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Going on the offense with the 12-Point Platform

[I'm leaving this sticky, since this plan is going to dominate my blogging life for the next six months. So, the more commentary, the better! --lambert]

My center is giving way, my right is retreating, situation excellent, I am attacking.

-- Ferdinand Foch

Something I've been noticing lately is that there's too much news to react to. Ferguson; Gaza; ISIS; Iraq; Ukraine; NSA; and the ongoing clusterfucks of ObamaCare, permanently high disemployment, the failure to prosecute criminal banksters. And that's before we get to campaign 2016 (already underway), as well as the 2014 skirmishing. MR SUBLIMINAL Hillary! Warren! Also too climate change.

It's almost like the elite is gaslighting us, isn't it? If we've got too much to think about, we won't think at all, right? Worse, as a blogger, I'm reacting. I'm being pushed around, and there's no chance to push back. So I want to push back. I want to go on the offense.

Things become simpler when we know what we want. Let's take all the news stories I listed above and reorganize them:

Solutions from the 12-Point Platform:

2. Medicare for All ObamaCare clusterfuck
4. Job and Income Guarantee disemployment
9. Enforce the Bill of Rights NSA
10. End the Wars Ferguson; Gaza; ISIS; Iraq; Ukraine
12. Carbon Negative Economy climate change

Solutions from the 12 Reforms:

10. Justice Starts at the Top Criminal banksters

More empowering, no? Suddenly we don't have limitless, random news stories anymore. Instead, we've got 12 points and 12 reforms. Tops. All news goes in those buckets. These are the themes we can keep pounding on. Three yards and a cloud of dust is fine by me!

So I plan to take one point each week, on Wednesday, until November 7, 2014, election day. That's 12 weeks, so that will cover the 12 Points (if I throw in some extras here and there due to rounding errors). Then between November 7 and the start of Congress, January 3, 2015, I will do the 12 Reforms. I will also have to be more clever about getting the word out via twitter, etc. (I think I'll go over and tweet the points and the reforms to Gwen Ifill tomorrow.) Who knows, maybe T-shirts!

In the week before each Wednesday post, I'll write up research for the upcoming Point, in addition to regular blogging and gardening and so forth. So in this coming week, I'll be posting on the living wage, prior to a post on Point #1. Any posting that you, readers, do on that topic will be greatly appreciated!

* * *

Other than advancing my values and interests, and because I hate being pushed around, why am I doing this?

1. To define "the left"

Nobody knows what "the left" is. Conveniently for all factions and parties of the political class, "liberal," "progressive," and "the left" all mean more or less the same thing, which means that "liberal," "progressive," and "the left" mean nothing at all. Some factions would throw "Marxist", "Socialist", and "Communist" into the mix. Equally conveniently, "Marxist", "Socialist", and "Communist" have all become mere sounds that trigger engineered reactions, exactly like "liberal," "progressive," and "the left."

Rather than worry about what the left is, the 12-Point Platform defines what the left should do; that is, it's an operational definition. Anybody who supports the 12-Point Platform, the 12 Reforms, and the Single Value is on the left. People who support individual Points or Reforms are allies of the left. (Anybody who supports the Single Value without supporting any of the Points or any of the Reforms isn't on the left; they don't want to do what the left wants to do.)

The 12-Point Platform is reformist. There is no point to abolish capitalism, as communists would like to do. There is no point to abolish the State, as anarchists would like to do. There is no point to replace democracy with aristocracy, as conservatives would like to do.

The 12-Point Platform is not about identify politics. The Platform is designed to set society's baseline for public purpose high enough for all so that each will benefit, regardless of their gender, race, ethnic/national origin, age, etc.

The 12-Point Platform is not partisan. It makes no matter who supports the Points and the Reforms, or who passes and implements them. Again: Those who support the Platform, Reforms, and Single Value are the left; those who support individual Points or Reforms are allies of the left.

2. To enforce compliance

Since the Dean campaign of 2004, much of the left has pursued a strategy of "more and better Democrats." Much of the left has also devoted a lot of attention to tactics: Petitions, polling, messaging, the election cycle, strength in the district, and so on. After a decade, it's time to be honest, look at outcomes, and say that strategy and those tactics have failed.

Looking back over the last decade, it's clear what the problem was: Since "better Democrats" were never defined, there was never any real reason to elect "more" of them. The people doing petitions (MoveOn), polling (Kos), messaging (everybody and their sister), and all the rest of it have had the same effect on political outcomes that fans cheering on their team in a bar have on the action up on the TV: Nothing. No matter how knowledgeable in tactics and statistics the fans are, they are down in the bar, and whatever happens on the screen happens on the screen. The disconnect is total. FDR said:

It is common sense to take a method and try it. If it fails, admit it frankly and try another. But above all, try something.

The 12-Point Platform, the 12 Reforms, and the Single Value are FDR's "something." The vague "better Democrats" is replaced by a clean and simple checklist you can use to enforce compliance on your candidates. Either your candidate complies, and supports A Living Wage (#1), or they do not. Either your candidate complies, and supports Medicare for All (#2) or they do not.

Your vote is your own, but I would say vote for the candidate that's most compliant, and don't vote for the non-compliant. The12-Point Platform replaces voting for "the lesser evil" with voting for "the greater good."

UPDATE So, I hear you ask, we went through all this in the spring. Why did you wait so long to start? Several reasons: A financial collapse caused by the price of fuel in a hard long winter was a big stressor; it's a big undertaking I was reluctant to leap into; I've been gaslighted as much as anyone else; and bad faith shown in the massive MMT flame war discouraged me, pretty much in that order. For whatever reason -- certainly no objective reason -- I'm now a bit less stressed, and since November 7 is approaching....

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Rainbow Girl's picture
Submitted by Rainbow Girl on

I like this a lot - the integration of the Points, Reforms, Value and the developments and events that require our attention as, at a minimum, sentient citizens.

One small suggestion: I would add Ferguson to #9 (enforce the Bill of Rights) in addition to, not instead of, having it under #10. The miliary-police killing of the young unarmed black boy and the militarized police offensive against the protesters all fall under severe police abuses of the citizenry that are covered by various Bill of Rights provisions.

Submitted by lambert on


The table isn't meant to be rigid, but in fact it's probably a good format to recyle as news comes in....

nippersdad's picture
Submitted by nippersdad on

Sounds sanctimoniously puristic; I like it......But then I may be on drugs.....One of the few tells in O's speeches that it is unscripted is when he uses the word "sanctimonious". Methinks the man must be awfully thin skinned......


I love how Obamacare was characterized as "socialistic, communistic and fascistic" all at the same time per RW news sources; the very same ones calling us communists for not supporting it over a decade earlier. (I never fail to point this out to those who get their news from FOX.) They have been trying, and succeeding, to render the language meaningless for years. So, definition of terms is a sorely needed goal and this moves one in the right direction, but as a practical rating device it may well find itself before its' time.....There is, however, no time like the present to get one's position out there and define oneself before someone else does it for you.

*A lot of stuff everyone already knows deleted.

Submitted by lambert on

Anyhow, the real purists are trying to abolish capitalism and/or eliminate the state.

So this is very explicitly a reform proposal. Radical reform, it is true, but reform.

nippersdad's picture
Submitted by nippersdad on

Hell, EVERYONE in the Democratic Party base is now considered to be sanctimonious purists by the Party leadership these days. If Reagan did not contemplate it then it simply is not to be considered.....and even he was pretty sanctimonious at times. Just think, he was the guy who signed the conventions against torture.

What a hippie.

nihil obstet's picture
Submitted by nihil obstet on

Maybe "left" isn't a good term, since it's to be distinguished here from being too left. What I conclude from earlier discussions of the 12-point platform and reforms is that I'd be what you're calling an ally of the left. I support most of the 12 platform planks. I have problems with many of the reforms, in some cases with the substance and in other cases with understanding the substance. In most cases, I've already explained myself at more length than was probably welcome.

Anyway, good luck with the project.

Submitted by lambert on

Three Polar Politics In Post-Petroleum America. And you'll notice I didn't use "left" in the platform itself, only in this explication. And I'm certainly open to changing it, but not 'til after the election. I've got to start somewhere, and from a stable position.

I think the 12 points are at the third pole: What Newberry labels "progressive" (a term hijacked by a Democratic faction, but not yet at the time of writing).

I'd welcome another word than left, since a triangle doesn't have a left and a right!

You will notice that many of the planks appeal to the grass roots right, especially:

9. Enforce the Bill of Rights
10. End the Wars
11. Clean Air, Water, Soil, and Food

Lots of the guys with beards in the woods up here are totally into all aspects of #11, especially, including soil and food, and are fighting effectively against things like landfills, along with the "left."

So how to express that third pole. It's like quarks, ya know?

  1. up, down, strange
  2. charm, bottom, and top

So, "left, right, ____"?

Alexa's picture
Submitted by Alexa on

when I click on PDF link.

Anyhoo, had to cut way back on blogging, but trying to Tweet regularly to stay up with current political news.

I'll check back to see if the PDF link is fixed. I usually Tweet text in this format, when I can.

Great project, so "best of luck!"

I'll watch to see if it shows up in Twitter. There is nothing like social media to "spread the word."

(Seems as though blogs have a considerably more limited reach, overall. Of course, they serve the purpose of generating great ideas!)