Our Bloodless, Progressive, Political Revolution

political_revolution (1)


Most of the new viability on the Left in the US is inside the Democratic party. Its not about Bernie, but its following his political revolution plan* to occupy the Democratic Party.

I don’t mean Bernie invented the political revolution by himself, he had some great staffers in 2015-16, and they drew from Occupy Wall Street and the Tea Party movement, among other things. Now besides Our Revolution there’s also Justice Democrats, Indivisible, Brand New Congress, and others creating pipelines for progressive Democratic candidates. In a two party system that’s the only thing that makes sense as a main uniting strategy for progressives.

If you have more than two electable parties in a country, you have to decide whether to feed the most progressive party or try for a coup of a less progressive but more powerful party. It seems to me that history has favored the latter. The Tea Party is an example of how that strategy worked for the Right.

It can be easier to hijack a successful party than to build one from scratch. Its often easier to steal a ship than to build one. Ask the US Libertarian Party, whose only power comes from its GOP members, or the The Socialist Party of America, whose only power is coming from its Democratic Party members. The US Green party, in comparison, is crippled by its bone-headed independence.

Some felt betrayed when after being cheated out of the Democratic nomination Bernie endorsed Clinton and campaigned for her. But such disgruntled Bernie Bros (many who turned and voted for *rump) never understood Bernie or Our Revolution. Bernie and Our Revolution were not in it for one election, we were in it to take over the Democratic Party and thereby liberate the country, no matter how many elections that might take. We weren’t about to throw away the gains we made in 2015-16 by taking our ball and going home. We built a pipeline to bring more bold progressive candidates into the Democratic party and in 2018 that resulted in taking back the House. In 2020 we have a shot at the Senate and the Oval Office, not to mention state and local offices all over the country. We may not get complete progressive control in 2020 but we’ll continue building the pipelines, the apparatus, and the infrastructure between elections. Because we have no choice. Voting third party, not voting, or *only* voting without working in between the elections are not options for pragmatic, intelligent 21C Citizen [R]evolutionaries.

Poor Richard
* Our Revolution: A Future to Believe In is a book by U.S. Senator from Vermont Bernie Sanders, published by Thomas Dunne Books in November 2016…

Sanders discusses how his presidential campaign was considered by the political establishment and the media to be a “fringe” campaign and something not to be taken seriously.[2] He discusses his initial struggle as being an “Independent senator from a small state with little name recognition”. The memoir also covers how his campaign had no money, no political organization, and it was taking on the entire Democratic Party establishment.[2]

In Our Revolution, Sanders shares his personal experiences from the campaign trail, recounting the details of his primary fight and the people who made it possible. He outlines a progressive economic, environmental, racial, and social justice agenda that will create jobs, raise wages, protect the environment, and provide health care for all—and ultimately transform our country and our world for the better.[2]


Our Revolution (Amazon, Look Inside and audio book clip read by Bernie): https://www.amazon.com/Our-Revolution-Believe-Bernie-Sanders/dp/1250132924

Bernie Sanders Guide to Political Revolution [for teens] – August 29, 2017 — https://www.amazon.com/Bernie-Sanders-Guide-Political-Revolution/dp/1250138906

Where We Go from Here: Two Years in the Resistance – November 27, 2018 — https://www.amazon.com/Where-We-Go-Here-Resistance/dp/1250163269


24×7 Subterranean Election Blues

If WE THE PEOPLE ran political ads addressed TO the candidates…

(Excuse Me Mr., No Doubt)

Emmanuel Dunand/AFP/Getty Images

I’m like a beggar with no luck
I’m holding signs up
On your streetcorner stops
Like most you try not to see me
You stare straight ahead
Ignore the responsibility
Excuse me
(Excuse me Mr.)
I’ve been waiting in line
And I’d like to buy some of your time
I’m very anxious, eager, willing
What’s your billing?

So please excuse me Mr.
You’ve got things all wrong
You make me feel like a crime
So don’t confuse me Mr.
I’ve known you too long
All I need is a little of your time

image: Wikipedia

For most love comes for free
They don’t pay the high cost
Of mental custody
I’ll pay bail for a guarantee
Please make space for me
In the time yet to be
Excuse me
(Excuse me Mr.)
I’ve been waiting in line
And I’d like to buy
Some of your time
I’ve been saving up my life.
So what’s the price?

So please excuse me Mr.
You’ve got things all wrong
You make me feel like a crime
So don’t confuse me Mr.

