#1
By Richard Kline, a Seattle-based polymath and poet

Those anywhere to the liberal side of the Anglo-American political spectrum have been on a long losing streak. As of this summer of 2011, they are wholly in disarray. In my considered view, ‘progressives’ lose because they do not have it as a goal to win. Their principal concern is to criticize the moral failings of others in society, particularly the moral failings of those in power.

At best, progressives seek to convert. In the main, they name and shame—ineffectively. American ‘progressives’ distrust political power, period, are queasy about anyone having it, and suspicious toward anyone who actively seeks it, including other putative progressives. The contest as progressives conceive it is fundamentally a moral one: they believe they are right, and want their opposition to see the light and reform/conform. Thus, they don’t frame what they engage in as a fight but rather as a debate.

There has been another and more radical trend on the left-liberal end of the spectrum previously. That trend derived from radicalized, Continental European, immigrants, it sourced much of labor activism, and is largely extinct in America as of this date. It is the atrophy of this latter muscle in particular which has rendered progressive finger-wagging impotent.

One can’t fully analyze the state of specifically American left-liberals without evaluating the positions of the domestic economic oligarchy, which are primarily conservative, or left-radical activism internationally. What follows is necessarily truncated yet also the heart of the matter. I’ll start first by defining a few terms.

I would loosely divide the left side of the political spectrum in America into liberals, ‘progressives,’ and radicals. The first two have deep roots in the primary sociological communities of the country; the third did not. Progressives and radicals have largely been distinct communities of activism. I’ll discuss both in some detail below. (Actually, the range is not a spectrum but a three- or four-dimensional position space, but that is a separate issue. I happen to particularly dislike the term ‘progressive,’ but I’ll skip my reasons and use it for the sake of clarity.)

Liberals are great believers in ‘the law,’ and happy enough to live and let live until they are in a pinch or have to give up something for the greater good—at which point they scream for a cop or start in on how ‘we’ can’t afford X. Liberalism isn’t primarily a moral position but a practical attachment to personal liberty and property. If one abandons that allowance for others, one is soon threatened as well since power unchecked makes few fine distinctions, so it’s a ‘hang together and don’t rock the boat’ perspective rather than one of commitment. I’m not going to spend verbiage here discussing this community because they go with the flow rather than push any program. As such, they shape little in the way of policy. The principal asset to left activism provided by liberals is their inertia, since the American political tradition is a significantly liberal one, and American governmental institutions are substantially so on paper. Fascism and oligarchy are pushing on a mountain of lard in trying to shift liberal inertia, with limited success. The only way really to move the ‘liberal muddle’ is to set fire to its peripheries. The good news is that liberals don’t want to change what they have, and clutch for ‘the government and experts’ to save them if things go sour. (Although that’s also the bad news . . . .)

Secondly, let’s dispense with several basic misconceptions regarding why progressives are presently so unsuccessful.

“Progressive goals are not popular.” Even with the systematically distorted polling data of the present, this is demonstrably untrue. Inexpensive health care, progressive taxation, educational scholarship funding, curtailment of foreign wars, environmental protection among others never fail to command majority support. It is difficult to think of a major progressive policy which commands less than a plurality. This situation is one reason for the lazy reliance upon electioneering by progressives, they know that their issues are popular, in principle at least. Rather childishly, they just want a show of hands then, as if that is what goes on really in elections.

“The ‘Right’ is too strong.” The oligarchy specifically and the Right in general are far less strong in American society apart from what their noise machines and bankroll flashing would make one think. The great bulk of the judiciary remains independent even if important higher appellate positions are tainted. Domestic policing is, by tradition and design, highly decentralized, with a good deal of local control, making overt police state actions difficult, visible, and highly unpopular (think TSA). While the military is a socially conservative society in itself, it is also an exceptionally depoliticized one, with civilian control an infrangible value. Popular voter commitment to the nominally more conservative political party has never been narrower or more fragile.

The rightist oligarchy does have a stranglehold on the major media, despite which accurate, uncensored, news is widely and readily available to anyone who wants to hear it. The other principle advantage of conservatives is that they are highly organized. Consider how the oligarchy effectively took over the ‘Tea Potter’ lunatic fringe in no time, and still presently stage manages it behind the curtain, or how they are paying some outfit(s) to constantly monitor and surreptitiously disrupt liberal to progressive blog-spaces. The powers of the Right are broad but thin and brittle, like a coat of lacquer on everything. Any organized citizen resistance would shatter that surface grip without great difficulty.

Part of the genius of the Right is that they presently operate through puppets, like Scott Walker or Chris Christie, or even Clarence Thomas, rather than attempt to assume direct power. Individual puppets can be kicked out, but they can always buy/indoctrinate another set of quislings because the supply of wannabes is endless. But that is a weakness, too, in that without such a puppet quisling in the right place at the right time (think Tim Geithner) the Right has no grip on key levers of power. The larger point here is that the mass of institutional governance in the US remains wholly separate from conservative control, and is not notably committed to conservative goals.

“America is a conservative society.” That is demonstrably untrue on any historical analysis. Like the other points here, it is a meme invented and spread by the right wing itself. There are three grains of truth in the contention, however.

More than some West European derived socio-cultures, there is an initial value placed in Christian profession; not faith, profession, and not an enduring one either. I won’t argue this in detail, as it takes a text, but the profession of a higher cause is the personal entry point to belonging in the society distinct from a more discrete paradigm of ethnicity. This makes the society seem from the outside more Christian, and hence ‘conservative,’ than it is in fact. This has for the majority become the ‘civil religion’ of Bellah, but is in effect a secularized form of Christian pilgrimism; one must profess to belong.

Second, there are specific communities in American culture which are deeply conservative, notably most rural whites. Their society is in fact distinct from the culture of the county as a whole, something they understand but that the majority chooses not to. (This concept is argued, if slightly differently, by David Hackett Fischer in Albion’s Seed, an analysis I endorse and would extend.) The point being that their society in America is conservative, but American society as a whole is liberal if one does a sociological analysis.

Third, American society is not radical because it is deeply suspicious of ‘combinations,’ cabals, cliques, or factions who combine to advance their own interests as distinct from the broader public interest. There are deep socio-historical roots for this antipathy to faction, but they are real. One consequence of this, though, is that American society as a whole has generally been hostile to organized labor as a ‘special interest.’ American society also has a bedrock attachment to personal property and personal liberty—essential liberal values, one might add, not conservative ones—which impede any advocacy of leveling or uniformitariansim; i.e. liberty always trumps equality. The flip side here, though, is that Americans are just as suspicious of ‘sections,’ ‘trusts,’ ‘banksters,’ and oligarchs if they see them as an organized, self-interested force. This distrust is not a conservative preference. These are further points I won’t develop, but the in aggregate they make society seem ‘more conservative’ since radical goals are shied away from.

Who’ll Carry the Can?

