A Progressive Plan of Action

A Progressive Plan of Action

S.M. Miller: A Progressive Plan of Action

I. What are progressives doing?

A. Kvetching?feeling let down by Obama, and self-pitying.

B. Blaming the victors?big business and finance and their lobbyists are corrupting the political system (in which progressives would win if not for the bad guys). It?s all their fault!

C. Talking to other progressives?stress on e-mail, and internet operations that speak only to other progressives. Little reaching out to the unconvinced.

II. Why aren?t progressives doing what they should be doing?

D. Economism?the progressive belief that one?s economic situation determines one?s political situation (residual mechanical Marxism). Ignores that the most recent great transformations (race, gender, sexuality) have not been in the economic sphere, and fails to explain higher-educated, moderately high-income recruits to progressive outlooks.

E. Bad economic times should bring people to Democratic, progressive positions. When that doesn?t happen, big business and finance get blamed for political prowess. They?re disabled by the absence of a reexamination of ineffectual practices, in order to change them.

F. Low-regard for non-progressives, the substance of the ?elitist? labeling of many progressives and Democrats, encourages feeling of ?why bother? when it comes to persuading the hood-winked who don?t recognize their true class interests.

G. Progressive organizations are engrossed in and enamored of emailing other progressives?and fundraising?rather than persuading the unpersuaded.

H. Internal conflict between stand-on principle (?Here I stand?so I can?t support Obama?) and pragmatism (make some gains and support Obama in 2012).

III. What should progressives be doing?

I. Discover America?debate rosy analytic descriptions of the country. For example: are American families worse off than they were ten to twenty years ago; medians and cross-sectional data can mislead.

J. Speak about values?for example, present data on income inequality in the context of equality of opportunity.

K. Work to convince a strong majority of voters that inequality is economically and socially undesirable.

L. Improve governments? performance?don?t just defend government, but change it. Simplify the tax system. Get people to visualize a day without governmental services.

M. Overcome the low authentic level of information about the USA: The America that is and, especially, was, not the USA that we were taught in school.

N. Get out our story more effectively? Have a rejoinder to ?death panels?; have an army of effective spokespersons, a ?truth squad,? whose phrases reverberate.

O. Talk to the unconvinced. Develop Democratic and progressive grassroots organizations that speak with the unconvinced and undecided. Promote local amenities that bring people together. Identify and cultivate opinion leaders. Go local!

P. Educate others about the changing and difficult longer-run economic prospects of the United States and the need for effective governmental action to face these challenges.

To change the United States, Democrats and progressives have to change themselves.

Socialist thought provides us with an imaginative and moral horizon.

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