Yeah I’m not a big Nader fan. He cost Gore likely 2000. He was a great consumer advocate in the 60s and 70s achieving major reforms to protect Americans. But of late I’ve seen his remarks and cant help but find them resonating. He asks where is labor? Where is the fight? When was the last time you heard the Democratic Party push for a minimum wage increase? Chris Hedges talks with Nader on what is going on and I’m starting to agree- we got to fight in ways we haven’t had to since the 60s.
Another news item is Grayson’s NYT interview. He gets it. Maybe he will be the one who will help lead the progressives of America to a brighter future.
“The more outrageous the Republicans become, the weaker the left becomes,” Nader said when I reached him at his home in Connecticut on Sunday. “The more outrageous they become, the more the left has to accept the slightly less outrageous corporate Democrats.”
Nader fears a repeat of the left’s cowardice in the next election, a cowardice that has further empowered the lunatic fringe of the Republican Party, maintained the role of the Democratic Party as a lackey for corporations, and accelerated the reconfiguration of the country into a neo-feudalist state. Either we begin to practice a fierce moral autonomy and rise up in multiple acts of physical defiance that have no discernable short-term benefit, or we accept the inevitability of corporate slavery. The choice is that grim. The age of the practical is over. It is the impractical, those who stand fast around core moral imperatives, figures like Nader or groups such as Veterans for Peace, which organized the recent anti-war rally in Lafayette Park in Washington, which give us hope”¦.
Nader hits on several other very important notes. One is on the notion the Left has nowhere to go and how that meme is perhaps doing great harm to the progressive movement.
“The left has nowhere to go,” Nader said. “Obama knows it. The corporate Democrats know it. There will be criticism by the left of Obama this year and then next year they will all close ranks and say “˜Do you want Mitt Romney? Do you want Sarah Palin? Do you want Newt Gingrich?’ It’s very predictable. “¦They don’t understand that even if they do not have any place to go, they ought to fake it. They should fake going somewhere else or staying home to increase the receptivity to their demands. But because they do not make any demands, they are complicit with corporate power. “¦
Ah but there has been a vast difference in the Bush/GOP POTUS years than the Obama ones right? I’m leaning towards no in many policy areas shall we say:
There is no major difference between a McCain administration, a Bush and an Obama administration. Obama, in fact, is in many ways worse. McCain, like Bush, exposes the naked face of corporate power. Obama, who professes to support core liberal values while carrying out policies that mock these values, mutes and disempowers liberals, progressives and leftists. Environmental and anti-war groups, who plead with Obama to address their issues, are little more than ineffectual supplicants.
Obama, like Bush and McCain, funds and backs our unending and unwinnable wars. “¦The private military contractors, along with the predatory banks and investment houses, suck trillions out of the U.S. Treasury as efficiently under Obama. Civil liberties, including habeas corpus, have not been restored. The public option is dead. The continuation of the Bush tax cuts, adding some $900 billion to the deficit, along with the reduction of individual contributions to Social Security, furthers a debt peonage that will be the excuse to privatize Social Security, slash social services and break the back of public service unions. Obama does not intercede as tens of millions of impoverished Americans face foreclosures and bankruptcies. The Democrats provide better cover. But the corporate assault is the same.
I’m glad to see this critique- of the labor unions leaders who have caved and caved while their members pay the price. Aka Richard Trumka. Nader notes labor has the resources and field troops to organize and fight for the Left against the corporate overlords. Look at the Korea NAFTA crap. Obama cuts this horrid deal and most of labor gave a muted response. No organizing in the streets to save thousands of jobs. Nope because Obama says it will be ok trust me. And this is shockingly is enough for faaar to many Democrats these days and its killing us.
