Spitballing a New Left Politics

I've been somewhat out of pocket the past couple of months, avoiding politics and current events to a great degree. Have had a few changes in my work life as well, which will give me a little more time for my family and my thoughts. I've been doing some reading here at C99 and at a few other places, but mostly stepping back. As a result, I've found my political views evolving somewhat beyond the direction they were taking around the time of the November election. A little slow to the table, but this essay is an attempt to begin sorting my thoughts.

It's clear to most of us that the Democratic party has outlived its usefulness as a vehicle for our political aspirations. The Sanders campaign outed it as primarily a veal pen intended to catch and neuter the left, delivering it to the same oligarchic interests that run the Republican party and the corporate media. I've read some thinking lately that debates the virtues of this politician or that, or the pros and cons of founding a new political party vs. trying once again to reform the Democrats. This all misses the point, as I now see it.

One of my favorite political observations is the famous one from Frederick Douglass:

Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never has and it never will.

An essay by the wonderful maggid today, Mom and Dad are getting divorced: A family dynamics analogy, provides another meaty quote, from Slavoj Zizek:

The marriage between democracy and capitalism is over.

Both of these quotes point toward a new direction in politics, it seems to me, away from a focus on electoral results and toward an issues-based, activist political era. The best result of the already-disastrous Trump presidency could be a new era of activism analogous to the 1960's, when millions demonstrated and held their politicians of both parties to account for their actions on the most burning issues of the day, civil rights and the Vietnam war. Today we have no-less burning issues, climate change and economic inequality. Neither political party has any significant interest in addressing either, so the people must make demands. What should those demands be?

Given the scale of our challenges, I'm currently thinking we need two central demands:

1. Removing carbon from the atmosphere.

2. Creating an economy that works for all of us, rather than one that we work for.

To create a carbon-negative human world, we need several uncompromising policies:

  • Phase out the internal combustion engine.
  • Phase out carbon fuels for electricity generation.
  • Reduce beef and other livestock production, focusing on sustainable animal protein sources.
  • Heavily tax fossil fuels commodities.
  • Punitively tax corporations that extract fossil fuels.
  • Invest in reforestation, soil and marine carbon sequestration, and combating desertification.

Reorienting our economy away from predatory capitalism to serving the people is even more complicated, and will be more heavily resisted in the US. I believe the most important steps in beginning this process would be to focus on one issue: a guaranteed living income for all Americans. Economic inequality has produced a profoundly cruel and unjust economy in America, in which some have wealth far in excess of any good it might do for themselves, and most have far too little to see to their needs in anything approaching a humane way. We have chosen to live in this kind of a country; we should strongly advocate a different choice.

A guaranteed annual income would insure food, shelter, health care, educational opportunity, and basic dignity to all. It has been proposed occasionally by Republicans and Democrats in recent decades, but never taken seriously. I believe it should be a bedrock principle for a new leftist politics, a non-negotiable demand.

Other issues which would help reorient our economy in a democratic direction:

  • A guaranteed jobs program for those who can work, with income augmenting the basic income guarantee.
  • A revised income tax exempting the guaranteed income, and starting with a low rate at the 50th income percentile. It should rise first gradually, then very steeply at high incomes, reaching perhaps 90% above $10 million.
  • An annual wealth tax on the order of 1% of in-country or expatriated assets above $10 million, 3% above $100 million, 5% above $1 billion and 8% above $5 billion.
  • Laws and tax policies that promote domestic employment and severely penalize offshoring to reduce labor costs or evade environmental regulation.
  • Revision of corporation law to reorient corporate obligations: highest priorities to avoid adding carbon to the atmosphere or seas, and to bring economic benefit to communities in which they operate. Shareholder value would be statutorily secondary.
  • Medicare for All healthcare program, providing comprehensive health and dental care for all citizens, including elder care expenses.
  • Public financing of daycare, primary and secondary education, and college or technical school. Severe restrictions on for-profit educational alternatives.

Other issues are also vital to a new leftist politics, including public financing of campaigns, nonpartisan redistricting, universal voter registration, expanding anti-discrimination protections, making the criminal justice system accountable, etc. But any new politics must have a clear focus on one or two issues, ideally of greatest importance to young people.

Bernie Sanders' campaign gave us a peek at what might work. His campaign made the perhaps fatal error of joining the Democratic party, which made good tactical sense but was a poor strategic decision. Our new politics must follow the 1960's model, appealing directly to the people without the intermediation of politicians or parties. If we can create a strong movement, the political parties can either come to it or die and be replaced. That question is of secondary importance at this time. How to build the new movement, identifying who's already doing it, helping them build their strength and create interconnections are far more critical for us now.

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MarilynW's picture

Thanks for moving forward...

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To thine own self be true.

@MarilynW At least you've got health care done. And you don't have nearly as many stupid, crazy, easily manipulated people as we do.

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divineorder's picture

@MarilynW a Canadian expat pensioner in Costa Rica. Was surprised to find that he is all up with Trump's ideas, rounding up dissenters, etc. First time to meet a person from Canada with right wing beliefs. Heh.

(PS left a response to your comment last night in EB.)

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A truth of the nuclear age/climate change: we can no longer have endless war and survive on this planet. Oh sh*t.

MarilynW's picture

@divineorder
not even a friend of a friend. My city votes left.

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To thine own self be true.

orlbucfan's picture

opposed. He is Turd Way now. I call them The FRight wingnuts. Rec'd!! Dallasdoc. Always great to see you!! Smile

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Inner and Outer Space: the Final Frontiers.

divineorder's picture

for a post partisan issues approach. Formed by youngs from Bernie's campaign, it might not be the way to go but for me there are some good ideas on fundraising etc.

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A truth of the nuclear age/climate change: we can no longer have endless war and survive on this planet. Oh sh*t.

@divineorder ... and I love seeing your consistent advocacy of it. My own thinking is veering away from trying to elect the right people into a comprehensively corrupt system. I think we need to bend the system to our will with overwhelming outside pressure. It won't be easy, but Trump and the next Wall Street-engineered "crash" may just provide the recipe.

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divineorder's picture

@Dallasdoc are you thinking new institutions or what?

When we participated in Occupy Santa Fe many in OWS were writing to stay out of politics . I had a hard time wrapping my head around that given the complexity of life but was open to it. Still, it was so open ended....

I do like your 'spitballing' as a conversation starter and a work in progress for unifying. Look forward to seeing it fleshed out and materializing !

Maybe your essay should be sent along to the working group @BrandNew535

More https://brandnewcongress.org/plan

Brand New Congress is a campaign to run 400+ non-politician candidates for Congress in 2018 in one unified campaign behind one plan to rebuild the economy, repair our communities and radically reform our institutions.

We believe there are obvious solutions to America's biggest problems that the vast majority of Americans would fight for if they were put on the table in a national election. But we don't hear about those solutions because the current bi-partisan establishment agrees 100% on bad trade deals, massive bank bailouts, and supporting the takeover of our economy by the financial industry. It also agrees on mass incarceration, allowing the ultrawealthy to have undue influence in our politics, and inaction against an out-of-control "justice" system. It uses partisan bickering over taxes and spending to cover up its consensus on those things that really matter and to pretend that Americans are pitted against each other in partisan gridlock.

