Bernie Sanders may have brought people into the movements, but at the end of the day, the Dixon/Black Agenda analysis of Sanders being a sheepdog stands. And Bernie Sanders played that role well, which is why there is currently so much resistance to fully breaking from the Democrats. Electing progressive Democrats will result in capitulation and co-optation, and more will be ready to come over and help to build a new political party.
In his version of the Texoblogosphere rundown this week, Gadfly linked to this rambling report on last weekend's Left Forum in New York, courtesy of The North Star. The Forum provided a lot of critiques, positive and negative, on left political movements including the Green Party of the US. In its final paragraph, the report references the same Bruce Dixon Black Agenda Report column to which I linked last week. Here is a slice:
[Insert "I wish I knew how to quit you!" photo here. I'm having trouble getting Meme Generator to work today.]
If it were easy to just up and quit identifying with the Democratic Party, a lot more American voters would have done so by now—Progressives in particular. Codependency with an abusive political partner is a painfully difficult state of existence. The ever-present fallacy of false alternatives is downright cruel: "What, you're gonna leave me? Where are you gonna go—to the Republicans?"
Stop it, Democratic establishment. Just fucking stop it. Of the millions of us who no longer identify as Democrats, some of us have gone to the Republicans. Others have joined smaller parties like the Greens. The huge majority have given up on partisan politics entirely, including the largest cohort of all: those who don't vote, even in presidential elections.
This post shouldn't be about me. Yes, it's my blog, and I'd love to talk to you about my activities over the weekend, but I can't help feeling that those activities are of so little importance compared to other recent events. It seems inappropriate to talk about oneself when one's government is committing mass murder yet again.
Appropriate or not, I will talk about my weekend. There are lessons to be learned from it.
Over the past week, the United States of America got even more deeply involved in the Syrian conflict, raining death and destruction on yet another Middle Eastern nation and creeping closer to direct confrontation with Russia. It's what we do. It's kind of become our specialty.
So, on Saturday afternoon, rather than go Downtown to see Houston's 31st annual Art Car Parade, as I had planned, I yielded to my peacenik reflexes and joined in a small protest rally Uptown. Downtown I likely could have added dozens of signatures to the Green Party's ballot access petition while other Greens were tied up with their state convention; Uptown I managed to get ten. Brian Harrison and several others from the most recent Socialist Alternative meeting were present, and all of them had signed the petition that evening.
Profound and sincere apologies for anything that might even be perceived as passive-aggressive in a recent response to a Brains and Eggs entry. My comrade Perry Dorrell has posted two-thirds of a series he labels "the Revolution vs. the Resistance," and it's a fascinating read for Texas Progressives.
News flash: Sema = Revolution, and Beto = Mere Resistance.
Don't Just Say No
Naomi Klein's rushed-to-press book from last year is entitled No Is Not Enough. The title is a pretty solid slogan for Progressives in North America and elsewhere. The Pussy-Hat Resistance Movement is a Just Say No campaign.
It is not entirely true that the Resistance is focusing exclusively on halting the Drumpf/GOP agenda, without offering alternative policies. Generally, however, the main thrust of the Resistance consists of NO! and then figuring out what happens after Democrats recapture Congress, like the dog that finally catches the car.
The Revolution, on the other hand, is about proposing something different—not just different from what Republicans offer, but from what mainstream Democrats laughably call their "ideas." The Revolution may work within the Democratic Party as outsider candidates, in third parties, or independently; whichever, they bring truly progressive platforms that include single payer/Medicare for All and ending US foreign military adventures.
All the brouhaha over who's harassing/molesting/abusing whom in the worlds of politics and entertainment (I know, they're essentially the same damn thing) recently got me thinking about Arthur Worth "Bud" Collins (no relation, thank Jeezus), who died just last year. Neither the Times obituary nor his wiki entry mentions the most odious aspect of his career as a tennis commentator: the unabashed sexism he sometimes broadcast to a breathless world.