..“The left has disemboweled itself,” Nader said. “It doesn’t even have a strategy every four years like a good poker player. The best example is Richard Trumka and the AFL-CIO. Obama has given them nothing. Therefore, they are demanding nothing. They huff and puff. They make tough speeches. But Trumka hasn’t even made Obama’s campaign pledge of a $9.50 minimum wage by this year an issue. If you want to increase consumer demand, what better way to do it than to unleash $300 billion in wages? The card check for unionization, which Obama pledged as his No. 1 sop to the labor unions, is dead. The unions do not even demand a hearing. And now wait till you see what they will do to the public employee unions. Part of it is their own fault. They are going to be crushed. Everybody is ganging up on them. You have new class warfare. It is non-unionized lower income and middle class taking it out on the unionized middle-income public employees. It is a classic example of oligarchic manipulation. It will start playing out big time “¦”
The banishment from the corporate media, Nader argues, has been one of the major contributors to the demoralization and weakening of the left. Protests by the left, which get little national or local coverage, have steadily dwindled in strength across the country. The first protest gets little or no coverage and this leads to movements, as well as the voices of activists, being diminished and finally suffocated. “¦
Labor could today be doing what it supposed to do! Out in the streets leading the way for worker rights, for good jobs etc.. Instead their leaders play veal pen too often with the White House. I mean watching labor leaders ok a tax impacting union members with the hcr bill was criminal. Labor must become more independent I think and fight either party when needed and aggressively.
..“Every major movement starts with field organizers, the farmers, unions, and the civil rights movement,” Nader said. “But there is nothing out there. We need to start learning from what was done in the past. All over the country people are pissed off. They hate Wall Street. They know they are being gouged. They know they are slipping behind. They know their kids will not be as well off as they were, and they were not that well off. But no one is putting it together. Who could put a thousand organizers in the field, besides George Soros? The labor unions. They have the money. They have a lot of cash. These idiots are going down. The UAW is a paradigm of a suicidal, supplicant labor union. It is disgusting. They are a puppy dog of GM, Ford and Chrysler. They have huge reserves. The labor unions could organize the country, but they are into their own emoluments and high salaries. The union leadership has so distanced itself from the rank and file that it is ashamed to do anything controversial.
And here is what I keep telling myself every day as a frustrated agonized progressive: how much more will we the people be able to swallow and choke before folks snap? What will it take to get people to stand in the streets for their Social Security, Medicare, their teachers and own children facing a greatly diminished nation?
“¦“The black swan question is whether something will erupt that is rare, extreme and unpredictable,” Nader said. “It is amazing that it hasn’t happened in any pockets of the country. How much more can the oppressed take before they revolt? And can they revolt without organizers? These are the two important questions. You have got to have organizers, and as of now we don’t.”
Another quick news story in progressive Dom is Rep. Grayson’s NYT interview. He is very right on the Democratic Party and Obama’s lacking credibility on most issues.
During the long conversation, Mr. Grayson, a 52-year-old father of five, faulted Democrats for failing to deliver for some of their most potent constituencies, among them labor unions and antiwar voters.
“What did the environmentalists see over the last two years?” he asked. “A proposed monumental increase in subsidies for nuclear power industry and offshore drilling.”
As for gay voters, he said: “What they got to see was a judge order that “˜don’t ask, don’t tell’ no longer be enforced and a Democratic president appeal that decision. That is what that constituency saw before Nov. 2.” (The law was repealed in the final hours of the 111th Congress.)
By Election Day, Democratic voters in many districts felt that they had no real choice, Mr. Grayson said.
“If you want people to support you, then you have to support them,” he said. “You have to think long about what you did for people who voted for you, made phone calls for you, who went door to door for you.” “¦
And Grayson does not rule out running for Congress in 2012.
He is annoyed with Democratic senators for waiting until now to challenge the procedural rules that, he said, allowed a determined group of Republicans to use filibusters to stymie much of the president’s agenda.
And he bemoaned what he said was President Obama’s reversal on a campaign pledge to let the Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthy expire.
“I try to keep my promises,” he said, adding that Mr. Obama’s evolving views on the matter “will not help his credibility.”
The remarks carry special weight because Mr. Grayson has become a darling of many on the left.
“¦.To fight the extension of the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy, he produced cardboard posters detailing how the richest 1 percent of Americans could spend their tax savings. “Buy 20,000 jars of their favorite mustard, Grey Poupon,” was one suggestion.