‘Awkward’ socialists tarnishing the Democratic Party’s big business-loving brand

Dastardly socialists fighting for the common good.

Dastardly socialists fighting for the common good.

Today in a Politico article titled “The Socialist Surge” Ben Schreckinger and Jonathan Topaz discuss how uncomfortable it is for the Democratic Party to have a self-identified socialist Presidential candidate—Bernie Sanders—picking up so much steam among the Democratic Party base. The sub-header reads: “The rise of Bernie Sanders is proving awkward for the Democratic Party.”

You know what might be even more ‘awkward’ for the Democratic Party than the idea that many of their base voters would vote for an open socialist? How about the reality that most Democratic Party politicians holding national office owe their political careers to their cowering before Wall Street and big business—as the latter wrecked the economy and consolidated their stranglehold over the American political system—all while claiming to represent and fight for the ‘middle class’?

Yeah. That’s some serious awkward there. Go, Bernie, go. #Bernie2016

It’s not every day that Grover Norquist accuses me of writing ‘foolish things’

It’s not every day that I have the honor of being accused of writing “foolish things” by the “great tax reformer” Grover Norquist. After reading Kevin Drum’s account of Louisiana Republicans’ exacerbation with Norquist, I Tweeted my own exacerbation. To my surprise, Mr. Norquist took at least a few seconds to break from his busy agenda of bankrupting America to explain himself.

To whom was he referring? Who would say such a foolish thing, I wondered? “We can do better than freedom?” What an absurd argument to make! And then I suddenly realized that it was me! He was referring to my Twitter profile, which leads with the sentence “We can do better than capitalism.” Easy mistake to make. I gently corrected him.

Now, let’s tax the rich already. “Simple.”

The Problem of Collective Action in the United States

Picking up from yesterday’s post, the central problem I have attempted to apprehend from so many angles has to do with political behavior — especially collective action in the context of the United States over the past 50 or so years. How and why do people act together collectively to advance or defend their common interests? How and why do people not act together for the same — or even resist collective action that would seem to benefit them?

In my estimation, social movements in the United States do not presently have anywhere close to the capacity needed to mount sustained challenges to the entrenched power structures we are up against, at least when it comes to issues for which change would threaten the current economic order (e.g. progressive taxation, public education, public health care, cutting military spending, public elections, corporate personhood, financial regulation, global warming, and so on). Thus, Occupy Wall Street has been something of a beacon of hope to many. But momentarily seizing the national narrative didn’t send the bankers and Wall Street executives packing. A far more massive movement will be needed if we are to actually challenge the formidable power of capital. Continue reading