes, sexists, and racists in our audience. I know they're out there and it really bothers me.” ― Kurt Cobain

    by Jeff Y on Thu Feb 27, 2014 at 09:14:20 PM PST

  •  Sorry Mr. Reed, (10+ / 0-)

    ...but the Dems surrendered when they succumbed to the fear of being called Reds, Commies, Pinkos instead of standing up for the truth which is sharing the planet together as human beings.

    "The only thing needed for evil to succeed is for good people to do nothing." Hannah Arendt

    by dharmasyd on Thu Feb 27, 2014 at 09:14:30 PM PST

  •  Reed's "left" are merely Democratic partisans. (10+ / 0-)

    Their antics have nothing to do with progressive politics. As everyone knows, both of the main political parties in the US are owned and operated by the 1%.

    Gore Vidal makes this quite clear:

    There is only one party in the United States, the Property Party ... and it has two right wings: Republican and Democrat. Republicans are a bit stupider, more rigid, more doctrinaire in their laissez-faire capitalism than the Democrats, who are cuter, prettier, a bit more corrupt — until recently ... and more willing than the Republicans to make small adjustments when the poor, the black, the anti-imperialists get out of hand. But, essentially, there is no difference between the two parties
    Progressive program is not going to come from either party. It can

    1) be imposed on one of them by mass popular movements, which is now occurring, or

    2) mass popular movements can eventually supersede and ignore the capitalist parties.

    With the rapid growth and snowballing success of mass movements the second case is becoming a possibility, perhaps a probable alternative to the continuing parasitism of the 1% on the US working and middle classes.

    Just this week we have seen two more cases where the capitalists have been forced to retreat:

    1) Obama was forced, thanks to the intransigence of Senator Bernie Sanders to remove the CPI from his budget, thus sparing retirees from being chiseled out of their rightful pensions, at least for the time being.

    2) Less significant, but also emblematic of the wave of progressive victories that will stimulate further victories is the fact the AZ Gov. Brewer has been forced to veto the anti-gay bill passed by the cretins in her legislature.

    More significant than either of these two events for a future in which a mass popular movement legislates and executes for itself is the rapid expansion of "Moral Monday" movements in the South, soon to be seen throughout the country.

    In short, the 1% needs us, but we don't need them. Reed's left is largely irrelevant to this process, which will expand with or without them and probably scare the shit out of them.

    The 99% are watching.

    by unclejohn on Thu Feb 27, 2014 at 09:18:57 PM PST

  •  Labor (11+ / 0-)
    Labor may be weak or in decline, but that means aiding in its rebuilding is the most serious task for the American left. Pretending some other option exists is worse than useless. There are no magical interventions, shortcuts, or technical fixes
    .. and just about everything Reed said everything else too nails it

    except this one progressive Dem (me) does know:

    The left has no particular place it wants to go.
    Labor = those that take a shower after work. That's one of the first directions to take - time to rebuild

     I know that Reed is talking about the whole and not any one individual Dem and he is spot on; the Dems let Labor down; took collective bargaining and what it represented and allowed a vicious "conservative" movement propaganda campaign to turn Labor into "thugs"  and even the "mafia" in many peoples minds.

    I remember my parents arguing over this many years ago. My dad was a republican my mom was not but went along with the GOP thug stories to keep the peace - imo

    To me one of the very best moves we Dems should make a priority would be to rebuild what the GOP has tainted over the years with their tactics -  working folk and that means Labor - undue the damage and make real labor = real people = Labor unions again = good pay and all that comes with it.

    One good thing though is even after all this, the RWNJ corpos still fear unions and collective bargaining as much as they fear anything - that gives me hope

    Thx MB

    Just in case; here is as link to a non-firewall of Adolph Reeds article:
    The Long, Slow Surrender of American Liberals by By Adolph Reed Jr. February 19, 2014

    •  What? We have to talk to po' folk? Xsnark n/t (0+ / 0-)

      ~Arianna_Editrix-- I willingly accept Cassandra’s fate, To speak the truth, altho’ believ’d too late

      by Arianna Editrix on Thu Feb 27, 2014 at 10:22:05 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I'm not sure that that will work in the 21st (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JeffW

      Century.

      One of the reasons for the decline of Labor is the fact that automation has been replacing and will continue to replace blue collar jobs and that white collar jobs are becoming more prominent.

