I recently posted a question on the Green Party Activist Facebook Group page asking if a similar Group, The Real Progressives had endorsed and supported Green Party Presidential candidate Jill Stein in the election.
I received hundreds of responses and the feedback uncovered competing forces and fissures within the so-called Progressive Left. Responses ranged from radical self-righteousness to equally sanctimonious centrists (corporatists) masquerading as reformists.
My reasoning for the query was to assess the extent Progressives had been compromised in their nascent, post-election efforts to build a competitive alternative to the political duopoly. The responses reflected, whether by choice or deceit, that which corporate Democrats and the Republicans could only dream of achieving. The Left, in its current state, is in disarray and deeply conflicted.
Progressives seemingly can’t distinguish the difference between political party loyalty and political leverage, rendering their crusade transfixed between harnessing the power of an emergent movement and shaping it. It’s paralysis by analysis. So desperate are Progressives for direction they’re unable to distinguish sheepdogs from liberators and prophets from profiteers. Exploited, abandoned, and betrayed by the DNC and Democratic Party establishment, they can’t discern authenticity from duplicity. And who can blame them? Well, I can. So, too, must you.
This ambiguity brings me back to The Real Progressive Facebook Group, specifically to their nonstop promotional videos on other Progressive Group sites. Full disclosure, I recently unfollowed the Real Progressive Group, in part because of the barrage of the promotional MMT (Modern Monetary Theory) videos. To be clear, I have no quarrel in exploring alternative political direction(s), including monetary and macroeconomic philosophies. They are in fact, progressive in theory and practice. I encourage people to view them. Some will no doubt like and maybe even gain something from them; others may not. It’s safe to say that we all have different levels of Progressive interests and acceptance of alternative opinions, concepts, forums and delivery of those precepts.
I just don’t happen to think that alternative monetary policy is the primary issue that should be front and center of achievable objectives by Progressives. Although monetary policy affects everybody, it’s a mistake to expect people to embrace the intricacies of economic spending, tax, and debt principles as the change agent capable of transforming the current political and economic landscape. As a transformative mechanism, it’s too abstract for the many. And many is what is required to build a movement. Nevertheless, I applaud their educational efforts, such as they are.
On the other hand, an enterprise that massages and subordinates Progressive Party content are The Young Turks. Or, as I like to refer to them, BS Inc. (Bait & Switch Incorporated). And as much as I disdain the shepherding of Berniecrats to the Democratic Party (and away from the Green Party) by TYT, and I’ve written as much (An Elaborate Hustle) on my blog, Mestizoblog – as an enterprise, they know how to build an organization. They’re expert at promulgating TYT media self-interest, and better yet at soliciting donations necessary ostensibly, for maintaining their broadcasting enterprise and hiring “investigative reporters.” Okie. Dokie. Once again, TYT’s founder Cenk Uygur has struck gold (generating profits with other people’s money) with a beautifully crafted canard. If only the corporatist lawyer could see that sooner rather than later, there’s more green ($) in going Green Party – if you get in early. Stay tuned.
The point is, TYT or The Real Progressives, and delusional draft Bernie news sites, forums, and blogs, have failed to grasp, prioritize and promote the issue capable of overthrowing the Democratic Party establishment. That message is Single Payer, Medicare for All. Obamacare is an unmitigated disaster and on life support. The Republicans are committing political suicide with their Deathcare plan. And Progressives media outlets are more concerned with their own fiefdoms, incapable of comprehending fully, the opportunity they’ve been gifted by the corrupt and duplicitous duopoly. In Naomi Klein’s book “The Shock Doctrine” she illustrated how unpopular economic policies could be pushed through after massive shocks to the citizenry. Aren’t we in the midst of the most “shocking” political environment in recent memory? Isn’t healthcare at the forefront of political discussion and legislation? Who’s to say that the pushing through of popular policies (Single Payer) in this current healthcare disaster couldn’t be achieved during this period and time? Never let a crisis go to waste.
On a recent episode of the Max Keiser Report on RT, Max made a cogent observation about media messaging when alluding to Rachel Maddow’s humiliating “scoop” concerning Cheetos’s 2005 partial two-page tax return. To paraphrase him, he opined “She doesn’t understand that political discourse doesn’t so much rely on information, dialogue, and facts. That’s fighting the last war. In the 21st century, messaging is all about memes. If you expect to sway voting patterns one has to attack; you have to know where to attack; you have to know pressure points. The medium is the message.” Case in point, Facebook, and other social media outlets. They can be gamed. Ask any software engineer familiar with social media algorithms, and you’d discover how to increase social media exposure exponentially by where, when, and how often to place postings (memes). The Green Party has an ARMY of activists capable of broadcasting and rebroadcasting Single Payer memes to their virtual communities and networks. Which begs the question, why aren’t they a coordinated Progressive messaging assault force?
