This is a dispatch from Publius – a Public Citizen of the “Sons and Daughters of Liberty” – writing from the heart of neoliberalism outside of Davos, Switzerland – New York, NY.
December 10, 2010. That’s the day in spirit I became an independent progressive in a way. This was also the day that Senator Bernie Sanders (VT-I) filibustered for 8 and 1/2 hours over the extension of the Bush tax cuts for wealthy Americans. While I am proud of the grace, example, and leadership of President Barack Obama– after all, #44 was dealt a tough hand — I have ever since been a “true” progressive, have preferred more independent thinking, and definitely reject the premise of the “Neoliberal magic.”
What is neoliberalism? Allow Bernie Sanders to walk you through the difference between being a liberal and being a progressive in a recent post-election interview with Sarah Silverman.
“I prefer to be called a progressive….many of us, we are liberal with pride on issues combating sexism, racism, and homophobia, on that we are liberal. But you have many ‘liberals’ who are not progressive when it comes to taking on Wall Street or fighting for a trade policy that works for American workers. So I think what progressivism is about is accepting all of the fights that liberals have engaged in, to create a diverse society, a non-racist society, but at the same time, what a Progressive stands for is understanding that this country, in many respects, is moving toward an oligarchic form of society, and that you have a handful of billionaires who can control our economic and political life, and if you are not prepared to engage in that struggle, well, I don’t think you are doing serious politics.” ~ Bernie Sanders
In the days after the 2016 Presidential Election I read Thomas Frank nonstop. I was not the only one. The book is called “Listen, Liberal” and I strongly recommend it to anyone who wants to make sense of what has happened to the Democratic Party. The subtitle of Frank’s new book is Or, What Ever Happened to the Party of the People?
I have been asking myself that for weeks as well. But deep down, I already knew what had happened. After all, this website exists for a reason. We have complained nonstop on our podcasts dating back to 2015 that the Democratic Party is on a b-line toward irrelevance for a reason.
As I stated on Facebook to instigate a robust discussion: there is quite simply no reason for the current version of the Democratic Party to keep existing. It needs to be reformed. It needs a new and fresh direction. It needs new leadership. And it needs to follow the will of its members. The problem with that is, there are no “members” of the Democratic Party. There has been a discussion and a lot of blame toward the DFL in Minnesota this past cycle but truthfully, the DFL is one of the best state parties out there. However, in many other state parties and certainly in the national party, it is a very elitist process, funded and ran by very, very rich people. Some of them are so rich they can blow away what is a lifetime of money on some fine wine in Cannes, France (see the picture above). An extreme example perhaps, but an example that is very true in the city where I reside–New York City. I’m not inherently against anyone for any reason other than their actions or lack thereof.
Simply put, I share Bernie’s concern about so few people controlling the political and economic destiny and future of this nation. Power concentrated is power corrupted. The Democratic Party has time and again, sold out its members, and has an aloof party leadership within the party and in public elected office that refuses to give up any power or have their authority called into question. I would argue a decades-long trend for both parties has been toward authoritarianism. It’s definitely true on the Republican side, but I believe it is true on the Democratic side as well. Otherwise, the Patriot Act and other erosions of the 4th Amendment may have been reconsidered at some point. If it is not being in bed with Wall Street, there is being in bed with the West Coast version of it–Silicon Valley. The Democratic Party cannot keep being the party of the liberal “elite.”
The American People have spoken and their attitude seems to be that the Republic of Dukes and Earls has failed the country. The ruling classes have failed the country. Globalism is in retreat, rightly or wrongly.
I strongly believe that President Obama left the office and country in a far better position than he inherited it, but it is also fair to say that the world is far more dangerous place than it was eight years ago.
Simply put — the Neoliberalism and Neoconservative two party policy consensus that Agreeing Loudly contributor Carson Starkey loved to rail on these past four to five years–has failed the country. The ruling generation and the ruling elite, who make no mistake about it, are still very much in charge, have mostly lost all moral authority to lead.
So where do we go from here? Read Thomas Frank. Branch out from there.
Agreeing Loudly intends to keep endorsing candidates. We will continue to recommend and advocate for a better way forward.
We are also committed to effectively fighting the good fight and resisting President Trump and the GOP’s desire to erode and finish off social insurance programs, privatize, deregulate, pursue austerity and belt-tightening, continue ill-suited free trade agreements, continue a disrespect for the First Amendment of the Constitution and fundamental democratic norms and traditions of this country.
This last sentence will be the subject of the next article — a Letter to President Trump.