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Progressive Fantasies Will Never Lead to Progressive Power

In the diary
Obama/Kerry Drop 4PM Friday Keystone Bomb: 20 Hours Later, Liberal Websites Have Nothing To Say we read the comment:

To my mind, shutting down Harper’s tar sand project is far more important than the survival or disappearance of the Democratic Party at this point. And prior to that is shutting down K Street; if you do that the shutting down of the uniparty takes care of itself. Don’t go for the sockpuppet, go for the hand.

(emphasis mine)

This diary is a copy of a comment I made in that diary:


Shut down K street? Is that all? Don’t you also need for the heavens to open, and Jesus to descend down from there, to here?

The proof that American democracy is grossly dysfunctional is that even widely popular proposals – like a national health care plan – don’t get enacted, decade after decade.* K street represents a distasteful, anti-democratic, but very legal infrastructure to make corruption of democracy more of a science, than an art.

Even if shutting down the pipeline was a “widely popular proposal” (which I’m doubtful of; otherwise, why wouldn’t say so?), saying you have to shut down K Street, first, is putting the cart before the horse.

Evidently, you disagree. Well, then, what’s your plan, Stan?

IMO, progressives could achieve power, commensurate with their numbers, but also commensurate with the popularity of some specific progressive proposals, if they weren’t such wimps, and were shrewder.

You’re willing to dispense with the Democratic Party, but where is your realistic plan to dispense with even a single Democrat? If progressives can’t come up with a reasonable plan to aggressively dispense with even a single Democrat, what is the point of speaking of the “dissapearance” of the entire Democratic Party?

There’s a recent diary by Norman Solomon

telling us

As of now, 54 members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus have taken a historic dive. We should take note — and not forget who they are.

Say now, there’s a plan! Can you imagine a meeting of the French Resistence, during WW2, concluding by saying

let’s not forget who the real enemy is! It’s the German dudes – the ones clicking their heels and saying “Heil Hitler!”

Nor can I imagine the French Resistence concluding a meeting by saying

Well, the Bundesbank clears the checks of the Nazi Party used to pay their troops. So, let’s make the Bundesbank DISAPPEAR! That’ll show them!

Wishing the Bundesbank away is about as realistic as wishing K-Street away.

Another unreal, fantasy-like statement I’ve seen at FDL is the indignant, almost triumphalist statement of some “only 3rd Party” types. The idea that they might forge coalitions with voters who are afraid to dump the Democrats, en masse, by voting out faux progressives in Democratic primaries, and then voting for their favorite Green Party candidate in a general election, is a topic not worthy of discussion, never mind becoming a central tactic to be organized around. Working the French Resistence analogy, once again, this is like the Frenchy freedom fighters saying,

What? Dress up as German soldiers in an attempt to infiltrate and sabotage a German installation! Terrible!! We could never do that! No, we must play by the rules of traditional Resistence movement (OK, we’ll just ignore the very ancient Trojan Horse story; let’s not confuse ourselves with contradictory notions!)

If playing by the rules doesn’t favor us, well, let’s take out our frustrations on the more clever rule-breakers by reminding them of how impure they are! Why, if they’re willing to dress up as Nazis, they probably ARE Nazis!

The lack of political power by progressives, when they are opposed by plutocratic agendas, is no surprise, to me. Politics is the “art of the possible”. Embracing fantasies aborts the very sort of realistic thinking needed by any group wanting to influence an impure, but possible future.

To be clear: I’m all for shutting down K Street. Attempting to do so first, rather than nearer last, is what constitutes a fantasy.

* Of course, I mean one that reduces costs, and is as palatable as any of the plans discussed in Sick Around the World. Obamacare is not what the American people wanted, for decades.

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