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Mon Jul 23, 2018, 07:06 PM

A Radical Democratic Center? [View all]

Yes, you read that right. The main thrust of Democrats for the last century has been pro-change, pro-human rights, pro-environment.

And weirdly, BOTH the "progressives" and the "establishment" have a considerable venn diagram overlap. Call it the radical center. And it's what has always moved Democrats to vote.

I lead discussions on DU over the weekend and learned a lot about people's feelings regarding certain buzz words. The following reflects my findings and proposes a language, and a model of good government, which might further unite and propel the Democratic Party.

A New Vision for a Civil Economy

I recommend that we abandon the "socialism vs capitalism" rhetoric. Let us call instead for a CIVIL INFRASTRUCTURE for a CIVIL ECONOMY. A civil infrastructure of public roads, public education, net neutrality, bank regulation, healthcare, police reform and renewed voting rights, etc., would essentially feed a civil economy of small, innovative businesses. A civil infrastructure regulates big business for the purpose of creating a fair playing field for small business and individuals. Trust busting and support for unions, as occurred after the Great Depression, would be essential.

We should stop letting Republicans frame the national discourse as "WELFARE/SOCIALISM" vs "CAPITALISM." We should immediately state "that's just dumb" and point out that governing in a high tech society requires the building of a strong, efficient CIVIL INFRASTRUCTURE as a foundation upon which to grow the economy at every level. One supports the other like a lattice supports cell cultures. With a healthy, educated populace and fair rules and regulations, everyone gets to participate, not just the overpaid tiers of society.

What I'm proposing is a nested model of society, or a circle inside a circle:

AT THE CENTER: a democratically determined infrastructure of both hard and soft systems.

AROUND THE CENTER: continuously emerging economic activity of the people, by the people.

This is, from a theoretical standpoint, Wired Magazine meets The Nation. Biology meets economics. EO Wilson meets John Maynard Keynes.

All of the traditional Democratic priorities going back to the New Deal, from raising the minimum wage to supporting unions and public education, fosters a robust civil economy.

In other words, Democrats must not be trapped into defending welfare AGAINST capitalism. We should reframe the debate. Welfare and all the other regulations, public services and environmental protections are there to support a healthy CIVIL ECONOMY. And the proof is in the pudding: Democratic policies have usually been great for the economy. Republicans, in their deep, paranoid stupidity, foster recessions. Its an historic cycle we have rarely pointed out and exploited for votes.

In the 1990s I saw Bill Clinton give a speech about the Democratic/Republican cycle of boom and bust. It was a revelation to me. The point is rarely made unfortunately, and it's largely because most Democrats don't realize how their own good policies (with notable exceptions) function to grow the economy for all, not just the 1%.

I would love to hear thoughtful feedback on this vision and this model, which replaces socialism VERSUS capitalism with civil infrastructure FOR a civil economy.

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Reply A Radical Democratic Center? [View all]
DemocracyMouse Jul 2018 OP
elleng Jul 2018 #1
DemocracyMouse Jul 2018 #2
elleng Jul 2018 #3
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elleng Jul 2018 #5
DemocracyMouse Jul 2018 #6