Can Working from the Inside Change the Democratic Party?
Occupy Wall Street’s dynamic grass roots movement is quiescent and may or may not return. Its respite or demise is due to a combination of deliberate and apparently nationally directed police violence and federal, state and local government spying, as well as to its own lack of political direction. It remains a political space to focus tremendous energy and passion, and draw to it many millions of the 99%.
Many sympathetic to OWS maintain that it needs a political party. One of them is Patrick Walker, a native of the gritty industrial city of Scranton in northeastern Pennsylvania. Walker participated the OWS movement as part of Occupy Scranton. He has also joined in anti-fracking activism via the Gas Drilling Awareness Coalition and End Gasocracy Now, which put him under the watchful eye of Homeland Security.
Following a move to Georgia, Walker now seeks to gain political traction by focusing his efforts on progressive Democrats within the Democratic Party (D.P.), hoping to bring the party “back” to the 99%. He does not seek D.P. permission as do many other insider party reform efforts.
"We need to take our political system back from Big Money. I offer this as a promising strategy idea for making that happen,” Walker says. As he sees it, “The people in Washington and our statehouses -- Republicans and Democrats -- are already too bought off by (or scared of) Big Money to listen to ‘We the people’.”
In responding to those progressives who see the necessity of backing the “lesser of two evils”, Walker states: “The evil has become too evil to accept.” He hopes that True Blue Democrats could return the Democratic Party to its “New Deal and Great Society principles.” All other Democrats, he says, are DINOs.
DINOs vs. a new platform
By that, Walker means that most Democratic Party leaders, including President Obama and much of the constituency, are “Democrats in Name Only”.
“DINOs stand for much the same as do Republicans: growing poverty, diminishing social safety net, vanished democracy, endless wars, and a devastated environment,” he says. Walker wants TBD to stand against these Republican and DINO policies, to expose Obama “for what he is”, and “to insist on progressive goals: peace, a livable planet, and prospects of a decent, fulfilling life for everyone.”
Walker is careful about not nailing down a platform and structure, because he believes there must be a democratic process where supporters make such vital decisions, though he personally offers this version of progressivism: