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Can the Left Stage a Tea Party?

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Posted on Oct 2, 2011
Mark Taylor (CC-BY)

The American Dream Movement, led by environmental activist and former Obama administration official Van Jones (above), is helping to organize the Campaign for America’s Future.

By E.J. Dionne, Jr.

Why hasn’t there been a tea party on the left? And can President Obama and the American left develop a functional relationship?

That those two questions are not asked very often is a sign of how much of the nation’s political energy has been monopolized by the right from the beginning of Obama’s term. This has skewed media coverage of almost every issue, created the impression that the president is far more liberal than he is, and turned the nation’s agenda away from progressive reform.

A quiet left has also been very bad for political moderates. The entire political agenda has shifted far to the right because the tea party and extremely conservative ideas have earned so much attention. The political center doesn’t stand a chance unless there is something like a fair fight between the right and the left.

It’s not surprising that Obama’s election unleashed a conservative backlash. Ironically, disillusionment with George W. Bush’s presidency had pushed Republican politics right, not left. Given the public’s negative verdict on Bush, conservatives shrewdly argued that his failures were caused by his lack of fealty to conservative doctrine. He was cast as a big spender (even if a large chunk of the largesse went to Iraq). He was called too liberal on immigration and a big government guy for bailing out the banks, using federal power to reform the schools, and championing a Medicare prescription drug benefit.

Conservative funders realized that pumping up the tea party movement was the most efficient way to build opposition to Obama’s initiatives. And the media became infatuated with the tea party in the summer of 2009, covering its disruptions of congressional town halls with an enthusiasm not visible this summer when many Republicans faced tough questions from their more progressive constituents.

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Obama’s victory, in the meantime, partly demobilized the left. With Democrats in control of the White House and both houses of Congress, stepped-up organizing didn’t seem quite so urgent.

The administration was complicit in this, viewing the left’s primary role as supporting whatever the president believed needed to be done. Dissent was discouraged as counterproductive.

This was not entirely foolish. Facing ferocious resistance from the right, Obama needed all the friends he could get. He feared that left-wing criticism would meld in the public mind with right-wing criticism and weaken him overall.

But the absence of a strong, organized left made it easier for conservatives to label Obama himself as a left-winger. His health care reform is remarkably conservative—yes, it did build on the ideas implemented in Massachusetts that Mitt Romney once bragged about. It was nothing close to the single-payer plan the left always preferred. His stimulus proposal was too small, not too large. His new Wall Street regulations were a long way from a complete overhaul of American capitalism. Yet Republicans swept the 2010 elections because they painted Obama and the Democrats as being far to the left of their actual achievements.

This week, progressives will highlight a new effort to pursue the road not taken at a conference convened by the Campaign for America’s Future that opens Monday. It is a cooperative venture with a large number of other organizations, notably the American Dream Movement led by Van Jones, a former Obama administration official who wants to show the country what a truly progressive agenda around jobs, health care and equality would look like. Jones freely acknowledges that “we can learn many important lessons from the recent achievements of the libertarian, populist right,” and says of the progressive left: “This is our ‘tea party’ moment—in a positive sense.” 

What’s been missing in the Obama presidency is the productive interaction with outside groups that Franklin Roosevelt enjoyed with the labor movement and Lyndon B. Johnson with the civil rights movement. Both pushed FDR and LBJ in more progressive directions while also lending them support against their conservative adversaries.

The question for the left now, says Robert Borosage of the Campaign for America’s Future, is whether progressives can “establish independence and momentum” while also being able “to make a strategic voting choice.” The idea is not to pretend that Obama is as progressive as his core supporters want him to be, but to rally support to him nonetheless as the man standing between the country and the right wing.

A real left could usefully instruct Americans as to just how moderate the president they elected in 2008 is—and how far to the right conservatives have strayed.


E.J. Dionne’s e-mail address is ejdionne(at)washpost.com.
   
© 2011, Washington Post Writers Group


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OzarkMichael's avatar

By OzarkMichael, October 8, 2011 at 11:06 am Link to this comment

I wouldn’t be surprised if that sorry excuse for a media hadn’t been culling the intelligent responses and aired the dullard responses instead, attempting to discredit the entire OWS movement as some kind of disorganized throng of ignorant malcontents.

why not? They did it to the Tea Party. Why should the Occupation get special treatment?

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By BR549, October 8, 2011 at 10:14 am Link to this comment

OzarkMichael, October 8 at 9:01
“...... the Occupation was organized and they have been coached in advance not to say what they are thinking.”

When asked what form of government some of the protestors wanted and what they would replace this one with, too many of them adopted that dazed “dear-in-the-headlights” look and I actually don’t think they had given much thought to it (not all of them, mind you). I wouldn’t be surprised if that sorry excuse for a media hadn’t been culling the intelligent responses and aired the dullard responses instead, attempting to discredit the entire OWS movement as some kind of disorganized throng of ignorant malcontents.

What would have been refreshing would have been for someone to have replied to that question, “... an uncorrupt downsized version of government that actually embraces the same Constitution we have now; the one that our forefathers had envisioned that was supposed to address the people instead of itself.” There isn’t anything wrong with our Constitution and the only thing wrong with our government is that class of parasites that has forgotten its sworn purpose and taken it over for their own benefit.

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By OzarkMichael, October 8, 2011 at 9:01 am Link to this comment

As for Steve Lerner, people are still allowed to be members of unions, and even have jobs with them, and to have and utter opinions even so.

That isnt the point. Here is the point: the Occupation was organized and they have been coached in advance not to say what they are thinking. The evidence is undeniable. The video is undeniable.

I dont know why you brought up whether Lerner is allowed to be in a Union. That goes without saying. Maybe you are just deflecting attention from Lerner’s role of organizing the Occupation 6 months ago?

About the only ideas that have been excluded (by social pressure) are expressions of racism.

Of course social pressure rather than individual conviction is what keeps Pawns in line. Now you better get that social pressure turned up a few notches, because here is a video with potent antisemitism at your Occupation of Wall Street:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Imt8Tj6VPdU

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By Anarcissie, October 8, 2011 at 7:16 am Link to this comment

If you’re into looking at videos of the Occupation, I suggest you read the signs.  You will find a very large selection of opinions, some of them contradicting each other.  About the only ideas that have been excluded (by social pressure) are expressions of racism.  There is no use pretending the Occupation is under some kind of cult-like control; the facts are otherwise, as anyone who looks into the subject knows. 

As for Steve Lerner, people are still allowed to be members of unions, and even have jobs with them, and to have and utter opinions even so.

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By OzarkMichael, October 7, 2011 at 7:42 pm Link to this comment

Anarcissie said:

It doesn’t matter whether Steve Lerner or Bill Ayers works for the government or the Democratic Party or whoever.  People saying what they think, or being paid to say what someone else thinks, or going around trying to start demonstrations and movements, is normal political discourse.  It’s not some kind of crime or plot.


First Steve Lerner works for the Union, the purple shirts of SEIU. I told you that on day one. Speaking of Unions, did you know Anarcissie, that some of the Unions have spontaneously announced they are going to support the Occupation?

Isnt it great when out of the blue people just help you? Because its all just coincidence, right?

Next Anarcissie, do you really believe this is about the Occupiers saying what they think?

You saw the video? Or were you afraid to look at it? What does “dont say it bro!” tell you about saying what they think?

What does the guy blocking the young Occupier from spilling the beans tell you about the Occupier saying what she thinks?


I have asked you to explain it. You wont or maybe you cant? I will try.

“Dont say it bro!” means they have been coached to not say what they think! the very thing you claim is happening has been blocked beforehand. Who would do such a thing? And why?

I want to know who figured that little strategy up. Who was the coach? Who was the organizer months and months ago? Arent you curious? I am.

I think the Leftist method of reducing political activism to the lowest observable motivation needs to be applied evenly across the whole political spectrum.

Its only fair isnt it? 

But I notice that you are resisting such even-handed objectivity. Unfortunately its too late to stop now. I insist you get a nice dose of Leftist medicine. After all, the objectivity will bring the truth to light. Reduction is good for you!

Once again I explain… it is is not a matter of being paid to say things, its a question of whether the Occupiers were organized months ago and coached not to say certain things. It was all wound up and aimed at Wall Street months ago. It looked spontaneous, but face the facts. It was not spontaneous at all.

They have been manipulated. I feel sorry for the Pawns, I really do.

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By Anarcissie, October 7, 2011 at 6:27 pm Link to this comment

I hate to be repetitious, but I feel I must try again.  It doesn’t matter whether Steve Lerner or Bill Ayers works for the government or the Democratic Party or whoever.  People saying what they think, or being paid to say what someone else thinks, or going around trying to start demonstrations and movements, is normal political discourse.  It’s not some kind of crime or plot.

