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Tue May 10, 2016, 12:56 PM

Maybe Progressives Should Go On Strike

I am not a member of any organized political party. I am a Democrat.

- Will Rogers


The Democratic Party used to be a Big Tent, and party leaders used to develop compromises to keep people inside the tent. There used to be plenty of room for dissenting opinion and horse-trading. The leadership used to be impartial during primary races. That is why I used to be a first-class member of that party. The party used to be an active promoter and supporter of organized labor.

These days, the Democratic Party is run like a business. Hillary is the CEO. Debbie Wasserman Shultz is the COO. Wall St. is the CFO. And the rest of us are supposed to do what we are told, like workers without a union or a minimum wage law. Case in point, Democrat Obama never set foot in Wisconsin to stop the smashing of the unions there. We workers/voters are supposed to have no alternative and to like it. In these circumstances, I am not a valued party member anymore. I am just a greasy mudsill. That realization has caused me to write this diary in language that union members, and most working Americans, will intuitively understand.

Slave Wages

The Progressive workers (aka the activist base) keep asking what they are getting in return for their work for the party, e.g., organizing, contributing, voting. (Bernie Sanders is behaving like a polite shop steward, taking grievances to management within the established labor-management framework.) The embarrassing and unspoken answer is that the party "pays" them (to use a metaphor that good neoliberals will understand) chump change. Obama and the Clinton's give pretty speeches to the Rotary Club, much as Robber Baron factory owners did. Then they turn around and enrich the C-level (i.e., themselves) via ever more neoliberal and neocon policies. They campaign to the left and govern to the right.

The Clintons inserted neoliberalism into the Democratic Party. Neoliberal policies (especially corporate coup d'etat "trade" deals) are explicitly anti-union, anti-regulation, and anti-worker. Some are even anti-social because, according to Margaret Thatcher, "there is no such thing as society". To neoliberals, workers are not an equal partner or a stakeholder. Workers are a cost to be minimized by outsourcing or underpaid immigrant insourcing.

Hillary Clinton has both been endorsed by neocons and appointed them to key positions in the State Department. Neocon policies pour our resources and our lives down the drain to generate a revenue stream for the MIC - the conglomerate which is the owner of both political parties. They endanger our country by inflaming and inviting blowback from our "good guy" terrorists.

Again with the B-school speak: what is the bottom line here? Well, when your self-proclaimed union boss admits taking tens of millions dollars in speaking fees from management, when you are denied honest bargaining and paid crap wages, and when your work is used to pay for Pinkertons to suppress you, it is only natural to think about striking. It's the only recourse you have left. Of course, party leaders know that and have preemptively deployed the classic strikebreaking tactics: the lockout and scabs.

The Lockout

A lockout is when a business closes its doors to its own workers in order to either drive unemployed workers into penury or in order to bring in scabs. The DNC closed the doors the minute they realized that the Sanders candidacy was not a joke, and could not be ignored or ridiculed away. Since that realization, the DNC has actively obstructed Sanders access to decent debate schedules; blocked Sanders access to voter rolls over a manufactured "violation"; refused to reconsider an early primary calendar that favored one candidate; actively ignored massive and repeated voting irregularities; and, in a blatant instance of partisanship and potential illegality, is running a slush fund for Hillary (the Hillary Victory Fund) to circumvent campaign finance rules. The DNC and their media shills (like the odious David Brock) have been demanding that Sanders quit months before the delegates have been selected.

The fact that Sanders brings Independents into the party is not looked upon as a feature. To management, more informed, motivated workers mean nothing but trouble. Better to lock them out. Hence the insistence on maintaining registered-voter -only primaries with gotcha registration rules and computerized voter suppression via last minute registration changes.

The lockout's latest move is to blatantly and unapologetically pack the convention committees with pro-DNC appointees, completely ignoring the fact that literally half the delegates will be voting against the DNC candidate. Here's a news flash: the DNC should not have a candidate. They are supposed to be neutral until the convention has decided the party's direction.

Scabs

As has been demonstrated for months, Sanders is not penurious. He out-raised Hillary for several months running. He has all the money and workers he needs to run his campaign and get his message out via non-corporate media outlets on the internet. So, the lockout has failed, even though it continues. In response, management has now decided to call in the scabs.

People said that Hillary should reach out to the Sanders voters to try to get them on board. Instead, she has reached out to REPUBLICANS. She wants more money from Wall St REPUBLICANS to support her neoliberal and neoconservative policies. She wants these conservative-to-reactionary scabs to replace the progressives in the Democratic Party. That way, she will be able to drum the progressives out of the party IF she wins the GE.

