Time to Challenge the Two-Party System
by Dave Jette
by Dave Jette
A call for a progressive Presidential campaign in 2012
Working together, the Obama administration and the Republican Party are preparing to sell the American people down the river. In order to ensure that the corporate class doesn't lose one penny of their ever-burgeoning largess, the rest of us will be forced to shoulder the entire burden of the economic calamity that was engineered by none other than that same corporate class.
The big question now facing those of us who define ourselves as progressives, socialists, Greens, anti-corporatists, and/or environmentalists is: Are we going to continue to support a Democratic Party that no longer represents our interests or will we stand up to mount some sort of challenge outside of the two-party duopoly?
We have known for quite some time that the Republican Party is moving ever more rightward, and now is controlled by social reactionaries. It is ideologically opposed to providing government services, and unabashedly supports the transfer of wealth to the very rich, repression of the working class (particularly of trade unions), and support of American imperialism.
The Democratic Party, while supporting some progressive social policies, is also moving ever rightward, with the same political objectives as the Republican Party (upward transfer of wealth, repression of the great majority of American people, imperialism).
The Democratic Party ("Republican Lite") is perhaps more dangerous than the Republican Party in transforming the United States into a fascist society practicing unfettered imperialism, because it proceeds more slowly, more surely, and less obviously in this direction. This is particularly true with the office of President, for liberals and many progressives are able to rationalize their support of morally untenable policies out of a (professed) fear that things would be even worse under a Republican President, so it's necessary not to rock the boat.
It is time that we recognize the Democratic Party for what it sadly has become. It, like the Republican Party, is institutionally controlled by the very wealthy, concretely by the huge corporations whose interest they necessarily serve. For a great many decades, the Democratic Party has functioned to siphon off the energy of mass progressive movements, emasculating our political effectiveness. It is a complete waste of time to try to transform the Democratic Party into a vehicle for progressive social change.
To this end, several activists from around the country strongly believe that what is needed is a national progressive electoral organization ("PEO") that will 1) elect progressives to office to actually implement progressive policies; and 2) generalize (ideologically) particular progressive struggles to the whole range of progressive struggles, so that people see the need for an overall transformation of society.
Unlike many past efforts of this nature, we haven't spent much time at all working out platforms, rules, and structure precisely because we believe such things should be developed organically by the people who come together to form the basis of this movement that seeks to serve as a counterforce to the corporate takeover of our nation and, indeed, the world.
However, as a first step in the process of creating a national PEO, we call for running a progressive candidate of national stature in next year's Presidential election. This campaign is to run to the end regardless of the effect that it may have on Obama's re-election chances, and it will draw together those electoral activists who have finally rejected the Democratic Party as a meaningful "lesser-of-evils" alternative.
We have accordingly drafted a working document, "A Call for a Progressive Presidential Campaign in 2012". [If you would like to receive a copy, please contact me.]
Life is growing bleaker for the bottom 90 percent and, once President Obama and Congress close the deficit ceiling deal, the gloom will spread and envelope what is left of the American Dream. We can choose to continue to play the lesser-evil game in 2012 OR we can stand up and say, "Enough is enough!"
The choice is ours to make.
Dave Jette has recently been active in Seattle with the Green Party at the local, state, and national levels. Since 1999 he has served as treasurer of ten electoral campaigns, including two for U.S. Senate and one for Congress.