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By Jorge X. Rodriguez, October 7, 2011 at 5:51 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

@Ozark Michael, You seem convinced that people who have different ideas from yours are “dupes” or “pawns”.  But how do you know the duped party is not you?  What is your evidence?

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By OzarkMichael, October 7, 2011 at 5:39 pm Link to this comment

Anarciese said:

Mr. O needs to get some of them back if he wants to win the election in 2012.  Occupy Wall Street is very popular with the proggies, as well as with a lot of other people.  So if he can associate himself with the Occupation somehow, and use it to hide his connections with the financial industry, it improves his poor chances.

You are finally getting it. That was the plan from a year ago. The folks who organized the Days of Rage at the beginning are all from Obama’s backround.

Bill Ayers held the original Days of Rage. I have explained that to you before. Bill Ayers was Obama’s first political mentor. I have explained that to you before. I mentioned Bill Ayers from the start of the Occupation.

Listen Anarcissie. Just lately Ayers pops up with a ‘collective statement’. Yes. That Bill Ayers, the unrepentent domestic terrorist who was Obama’s first political mentor has stepped out from the shadows.
Please look at the link:

http://billayers.wordpress.com/2011/10/05/occupy-wall-street-collective-statement-of-the-protesters/

Yes, he isnt in Obama’s administration, niether is Steve Lerner. They have made their contributions and Obama will reap the harvest later.

The Occupation was pushed and agitated for by the Puppetmasters. Please dont be a Pawn anymore.

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By Anarcissie, October 7, 2011 at 10:09 am Link to this comment

Here are some other takes on the subject (sort of):

Matt Stoller: The Anti-Politics of #OccupyWallStreet
http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2011/10/matt-stoller-the-anti-politics-of-occupywallstreet.html

Occupy Wall Street Protesters Fed Up With Both Parties
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/06/occupy-wall-street-protesters_n_999289.html

Why #OccupyWallStreet Doesn’t Support Obama: His “Nothing to See Here” Stance on Bank Looting
http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2011/10/why-occupywallstreet-doesnt-support-obama-his-nothing-to-see-here-stance-on-bank-looting.html

Meanwhile I see that Herman Cain has endorsed the right-wing party line on the protests, whereas the Democrats are going through all sorts of gyrations to at once adopt, subvert, and neutralize the movement.

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By Anarcissie, October 7, 2011 at 9:03 am Link to this comment

OzarkMichael, October 6 at 6:02 pm:

‘Anarcissie about the concept of Obama operatives being behind the Occupation: “Should this become a popular view, it will help Obama a lot.”

Uhh. only with Leftists. ...’

That was exactly my point.  Right now, Mr. O has lost most of the proggies.  I think the very last straws were his cave-in to the Republicans during the debt limit crisis, or his flip-flopping on the sanctity of Social Security.  Although proggies may not be very numerous, Mr. O needs to get some of them back if he wants to win the election in 2012.  Occupy Wall Street is very popular with the proggies, as well as with a lot of other people.  So if he can associate himself with the Occupation somehow, and use it to hide his connections with the financial industry, it improves his poor chances.  Limbaugh is claiming there is such an association.  (Reading around, this seems to be a sort of party line.)  So Limbaugh is assisting Mr. O, improbable as that may seem.

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By OzarkMichael, October 6, 2011 at 6:02 pm Link to this comment

Anarcissie about the concept of Obama operatives being behind the Occupation: “Should this become a popular view, it will help Obama a lot.”

Uhh. only with Leftists. You guys love being manipulated so much that when you are told you are being manipulated you want to vote for the guy who did it? Thats pretty weird but i will take your word for it.

the rest of us get mad if we find out we are manupulated. we watch out for it. we resist it. But thats just us.

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By OzarkMichael, October 6, 2011 at 5:00 pm Link to this comment

Alinsky believed in finding foci of political power and taking control of them—for the benefit of the people, of course.  He would advocate targeting the powerful with very specific demands and actions.  In Rules for Radicals he pushes close study of the targets for exactly this purpose.

Alinsky was also careful not to let the common folk know his real goal, since he didnt want to scare anybody with his long range far-Leftist agenda. The main thing was to fool people into signing up and get used to accomplishing simple things.

The Leftist game is manipulation of the masses. For their own good of course. Always for their own good. From beginning to the end, Anarcissie, Leftists manipulate and hide the truth for the people’s good. Even the gulags were for the people’s good. 
The Wall Street Occupiers is the beginning of a Leftist movement. Right from the start, the manipulation is evident and incontrovertable. You did watch that video? There are many more along the same lines now so you cant say it was one stray encounter. Need to see one again?  the 1:08 mark is a good one.

http://www.foxnews.com/on-air/oreilly/2011/10/03/jesse-watters-crashes-wall-street-protest

Can you can explain what “Dont say it, bro!” signifies? Can you give it some rational ‘best of us’ ‘honest’ ‘pure’ ‘leaderless’ ‘prophetic’ ‘democratic’ explanation? I didnt think so. But you accept it as such just the same.

Please explain how it bodes well for the Leftist push for power that it always begins by not telling people what the real goal is.

If you tell lies now, in the early phase of ‘purity’  what makes you think the lies at the foundation wont grow into bigger lies as it succeeds? What is the basis of this hope? History? Like the French and Russian revolutions. You have sone heavy explaining to do.

Please explain why Occupiers were coached before they arrived and also sometimes right on the spot(see the videos) they remind each other “Dont say it, bro!” What are we not allowed to know and why?

You are so starry eyed about this, and idealistic. Its endearing in a way, but these are the sort of idealistic people and the same sort of methods that historically brought about Leftist totalitarian states.

The Occupation uses Alinsky methods. If you dont believe me get your Rules for Radicals book and I will show you.

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By Anarcissie, October 6, 2011 at 4:40 pm Link to this comment

In relation to some of what I’ve written here, I just now got an email message from a right-wing list that quotes Limbaugh as blaming the Occupations on Obama—not abstractly, either, apparently he means an explicit, concrete plot.  However, no specifics were given.  The only connection Limbaugh mentions (in the quotation) is supposed similarity between the Occupations’ imagined politics and Obama’s imagined politics.  (I find Limbaugh’s imagination somewhat far afield, but never mind that.)

Should this become a popular view, it will help Obama a lot.  One of the things he’s got to do if he wants be reelected in 2012 is get the proggies back after totally dumping on them very consistently since May ‘08.  If Limbaugh connects the Occupations with Obama, it may restore Obama’s proggie cred.  (I think it’s a hopeless case, actually; but, who knows?)

Another possible effect will be to destroy what’s left of the right-wing populism of the Tea Party (-ies).  One of the (quite valid) resentments of Tea Party goers has been the bailouts and other special attentions given to the banks, and the rich in general.  Obama has been characterized as a tool of Wall Street.  If now he is the enemy of Wall Street, as indicated by his connection to the Occupations, does this not make him a populist hero?  What’s a Tea Party enthusiast to do?  Well, some of them have already showed up at the Occupations.

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By oddsox, October 6, 2011 at 4:34 pm Link to this comment

@Anarcissie: 
Chaos theory, then? 
With strange attractors?

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By Anarcissie, October 6, 2011 at 1:00 pm Link to this comment

I think Alinsky would be quite impatient with the Occupation.  Alinsky believed in finding foci of political power and taking control of them—for the benefit of the people, of course.  He would advocate targeting the powerful with very specific demands and actions.  In Rules for Radicals he pushes close study of the targets for exactly this purpose.  By contrast, part of what the Occupiers are complaining about is the concentration of power—the fact that the desires, interests and views of ordinary people don’t appear to count for anything any more.  The targeting of particular individuals and organizations doesn’t seem to be high on their to-do list, probably on the theory that if you get rid of some, others will step into their places.

Of course, Occupy Wall Street has enemies—very powerful ones.  ‘Lambs surrounded by wolves.’  The biggest threat at the moment, I would say, is the Democratic Party leadership.  The Occupiers’ very variegated constituency is also likely to develop centrifugal pressures, which will be carefully played by others.  However, it has already made an important difference and no one can say what will happen next.  Interesting times!

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By oddsox, October 6, 2011 at 11:17 am Link to this comment

@anarcissie, you wrote:
“Alinsky had rather different intentions from OccupyWallStreet.”

Alinsky wrote his book to be a actical manual.
“Rules for Radicals is written for the Have-Nots on how to take it (power of the Haves) away.”
—Alinsky

OWS is EXACTLY the kind of event he would have orchestrated and supported. 
But he would have recognized it as a tactic, a means to an end and not an end in itself.

