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Go left, young man!

Via the great Avedon, this excellent essay on populism by John Emerson:

Where are the Pitchforks?

In 1930 or 1940 the average American was dirt poor, whereas Ruy Texeira and others have concluded that the contemporary “poor” demographic is relatively small and hard to mobilize. Furthermore, a high proportion of middling Americans have decided — actively or passively, explicitly or tacitly, for better or worse — that they’re in on the game, and that they shouldn’t rock the big-money boat. (America has been economically successful enough to produce a demographically significant group that thinks of itself as “elite”).

All I can say is that that is going to change. High finance has done its work, and we’ll be paying the costs of their financial collapse for a decade or more. Right now, except for the unemployed and their families, we’re still just talking about numbers on paper rather than personal disasters: 30-50% declines in net worth, trillions of dollars slopped out to the malefactors who caused the problem, and so on. As the years pass we’ll increasingly feel the effects in our daily lives.

Someone is sure to demagogue this issue — certainly someone should — and the brain-dead party of Phil Gramm has already started. Rationally and objectively the Democrats are in a slightly better position than the Republicans to go on the offensive, but none of them seem capable of it. They’ve spent the last fifty or sixty years deliberately destroying their populist and radical wings, and now they’re going into battle with no weapons except slogans, good feelings, claims of competence, lesser-evil policies, and pleas for bipartisanship.

Hopefully, if they can’t or won’t do the job, a third party will. And maybe this is just as much of a hopeless dream as is the revival of the Democratic Party, but without these fantasies, America is a fantasy too.

The lesson I take away from Obama's 100 days is that the Big Money Democrats now running the Party are busily making 2012, if not 2010, into a real contest ("Events, dear boy, events.") And why should they care? When the door revolves, they'll be well taken care of.

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Damon's picture
Submitted by Damon on

Labor has been acquiescing to Big Money like some trained seal. Gettlefinger (in my neck of the woods) and the rest should be sceaming bloody murder about the Big Giveaway with a national campaign to show how Big Money has epically failed. Instead, if even begrudingly, they've nearly taken the side that they are the source of the problem.

It's an upside-down world, for sure.