Can the further Left (Occupiers, anarchists, and Socialists) work, in some fashion, with the nearer Left (progressive Democrats, Labor, and groups like MoveOn.org)?  Can the Occupy Movement work with allies without feeling co-opted?

[Note: I posted this at OpEdNews as well; see the numerous comments there.    An earlier name for this article was “On Occupying the Democratic Party.”]

Apparently not. As reported here, leftist commentators such as Christopher Hedges and Glenn Greenwald are adamant that the Democratic Party, unions, and groups like MoveOn.org are too corrupted to be reliable allies.  Occupy GAs are protective of their independence. In Occupy the Democratic Party? No way!, Socialist politician and author Dan La Botz says: “The Democratic Party exists to bind working people, the poor, and small business to the program of corporations and banks.”   I think he overstates the case, ignoring the extent to which FDR, LBJ, and even Bill Clinton (on some issues) embraced progressive ideas and policies.

Mike Coday writes

Obama was elected, an FDR moment was handed to him, and he performed like Hoover. He threw away the opportunity of a lifetime on Mr. Geitner’s bank bailouts and a corporate makeover of healthcare when we needed a WPA job program for energy independence, for infrastructure and Medicare for Everyone.

The Dem party might survive if it could elect an FDR or LBJ every 30 years. By my count, we are now close to 50 years without that kind of elected Dem leader. In that situation, the party is toast.

This is what’s so frustrating about Obama. He was handed an FDR moment, and judging from some of the things he said during the 2008 campaign, he could have delivered. He would have had huge support.  He could have prosecuted some of the bastard criminals in the Bush Administration and ridden a wave of anti-GOP anger to make real change. Instead, he sold out or wimped out.

He wouldn’t have succeeded on all counts, because the GOP are extreme and because the Blue Dogs are nearly as bad. But it seems he barely tried.

There are many progressive Dems, and the populace support many progressive policies. But the Democratic will not change unless they’re forced to change, while the GOP has become even more conservative and more uncompromising.

The Divided Left

But reforming the Democratic Party will still be easier than starting a viable third party. And whether the post-partisan, decentralized, “no-concrete-demands” approach of the Occupy Movement has any lasting effect remains to be seen.

As Randi Rhodes said on air: “Who’s more powerful? One voter? Or 3000 non-voting protesters?”

One can also ask: “Who’s more powerful? One thousand people who belong to a non-viable third-party (or advocacy group)?  Or one person who works to elect progressive party leaders in the Democratic Party?”

The Tea Party pushed the Republican Party to the right, so why don’t the Occupiers push the Democratic Party to the left? Are they afraid of having to compromise? Of getting their hands dirty?  Of fighting centrist Dems?  (Yes, fighting centrist Dems IS unpleasant!)

Sure, the Tea Party was funded by people like the Koch brothers, it’s been co-opted, and many of the Tea Party activists hold incoherent views. But it’s undeniable that the Tea Party movement expressed some real populist outrage at corrupt government. It’s also undeniable that it has pushed the GOP further to the right.

The Occupy Movement is post-partisan and maybe post-political. It views the current system as beyond repair.  But what’s the path forward?  Do they expect a revolution?  A new constitutional convention?   Ain’t gonna happen until things get a lot worse — and things might get a lot worse.

Sigh. Had Obama been moderately more progressive, the Democratic Party and the Left in America would now be in so much better shape.  It seems he intentionally alienated some of his most valuable potential supporters.

The leadership of the Democratic Party has alienated not only people on the further left, but also many grassroots Democrats  and members of groups like MoveOn.  I’m curious whether the Occupy Movement can effectively mobilize these disaffected near leftists. Or will the Occupiers alienate their potential allies as well, by refusing to work with others?

Can the Occupy Movement and the near leftists upset with Obama work together, either to fix the Democratic Party, or to create a new party (or post-partisan framework) for reforming America?

In order for the valid (implicit) demands of the Occupy Movement to be implemented as law, politicians are going to have to get on board with the progressive agenda of the Occupiers.   The Occupy Movement is doing a great job of publicizing the issues — the 1% versus the 99%, etc.   I’m curious about the path forward. Specifically, through what politicians or political parties will these reforms be enacted?