      Therefore, clinging to 20th Century models in the 21st Century probably won't be very effective.

      Unless Labor can find a way to expand and represent more than their classical clientele, ie. become some kind of citizen's unions where people are members, regardless of job status.

      "A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle" - Mohammed Nabbous, R.I.P.

      by Lawrence on Fri Feb 28, 2014 at 03:55:28 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Earlier in Bill Moyers' post... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Jeff Y, Chi, mightymouse

    ... I left this comment.  Mr. Reed was entirely correct in his assessment of Obama.

    On a different subject, but which points out what is wrong with the Democratic party when a Democrat would propose and/or support this idiocy - and worse - that a Democratic president might do what she suggested and issue an executive order that starts this bizarre loan-shark business via the US Postal Service:

    Liz Warren Goes Postal, By Greg Palast, Reader Supported News, 27 February 2014

    Elizabeth Warren must think she looks good in a sharkskin suit. There's no other way to explain her fronting for a cruel, stupid, and frightening plan to turn post offices into loan-sharking bodegas in low income neighborhoods.

    As a card carrying progressive, I'm supposed to drink the water Liz walks on. But right now, she's in over her head.

    The Massachusetts senator wants President Obama to issue an executive order that would put the US Postal Service into the business of "payday lending" - giving out short term loans to the desperate poor against their coming paychecks.

    Her intentions are good. She wants to put private payday lenders out of business. These are the predators, centered in poor neighborhoods, who will lend you money for a few days or weeks until your next paycheck. Here's the catch: you have to sign over your paycheck in advance - and the effective interest runs an average of 391%. No kidding.
    [My emphasis.  More at link.]
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Greg Palast has just released a compilation of his investigative reports for BBC Television and Democracy Now! as a full-length documentary, Vultures and Vote Rustlers. Catch the trailer at http://youtu.be/...

    I'm sick of attempts to steer this nation from principles evolved in The Age of Reason to hallucinations derived from illiterate herdsmen. ~ Crashing Vor

    by NonnyO on Thu Feb 27, 2014 at 09:36:02 PM PST

  •  I know it's not going to happen, (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    high uintas

    but I wish the media would ease up on Michael Sam a little.

    I've been following the NFL Rookie Combine (Go BEARS!) and it looks like Sam is going to have a tough time making a team. He's a tweener (too small for DL, too slow for LB) who is probably going to have to make it as a special teams player.

    The Late Gay NFLer Whose Story Shows Why Michael Sam Matters So Much:

    Roy Simmons died earlier this week of complications related to pneumonia at the age of 57. You may remember him as an offensive lineman for the New York Giants in the early 1980s. More likely, you remember him as the former football player who came out on "Donahue" about a decade later. Or maybe as the former football player who announced that he was HIV-positive about a decade after that.

    After reading a few Simmons obituaries, I picked up a copy of his memoir, Out of Bounds: Coming Out of Sexual Abuse, Addiction and My Life of Lies in the NFL Closet. It's an unrelentingly dark and gritty book. It opens with Simmons nearly throwing himself off the Golden Gate Bridge after loading all of his—and his roommate's—possessions into a van with the intention of swapping them for crack. It ends with an apology to the people he loved, and harmed, over the course of his life.

    Simmons dealt with a lot of problems—a broken home, a childhood rape, a life-long drug addiction—but his biggest struggle was with what he called the "Great Big Lie." It's the life you lead—the only one available—when you can't afford to own your sexual identity.

    http://deadspin.com/...

    “I would like to get rid of the homophobes, sexists, and racists in our audience. I know they're out there and it really bothers me.” ― Kurt Cobain

    by Jeff Y on Thu Feb 27, 2014 at 09:44:40 PM PST

  •  liberals surrendered to limbaugh and wannabes (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Liberal Thinking

    because it hurt their heads to listen to it, and still analyze as if it doesn't exist

    This is a list of 76 universities for Rush Limbaugh that endorse global warming denial, racism, sexism, and GOP lies by broadcasting sports on over 170 Limbaugh radio stations.

    by certainot on Thu Feb 27, 2014 at 09:53:02 PM PST

  •  the left analyzes in a rw radio paradigm (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Eric Nelson, Chi, Liberal Thinking
    If the right sets the terms of debate for the Democrats
    because the left gives 1200 stink tank coordinated radio stations a free speech free ride, the biggest political mistake in history

    This is a list of 76 universities for Rush Limbaugh that endorse global warming denial, racism, sexism, and GOP lies by broadcasting sports on over 170 Limbaugh radio stations.

    by certainot on Thu Feb 27, 2014 at 09:56:02 PM PST

  •  (o/t but site-wise) (8+ / 0-)

     photo BasementCatMetaMeter.jpg

    Just sayin'.