Now 40 years old, Rules for Radicals is a worthy read for both those who subscribe to his politics and those (myself included) who do not.

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OzarkMichael's avatar

By OzarkMichael, October 6, 2011 at 11:05 am Link to this comment

Anarcissie said: “OWS is its methods, at least until is captured and turned, or is broken up or crushed by its enemies.”

So no matter what happens, if it isnt good, you Leftists will blame your class enemies. Everything is all set then. You guys are True Believers.

oddsox said: “Specifically, your buddy Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals,
“rule #10: A tactic that drags on too long becomes a drag.”

It looks like somebody here has a clue. I am impressed, oddsox.

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By Anarcissie, October 6, 2011 at 9:06 am Link to this comment

Oddsox—Alinsky had rather different intentions from OccupyWallStreet.  The method you quoted is suggested for an ongoing organization whose aim is to acquire institutional, permanent power for itself or whoever is running it.  OWS is its methods, at least until is captured and turned, or is broken up or crushed by its enemies.

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By oddsox, October 6, 2011 at 8:46 am Link to this comment

RIP Steve Jobs 1955-2011.  Ironic that this “loss of Jobs” story is bigger than the recurring “loss of jobs” during the past 5 years. 
A refresh is coming tomorrow when the new unemployment numbers are unveiled.

@Anarcissie:  ...“every politician, bloggist, bureaucrat and hack strives to interpret the movement and tell it what to do..”
Hey, I resemble that remark! 
But it’s for your own good.
If you’re talking about Co-op financials and Credit Unions, fine, we already have them and could use more. 
There’s room for other ideas for banking as well.
But not exclusively. 
More alternatives (competition!)for the banking consumer & small business will create the jobs and help to mend our economy.
First step is anti-trust action to break up the big banks & insurance companies.
 

@gerard, it appears that, unlike Van Jones, you’re not yet willing to learn from your enemies. 
Fair enough: learn from your allies:
Specifically, your buddy Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals,
“rule #10: A tactic that drags on too long becomes a drag.”
Again, unless OWS adopts a “stick-and-move” strategy (more Ali), it will soon be a 2nd-page story as its mired participants’ own filth mixes with snow. 
The “movement” you describe and defend on another thread must do just that—move or die.

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By Anarcissie, October 6, 2011 at 8:15 am Link to this comment

I’m doubtful as to whether it’s a good idea to have the monetary system almost completely in the hands of an elite class of wealthy people, regardless of whether they’re in a single too-big-to-fail organization or a lot of smaller ones.  There are other solutions to the problem.

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By Inherit The Wind, October 6, 2011 at 7:50 am Link to this comment

No, OM:
I want regulation to end corporate cheating! Corporate cheats don’t end up as convicts, they end up as governors of Texas and Florida!

Medicare is being cheated BIG TIME.  Not by doctors and patients but by the health care corporations that are YOUR alternative to a single payer system.

Check this out: This week Amedisys is under Federal investigation for massive Medicare fraud.  Seems they would the MOST reimbursement when patients had 10 follow-up therapy sessions.  So all their patients “coincidentally” had 10 sessions. When Medicare switched them to 6 and 14 sessions, within a month Amedisys “somehow” re-diagnosed all their patients and all the new ones needing 6 and 14 sessions.

Community Health Systems is next to be investigated and HMA is certainly going to get a long look.

This is EXACTLY what is the result of what you think you want.  Compared to this ocean of cheating and stealing Ronald Reagan’s fictional “Welfare Queen” isn’t enough spit to cover the point of a needle.

Corporations have shown that unregulated they cheat, steal, bribe, pollute, impoverish and betray their home nation in the blink of an eye.  We may need corporations, but we sure as HELL don’t need them if they are unregulated.

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By OzarkMichael, October 6, 2011 at 4:50 am Link to this comment

ITW said:

Maybe because your TeaParty friends are actively working against their own self-interest and the interest of the nation and for the interests of soulless corporations and Wall Street cheats, whereas the Occupiers are working AGAINST those corrupted corporations, and the dishonest Wall Street brokerage houses, and FOR the best interests of working people and their families, and the good of the nation.

Ah, since your Puppetmaster is a different class that supposedly makes your Occupation pure and clean and ‘leaderless’ and ‘democratic’. How very Leftist of you, to disqualify millions of conservative activists and voters on the basis of your ideological bias, and to not to not notice the organization and goals behind your own activists. No one is more easy to manipulate than a blind Pawn like yourself.  You are ready to unknowingly(knowihngly?) support a Leftist police state just like the Leftist Pawns before you. What will your excuse be? “Well, at least it isnt controlled by soulless corporations”?

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By marian griffith, October 6, 2011 at 2:46 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

@anarcissie
—If some institution is ‘too big to fail’ that does imply some kind of community-wide control of its behavior, since the general welfare is bound up with its fate.—

There is no such thing as ‘too big to fail’. Only ‘too big to exist’. If we find, as a society that a corporation has become so predominant and inevitable that its disappearance would bring about a collapse of society (or so it claims) then the logical reaction is not to support it but to break it into smaller pieces that can not hold the entire country hostage to its interests.

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By Anarcissie, October 5, 2011 at 10:59 pm Link to this comment

Incidentally, this same Van Jones is over publicizing himself on Alternet.  You can see that he has been tasked with the job of capturing #OccupyWallStreet, turning it to use for his masters—and their masters—and then killing it.  Meanwhile there is a rising chorus of gabbling as every politician, bloggist, bureaucrat and hack strives to interpret the movement and tell it what to do, as if anybody cared what they thought.

It will be particularly ironic if a movement against the power of the financial elite is turned to serve the very people it opposes.

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By Inherit The Wind, October 5, 2011 at 8:25 pm Link to this comment

Gee, I don’t know, OM.

Maybe because your TeaParty friends are actively working against their own self-interest and the interest of the nation and for the interests of soulless corporations and Wall Street cheats, whereas the Occupiers are working AGAINST those corrupted corporations, and the dishonest Wall Street brokerage houses, and FOR the best interests of working people and their families, and the good of the nation.

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By Anarcissie, October 5, 2011 at 7:12 pm Link to this comment

Oddsox—I would prefer a different sort of banking system based primarily on cooperative institutions.  It should go without saying that its business dealings would be completely transparent and that its owner-depositors would have collective control over it through democratic representation.  In that case, its size might not matter.

If some institution is ‘too big to fail’ that does imply some kind of community-wide control of its behavior, since the general welfare is bound up with its fate.

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By BR549, October 5, 2011 at 4:05 pm Link to this comment

David J. Cyr, October 5 at 5:32 am
“In the theater that impersonates political differences in America, conservatives and liberals blame each other for what they both have done together.”

That, in a nutshell, sums up the entire problem with this country. It’s about the most concise, one liner I have heard on the topic to date.

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By gerard, October 5, 2011 at 3:47 pm Link to this comment

Correction, Mr.Dionne:

You say:  “The entire political agenda has shifted far to the right because the tea party and extremely conservative ideas have earned so much attention.”

It was NOT EARNED! It was bestowed upon them by first of all their own ignorant rabble-rousing techniques, and second by their being heavily publicized by media as “news”, and then heavily subsidized financially (and enslaved in the process) by Koch money.

People can “earn attention” by dancing naked in the streets, but I don’t advocate it as a helpful answer
to deep-rooted political problems.

Naked in the streets?  Yes, a metaphor for the following excesses of the Right:
  1.  Naked ignorance of the idea that “drowning government in the bathtub” would be a change for the better.
  2.  Naked ignorance of the idea that public health insurance and social security for everybody are (a) “socialistic” and (b)reprehensible, wasteful, unnecessary etc.
  3.  Naked ignorance that “American exceptonalism” and a return to the American Revolution are adequate
answers to 21st Century problems.
  4.  Naked ignorance of white supremacy lurking behind many repressive policies of all kinds regarding immigrants, prison jurisdictions, court decisions, surveillance techniques, media presentations and wars (including the “war on drugs”)

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By oddsox, October 5, 2011 at 2:46 pm Link to this comment

@Anarcissie, I saw a sign from OWS on the morning news: “Too Big to Fail is Too Big to Allow.”
Assuming it was your handiwork—thanks.

Keep working to Break up the Banks w/ Anti-Trust litigation.

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By Anarcissie, October 5, 2011 at 12:35 pm Link to this comment

If there are any agents or manipulators in the Occupation, I’d like them to be exposed.  We need names, dates, and facts.  There is no doubt some people are trying to manipulate it—see the article above.  At this time I don’t think they’ve succeeded.

There are some provocateurs and trolls, but so far the movement has been able to exert enough discipline not to be suckered into doing anything really stupid.

