In the wake of a super-nova of exploded hope in President Obama, a power vacuum is now spinning in our political universe. A desperate need to fill the void (lest it someday be filled with a babbling Bachmann or weeping Boehner) has led to a frenzy of organizing among Democrats and Progressives.
Some, like the Van Jones/Move On “Rebuilding the Dream” coalition, are attempting to rekindle that Obama flame by pointing the blame finger at “evil corporations,” without drawing a direct line from corporate headquarters (like those of Goldman Sachs, GE, and Monsanto) to the White House. Others, like the New Progressive Alliance (NPA), led by activists such as Cindy Sheehan and Cornel West, are taking a more radical position, calling out the Democratic Party leadership as sold-out corporate shills, unworthy of further support. So the power vacuum of the Left has a deeper split within — a black hole that threatens to pull all of us into oblivion between now and November, 2012.
Free-floating in the void are Americans who lost all hope after what they perceive as Obama’s Great Betrayal, followed by the 2010 Supreme Court Citizens United decision, unleashing an unfettered free market for the rich to buy our candidates. We may now envision them as a far less cool version of NASCAR drivers, slathered with the logos of their corporate sponsors.
The NPA and organizations such as RootsAction and Progressive Democrats of America have been hard at work on new Progressive platforms. All well and good, but where are inspiring candidates to rally around? The lesson learned from Obama is that pretty words do not action make — and the Establishment Democrats and their Wall Street backers tell us what we want to hear in order to keep power. We also know that our two-party system is walled like a fortress against a third party uprising.
The NPA, for its part, is undaunted by this Corporate citadel that was once our government. They are planning the long-needed coup — an electoral insurgency of true Progressive candidates to challenge the compromised Democrats, and if that doesn’t work, redoubling strength and charging forward as a new party.
The problem is that some of the changes the NPA will make once in power, need to be made before they can take power.
We suffer a ruthless Corporatocracy today because our elections have been bought or stolen for decades. Republican operatives apparently decided not to steal the White House in 2008 once it became clear that Obama was headed for a landslide. But whether elections – or politicians -- are literally stolen, or simply bought, the outcome is the same.
The rigging of the System is not just another Progressive issue, like ending the Wars on Terror and Drugs, or securing universal healthcare, or preventing Monsanto from taking over our food and seed supply. These issues are where our ship of state is heading. The democratic process is who is controlling the ship.
So, how is the system rigged against us?
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* Corporate campaign finance. Unless you are sponsored by the mega-corporations, you will never get out of the political gate. That’s why it makes no sense to say Obama “betrayed” his constituency, or that he’s a naive political player (from Chicago? Are you kidding?) The Center for Responsive Politics indicates he’s raising more money than ever from Wall Street in preparation for 2012 -- as he must! You pay to play. Is Obama a good guy or a Manchurian Candidate? It doesn’t really matter. It’s not about him, it’s about the System.
* Corporate media control of elections. Unless you’re saying what the uber-powerful corporate media controllers want to hear, you’ll be relegated to late-night Public Access. Even serious contenders may not make it within a stone’s throw of top-level televised debates (Ralph Nader wasn’t allowed in the audience in 2000). Until there is free, fair and equal coverage of every candidate, there will be no real democracy.
* Corporate control of computerized voting machines. If the good guys and gals manage to make it far enough to pose a real threat to the corporate Establishment, the voting booth is where they’ll get the knife in the back. Over 40 years of citizen investigation proves that our votes are regularly stolen within secretly programmed “black box” computerized voting machines owned by a handful of incestuous corporations with criminal histories and strong ties to extremist, right-wing groups. Their machines now count about 99% of American ballots.
The hour is more than late. We can now say with little hyperbole that Fascist boots can be heard in the hall, and if we don’t want them on the back of our necks, we have to think strategically.
We — the Progressives, Radicals, and Populists, who constitute the majority in America — must focus on aligning strategically to win by stunning landslides in 2012. We must first outlaw the use of riggable computerized voting machines and institute a public paper ballot count with appropriate procedure and oversight. We must demand full media access for candidates. And we must threaten a full-blown Egypt-style revolution if Citizens United is not immediately overturned.
Now is the time for recognition that business as usual is no longer acceptable. We’ve got to abandon the “my issue is more important than your issue” mentality that has so long divided and crippled the Movement.
If we begin now, immediately — today! -- we just might be able to turn the USA Titanic around before the madmen at the helm slam us all into the icebergs ahead.
* To plan strategy for overthrowing the Corporatocracy, join the discussion at the People’s Congress.
* Register for the upcoming Democracy Convention in Madison, Wisconsin on August 24-28.