    Be sure you put your feet in the right place; then stand firm. ~ Abraham Lincoln

    by noweasels on Thu Feb 27, 2014 at 09:57:26 PM PST

  •  Where "we" lost our way (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JeffW, Liberal Thinking

    IMHO ok?  We had it made after Watergate, and we got too comfy, too fast, while the economy was going into the crapper.  When we really failed as by bailing on Carter, not impeaching Reagan and electing Bush I.....still with me?  Yeah, St. Ronnie...those of us who saw where the R grassroots was going HINT:>it was the aisle runners in churches> were told we were paranoid and that the "real people" didn't believe that crap.  Right, that it was morning in America, after 5+years of recession and inflation?  They believed, they had to, it was either that or

    ~Arianna_Editrix-- I willingly accept Cassandra’s fate, To speak the truth, altho’ believ’d too late

    by Arianna Editrix on Thu Feb 27, 2014 at 10:31:27 PM PST

  •  what? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Arianna Editrix, duhban, Glenn45
    The left careens from this oppressed group or crisis moment to that one, from one magical or morally pristine constituency or source of political agency

    What?

    Utter fcking bullshit.

    Here, let me fix that sentence for him........

    The right careens from this (perceived) oppressed group or (imagined) crisis moment to that one, from one magical (clap louder and tax cuts will sprout consumer confidence, economic growth and any other part of the 40 yr old Reagan Zombie Lie they can remember that's not written on the palm of their hands) or morally pristine constituency (see Citizen's Link) or source (hello Fox Nooz!) of political agency.
    •  No, sorry. Too many lefties, many of whom post (0+ / 0-)

      here, are all about JUSTIIIIICE! for this oppressed group and that. Nothing wrong with wanting justice, and certainly we shouldn't hold our collective breath waiting for the Right to rectify injustice.

      But damn, I'm tired of the voices whose raison d'etre seems solely to make everything a class-A crisis. We've got to live our lives, and don't need a constant chorus telling us that if we don't spend every cent, and shed heart's blood, to help some downtrodden folks or critters, we're not fit to be called human beings. It must be nice to live in that rarefied sphere, free of human foibles.

      And yes: it does seem that the victim of the week is always completely innocent. No one EVER brings any misfortune upon herself, at least where non-whites and females are concerned. Us white males are complicit in every outrage and deserve only opprobrium. It must be nice to live in that rarefied sphere, free of human foibles.

      I used to sign the petitions from MoveOn, even though I snickered at the idea that a) Chimpco would even see them, and b) that they'd take them seriously. Got tired of being bothered and unsubscribed. I for one can't fight City Hall, so have decided to try to make a difference in quiet ways. But I reserve the right to decide whom I will help and which cause I will support, and would like the professional scolds to go take a powder every once in a while.

  •  HRC would be another surrender (5+ / 0-)

    she's not a progressive.

    She likes cocktails with the bankers way too much.

  •  Is there a way to get to the Progressive Caucus (0+ / 0-)

    people IN DC?  I know they're there and they are not "popular kids".  Raul from AZ, Bernie from VT, and I know there are a few more.  Perhaps if we go at it from bottom (city offices) to top ("our" ppl already there) we might be able to squeeze a life out for our grandkids.

    ~Arianna_Editrix-- I willingly accept Cassandra’s fate, To speak the truth, altho’ believ’d too late

    by Arianna Editrix on Thu Feb 27, 2014 at 10:53:21 PM PST

    •  We had a good start in six states (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bygorry

      at different levels via campaign finance reform until five Suoremes killed it in Citizens. Rather than turn it into a battle cry as did the Republicans with Roe, Beltway Democrats laid down their weapons, surrendered and pronounced to the world they like being the other Republican party. This has effectively neutered the American left which will continue to be underrepresented in the political system and policy discussions until a fix is generated.  