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By Muzzle Flash, October 5, 2011 at 10:07 am Link to this comment

“The war against working people should be understood to be a real war….
Specifically in the U.S. which happens to have a highly class-conscious business
class…. And they have long seen themselves as fighting a bitter class war, except
they don’t want anybody else to know about it.” ~Noam Chomsky

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By bpawk, October 5, 2011 at 9:39 am Link to this comment

There is no ‘left’ in your country - you are an oligarchical country, rules by a few elites. The closest you had to a leftwing candidate was Ralph Nader, whom most of you thought you were too good to vote for. I guess you wish you had him back!

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By David J. Cyr, October 5, 2011 at 5:32 am Link to this comment

In the theater that impersonates political differences in America, conservatives and liberals blame each other for what they both have done together.

It’s quite clear that people participating in the Tea Party and the Occupy movement are both outraged with the government of the Corporate States of America.

It’s also obvious that (R) & (D) factions of the corporate party have MovedOn in to co-opt both movements of people revolting.

The working class people participating in the Tea Party and the Occupy movements have more in common with each other than not.

Those of them who voted for the corporate party’s Republicans or Democrats have the most in common — having voted for what they protest against.

http://www.chenangogreens.org

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By OzarkMichael, October 5, 2011 at 5:04 am Link to this comment

Have it your way, ITW.

Since you believe that millions of us conservatives have been manipulated without our knowledge of it, why dont you apply the same analysis to the Occupiers?

Oh, thats right, the Occupiers are the ‘best of us’, as if their Leftist ideology prevents them from being manipulated.

Dream on, Pawn!

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By Inherit The Wind, October 5, 2011 at 3:37 am Link to this comment

OM,
You actually believe the Tea Party is spontaneous?  That’s like pouring gasoline on the floor, touching a match to it, and calling THAT spontaneous combustion.

No, the TP was conceived and heavily funded by the Koch Brothers and other, but especially them to try to create a vast movement to “fight” government regulations and especially government spending on ENFORCING regulations and laws.

Now it’s come out that their “Koch Korporation” is actively engaged in bribing overseas officials, stealing oil off Federal land without being licensed and a whole slew of other violations that a denuded and de-funded federal government couldn’t enforce.

If there’s no money for policing, the crooks can continue their crime with no fear of enforcement.  Hence vast funding of a national “spontaneous” movement. 

Hell, it was politically astute and clever, and it almost worked and may yet…because, like Richard Scrushy, jail IS a viable outcome for them that they would want to avoid.

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By Payson, October 4, 2011 at 9:32 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Progressives should not(and I am speaking only for myself) follow the example
of the Tea Party and mass together herds of ignorant and/or misinformed
people.  We all know why most of us are hurting, but progressives will be held
to a much higher standard by the “media.”  Angry college graduates who can’t
find a decent job are not as entertaining as older conservatives who show up
draped in flags and carrying racist, misspelled or entirely false posters.  If the
“media” decides to pay our side any more attention it will be with a VERY critical
lens. 
I don’t think the Tea Party followers even understand the extent of the role that
Koch Industries has played in their Potemkin Village of success.  They honestly
believe that their power grab has been entirely merit-based.  I guess they don’t
care to know or don’t care if they do know that David Koch spends most of his
weekends attending lavish balls and parties in New York and has nothing in
common with any of them.  Koch money and Fox News have led to obviously
working class people staring into a camera and professing that they all earn
over 250k per year and taxes are draining them dry.  Really?  Maybe if David
Koch invited some of them to his two story apartment on Fifth Avenue for some
tea they would gain some perspective.  But Mr. Koch knows that is entirely
unnecessary.  This isn’t the first time that a rich and powerful group has used a
single-issue election campaign style to bring government to a standstill.  Scare
the hell out of the older Americans who pine for an America that never actually
existed in the first place.  Make them believe that gays cause hurricanes and
bring down civilization, Christ’s commandments about helping the poor and
sick don’t apply to passing effective legislation and if we just remove ANY
regulation on Wall Street everything will be perfect.  My great-grandparents
heard similar promises by Republicans in the 1930’s. 
Every time I shake my head and wonder how on earth Tea Party people can be
so cruel to people who are in the same boat I have to remind myself that most
of them believe the end of the world is coming soon anyway.  It is pathetic and
childish to do your best to obstruct and break government and then blame the
consequences on sentences pulled hither and thither from ancient texts.

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By OzarkMichael, October 4, 2011 at 8:48 pm Link to this comment

The Wall Street Occupation was organized by people who met with Obama several times. Thats a fact. How Obama will gain from it remains to be seen. Maybe the whole Occupation thing will fizzle and it wont matter, or maybe it will snowball and that success will be co-opted by Obama later. Obama will come into the picture and save the day for both Wall Street and the Occupiers. Everyone will be grateful, at that point even I would be grateful.

I reckon that Obama is waiting in the wings to negotiate/placate/compromise and look very much the capable politician who understands social justice but isnt too far Left. Its all about building a movement that will get him back on track with a more progressive agenda and help him win the election with some sort of mandate for ‘real change’.

Quite unlike the Tea Party, which was spontaneous and self organizing, while politicians tried to jump on the bandwagon but cant grab control of us, the Occupation was started and planned by political operatives, with intended benefit for one politician only… Barack Obama.

i am stunned that the bloggers here dont want to discuss the manipulation that has already happened. How innocent and naive. You are such willing Pawns.

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By Anarcissie, October 4, 2011 at 7:49 pm Link to this comment

Ozark Michael—I am trying to recall the Left to its true and original self.

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By gerard, October 4, 2011 at 7:05 pm Link to this comment

To answer the question in the article head:
          HOPEFULLY,  NOT !

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By oddsox, October 4, 2011 at 4:21 pm Link to this comment

@felicity
Was just talking today about how when my dog chased two coyotes down the street, they knew to split up as soon as they hit the woods. 
And that’s when I called my dog home. 
Divide and conquer is indeed an ancient strategy and even the animals know it.

As it applies to dividing the Too-Big-To-Fails, the idea is to create more competition between them. 
The same kind of competition you see orchestrated between the “Left, Right (and) Center.”

You see the uber-rich Koch Bros (and George Soros, too?) enjoying from afar the struggles of the masses; that can be turned 180-degrees when the oversized banks and insurance companies are the ones forced to compete. 

From TruthDig readers, I’d expect most of the support for Anti-trust action against the banks to be motivated by a quest for punitive solutions. 
From the Right, support is justified by adhering to pure Free Market principals.
Either way, a cure whose time has come:  Time to Break up the Bigs.

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By felicity, October 4, 2011 at 3:30 pm Link to this comment

oddsox - what’s really fascinating is how the supra-
rich and powerful (think Koch) have managed through
various machinations to set the masses (us) at each
others’ throats.  In the mean time, we’re so busy
fighting each other (Left, Right, Center) that we have
yet to notice that the rich and powerful have
engineered our petty conflicts so they can continue to
screw us, left, right and center - unnoticed and
therefore unchallenged.

It’s the ancient ploy - divide and conquer.

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By oddsox, October 4, 2011 at 2:36 pm Link to this comment

ITW:  Was just talking to a friend about the lack of clutch hitting by Jeter (I’m surprised) and A-Rod (not).

We’ve had our disagreements, but it’s nice talking baseball with you.

Makes me wonder what would happen if a Wall St. banker and an OWS supporter played a little catch on the street…

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By Inherit The Wind, October 4, 2011 at 2:30 pm Link to this comment

OddSox:

Thanks for the chuckle! Not the Yankees. I think they are going to go down in 4 tonight.  I’ve never understood letting a big hitter go through a slump in the playoffs.  A-Rod is 0 for the Playoffs, yet he’s still there batting, what? Clean up “hoping” for a break. DJ’s only slightly better.  These guys are not the ones who should be in the premier positions.

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By Michael Cavlan RN, October 4, 2011 at 1:26 pm Link to this comment

The “left” have a stage managed, astro turf version of the Koch Brothers funded Tea Party.

It is called Move-on.org who are funded by George Soros. Add to that the Obama campaign (who is supported by Moveon) which is funded by Goldman Sachs and George Soros. Both of which it is alleged to have made lots o cash on the foreclosure crisis.

DAMN- There goes my Truthdigger of the Week Award again.

Grin

Yes- I am calling it out. You are getting played by a well funded Kabuki Theatre of the Absurd system. Guess I can also forget my interview on MSNBC (owned by GE) OR Faux News.

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By DavidByron, October 4, 2011 at 12:46 pm Link to this comment

Duh.

“Why hasn’t there been a tea party on the left?”

Because the Koch brothers don’t like the Left and couldn’t pull them along by a ring in there nose.