WHAT DOES BNC WANT?

1. Good jobs for everyone, prosperity for every community

The BNC's plan calls for a mobilization on the scale of World War II – one in which every American is called upon to rebuild and repair our communities and our nation.

If the government can spend trillions of dollars to subsidize the failures of Wall Street and perpetual war, it can spend that kind of money on Main Street, investing in our communities and our future.

The Brand New Congress plan will:

Invest trillions of dollars in new industries that will provide millions of high wage jobs – just like all successful industrialized countries are doing right now.
Invest trillions of dollars to rebuild and repair towns, cities and rural areas that politicians have allowed to disintegrate for half a century.
Spend exactly what it will take to repair our nation’s broken infrastructure – which is $3.6 trillion according to the American Society of Civil Engineers.
Build the inevitable cheap, renewable energy economy now, creating tens of millions of good high-tech jobs and saving people many trillions of dollars – because energy from the wind and sun is much cheaper in the long run.
Overhaul the IRS and the tax code so that small businesses are on the same playing field as big business and so that multi-billionaires and large corporations can no longer evade paying the billions in taxes they should owe.
Solve the healthcare mess once and for all by making Medicare available to anyone who wants it, and letting insurance companies fend for themselves in a truly free market.
Provide free college education and technical training so that Americans have access to the training they need to get the job they want in this new economy.

Read more about BNC's plan to rebuild the economy here.

2. Liberty and justice for all

We will get money out of politics once and for all: This means getting rid of the revolving door between Wall Street and our government. It means repealing Citizens United. It means moving to a publicly financed, transparent system of campaign financing that amplifies small donations. And it means all BNC candidates pledging to never lobby Congress after they're out of office.
We will support the demands for justice from all groups that have been targeted by government: Today just about everyone in America feels targeted by government at some level. What stops us from undoing this is that they also feel pitted against each other. It's time for the American people to make common cause and see that the cries for justice by all Americans are heard. And we mean everyone: Black people, small business owners, Native Americans, low income people, rural people, immigrants, disabled people, foster children, Latinos, manufacturers who want to build in America, small towns, and we could go on and on with this list!
We will reform our electoral system to create a more perfect democracy: This will include removing the electoral college, implementing ranked choice voting, creating a holiday on election day, improving the actual mechanics of voting to make it easy to vote and make electoral fraud impossible.
We will refocus our criminal justice system on reducing the number incarcerated: Our current system simply can't work. Too many people leaving the prison system get no fair shot at getting back into society, so they wind up back in jail. We want to end the school-to-prison pipeline, provide training, education and jobs to prevent repeat offenders, and reduce our total prison population drastically.
We will say no to wars of choice: Let's stop destabilizing other countries and focus on fixing our own.
We will give every government body new marching orders: "Your job is to serve the people -- no longer to target, abuse, surveil, micromanage, nickle and dime and belittle the people you were hired to serve." We will back that up by removing government bureaucrats who can't understand or won't comply with their new orders. And we will back it up by cutting out blatant and obvious waste, while providing generous funding and training to the agencies and staff that do the real work and that have been starved of support for decades.

THE BRAND NEW CONGRESS STRATEGY
How can a campaign this big succeed?

Our goal is to gain a majority in Congress in order to radically rebuild this country's economy, completely recreate our criminal justice system, get to 100% renewable energy in 10 years, lift millions out of poverty, and protect the least protected in our society.

Basically, we want to do what we have to do as a country and remove 'politically impossible' as a reason not to do it. It will take at least until 2020 to achieve all of that, but the first step is to achieve a majority in the House and win as many of the 33 seats up for re-election in the Senate as possible in 2018.

Our plan to accomplish this is to recruit over 400 extraordinary ordinary Americans to challenge both Democrats and Republicans in congressional primary races across the country in order to replace almost all of Congress in one fell swoop. These will be people who have track records of integrity and service in their communities and who are not all career politicians -- we're looking for nurses, teachers, engineers, scientists, factory workers, and so on. They will represent not just all the various professions in our country (unlike our current Congress which represents mostly lawyers), but also be representative of our population's demographics -- more than half of them will be women and we will have just representation for people of color. Every candidate we recruit, regardless of party, will be a firm believer in the Brand New Congress platform and pledge to work to enact it once elected to office.

Once we recruit these candidates, we plan to run this campaign just like a Presidential campaign -- with a single campaign body coordinating and running all 400+ campaigns across America. This will not only let us capitalize on various economies of scale and use our knowledge from race to race to be as efficient as possible, it will also allow the massive grassroots volunteer and donor bases across America to work together towards a single focused goal, letting us all pool our resources together to actually overcome the substantial opposing resources of corporate interests. This also means that our candidates won't have to deal with the actual logistics of campaigns like how to contact voters or, very importantly, fundraising -- they will be free to do exactly what candidates should be doing: talking to their constituents and holding rallies to voice their ideas.

We believe we can win if we can inspire millions more Americans to regain faith in American democracy and turn out to vote in 2018. We think this will be possible by presenting a bold plan for change and an ambitious but practical way to actually get that change. Basically, we believe people will vote when they think their vote will actually make a difference.

Once we have a majority, Brand New Congress will govern like America has never seen in peacetime before: by actually getting stuff done! There will be no debating or horse trading -- because the BNC candidates will all enter Congress already having agreed on the plan. We'll have all the legislation written and published for review by the people BEFORE the 2018 election! It's what the American people will have elected us to pass -- and we will pass it on day one.

It will take at least until the end of 2017 to work out all the details of the legislation. Right now, BNC’s Working Group is responsible for leading this process, and in the coming months, we’ll be working with policy wonks, advocates and leaders in many fields to craft the actual legislation that a Brand New Congress would pass on day one to put the plan into action. That way, people will know exactly what they're going to get with a Brand New Congress.

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A truth of the nuclear age/climate change: we can no longer have endless war and survive on this planet. Oh sh*t.

@divineorder @divineorder

It's lovely - but will such as the Two-Faced Two-Party Trade-Off, State Department and Homeland (In)Security think non-corporate-choice votes actually count, after going to all of the trouble they have to entirely control US elections and prevent any possibility of citizen/independent oversight or investigation?

Edited for typo-ed letter.

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Psychopathy is not a political position, whether labeled 'conservatism', 'centrism' or 'left'.

A tin labeled 'coffee' may be a can of worms or pathology identified by a lack of empathy/willingness to harm others to achieve personal desires.

Raggedy Ann's picture

Thanks for outlining this so well. This, to me, is a reminder that we all believed in the "Bernie Model." The people fund the effort; things are done in community, for community, in the best interest of community. We proved we can make it happen at a grassroots level. It's up to us to save ourselves through community. Let's practice our humanity at every opportunity.

