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PORTSIDE  November 2010, Week 2

PORTSIDE November 2010, Week 2

Subject:

Obama and What's Next? Two articles

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Date:

Mon, 8 Nov 2010 22:04:53 -0500

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Obama and What's Next? Two articles:
1.Obama's Pathetic Post-Mortem Response
2. What Now? Ted Glick

===
1.

Obama's Pathetic Post-Mortem Response

Published on Saturday, November 6, 2010 
by The Progressive 
http://www.commondreams.org/view/2010/11/06-6

by Matthew Rothschild

The President's post-mortem press conference
underscores why he lost, and why progressives should no
longer invest hope in him.

While he accepted responsibility for the defeat, and
while he acknowledged that people were "frustrated" and
wanted "their jobs to come back faster," he failed to
even mention the massive housing crisis that he has so
ineptly handled.

On top of that, he adopted the messaging of the
Republicans. He talked about the need to reduce our
deficit so we don't "leave our children a legacy of
debt" and so we're not "racking up the credit card for
the next generation."

Those lines could have come straight out of the mouth
of Rand Paul!

And like Rand Paul, he saluted business and the free
market: "The reason we've got an unparalleled standard
of living in the history of the world is because we've
got a free market that is dynamic and entrepreneurial
and that free market has to be nurtured and
cultivated."

Then he pitied big business.

"You just had a successive set of issues in which I
think business took the message that, well, gosh, it
seems like we may be always painted as the bad guy," he
said. "And so I've got to take responsibility in terms
of making sure that I make clear to the business
community as well as to the country that the most
important thing we can do is to boost and encourage our
business sector."

Really??? That's "the most important thing" he has to
do? Wow!

He also backpedaled fast on expanding the role of
government, conceding without qualification that some
people thought "government was getting much more
intrusive into people's lives." Amazingly, he said,
"I'm sympathetic to folks who looked at it and said
this is looking like potential overreach."

Rather than represent an ideological alternative, he
tried to blur the ideological lines. "None of the
challenges we face lend themselves to simple solutions
or bumper-sticker slogans," he said. "Nor are the
answers found in any one particular philosophy or
ideology."

And just as he did during his long waffle on health
care, he said, "I'm eager to hear good ideas wherever
they come from."

He repeatedly mentioned the need for "civility" and
"consensus" at a time when it's more important than
ever to slug out the ideological differences.

He also embraced some of the substance of the
Republican Party agenda.

Sounding like John McCain, he endorsed the idea of
cutting "earmarks" several times.

He said he wanted to "accelerate depreciation for
business," which is about the least efficient way to
jumpstart the economy.

He said he wanted to push natural gas.

And he even waved at restarting "our nuclear industry
as a means of reducing our dependence on foreign oil
and reducing greenhouse gases."

That's his vision?

This is pathetic. 

(c) 2010 The Progressive

Matthew Rothschild is the editor of The Progressive [1]
magazine.


===
2.

What Now?

By Ted Glick

Future Hope column, November 7, 2010

"We need to mobilize hundreds of thousands of people,
combined with thousands participating in strategic
nonviolent civil disobedience, behind a message and a
program that is popular, not narrow, and which targets
the oil and coal companies, the for-profit health care
industry, the too-big-to-fail greedy and criminal
bankers, the military-industrial complex--in short, the
powerful monied interests. . ."

*       *        *       *       *       *

The results of the November 2 elections, overall, were
very sobering. It wasn't just the Tea Party and
Republican victories in House and Senate seats but
their striking successes in gubernatorial and state
house and senate races. One analysis that I saw said
that, after the redrawing of electoral district
boundaries over the next two years by much more heavily
Republican state governments, the Democrats will need
to win the equivalent of 15-20 more seats to retake the
House than is true right now.

Of course, the Democrats had overwhelming majorities in
both houses of Congress and control of the White House
for two years, and there were serious flaws in much of
what they produced and some things that weren't
accomplished at all, like decent climate legislation,
action to match the need as far as unemployment and
mortgage foreclosures, immigrant rights legislation,
serious action against criminal bankers, a reduction of
the military budget and labor law reform.

Is it too much to hope that the election results will
lead many, many more progressives to realize that it's
time--it's past time--to stop expecting that the
Democratic Party is going to provide the solutions we
need? Or, at least, that the Dems will ever stand up to
the corporate powers-that-be without strong and
visible, massive grassroots pressure? Will a critical
mass of us see and act upon the fact that the
economic/climate/social/political catastrophes that we
are in and facing will never be solved absent a
powerful, unified, independent, visible,
grassroots-based, progressive political movement?

In a Future Hope column many years ago I wrote about
what I saw as the three absolute prerequisites if we
were to have any hope of transformative change in the
USA.

One is the existence of thousands and thousands of
community-based and workplace-based organizations all
over the country. These organizations would be--are
being--led by and accountable to and take action on the
key issues of low-income, working-class,
disenfranchised and/or decent people in all kinds of
communities and workplaces.

Second, we need something similar to, with some key
differences, the Rainbow Coalition movement of the
1980's, a "third force" alternative to the Democrats
and Republicans which supports candidates for office
who are part of and connected to the various social and
popular movements of the people. One difference is that
it has to be more independent, more consciously involve
third party supporters as well as progressive
Democrats. Another is that it can't be built around the
personal charisma of one person. It needs a leadership,
not just a leader.

Third, we need something like what we saw in this
country, and the world, from 1999 to 2001 with the
global justice movement that challenged the World Trade
Organization, the IMF, the World Bank and similar
institutions. Beginning in the USA in Seattle, tens of
thousands of people demonstrated in the streets as part
of legal marches and as part of mass civil disobedience
actions, mainly nonviolent, over and over again during
this time. It was still a rising force when the
9/11/2001 Al Qaeda attacks stopped it and diverted much
of its energy into the Iraq anti-war movement.

My sense of what is the priority task, not the only one
but the priority, following the elections is to
consciously forge a broad progressive alliance to plan
for and organize a massive "street heat" set of actions
in D.C. and elsewhere in 2011, possibly in the spring
but no later than the early fall.

We need to shift the political dynamic in the country.
This is what the Tea Party--they were then the "tea
baggers"--did with their September 12th, 2009
demonstration at the U.S. Capitol.

We need to mobilize hundreds of thousands of people,
combined with thousands participating in strategic
nonviolent civil disobedience, united behind a message
and a program that is popular, not narrow, and which
targets the oil and coal companies, the for-profit
health care industry, the too-big-to-fail greedy and
criminal bankers, the war profiteers--in short, the
powerful monied interests who have hijacked our
democracy and are pulling the strings behind the Tea
Party, the Republican Party and powerful sections of
the Democratic Party.

That's what I see as the most important thing to be
done right now.

I welcome constructive criticisms and response.

Ted Glick's past writings and other information can be
found at http://www.tedglick.com.

___________________________________________

Portside aims to provide material of interest to people
on the left that will help them to interpret the world
and to change it.

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