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By Muzzle Flash, October 4, 2011 at 12:33 pm Link to this comment

Everyone will have a auto response to this… But I’ll try…

I remember a party that made it on the ballot in a few recent elections, with proven
leaders, that stood for most if not ALL the demands of this “movement” and I don’t dare
mention the name…

End to the wars, new foriegn policy, reducing military budget, crackdown on corporate
crime, wallstreet regulation, single payer healthcare. End pollution. Etc etc etc.

But no one cared (until they needed a scapegoat…) it was lesser evilism all the way to
the bank and here we are… So no one should be surprised, you voted for this…

“Why hasn’t there been a tea party on the left?”

...BECAUSE THERE IS NO “LEFT” IN THE USA..!

So, go get your permits to protest, and stay in the protest pen, heaven forbid we
manifest an actual threat.

End the fearful nonviolent dogma that perilizes the resistance and fight back.

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By BR549, October 4, 2011 at 11:57 am Link to this comment

First off, the Tea Party was created by Ron Paul supporters who were flat fed up with the whole election system prior to the 2008 election. The Dem party had their Obama and the Rep party, mired in the mud from their previous citizen sellout, needed any form of traction in the worst way, even if it wasn’t theirs. The Tea Party movement was stolen.

Since the majority of Republican legislators *I don’t believe* really understood what the hell they were been expected to vote for with respect to the Patriot Act, after 20 years of the traitorous machinations of the Bush and Clinton Families against their own country, those   legislators are STILL trying to invent ways to do the backstroke or have instead decided to rush to the head of the train so they can be seen as having been in support of the government all along; anything to be *seen* as having chosen the right side. Well, right after the finish line is a ravine, and these myopic self-serving politicians lack the integrity to see how their behavior is destroying this country. Remember, unlike the AVERAGE citizen, THEY took an oath.

If there are elements of the Left that desire a Tea Party of their own, which Tea Party are they after? If they espouse the true elements of a progressive left, God bless them, but if all they are going to do is look for a louder mouthpiece for their current train to a communist, EU and globalist driven oblivion, let them all climb on board.

This is why I don’t believe the current organization of the Left can solve our problems any more than the Right can, because they both have massive bases in the current corrupt system and neither one of them has a handle on how to eliminate that corruption. The term “Conservative”, itself, has been hijacked to sell the notion of supporting sensible traditional values, just as “Liberal” has been hijacked to to sell the notion of a modern and progressive values. Meanwhile, all those hoodwinked voters on both sides, who are left clinging to their lifejackets, continue to support and vote for their hand-picked puppets. ...... And they wonder why nothing changes.

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By oddsox, October 4, 2011 at 11:26 am Link to this comment

@ ITW You wrote: “Well, you know what?  They’ve gotten more done in two years to achieve their (warped) goals than anyone else.”

Do you mean the Democrats, the Tea Party or the Yankees?

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By Anarcissie, October 4, 2011 at 10:58 am Link to this comment

ITW—I suggest you look closely into the history of the Tea Party.*  In fact Van Jones and other Democratic Party operatives have been trying to do just as you suggest.  However, it gained no traction because its targets have developed very delicate noses when it comes to the scent of big money and established-order Democratic Party politics.  Lately one segment of the targets have done something rather different on their own, and now the Democrats are trying desperately to capture their movement and turn it to use— most immediately to re-elect Mr. O.  This is going to be highly problematical since Mr. O will have so much walking back to do.  After all, people are not shivering in Liberty Plaza to support more bank’n'broker bailouts, more wars, more surveillance, more foreclosures, more unemployment, more big-money politics, and more inequality.  Democrats were given majorities in the Senate and the House in 2006, and the presidency in 2008, and we know what they did with them.

Mr. Jones began his latest effort, as official Democrats have done lately, by blaming the victims for his masters’ lack of mastery.  I have my doubts whether this is the way to get over.

* http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2010/08/30/100830fa_fact_mayer is one place to start.

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By David J. Cyr, October 4, 2011 at 10:51 am Link to this comment

Actually, it’s the corporate party Democrat dedicated who have done the most to provide the Tea Party what passes for success within the corporate party.

Congratulations on your “progressive” accomplishment!

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By Dr_Snooz, October 4, 2011 at 10:49 am Link to this comment

“Can the Left Stage a Tea Party?”

Well, if you mean, can the left stage a manufactured
astro-turf movement, funded and controlled by shadowy
oligarchs complete with cheesy bumpers stickers that
become ubiquitous on the same day?

Dear God I hope not!

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By Inherit The Wind, October 4, 2011 at 10:08 am Link to this comment

As usual there are the nay-sayers: “We don’t need to be like the Tea Party! They are so Yechy and crazy!”

Cognitive dissonance.

No, we don’t need a “Tea Party”.  We need an entity capable of infecting and taking over the Democratic Party and the Tea Party is the best model out there.

Too many people can’t see beyond the context to the structure, which is totally unrelated to politics and positions. 

It’s like being a Red Sox fan and refusing to admit that a Yankee pitcher’s Perfect Game was a great feat.  “No, it wasn’t great. He’s a Yankee. He stinks!”

Well, you know what?  They’ve gotten more done in two years to achieve their (warped) goals than anyone else.  Why can’t that energy be harnessed for good, healthy change?

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By OzarkMichael, October 4, 2011 at 9:48 am Link to this comment

Anarcissie performs perfect propaganda:

Well, the Left is the party of peace, freedom and equality ...

Ah the power of self-definition. Let me try my hand at this too:

Well, ozarkmichael is handsome, good natured, and excellent in bed ...

Oh boy it works! Now that i have claimed these good things for myself, suddenly i feel that what i claimed is true.

Self-definition is much better than reality, and reality never intrudes until one drops the self-definition bias and looks at the facts.

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By Hulk2008, October 4, 2011 at 8:37 am Link to this comment

Robespierre115,
    Any bomb-thrower can resort to name calling.  Just state how you agree or disagree with the author, state what thoughts you have, and then move on - perjoratives and ad hominem assaults are an indication of a lack of originality and maturity. 
    Mr. Dionne has a national following that often agrees with him and entities who pay him for his writing; that is, he has “fans”.  Keep in mind that YOU do NOT. 

  My own take on the article is that “the left” and “the Tea Party” have very little in common or in purpose other than being gaggles of humans desirous of collective action and emotion.  They are totally disparate.

    Paraphrasing Mark Twain, as a liberal, I would not join a group who would have me as a member.

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By Samson, October 4, 2011 at 8:31 am Link to this comment

Duh, OK, I know Mr. Dionne is a bit dense, but,
shouldn’t he just look outside at the #occupy protests
spreading to every city in the nation as a small sign
that the left might just be staging its own tea party.

Oh, I get it.  He hangs out with the sort of fools that
thing change comes from a ‘conference’. 

The revolution will not be in the WaPo. But it will be
tweeted.  #occupywallstreet #occupyAmerica
#occupytogether #occupyDenver

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By bigchin, October 4, 2011 at 7:11 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

As long as the Democrats pursue their bogus “third way” - i.e.neoliberalism - then NO, the Democrats will never co-opt the real left.

Neo-liberal economics, whether under the rubric of Reagnomics or Rubinomics (they are the SAME) can not be reconciled with the progressive left and anyone who say it can be is not on the left.

The Democrats have failed to maintain their core party principles and no longer represent the “people” and our current disaster has far more to do with Democratic failure over the past several decades than with any “successes” delivered by the Reagan revolution.

The Democratic party is the problem.

How do you spell W-H-I-G?

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By Druthers, October 4, 2011 at 6:10 am Link to this comment

Why copy the Republicans?
What we need is a beautiful blue tidal wave, not tea baggers!
That is what 99% is - a tidal wave.

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By Anarcissie, October 4, 2011 at 5:44 am Link to this comment

As far as I know Van Jones is an unrepentant Democratic Party operative.  So is Dionne.  From their point of view, the Tea Party phenomenon is an admirable capture of public disquiet by and for professional party politics and something to be studied and imitated.  They actually don’t get what has been going on with the Occupation, but they do know that, whatever it is, they want to capture and use it if they can.  The need is great: shortly, Mr. O will be running against his own record.

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By madisolation, October 4, 2011 at 5:09 am Link to this comment

OzarkMichael:
“Anarcissie: A leftist ‘Tea Party’ would start as an astroturf operation funded by a few billionaires, just as the rightist Tea Party was.

What an ignorant thing to say.”

