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Just to make it simple

vastleft's picture

I have no intention of ever voting for a Democrat or Republican again.

Anyone else?

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Submitted by Elliott Lake on

my state's reps and senator for completely different reasons than why they are doing what they are doing.

Like Alice, I am having to learn to believe several impossible things before breakfast, every day now.

So, yes, I'm there with you on the voting.

realpolitik's picture
Submitted by realpolitik on

Especially after today and watching everyone I know triumphantly cheer for the 'historic' bill. People who paid no attention at all to the process, in the LEAST bit, all of a sudden surface today to thank the Democrats for the wonderful gift they gave them (as a few have put it) and vilify the Republicans in lockstep.

It's so odd to wake up one morning and realize almost everyone you know is a zombie like, tribalistic player in their political lives. I always thought a human rights issue like healthcare that's so easily taken into the personal would beat party politics....but I was beyond wrong.

So, no, fuck voting for either of the legacy parties: the spreaders of an inhuman pathology that they are.

sisterkenney's picture
Submitted by sisterkenney on

Gonna have some T's made up with the "fifth3rd party" on them.

Tony Wikrent's picture
Submitted by Tony Wikrent on

Anyone who's serious about finding an alternative to the legacy parties really, really needs to read at least one of these books:

1) Lawrence Goodwyn's 1978 masterpiece, The Populist Moment: A Short History of the Agrarian Revolt in America. I can hardly believe that I have never read this book before. I'm just over half way through it. It details how the populist movement was created and propagated. There are LOTS of great ideas, and the Farmers Alliances had much more to overcome than we do: the sectional politics in the decades after the Civil War, in which Republican loyalty was enforced by "waving the bloody shirt" of the Union army that saved the republic; and Democratic loyalty in the south was enforced by framing the Democratic Party as the "party of our fathers."

2) Robert L. Morlan's 1955 book, Political Prairie Fire: The Nonpartisan League, 1915-1922. In the 1910s, the Non-Partisan League took control of South Dakota and much of Minnesota, and is the reason there is a State Bank of South Dakota. Yeah, that's right, a bank owned and operated by the state. It's very interesting that South Dakota is the only state not suffering a budget deficit. I think it's because the state bank shields the state from the full weight of the usury and speculation of the Wall Street centric financial system.

I'll relate a few key points common to both these books. First, political organizing was based almost entirely on an economic analysis of the existing power structure and how it used the monetary and financial systems to enrich itself at the expense of producers. Many on the left are going to hate this, but the sole focus was on economics. Both the Farmers Alliances and the NPL created a system of training and sent out lecturers to talk to farmers about economics. Although the Farmers Alliances first started organizing to establish local farmer co-operatives to break the stranglehold of the local "carrying merchant" who basically had made debt slaves of all the local farmers, in what was called the "crop lien" system. While the co-operatives were successful in getting higher prices for farmers' crops, and in lowering the prices of farm equipment and other inputs, they never succeeded in breaking the grasp of the "carrying merchants." This (and the active hostility of local banks and money-center banks, which generally refused to extend credit to the co-operatives) is what forced the leadership of the Farmers Alliances to begin focusing on the structure of the banking and monetary systems as the key problem. This is something today's progressives have yet to learn. One thing I think needs to be done is to find copies of the training material the Farmers Alliances used to educate its lecturers.

Only after a few years of teaching the population real economics (not what passes for economics now; see Towards an Economics of Common Sense, by Chris Cook, a former futures regulator in the EU who was basically run out by a cabal of Goldman, Morgan Stanley, and BP) did real political activism outside the established two-party system begin to emerge. In the case of North Dakota, the NPL did all this in less than a year - but the Dakotas had been one of the four of five hotbeds of Farmers Alliances radicalism just two decades before. By the way, if you ever wondered how it was the Texas, of all places, gave the country such Democratic populists as Wright Patman and Henry Gonzalez (making possible LBJ), well, the first Farmers Alliances were started in Texas by southerners who had tried to escape the enforced penury of the crop lien system by resettling in Texas.

Both the Farmers Alliances and the NPL created their own newspapers. We don't have to do that now - we have the internet.

(I want to note here how furious I became when I read David Plouffe's book. The Obama campaign had a genuine grass roots movement in their millions of small donors and volunteer activists, but did not know what to do with it. By which I mean, the Obama campaign was not truly revolutionary and had no intention of changing the monetary and financial system. What's really interesting is that they stumbled into building a grass roots movement as the means of bringing in new caucus attendees to be able to win Iowa. They never had any conception of bringing in millions of new participants in the political process in order to actually create a political movement. For Plouffe and the Obama team, it was merely a tactic to be used to win the primaries.)