  •  The Reed piece is much too accurate (7+ / 0-)

    The portions that are applicable to the actual Left are painful in their truth.  The rest confirms why the former near-left liberals have vanished as a force, taking with them all hope of real allies and coalitions.  I'll admit to having personally chased some will o' the wisps.  In my defense I will only argue that some are the same as his remedy.  Where does a new labor movement come from if not from the precariat?  We saw how easily a traditional blue-collar labor force was stampeded into rejecting a union, despite the fact their employer, VW, had made its preference for a union shop clear.  

    The pervasiveness of the dominance of capital, its genuine intellectual hegemony and its preferred ideology of "rugged individualism" are too deeply entrenched in today's American society as a whole, and in the existing blue collar work force in particular to allow a renewal of traditional labor.  It can only come from the poorly-paid precariat, the fast-food workers, the warehouse and call center workers, who have never been part of the culture of late-model pickup trucks and snowmobiles in every garage.

    And Reed does buttress my belief that until new social bases are built, with their own independent power and influence, pursuing an electoral agenda will only squander  and carve up what little we have in social resources, of time and energy, money and workers, serving to push ever further back any development in building those necessary bases, indefinitely in the era of the permanent campaign.

    "Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will." ~Frederick Douglass

    by ActivistGuy on Thu Feb 27, 2014 at 11:04:47 PM PST

    •  Just don't take too long, use unfunded mandates! (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mightymouse

      Build bridges and roads and stupid markers by the road.  It worked before and it will at least help some people to get by which will help others.  Because, and seen with my own eyes folks are getting desperate out here in the pre precariat aka the great unemployed.

      ~Arianna_Editrix-- I willingly accept Cassandra’s fate, To speak the truth, altho’ believ’d too late

      by Arianna Editrix on Fri Feb 28, 2014 at 12:54:26 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Harper's is sure worth that $20./year or $35/2 (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    KJG52, Eric Nelson, bygorry, mightymouse

    years. Worth more than I got when I subscribed to the NYTimes @ $24.00/month.

    Thanks for reposting this essay- so well-written and so true. I've been feeling what he is writing for so long. Alas I am so weary of "worshipful exuberance" and the "parties converging on policy."

    To thine ownself be true

    by Agathena on Fri Feb 28, 2014 at 12:28:50 AM PST

  •  Screw Policy! How about listening to people!? nt (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JeffW

    ~Arianna_Editrix-- I willingly accept Cassandra’s fate, To speak the truth, altho’ believ’d too late

    by Arianna Editrix on Fri Feb 28, 2014 at 12:56:00 AM PST

  •  Thank you so much for that non-paywall link to (3+ / 0-)

    the Reed article, MB.  It seems to be generating a lot of reaction and his analysis deserves some serious attention.

    Pessimism of the intellect; optimism of the will. - - Antonio Gramsci

    by lehman scott on Fri Feb 28, 2014 at 01:11:50 AM PST

  •  Reed is Mistaken (4+ / 0-)

    Or he's missing the point entirely.  Politics and Washington DC are entirely broken as a vehicle for change.  More accurately, they have been intentionally broken as a vehicle for change.  Elizabeth Warren would at least take a serious run at changing that were she elected, but Hillary Clinton never will--she is very much part of the problem.  I used to work for Bill Clinton, so I say that with more confidence than the average bear.

    The most significant change I see happening is not coming from DC at all.  Marriage equality, marijuana legalization, alternative energy, technological innovation, those things that are sweeping the country are multipolar and are happening despite DC's best efforts to stamp them out.  The sea change Reed is talking about has occurred, but it is manifesting itself in a different, more ineluctable fashion than in generations past.  And when the Southern white male Baby Boomers pass on to their reward the country will take a quantum leap forward.

  •  theres only one way out (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bygorry, Liberal Thinking

    of that political scientist´s description, and that is "third party". Wherein, it doesnt matter what the "third party" is as much as it matters that it isnt the Democratic party.

    thus, its a surprise to read this offered on this blog, since it cant be meaningfully discussed here.

    otherwise said, this blog itself is prepared so sacrifice a prospect for an actual left on the altar of cohesion with the powers that be. well its just what it is, this is what the people here want; so be it, but their tears about the "weakness of the left" should be taken with great skepticism.