I don’t think that’s an ignorant thing to say at all. I think he hit the nail right on the head. These “Democratic Party Forever” cultists want to usurp the movement and turn it into a political rally. And they have the bucks. Their cause is not the cause of the Occupy movement.
Re Van Jones:
“By connecting the groups that had supported Obama to a larger network — and Jones suggested it be called the “Take Back The American Dream” network — he believes that progressives “can do this bigger and better than we did in 2008.”

http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2011/10/03/van-jones-i-am-mad-at-us-for-being-so-quiet/

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By Anarcissie, October 3, 2011 at 8:15 pm Link to this comment

Well, the Left is the party of peace, freedom and equality, so in a sense they are for the majority.  But, perhaps irrationally, the majority isn’t always in favor of peace, freedom and equality.  And one can’t force people to be free.

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By Manly in mirror, October 3, 2011 at 7:06 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

anaman51——-

It’s not a matter of giving back power to the GOP. Obama and the Dems are proffering it to Boehner/Canter on a silver platter, like the head of John the Baptist. The only valid criticism Republicans can claim against the President is that he is not bowing low enough as he prostrates himself before them for a pat on the head.

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By bill4118, October 3, 2011 at 6:18 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

You still don’t get it. It not a movement by the left. It is a movement by the Majority.

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By Anarcissie, October 3, 2011 at 6:08 pm Link to this comment

Ozark Michael—There’s a lot of material on line about the Tea Party phenomenon and its connections to corporate money, especially the Koch Brothers.  I am kind of surprised you find this unbelievable, given your immediate conviction that someone or something had to be behind the Occupy Wall Street event. 

http://blogs.wsj.com/washwire/2010/10/14/koch-industries-shifts-on-tea-party/
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cifamerica/2010/oct/25/tea-party-koch-brothers
http://www.desmogblog.com/david-koch-has-direct-contact-tea-party-astroturf-organizers-americans-prosperity-event
http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2010/08/30/100830fa_fact_mayer
http://exiledonline.com/exposing-the-familiar-rightwing-pr-machine-is-cnbcs-rick-santelli-sucking-koch/

and so on.

One of the reasons the Democrats and the liberal establishment types yearn mournfully after the Tea Party (and now the Occupation) is that they can’t do that sort of thing, having destroyed all of the Left they could reach, which is where the activists were.  Now they’re trying to play catch-up.

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By CT Historian, October 3, 2011 at 5:41 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Author Dionne is unwittingly gulping the Republican Kool-Aid by referring, time after time, to Republicans as Conservatives, against big government(?). Republicans, always, have sought-out more central-authority, government bloat (nutty post-911 constructs, Federal-Reserve, Ronald Reagan), unlimited attempts, regardless of cost, at world-domination at the bidding of our financial puppeteers (no need to name this “State”). In short, the Republicans are the GQ-version of crazy Hillary. Their prayer after their humble, Christly fashion, is to render invisible the existence of the Barack Obama Presidency over time. The fact that Mr. Obama will never recognize this reality only makes him their ally in this sad self-immolation.

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By oddsox, October 3, 2011 at 5:10 pm Link to this comment

On Van Jones:

To paraphrase Mohammad Ali, “He ain’t as dumb as he looks.”
He’s taken a play out of the Tea Party play book and the Tea Partiers don’t like it.
http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2011/10/03/van-jones-urges-progressives-to-steal-tea-party-strategy/#ixzz1ZlDSF63A
Jones is wise to study the “enemy’s” playbook and learn.

Specifically, he’s tuned in to the fact that the Tea Party is not a political party, but a movement. 
“You can’t land at the airport here in D.C., and get in the cab and say ‘take me to Tea Party headquarters’.”

Van knows why that’s important. 
Take a look at HIS playbook—“Rule #13” from Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals:
13. Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.
The original formula for the Politics of Personal Destruction.
Of course, Van knows about being polarized, too.  But, in my view, he’s brought that upon himself.
Gets a good deal of flak from the Left as well, as we see here on TruthDig.

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By OzarkMichael, October 3, 2011 at 4:12 pm Link to this comment

Anarcissie: A leftist ‘Tea Party’ would start as an astroturf operation funded by a few billionaires, just as the rightist Tea Party was.

What an ignorant thing to say.

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By Robespierre115, October 3, 2011 at 3:55 pm Link to this comment

One excellent issue the movement appears to be focusing on is student loan debt. This is where the current uprising in Chile becomes very relevant, it has attracted wide sectors of the working class, unions etc., by focusing on demanding free education because that is an issue that crystalizes for many current capitalist greed and corruption. Occupy Wall Street can try using that as its real catalyst, or of course it could form a revolutionary committee calling for the overthrow the state and the establishment of a People’s Commune a la Paris 1871…oops, went off daydreaming again.

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By bobthecats, October 3, 2011 at 3:19 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

@NABNYC - I agree with you.  I don’t trust Van Jones and his organization.  As far
as MoveOn.org goes.  I was a member, but quit a few months after Obama took
office.  They were very good at pointing out what Bush did wrong, but are silent
when Obama continues and intensifies the same policies.  Both parties only
pretend to care about the people before the elections and appear to be setting up
groups to corral their flock.

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By oddsox, October 3, 2011 at 3:00 pm Link to this comment

@Anarcissie:
If you’re out there on the front lines, make a sign for me, would you?

“Too Big to Fail = Too Big to Begin With!”

...no? Too cluttered? 

How about “Bust Up the Big Banks!”
Better.

That’s what I’d like to see as the result of all this.
An easy-to-understand solution (a nod to Felicity here)that would provide relief for some of the grievences you mention.

I like breaking up the bigs using anti-trust legislation, you’ve read my posts before. 
The idea would definitley shake the “Too Bigs” to their core, wouldn’t that be fun! 
Any movement on the issue could be claimed as a victory and then, who knows?

(Shenonymous teased me about this on another thread, I expect her along any momemt now—fer’sure.)

But seriously: create a wedge issue. 
Something simple the whole movement could back.
“Break Up the Bigs” fits the bill.
Gain a concession, claim victory, recoil for the next strike.

As for tactics, I’m taking my own advise and revisiting “Rules For Radicals.”
You know, I don’t generally subscribe to Alinsky’s politics (nor yours, Anarcissie), but R4R is a great tactical playbook that can be applied nearly anywhere. 
The Right is beginning to figure that out, too, by the way…

Check out Rules # 6 - 8:
6. A good tactic is one that your people enjoy.
(I’m thinking after a couple weeks, reconvene in Miami.)
7. A tactic that drags on too long becomes a drag.
(as I said… 3 more weeks max in NYC)
8. Keep the pressure on with different tactics and actions, and utilize all events of the period for your purpose. (again, warmer climes becon.  And Halloween is just around the corner)

@Robespierre115, if you’re still out there: 
Am I looking to hijack the OWS movement to further my own agenda? 
Absolutely! 
But it’s for your own good, too.
Trust me.

Anarcissie, the sign, please. 
Have your buddies copy & multiply.
Hungry, young attorneys who specialize in Sherman and Clayton Acts: this is your wake-up call.

Something more has to come of this than just venting.
Otherwise, what a waste.

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By MarkS, October 3, 2011 at 2:11 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Too late.  Obama abandoned the “Left.”  Now you’re going to tell me that he’s some sort of buffer against the Neoconservative Right, so I should support him?  Maybe he should step forth and show support for those actually pushing for the changes he promised.

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By BR549, October 3, 2011 at 2:02 pm Link to this comment

E.J.,
It doesn’t matter one bit about the right or the left. We have two problems; one, that both parties are stealing the entire election show and turning it into a dog and pony show, and two, that there are enough idiots around to keep voting for them, still gullibly thinking that the only way out of our (or any) dilemma is to keep voting for their favorite half of that two sided monopolistic Hydra. And when these people wake up in their jammies the next morning, mommy will wipe the sleepers out of their eyes and breakfast will be waiting for them.

Get a grip. The left, as it exists in this country, is just as destructive as the right. And let’s not confuse the issue by thinking that either the Democratic or Republican Parties has anything to do with sound progressive or conservative ideals. NOTHING could be further from the truth. It is all about money, power, and getting elected again and again.

The real problem with politicians is that they cannot stop lying and that they find it continually necessary to hide from the voting public all the under the table shenanigans. Anyone looked into the CAFR issue? Talk about a slush fund. My God, I wonder what would happen to this country if the politicians were to ever actually grow some testicles, clean house, decrease the size of government and our military, and be forthright with the American people?

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By NABNYC, October 3, 2011 at 1:56 pm Link to this comment

I’m very suspicious of this Van Jones group.  He supposedly has teamed with Move-On to promote progressive policies.  Good enough.  But then all of a sudden it turns into stopping the teabaggers, and it suddenly sounds a lot like a very sneaky effort by the Democratic big-money people to try to sign up people around issues, then convert them into 2012 campaign workers. 

