The blog includes evidence of the Democratic Party polling even worse than Trump, Pence, or the GOP. Clearly, the same-old isn’t working. Something better change soon, as an interview with a Yale historian finds more signs of escalating fascism. Retake announces three new events, research planning, interfaith panel, and methane-plume actionI keep reading that the best strategy going forward is to continue organizing issue-focused movements, which is precisely what we are doing here in Santa Fe and soon with others across NM. This post points to the critical need to look beyond Party politics and focus on grassroots organizing, alliance development, and coalition building. Precisely our work now. Besides articles on the Democratic Party, and creeping fascism, find details below on outreach to other parts of the state, an action for Thursday, and our interfaith panel coming in April.
Democratic Party Dismantling Nationally
This Shaun King article references a shocking poll that points out that the Democratic Party is viewed even more unfavorably than Trump (who has the least favorable ratings of any sitting president in history) and the GOP. Nonetheless, the Dems persist in fawning to the corporate wing of the party. The author fears that Trump could actually win reelection if the Democratic Party doesn’t learn from history and become a people’s party. King also points to the total absence of a vision and clear strategies that might unify the Party. Click here to read the article and see the stunning poll results. How can anything be less popular than Trump right now?
“When good people who are frustrated with the Democratic Party express their genuine concerns, I see them being told to shut up and unify. ‘Now is not the time for public complaints,’ they are told. ‘We must all work together.’
But what this apparently means to the people who are calling for unity is getting behind the corporate, suit and tie, lobbyist-driven agenda of the establishment. But let me break it to you – the establishment has almost no grassroots momentum. Virtually every progressive grassroots movement in America right now is fueled by people outside of the Democratic Party establishment and this is a huge reason why the party is so outrageously unpopular.”
Immediately after the election, I felt it was time for progressives to unify. It wasn’t the time to lay blame. Our opposition was clear and we needed all hands on deck. But at some point the conversation needs to be: What is the Democratic Party vision? What is their strategy? Does it really include our values? It is becoming clear that the Democratic Party establishment has not learned from their defeat.
- After the results were in, Clinton announced that her view of the voters’ message is that they do not want change in the Democratic Party.
- Since the election, we have seen the party establishment join forces and prevent Keith Ellison, the progressive candidate, from becoming chair and advancing the reform of the party.
- We now see poll results that are beyond embarrassing.
Now may be the time to risk opening wounds and state what progressives feel is obvious: The DNC stole the nomination for HRC because she represented the corporate, moneyed segment of the Democratic Party. At all costs, true reform and a truly progressive candidate were opposed. The corporatocracy won that battle, but at great cost. While some may dispute this, I feel there is little doubt that Bernie Sanders would have defeated Trump. His polling and his favorability status were far better than Trump’s, and he had an army of volunteers and donors ready to enthusiastically lead the campaign. What’s more, a Sanders candidacy completely undid Trump’s major refrain: that the Democratic Party didn’t care about the majority of Americans and had no vision for the future.
Chris Hedges wrote an excellent piece last week that expanded on the above. (Thank you Cecile Lipworth for the article). A quote:
“A genuine populism, one defined and often articulated by Bernie Sanders, could sweep the Democratic Party back into power. Regulating Wall Street, publicly financing campaigns, forgiving student debt, demanding universal health care, bailing out homeowners victimized by the banks, ending the wars in the Middle East, instituting a jobs program to repair our decaying infrastructure, dismantling the prison system, restoring the rule of law on the streets of our cities, making college education free, and protecting programs such as Social Security would see election victory after election victory.
But this will never happen within the Democratic Party. [emphasis mine] It refuses to prohibit corporate money. The party elites know that if corporate money disappears, so do they. The party’s hierarchy, pressured by Obama and the Clintons, elevated Tom Perez over Keith Ellison—whom a major donor to the party, Haim Saban, condemns as an “anti-Semite” because of Ellison’s criticism of the Israeli government—to head the Democratic National Committee. They will press forward repeating the same silly slogans and trying to use the now ineffective Force choke on their political enemies. They may have lost control of the Congress and the White House and hold only 16 governorships, and majorities in only 31 of the states’ 99 legislative chambers, but they are incapable of offering any meaningful alternative to neoliberalism and empire. They are devoid of a vision. They can only moralize. They will continue to atrophy and enable the consolidation of an American fascism.” Click here to read the entire article.
