I am thinking about suggesting that the progressives, radicals, and rabble (that’s me) consider sending out an SOS. Yes, an emergency call. I think we are there.
In this instance I think the SOS will be an emergency call for a Summer of Solidarity (think Summer of Love).
Those of us who voted in 2008 elected Obama as President and put him in charge of a Democratic Congress and at the end of a two year session with that group we had an escalated war in Afghanistan, huge bailouts of Wall Street banks and traders, and a corporatist health care reform bill crafted on a table where single payer or even a public option had no place.
2010 elections gave us a tea party sweep of new corporatists idealogues in Congress who defy description or classification, but any way you look at this group, they are not good news.
In 2012, there will be 33 Senate seats up for election. 21 of those seats are now held by democrats and 2 by independents who lean left and 10 Senate seats now held by republicans will be for voter and Citizen United selection. Bad as things may currently seem, they could get worse after November 2012. That’s my take on the federal situation.
Budget woes from the Wall Street robbery of Main Street and the 2008 crash have created a state by state funding crisis that has become a golden opportunity for cuts to social welfare programs, for privatization and capitalist takeovers or dismantling of important public functions. Tim Eyman has continued to pound on the state budget in Washington to create a funding snarl that creates a new excuse for hammering on the middle class, the working poor, the disabled, the lowest 50% of the socio-economic scale (that’s me and most of my good friends).
That’s my take on the State level.
Folks can argue (and they do) that Obama and centrist democrats are so much better than the other real alternative, but I think it is difficult to argue that Obama is taking us in a progressive direction. He has continued the imperial presidency, violates national and international law with the drone attacks on civilian populations in countries that we are not at war with. He has arguably committed war and high crimes, most recently with the murder of the people (whoever they were) in the compound in Abbotabad, Pakistan. So, even if you think this is better than the alternative, I will challenge you to persuade me that Obama is taking the country in the right direction.
Back to the Summer of Solidarity.
We wrapped up our Friday the 13th zombie crawl to the Olympia Capitol yesterday. It was a good time, good food, good music, good cause, good company. And there is reason to believe that the pressure that we have brought to bear on the Washington legislature is producing results. A tax loophole ending bill made it out of committee yesterday on a straight party line vote and is heading to the floor for consideration. Would this have happened without the demonstrations, without the occupation of the Rotunda last month, without incessant pressure from the groups and individuals who have spent time in Olympia over the past couple of months? I think not.
But, it’s small victories that we are achieving in a sea of big battles. Environmental degradation, corruption of the political process by court decisions that find that money is speech and corporations are people, deregulation of markets and industries, wholesale class war on unions, teachers, the poor, the disabled? It’s hard to see how a small legislative victory or two is going to turn the tide. Still I think we are right to claim those small victories. They are ours.
I will tell you this much: a lot of the discussion is evolving toward creation of the alternative community. The battle for good public policy is important and should continue for those who have the time and energy for it, but we also need to let the good times roll. We need to step in and fill the vacuum that is created by the failure of public policy. And we need to do it in the company of good friends, enjoying music, sharing food and really FREE (that’s you, Lee) market thinking and that is what I am thinking about when I start organizing myself around the idea of a Summer of Solidarity.
More tomorrow. Love and peace to all of you who put energy into the activities in Olympia over the past two months. I am optimistic because of your ideas, your ideals, and your energy.