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What if there were a Progressive Organization dedicated to building a principle-driven party?

I know many people who visit Irregular Times agree with the following statement:

We believe that the greatest need of our nation is to redirect the resources of our government from destruction to creation, from war to peace, from military spending to social spending, from sickness to health, from selfish desires to universal needs. The future of humanity and our planet are at stake.

The question is, “What is the most effective strategy for wresting control of the government of the United States of America from the moneyed interests, the corporations, and the military industrial complex that now effectively control it?”

The answer is NOT leaving the country.
The answer is NOT the Republican Party.
And the answer is NOT the Democratic Party as it is now organized and controlled.

I know many of us have been asking ourselves how we can further progressive and liberal political goals in America when both the Republican Party (to a huge extent) and the Democratic Party (to a significant extent) have largely sold themselves off to corporate interests.

Well, what if there were a progressive organization dedicated to building a principle-driven party? What if that organization were able to take the Democratic Party back from the corporate interests? How would such an organization go about it? What about a strategy like this:

  • Create local “homes,” chapters, and caucuses inside existing Democratic Party structures at the state and local level (why reinvent the wheel?) where like-minded people can work together to articulate public policies that support human rights, economic equality, and social and environmental justice. Engage in a movement to bring progressives back into the Democratic Party and to revive the Democratic Party through active involvement in its existing structure, by becoming precinct chairs, party officers, members of committees, delegates, etc.
  • Organize in each of the 435 Congressional districts in the entire United States. Build progressive Democratic caucuses in every one of them. Form state-level progressive Democratic caucuses in all fifty states.
  • Once the networks and caucuses are adequately populated, identify and promote progressive candidates and issues on which to organize and win. Progressive legislators will provide the representation to advance the progressive agenda and to pass laws that promote the progressive vision at all levels of government.
  • Maintain links to the Congressional Black Caucus and the House Progressive Caucus so that PDA also operates at the National level (while continuing to help progressives organize at the state and local level). Together with our allies we will champion electoral and campaign finance reforms, give greater voice to third party campaigns, and address the serious issues that are undermining our democracy.

Was that the sort of principled yet pragmatic solution you had in mind? Well, there’s an organization from which I’ve taken these quotes, an organization that is already at work to implement this very strategy. It’s called the Progressive Democrats of America, and with your help they can accomplish the kind of change you envision. Visit their website. Read their detailed plan for action. Then, if you’re able and so inclined, either send them on a donation or get directly involved as a participating activist. Here’s a real chance for us all to stop simply complaining and do something to help change the direction of the most powerful nation on the planet.

3 comments to What if there were a Progressive Organization dedicated to building a principle-driven party?

  • Tom

    Too bad there isn’t even a cohesive Democratic Party any more. Sure the Republinazis are completely screwing up, but with no alternative to speak of (what are we gonna do, back Lieberman?) it’s not looking real good for 2006 yet. Remember, the “anyone but Bush” tactic didn’t work in 2004 because it was unfocused, unorganized, and underfunded. We better find some real progressive Democrats with integrity and fortitude who will be legitimate answers to the Republican power and money grab.

  • What about starting a new political party? Seems to me the Greens have no credibility in terms of their ability to actually get anything done. But what if a new party, one with real organizing efficiency, called the Progressive Party, was founded? Would you be willing to give that political party consideration, or would you dismiss that too?

  • Ralph

    You know, to “wrest control” of this country from monied interests is one thing, and it’s very radical–and usually expressed without a clear articulation of who, realistically, is going to fill the power vacuum and run the country. An America that doesn’t run on money? What would that look like? The Soviet Union?

    Another thing altogether is to say that the United States will establish monetary policies within the capitalist system that genuinely function to reward things like hard work, honesty, creativity and environmental responsibility.

    For instance, we could impose some new taxes:

    1. “The labor proxy tax”: Imposes a federal tax on all income derived from labor performed by other people. Money goes to reduce the federal debt.

    2. “The pollution tax”: Set a given tax amount per gram of any given environmentally destructive substance released by a corporation. Money goes to cleanup, and an incentive for environmentally friendly alternatives is created without recourse to subsidies.

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