Wow. My sentiments exactly. So while I am encouraging all of you to work within the Party and to revive it from the ground up, I’d also encourage you to keep your eyes open. If you don’t see a more inclusive, participatory leadership begin to emerge, if you don’t see evidence of shedding the neo-liberal snake skin that is the Democratic Party brand, flee and let’s do something else.
If the Democratic Party is to remain relevant, it must read the tea leaves and start to act as if 2016 actually happened. You can crow about 3 million more votes all you want, but the polls cited above now show that the Party trails even Trump and the GOP in favorability. At some point, we must have the discussion about the lost opportunity that Sanders represented, and we need to develop a clear vision and strategy that resonates more with people than with bankers. At some point, the Party has to recognize that continuing the Neo-Liberal policies and maintaining allegiance with corporate powers and moneyed interests is suicide. Progressives are simply not going to join with the Party if it offers a tepid reiteration of business as usual. How do we wake up this Party? At what point is it necessary to look to alternatives?
I suspect this will upset many, and others will sigh and say to themselves: “It is about time.” But this is the elephant in the room in all Democratic Party wards and committees. It needs to be discussed because it is there. I don’t honestly see a viable 3rd party emerging, but I will not continue to devote much of my life to supporting progressive issues if the standard-bearer for those issues is a Clinton, or a Shumer, or a Biden, or a Kaine. And I will not be told to shut up and unify for the good of the Party or the good of the Nation. That strategy has us only a short walk from a fascist state. Your thoughts? Speaking of that short walk to fascism, read on.
If We Don’t Act Now, Fascism Will Be on Our Doorstep, Says Yale Historian
Fascism says: disregard the evidence of your senses, disregard observation, embolden deeds that can’t be proved, don’t have faith in God but have faith in leaders, take part in collective myth of an organic national unity, and so forth. Fascism was precisely about setting the whole Enlightenment aside and then selling what sort of myths emerged. Now those [national] myths are pretty unpredictable, and contingent on different nations and different leaders and so on, but to set facts aside is actually the fastest catalyst.
All of this is prepping the soil for a real terrorist event or imagined threat, that would then allow Trump to further expand power, limit freedom, and even cancel election processes. While not recommending specific individual or collection actions, Snyder warns that it is critical to organize now, to expand the base of movements, and to ensure our voices are raised loudly, often, and broadly. To read the entire interview, click here.
TrumpCare = WealthCare Or IDon’tCare. Even without fascism, the Trump regime roles out one assault after another, the latest being what is called “WealthCare” or “IDon’tCare,” or its technical term, American Health Care Act. The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office released its report on this act stating that it would result in 24 million Americans losing their healthcare coverage. The NY Times published an excellent report that detailed how people with different health histories, incomes, ages, and hometowns would benefit or be harmed by “WealthCare.” No surprise: If you are wealthy you are much, much better off. If you are older and low income, you may well lose your coverage or pay up to five times your current rate. This is obscene. Click here for the full NY Times analysis.
Tithe Today, An Action We Can All Take
As part of the routine of personal activism promoted by Retake Our Democracy, we want to encourage our supporters to expand their personal contributions to non-profit organizations that are serving populations and communities that are or will be victimized by Trump and Martinez policies. Click here for links to New Mexico organizations that we are encouraging you to support. The list will be updated periodically to include new organizations.
Methane Plume Activism: Thursday March 16, 4pm-7pm
Our next Open House Activism event will be focused on fighting the repeal of the Methane Waste Rule. We’ll be writing postcards and letters to Governor Martinez and others protesting the efforts to repeal this critical environmental protection provision. Come join us! More information will be available at the event, and stamps and supplies will be provided. Pass it on!
