November 11, 2012
Numerous progressive authors and spokespersons have continually voiced their opinions about our “broken” and dysfunctional political system. And a few brave souls like Jill Stein (Green Party) and Rocky Anderson (Justice Party) recently entered the fray and stuck their necks out to provide alternatives to our two party political system to represent elements of the progressive forces. Prior to this, Ralph Nader had been a hero to many of us with his challenges to the corporate duopoly. Yet, as I tried to describe in my recent blog, “Clear and Present Danger”: ) the two party duopoly system–Democrat and Republican–has maintained total control and places the nation in imminent danger. Jill Dalton also describes the corrupt electoral voting system very well in her recent blog entitled “Does Voting Really Matter?” Ironically, our national antitrust laws are intended to prevent monopolies or duopolies in the corporate sector but our government does not demand it of themselves.
These two sectors—corporate and government- – have been merged in the U.S. That is the very definition of Corporatism (corporate fascism) which was first defined by Benito Mussolini in Italy in the early 1900’s as his preferred form of government. And perhaps some of you know how that worked out for him as Adolph Hitler in Germany “perfected” it a bit later. It is basically an extreme state of unregulated or unfettered capitalism. It worked for them until they brought their countries to total ruin and were finally brought to justice by a hanging or a bullet. FDR had recognized the dangers of fascism and even though he was actually threatened by a corporate coup and assassination in the 1930’s, he spoke out against this force in a significant speech in 1936 when he was running for reelection. We have almost no examples of courage like that in our national figures today. In fact, if JFK were to rewrite his book, “Profiles in Courage”, he might find one or two examples and they would be “independents” or no longer in office. He could have found numerous entries to make in a book called “Profiles in Cowardice”.
Well, the U.S. is traveling down that same path of the 1930’s with incredible speed right now. The two political parties here have now been totally taken over by corporate forces including especially Wall Street. Despite the fact that the Big Banks recklessness led to a financial crash and great recession in 2008, they currently have assets totaling nearly 60% of our GDP and are larger than before the recession. The Supreme Court gave their blessing to corporate fascism when it made the absurd ruling to grant “personhood” to corporations, gave them unlimited power to invest in elections and equated free speech to unlimited campaign donations in their Citizen’s United decision of 2010.
Our citizens and our society are being reduced to one of servitude to the wealthy class and corporations both of which have had their taxes steadily reduced for decades. The income/wealth distribution is now worse than it was in 1929 just before the Great Depression, and it is continuing to get much worse under Obama. Less than 2% of the population holds nearly 40% of the wealth. The combined assets of six people in the Walmart family are nearly 100 billion dollars of wealth. The 400 billionaires in this country hold more wealth than about 150 million people. And neither the Democrat or Republican party will even discuss this issue and acts as if it doesn’t even exist. In fact all we hear is how the taxes on the wealthy need to either be reduced and, at best, maybe increased “a little more”. Democrats boast about the payroll tax cut for the “Middle Class” but all they’ve done is reduce payments into the Social Security System making it more vulnerable for cuts in the future. We are headed for a violent revolution in the near future, possibly when the next financial crash occurs and that may be soon. The rush by both parties to implement an austerity program is pure unadulterated insanity and only a way for both parties to protect the wealthiest among us. Obama is a demagogue and has demonstrated that repeatedly with the blessing of the Democratic Party.
Our two party duopoly has made it impossible for an average citizen to run for Congress. Nearly half of Congressional members are millionaires. It has been estimated that at least 6 billion dollars were spent in campaigns for this last election. The two presidential candidates spent over one billion dollars each not counting the funds spent by Superpacs and private corporations. Thus candidates are bought and paid for when they enter office and are assured reelection if they serve their masters. Incumbents are only endangered for reelection if they try to take an independent position and not serve their masters.
The only “peaceful” solution short of a complete violent revolution (which Thomas Jefferson and the Founders might have suggested) is a serious challenge by one or more Third Parties. If Progressives want to be represented then “we” must form a Progressive Party NOW! Obama has shown clearly he’s not one of us by his actions in his first term. I am personally not tolerating more B.S. from a demagogic , silver tongued president who continually promises one thing and does another, claiming all the while “the devil made him do it”. For those who have continued to buy his snake oil and want to block this effort, I suggest they “lead, follow, or get the hell out of the way”. Here are some basic steps which progressive must take:
1. Combine the interests of various movements with a coalition of members and assemble a “platform” which represents the basic values and principles from which policy statements can be drafted.