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"The “jumpers” reminded us that one day we will all face only one choice and that is how we will die, not how we will live." Chris Hedges on 9/11

@Raggedy Ann I think the "Bernie model" will long outlast the influence of Bernie himself. His presidential primary campaign and his entire prior career are an inspiration to a new generation. The man himself seems almost to have sacrificed himself to the Democratic party in order to give us that model. He seems to be stuck trying to change the Democratic party from the inside now, and that's a pursuit that's almost certainly doomed to fail.

The angels of our better natures, as a prior politician once invoked, are still there at our shoulders. Trumpism may be having its moment, but those angels will serve us well in days to come.

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WaterLily's picture

@Dallasdoc From what I observe, he's back to where he used to be, the cranky (I)ndependent Senator who's looking out for the rest of us and not falling in line.

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polkageist's picture

I'm 81 and just go along for the ride nowadays. Too many of my systems are failing to feel I can do much besides donate a little where it will do some good and talk when anyone will listen. Too fragile to demonstrate or face up to the enforcers. I was around for the sixties and did what I could; now I have to leave it to others.

I think you are right when you make the point that we must demand what we want and not be sidetracked by political parties. Most of our discussions here have been about whether or not to resurrect the Dems or start a new party. I think you show that that logic is backwards: let's fight for what we want and let the parties come to us somehow, but always with hat in hand.

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-Greed is not a virtue.
-Socialism: the radical idea of sharing.
-Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.
John F. Kennedy, In a speech at the White House, 1962

@polkageist You're at about the median age of the people I spend my workdays with. I love people in your generation, much more so than people my age or younger as a rule. I'm beginning to see the outline of my own later years coming up, and can sympathize with the limited physical capacity. Cruelest might be the fact that with so much wisdom, there are fewer and fewer willing to listen. I hope you help to guide us with that wisdom and experience. It sucks to have to learn hard lessons over and over again, when some can guide us past them.

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@polkageist Thank you for engaging here. I appreciate your perspective. I'm 57 yo and of course I know lots!

cheers!

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Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@polkageist One of the keys is withdrawing our money from the system. And our time.

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"More for Gore or the son of a drug lord--None of the above, fuck it, cut the cord."
--Zack de la Rocha

"I tell you I'll have nothing to do with the place...The roof of that hall is made of bones."
-- Fiver

snoopydawg's picture

And it's good to see you again my friend. I've been wondering where you were and have been worried about you

Economic inequality has produced a profoundly cruel and unjust economy in America, in which some have wealth far in excess of any good it might do for themselves, and most have far too little to see to their needs in anything approaching a humane way.

Economic inequality has gotten much worse under Obamas's watch, but he was following the democrats playbook for not being for we the people that started decades before.
This article explains it better than I can
http://inthesetimes.com/features/listen-liberal-thomas-frank-democratic-...
Hope that you are going to around more often.

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It is not until the tide goes out that you discover who has been swimming naked.

@snoopydawg I'm fine. Some changes IRL that will prove to be good for me, though they've required some adjustments I'm still working out. I can't pay much attention to political news -- Trump is too dispiriting, and the Dems are as worthless as ever. Politics seems like it's already beginning to move outside the Potemkin facade the parties and the media erect to distract us, and that will be all to the good.

I hope you're well and thriving.

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Mark from Queens's picture

overall observations and suggestions. As always your views are so lucid and perceptive, which is so helpful and refreshing in such a weird time.

Your prediction that this epoch could be a revival of the 60's protest movements I think is right on. But like you say, it must be issue-focused. The suggestion to boil it down to two concise, over-arching, and quite frankly life-threatening, issues is prudent. The bread and circus routine has gotten stale, but with Drumpf manning the ring we have to be ever more vigilant that people aren't so distracted by the dazzling bullshit.

We talked about it a little in maggid's aforementioned essay, and I'm still slightly inclined to believing that a party built up from Bernie's Democratic Socialist platforms would be wildly popular, especially as Drumplethinskin plunges us deeper into mondo bizarro.

The only example I'd give of a politician to believe in, right now, would be Kshama Sawant. She continues to walk the walk, fiercely and bravely. What's the latest out of Seattle, they're divesting from Wells Fargo in solidarity with the #No DAPL protests? She came onto the scene, the first Democratic Socialist to be elected to office in over 100 years, like a gust of fresh air. Immediately told Boeing workers, who were being threatened with losing their jobs because they couldn't pay their workers, after she won her election but before she was sworn in, to sit down and occupy the manufacturing plant floor (ala the sit-in strikes of the 30's and 40's). She won with a massive volunteer/canvass campaign. And also because she didn't take any corporate money, and then honored her campaign promise to only take the median salary of Seattle in order to both be on equal economic standing with her constituency and to invest the money back into building the socialist movement. That's some radical shit right there. That builds movements.

I expanded more on Bernie's influence (here) and what it set up for politics going forward, in Phoebe's essay from yesterday morning, who by the way I believe made the comment about TOP you referred to, in which she made two excellent analogies, that it was like moving away from your old neighborhood and returning to find that you had nothing in common with the people there anymore, and another that TOP was like returning to your elementary school as an adult and feeling that everything that was once so big and magnificent felt so small and made you think, "how did I fit once into that small desk?" (paraphrasing)

Great to see you dd, and elated to know you'll be back around more in the upcoming days!

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"If I should ever die, God forbid, let this be my epitaph:

THE ONLY PROOF HE NEEDED
FOR THE EXISTENCE OF GOD
WAS MUSIC"

- Kurt Vonnegut

@Mark from Queens You and Tony Wikrent (nee nbbooks) and Phoebe and gjohnsit and StevenD and all the rest of this outstanding gang just keep making this place smarter and better. It's going to require some support, and I'll be writing about that soon.

I don't disagree with anything you've written here, in the comment you cite, or in maggid's essay thread. We will need a political organization to champion a new politics. But right now I think politicians are generally susceptible to corporatist pressure, new parties too easily marginalized. The best way to make a difference for ordinary people right now, in my current thinking, is to avoid representative "democracy" and bypass the politicians and the media filters. Just as OWS and the Sanders campaign forced their agendas onto the public stage, so must we continue to act outside the corporatist power structure to make our voices heard, our power felt.

If we can build powerful grassroots movements around specific issues, politicians will arise to scramble to the front of the parade. But if we don't have that giant parade marching in the direction we need to go, the politicians won't be able to do much for us.

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Phoebe Loosinhouse's picture

@Dallasdoc @Dallasdoc

started the synapses firing, particularly this bit

But right now I think politicians are generally susceptible to corporatist pressure, new parties too easily marginalized. The best way to make a difference for ordinary people right now, in my current thinking, is to avoid representative "democracy" and bypass the politicians and the media filters.

The extra credit essay question is: how does one implement policy without politicians?

I'm working on my answer to that question.

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" “Human kindness has never weakened the stamina or softened the fiber of a free people. A nation does not have to be cruel to be tough.” FDR "

@Phoebe Loosinhouse I hope you know how much I respect your thoughts and opinions.