Click here to read more about this issue. Despite the fact that New Mexico has a methane cloud that can be seen from space, and methane is responsible for one quarter of global warming, Governor Martinez is urging Congress to repeal recent legislation to limit the wasting of methane gases. We’ll meet at the home of Emmy Koponen. Thursday March 16, 4 pm to 7 pm, 1212 Maclovia Street, Santa Fe 87505. Please drop by when you can! Click here for details and to RSVP.
Research Action Team Meeting: Thursday, March 16, 5:30-7 pm
March 16, 5:30-7pm. Center for Progress & Justice, 1420 Cerrillos Rd. Santa Fe. This is another important meeting, as the urgent need to get briefs completed for Roundhouse advocacy comes to an end and our research needs shift. Among current research needs that have been identified:
- Are insurance panels really dissolving because of ACA? Verify the truth of Rep. Pearce’s assertions that the insurance panels are really retreating from ACA, a claim made by Pearce and others in the GOP. Is it misinformation or is it true? If true, why is it happening?
- Alternative ways of generating revenue at a city level. Most NM cities are reliant on Gross Receipts Tax, the most regressive tax possible. The Soda Tax is also regressive, even if advocates (of which I am one) claim it is not. Are there other forms of revenue generation for investment in infrastructure, affordable housing, public transit, and targeted development of the South Side? Let’s find out.
- Participatory budgeting is an approach to grassroots budget development that is consistent with what Retake plans to do in terms of grassroots policy development. We need to know more about it. Where has it been practiced? How does it work?
- Boycott targets: We know Wells Fargo funds DAPL, but what about Keystone? What other corporate boycott targets make sense? A good inventory would be a tremendous tool to help guide shopping choices.
- Neighborhood development without displacement. It would be good to find models from other cities where development has not automatically translated into gentrification and displacement. Let’s find out.
- A grant-writing team. We want to develop a grant-writing team to work for and with local community organizations to developing funding to expand their services. I (Paul) have been writing Federal grants for 35 years and want to train a team of grant writers who can then work directly with Somos, Chainbreaker, the Santa Fe Dreamers, and other organizations.
Retake Our Democracy on KSFR. Saturday 11am, March 18 with Tim Keller
The focus this month is on money in politics and this Saturday, State Auditor Tim Keller will be on hand to discuss his views on the influence of money in politics from the perspective of his experience as a state legislator, State Auditor and now as a candidate for Mayor of Albuquerque. On Saturday March 25 at 11am, we will have a special live, in-studio show as it will be pledge week. We are hoping to have Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver in studio for the occasion, but that is still being scheduled. Either way it will be a live show and I would like to encourage all of you to plan to call in and make your donation during the Retake show at 11am on the 25th. Call in between 11-11:30am on Saturday, March 25 and make a contribution and indicate your support for KSFR and Retake Our Democracy. Call into 505 428-1393.
Overcoming the Politics of Division and Fear: An Interfaith Panel on Finding Common Moral Ground
The rhetoric and actions of the current U.S. Administration have been disturbing on many levels: threats of banning entire religions from entering the country, mass deportation of others, an alarming rise in intolerance and violence against immigrants and communities of certain faiths, and an overall surge in narrow-mindedness and bigotry. Many of our friends and neighbors feel threatened, unsafe, and marginalized because of who they are or what they believe. Listen and participate in a discussion of how communities of faith can help us find common moral ground that unites us, protects us, and builds a powerful force for justice.
- Reverend Dr. Antonio Aja, Westminster Presbyterian Church
- Rabbi Neil Amswych, Temple Beth Shalom
- Imam Abdul Aziz Eddebbarh, Chairman, Ibn Asheer Islamic Institute
- Singh Sahib Krishna Singh Khalsa, Sikh Dharma Ministry
- Deacon Anthony Trujillo, San Isidro Roman Catholic Church
- Reverend Blaine Wimberly, Zia United Methodist Church
Moderator: Reverend Gail Marriner, Unitarian Universalist Church
Outreach to Other Communities
- Gallup, Las Cruces
- Rio Arriba County
- Taos, Truth or Consequences, Silver City
- Rio Arriba County
Paul and Roxanne