Anglo-American ‘progressivism’ has its origins in Non-Conformist religious reform communities. These date to Lollard times in England c. 1400, before the US was settled, and always had a significant social reformist element beyond within a professed Christian carapace, as it were. Literacy, education, personal liberty, and economic liberalism are all embedded in this worldview, formed as it was between the contesting pressures of a rapacious, French-speaking aristocracy and a crypto-absolutist monarchy with scant regard for the rule of law, while a venal and irreligious church hierarchy provided no relief. England from c. 1350-1500 was a place of intense factions and irruptions of civil war, leaving a distaste for power-seekers and military rebellion. Few of them were rich; it was a proto-bourgeois and petite bourgeois community, but with religious congregants in the lesser nobility giving them communication with power. The suffered erratic but at times severe religious persecution prior to c. 1600, and political disenfranchisement even after that, which much shaped their negative view of state power. There is much more to this subject, which demands a text no one has yet written. This is a social tradition are both fairly well-defined and quite longstanding.

The first key point is that the tradition of progressive dissent is integrally a religious one. The goal isn’t usually power but ‘truth;’ that those in the right stand up for what is right, and those in the wrong repent. The City on the Hill and all that, but that is the intrinsic value. This is a tradition of ideas, many of them good, many of them implemented—by others, a point to which I’ll return. Coming forward to a recent and then present American context, consider these policies, all of which still hold for most who would define themselves as progressive:

• Anti-colonialism
Anti-militarism
Abolition
Universal, secular education
End to child labor
Universal suffrage
Female legal equality
Consumer protections
Civil rights
Conservation/environmentalism

Consider as well notable progressives who have held executive or even power positions in national governance. I struggle to name one. Progressives largely worked in voluntary organizations and reform societies outside of the notoriously corrupt political parties of America. (It is interesting and relevant to note that as a society we recapitulate that endemic historical venality once again c. 2011.)

A most relevant point is that these are value-driven policies. Notably absent are economic policies. I wouldn’t say that progressives are disinterested in economic well-being, but employment and money are never what has driven them. A right-living society, self-improvement, and justice: these are progressive goals. Recall again that many of them were already bourgeois; that most of historical notice had significant education; that their organizational backbone was women of such background. These conditions apply as much now as ever. Some progressives, many of them women, were radicalized by their experience of social work among the abused poor in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Consider Beatrice Potter Webb or Upton Sinclair. Some progressives will fight if backed into a corner; many won’t even then, as there is a strong value placed on pacifism in this socio-community. Think John Woolman and Dorothy Day.

Reviewing the summary above, it will be evident that progressives are ill-equipped by objective and inclination both to succeed in bare-knuckle political strife. One could say unflatteringly that the goal of ‘progressives’ in activism is to raise their personal karma by standing up for what is right. “Sinners repent,” is the substance of their message, and their best dream would be to have those in the wrong do just that, to embrace progressive issues and implement them. More cynically, one wonders whether progressives would be entirely pleased if all of their reforms were implemented, leaving nothing to inveigh against.

Progressives are at their best educating, advocating, and validating those in need well apart from the fray. There are few cases that readily come to mind where progressives have implemented any contested policy on their own initiative without others of different goals involved. Somebody else has to carry the can for their water to get drawn. Without going into examples, that is my opinion, and a conclusion I’ll return to on a different vector below. What progressives do best is to deny and eventually withdraw community sanction for specific practices, so that those practices are eroded and then banned by governing authorities. Where communities are deeply divided and such practices have tenacious constituencies, progressives have few answers and no success.

The origins of Anglo-American radicalism are far less tidy to summarize. To me, it’s an open question whether a native tradition of radicalism even exists. I’ll posit a view, by itself debatable though to me accurate, that radicalism is a secularized derivative of millenarian religious revolt, but modify that contention in saying that ‘bread and justice’ were ever the drivers of such fervor. Religious ‘fairness and community’ were simply the only means long accessible for poor or oppressed communities to intellectually package their dissent and demands. ‘Poor or oppressed communities’: these are the fuel for radicalism, and one finds them far more in Continental Europe than in England. Serfdom was far more advanced there than it ever was in Medieval Britain or Scandinavia (for complex local reasons). Furthermore, social and economic radicalism often only catalyzed in the presence of communal cum national revolts against subjugation.

Howsoever, it is difficult to argue for a radical activist community in the US before extensive non-Anglo immigration. Radicalism certainly hasn’t been limited to industrial or even urban contexts, but then neither has immigration. American mining drew heavily upon experience European mining communities, many of whom who brought radical ideas with them, for instance. Even if one considers civil rights agitation intrinsically radical, the same conclusion holds, for blacks, Catholics, and Jews were by definition non-indigenous to a Protestant British colonial community. I’ve been all through Foner’s work on the growth of American labor, and read a deal else, and while I wouldn’t say it is his conclusion I’m struck by how late and how separate labor demands were in their inception in American left-liberal activism.

The key point is that the tradition of radical activism is integrally an economic one, and secondarily one of social justice. It was pursued by those both poor and ‘out castes,’ who often had communal solidarity as their only asset. It was resisted by force, and thus pursued by those inured to force who understood that power was necessary to victory, and that defeat entailed destitution, imprisonment, and being cut down by live fire from those acting under color of authority with impunity. This was a tradition of demands, many of them quite pragmatic. Few were wholly implemented, but the struggle to gain them forced the door open for narrower reforms, often implemented by the powers that be to de-fuse as much as diffuse radical agitation. Consider these policies, all of which still hold for most who would define themselves as radical:

• Call off the cops (and thugs)
Eight hour day and work place safety
Right to organize
Anti-discrimination in housing and hiring
Unemployment dole
Public pensions
Public educational scholarships
Tax the rich
Anti-trust and anti-corporate
Anti-imperialism

While few radicals have made it into public executive positions either, they are numerous in politics, especially at the local level where communal ties can predominate. Radicals have always worked in organized groups—‘societies,’ unions, and parties—which have been a multiplier for their demands.

Critically, these are grievance-driven policies. One could say that the goal of radicals is to force an end to exploitation, particularly economic exploitation since most radicals come from those on the bitter end of such equations. As such, many of them have specific remedies or end states. Notably absent are ‘moral uplift,’ better society objectives other than in the abstract sense. Further, since so much of radicalism is communally based it has often been difficult for radicals to form inter-communal alliances.

Secondarily, since the goals are highly specific to individual groups, factionalism is endemic. Radicals have disproportionately been drawn from the poor, and from minority communities; groups who have had little to lose, and for whom even small gains loom large, especially economic ones. These have been disproportionately non-Anglo American, many of whom brought their radicalism with them from prior experiences in Europe, though occasionally their message has radicalized contemporary indigenés, for example ‘Big Bill’ Haywood or John Reed (or Chris Hedges). Radicals have always had to ‘struggle,’ not least since they have consistently been assaulted by other factions and the state: militancy was their real party card. If this wasn’t necessarily violent, it was confrontational, as in boycotts and occupations (sit-downs). While radical women have always been visible, the backbone of radicals always was minority community men. Think Joe Hill and Sam Gompers.

