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The Left Needs to Be a Movement, Not a Bunch of Lobbyists

Thinking, and organizing, big

People have said that third parties have no chance in the US, but the Democratic Party seems hell-bent on proving them wrong by becoming a “third party” on its own, but in a one-party system with the Republicans being the last major party standing. At the rate things are going, we could end up with the next presidential election featuring a Republican nominee, whether Trump or someone else, debating himself because the Democratic nominee won’t make the 15% polling cut-off to be eligible to participate!

Most Americans have a pretty low opinion of both parties these days, and are registered as independents for a reason. Republicans, including Trump, were elected largely as a protest vote against eight years of do-nothing Democrats, and the Democratic party is so ossified that it’s unlikely that its leadership, the Democratic National Committee, can be changed, especially in time for the congressional elections of 2018, when we’re likely to see the same lame corporatist candidates running for re-election.

This means it’s up to us, the progressive majority in America, to organize a movement outside the Democratic Party, built around those demands that could and would create a powerful force for change.

I see four big issues such a movement could be built around: work and retirement security, health care, climate change, and peace and military spending. The demands can be quite simple:

Fair Pay and Retirement Security for Everyone!
Anyone who works at a full-time job should earn enough to support a family. That means we need a federal minimum wage -- now! -- of $15 per/hour, with an annual adjustment for inflation. Workers should be able to have union representation on their job if a majority of workers at a company sign cards saying they want one. Period. And Social Security should pay benefits that are high enough that retired people can live decently on those benefits, since it is clear that companies are no longer offering pensions and nobody but the wealthy earns enough to save any significant amount for retirement.

Medicare for All!
When Obama announced his plan for the complicated and in the end far too costly and ironically named Affordable Care Act, he lied to Congress and the American people saying that while other countries might have socialized medical systems that are cheaper and work well, “We in America have no experience with such systems,” and so we would reform the system “our own way.” In fact, as the president well knew, the US has long experience running both a Canadian-style “single-payer” system, where the government is the insurer, and bargains to set the prices charged by doctors, hospital treatment and drugs (our system is called Medicare, but you have to be 65 in order to qualify for it), and a British-style system of National Health, where doctors work on salary for the government and hospitals are owned by the government (we called it the Veterans Hospital System, only you have to be a veteran in order to get care, and even then the government makes it hard to meet eligibility requirements for treatment).

story | by Dr. Radut