Both the Farmers Alliances and the NPL scored their first electoral successes in local and statewide elections. Both formally resisted targeting either party to be taken over, but achieved that as a practical result of radicalization on economic issues, then political activism at the local level that the professional politicians and local journalists and editors repeatedly underestimated and / or ignored. And both were sold out numerous times by politicians at the national level, eventually forcing both to enter their own candidates for Congress and for Senate, a number of whom won, such as NPL director William Lemke. Lemke emerged as a strong supporter of Roosevelt's New Deal, but turned against FDR when FDR refused to support Lemke's bill to stop farm foreclosures. In 1936 Lemke ran for President as candidate of the Union Party.

You can get both of these books very cheap on abebooks.com. Probably Amazon, also. You may want to get Goodwyn's bigger book, which has footnotes, Democratic Promise: The Populist Movement in America, but it is more rare and much more costly.

Submitted by lambert on

You don't even have to change it. Posts get better hits and go in the RSS feeds. Comments don't, and I don't want this to get lost. Thanks!

Tony Wikrent's picture
Submitted by Tony Wikrent on

I have a few pages I want to scan to get some great quotes

Submitted by libbyliberal on

Yes, yes, yes.... 80 million people strong.... what an awesome opportunity... and the momentum to really evoke change.... and Mr. Yes We Can, turned No, We Can't!!! I am here not to avoid making HARD choices, he preaches to us.

The spirit was incredible and how cruel to a country traumatized by nightmare of Bushco to get punked by Obama's promises.

What's really interesting is that they stumbled into building a grass roots movement as the means of bringing in new caucus attendees to be able to win Iowa. They never had any conception of bringing in millions of new participants in the political process in order to actually create a political movement. For Plouffe and the Obama team, it was merely a tactic to be used to win the primaries

RedQueen's picture
Submitted by RedQueen on

No votes, no money, no volunteering for either party from me.

But I will still occasionally send emails to the White House containing the phrase "douchebag men in tacky blue suits"

I voted Green for pres. I'll write in my own name for anything where a green candidate isn't available. But I am personally starting to think that our government might function just as well and decidedly more democratically if we just drew people's names out of a hat.

tarheel-leftist85's picture
Submitted by tarheel-leftist85 on

A lottery. It seems like a good idea. i'm open to lots of ideas, except term-limits which codify what is already going on--self-imposed term limits.

RedQueen's picture
Submitted by RedQueen on

we'd stand an actual chance of 1) the government looking like the people it's supposed to represent and 2) an actual full throated progressive making it to office

As far as term limits, if it's a lottery they are built in. Your name gets pulled, you serve your term, then the next person gets in. No solidifying power by the power hungry (at least not that way, they will always find ways to enshrine their control over the masses)

tarheel-leftist85's picture
Submitted by tarheel-leftist85 on

Not even the "good" ones, no matter the Rethug opponent, no matter how close the margin of victory is expected to be. These unpaid interns can't learn a lesson by selectively withholding votes, because, to them electoral defeat is tantamount to winning a corporate sinecure*. We have to collapse the parties, and if one collapses, so will the other (we remove their primary marketing strategy). Kucinich et al demonstrate that (")progressives(") are merely left covers for their more blatant colleagues. The (")progressive(") wing acts as such for the Dems, and the Dems act as such for the Reps. The only electoral alternative we have in combating corporate rent-seeking is to avoid electoral rent-seeking, or electoral capture.

*initial election via one of the legacy parties is of concern, however. if a legacy party candidate can attain office, they can enact corporatist/neoliberal policy and "suffer" defeat when up for re-election. i suspect that is why we are witnessing a preponderance of primary challenges among both legacy parties' incumbents. more wannabes are trying to get theirs.

Stephanie's picture
Submitted by Stephanie on

In November 2008 there were lots of 3rd party candidates on my Illinois ballot. Whenever the choice included a third party, that's where my vote went, and will go in the future.

tarheel-leftist85's picture
Submitted by tarheel-leftist85 on

i am trying to understand how we can go about collapsing one of the legacy parties, because of my suspicion that taking down one will ultimately take down both. For a party to collapse, it seems as though it would involve getting support levels below some perceived threshold of viability (35%, 30%?). We just have to get at least a third of the population that has voted Democrat™ on board. If the Dems are no longer seen as electorally viable, even more will abandon ship and the collapse will complete itself. If the goal is merely to gets Dems below the perceived threshold of viability, then that leaves us with the options to vote for independent and third party candidates. If our goal was to drop them any further, it might entail having to vote Repub. (so as to minimize the composition of Dems. from the outset), which i'd prefer to avoid at (almost) all costs.

i rather like the idea of a non-partisan alliance where economic justice is central. parties, even third parties seem like a laundry list of constituencies to which lip service is paid. If class stratification and economic predation by the neolib rentiers are not central to a platform (from which all other policy proposals flow), then the party or alliance will merely turn in to the legacy parties.

votermom's picture
Submitted by votermom on

for Hillary and/or Palin if I get the chance.
Exploding heads are always worth voting for.

(What, me hold petty grudges? Never!)