My own answer revolves around the idea of a political market opportunity. There is a vast market for political representation that is currently unaddressed. The Democrats used to pretend to serve it, but they're losing market share as more and more people are figuring out that they're not doing what they claim to do. Some of those in that underserved political market buy in to the fast-food crap Donald Trump was selling, but he's doing a worse job if possible than the Democrats. Bernie Sanders began to reveal the size of the market before the oligarchy shut him out. His campaign, however, revealed the man working the levers behind the curtain for those who didn't already know he was there.

The political paradigm will have to shift markedly before any useful policies can even be considered, much less enacted. OWS made a good start with the 99% framing, and that will likely gain much greater currency with the upcoming recession. Bernie's campaign showed the corruption of the Democratic party, and caused it to lose the benefit of the doubt with a lot of people. I think the next recession, and Trump's reaction to it, will ignite the grassroots demands we need to begin to change politics. Democrats can't credibly claim to be on our side, not after Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. The market opportunity will yawn wide open with grassroots unrest and protest. At that point, insiders will appear to meet that demand. Keeping them honest and making them dependent on the movement's support will be the task of the movement leaders.

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Tony Wikrent's picture

In November 2009, Mark Z. Jacobson, at the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Stanford University, and Mark A. Delucchi, at the Institute of Transportation Studies, University of California at Davis, had an article in Scientific American that surveyed what was required to end the era of burning fossil fuels by 2030:

  • 3.8 million 5-Mega-Watt wind turbines;
  • 49,000 300-Mega-Watt concentrated solar plants;
  • 40,000 300-Mega-Watt solar power plants;
  • 1.7 billion 3-kilo-Watt rooftop photvoltaic (PV) systems;
  • 5,350 100-Mega-Watt geothermal power plants;
  • 270 new 1,300-Mega-Watt  hydroelectric power plants;
  • 720,000 0.75-Mega-Watt  wave devices; and
  • 490,000 1-Mega-Watt tidal turbines.

In 2011, they posted two pdf files providing heavily footnoted details of their 2009 Scientific American article; the pdfs provide all the details you could want, including discussion of critical material shortages, such as rare earth elements, for a mass, crash program.

Providing all global energy with wind, water, and solar power, Part I: Technologies, energy resources, quantities and areas of infrastructure, and materials

Providing all global energy with wind, water, and solar power, Part II: Reliability, system and transmission costs, and policies.

The estimated cost of this program is $100 trillion. As I explained in Dear Dems: Give me $100 trillion and I'll save your sorry ass (November 27, 2014):

What about the $100 trillion price tag? Sure seems staggering at first. But only because we have internalized the decades of propaganda promoting neo-liberalism by the one percent and the banksters. It is actually well within our capability: the entire world economy produces $71 trillion in goods and services each year (of which the U.S. economy produces around $16 trillion). $100 trillion over 15 years is just under $7 trillion a year. That’s just a ten percent increase in world output, right now! Less than ten percent with a 20 or 35 year program. That would make for the longest sustained world economic boom since the rebuilding of Europe and Japan after World War Two.

But where do we get $100 trillion? Well, the financial markets in the USA alone trade over $5 trillion each and every day in stocks. bonds, options, futures, swaps, and other derivatives. And, there is over $50 trillion sitting around in the world’s offshore hot money centers, which the one percent are hiding from tax authorities. To fund $100 trillion in new infrastructure we can either take that money away from the one percent, or take away their control over the creation and allocation of new money and credit, which they are misusing for speculation and usury. We can just create the money needed out of thin air. That is, in fact, the way money has always been created.

In addition, we need to renovate, rebuild, or replace every single building on the planet - residences, factories, office buildings, everything - to make them all carbon neutral. The Scandinavians have developed construction technologies that manufacture buildings with the tolerances used for machine tools and engines, with carefully designed HVAC systems. These buildings are able to keep occupants warm with just the head emitted by light sources and other appliances. Very impressive for buildings that are near or north of the Arctic circle. There is an industry association, in Sweden I think, that has a good website on these this building technology.

In addition, we need to build a LOT of urban rail mass transit systems. In New York City, the density of the rail transit system, in terms of route miles and stations per land area and per capita is about one half the density of rail transit systems in London, Moscow, Paris, Tokyo, and many other cities overseas. But the density of NYC is twice that of the next USA city, Chicago. In NYC, some 80% of trips in Manhattan are by rail transit system, and I think the figure for the entire city is well over 50%. USA cities like Miami, Dallas, Houston, Phoenix, Los Angeles, etc., are basically jokes when you look at the wonderful systems of places like Paris or Vienna. A good site is http://www.urbanrail.net/. In march 2009, I posted 3.195 trillion -TRILLION - for urban RAIL transit.

To build adequate urban rail transit systems in the 39 largest U.S. cities, where nearly half of all Americans live, is going to require $3.195 trillion. That is just construction costs – it does not include the cost of new rolling stock and maintenance rail vehicles. It is a project that can create 7.5 million jobs a year, for ten years.

Finally, a number of years ago Ian Welsh posted a list of policies to end Wall Street's dominance of the economy, and David Cay Johnston also posted a great list of policies. I blogged about these at the time and can probably find the links if anyone is interested.

The problem of course, is to seize control of the creation and allocation of money and credit from Wall Street and the City of London and the world's rich, to start funding all this work.

The problem after that, I think, is going to be shortages of labor.

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- Tony Wikrent
Nation Builder Books(nbbooks)
Mebane, NC 27302
2nbbooks@gmail.com

Strife Delivery's picture

@Tony Wikrent I spent some time in Japan.

God I loved the trains. I never drove once. I would say over 80% of my travel was done via trains of some form. The next chunk walking, followed by buses, followed by the forced need of a cab. I felt like I was able to go everywhere I wanted to go without needing to own a vehicle, either in Tokyo or even many of the smaller towns on either side of the country.

Even the rural areas I spent time in I was able to get around easily and freely. Not needing a vehicle felt like a relief actually. But I had to return home, to northern rural MN. A car is an absolute requirement here. Also cause our winters suck, but that's besides the point. I wish we had a mass transit system in this country, of multiple methods.

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@Strife Delivery car is an absolute necessity. I asked Santa for a Tesla but he didn't get my letter. Teslas now have a 285 mile range, and can be converted to self driving cars. If rural folks are ever going to be able to age in place, self driving vehicles are mandatory. I've seen too many people forced to move from their beloved farms when they could no longer drive. Im researching the solar options now. When Santa delivers the Tesla,Ill have the hookup in place. I want a red one case you're listening S.

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Strife Delivery's picture

@GusBecause That would be a pretty rad Santa if he started handing those out. I might even start sending him some letters then.

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gulfgal98's picture

@Tony Wikrent Jacobson and others' study was a comprehensive inventory, state by state, of what was needed to get us off fossil fuels. It is doable and I would contend that it IS the jobs program we desperately need in this country.

In November 2009, Mark Z. Jacobson, at the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Stanford University, and Mark A. Delucchi, at the Institute of Transportation Studies, University of California at Davis, had an article in Scientific American that surveyed what was required to end the era of burning fossil fuels by 2030:

It is great to see you posting essays and commenting here too, Tony.

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Do I hear the sound of guillotines being constructed?

“Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable." ~ President John F. Kennedy

@Tony Wikrent You were always one of my favorite writers over at TOP, and I'm delighted to see you here. I remember your diary on this topic over there, and haven't forgotten the awesomeness of the scale of effort required.

I think we need to reinvent cities more in the old model of denser development, reversing the suburban sprawl that mandates the use of cars. Even electric cars will require a lot of energy consumption as a main mode of transportation. More sustainable settlement patterns of dense cities, small villages with surrounding farmland and provincial smaller cities and towns will likely make a comeback, as still exist in Europe and China. Larger housing developments can permit improvements in insulation and energy efficiency that single family homes would have trouble duplicating at reasonable cost.

That $100 trillion number sounds unbelievably daunting, but if we look at the cost of fossil fuel infrastructure and its subsidies, the money spent maintaining and replacing current cars and trucks, the cost of current fossil fuel power generation plants and the like, the marginal cost difference would likely be a lot more tractable. Adding in the cost of loss of land to rising seas, expanding deserts, wars over limited resources and forced population shifts, and it would probably be a bargain.

What worries me is the increasing likelihood that we've already passed the tipping point, with positive feedback loops in the poles and the seas making further disaster unavoidable. That would require massive decreases in human populations, a dismantling of the nation state system, and a level of cooperation and sacrifice humans have never shown before. The alternative is an unplanned severe drop in human numbers, which I hope not to be around to see.

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@Tony Wikrent

Just to add:

http://www.politicususa.com/2015/06/09/report-shows-oil-industry-benefit...

Report Shows The Oil Industry Benefits From $5.3 Trillion in Subsidies Annually

By Rmuse on Tue, Jun 9th, 2015

... In a new and disturbing report from researchers at the International Monetary Fund, the world’s governments are providing subsidies to the highly profitable oil industry to the tune of an astonishing $5.3 trillion in benefits per year. Another way of looking at just how much the world pays the oil industry that bears responsibility for decimating the Earth’s environment; imagine they receive $10 million per minute. That is $10 million every minute, every day, of every month, of every year. Those mind-boggling entitlements have grown over the past couple of decades and are increasing every year.

What that also means is that every minute the world’s population is paying $10 million to help the fossil fuel industry pump climate-changing greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. ...

What most Americans may be surprised to learn, if they even care, is that the IMF report revealed that besides the obvious cash “subsidies” being regularly “gifted” to the oil industry of a collective $88 billion from the G-20 nations alone, are the horrific consequences of burning fossil fuels that very few nations, including the Koch-American government, are even willing to address. These are consequences such as the permanent and prohibitively costly health and environmental impacts affecting both local regions such as air and water pollution, and the more dangerous global consequences such as melting glaciers, rising sea levels, and extreme weather events wreaking havoc on the entire world.

Actually, it is the effects of pouring billions of tons of climate changing greenhouse gases into the atmosphere that accounts for nearly three-quarters of the final $5.3 trillion annual figure arrived at by IMF researchers. According to a statement from Benedict Clements representing the IMF’s fiscal affairs department; “While the large size of our new estimates may be surprising, it is important to put in perspective just how many health problems are linked to energy consumption and air quality.” According to conservative estimates of the World Health Organization (WHO), “One in eight global deaths are attributable just to air pollution.” Obviously it does not included the deaths from drought-related food shortages, lack of water, extreme and deadly weather events, or any of the other consequences of anthropogenic global climate change caused by burning fossil fuels. The WHO strongly suggests that even beyond the global climate benefits of the entire world working in concert to eliminate the highly-profitable oil industry’s entitlements, any one nation’s efforts to keep fossil fuels in the ground and out of the atmosphere “will carry very significant health and economic benefits at the local level.”

The IMF’s report revealed that ending oil industry entitlements would cut by half the number of deaths attributed to outdoor air pollution alone and save about 1.6 million human lives each year. Besides, the level of money being paid to the oil industry for nothing would be better spent on healthcare, education, and infrastructure improvements and relieve the crushing poverty plaguing third world nations like America and drive robust economic growth. Part of that spending naturally includes investing in more cost-effective and money-saving projects like clean and renewable energy and research and development of more energy-efficient uses for oil and gas. ...

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Psychopathy is not a political position, whether labeled 'conservatism', 'centrism' or 'left'.

A tin labeled 'coffee' may be a can of worms or pathology identified by a lack of empathy/willingness to harm others to achieve personal desires.

Get the money out of politics and then we, as a nation of citizens, can decide where we want to go.

I'm for all the ideas dallasdoc has but I'm a realist who wants to actually see it done. If we don't get rid of the corrupting influences of money and its influence then we don't stand a chance of changing anything else.

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@eltee I see its massive cost to society and its rotting of the political system. I don't see it as a rallying cry in the streets. Any political movement to achieve critical goals will immediately run up against the corrupt status quo, and any effort to fight that status quo will have to "weaponize corruption as a political issue," as I wrote over at TOP last January. Popular movements have to generate both hope and anger to keep going, and corruption will supply an endless supply of anger once people start naming and shaming it. The Hillary Wall Street speech controversy, and Donald Trump's endless refrain of "Crooked Hillary" make for a start. Of course, Trump doesn't seem to realize that's a sword that swings both ways. It may decapitate his administration before it gets too far into its term.

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Cassiodorus's picture

would produce such a program as you've suggested here, and, once having gotten such an agency, why would said agency want to stop there? My suggestion here is that you need a real political revolution, not just the Democratic Party facade promoted by Bernie Sanders.

The "carbon tax" thing appears as a sort of faddish intrusion into what seems like a reasonable plan. Why rely upon a capitalist economy, in which the carbon tax appears as a half-baked incentive amidst other massive incentives to consume fossil fuels, to do what only a postcapitalist economy can do?

One primary goal of physical climate change mitigation (as opposed to fantasy climate change mitigation, which can be achieved with any choice of public relations strategies) is to be able to create a world economy which can stay up and running with the energy produced through "alternative energy" technologies. We can either expand the "alternative energy" economy, a task which under present circumstances will require a LOT of fossil fuels, or we can shrink the present-day energy diet by eliminating all the useless crap that people do just to make money. Most likely both of these options will be pursued, but here I'd like to promote the merits of the second strategy.

The task is made vastly easier if you have a postcapitalist economy in which everyone is doing something that directly addresses human needs, rather than with the economy we have now, in which the vast preponderance of wealth is accumulated by those with the most power and in which the idea of a "profession" is typified by stuff like insurance, which serves nothing outside of the profit-margins of the insurers, or law, which has greatly metastasized for the sake of making lawyers rich. In this regard I really don't think the present-day capitalist economy is capable of transitioning smoothly to a post-fossil-fuel economy. There are too many too-powerful interests saying otherwise.

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"The future is inside us/ It's not somewhere else." -- Radiohead

@Cassiodorus The demands must be put forth in an undeniable way, so the politicians have no choice but to address them. I think of all the new forms the New Deal invented to deal with the crisis of the Great Depression, transforming the government and the country completely. Something on at least that scale will be needed, but first the social contract will have to be rewritten in a similar way. Governmental programs and agencies are always subject to regulatory capture, so the social goals have to be chiseled in stone in enabling legislation. Constitutional Amendments might even be required.