Quite clearly Clinton has told the progressives to drop dead. She thinks she doesn't need us because she has GOP scabs to vote for her.

The Strike

In response to these latest behaviors from the DNC camp - confirming everyone's previous suspicions - Progressives, out of sheer disgust, edge ever closer to sitting out the election, much as exploited prison laborers have gone on strike:

Alabama Inmates on Strike, Say They Will "No Longer Contribute to Our Own Oppression"
"We will no longer contribute to our own oppression," Kinetik told Solitary Watch. "We will no longer continue to work for free and be treated like this." People incarcerated at the prisons are paid $0.17 to $0.30 an hour to perform a variety of functions.

http://www.democraticunderground.com/10027816274


The first indication of the strike has been the "Bernie or Bust" campaign. Nuf said.

The next indication has been the active promotion of Hillary's vulnerabilities by Democrats - the constant posting of the fishy to outright illegal behavior of Hillary as SoS. That started with the illegal, easily hackable private server and the emails that vanished from it. Now it has extended into the pattern of pay-to-play contributions to the Clinton Foundation immediately preceding an action by Hillary as SoS.

Why the hell should Progressives run interference for the Clintons on these shady deals? It is just more triangulation: Clinton does something to get the GOP mad at her/him, the GOP goes with their typical behavior: ham-handed overkill, and then the Clintons run screaming to the Democrats to save their ass. We have all seen this bullshit act before. The enemy of my enemy is not necessarily my friend. But, since we have never seemed to learn that in the Middle East no matter how many countries we burn to the ground, I am not sanguine on the chances of people seeing through the Clintonian fog machine.

The Pitfalls

The problem with the strike is that while it may succeed in bankrupting Clinton, Inc., it could merely cause those assets to be bought at bargain basement prices by Trump, Inc. Meet the new boss, same as the old boss. If lame duck Obama doesn't do it after the election, either one of these corporate entities will sign off on on the TPP, TTIP, or other democracy-killing "treaties" that basically let corporations veto laws, even laws that are on the books. Then, workers truly will become disposable commodities and striking will be treated like in the Gulag - with forced labor, exile, and executions.

The Progressives are in a horrible spot. Neither Trump nor Clinton is acceptable to them***, but there is no viable third party alternative. Going on strike in the General Election guarantees either Clinton or Trump. I am all for building a progressive party. However, that is like saying the anti-aircraft missiles will be ready in two weeks, but the bomber with the H-bomb will be over the target in two hours.

We need, right now, a coalition of people who oppose corporate rule, the complete militarization of our society, and the ongoing looting by an un-prosecuted gang of Wall St. crooks. It would seem that is still, just barely, a majority in this country. The problem is finding a candidate that both extreme liberals and extreme conservatives can both hold their nose and vote for. The strike needs a leader that is solidly supported, or it will be smashed.

So far, all I've got is Jimmy Carter. He's been president. He is very Christian, in the best sense. He is too old to be ambitious. He is already on record that America is an oligarchy.

Your suggestions to the union organizing committee are welcome.


*** or to a lot of sane people, not necessarily only in the Democratic Party:

We can’t vote for either one: On world stage, Clinton and Trump present different, but serious, dangers

//www.salon.com/2016/05/08/we_cant_vote_for_either_one_on_world_stage_clinton_and_trump_present_different_but_serious_dangers/


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Response to arendt (Original post)

Tue May 10, 2016, 01:01 PM

1. You realize that you get to SELECT the "Union Boss" in this tortured analogy?

You get to join the Party and get involved in Party affairs, leading to the election of Party Leadership (e.g. the DNC) and Party Candidates (e.g. the Presidential nominee)?

Bottom line, if you want to change how the Party functions, you can join the Party and do the hard work to change things, or you can stay outside of the Party and whine. I think I know where your proposal goes...

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Response to brooklynite (Reply #1)

Tue May 10, 2016, 01:17 PM

2. not if the system is rigged

 

the party fights against that "selection" with every weapon in its arsena.

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Response to brooklynite (Reply #1)

Tue May 10, 2016, 01:21 PM

3. that's too much work - whining is much easier

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Response to brooklynite (Reply #1)

Wed May 11, 2016, 06:49 AM

18. I joined the party!

 

I've been told to leave many times, and my loyalty has been called into question again and again because I'm too new. I've been told I'm wasting my time and money. I've been told I'm bad at math. I've been told I am too sympathetic to Trump voters/Republicans/others. I get called stupid for not "getting it" many times. I've actually received as much welcome as walking into the wrong showers. And I'm not alone.