Years after Billie Jean King wiped the Astrodome floor with Bobby Riggs, NBC allowed (perhaps even encouraged?) Collins to compile "Bud's Beauties" segments to profile the most slammin' babes competing at Wimbledon. Even after protests from feminist tennis fans and others brought the segments to a halt, Collins continued to serve as a color analyst for major tournaments. Was he chastened by the outcry? This piece that Collins contributed to the Guardian ten years ago suggests otherwise. It's downright icky. I agree that all that grunting and howling makes tennis difficult to watch, whether from women or men, but OMFG. Reading it brought back memories of his cringeworthy comment during a match about "the grunt of King and the squeak of [15-year-old Tracey] Austin!"
These televised descents into creepiness made up only a small, regrettable portion of Collins's contribution to the game. The quality of his writing was at times superb, bordering on poetic, and he was almost as Damon Runyan–esque when speaking off the cuff. He advocated for equal pay and respect for women, at least in professional tennis. Feminist icons like BJK lionized him and considered him a personal friend.
Now what does this slog down memory lane have to do with the headline for this entry? It was not designed as a lead-in to a rant about the aforementioned brouhaha, but to feelings that arise when reading PDiddie's two items (one and two) about progressive Democrats filing to run for office in 2018.
Don't think for a minute that I'm even suggesting that PD & Bud have anything in common. Srsly, don't even look in that direction. But it's worth noting that very little in politics, entertainment, sport, or journalism should be taken at face value (unless you're Phil Collins, I suppose).
A little like Bud Collins waxing rhapsodic about Maria Sharapova's well-toned glutes, PD seems genuinely excited about Democratic candidates whose positions seem genuinely progressive. His excitement is infectious—or perhaps that's just the empath in me feeling what PD feels.
At least one of these Democratic prospects, US Senate candidate Sema Hernandez, even states outright that she is a socialist. It's enough of an anomaly even to draw Lee Camp's attention on Twitter (via here interview with Tim Black).
One wonders, because one is given to cynicism about such matters, whether each of these candidates is:
One also wonders, because one has identified as a Green for far too long, why these people haven't long abandoned the Democratic Party and brought their talents to the Green team. Even if the progressive rebellion happens, it isn't a question of whether the Democratic establishment will actively fight against it, but of how hard and how dirty it will fight.
Since some of these folks are running for county and state offices, it's hardly appropriate for them to pitch a fit about US military aid to Israel and Saudi Arabia on their websites. But if you ask Tom Wakely—whom Diddie calls "a reincarnation of my favorite Texas politico ever, David Van Os"—his position on Yemen, I expect a nuanced denunciation of the Saudi bombing campaign and the US role in supporting it, something that goes well beyond progressive talking points.
It's a #DemEnter Thing
Even if all these progressive Democrats do is make a lot of noise, and fail to win nominations, and even if they aren't progressive enough to make me Blue Anew, together they can accomplish something important. Primarily (pardon the pun), when the corporate wing of the party crushes the progressive uprising, I expect them to document for the world just how resistant their party is to progressive ideas and those who embody them.
That's the beauty of combining the tactics of DemEnter and DemExit, when it moves from a hashtag to actuality. DemExit: Millions of us are fed up, refusing to play by the duopoly's rules, and either voting third-party or giving up on the process. DemEnter: Those who have the stomach to beat their heads against the wall of corporate money are welcome to do so; they can then use the experience as evidence of non-support, neglect, or open hostility from party regulars to indict the Democratic Party and the whole rotten system.
At the top of the Democratic Primary ticket, Hernandez has less than three months to get her name known as a challenger to front-runner Rep. Beto O'Rourke for the Senate nomination, a superior alternative who puts populist passion over platitudes.
Will Hernandez be the straw that breaks my 20-year streak of not voting in Democratic primaries, preventing me from signing the Greens' ballot access petition? Highly unlikely. Am I categorically ruling it out? Nope. A lot can happen between now and the 6 March primary. If, between 13 March and Memorial Day, I collect hundreds of signatures from those who haven't cast a primary vote, the number I gather would far outweigh my missing one.
Here you will find political campaign-related entries, as well as some about my literature, Houston underground arts, peace & justice, urban cycling, soccer, alt-religion, and other topics.