Many earlier immigrant communities experienced considerable oppression, and not only came to America as an escape but brought radical elements with them. That was true amongst German, Polish, Jewish, and Italian immigrants, and was relevant amongst the small West Indian population as well. Their third and fourth generation descendants are, at best, little involved with radical organizing. Present immigrant communities to the US are substantially from Central America and its surrounds, East Asia, and sub-Saharan Africa. These communities have not brought radical elements with them: those have tended to stay home or go elsewhere. They have largely come here for the opportunity to better themselves, and shaking the social order is the last thing on their agenda. The exception to that are Muslim immigrants to the US, of diverse background though substantially Arab in origin. Presently, they lack indigenous American allies, and are heavily policed by the state; they are no way placed to take a vanguard position supposing that they were so inclined.

Reviewing the summary above, it will be evident that the supply of aggrieved militants has thinned out. One could say, uncharitably, they their residual objective has been a piece of the pie, and to be left alone to eat it in dignity. “Share the wealth,” is the substance of their message. Once they have any, the tendency is to sing another song. On a darker note, some were later sedentarized by acquiring apparatuses, which easily rancidify into patronage and rent-seeking gatekeepers.

What radicals do best is bunch up and shove, that is organize and agitate. Those now don’t bunch, and have little inclination to shove as opposed to fit in. But for blatant discrimination, present immigrants would be a reliable, conservative voter base not inclined to pursue economic grievances through activism. Without that muscle, labor has no strength. What labor has are mortgages, debt, and a lot to lose, not a matrix congruent with agitation.

From the perspective here, progressive and radical vectors and their policies overlap directly only in a few areas. Moreover, these vectors have tended to be pursued by discrete demographic and ethnic communities, though of course values and polices have been swapped and shared at times and in places. The success of one vector has tended to advance the success of the other Said another way, they have been more powerful in combination than either would be alone. If radicals might have achieved some of their goals without progressive support, though, the reverse is not true. Progressive advocacy particularly lacks any traction at present absent effective radical agitation to make the progressives seem like ‘the reasonable ones.’

A further conclusion from this analysis is that the assault of the right has been focused disproportionately upon the prior policy and institutional gains of the radical vector. From one perspective, one could hypothesize that the broader socio-culture has focused its response upon the ‘most foreign’ or perhaps ‘least native’ contentions. I’m far from sure that I believe that myself. For one thing, the oligarchy and the right are most hostile to economic claims. With the exception of environmental activism, which has huge economic implications, most advocacy for economic justice has lain primarily with the radical rather than progressive community. Radical agitation has been the most militant, provided the most physical muscle, and is historically sourced amongst the poor, all reasons why radical successes should be expected to draw the larger reactionary attack. Then too, economic reforms are easier to attack since they are far less embedded in law than social reforms. And further, one should not assume a reactionary program will stop if and when the institutional bulwark of economic justice and organization is crushed, since there will be little to bar the marginalization or ban of existing progressive successes after such a point.

Still, any progressive or radical revival has to take into account that the assault of reaction has been principally aimed at economic justice and its supporting legal and institutional bases in the US and the UK.

“The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity . . . .”

If it all seems black, consider: Social justice never seemed deader than 1957, but enormous reforms were enacted by 1974. Progressivism was never more prostrate than c. 1900, but a broad reformist agenda was emplaced by 1916.

The downside to those comparisons, though, is that radicalism did much of the agitation to impel reform in both cases, and it is just that engaged radicalism which we most lack now. To go back a further iteration to the 1849s, progressives sans radicals were far less successful until slaver states were stupid enough to revolt. The American socio-political context is more divided and radicalism weaker today than at any time since the 1840s.

As of 2011, I would say that progressivism is broader and better known than at any time in American history, not least because of the validation and presence of past success. We can rely on the oligarchy to push to egregious excess. What we cannot rely upon is public agitation to be the thin end of the wedge.

Can we, then, expect oligarchical corruption and economic losses to push liberals and the haute bourgeois toward a reformist program? I wouldn’t count on that, and in particular, no one should expect that to happen quickly if it occurs at all. Take as an example Dylan Ratigan’s recent rant against elite corruption (to unfairly single out one prominent instance). His solution? “Let’s all get together on a Big Capitalist Spend-a-thon.” Because we’re ‘too divided,’ so we need something like a ‘Moon Program that brought us together.’ Now, I don’t know where Ratigan was in 1962, but that was the height of Civil Rights agitation, concurrent with mass agitation against atomic weapons testing, and also the start of the anti-poverty campaigns. His image of the country pulling together is something seen through the dollar signs on white tinted glasses, frankly.

But there are two deeper points to take from his appeal. First, he, as many, evidently believes that capitalism will really save him and us, it’s just that ‘a few’ have hijacked it. He doesn’t want to change any system, only to get back to some non-existent past in the imagination when it worked, or rather when it worked ‘for people like me . . er, us.’ Many think like this, and it is a huge load of sand in the crankcase on any drive for change. What these folks want never worked for many in this society, but too many believe in retrospect that it did because that belief validates a lot of comfortable lies. That embrace of plasticine phantasies is a dead weight against change.

Second, Ratigan inveighed against ‘factionalism’ even more than against corrupt oligarchs. Like many, he sees himself as in a reasonable center between ‘the left’ and ‘the right,’ and in firm American tradition mentioned above he is suspicious of special interests advocating ‘their position.’ So he wants us to come together around a common position. Now, the political naivety of this is stunning given the overt, anti-social, anti-citizen program of the right through a generation, pushed in private by many whom he doubtless respects in public.

But even accepting the false analysis, what stands out is the extent to which progressives have let themselves become seen as ‘special interests’ advocating ‘for the few.’ Ratigan isn’t alone; many ‘liberals’ and ‘centrists’ and ‘independent voters’ share this view of progressives, explicitly or implicitly. This is where progressives are in the public mind, and not simply through propaganda from the right.

Progressives have successfully become tarred as ‘factional’ in significant part due to their involvement with identity politics, i.e. ‘X rights.’ The Democratic Party has correctly identified this imprimatur as an electoral loser, and for that reason amongst others have abandoned progressivism in the most cowardly way. However, we cannot expect ‘reasonable centrists,’ delusional or not, to embrace the reform program of ‘those X favorers;’ this will not happen. And not necessarily because ‘centrists’ hate ‘those Xers,’ but because the societal disposition is to shun advocates of minority advantage.