It seems as if the party is a bit short-sighted and the presumptive candidate for president is only amplifying those problems with her campaign.

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Response to arendt (Original post)

Tue May 10, 2016, 01:22 PM

4. That is the Change. Leadership now answers to a higher power than mere voters.

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Response to arendt (Original post)

Tue May 10, 2016, 01:32 PM

5. To those on my ignore list: I already dealt with the lie that the DNC is playing fair.

A lockout is when a business closes its doors to its own workers in order to either drive unemployed workers into penury or in order to bring in scabs. The DNC closed the doors the minute they realized that the Sanders candidacy was not a joke, and could not be ignored or ridiculed away. Since that realization, the DNC has actively obstructed Sanders access to decent debate schedules; blocked Sanders access to voter rolls over a manufactured "violation"; refused to reconsider an early primary calendar that favored one candidate; actively ignored massive and repeated voting irregularities; and, in a blatant instance of partisanship and potential illegality, is running a slush fund for Hillary (the Hillary Victory Fund) to circumvent campaign finance rules. The DNC and their media shills (like the odious David Brock) have been demanding that Sanders quit months before the delegates have been selected.

The lockout's latest move is to blatantly and unapologetically pack the convention committees with pro-DNC appointees, completely ignoring the fact that literally half the delegates will be voting against the DNC candidate. Here's a news flash: the DNC should not have a candidate. They are supposed to be neutral until the convention has decided the party's direction.


This is the kind of "election" they used to have in Greece, right before the generals took over.

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Response to arendt (Original post)

Tue May 10, 2016, 01:57 PM

6. When the game has been rigged

we have to change the game.


“Civil disobedience is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience. Our problem is that people all over the world have obeyed the dictates of leaders…and millions have been killed because of this obedience…Our problem is that people are obedient all over the world in the face of poverty and starvation and stupidity, and war, and cruelty. Our problem is that people are obedient while the jails are full of petty thieves… (and) the grand thieves are running the country. That’s our problem.”


― Howard Zinn

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Response to arendt (Original post)

Tue May 10, 2016, 02:06 PM

7. They should because the party has been purposefully replacing working class voters with RW Scabs.

Our party has been going through a right wing realignment And has successfully been doing so since the founding of the DLC

The entire goal of the neoliberal, "new" Democrat movement, under Al From and the Clintons (and all the other "new Democrats" AKA "Third Way" Democrats) has been since at least the 80's, to court and bring into the fold moderate Republicans, replacing the working class voters with them.

They refer to the RW takeover of the party as an "intellectual leveraged buyout" And history shows they DID take over the party.

More-An entire OPs worth

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Response to arendt (Original post)

Tue May 10, 2016, 11:29 PM

8. the party's run like a sweatshop

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Response to arendt (Original post)

Tue May 10, 2016, 11:40 PM

9. She is weak dishwater

 

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Response to arendt (Original post)

Tue May 10, 2016, 11:44 PM

10. Aaaaaand Kick! (nt)

 

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Response to arendt (Original post)

Tue May 10, 2016, 11:55 PM

11. So does that mean a work stoppage on posting RW talking points on liberal message boards?

Because if so I'd be very happy with that...

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Response to Recursion (Reply #11)

Wed May 11, 2016, 01:59 AM

12. Recursion—I don’t know. I can’t—and won’t—speak for Hillary’s voters.

 

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Response to CobaltBlue (Reply #12)


Response to Recursion (Reply #11)

Wed May 11, 2016, 06:33 AM

14. :)

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Response to Lucinda (Reply #14)

Wed May 11, 2016, 06:37 AM

16. Glad somebody caught that :)

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Response to arendt (Original post)

Wed May 11, 2016, 06:35 AM

15. I'm progressive. My candidate is winning. You, and this article, do not speak

for the majority if us. Which is why my candidate is winning!

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Response to arendt (Original post)

Wed May 11, 2016, 06:41 AM

17. When a Progressive goes on strike, he/she registers as an Independent.

 

In other words, as John Travolta said to Samuel Jackson in Pulp Fiction: "A bum. You've decided to be a bum."
[hr][font color="blue"][center]"Everybody is just on their feet screaming 'Kill Kill Kill'! This is [strike]-hockey-[/strike] Conservative values!"[/center][/font][hr]

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