We do need people organized around issues, not elections.  If Van Jones wants to work in elections he should do so.  But it’s quite annoying to see this guy, who has no credentials at all, proclaiming himself the king of the progressives, now apparently the leader of the left.  Really?  He’s a good looking guy who has spent his time out of law school promoting himself, positioning himself to become an insider, a player, access to big money, forming all these organizations and putting his name on the board.  But what exactly does he do other than promote himself?

I know that the occupy wall street people had their event, and the October 6 people had their event planned, then suddenly Van Jones gets himself in the middle and schedules an event right in-between the two, obviously traying to draw people away from the other, truly progressive activities.  Now that the wall street protests have gathered support, Van Jones is trying to claim credit for it, working with move-on to gather signatures for a “virtual” march on Wall Street, meaning yet another meaningless petition.

Yes, we need a left.  No, it will not be created by democratic party insiders like Van Jones.  If you want to know where the left is, look around the country at all the local groups organizing protests, nonviolent activities to challenge the wars and the corrupt practices of Wall Street.  The leaders emerge from the movement.  Van Jones emerged from the DLC and the white house, and he is not now, never will be, a leader of the left, or even a leader of progressives.  He’s an elections guy, will undoubtedly run for office himself.  Which is fine.  Claiming to be something else is tedious.

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By ellemarz, October 3, 2011 at 1:00 pm Link to this comment

Dionne doesn’t address the very real fact that
millions of dollars pour into the Tea Party
“movement” through conservative front groups that are
funded by billionaires like the Koch Brothers.  AND,
the far right has their own corporate media spin-mill
in Fox News and Rupert Murdoch’s media empire.  The
left has nothing of the sort of the same magnitude. 

In the past 3-4 decades, the far right has used
bullying tactics, in the media, socially and
politically to advance their agenda.  It’s really no
wonder moderates curb their voices.  Such is one
example of what Sheldon Wolin calls an “inverted
totalitarian” system of government—one in which life
appears democratic on the exterior, but is highly
regulated within.  The fact that the left and
moderates do no speak out only highlights the degree
to which the right has suppressed our basic freedoms-
-and how complicit the so-called “liberal class” of
politicians has become.

In the end, it’s all about the Benjamins—money talks
in politics and as long as that is the motivating
force behind government, conservatism, corporatism
and ultimately, fascism, will rule.  Dionne should
not be surprised that no version of the Tea Party has
taken root…but then again, the question should be
whether the Left WANTS such a group of under-
informed, clearly off-balanced zealots who are
sponsored and promoted by the big-moneyed, corporate
elite.  I’d much rather be part of a true grassroots
movement like the Occupy or A99 movements currently
gaining recognition.  Perhaps, pundits should look
closely at these “quiet” groups coming to foreground
as advocates for fairness, social justice and true
democracy.

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By eps62, October 3, 2011 at 12:55 pm Link to this comment

Their are protests going on in many cities across the nation,the MSM is not reporting on most of them.

If it wasn’t for the filibuster of the Repugs the tax laws would be much more progressive and worker friendly.

OWS is what the people need! It is the lefts “Tea Party” in the Progressive Democrate Party.

It is the beginning of the New American Revolution, the start of the peoples revolution.

“Save the American Dream” is also part of this revolution of the people.

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By Anarcissie, October 3, 2011 at 11:53 am Link to this comment

Oddsox—I don’t think anyone can say what’s going to happen.  The main function of the Occupation has been to point out and protest the undoubted fact that the American government is of, by and for the rich—the only disagreement being whether they’re 1% or 0.01%—and that times are bad for a lot of people.  The first of these two facts has been basically true in North America for the last 400 years or so, so changing it won’t be easy.  The second fact is probably out of the ruling class’s control.  Many of them seem to be kleptocrats, and the remainder are too cautious and conservative to deal with the disarray of their system.

In addition, a lot of popular political ideas and proposals, like Single Payer, ending the various wars, and not bailing out and supporting the wealthy and their corporations, are very popular, and in a normal liberal democracy would be in the platform of a major political party and discussed in the legislature and the media.  Instead, they’re off the table.  In effect, then, the political system has frozen up.  When that happens, it’s only a matter of time before the citizens take to the streets.  That the ruling-class leadership don’t understand this is yet another sign of their ineptitude.

As for the Occupiers, more people are coming in every day, and by and large they’re not the original hippie student new-new leftists.  There is a lot of anger and a lot of fear in the background and it is creating a powerful field of social energy.  The politicos and the professional bloviators are running around like chickens with their heads cut off trying to get in control of the movement or use it in some way, but I think at this point they’re a day late and a dollar short.  God knows where the train is going, but it seems to have left the station.

But as for the weather?  People can adapt to that.  I think at some point in the not too distant future Bloomie will clear the park and there will be a certain amount of conflict, further publicizing the movement and creating heroes.

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By oddsox, October 3, 2011 at 11:41 am Link to this comment

@felicity
“...something anyone can understand and easily support. 
More importantly, not radical, scary, weird or
complicated.”

Yes, we agree. 
But for platforms, too, not just slogans.

I don’t rep the Tea Party, but I’ll bet if you ask them, the “Lower Taxes, Less Government” idea covers at least 80% of their agenda.  They apply it to nearly every case.

Something similar on the left? 

OWS has growth and momentum. 
It’s the Flavor of the Month right now.
Where will it be next month?
Will it dissolve into a nebulous cloud or morph into something more?

If I were a Left/Progressive type, I’d dust off my copy of Rules For Radicals.

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By c.d.embrey, October 3, 2011 at 11:28 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Both the Democrats and Republicans have been screwing the middle class for a long time. It may finally have reached a tipping point, and we may be seeing an Arab Spring or an October Revolution in the making.

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By felicity, October 3, 2011 at 11:05 am Link to this comment

oddsox - The Tea Party “lower taxes and less
government” And, Go on, Continue, Specifics Please? 
That’s a platform?

The ‘old’ left, I include myself, championed and
supported social justice, economic justice and
political justice - equally qualified for And, Go on,
Continue, Specifics Please.

Slogans are seldom if ever descriptive or
informative, but they have to be at least palatable,
something anyone can understand and easily support. 
More importantly, not radical, scary, weird or
complicated.

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By oddsox, October 3, 2011 at 10:41 am Link to this comment

@Robespierre115
—you sound like of veteran of protests long past, (Chicago, Berkeley, Madison)am I right?

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By CenterOfMass, October 3, 2011 at 10:23 am Link to this comment

“The administration was complicit in this, viewing the left’s primary role as supporting whatever the president believed needed to be done.”

As opposed to all of the things that he CLAIMED he would do during the election?  B.S.

Obama lied and screwed us.  Quit trying to rationalize it as something else.

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By oddsox, October 3, 2011 at 10:12 am Link to this comment

“Both (labor unions and civil rights organizations) pushed FDR and LBJ in more progressive directions while also lending them support against their conservative adversaries.”
—EJ

That’s not what’s happening with OWS. 
It reminds me more of Chicago ‘68, which wound up helping to elect Nixon.

If you’re on the Left, is your aim to put a Republican in the White House just to spite Obama?  That’s the path OWS is on.

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By lepto, October 3, 2011 at 10:08 am Link to this comment

E.J., you just don’t get it.  True democracy is, inevitably, messier than anything espoused by folks like Vann Jones.  If you want to understand then roll up your sleeves and get your hands dirty—opining from afar will never trump discussing actual experience.

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By oddsox, October 3, 2011 at 9:56 am Link to this comment

@John M:
Coffee Party who? 
I gather that’s your point.

Coffee Party mission statement?
Government is “not the enemy of the people, but the expression of our collective will, and that we must participate in the democratic process in order to address the challenges we face as Americans.”

Doesn’t get more nebulous than that. 
No wonder they’re goin’ nowhere.

Focus, people.

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By oddsox, October 3, 2011 at 9:18 am Link to this comment

@David J. Cyr, with respect: your answer reminds me of Bill Clinton’s “depends what the definition of ‘is’ is.”
From my far-away vantage point, I see OWS only as an awareness-generating vehicle. 
If it’s for the “long haul,” lack of focus could be the occupiers’ #1 obstacle.


@Anarcissie,
You’re on-site, what do you see? 
Right now OWS his gaining in size and momentum.
But what of direction?
What do they want, what defines victory?
Is there any consensus on desired outcome emerging here?

21st century social-networking technology may be a game-changer, but history shows that time is an enemy of occupying forces. 
The days are getting shorter and the nights are getting colder. 
The “long haul” occupiers had better not mess with Ol’ Man Winter (ask Napoleon or Hitler—no subtext here, thank you)
If you’re an OWS supporter, it’s time to create some quick tactics to claim victory and strategically retreat with promises to return in larger force come spring.

I figure you’ve got about 3 weeks.
What say you?

