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Time to reach out to the liberals

It's time to speak softly, but insistently, to people who put their misplaced hopes and energies into the Kerry campaign. Help them take the red pill, wake up, re-energize and refocus themselves with a more coherent strategy and vision.
So, I'm working on my wooly-headed liberal university professor cousin. He of the "Kerry/Edwards" bumper-sticker sporting, door-to-door campaigning, Democrat-believing ilk. I think I'm making progress.

I wrote him a gentle yet insistent missive, maintaining that Kerry should have fought til the last votes were counted. He didn't disagree.

Progress. Maybe...

Unfortunately, though, there are still a lot of people willing to cut the Democrats slack, willing to declare Kerry a good candidate who just couldn't defeat the supposedly all-powerful Christian fundies, etc. That seems to be the favorite rationalization lately for the Democrats' ignominious downfall. Anything but that they were incompetent, cowardly careerists. Anything to hide the truth and keep the deluded faithful in line, lest they actually start getting uppity and thinking independently.

I think it's our duty as radicals (as those who read indymedia tend to be) to speak to these people, who are rather vulnerable right now, feeling quite pissed off and powerless, and give them something to get energized and positive about. Bitter recriminations and accusations are out of place. That will only make them still more defensive about Kerry and the Democrats.

Instead, it's time to make the point to them that Kerry's strategy has simply not worked, and is illogical on grounds of both practicality and principle. Here's how:

As a practical matter, if your real political goal is something other than advancing your own personal career, you don't concede while CNN is still reporting 6 million votes left uncounted! You don't concede while there are numerous credible reports of major irregularities and probable fraud. Nevermind what the rightwing corporate media are saying. Nevermind whether the same Supreme Court that shot Gore down will shoot you down too.

If your plans are to fight for your constituents, you start doing it from the beginning. That sets the whole tone for the future. If your plans are to capitulate and sink into the corrupt cesspool of "buy-partisanship," then there's no better way than to give up without a fight from the very beginning. What better predictor could there be for the Democrats' future behavior?

As a matter of principle, those uncounted votes were not Kerry's to throw away or give to his opponents. Those votes were the expression of the sovereign democratic rights of millions of Americans. All those people at the grassroots who gave of their time, money, and energy should have had some say as to whether those famous "armies of lawyers" got mobilized. Instead, without the slightest accountability to their constituents, Kerry and Edwards called the whole thing off. Indefensible.

If anything positive could come out of this debacle, it might be the final disillusionment of too many gullible, well-meaning liberals. Now we have a chance to redirect these energies into channels where they could have an effect. (For example: "A bold new civil liberties strategy for Portland,"  http://portland.indymedia.org/en/2004/11/302927.shtml).
Lots of luck with the liberals 10.Nov.2004 10:58

Lynn Porter lp@lynnporter.net

I've given up on them. They seem to have a death grip on the Democratic party and just will not let go. I think it's a security thing. They're going down the drain hanging on for dear life.

I think we need to build our own constituency from those who are being hurt the most by the status quo, have the least invested in it, and vote in low numbers -- the poor. Estimated by Nader at one-third of American workers, those who make less than a "living wage" of $10 per hour. If we could mobilize them with a simple concrete platform that speaks directly to their needs, we could use that large minority to push the Democrats left.

We need to be organizers.

I'm proposing that we form a "Living Wage Party." More later.

7 Point Plan to End Poverty in the United States 10.Nov.2004 11:12

Nader campaign

 http://www.votenader.org/issues/index.php?cid=10

As the wealthiest country in the world, with high productivity per capita, a country that produces an abundance of capital, credit, technology and food, we can end poverty. Yet, according to the Bureau of the Census poverty and hunger for children and adults is increasing rather than decreasing - 34.6 million Americans lived in deep poverty, 12.1% of the U.S. population. Many millions of Americans live in what is called "near poverty" by the Labor Department. We must make ending poverty a priority and weave that goal into a network of policies:

Truly Progressive Taxation
An End to huge Corporate Subsidies and Military Budget Waste
Job Creation
Equal Pay for Women
Child-Care
Living Wages for All Workers
Restore the critical Social Safety Net


"we could use that large minority" 10.Nov.2004 15:32

.

you are talking
exactly like the Bush gang
exactly like the liberals controlling the democratic party
exactly like any owner
exactly like the oppressor

?? 10.Nov.2004 17:36

--

I'm having a little trouble following the argument that Kerry's concession was motivated by concerns about his future political career. He's already been in the Senate for decades. Nobody loses a Presidential election for a major party and gets nominated again. His next step is retirement. He's never been broke in his life, and he's richer now than almost anybody in the world. What hidden personal agenda is supposed to supersede winning this election?

"hidden agenda"?? 10.Nov.2004 22:34

ne12

I would have thought it would be obvious: The "hidden agenda" is to avoid having his name dragged through the mud in the rightwing media. How many political bigwigs have the balls to subject themselves to that? Teddy Kennedy has been a lightning rod for years -- look how he gets treated by the ultraright. They hate his guts and will seemingly stop at nothing to vilify him. But not only would the ultraright vilify him, but his own party godfathers would crucify him for it too. Do you really think they want Kerry pointing out to restive minorities in the decaying wreckage of America's inner cities that they've been f*cked over by fixed neo-Jim Crow elections? Ever heard of the LA riots? Those got sparked by a single police beating caught on video. I can assure you the ruling class Brahmins of this country, Democrat or Republican, have no interest in doing anything that has the potential to fuel the fires of that powderkeg.

Another one, also pretty obvious 10.Nov.2004 22:40

ne12

Oh, and here's another reason, also pretty obvious I would think: He knows HE CAN'T WIN! The margin this time is even wider than it was with Gore in 2000, and look how it went for him. So why waste the time, energy, and most of all, money, since it won't do anything to advance his own political career (unless of course he actually really were motivated by something OTHER than his own political career).

Also, as an aside, it would be interesting to know exactly what becomes of the multimillion dollar warchest that Kerry supposedly had in reserve for launching that famous "army of lawyers" in just such an eventuality. Not necessary, because all the foregoing reasons should be enough, but interesting in any case.