  •  a good example of "truth to power" not (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bygorry, mightymouse, shaharazade

    accomplishing much. we thought our talking truth to power changed the political landscape... it didn't and doesn't. but the stupidity of those in that landscape can push people awake and that's when we need to be ready, not with all the inane list making of each and every stupid thing, but of how to do things better... a good message. not banging me over the head with more and worse news.

    and consider: maybe we're seeing power in the wrong places. perhaps awakening the truth of our own power ~ the simple and strong power of one ~ within each of us is a better effort.

    and if we decide that the billions of us are truly powerful, then let's side step truth as applying to anything universal, if you don't mind. and use other words: empathy, fairness, justice, kindness, no harm... universal truths tends to muck things up.

    “You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.” Buckminster Fuller

    by pfiore8 on Fri Feb 28, 2014 at 02:31:28 AM PST

  •  I've been reading the thread both in the diary and (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Glenn45, JeffW, Liberal Thinking

    here about the article written by professor Adolph Reed, Jr.

    A lot of gnashing of teeth and rending of clothing going on by the good professor and by some of his supporters...

    But the question occurs to me...rather than tearing things down, and writing copious pages of words, why are they not stepping up and actually running for office?

    I get that the professor is dissatisfied with the current Party choices. Sometimes I am too. But if he knows so much and has a better way to do things, why is he sitting on the sidelines teaching about it, instead of stepping up and actually leading the way towards what he and his supporters think is a better way?

    I hear lots of words from this group... I see little action.

    "Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell." ~ Edward Abbey

    by SaraBeth on Fri Feb 28, 2014 at 03:13:35 AM PST

  •  Couldn't agree more with Reed (0+ / 0-)

    I don't think there are NO constituency groups. Emily's List comes to mind as a group with focus. But there are few and they often believe that somehow unified action is un-progressive.

    The Occupy Movement is a case in point. In one sense you might say it changed our entire attitude toward the nation's financial scumbags. But when asked to get active in the last election, they bowed out. Now I would not have expected an endorsement of candidates, but they had a statement of unifying principles--for awhile and for most--and they could have asked candidates publicly to endorse their ideas. No, too focused for a liberal!

  •  surely it occured to the tekkies (0+ / 0-)

    at Find-A-Grave

    to do regular site maintenance

    so they wouldn't keep me waiting

    ALL NIGHT LONG

    to access their site

    for ONE little search ...

    or ...

    did they overdo it

    and have expired ????????????

    TRAILHEAD of accountability for Bush-2 Crimes? -- Addington's Perpwalk.

    by greenbird on Fri Feb 28, 2014 at 04:04:47 AM PST

  •  Are we scattered or forced? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kpbuick, Liberal Thinking

    Are liberals scattered into working on a thousand campaigns & causes at once or do the conservatives open a floodgate of stupidity we have to counter before the rest of hell breaks loose?

    Perhaps it's all of the above!

    Strange but not a stranger.

    by jnww on Fri Feb 28, 2014 at 05:09:29 AM PST

    •  Audre Lorde said it best (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Liberal Thinking

      "the master's tools will never dismantle the master's house"--and according to Lorde, the master's tool is distraction. We remain scattered / distracted by our need to respond and it has proved the downfall of some of your best talking heads--this knee jerk need to respond in kind. Martin Bashir is the most recent example.

      •  Which Tool Do You Use? (0+ / 0-)

        The political process is still our best hope of change. We just need to be effective at using it. The right did this by effectively putting together a vast, right-wing conspiracy. We need to have the same kind of core strategy and disciplined execution.

        I don't see why that can't originate here on Daily Kos. We can put together the right strategy and field the right groups. This is a powerhouse, and we should treat it that way.

        •  I teach and I teach my students (0+ / 0-)

          to recognize distractions. That is the best way to turn them into "deconstructing machines." And after over a dozen years teaching at the university level, I have seen my students prosper.

          And I am with you on what we can accomplish here at DKos.

  •  Adolph Reed piece is fantastic - thanks (0+ / 0-)

    An ambulance can only go so fast - Neil Young

    by mightymouse on Fri Feb 28, 2014 at 05:47:48 AM PST

  •  Don't Buy the Right-Wing Rhetoric (0+ / 0-)

    Adolph Reed is correct that many Democratic politicians try to win elections "by absorbing much of the right’s social vision and agenda". Certainly, that was the major problem with Bill Clinton's campaign and tenure.

