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In Navel-Gaze or Thumb-Suck?

April 03, 2005

Ted Glick in Plain English

Trying to read and understand the writing of left-liberals is hard, onerous work. They are, by nature, slippery creatures who gravitate toward the most ambiguous and mushy formulations. They communicate as if through a thin but just-visible gauze, like a Barbara Walters interview. Fortunately, we at ReverseVoteSwap.org are experts. As a service to our readers, we would like to present the following translation into Plain English of liberal misleader Ted Glick's latest meditation. The original appears in italics, our translation in plain text.

Some Thoughts on Where We Are
Stop Criticizing Me and My Friends Just Because We Were Totally Wrong

The progressive movement, broadly defined, from socialists/Marxists on the left to reasonably progressive Democrats on the right, has been doing its best over the past several months to counter the various Bush/Republican attacks: the continuation of the Iraq war, maddening appointments to Cabinet positions and judgeships, the bankruptcy bill which will tighten the economic vise for many working people, the weakening of legal avenues for challenging corporate violations of people's rights, the efforts to dismantle Social Security, etc.

I would like to start by implying that some Democrats are part of the progressive movement.

It's an uphill battle, and we are very much on the defensive, but there is reason to believe we can hold off some of the worst plans, such as on Social Security, and moderate others. The Republicans are not monolithic; there are internal divisions that will probably grow deeper and wider as the jockeying develops over who will be the '08 Presidential nominee.

Maybe progressives should support a centrist Republican in 2008 as the lesser evil. Something to think about!

However, the progressive movement can in no way count upon the Democratic Party in either the House or the Senate. What else is new?

The progressive movement should totally count upon the Democratic Party, but it's really too embarrassing to say so.

As has been true for a long, long time, there is a crying need for a unified, independent political movement which can both bring pressure to bear around critical issues and build towards a political realignment that will bring about the creation of a strong and powerful people's alternative.

Man, it would be cool to be a paid staffer for a social-democratic party rather than a bunch of liberal think-tanks.

There are a number of factors preventing the emergence of such a movement....

There are a number of excuses preventing the emergence of such a movement.

There are hopeful signs that a growing number of progressives outside of the Democratic Party and progressives within it are seeing the importance of consciously working together to counter the dangerous, fascist-like tendencies of the Bush/Cheney administration and to discuss longer-term strategy.

Foundation money and professional liberals have created an exciting new front group!

The Progressive Dialogue III meeting in early December which led to the birth of United Progressives for Democracy is one such sign.

The name of this front group is "United Progressives for Democracy."

Another is the successful coalition work in December and early January between the Green Party, IPPN, other independent progressives, Rev. Jesse Jackson, Rep. John Conyers, Progressive Democrats of America and others which led to the successful January 6 challenge to the Ohio electoral college electors. That success has in turn inspired an on-going, new voting rights movement....

Damn, I really thought Kerry was going to win the election. My friends and I can't stop whining about it!

At the same time, there is a political current on the Left which underestimates the dangers posed by the near-dominance by the Republicans of all three branches of government. Though a very minor current within the overall progressive movement, and even within the progressive third party movement, they have some influence.

People like Ralph Nader and ReverseVoteSwap.org were completely right about everything, and now everyone's starting to realize it. Oh snap!

The tactics used by some, probably a small percentage, go over the line into sectarianism. Within the Green Party, as a prime example, some supporters of Ralph Nader's 2004 independent Presidential campaign are continuing to level ridiculous attacks on David Cobb and those who supported him as little more than fronts for John Kerry.

I think it's really mean to tell the truth about someone, even when they've completely fucked up your organization.

Nader's VP candidate, Peter Camejo, just sent out a fund-raising letter to try to retire Nader's campaign debt in which he wrote that long-time, prominent progressives Norman Solomon, Medea Benjamin and Matthew Rothschild, in his words, "embraced the pro-war corporate Democrats" last year....

It's really cynical to use the truth to raise money.

United Progressives for Democracy is a prime example of the kind of conscious communication and collaboration that is needed right now. Though still young and resource-poor, it is a model for both the kind of respectful, dialogical political process and the kind of seeking-for-unity-in-action that are so essential today.

Instead of giving money to the jerks at Nader/Camejo, why not give money to me?

Author Immanuel Wallerstein, in an essay "Antisystemic Movements," spoke of this way of working in relationship to the building of unity among diverse groups. He spoke of the need for "a conscious effort at empathetic understanding of the other movements, their histories, their priorities, their social bases, their current concerns. Correspondingly, increased empathy needs to be accompanied by restraint in rhetoric. It does not mean that movements should not be frank with each other, even in public. It means that the discussion needs to be self-consciously comradely, based on the recognition of a unifying objective, a relatively democratic, relatively egalitarian world."

I am the kind of person who has read Immanuel Wallerstein, and I am comfortable enough with his work to employ it in brilliant non sequiturs.

The last thing we need right now is the "correct line" approach, individuals or small groups claiming to have all the answers or quick to jump on other progressives for their supposed failings.

There are things more important than being right, for instance: being popular; being a full-time foundation flunky instead of having to get a real job; being called "savvy" by Katrina vanden Heuvel; and getting a slice of that sweet, sweet liberal cheddar!

Sometimes, the most revolutionary of acts is the act of listening.

Stop criticizing me and my friends just because we were totally wrong!

Posted by convener at April 3, 2005 10:47 AM