Current capitalism is unsustainable even in the short term, as the next crash will again show. A political movement has to be ready to demand a completely different governmental response to the next Wall Street disaster capitalism show, to take their billions and their capture of the economy and government away from them once and for all. We will probably still have a mixed capitalist-socialist system, but the socialist elements of it will require a lot of expansion at the expense of capitalism's freedom to oppress.

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@Cassiodorus

People need an alternative to fossil fuels, something affordable and built into the infrastructure they rely upon. 'The poors' are most of the world and they need warm against the cold, light against the dark, cooked food and transport just as much as do the less-poors, but generally have no chance of even properly supplying their basic needs as it stands. Extra costs are not an option...

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Psychopathy is not a political position, whether labeled 'conservatism', 'centrism' or 'left'.

A tin labeled 'coffee' may be a can of worms or pathology identified by a lack of empathy/willingness to harm others to achieve personal desires.

end of March for me, daughter, and grandsons. A. Escape route, and B. Eldest grandson wants EU citizenship for grad school and work. Very disappointed with Brexit for this reason. I am afraid even more countries will pull out, and it will have been a lot of expense for nothing.

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"Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich."--Napoleon

Redstella's picture

@dkmich I am too. I established my Canadian citizenship in the Bush years ( born there). One of my daughters claimed hers through me. It's been almost 10 years since moving from the Bay Area to semi-rural Oregon, and honestly, the thought of relocating again is exhausting. And I still have not adjusted to the colder, damper winters. And the Canadian seasons would be harder still. Still, the thought if I needed to, I could is wonderful. I would encourage everyone to consider their choices.

On other levels, I wonder if this is a basic life impluse. It must be in our dna as americans, no? Where would we all be if our ancestors had not taken up roots to move to a new continent. And on a personal level, a basic instinct for me is to run away. My husband complains that I think our relationship is over if we have a tiff. After almost 42 years, that is a little crazy.

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@Redstella or are you just running from something? What's your picture of that safe comfortable stress-free place look like? Better be clear before you take the leap, and a few weeks at a AirBnB really isn't going to give you a true idea of a community or locale. Move there and live there for a year before you pack up. I lived in Europe for several years in my long lost youth, and another thing I learned: If you do not understand the language, you miss vast amounts of information that is being disseminated all around you. The comments overheard at the market, the conversations of people on the bus, in lines, in the office. I didn't realize till I got back to an English speaking country just how much we rely on all that indirect, accidental information to make decisions. So learn the language like a native. And you might very well find the place you're looking for here in the US.

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@Redstella

Besides, passing down the family's heritage feels right. On the Isle of Ischia where my mom's family is from, there are still hundreds of DiMeglios everywhere. My dad's family is from Calabria. Italian citizenship is such that my great grandchildren will automatically be Italian citizens when born because my grandkids will be dual Italian citizens before they become parents. I hired a law firm to handle all of it for us. It was expensive, but it feels right.

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"Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich."--Napoleon

Cassiodorus's picture

@dkmich All I speak are English and Spanish, so I claim no authority.

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"The future is inside us/ It's not somewhere else." -- Radiohead

@Cassiodorus

My aunt tried to teach me as a child. It was not spoken in the home unless they didn't want the kids to understand or it was an old person. Immigrant Italians were fiercely disliked and considered black in the south. They were under intense pressure to assimilate and look and become "Americans". My mother was born in Boomer, WVA. Her parents ran a bakery and a boardinghouse until the male children began relocating to the factories in Detroit and resettled the family in Michigan.

Everybody speaks English enough for us ugly Americans to get by.

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"Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich."--Napoleon

gulfgal98's picture

@Cassiodorus Italian is a very easy language to learn. It is logical and simple in its construction.

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Do I hear the sound of guillotines being constructed?

“Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable." ~ President John F. Kennedy

Song of the lark's picture

Inorganic synthetic fuels. Not going to work to run our energy intensive civilization as it operates now.

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my 3rd episode of a contract "negotiation" in Seattle, in our craven, politically pathetic teachers phake ass union. At age 53, it was just too much, listening to people using organizing paradigms from the 1930's & 1950's & the Dukakis campaign of 1988.

It just hit me - "your lips move, but I can't hear what you're saying".

My facebook is on fire with all this anti trump blather &

YEAH, he's a fucking fascist idiot blah blah blah ... but ...

WHERE were the Dim-0-RAT$ and Dim-0-CRAP$ during Ronnie RayGun and Daddy CIA and Frat Boy Jr.?

A bit of me is stuck in "your lips move, but I can't hear what you're saying"

rmm

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But then I sigh; and, with a piece of scripture,
Tell them that God bids us do good for evil:
And thus I clothe my naked villany
With old odd ends stolen out of holy writ;

Thank you for this essay, this outline, this hopeful view and for your spirit.

I think we need to put war out of business. In order to do that, in order to stop our government from spending money we don't have on crimes against humanity and the planet, we have to find a way to stop signing off on our government's debts for criminal activity. Somehow this needs to be established and legally achieved. No more printing press for dollars for death.

The national debt in the year George W. Bush took office was about $5 trillion. When President Obama left office it was over $18 trillion. Where is that money? Are we seeing it in our infrastructure or our social well being? No. It has gone to war. We signed off on this madness. We can stop.

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Cassiodorus's picture

@Linda Wood It's based on faith. Even gold was based on faith. "Oooh but they're supposed to pay it back!" That will never happen. The government prints money and tells everyone to go to work on X. What we ought to be critiquing are the virtues (or lack thereof) of working on X. Yeah, war sucks. Let's divest from war.

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"The future is inside us/ It's not somewhere else." -- Radiohead

to move forward with in the PS on this side of the pond.

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kharma's picture

brown people might get to buy steaks and lobster sometime, and that is entirely unacceptable. /s

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There is nothing which I dread so much as a division of the republic into two great parties.. This...is to be dreaded as the greatest political evil under our Constitution.--John Adams

Azazello's picture

Along the same lines as your piece. counterpunch

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We wanted decent healthcare, a living wage and free college.
The Democrats gave us Biden and war instead.

gulfgal98's picture

@Azazello Outstanding piece that is very much like Dallas Doc's here. Great minds!

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Do I hear the sound of guillotines being constructed?

“Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable." ~ President John F. Kennedy

@Azazello I remember him being thoroughly ignored if not attacked when he used to post over at TOP. He's just the kind of writer they hate over there: smart and heterodox.

I swear I didn't read his piece before tossing up mine. Honest.... Thanks for bringing it to us.

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Really the question,isn't it?

Dead to dems.

Stein did not help the GP with her post-election antics. Greens seem to have had a bad rep anyway.

Most here would say new party, I'd guess.

Maybe the common ground is the JOB. Most people are screwed on the job first and it goes out from there. A job/labor slant also seems as good bet as any to go past old pol or race lines. A name which makes the basic demand but without scary commie connotations, FDR - like. Square Deal Party or some such. The connection of job/economy to war, etc. is not that hard to see.

