(cross-posted at dailykos.com and docudharma.com)

I’ve long been struck by the ineffectiveness of activists in the US, at least when they oppose plutocratic agendas. And I’ve also been dismayed by the continuing failure to organize voters along progressive lines. For some issues, like healthcare, the “progressive” viewpoint is actually mainstream.

It’s clear to me that, while corporatists and banksters have all the democracy-corrupting infrastructure, already in place (think K-Street) that they could possibly desire, progressives do little to create countervailing democracy-enhancing infrastructure. They do not effectively organize, and thus grow their political muscle, at least with respect to specific progressive issues (like healthcare).

The Progressive Democrats of America (PDA) is an organization (that I belong to, even though I’ve never been a Democrat) that has a progressive agenda, and that I have praised as “sticking to it’s guns”. I don’t believe that PDA could properly called a member of the “Veal Pen”, though in many respects it behaves as timidly as any veal pen group. (See my comments here, here, and here.)

On July 10, 2009, I posted the following on a live blogging event at OpenLeft, of Representative Donna Edwards.

What are progressive lawmakers doing to help build up a progressive movement? (4.00 / 1)
I just finished listening to a Gary Null program where he was talking about various issues where the Obama administration was up to what I will describe as considerable evil (food safety, Holder being given “dictatorial” powers to declare, e.g., anti-war protesters as terrorists, etc.). The progressive movement is too weak to roll back the increasing enslavement of the public to corporatist agendas.
Which makes me wonder why progressive Congress persons, such as yourself, do not play a bigger role in inspiring and organizing citizens to grow the progressive movement. Right now, the progressive movement is not effective in getting large numbers of Donna Edwards’ and Dennis Kucinich’s elected to office.

As an example of opportunity lost, consider Rep. Kucinich. There are 3 members of the board of the Progressive Democrats of America who worked for, or on behalf of, Kucinich. Yet, he wasn’t clever enough to use his ’15 minutes’ of Presidential candidate fame to draw attention not just to himself, but to the PDA. The PDA might be 10x larger today, than it is, had it been ‘advertised’ by Kucinich during the 2008 campaign.

Well, that’s water under the bridge. But the question remains: What are you, Kucinich, and other progressive members of Congress doing to grow the progressive movement. You do agree, don’t you, that you need ‘reinforcements’ in Congress?

What Congress critters GROWING the progressive movement could look like (0.00 / 0)
As an example of how progressive Congress critters could help grow a progressive movement: Every third Saturday, all progressive Congress critters will congregate in the same US city. They will first spend 3 hours doing grassroots recruitment – in malls, door-to-door, etc., in cooperation with local progressive groups. They will be recruiting not for the Democratic Party, but for PDA and other progressive groups. Secondly, they will afterwards meet in the same large auditorium, for a rally. The grassroots and rally activities will be filmed, and posted on the internet, to inspire activists in all 50 states. Cost of admission to the rally? Participation in the grassroots recruitment activities.
They should not be focusing on specific issues (like single payer or strong public option health care), but rather using progressive issues that are currently being legislated as cases in point, which underscore the need for a progressive movement. The point is you don’t just want people to focus on a single issue or two, but rather organizing to move Congress in a progressive direction, on a long term basis.

I never got an answer…

I really don’t know what, if anything, Donna Edwards is doing to grow the progressive movement. My best guess is that she’s doing absolutely nothing in this direction, in spite of the weakness and small numbers of “progressives” in Congress. If anybody has any information, one way or the other, please report that information as a comment to this diary. I took a look at her Congressional website, and saw nothing in this vein.

Inquiring minds would like to know.