2. Circulate a pledge for progressives and those willing to join us to cease and desist giving ANY assistance to the Democrat and Republican Parties in word, deed, or funds. If some bastard like Grover Norquist can get Congress to sign a “no tax increase” pledge, then certainly we can get people to sign a no more support for the two party duopoly!
3. Commit to ongoing involvement in civic affairs and supporting important issues by word and on foot.
4. Commit to a unified independent Progressive Party effort. Beware of groups trying to sabotage or co-opt these efforts.
As example of that pledge of Declaration of Independence from the Two Party Corporatist System is presented in this blog which I have prepared. It may require some amendments but it needs to be kept simple and then possibly distributed in a petition format.
The next step should be to assemble a small “steering” committee of about a dozen people from around the country and meet “virtually” using internet technology to discuss details of the formation and implementation. This group should be able to work unencumbered and basically privately but reporting progress and results periodically when a consensus on details has been reached. Significant assistance should be sought from the experience of Jill Stein (Green Party) and Rocky Anderson (Justice Party) as well as from Ralph Nader’s previous efforts to run for the presidency.
We know from many polling sources that Congressional approval ratings are at all time lows and have been as low as 10%. We know from numerous polls that Congress ignores the wishes of large majorities of people in legislating and representing the population. I am certain that there are millions of citizens who will be drawn to this new Party if the Steering Committee does a competent and credible job. Some ideas as to who should serve on that Committee are listed in this recent blog I posted. They must be a group of trusted individuals whose primary motivation is to serve this cause, not themselves or their organizations.
An organization which has been working to coordinate the progressive groups which has membership and participation from throughout the nation but little recognition appears to be the Independent Progressive Politics Network (IPPN). They have also been actively involved in the Move to Amend campaign to address the Supreme Court’s atrocious ruling in Citizen’s United. This organization definitely deserves more attention!
Ralph Nader who has been consistently ignored or dismissed from the corporate media and blamed for his independent approaches needs to be considered a leader in this effort. I still hear stupid Democrats who profess to be “liberals” and don’t have a clue as to what really happened in Florida in the election of 2000 talking about this and blaming him for Bush’s election. It is disgusting what ignorance they project. They are as bad as Tea Party ignoramuses who were co-opted by the corporatists in 2010.
What I am suggesting is that we get started NOW and that some national leaders with some reputation step forward and help lead this effort rather than just continue to talk about it and wringing our hands. Some names that come to mind are Ralph Nader, Chris Hedges, Tom Hartman, Glen Greenwald, Amy Goodman, Naomi Klein, Rob Kall, Glen Ford, Jill Stein, Rocky Anderson, Dennis Kucinich, Russ Feingold, Alan Grayson, etc. and others that I named in my blog listed above.
One final comment here: My “dream” of a possible solution to this dilemma is that we have a mass protest in Washington with “only” one percent of Americans or 3 million people. Wouldn’t it be ironic to see one percent of the population actually represent the other 99% by “voting” with their feet? We would protest this totally incompetent, insensitive and non compassionate behavior toward the citizenry. It would scare the hell out of those in Washington in all branches of government. There are two objections to this idea of a political “party” which I see coming immediately. The first is the customary one that “we don’t need no new political party and besides the timing is wrong”. That implies that this can be done through the corporatist Democratic Party which has proven to be a lie and insane. The second is that we don’t need a “Party” we need a movement. But the movement must unite these disparate forces of progressive values and principles which will give us strength in numbers. Otherwise the corporatists, in working through both primary parties, will succeed in dividing and conquering. That is the purpose of this blog to convince the various groups to unite. It is time to seriously debate this issue NOW and not four years from now. But I also admit this is like herding cats!
It’s time to say “Let’s Roll!” I will continue to do what I can from Biloxi, MS and urge others to do likewise.
About the author; Thomas Baldwin, Ph.D. has a doctorate in Physics and a Masters degree in Management. He has had long careers in both physics and management consulting including university appointments as a professor both at the Southern Illinois University and Colorado Technical University. He has been a corporate consultant to many well known large firms in project management and is current “officially” retired. In the last four years or more he has been focusing on applying his skills to better understand the political sector including socioeconomic conditions which are affecting our welfare and basic economic health. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org