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We Need a Mass Movement to Demand Radical Progressive Change

The Democratic Party is beyond hope

This is essentially what Jeremy Corbyn and his supporters in the British Labour Party have done, but I have hard time, particularly after watching the overt and underhanded subversion of the Bernie Sanders primary campaign last year, and the inability of progressive Democrats to challenge and replace an the ossified and thoroughly discredited party leadership, imagining that this can happen here in the US with the Democratic Party, which internally is clearly anything but democratic.

An alternative would be to construct a new opposition party that could quickly move beyond just serving as convenient haven for protest votes to becoming a genuine opposition force. But as the Green Party and various socialist parties over the years have painfully learned, restrictive ballot and media access laws at the federal, state and local level, and a total lack of rules limiting corporate funding of campaigns, put in place by the two big parties, effectively give those two parties a lock on national elections, consigning third parties to the sidelines.

The only alternative then, it seems to me, is the one that the Civil Rights and the subsequent anti-Vietnam War movements used when confronted similarly with a Democratic Party that had no interest in supporting their interests and demands. That alternative is to build a movement on the streets and in local communities that presents the political establishment with the untenable prospect of ongoing mass militant opposition to which it has to respond. I would argue that the demands of such a movement this time could and must be broad and inclusive — not single-issue based as in the past. It needs to be built around demands that virtually all Americans, or at least a solid majority, can agree with. As a first pass, I would suggest the following:

* A Medicare for All health care system modeled on what they have in Canada

* An end to US militarism abroad and at home, the closing of most if not all foreign bases, an end to all US wars and arms sales to conflict zones, and a reduction in the US military budget by 50%. As well, a call for the US to return to negotiations with all nuclear nations to eliminate these weapons of mass destruction.

* A fair, non-racist immigration policy that is generous in accepting political refugees, that doesn’t threaten with deportation those young people brought illegally into the US not by their own choice, that, while securing borders to prevent illegal crossings, is humane and follows constitutional norms in dealing with those who sneak into the country seeking work, and that, finally, recognizes and works to end the role that US economic and foreign policy plays in creating economic problems in neighboring countries that compel people to try and enter the US seeking work.

* A crash program to reduce US carbon emissions, and to help other countries do so, particularly those developing countries that have limited resources and that are being most impacted already by global warming.

* A program to shift funding for education away from its current reliance on local property taxes to federal funding on a per-student basis in order to equalize access to good public schools — an approach taken by most European countries -- and a program of free college education to all who qualify for admission at public institutions of higher education.



story | by Dr. Radut