What's The Progressives' 50-Year Plan For America?

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ulTRAX's picture

Where do Liberals and Progressives want to take this nation in 10-20-50 years? What's their wish list... not what compromises they'll settle for, but what's their Vision for a Progressive America? Do they want to fundamentally change the US into a European democracy with proportional representation? Do they want to tame those Frankenstein monsters we created called corporations? Do we want a more equitable sharing of the nation's wealth? Do we want a Green America?

If Liberals and Progressives don't have a clear Vision, they will never develop a long range strategy... and without one, how can they ever fight back against the Right which has been successfully implementing their own strategy these past 35 years?


Yikes! Seriously... almost 2

Yikes! Seriously... almost 2 months and no responses? The far Right has a Vision and they have been working on it for 30-35 years. It's paying off. By creating massive deficits/debt with irresponsible tax cuts they always wanted to change the debate in Washington from what can we spend to what can we abolish… and New Deal/Great Society programs were always their target.
Should not having a Progressive Vision of where we want to take America be the core of what all Progressives are discussing? Otherwise all we'll do is fall back into the lesser of the evils trap... supporting those few Progressive Dems, hoping to influence the Party, but never extending our horizons past the next presidential election.

That seems to be the trap Thom has fallen into. OK... we take over the Democratic Party. Then what? Do we merely counterpunch the Right? Or do we have a roadmap of where we want to go?

The progressive agenda, if it

The progressive agenda, if it can be called that, is to return to the 70's, or maybe even the 60's..

In the 60's and 70's, the agenda  was to progress way, way beyond that..

The progressive agenda could more aptly be called a regressive agenda, couldn't it?  Of course, that's better than the far right agenda...feudalism with modern perks like cell phones..

Left means returning to the 70's. Radical left means a return to the 60's. Many progressives of the 60's must be rolling over in their graves.

Retired Monk - "Ideology is a disease"

LeMoyne's picture
I think of the progressive

I think of the progressive agenda as:

A restoration of human rights to humans by stripping them from the usurping corporations

Too big to fail is too big to be exempt from anti-trust action.  Failing monstrosities should be nationalized for the countriy's economic security or truly broken up to create competition not just sold off to create more consolidation. 

An end to imperialist wars of aggression and occupation (close most foreign bases)

A progressive income tax structure AND shifting more of the tax burden onto profitable corporations and unearned income

Investment in infrastructure including major sustainable energy initiatives and especially in times of endemic unemployment.

Single-payer or non-profit healthcare for all

And of course education, Mom and just about any kind of pie.

The first is probably required to get any of the others in a meaningful way whether Obama appoints three justices or not.  The third (stop imperialism) will be done within 50 years whether we make it happen or it happens to US.  All the rest besides education Mom and pie are dead in the water after two years of the Obama administration squandered control of the government and especially after the regressive(!) tax deal blew another hole in the budget. Seemed like we might get some of it in five years not too long ago, but it all looks doubtful now even though it is all stuff a majority of the people want.  Fifty years is too long - if this agenda happens it will be sooner than 50 years or perhaps never if the US continues its descent into banana republic feudalism. 

It won't take 50 years. The

It won't take 50 years. The whole house of cards will come tumbling down way before that.

Can't argue with the math. "Arithmetic, population and energy". Univ of Colo. lecture:


Nothing is being addressed. It's like lemmings running over a cliff.

Retired Monk - "Ideology is a disease"

True, as Ren pointed out to

True, as Ren pointed out to me some time ago. Yet the image serves its purpose.

It seems the only species that fits the image are human.

Retired Monk - "Ideology is a disease"

norske's picture
"It's like lemmings running

"It's like lemmings running over a cliff."

Spot on as usual....but I can't stand by any longer while Lemmings continue to be disparaged and falsely portrayed as willing to follow one another off of a cliff as if they were people. Doesn't happen, never happened.
Lemmings are cool.

tayl44's picture
The problem with that

The problem with that question,is you can have as many answers as "progressives".The question should be what is the #1 issue "they all want"? The #1 issue for the fascists is "Control/Money". Our #1 issue should be "Economic-Freedom"! 

Natural Lefty
Natural Lefty's picture
I just noticed this thread,

I just noticed this thread, and I think it's a great question. I have been developing my ideas in my blog posts with long term progress in mind. My answer to all of uLTRAX's questions is an unequivocal "YES!" I completely agree with LeMoyne too. Tay, you are also correct in that we need to start with an economic democracy. Polycarp is predicting the collapse of the entire system before we rebuild it. I hope that's not necessary, but if we don't take things into our own hands before it's too late, a total collapse is what we will be facing. At least that would give us a chance to change the system, but I would never advocate destruction and chaos when constructive and coordinated actions would be so much better.

LeMoyne wrote:Fifty years is

LeMoyne wrote:
Fifty years is too long - if this agenda happens it will be sooner than 50 years or perhaps never if the US continues its descent into banana republic feudalism.
I like your list.