REUTERS/Anthony Bolante

I’ve known you too long
All I need is a little of your time

What should I do
I’m about to crack
And there’s a force
That comes over me
It’s almost as if I’m tied to the tracks
And I’m waiting for him
To rescue me
The funny thing is
He’s not going to come
He’s not going to find me
This is a matter of fact
The desire you lack
This is the way I guess it has to be…

A little of your time
I need a little of your time
Please, a little of your time

I’m in line to buy time
I’m in line to buy time

[ Lyrics from: lyricsfreak.com]

Dear Politicians: This message has been approved by WE THE PEOPLE, suckas.

A profound irony

We credit human beings with the greatest magnitude and scope of cognitive abilities of any species on earth. Furthermore, to our intrinsic biological intelligence we have added numerous prosthetics and enhancements:

  • language
  • culture
  • science (scientific method)
  • numerous technologies for gathering, recording, testing, communicating, and processing information
  • neuroprosthetics

Rodin’s Thinker

But here is a staggeringly profound irony:

With all this enhanced and aggregated cognitive ability, we are still unable to collectively choose between two familiar but diametrically opposed descriptions of reality with much greater consensus than a public coin toss would produce.

Specifically, polls indicate that across a very large and relatively well-advantaged sample of our species, namely US citizens, biases are about evenly divided between a reactionaryauthoritarian (e.g. Republican Party) description of reality and a progressiveegalitarian (e.g. Democratic party) description of reality.

However, the typical political poll is not specifically designed to question the “true” (and often well-concealed) behavior of political party “machines”. At that level there may not be a hair’s breadth of difference between the two major parties. Instead, I think election-season polls tend to  reveal the belief systems, world-views, or cultural narratives that are preferred by responders if we sort them, according to best fit, into just two buckets. Party platforms and rhetoric can then serve as rough but ready proxies for two contrasting views or models of reality. Such a binary complement of proxies is a handy shortcut for getting at deep, underlying belief systems of the electorate.  Since opposing positions on issues such as trade, climate, taxes, education, gender, etc. can be framed or spun in the most innocuous terms by those on each side, conservatives can freely express their bias towards “job creators” and against “entitlements” at the same time that progressives can favor the “working poor” over the “1%” in reference to the very same groups of actual people. These disinhibiting euphemisms and epithets selectively employed by each side give them to inadvertently expose their implicit attitudes and cognitive biases with (they believe) little or no obvious stigma attached.

Now, as far as the approaching US election is concerned, voting for any presidential candidate other than Romney or Obama is practically equivalent to not casting a vote at all. Sure–many on the right dislike Romney and many on the left have problems with Obama’s record that may influence them to vote for “third party” candidates or to blow off voting altogether. I think either of those choices fails to properly compute the effect of the election on the prestige or reputation of the winning and loosing narratives or world-views, regardless of the anticipated and/or the actual post-election governing behavior of those who get elected.

The right and left have two very different public narratives about the world, despite how similarly the parties and the politicians may actually govern in office. The difference in the “spirit” of the two platforms and the associated rhetoric is really quite obvious and profound. The fact that politicians routinely get away with saying one thing and doing another doesn’t mean that narrative doesn’t count or that voting doesn’t have consequences. The fact that voting doesn’t matter as much as we wish it did doesn’t mean that voting is completely irrelevant. Non-voting and voting for unelectable candidates are inconsistent with enlightened self-interest because reinforcing the reputation of one’s preferred world-view has non-zero consequences.

On the other hand, if a third party platform or candidate represents some world view better than either major party, the marginal theoretical difference is pretty much lost right along with the election-day results. The value of  third parties is all in the campaign period (debates, etc.) prior to the election. The value of any “message” a third-party vote sends to a post-election public may be (arguably) slightly greater than zero, but seldom by much. No matter how perfect a third party may seem compared with a just plain “lesser evil” party, the bottom line in the voting booth is almost always the same: the perfect is the enemy (not the champion, savior, or super-hero) of the good. And IMHO that’s about as close to a self-evident axiom (supported by overwhelming empirical data) or pearl of wisdom as you can find anywhere.

Thus the smartest cohort of eligible US citizens will be overcoming the various barriers erected by incumbent powers and voting for one of the two major parties. How they vote will reflect their beliefs about reality. But as things stand, the electorate appears fairly evenly divided this year. So to sum up, in what is arguably an election for the most powerful public offices of Planet Earth, the collective intelligence of homo sapiens as of this great year of 2012 has evolved to an effective level of utility roughly equivalent to a coin toss.

Yet this is hardly the supreme irony of human intelligence. As we embark upon catastrophic anthropogenic climate change and the Sixth Great Extinction of living species (possibly to include our own), we may wish to reconsider our definitions of the word intelligence.

What a piece of work is man, How noble in Reason…” (Shakespeare’s Hamlet, 1603)


Poor Richard

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