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

Thinking, and organizing, big

Combat Climate Change!
Most people are aware that the earth’s climate is changing rapidly. Farmers in the midwest and Southwest are keenly aware that things are getting hotter and drier, fishermen along the northeast coast know that all the fish are moving northward as warmer seas ruin their habitat, Floridians near the coast can no longer buy new home insurance policies because the insurers see such policies as guaranteed losses they don’t want to face as sea levels rise dramatically, and Alaskans watch tall stands of pine that stretch to the horizon suddenly become “drunken forests” as the trees, growing atop ancient permafrost, suddenly have that solid ground beneath them melt away, leaving them balancing in mud in which their roots can no longer hold them erect. It’s clear to any sentient American with a high-school understanding of science that the climate is out of kilter and that worse is coming unless drastic measures are taken to reduce the pumping of more carbon into the air. And those measures must start immediately.

Slash US Military Spending and Bring All the Troops Home!
The US military accounts for $1.3 trillion, or 57% of all discretionary spending. This is a figure that is generally hidden from the public by adding into the budget the mandated outlays for Social Security benefits and Medicare. But this is misleading, because those programs, unlike the military, are funded by separate payroll taxes, not by general taxation. Furthermore, unlike Social Security and Medicare, which are mandated benefits, military spending is wholly determined each year by Congress, based upon policies set by the government. And those policies are nuts! No other country in the world spends that much money, either in actual dollars, or as a percentage of its national budget, trying to dominate the entire world. According to the International Institute for Strategic Studies, in 2015 the US spent more than four times what China, with the second biggest military budget, spent (and remember that China’s military is mostly used for domestic control, given that the country is still a dictatorship), and almost nine times what our supposedly “existential enemy” Russia spent (Russia that year budgeted less on its military that did Britain!). Clearly the outrageous US military, with its endless wars, its navy armadas on patrol in every ocean and its over 1000 bases around the globe, is bankrupting the US and by itself explains the increasingly third-world status of the US in terms of education, infrastructure, transportation and quality of life. The US military must be cut down to size and refocused on what it is supposed to do: defend America, not control the world.

Building a movement around these four big over-arching issues, through mass demonstrations, local organizing in churches, community and social organizations, unions and among friends and neighbors, will either force the nearly moribund Democratic Party to refocus and revitalize itself or will lead to the establishment of a new party on the left to take its place.

The model should be the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s, and the anti-war movement of the 1960s and 1970s. Neither of these movements was tied to the Democratic Party, but both forced the Democratic Party -- and even to some extent the Republican Party -- to come to them and accommodate their demands.

story | by Dr. Radut