As we reach the end of the Zeroes, the first decade of the 21st century, it may seem an odd question to ask whether anyone has realized the previous decade, the 1990s, are over.
Yet judging by the discussions in recent days about the health care bill, progressive activism, left-right alliances, corporatism, etc, it is quite clear to me that way too many people are still trapped in obsolete political thinking more appropriate to the 1990s than to today. By doing so they've lost touch with fundamental changes that require us to shift the way we think about our politics if we are to get the things done that we entered politics to achieve.
The "political reality" is that American politics underwent massive change in the 2000s, yet too many progressives
still act as if it's still the 1990s, and that we must hide our progressivism away and embrace neoliberal policies that do nothing for us out of some deluded vision of what it takes to stop the right. By further empowering corporations who use their wealth and power to fuel the right-wing, we're simply handing our power over to our enemies, instead of using it to advance our own goals. It's as if FDR had given the technology for the atomic bomb to Stalin and Hitler but told Oppenheimer that we couldn't do it ourselves because we might cause problems for the US abroad.
Americans don't want to be governed by corporations. It wears them down mentally and physically at the workplace. It takes away their money and their rights in our political systems. Poll after poll after poll still shows that progressive ideas are popular in this country, yet it's we who are supposed to bite our tongues while neoliberals destroy our economy, our freedoms, and our political fortunes?
It's certainly not enough to assert our values, we also need to have a practical strategy for achieving them.
Sometimes that will necessitate compromise, either with neoliberal corporatist Democrats, corporations themselves, or the right-wing. But we should approach those situations from a position of strength. Instead we've been approaching them from an internalized sense of weakness, where we believe the things that are said about us by people who want to block our agenda from becoming law.
Sometimes the most practical thing you can do is throw off the obsolete ideas and frameworks of the past. Until we realize that the 1990s - and the 2000s - are really over, that progressives have the ability to drive our agenda forward and defeat both the corporations and their right-wing stooges, we will be reliving the 1990s as a sort of permanent Groundhog Day (itself an iconic product of that decade) forever.
Now, Eugene's post is huge. I have only posted about half of his post. He has a lot to say. The bottom line is that we aren't playing the right game. We are playing checkers while the corporations are playing chess. We need to reign in corporations.