Obama’s presidency is evidence that no individual savior can or will change the current system
The only possible route to progressive policies is by first pursuing progressive changes in our politics. As long as less than 1% of the population controls 50+% of the wealth, and money is allowed to play significant roles in politics, not only in elections, but also in legislation and policymaking, then we will continue to get policies aimed at maintaining the basic socio-economic and political balance of power.
We need a new third party, or a consolidation of several into one. We need to create a party that will draw in Greens, Libertarians, socialists, independents, progressive Democrats, tea-party Republicans, and some non-voters with one single-minded ambition: to replace the two parties that serve the wealthy/corporate elite. Part of the process of doing that will be to build a party that will not focus on left or right economic policies or social policies, but instead will focus only on altering our political structure to one that will remove money from the equation, one that will be more democratic, and that will allow the government to become the tool of the people instead of the wealthy via their corporations.
This new party must be willing to postpone the discussions about economic and social policies until we can successfully change the nature of politics in America to one in which people’s voices really matter. That is, we must work together to remove from the elites their exclusive hold on power. Continuing to argue about any policies other than that is playing into their hands!
Let me make clear, I am not advocating a long-term plan of single-party governance. Rather, I am advocating a single revolutionary party to work together on a relatively short-term basis to change the nature of American politics only. Once we have achieved that goal, we can reorganize into left-right or whatever other partisan divisions make sense to us at that time, but until then, divisions among us will just help elites maintain the status quo.
To change the way politics is done in this country will require winning MAJORITIES is AT LEAST 30% of state legislatures, county commissions, and city councils, and winning at least 30% of the seats in both houses of Congress. On our current path, who can tell us when any third party might achieve these milestones? Who is willing to wait that long?
William Domhoff believes that the Democratic Party can be the path to a more egalitarian America, but while I agree with most of what he has to say (most of his theory seems unassailable to me), I think the Democratic Party is far too aligned with the elite to break that tie. Further, the Democrats have already maximized the proportion of the American populace they can win over with their not-quite-so-right-wing politics, and a large enough segment within the Democratic Party are anti-egalitarian, anti-democratic elitists that if the party went that way, it would lose those people, and it will not make such a change. We have to steal the progressives and small-d democrats from the Democratic Party.
The Green Party is not so politically entrenched, and is dedicated to a very democratic and decentralized process, but it requires that members first acknowledge their adherence to the Ten Key Values. I personally agree with those values, and would like to see them incorporated into our society as a whole, but I am also aware that most of those values are potentially divisive among Americans. Social and economic justice, feminism, and a fundamentalist devotion to peace and nonviolence as policy, for instance, are far from being universally accepted by Americans, and requiring an affirmation of those values would prevent a large number from joining, even if they believed that Greens really had a chance for sweeping wins and that the clear focus would be on democratization of our politics.
I am not really sure how the Libertarian Party operates in terms of internal decision-making, but they have been so focused for so long on their monotonous mantra of smaller government as a magical panacea that it is difficult for me to imagine that they would allow that to be changed.
Thus, I believe that the only path is through the creation of a new party without any of these procedural obstacles or even any preconceptions about them. I’m not sure what we should call it, but we can discuss and decide that together, democratically.