One could list numerous conceptual failures amongst liberal and radical activists in this way. I’m going to limit myself to a few, with similarly few remedies to follow. Progressives have a childish fondness for a show of hands, i.e. elections, and a present obsession with the current reactionary ‘hypocrite’ coughed up by the oligarchy and the latter’s media. Both are pointless and self-defeating. Winning elections doesn’t matter; passing laws and regulations, and winning court decisions on their basis is what matters. The former may lead to the latter, but it hasn’t for twenty years at least. And the oligarchy can always recruit another quisling, the supply is endless; their personalities are irrelevant.

Moreover, the ideological ultra-right doesn’t care if they are in the minority: they’re delusionally convinced of their own validity, and will continue in their ways whether they get 10% or 70% of the vote. What matters isn’t what they’re after but simply beating them.

Progressives have become far too obsessed with ‘the agenda of the right’ to the point that they themselves presently have no positive agenda, certainly none that can draw in the uncommitted. Progressive actions are wholly defensive rather than offensive, and this maximizes the oligarchy’s huge advantage in money and organization. In an endless search for ‘equality,’ progressive activists have handcuffed themselves to the contemporary equivalent of campaigning for temperance (banning alcohol so as to ‘force’ uplift). These activisms and other, broader forms of identity politics aren’t something I would call for abandoning. They cannot, however, recruit a wider reform movement, and indeed actively repel those of limited political education because they focus inherently on ‘some, not all.’

On the radical side, employer based privileges (i.e. ‘contracts’) will continue to be broad-base losers for left liberals, exactly because they inherently favor ‘some, not all.’ The workplace organizing model was always compromised; in the US, it has failed. Narrow unions are dead, not least because corporations can move jobs, sites, and countries far too readily. Something much in evidence now amongst anti-union working class and petit bourgeois folks who should, in principle, support unions to enhance ‘prevailing standards’ gains is, explicitly, spite that some have good jobs and protections while these others don’t. If rightist propaganda has exploited this, the situation is nonetheless a huge bar to extending a radical reform program even amongst existing union members, to say nothing of those on the outside. Issue- and instance-specific campaigns such as opposition to fracking run into the same problems. If you are directly effected, it’s a crisis; if you live 100 miles away, it’s not your problem (seemingly).

Similarly, “Free my spliff” doesn’t have much currency for non-tokers. The problem is that instance- and job-specific injustices have always been and remain primary, organizational drawing cards. These are what radicalize many individuals, and get them involved with activism to solve them.

To me, the only way out of these dead ends lies in committing to a defined agenda of institutionalized, economic justice because this affects all. Social justice cannot be secured absent economic justice. Any such agenda is going to be anti-corporate, anti-poverty, pro-education (and job re-education), and pro-regulation. It has to be citizen-based outside of existing political parties. This kind of program can be articulated as pro-community rather than pro-faction if the organizing is done. This has to be pursued from a defined agenda, unapologetically, and from a pro-citizen(ship) position regardless of other more discrete goals.

Will Anglo-American progressives articulate any such program and organize around it? I can’t say that I’m optimistic. Yates said it best in the fewest words in a comparable social moment heading on for four generations ago. To extend upon that thought, the contemporaneous Fabian Society had a fine, progressive program. Almost anything they could have aimed for within reason was ultimately put in place too—from 1944-50 when the British Empire was derelict, the state effectively bankrupt, and the ruling class irretrievably discredited by their knee-jerk nationalism and societal niggardlyness. Between the wars, Fabian successors were unable to accomplish anything meaningful on their own.

And yes, we too now can rely upon the oligarchy to fail. They have nothing to offer 90% of the citizenry, economically or socially. They have been serial catastrophists in their grossly speculative market manipulation, and only grasp after ever more gassy phantasms following each failure. Their ‘bombsight hegemony’ pursued abroad gets no peace, no silence, and no net profit. Both on an historical basis and on present scrutiny, we can rely upon the extractive class to drive themselves right into the bridge abutment of ruin.

What we can’t rely upon is for them to impact that moment quickly. From an historical and cyclical perspective, ‘just waiting it out’ might take until 2035, even 2045. Now a generation of squalor and iniquity in the US is nothing to remark on scaled against world-historical standards; it would fit with the rule of things rather than the exceptions. Americans think that they are exceptional, and that that isn’t how they do things. Well, they’ll have to live up to that, because what is certain is that we won’t have reform without struggle. Government-buying oligarchs; sold-out liberals clutching their meal tickets; loose cannon fascist minority; deeply divided society: that’s too many logs to leap on a single, lucky bound, or to be rolled by Some Sainted Prez (of which we’ll have none). If we want change sooner than a generation of rot from now, it will have to be worked for, and worked for not with wagging fingers and dabs of money thrown at issues but with organization.

Progressives will continue to lose as long as they continue to act with strategic irresolution and tactical incompetence. They no longer have a political party to carry their banner: the Democrats have completely shut them out. Waverers and the Great Huddled Middle won’t respect, and so won’t support, natterers who won’t fight.

We are not in a time for converting but one for confronting; not a time for compromise but a time for direct action. Holding actions are a way to lose slowly, an offensive program is needed. Naming and shaming, and electing the Next Great Saviour have both failed, and progressives need to get off those donkeys and articulate a real activist agenda. Spectacle gatherings which the media ignore and where everyone goes home Monday morning are presently ineffective because there is no organized base to make use of them. Money is not the main problem; feet on the ground moving forward are the real problem. A discrete agenda pursued full-time by experienced organizers is the solution. Less talk, and more walk.

Progressives have successfully stamped Big Capital as ‘anti-us’ historically, and they need to return to this. Those active for social reform have to forget about the electoral cycle. They have to forget about what the lunatic Right is doing as much as possible and concentrate on what they themselves are in process of accomplishing. They need a compact reform agenda (yes, bullet points and not more than ten of them). They need a defined activist strategy, no matter how large the difficulties or time horizon appear. They need to build genuinely activist organizations with specific plans to achieve a core set of goals. And they have to reclaim militancy as a word, and deed, of pride. If they do those things, they will make real progress, and moreover they will be ready when the moment comes for breakthrough amongst the wider society.

http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2011/09/richard-kline-progressively-losing.html

This is an excellent analysis, particularly taking into account the theory of the settler nation. I am not so sure about some sections of the prescription, but that's of course the hardest part, so I ain't gonna sweat it.

This reminds me of the huge explosion of social progressivism in the First World in the late 60s and 70s, right on the heels of the Chinese Cultural Revolution and other radical activity in the peripheries (this of course would include oppressed nations within the First World)

#2
*i gotta go, so incomplete critique below*

i read this, and while i appreciate some of it, ex. the part that shows that 'progressive types' define themselves almost entirely in terms of self-righteous social binaries, abdicating entirely any sort of responsibility for anything beyond 'thinking correctly', a lot of it seems highly problematic.

early into it kline defines Americans as a broad category (except for rural whites lol) as liberal types, because they like social benefits and dislike losing wars. but such a conclusion inevitably brings him into conflict with the broadly conservative political history of the united states, which he admits by beginning of an analysis of why this claimed broad-liberal sentiment hasnt translated into liberal government. as such he then has to move to redefine the American people into a tremendously problematic social binary (wonderful!) of anti-radical anglo-saxons and radical non anglo-saxons.

somebody has clearly never read making of the english working class.

im glad that his analysis isnt focused on how the rich control everything, how he correctly argues that the controlling upper-class has to generally keep the rest of society pretty close to them in order to get anything done. but i dislike his incorrect genealogy of American politics.