    But it's the right that's guilty of an incoherent and convenient ideology. As I have pointed out in my profile (for the last ten years):

    Putting Liberal back in the Democratic Party. Let's halt our slide into darkness. "Liberal" is not a dirty word. It means the things that make life more than duty, drudgery and death. Be proud to be a liberal and "Think, Liberally".
    "Duty, drudgery and death" are our opponents's position.

    And there is a clear difference between "progress" and "liberal".

    A progressive is someone who wants to make progress. Progress in politics means policies that promote a better society. Better means, in practical terms, fairer, sustainable and more consistent.

    A liberal is someone who values personal liberty and defends the individual against the powerful. Traditionally, that liberty was threatened by the aristocracy, and liberals sought to limit government power. This is still the meaning of "libertarian" (which needed a name change when liberal got a broader meaning). But, threats to your liberty don't just come from government. They come from inherited wealth, unbridled corporate power, entrenched religions, runaway "traditions", and other factors that take away your freedom of action.

    It happens that progress, then, often means taking liberal positions, because (frankly) liberal positions are simply better than conservative ones.

    The left most definitely has someplace to go. We are the ones making progress (when we succeed). If we seem reactionary to the right, that's only because they've taken the initiative. What "the left" needs is much greater initiative. The left needs to be on the attack.

    That's why I put forward the 5X plan, for example. The 5X plan sets a target for cutting military spending that everyone can understand and identify with. It is proactive. It is an initiative.

    That's why I put forward that Congress should fully fund abortions. Funding abortion is good public policy. It solves a number of problems, including fiscal problems and balance-of-power problems that are hurting women in this country. It puts the Hyde Amendment back on the table for debate. It makes the right defend territory they think they've already taken.

    That's why I proposed an international minimum wage. It attacks a core problem keeping wages depressed and throwing people out of their jobs. It is not defensive. It isn't about defending the minimum wage we've got; it's about expanding the minimum wage to cover all workers, worldwide.

    So, that's how we go on the initiative. There isn't a problem with our ideology. There's a problem with our thinking and our execution. We need to radically revise our thinking and go on the offensive.

  •  I think that the Left is actually pretty coherent, (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Liberal Thinking

    and with the Occupy movement you could see a lot of clear positions articulated by a whole swath of real progressives. What's not mentioned in the Harpers' opinion piece is that the Left's position is drowned out in a cacaphony of Right Wing Noise which, unfortunately, many Democrats (I'm looking at you, Rahm Emmanuel!) chime in on- precisely because the Left is nonestablishment.

    If you're bombarded day and night, 365 days a year, by intense enemy fire, you're going to have a hard time pulling together. What's the writer's real, detailed program for dealing with that issue??

  •  Thanks for posting this (0+ / 0-)

    Reed's criticisms are cogent, precise and right on the money.

    Wish I could have said it as well.

    Nothing human is alien to me.

    by WB Reeves on Fri Feb 28, 2014 at 02:39:31 PM PST

  •  So "Freedom is just another word for nothing (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Liberal Thinking

    left to lose, and nothin, it ain't nothing if it ain't free."

     Finally, admitting our absolute impotence can be politically liberating;

    That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

    by enhydra lutris on Fri Feb 28, 2014 at 03:00:00 PM PST

  •  Reed's Premise Is Questionable (0+ / 0-)

    I think he's mistaken the right wing's caricature of the left for what we have over here on the left.

    For one thing, "liberal" and "progressive" are not fuzzy terms. They mean very specific things, as I pointed out here.

    Second, we have a specific vision of the future that is coherent both practically and ideologically.

    The hold-up is finding a practical lever of power to implement liberal policy. The Democrats essentially went over to the dark side when Bill Clinton ran for President. It will take a new vehicle to move the wagon in the other direction.

    Blogs should not be discounted in that change. This is a very effective means of establishing consensus and directing policy. Even those in power who run up against the netroots sometimes back down. Losing your core constituency is just too good a road to retirement. Those in office buck a hue and outcry here at their peril.

    Reed might want to take a much closer look at what goes on here on the social Internet before rendering a post mortem on the left.

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