Tuesday, December 03, 2013

A left-wing version of the Tea Party?

This is what I kept hoping for during the Occupy movement: Something serious, something not initiated by smirky young hipsters. Let's make it real...
As Obama struggles to achieve his second-term domestic agenda, a more liberal and populist voice is emerging within a Democratic Party already looking ahead to the next presidential election. The push from the left represents both a critique of Obama’s tenure and a clear challenge to Hillary Rodham Clinton, the party’s presumptive presidential front-runner, who carries a more centrist banner.
This story pitches the movement as a Warren-v-Clinton thing. Obviously, the Establishment has its own reasons for promoting this "push from the left": Weakening support for Hillary Clinton.

But I'm not worried. Hillary is good at co-opting things like this. Besides, the whole point of this movement is saving Social Security, a cause that soars far above horserace politics.
“The absolute last thing we should do in 2013 — at the very moment that Social Security has become the principal lifeline for millions of our seniors — is allow the program to begin to be dismantled inch by inch,” Warren said recently on the Senate floor, announcing her support for a bill that would expand the program.

Liberals say Social Security is one example of how Democrats are likely to face sustained pressure in coming months to move in a more populist direction on a host of issues.
In addition, liberals have accelerated their push for a higher minimum wage — successfully persuading Obama to support a $10.10-an-hour proposal after he suggested $9 an hour this year. They also are making a case for tougher financial regulations, specifically targeting massive banks they would like to break up.

More broadly, liberals argue that the nation must do more to narrow economic inequality, to expand the safety net to help those who have lost jobs to globalization and to relieve some of the burden of student debt — goals that the president generally shares.
All of these steps take us in the right direction. I'll be very amused when pundits try to draw a false equivalence between these cautious, sensible goals and the teabaggers' ninny-noodle reactionary radicalism.

But this "movement" has not progressed beyond the germinal phase. It isn't real -- not yet.

First, we need a name. Something new. Something bold, but not too threatening to moderates.

We also need structure, hierarchy. The Occupy movement tried do without structure and hierarchy, and the whole thing devolved into a steaming glob of bull diarrhea.

I would humbly offer these further pieces of advice:

1. NO HIPSTERS IN THE LEADERSHIP. Do not trust anyone under 40. Children are to be neither seen nor heard. The leadership must be a goatee-free zone, filled with people who stopped following pop music after Madonna. I don't want to see any hoodies and t-shirts. I want blazers and shirts with buttons.

2. Anyone who breathes the word "consensus" must be killed. Killed.

No: First tortured, then killed.

No: Such a miscreant must be made to watch while all of his or her loved ones are tortured and killed before his or her eyes, and then he or she himself/herself must be tortured and killed. (Sentences like the previous one were a lot easier to write in the days before feminism.)

3. Do not treat Democratic politicians as enemies. Treat them as servants. When they misbehave, beat them -- in primary elections, if need be. (This won't happen very often, since the motivating issues -- Social Security, the minimum wage and so forth -- have popular support.)

4. There will be lots of ninnies and undercover ratfuckers who will insist that all Dems are far too impure and therefore we need to go the third party route. (Splitting the liberal vote will, of course, make the GOP invulnerable). Third party purists deserve the same treatment meted out to the advocates of consensus -- except the torture must be even worse.

5. The movement must be anti-libertarian by definition, though only on economic issues. Libertarians love to infiltrate. They always seek to seduce people with attractive talk about non-economic matters; be aware of this tactic, and never fall into that trap. Make it crystal clear from the very start: This is an Ayn-free zone.

6. Leave gun ownership out of the discussion. That issue has nothing to do with the battle against libertarian economics. Similarly, don't get distracted by identity politics, by race, by religion, by immigration, by pot legalization. There are a lot of dimwits out there who think that gender issues trump all other concerns; don't listen to them. Avoid anyone who insists on discussing genitalia and the manifold uses thereof.

We're in a class war, and our side is losing. The only way to prevail is to stay focused on economics. Let that song from Cabaret play in your head continually: "Money money money money money..." Concentrate on that. The other stuff will take care of itself.
Comments:
You are on the right track politically, Joe, perhaps a little hyperbolic on doctrinal purity.


 
1. Yes, let's have lots of nice re3spectable establishment figures in charge, stop all those irresponsible radicals. Bankers, maybe, or trustees from the Kennel club. Rotarians. Freemasons. Members of the Womens' Institute. Make sure they've all got nice soft hands and clean nails.

2. I'm always being told that women are big on co-operation over competition, so I think anyone using "consensus" should be declared an honourary woman. Then burned as a witch.

3. Beating servants, putting aside moral issues, is in breach of sundry employment regulations. Winning primary elections takes money and organisation.

4. All depends on how impervious you think the Dems are. America, barring a few experiments with Populists and Know-Nothings and Anti-Masons and Bull Mooses and the like designed to manipulate the two-party system on a short term basis, have never had a third party. We got our Labour party as a third party, stemming from a part of the Liberal party (a handful of Labour-Liberal MPs) and the Labour Representative Committee of the Trades Union Congress. The Liberals split in the first world war, that and the vote being granted to women (who tend to vote Tory) and the rise of Labour destroyed the Liberals (until their current undead incarnation). Admittedly, there were three decades with less than three years without the Tories running the country, and those three years were minority and coalition governments, but at the end of those three decades the Labour party won a massive majority, nationalised everything not nailed down, got us all free healthcare and higher education, pensions, unemployment benefits, and cetera. All's well that ends well. Of course, then the zombie-liberals and the traitors in the SDP formed the Liberal Democratic party and tore it all down. So the third party thing can go either way, create a radically reformed two-party split, or split the anti-Tory vote and destroy everything


 
Let that song from Cabaret play in your head continually: "Money money money money money..." Concentrate on that. The other stuff will take care of itself.

Another catchphrase from a film (Catching Fire~ Hunger Games#2) to keep in mind, and other stuff will....etc.:

"Always remember who the real enemy is."

 
SM, I didn't say put the Establishment in charge. I said KIDS shouldn't be in charge. It's a simple matter of avoiding historical idiocy. If you don't know who Bob LaFollette or Tom Watson were, stay a humble follower; don't make a play for a leadership role until you do a little reading.

Note that I said I don't want to see hoodies -- I want to see blazers. Establshment types wear suits and ties. Dress like a grown up, not necessarily like a one-percenter.
 
The problem with misbehaving Democrats is that almost all of them have been misbehaving since 9/11 if not before. Rather than give them any more opportunity to encourage us to death with sly lies, we should run the primary campaigns in 2014.
 
I don't think I've ever seen anyone wearing a blazer, other than school boys in uniform. I associate them with lounging Freemasons. I'm a poverty-stricken scruff, though. A hoody would be a bit smart for me. All t-shirts for me, and some short-sleeved shirts for interviews. You remind me of Michael Foot being criticised for wearing a donkey jacket.

I'm also quite young, incidentally. As, by the way, was Pitt the Younger. One of the more baffling bits of the American constitution, that the President has to be at least 35. Young people get shat on by society, doing all the difficult dangerous and unpleasant stuff, doing all the important work and paying for everything, while old people take the spoils.

The leaders should be the ones with most support for their policies.

Where the OWS lot went wrong was with trying to have no leaders at all, and being a bunch of pompous, callow, middle-class liberals who sat around wanking each other off and banging tambourines, making little camp fires and singing whatever the hipster agnostic equivalent of kumbaya is.

What it needed was some leaders, some democracy and some focus, preferably on the redistribution of wealth and economic power.
 
Well, Stephen, I'm as poor as a church mouse myself, but the wardrobe is improving, thanks to the thrift stores of Baltimore. If a blazer bothers you, how about a professorial tweed coat? (Think Sean Connery in that Indiana Jones movie.) I can get two of 'em for the price of a Walmart hoodie.

See? Dressing like a grown-up is a matter of taste, not money.

Your after-action report on OWS is, methinks, on target. It just don't work without leaders.
 
6. Leave gun ownership out of the discussion. That issue has nothing to do with the battle against libertarian economics. Similarly, don't get distracted by identity politics, by race, by religion, by immigration, by pot legalization. There are a lot of dimwits out there who think that gender issues trump all other concerns; don't listen to them. Avoid anyone who insists on discussing genitalia and the manifold uses thereof.


Hear! Hear! The wedge issues are just distractions that keep us from effectively opposing the New Feudalism.
 
For 6: also, environmentalism. It's nice, but it's not the same as paying the rent.

I do dig the absent-minded professor vibe, but I don't think it's got much popular appeal. It doesn't exactly scream leftist-agitator. If you went round a local council estate canvassing in tweed you might as well turn up dressed as Ziggy Stardust. If you turn up in a tie they will at least have a cultural reference point by which to pigeon-hole you: bailiff, dole-officer, politician, bloke off the telly, miscellaneous arsehole. I think more suitable attire would involve a high-vis jacket and safety boots, the sort of things people who work for a living wear. After all, whereas our modern "labour" politicians all started by doing Philosophy, Politics & Economics at Oxford or Cambridge (after being educated at some posh boarding school, generally), our greatest lefty, the founder of the NHS Aneirin Bevan, started his career down a coal mine with a pick. So, "look at me, I dress like Tony Blair" probably isn't going to go across well with the people you want to convert.

 
Dressing like a grown-up is a matter of taste, not money.

I found in my hippie days that the cheapest thrift-store shirts were no-longer-new but still-quite-presentable buttondown white dress shirts--quite the glut on the market.

I still wear thrift store buttondowns. Why look like a slob in a tee shirt when you can look crisp for the same price?
 
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