#3
This is a really spectacular article, thank you for posting it!!
#4

Tsargon posted:
*i gotta go, so incomplete critique below*

i read this, and while i appreciate some of it, ex. the part that shows that 'progressive types' define themselves almost entirely in terms of self-righteous social binaries, abdicating entirely any sort of responsibility for anything beyond 'thinking correctly', a lot of it seems highly problematic.

early into it kline defines Americans as a broad category (except for rural whites lol) as liberal types, because they like social benefits and dislike losing wars. but such a conclusion inevitably brings him into conflict with the broadly conservative political history of the united states, which he admits by beginning of an analysis of why this claimed broad-liberal sentiment hasnt translated into liberal government. as such he then has to move to redefine the American people into a tremendously problematic social binary (wonderful!) of anti-radical anglo-saxons and radical non anglo-saxons.

well, that part of the article primarily focuses on the foundations of American ideology by tracing its roots through Anglo-Americans. honestly I'm curious to what Mitchell Heisman, (the suicidenote.info guy) has to say about this, as IIRC he focuses several chapters of his note on this very topic.

second, I'm not sure where you're getting the "broadly conservative political history of the united states" from. he repeatedly sez the opposite in the article, and I have to agree with him for the most part. first of all, the country was undeniably founded on liberal/progressive/radical sentiments (as the conservative position would have been obviously loyalist?) now, you might argue that the south, and its more heavily rural population, in the end remained a bedrock of conservativism, but it would be ludicrous to argue that the north, whose army sang "John Brown's Body" as it marched off to war, or the settlers of the West, who worshiped the oath of manifest destiny, were decidedly conservative. i honestly can't see a historical conservative movement moving nationally to the fore until the baby boomers came into their own.

i also can't understand how you could think that the united states does not have a "liberal"-based government, in the classical sense of the word "liberal" -- as kline uses it. how the fuck could wall street come to a position of dominance in the first place were the government already one that enshrines private property above all else?

#5

Tsargon posted:
*i gotta go, so incomplete critique below*

i read this, and while i appreciate some of it, ex. the part that shows that 'progressive types' define themselves almost entirely in terms of self-righteous social binaries, abdicating entirely any sort of responsibility for anything beyond 'thinking correctly', a lot of it seems highly problematic.

early into it kline defines Americans as a broad category (except for rural whites lol) as liberal types, because they like social benefits and dislike losing wars. but such a conclusion inevitably brings him into conflict with the broadly conservative political history of the united states, which he admits by beginning of an analysis of why this claimed broad-liberal sentiment hasnt translated into liberal government. as such he then has to move to redefine the American people into a tremendously problematic social binary (wonderful!) of anti-radical anglo-saxons and radical non anglo-saxons.

somebody has clearly never read making of the english working class.

im glad that his analysis isnt focused on how the rich control everything, how he correctly argues that the controlling upper-class has to generally keep the rest of society pretty close to them in order to get anything done. but i dislike his incorrect genealogy of American politics.

there's lacking parts, but i distrust the notion of american history as a 'conservative' one. the mode-system of production is capitalist here, and there is a liberal-democratic superstructure that supports it, where the 'conservative' elements are the reaction that is itself contained within the system.

think of the rabid defense by the conservatives of liberal-economic principles, not to mention old social-liberal ideas. even the most 'paleoconservative' intellectual position is the liberal configuration of property, not the feudal or even more archaic modes. I don't buy it, white urban Americans pride themselves on jettisoning much of the Old Regime, they seek independence from the extended family and the old homelands. you can even see a cynicism in the rural populations towards the traditionalist life, concealing a surrender to the liberal mode (the 'shame' of fundamentalists as zizek says). perhaps it is not the 'bleeding-edge' liberalism of queer politics, technocracy, utter solitude, but its there.

and i would strongly disagree with the notion that this government is not liberal. it may be teetering on the edge of its own reaction, but its a liberal empire. out of necessity, i can concede that.

other than that, let's see, well here on the fact of the question of non-anglos and the radical, what really struck me was this exchange of ideas and radicalization that takes place when non-settler populations interact with the imperial homelands. i can't help but think of fela kuti being radicalized by the literature of black radicals while he was in London, and taking it back with him. i actually thought of many examples of this sort of radical flow, with perhaps the most obvious example being Marxism in the periphery, Soviet Union, China, etc.

there's something there with this immigrant/foreign element and radical action, i think that was the most interesting idea in the article

#6

germanjoey posted:

Tsargon posted:
*i gotta go, so incomplete critique below*

i read this, and while i appreciate some of it, ex. the part that shows that 'progressive types' define themselves almost entirely in terms of self-righteous social binaries, abdicating entirely any sort of responsibility for anything beyond 'thinking correctly', a lot of it seems highly problematic.

early into it kline defines Americans as a broad category (except for rural whites lol) as liberal types, because they like social benefits and dislike losing wars. but such a conclusion inevitably brings him into conflict with the broadly conservative political history of the united states, which he admits by beginning of an analysis of why this claimed broad-liberal sentiment hasnt translated into liberal government. as such he then has to move to redefine the American people into a tremendously problematic social binary (wonderful!) of anti-radical anglo-saxons and radical non anglo-saxons.

well, that part of the article primarily focuses on the foundations of American ideology by tracing its roots through Anglo-Americans. honestly I'm curious to what Mitchell Heisman, (the suicidenote.info guy) has to say about this, as IIRC he focuses several chapters of his note on this very topic.

second, I'm not sure where you're getting the "broadly conservative political history of the united states" from. he repeatedly sez the opposite in the article, and I have to agree with him for the most part. first of all, the country was undeniably founded on liberal/progressive/radical sentiments (as the conservative position would have been obviously loyalist?) now, you might argue that the south, and its more heavily rural population, in the end remained a bedrock of conservativism, but it would be ludicrous to argue that the north, whose army sang "John Brown's Body" as it marched off to war, or the settlers of the West, who worshiped the oath of manifest destiny, were decidedly conservative. i honestly can't see a historical conservative movement moving nationally to the fore until the baby boomers came into their own.

i also can't understand how you could think that the united states does not have a "liberal"-based government, in the classical sense of the word "liberal" -- as kline uses it. how the fuck could wall street come to a position of dominance in the first place were the government already one that enshrines private property above all else?