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By Anarcissie, October 3, 2011 at 9:01 am Link to this comment

A leftist ‘Tea Party’ would start as an astroturf operation funded by a few billionaires, just as the rightist Tea Party was.  I expect to see several if Occupy Wall Street gains further traction.  3000 people sacrilegiously occupied a bank in Boston, so things are getting hairier by the minutes.  Time for those billionaires to step in!

I just read that leaders are ‘emerging’ from OWS, that is, being identified by established-order operatives for near-future subornation.  Your dollars are at work!  But not for you.

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By David J. Cyr, October 3, 2011 at 8:34 am Link to this comment

What would the goals of a “Tea Party-Left” be?

It depends upon what the meaning of “Left” is.

Democrats aren’t in any part of the Left, so any “Tea Party-Left” device they create will continue to serve the (D) faction of the corporate persons representing corporate party.

The “progressives” are always coming up with new ways to re-package their same old corporate party shit.

http://www.chenangogreens.org

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By Anarcissie, October 3, 2011 at 8:24 am Link to this comment

Dionne’s essay is a good example of mainstream political thinking about Occupy Wall Street: how can we get control of this and use it for our benefit?  In Dionne’s case, the question is more specific: How can we get control of this and use it to re-elect Obama?

They have a lot of catching up to do.

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By oddsox, October 3, 2011 at 8:17 am Link to this comment

Open-ended question:

The Tea Party movement has definitive goals: lower taxes and less government.

What are the goals of Tea Party-Left?

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By prisnersdilema, October 3, 2011 at 7:18 am Link to this comment

Sometimes when someone commits suicide, there’s a change of heart, as life slips away…

That’s all this is… the left, and the right together, with the deluded ideology the espose, have killed this country by suicide…..

In the few hours that remain, enjoy… this country will never return…

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By David J. Cyr, October 3, 2011 at 6:55 am Link to this comment

Actually, the “principles expressed by the Occupy Wall Street movement” **ARE** the Green Party’s principles… that the corporate party’s Democrats together with its corporate media have worked so long and hard to exterminate.

http://www.web.gpnys.com/

The “Principles” of Liberal Voters:

http://chenangogreens.org/home/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=491&Itemid=1

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By lasmog, October 3, 2011 at 6:35 am Link to this comment

Where is the American Green Party in this debate?  I would guess that many of the anti-establishment principles expressed by the Occupy Wall Street movement would be similar to the Green Party’s platform.

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By madisolation, October 3, 2011 at 4:57 am Link to this comment

Occupy Wall Street has given us hope. The Campaign for America’s Future, on the other hand, is just an Obama reelection ploy. Look at the people who are a part of it: Barney Frank, Keith Ellison, and Katherine Vanden Hueval. I mean, come on. Politicians and gatekeepers posing as revolutionaries? Gimme a break. As Dionne wrote:
“The idea is not to pretend that Obama is as progressive as his core supporters want him to be, but to rally support to him nonetheless as the man standing between the country and the right wing.”
Obama IS the right wing.
Occupy Wall Street is the only game in town. Don’t let these Obama supporters tell us otherwise.

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By charles, October 3, 2011 at 4:36 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

It is becoming equal parts funny and depressing watching the punditry contort themselves giving us reasons to mindlessly support the Dems even though pretty much the whole campaign platform was not just denied, but actually went in the opposite direction in practice. 

To the point of this though, hell no there can’t be a left wing tea party.  The media would ignore thousands of progressives in protest while a tea party rally with a hundred people would get nonstop coverage.

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By Joe Savastano, October 3, 2011 at 3:39 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

LET’S DO THIS!!!!!

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By David J. Cyr, October 3, 2011 at 1:09 am Link to this comment

QUOTE, Eugene Dionne:

“A real left could usefully instruct Americans as to just how moderate the president they elected in 2008 is—and how far to the right conservatives have strayed.”
___________________

America MovesOn further into the Right with every election, because a supermajority routinely mindlessly provides massive popular vote mandates for the Right’s evil Republicans and greater evil Democrats to do the Right’s shit together.

Every time that Democrats don’t do the good they could have, when they could have, the “progressives” claim we need even more depraved Democrats to not do the good they could when they can.

Liberal “progressives” keep false advertising they’ll provide natural person policies if we support (D) corporate person candidates.

http://www.chenangogreens.org

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By fuchsnews, October 3, 2011 at 12:25 am Link to this comment

You miss the entire point. We need to unify with the tea partiers. I do not
support the tea party even remotely. However, you need to understand they are
people who have been screwed by the powers that be, and their frustrations are
simply misdirected. If they realign themselves with this movement—-think
about how much stronger it could become (and they’re part of the 99%). The
message of this movement can accommodate diversity, it is not a partisan or
ideological one…it is an institutional one. I’ll use congress as an example to
illustrate my point…

  Congress now has a record-low approval rating in the teens, and it has had an
embarrassingly low approval rating for much of the last decade (it was always
lower than Bush’s for example). Why? Because It’s institutionally defunct.
Congressmen can only represent the interests of the people who elect them to
the extent that their campaign donors will allow. It’s not that congress cannot
do anything, it can do some things. But the range of policy considerations that
congress can weigh is restricted by what corporations and wealthy donors
funding campaigns will allow.

  This results in liberals and conservatives, including tea-partiers having their
voice drowned out. Congress is severely restricted in its ability to simplify the
tax code to have one modest corporate tax rate, as some tea-partiers want,
because large industries would no longer to exploit loopholes and run away like
bandits with deductions. Companies benefit from wasteful defense spending,
agricultural subsidies, industry subsidies…
When a group of tea-party republicans is elected, they cannot achieve all of
their goals because the leadership of congress in both parties have to cater to
the corporations that benefit from these things.

So the real problem is that no matter what your individual political views are,
they are only taken into account in broader context of corporate and wealthy
donors. Their interests are paramount, and yours are secondary to theirs. You
are allowed representation to the extent that it does not jeopardize their
interests.

And that is why no matter what side of the spectrum you are on, you should
support this movement. Because it is a pro-democracy movement. It is not
about achieving political ends per se but changing the political system itself so
it may once again be capable of achieving the goals that you and every other
citizen would like to see.

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By anaman51, October 3, 2011 at 12:05 am Link to this comment

Thus far, Barack Obama has promised a great deal and delivered worse than nothing. He has mega-dithered or reversed himself on virtually all of his campaign promises, most of which were actually doable. He has no excuse other than to admit he sold out after he got the job.

A lot of his former supporters have exactly this thought in mind when they consider him this second time around. What can he say that might bring those disillusioned voters back into his fold? Is there anything he can say or do to make that happen between now and then? Are there any other considerations that might make an Obama-basher think twice before sitting it out or otherwise wasting their vote? Lots of questions left unanswered so far.

There is one thing I am absolutely sure of: A vote not cast for Barack Obama in the upcoming Presidential election might as well be a vote cast for whichever brainless puppet (i.e., G.W.B.) the Republican Machine can lie, cheat and wangle into contention for the prize.

If the GOP wins, everything that still makes this country a Great Society will become fodder for their cruel agenda. Instead of attacking waste in government, which is profligate any way you look at it, they plan on making government smaller by ending all forms of financial, food, and medical assistance for everyone physically or mentally unable to earn a living for themselves. That will even include those relying on Social Security.

That group will also inlcude a substantial number of very surprised staunch,long-standing Republican voters who will suddenly be living on the street with no food or medical care. I guess you should have read the fine print before you voted for these jackholes, huh?

What I’m saying is, there are worse things in life than having Barack Obama lead this country for another four years. One of them would definitely be giving power back to The Republican Machine and its minions, who have already sold you out. They can’t wait to get back in there and start taking the worker’s tax money and giving it to the richest one percent of Americans, while cutting the workers, the poor, and the helpless off at the neck. It’s what they do—-it’s all they do.

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By StephenS777, October 2, 2011 at 11:39 pm Link to this comment

See Occupy Together for information about our growing movement nationwide. Welcome to the start of the revolution and help formulate the goals. The train has already left the station, but more are scheduled, so get on board the next one. Be seeing you.

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By Robespierre115, October 2, 2011 at 10:24 pm Link to this comment

“The idea is not to pretend that Obama is as progressive as his core supporters want him to be, but to rally support to him nonetheless as the man standing between the country and the right wing.”

In other words, vote for the corporate clown who at least PRETENDS to be a progressive? No thanks Dionne, you worthless sock puppet. And Occupy Wall Street beware, this will be the plan of the establishment, to hijack the movement and turn it into another Obama campaign tool.

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By John M, October 2, 2011 at 8:47 pm Link to this comment

Wake up and smell the coffee - been done - didn’t work
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coffee_Party_USA

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