A base exists in every workplace where people are losing out to a f**ked up system. I would expect any serious united labor movement to be very aggressive with respect to Taft- Hartley, or any other restrictions on direct general action by labor.

Where else? What else?
Prayers?

One point of apparent disagreement: Sanders decision to run as a Dem was not a strategic error, in my opinion. Sheepdog from the start! (sad and sick,a former bernie fan) thx.

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orlbucfan's picture

with the same common roots. You speak one (Spanish), you will have NO trouble picking up the others! I took French back in the Stone Age (of my youth), and already have the tools to master Spanish if necessary. Smile

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Inner and Outer Space: the Final Frontiers.

Steven D's picture

That was intended for @Dallasdoc. Not sure why it refers to you but my bad. Mea culpa.

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"You can't just leave those who created the problem in charge of the solution."---Tyree Scott

Phoebe Loosinhouse's picture

Yes, we need to have an activist agenda enumerated clearly to those in power AND we need people in positions of power who are able to implement the agenda.

If we don't do both, we will be continually left in the position of putting faith in politicians who are doing nothing but responding expediently to the demands of the day (prime example Schumer and Pelosi as we speak)or who will take our demands and bastardize them as happened to our calls for healthcare reform when Obama was elected.

We've never had any problem identifying what we want, Dallasdoc's platform is one that almost any liberal could get behind, we just haven't been able to ever successfully reach the implementation stage.

Marches and protests are great, but it's what comes after the marches and protests that count. TPTB learned one great lesson since the days that Viet Nam protests basically ended the war - if it isn't covered, it doesn't count. IMO when oceans of anti-Iraq War protestors didn't count for spit, I thought that day was over, even though it has great value for bond building and for letting people know that they aren't alone and that masses of others feel the way they do.

The only reason the Women's March got coverage IMO was because TPTB are ambivalent about Trump and don't mind seeing him defanged and humbled so that he will believe that he needs them. They are basically gaslighting him - look at how unpopular you are! but not to move any progressive agenda forward. If anything, they'll be more successful in rooting out the few less malevolent tendencies he was displaying, like not dismantling Social Security.

Face it, most elected politicians already have an agenda and it isn't ours. We can march, we can petition, we can write letters, we can withhold our vote, we can blog, we can threaten, we can cajole. But while we do all those things we should be focusing on building a movement/Party that runs people that don't need any of those tactics to persuade them to do what is obviously the right thing in the first place.

Up until now, we have always been successfully played or ignored or veal-penned or co-opted or stigmatized or distracted or pragmatized or divided by those who don't share our goals but want our votes. We can start by reforming ourselves to vow that this time we won't let that happen again. We need both a short and a long game.

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" “Human kindness has never weakened the stamina or softened the fiber of a free people. A nation does not have to be cruel to be tough.” FDR "

@Phoebe Loosinhouse Exactly.
You beautifully said what I ineptly tried to say.

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Big Al's picture

@Phoebe Loosinhouse Personally I'm done with political parties, not that I ever started, so I'm not going to join another one. I know many people who think that way. The people need to decide on the issues, direct democracy, not the politicians. We do it at the state, county and city levels, we can do it at the national level. I don't want my health care and the health care of my children and grandchildren left to this political system.
And I do think the major problem we have is deciding what we want, do we want democracy or not. I've been asking that questions for years now.

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@Big Al

Parties only count when they stick to a platform which is clearly laid out and which serves the public interest.

Neither of the US corporate parties have any ethics or notion of what the public service actually is and why these powers have been delegated by The People to public offices intended to serve the public interest, far too many being in it sheerly out of ignorant and boundless greed and therefore aren't worth the spit one could lay at their feet.

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Psychopathy is not a political position, whether labeled 'conservatism', 'centrism' or 'left'.

A tin labeled 'coffee' may be a can of worms or pathology identified by a lack of empathy/willingness to harm others to achieve personal desires.

@Phoebe Loosinhouse As I've said before here, I'm coming to believe that for most average citizens working on issues-based movements is more likely to achieve results than working to change the Democratic party or build a third party, RIGHT NOW. Movements that succeed always have an inside and an outside game. A MLK and a Malcolm X. A Gene McCarthy and a Tom Hayden. The inside players will appear when the movement gains enough power. It will then be up to the outsiders to hold the insiders to account, to keep them from selling us out yet again.

The media can refuse to cover protests, but the media has pretty thoroughly discredited itself in its treatment of the 2016 campaign. I don't really know anybody who watches the news and takes it seriously anymore. Some folks I know still trust the NYT, but when challenged they readily acknowledge the Iraq war cheerleading and the establishment bias. The Sanders campaign was pretty thoroughly ignored until it grew too big to ignore, with social media organizing and fundraising. This proves to me it can be done, with the right message and in the right circumstance. We just need to show it can be done in a different setting than a presidential campaign.

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@Dallasdoc The biggest problem with our country is the economic system we use. It is the root cause of all our problems. As consumers, we can change it without any need to change the political system. We have the power, we just don't realize it.

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"Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho

characterizing Bernie as a veal pen-er.

There is simply no way he could have built the infrastructure for a 3rd party at the time he considered running for pres.

But what about before, you might ask? Why didn't Bernie get things going a few years before? Well, he likely bought into the myths that socialistic candidates could not win, and that they sure couldn't outraise the big-money candidates.

He unexpectedly blew those myths up. And he, based on reporting here and there, probably succeeded to an extent beyond his wildest dreams.

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dfarrah

Creosote.'s picture

@dfarrah @dfarrah
--something about levels of need and honest action not being met, though Jane must have seen this too. Today I think that his surprise at the response to his diagnosis, especially after Portland, showed that he hadn't had time to really think through or feel the depths of how poisonous the dems' metamorphosis under tha aegis of the Deep State is. Now at least he has illuminated the stage where a living body politic meets gangrene and different maps are possible.

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k9disc's picture

I completely agree with your entire list here, but how?

Seems to me that taking on this platform requires that our problem be properly diagnosed.

We need to make corporate sponsorship an ethical and moral anvil, especially for politicians and political parties. Drumpf is completely germane here, and his corporate friendly policy and his Oligarch cabinet should be called out for the corporate confidence scam that it is -- clearly called out.

This is not happening. IMO, this must happen if we are to have any kind of shot at getting this platform a fair public airing.

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“Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.” ~ Sun Tzu

Creosote.'s picture

@k9disc
"We need to make corporate sponsorship an ethical and moral anvil."
And, per the CStS video above, to deal with the also already accomplished corporate destruction of the election process.

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shaharazade's picture

I too have backed right off politics in the wake of this surreal election. I agree with your issues including a living wage for all people but see no way to implement anything at all via the government. This includes all politics local, city state and national. All this energy spent by people of good spirit flipping out about the crazy ass vicious clown being installed is a waste. The partisan doupoly R's and D's is just a front for the owners of the place. Nowhere land.