Although the Green Party, to a significant part has helped shape the Single Payer debate and the Progressive movement, its current organizational structure is proving inadequate in harnessing its full potential and power. Having said that, I have the deepest respect and admiration for Jill Stein’s acumen and her lifetime commitment to the greater good. I still view her as the most formidable figure with national name recognition to lead the Green Party. However, her Fireside chats are, how should I put this…genial. I half expect to see my old college professor in elbow-patched tweed jacket cozying up to exchange political hypotheses while sipping tea and nibbling on Stilton Brie cheese. Ahem, academe ain’t working.
FIRE IT UP, JILL! Stir the pot! Go unannounced to town halls. Get your staff to do the same. Get mad! Where’s the passion?! Down a couple of shots of Jägermeister before airing Fireside chats. Get the pulse up. Narrow your focus. Single Payer! 24/7. It cuts across all segments of society. Take a cue from Glen Ford, Executive Editor of The Black Agenda Report who offered this pearl on his radio commentary:
“When supermajorities find that they cannot move their “own” political party to represent their interests, then it’s time to cut that party loose. The best thing that the national majority and the Democratic super-majority can do, for the sake of everyone’s health and the future of democracy, is to leave the Democratic Party. A national health disaster is looming. Single Payer is the only solution.”
”Sixty four members of the U.S. House of Representatives have signed on to Congressman John Conyers’ Medicare-for-all bill. But, none of them are actively pushing the legislation. Instead, they’re trying to resurrect the ghost of Obamacare – just like Bernie Sanders is doing. Sticking with Democrats only encourages them in their loyalty to their corporate masters. What’s needed, is for single supporters to leave the party and let their voices be heard in the streets. Single payer supporters already comprise huge majorities. The Democrats are nothing but the ball-and-chain that paralyzes people’s movements.”
Single Payer, Jill. Demexit, Jill. Capisce? Call out the fence-sitting Berniecrats! Call out the Progressive media outlets. Post Single Payer stories daily. Lead any and all interviews, speeches and rallies with Single Payer, healthcare for all. Hell, call out Bernie! Call out all Democrat politicians refusing to push Single Payer by name. Don’t play nice. It won’t get you any airtime. Take the gloves off! Or get surrogates that can take the fight to the politicians and people.
At the risk of redundancy, the current electoral political environment lends itself to a significant shift toward making healthcare a right and not a privilege. A recent Gallup poll researching political party affiliation showed startling declines in both the Republican and Democratic Parties. Independents now make the majority of the electorate. And, yes, I’m aware that most Progressives are aware of this. But given the verity, what has the Green Party done to identify independents – not in general statistical terms – but by specific demographic data: name, race, age, profession, and location. Who are these voters they’re attempting to “convert?” Surely, they’re not all Berniecrats. Is the Green Party capable of mining this detailed data through independent, institutional and voter affiliation state providers?
On the plus side, this much we know and should exploit. There’s power in numbers.
We know from recent institutional research that millennial adults (those 18 and over) are 60 percent white and 40 percent minority (18 percent Hispanic, 14 percent black, 5 percent Asian, and 3 percent other). We know that Millennial minority adults are expected to rise to 44 percent by 2020 (21 percent Hispanic, 14 percent black, 6 percent Asian, and 3 percent other). And we know that no single issue concerns Millennials more than universal health care. We also know that this group will grow exponentially and be the largest and most diverse. Projections are that there will be 4 million eligible voters each year. That bears repeating. There will be 4 million eligible voters each year.
Add to this the 50 to 65 age segment of society that is affected most by the current Healthcare Provider crisis, and you have a receptive readymade campaign for the asking; the message that cuts across independent demographic constituencies. MEDICARE FOR ALL! The Democrats and Republicans couldn’t have opened a bigger door for a progressive message to walk through. Sure, as Progressives there’s a myriad of issues that need addressing but none that provides the opportunity to harness and shape a Progressive alternative to the duopoly. Narrow the focus. Build the Green Party brand on the back of the Single Payer issue. The message isn’t monetary policy. It’s not a constitutional amendment to get money out of politics. It’s not inequality, war, environment, student debt, or any of the other Green Party core principle (although they should be). It’s SINGLE PAYER. It’s HEALTHCARE. Target Millennials and the already 50-65 voting bloc, and you’ll build a sustainable Green Party movement.
“Build” is a powerful word. Its very definition – to construct, to assemble, to erect, to fabricate, and to manufacture – is a testament to its potential and force in society. It’s time for Progressives, to “build” diverse demographic coalitions capable of harnessing energy and empowering the Green Party constituency. If that also requires calling out or jettisoning counterfeit progressive organizations, so be it. Before political reformation can take hold, political self-reformation must take place. The lingering question is whether there are leaders who have the political and cultural distinctiveness and chutzpah to make it happen. That’s still an open question.