Thursday, November 11, 2010

White House gives in on Bush Tax Cuts

Here. As others have pointed out- this is not surprising. But even this is a rather quick and premature surrender.

Liberals will console themselves by claiming that there is no other way- that this is inevitable. But such fatalist narratives evince serious desperation. And I think liberals are right to feel desperate right now. They, like millions of other Americans, wanted to see real, qualitative change in 2008. But they've seen more of the same. They've even seen a great deal of betrayal. They've even had the White House flip them a bird a couple of times for daring to speak up or criticize the record of the Administration.

When is enough enough?

Progressives want to see real health care reform (i.e. single-payer), they want us to end the occupations and wars, they want to see an attempt to rein in the power of corporate elites, they want to see much higher taxes on the rich to expand public services (not cut them), etc.

But how do we win these reforms? This is where I think most liberals have got to re-think their views. We won't win these reforms by working within the Democrat Party such as it is. In fact, previous gains (e.g. Social Security, The Wagner Act, Civil Rights Act, Women's Suffrage, Free Public Education, etc.) were not won by playing nice with the Democrats. They were won through independent struggle against both of the major pro-business parties. And that is what we need to focus on now- building the movements, building independent organizations, creating the activist infrastructure that we need to collectively demand things that our electoral system gives us no voice to demand.

If you want to tax the rich and end the wars, who should you vote for? How can you vote in such a way that that political goal is given voice? At present you cannot. At present the electoral mechanism doesn't register such voices. It only hears two words: "Democrat" or "Republican". To all other human concerns it is completely deaf. We can do much better- and we don't have to settle for this demoralizing, conservative process. When people join together from below to challenge those at the top, there is nothing that we can't do.

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