I'm not as depressed as I was pre-election as in my community. I see a painful awakening occurring among ordinary people who placed their belief in the Democratic party as a vehicle for progress or as a counter to the insane RW Republicans. divide and conquer worked well. I am not a progressive. I have always resented this definition as I felt it was a safe marketing meme to avoid using the dreaded L word. Lefties or liberals being too extreme for the duopolistic complicit fascistic regime. It seemed to come into play with the Bushies selection. It is as meaningless at this point as the cooked up political spectrum divides of left/center/right. 'Moderate' is a sick joke also. There is nothing moderate about this New Democratic party.

I like the perspective from the place I'm in now. By letting go of false partisan politics and the false reality defined by the powers that be you can see that people are having to face the fact that there is no solution coming from this corrupted broken by-partisan system of government. I'm seeing comfortable middle class professionals, young people, people of color, and 'progressive's' coming to grips with just how screwed the country, world and our government on all levels are. They are also horrified by the Democrat's they have elected refusal to stop this insanity.

Lately many faithful Democrat's I know are advocating for activism outside the political circus. There are demonstrations being organized that are about movements. NoDAPL, BLM, labor and a lot of talk about solidarity between the different movements. I think any effective movement by the people will require them to come together and stop separating the issues into isolated groups. Once you stop looking at this horror show as them vs.us and realize that the answer is not coming from any political solution it frees you up to look for solutions within community be it online off.

Two people from my white comfortable formerly establishment Democratic street invited me via fb. to come to 'events' that have nothing to do with partisan politics or pols. This process of breaking away from the failed system will take time as look how long it took them to create this globalized NWO. It looks like the last farce of an election on every level has accelerated the process of people waking up.

So I say do not look to the established broken by design system but organize, participate and be active in your own community. If you have no community start creating one as there are people out there who are waking up and see the need for people to put aside the carefully constructed great divides and learn a new way. I guess I'm preaching that old hippie maxum 'Think global.Act local'. Resistance is brewing but it is obvious to most people it's not just about resisting Trump and his deplorable's. Nancy Pelosi said it would be irresponsible for the Demorat's to obstruct the Hairball. How can fear of the right still hold people when the pols we elect outright refuse to fight for democracy or the rule of law? They are complicit even if they call themselves progressives. This is what disaster capitalism looks like.

If their is a silver lining at all to this horrible situation it seems top me to be that a majority of people no longer believe that voting or democracy offers any 'way forward' that is not disastrous to both humans and the planet. Undoing the brainwashing that has kept the power where it is has begun. I'm playing it where it lays. I have no choice as like many I do not have the means to flee. Even if I did where are you going to run to as this is global takeover. Solidarity,activism, resistance and community outside the gates of the 1% and their flunky puppet pols is a good start.

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at which America's wealth has been flowing upward. At some point, unconscionable income disparity is bound to result in widespread public opposition to the status quo. Evidence of this discontent was already clearly apparent in the election, though it is currently divided between the Left and the Right. There's a very good chance that Trump's policies will exacerbate it, rather than calming things down. A window of opportunity could then appear, for a radical reformist movement to take shape.

But before that can happen, I think Trump's agenda must first be widely perceived to have failed. His supporters must first lose faith in him and what he stands for, before they will abandon him and begin to seek alternatives.

IMO the Left will need the support of "middle-America" in order to effectuate the kinds of radical re-orientation that are being discussed here. Sanders' campaign proved (or at least suggested) that a tactical alliance of the real Left, the traditionalist Right, and libertarians of all stripes, aided and abetted by radicalized youth, is not beyond the realm of possibility. But it would need to focus primarily on what substantially unites these various constituencies, not on the cultural issues that divide them. In order to overcome the bi-partisan Establishment that has been so effectively robbing us all blind, we would need to narrow the focus of what we intend to accomplish, so as not to alienate potential allies. To find a common ground in other words, so as to stand firmly upon it.

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native

@native Right wing nativist populism requires an authoritarian governmental system to perpetuate itself. Sometimes such rulers can deliver a temporary economic reward, as Hitler did in the mid-30's. Trump is much more likely to see another market crash in the first year or two of his reign, at which point his billionaire cabinet will look conspicuously not-populist.

The whole Right-Left paradigm needs to be chucked in favor of an Up-Down political axis, as I've written many times. That would put both parties on the same side: not ours. Divide and conquer techniques, so beloved of the oligarchs, can be used against them when politics is seen as a contest of the 99% vs. the 1%.

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enhydra lutris's picture

non-negotiable demands.

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That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

The list contains many different things, from the climate to social safety net. That makes it multi-faceted and thus subject to paring by the msm, special interests, and further obfuscation by individuals with their own agenda/interpretation.

Obviously, the past cannot be changed (wikipedia doesn't count), the present and the future are what we each have to work with. If we can take a few moments to assess what we can do individually and combine our capabilities, then we can be more powerful, by doing what we need versus being stuck in the planning/analysis. Yes, there is risk in doing, but it outweighs the risk in staying on the current trajectory towards extinction.

The msm, the parties, and the monied interests will take us seriously only when we can hit them in the wallet.

msm: mock them and treat them as they treated OWS, by making their most ridculous the prime example of what is wrong with the entire msm. The msm has not learned a thing based upon the present, and no member of the msm has paid a price for trying to control the narrative from OWS and leading up to the election, nor all that has happened since. Until there are sincere apologies and resignations, do not provide them any relief.

parties: This is the most risky facet, as there are plenty of monied interests that have paid for offices and would like to keep their assets in office. find a weak, abuser of public trust, and recruit and support a candidate to run against that person. Better if the person is at the state level or a us congress member. Remember: we don't have to win the seat, just deliver a message (although winning would be great too). Once the message is heard, the next target will have plenty of time to fully comply. The second target is the one we have to win: Either that officeholder adopts all of our policy goals, or must be voted out. The first may be just a warning, the second MUST be the Example.

monied interests: divest or start a business to compete against them. make their bad business practices become more costly to continue, but be sure to provide them a path for a way towards betterment. In the worst cases, like coal, nuclear, oil, and fracking, make their business model obsolete. Remove all incentive to use those products by promoting and using inexpensive alternatives. If there are no existing alternatives, invest in the research for alternatives.

Prepare to win: An injured and cornered animal can be more dangerous, so always provide a way for opponents to work with you, when possible, and don't hurt them when they do. It will be better to avoid confrontation, when possible, think win-win. Governments and businesses both have inertia, so true change won't happen in a day, but eventually with the right pushing when/where needed, and hints at the right moments, we'll all get through this.

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Fighting for democratic principles,... well, since forever

can carry the water, each with their 'silo' issues. BUT they have to have a pact to support each other and none of their issues can contradict another within the coalition. While this may seem onerous, there are so many critical issues to push that leaving some splinters behind might be a real blessing.

But you are right in thinking that we cannot be pushing a party, unless we push for something like ranked choice balloting in all 50 states. Instead we should insist on only supporting those whose words AND ACTIONS support the coalition platform.

It is possible that candidates can come FROM those organization and, regardless of party, capture the attention of the members of the organizations within the coalition.

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