I agree with you, the 'conservative' position is at its core an empty refusal, a negation, which I think has very disruptive and efficient power on its own. there is no real 'substance' to it per se, and we can see this in its sometimes intelligent critique to liberalism, which is its positive double (well, if we're talking America here, or even the West generally). that is not to say there isn't a 'conservative programme', but as Mao would've said, since it is so fatally empty, 'it is right to rebel against the reactionaries!'

#7
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#8
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#9

discipline posted:

#10

discipline posted:
I would rather see an abandonment altogether of progressive platforms in favor of economic reforms. people have a lot of opinions about stuff, but everyone would probably agree to a rise in minimum wage to $10 an hour. the progressives will whimper and wring their hankies all the way to the top and shatter actual progress. This is economism and reformism. Also the large majority of minimum wage people live in households that aren't low-income. #11 Do you guys have any thoughts on this idea of a radical foreign element in the body spreading its disease? The transmuting of theory across geographic and cultural location, purifying it with fire? Perhaps something more concrete than those two questions? #12 [account deactivated] #13 [account deactivated] #14 There was a$10 minimum wage campaign in Ontario. It was successful. It changed nothing, because policy people know that minimum wages aren't how you fix poverty.

"First, over 80 percent of low wage earners are not members of poor households and, second, over 75 percent of poor households do not have a member who is a low wage earner. We also present simulation results which suggest that, even without any negative employment effects, planned increases in Ontario's minimum wage will lead to virtually no reduction in the level of poverty." - from journal Canadian Public Policy.
#15

Coming forward to a recent and then present American context, consider these policies, all of which still hold for most who would define themselves as progressive:

Anti-colonialism
Anti-militarism
Abolition
Universal, secular education
End to child labor
Universal suffrage
Female legal equality
Consumer protections
Civil rights
Conservation/environmentalism

A most relevant point is that these are value-driven policies.

Consider these policies, all of which still hold for most who would define themselves as radical:

Call off the cops (and thugs)
Eight hour day and work place safety
Right to organize
Anti-discrimination in housing and hiring
Unemployment dole
Public pensions
Public educational scholarships
Tax the rich
Anti-trust and anti-corporate
Anti-imperialism

Critically, these are grievance-driven policies.

This whole bit is silly. Most of these policies can be defined as values-driven policies, grievance-driven policies, or ones of economic policy, or ones of social justice. The radical/progressive dichotomy he is trying to make is weak.

Some of the values are also way too common and broad to just give them to one side like that. "Anti-trust and anti-corporate" and progressive tax/"Tax the rich" sentiment is an American tradition for most anyone that wasn't/isn't an industrial capitalist or lackey. Even Tea Partiers have those sentiments, of course they are directed to serve elite interests, but they really are outraged about the bailouts, corporate welfare, etc.

#16
hey getfiscal, can u elaborate more on the trotsky connotation w/ an "united front" since most trot groups i've interacted with seem somewhat dismissive of the idea & in fact are wildly fractional (and im not going to read any trotsky anytime soon)

i guess unless by a united front they just mean orgs like the fourth international?
#17

aerdil posted:
hey getfiscal, can u elaborate more on the trotsky connotation w/ an "united front" since most trot groups i've interacted with seem somewhat dismissive of the idea (and im not going to read any trotsky anytime soon)

Some of this is obvious but I'll try to be clear. There is a lot of overlap because of issues of emphasis (both say the same thing and think they are opposed) and also because a lot of Trotskyist points have been accepted by American leftists. In the mid-1930s, the Comintern switched its policy on social-democrats (before they were seen as the left-wing of fascism) to one where participation in social-democratic-led bourgeois governments was endorsed as a last-ditch measure against fascism. This strategy was called "popular front" - unite the leaders of the left against fascism in places like France and Spain.

Trotsky said that this was essentially endorsing bourgeois government and wouldn't stop fascism. He said that instead of uniting leaders against fascism that they should unite people from below by talking past the right-wing social-democratic leadership and just focusing on uniting people around policies that they support. So people ought to "strike together, march separately." This policy of focusing on the rank-and-file is called the "united front."

So, for example, Trotskyists will have their own organization, but they might join or start fronts like "United Against War" or "$10 Minimum Now" or whatever. They then work within these fronts to push "general" demands, meaning communist ones. So they join "United Against War" and talk to people about how they think war is connected to imperialism. The critique of this position is that you end up inevitably sliding towards either reformism (demanding a$10 minimum wage, or opposing a particular war) or you remain a microsect because no moderates want to join your "abolish poverty now" campaign.

#18

getfiscal posted:

discipline posted:
I would rather see an abandonment altogether of progressive platforms in favor of economic reforms. people have a lot of opinions about stuff, but everyone would probably agree to a rise in minimum wage to $10 an hour. the progressives will whimper and wring their hankies all the way to the top and shatter actual progress. This is economism and reformism. Also the large majority of minimum wage people live in households that aren't low-income. Do you have a better proposal then #19 Also the joke is that discipline is a reformist who thinks that you just need to agree on something simple and general enough and mostly everyone will agree. #20 getfiscal posted: Also the joke is that discipline is a reformist who thinks that you just need to agree on something simple and general enough and mostly everyone will agree. it worked for lenin #21 babyfinland posted: it worked for lenin actually lenin's entire philosophy is based on the idea that most people won't agree on things and that society is divided into differences that aren't reconcilable in bourgeois democracy. also, his demands seem ludicrous at the time, only because every other option was exhausted was he given a hearing. they were also radical transitional demands. calling for your own side to lose a war (peace), calling for peasants to transform the countryside (land), calling for a stable national system of provision, etc (bread). #22 getfiscal posted: babyfinland posted: it worked for lenin actually lenin's entire philosophy is based on the idea that most people won't agree on things and that society is divided into differences that aren't reconcilable in bourgeois democracy. also, his demands seem ludicrous at the time, only because every other option was exhausted was he given a hearing. they were also radical transitional demands. calling for your own side to lose a war (peace), calling for peasants to transform the countryside (land), calling for a stable national system of provision, etc (bread). so translate that into modern terms #23 babyfinland posted: so translate that into modern terms i'm not sure what you want here. like do you want me to explain why a modest increase in the minimum wage is not something lenin would center his campaign on. #24 getfiscal posted: babyfinland posted: so translate that into modern terms i'm not sure what you want here. like do you want me to explain why a modest increase in the minimum wage is not something lenin would center his campaign on. translate lenin's program into modern terms and do it in the next post or ur baned for lyfe. #25 [account deactivated] #26 lenin today is leading light communism, the fourth stage of revolutionary science. #27 getfiscal posted: lenin today is leading light communism, the fourth stage of revolutionary science. #28 lol like i'm going to watch a youtube you post. it's probably racist. like you are. because you are racist. #29 germanjoey posted: well, that part of the article primarily focuses on the foundations of American ideology by tracing its roots through Anglo-Americans. honestly I'm curious to what Mitchell Heisman, (the suicidenote.info guy) has to say about this, as IIRC he focuses several chapters of his note on this very topic. second, I'm not sure where you're getting the "broadly conservative political history of the united states" from. he repeatedly sez the opposite in the article, and I have to agree with him for the most part. first of all, the country was undeniably founded on liberal/progressive/radical sentiments (as the conservative position would have been obviously loyalist?) now, you might argue that the south, and its more heavily rural population, in the end remained a bedrock of conservativism, but it would be ludicrous to argue that the north, whose army sang "John Brown's Body" as it marched off to war, or the settlers of the West, who worshiped the oath of manifest destiny, were decidedly conservative. i honestly can't see a historical conservative movement moving nationally to the fore until the baby boomers came into their own. uh yeah, i should have been more precise. i just meant very recently, the last forty years, wherein all political expression has become either liberal-conservative or wishy washy progressive type handwringing. kline says that "It is difficult to think of a major progressive policy which commands less than a plurality." which is what i am taking issue with: the 'progressive policies' he is discussing being "Inexpensive health care, progressive taxation, educational scholarship funding, curtailment of foreign wars, (and) environmental protection" all of whose popularity is taken as material evidence that the American people (again, except for rural whites) *should be* progressives, or at least wish to be. I Take Issue. for example, let us think back over the last 60 years of war: ww2, korea (draw, not included), vietnam, somalia, iraq 2, serbia, afghanistan, iraq 2, it becomes quickly apparent that while all were foreign wars, the American people gladly supported roughly half. and the difference between the half they liked and the half they disliked is obvious: America won 'the good wars' (ww2, serbia, iraq 1, the first half of afghanistan) and lost 'the bad wars" (vietnam, somalia, iraq 2, the second half of afghanistan). the American people do not support 'curtailment of foreign wars', to paraphrase patton, they just hate a loser. the other items in klines list are phrased in a special way (not "universal healthcare, but "inexpensive healthcare", for example) so as to avoid points of contention and focuses primarily on plain-jane material benefits to the people. and then he throws in the "and others" at the end of the list and i think its important to consider what "and others" might be. racial equality, actual, not just nominal? surely a progressive issue, but drastically unpopular with the American people. religious equality, which is to say equitable treatment of muslims? surely a progressive issue, but again, clearly drastically unpopular with the American people. opening up of the borders? surely a progressive issue, drastically unpopular with the American people. kline correctly argues that the oligarchs are not as powerful as theyre made out to be - that they can only tweak public opinion so far, and every time they try and make a run at one of the programs that benefits the American people at large, they end up getting smashed. but the fact that the American people like when they are prosperous and dislike when their country loses a war does not make them 'progressives'. i also can't understand how you could think that the united states does not have a "liberal"-based government, in the classical sense of the word "liberal" -- as kline uses it. how the fuck could wall street come to a position of dominance in the first place were the government already one that enshrines private property above all else? im sorry, yes, i was imprecise. i agree, theres no nation more bourgeois than America, i suppose for my purposes i should use words like 'progressive' instead of liberal, as that presents a narrow cross-section. essentially everyone in America is a classical liberal, agreed. #30 Tsargon posted: and then he throws in the "and others" at the end of the list and i think its important to consider what "and others" might be. racial equality, actual, not just nominal? surely a progressive issue, but drastically unpopular with the American people. religious equality, which is to say equitable treatment of muslims? surely a progressive issue, but again, clearly drastically unpopular with the American people. opening up of the borders? surely a progressive issue, drastically unpopular with the American people. or maybe things you dont disagree with #31 getfiscal posted: aerdil posted: hey getfiscal, can u elaborate more on the trotsky connotation w/ an "united front" since most trot groups i've interacted with seem somewhat dismissive of the idea (and im not going to read any trotsky anytime soon) Some of this is obvious but I'll try to be clear. There is a lot of overlap because of issues of emphasis (both say the same thing and think they are opposed) and also because a lot of Trotskyist points have been accepted by American leftists. In the mid-1930s, the Comintern switched its policy on social-democrats (before they were seen as the left-wing of fascism) to one where participation in social-democratic-led bourgeois governments was endorsed as a last-ditch measure against fascism. This strategy was called "popular front" - unite the leaders of the left against fascism in places like France and Spain. Trotsky said that this was essentially endorsing bourgeois government and wouldn't stop fascism. He said that instead of uniting leaders against fascism that they should unite people from below by talking past the right-wing social-democratic leadership and just focusing on uniting people around policies that they support. So people ought to "strike together, march separately." This policy of focusing on the rank-and-file is called the "united front." So, for example, Trotskyists will have their own organization, but they might join or start fronts like "United Against War" or "$10 Minimum Now" or whatever. They then work within these fronts to push "general" demands, meaning communist ones. So they join "United Against War" and talk to people about how they think war is connected to imperialism. The critique of this position is that you end up inevitably sliding towards either reformism (demanding a \$10 minimum wage, or opposing a particular war) or you remain a microsect because no moderates want to join your "abolish poverty now" campaign.

yeah, that makes more sense... i was trying to make sense of the apparent conflict with the trotskyist formulation of the "united front" with the common trot criticism of (especially stalin's) soviet union for supposedly lending support to "moderate" socdem groups in other countries to the detriment of the "real" rank-and-file worker groups.

#32
Theres also the fact that many liberal associated things were fought for simultaneously with one side being "grievance bound" and the other being "values bound." Like gun control was equally a huge problem with gun violence for a lot of people and a terrible tragedy and reminder of a cowboy age for the soccer moms and legislators that moved on it.

Also what even counts as "values" or a "grievance" anyway? The whole Who will carry the can part of that piece is p. bad
#33

tapespeed posted:
Theres also the fact that many liberal associated things were fought for simultaneously with one side being "grievance bound" and the other being "values bound." Like gun control was equally a huge problem with gun violence for a lot of people and a terrible tragedy and reminder of a cowboy age for the soccer moms and legislators that moved on it.

Also what even counts as "values" or a "grievance" anyway? The whole Who will carry the can part of that piece is p. bad

what kind of HORseshit moronic theory are you using 'grievance bound' and 'values bound'. did you learn that in MotherFatherin civic ethics class in Liberal U? U Fuk?

Black Panther Minister of Information, Eldridge Cleaver noted in 1968: "Some very interesting laws are being passed. They don't name me; they don't say, take the guns away from the niggers. They say that people will no longer be allowed to have (guns). They don't pass these rules and these regulations specifically for black people, they have to pass them in a way that will take in everybody."

Tsargon posted:
germanjoey posted:
well, that part of the article primarily focuses on the foundations of American ideology by tracing its roots through Anglo-Americans. honestly I'm curious to what Mitchell Heisman, (the suicidenote.info guy) has to say about this, as IIRC he focuses several chapters of his note on this very topic.

second, I'm not sure where you're getting the "broadly conservative political history of the united states" from. he repeatedly sez the opposite in the article, and I have to agree with him for the most part. first of all, the country was undeniably founded on liberal/progressive/radical sentiments (as the conservative position would have been obviously loyalist?) now, you might argue that the south, and its more heavily rural population, in the end remained a bedrock of conservativism, but it would be ludicrous to argue that the north, whose army sang "John Brown's Body" as it marched off to war, or the settlers of the West, who worshiped the oath of manifest destiny, were decidedly conservative. i honestly can't see a historical conservative movement moving nationally to the fore until the baby boomers came into their own.

uh yeah, i should have been more precise. i just meant very recently, the last forty years, wherein all political expression has become either liberal-conservative or wishy washy progressive type handwringing.

kline says that "It is difficult to think of a major progressive policy which commands less than a plurality." which is what i am taking issue with: the 'progressive policies' he is discussing being "Inexpensive health care, progressive taxation, educational scholarship funding, curtailment of foreign wars, (and) environmental protection" all of whose popularity is taken as material evidence that the American people (again, except for rural whites) *should be* progressives, or at least wish to be. I Take Issue.

for example, let us think back over the last 60 years of war: ww2, korea (draw, not included), vietnam, somalia, iraq 2, serbia, afghanistan, iraq 2, it becomes quickly apparent that while all were foreign wars, the American people gladly supported roughly half. and the difference between the half they liked and the half they disliked is obvious: America won 'the good wars' (ww2, serbia, iraq 1, the first half of afghanistan) and lost 'the bad wars" (vietnam, somalia, iraq 2, the second half of afghanistan). the American people do not support 'curtailment of foreign wars', to paraphrase patton, they just hate a loser.

the other items in klines list are phrased in a special way (not "universal healthcare, but "inexpensive healthcare", for example) so as to avoid points of contention and focuses primarily on plain-jane material benefits to the people.
and then he throws in the "and others" at the end of the list and i think its important to consider what "and others" might be. racial equality, actual, not just nominal? surely a progressive issue, but drastically unpopular with the American people. religious equality, which is to say equitable treatment of muslims? surely a progressive issue, but again, clearly drastically unpopular with the American people. opening up of the borders? surely a progressive issue, drastically unpopular with the American people.

kline correctly argues that the oligarchs are not as powerful as theyre made out to be - that they can only tweak public opinion so far, and every time they try and make a run at one of the programs that benefits the American people at large, they end up getting smashed. but the fact that the American people like when they are prosperous and dislike when their country loses a war does not make them 'progressives'.

i also can't understand how you could think that the united states does not have a "liberal"-based government, in the classical sense of the word "liberal" -- as kline uses it. how the fuck could wall street come to a position of dominance in the first place were the government already one that enshrines private property above all else?

im sorry, yes, i was imprecise. i agree, theres no nation more bourgeois than America, i suppose for my purposes i should use words like 'progressive' instead of liberal, as that presents a narrow cross-section. essentially everyone in America is a classical liberal, agreed.

O u wanna get owned too?? Liberals make the broad section of American majority, as Kline points out, and there is little distinction between them and the progressives, they are more of a liberal sect.

The wars aren't simply about winning, they are speaking the symbolic language of liberalism, they have been 'humanitarian interventions' since almost the foundation of America, sometimes on the side of just property law, always publicly liberal.

So wat are the progressives? Do we apply a dialectical understanding?? Yes!! They are a moving instance of liberalism, and as a mediating mechanism for the preservation of liberalism, we can reasonably argue that their murky goals align with popular opinion, since that is the nature of their trade, moral, petty bourgeois authority. Omg

Conservatism is a position here in reaction to liberalism. It is also its instance

#34

Crow posted:
what kind of HORseshit moronic theory are you using 'grievance bound' and 'values bound'. did you learn that in MotherFatherin civic ethics class in Liberal U? U Fuk?

#35

tapespeed posted:
Crow posted:
what kind of HORseshit moronic theory are you using 'grievance bound' and 'values bound'. did you learn that in MotherFatherin civic ethics class in Liberal U? U Fuk?

oh im sorry can you read something on your own terms or does Everything have to be Babied *coos at you*

#36

Crow posted:
O u wanna get owned too?? Liberals make the broad section of American majority, as Kline points out, and there is little distinction between them and the progressives, they are more of a liberal sect.

if we're using the word liberal to mean old-type liberal, then there is definitely a tremendous difference between liberals and 'progressives' as kline is using it. just because the one is a subset of the other doesnt mean "there is little distinction between them" - communists are a subset of socialists but theres a share more than "little" distinction between bernstein and lenin.

The wars aren't simply about winning, they are speaking the symbolic language of liberalism, they have been 'humanitarian interventions' since almost the foundation of America, sometimes on the side of just property law, always publicly liberal.

yes, alright - all of the wars are 'liberal' wars. but ww2, which was fought to SAVE THE WORLD FROM FASCISM, and vietnam, which was fought to SAVE THE WORLD FROM COMMUNISM, although similar in purpose ('humanitarian intervention') have distinctly different cultural legacies in American history. one has been continually invoked to condone every war since (the likeness of every American 'Enemy Number 1' to Hitler flutters across every weekly page during the lead-up to war), and the other has been continually invoked to condemn every war since (and the likeness of every American battlefield to vietnam is dredged up as soon as the war turns sour). it is only because America is losing two wars initiated by an R that progressives can now lay claim to 'opposing war', were it clinton invading serbia or roosevelt posing for pictures with stalin then every center-left coward in the country would be convulsing on the ground in pleasure.

and remember that while kline says that it is specifically progressives who favor "the curtailment of foreign wars", he also said "It is difficult to think of a major progressive policy which commands less than a plurality", conflating pacifism with no "less than a plurality" of the whole goddamn country. This Is Shoddy History.

So wat are the progressives? Do we apply a dialectical understanding?? Yes!! They are a moving instance of liberalism, and as a mediating mechanism for the preservation of liberalism, we can reasonably argue that their murky goals align with popular opinion, since that is the nature of their trade, moral, petty bourgeois authority. Omg

Conservatism is a position here in reaction to liberalism. It is also its instance

i am not interested in the dialectical relationship between progressives and liberals and so on and so on, i am interested in smashing the ridiculous left-type notion that, save for a small, wretched minority (the "rural whites" whose rogue politics simply cannot be accounted for in kline's essay), the American people earnestly desire every plank of the progressive agenda and are simply frustrated in their ability to articulate those desires.

which is simply not true.

#37

Crow posted:
oh im sorry can you read something on your own terms or does Everything have to be Babied *coos at you*

What are you talking about? The article used some terminology, and I explained why I thought it was silly. I'm not trying to quote some college class or something I read somewhere with esoteric classifications, I'm directly discussing the OP.

#38
[account deactivated]