The reason I have such a long time line is because I'm convinced that the reason the US is not more progressive is tied inextricably linked to the antidemocratic and reform-proof nature of our federal government... and trying to make the any fundamental changes will need perhaps 50 years of preparation... and may ultimately be impossible.

Just think of the ground work it would take to get a Single Payer system. The power and voice of corporations to lobby Congress, buy elections, and use PR firms to propagandize the public would have to be legally curtailed. Right now the Public gets most of its info from the mass media and sound bites from politicians. But there's no network that finds it profitable to seriously educate the public about these issues. We need to create a viable method to educate the public. We need to inoculate the public against propaganda. We might need some intermediate steps… say returning to non-profit health insurance… having a few states go Single Payer to demonstrate its benefits because now the Public, even if they don't like the current system, has no real reason to want a change. I could go on… because there would be other real world obstacles that had to be overcome. This largely depends on getting enough Progressives elected that support this goal and the strategy. Standing in your way is the DLC. And let's not forget that the GOP opposition would adapt as our strategy progressed.
While the first step is a Progressive Vision… the next has to be how to work within a dysfunctional if not intellectually brain dead political system to plot a strategy for each goal.

Dusty's picture
The view on the ground is

The view on the ground is that the "system" has already failed. What we are seeing is the flailing of the power elite to hang onto the old while trying to prepare for the new and that will be more onerous than what we have now.

The break with what is has to be as definitive as kicking King George III out of colonial America.

There is just so little to applaud about life in America.

BTW, in addition to the US government permitting hmo's to kill off 45,000 Americans every year they also allow pharmaceutical corporations to kill off another 200,000.

http://www.heilkunst.com/drugs2.html - The annual death toll from synthetic prescription drugs, both from the correctly prescribed and the incorrectly prescribed, amounts to about 231,000 deaths every year. To put this into perspective, this is the equivalent of a world trade center disaster every week for over a year and a half or the crash of two fully loaded 747 aircraft every day of the year.

Natural Lefty
Natural Lefty's picture
Dusty, I would say that the

Dusty, I would say that the system is dysfunctional, but it hasn't crashed and burned yet. It might be getting to that point, sadly.

Xartlu, excellent comments. I agree that a long and difficult process will be necessary to reform our system. I do think that once the public realizes what needs to be done, we can take steps to lay the groundwork. On the optimistic side -- let's not always be pessimists here --  sometimes change happens much more quickly than we expect, but I agree that our political system has major inertia and isn't geared for change.

I'm educating myself and my

I'm educating myself and my children about Mandarin language and culture.  I'll share some with you.

From Wikipedia: Dongzhi Festival The Winter Solstice Festival or The Extreme of Winter is one of the most important festivals celebrated by the Chinese and other East Asians during the dongzhi solar term on or around December 21 when sunshine is weakest and daylight shortest; i.e., on the first day of the dongzhi solar term. The origins of this festival can be traced back to the yin and yang philosophy of balance and harmony in the cosmos. After this celebration, there will be days with longer daylight hours and therefore an increase in positive energy flowing in. The philosophical significance of this is symbolized by the I Ching hexagram (復, "Returning"). Traditionally, the Dongzhi Festival is also a time for the family to get together. One activity that occurs during these get togethers (especially in the southern parts of China and in Chinese communities overseas) is the making and eating of Tangyuan or balls of glutinous rice, which symbolize reunion.

DRC's picture
In the old evolutionary

In the old evolutionary image, we Progressives are the mammals dodging the dying dinos.  Corporate still has lots of weight, and you want to dodge rather than take them on directly.  But the future is ours, not theirs.  We need to look at more than what does not work to see what being of the future means.

I think there is some "back to the future" involved.  Those of us who remember a Middle Class America have more than a vague theory or set of issues behind the critique of empire and elitism.  And I have often advocated using the Pledge of Allegiance as the discussion agenda for American rehab from the sad course of imperial addiction and abuse.  There is a core vision of moral decency even if its own history is filled with contradiction.  Progressives are about that kind of progress toward "liberty and justice for all."

The economics of "liberty and justice for all" are obviously not Libertarian unless we equate "justice" with whatever results in dog eat dog world.  It helps to think about justice in other than retributive terms.  The conditions of a just economy, for example, would be that it is inclusive and works for all.  This is not a demand for enforced equality, but it is a demand that the rich be part of the same economy as the poor.  They cannot just abandon others and claim that their loot is earned.  The economy is not a means to impoverish and dehumanize others unless we let it be.  

I like the prescriptions of David Korten for bottom up and indigenous models of development and society.  His theories are the result of having worked for the failed establishment institutions and analyzing their failures.  He is anything but a "big government Socialist" as imagined by the Right, but he does see government as a tool of democracy that we must use more effectively.  He would get rid of Wall St. entirely.  At least it would be isolated like the Las Vegas Casino it is.

Being a self-governing people requires a distribution of civil power to avoid dynastic wealth and elite domination of the State.  The law must be free from the power of money.  Commerce must serve the public interest.  Taxes pay for the infrastructure of prosperity and security, and the Commons is not to be enclosed by privateers.  When we look around the world, we see prosperity and security where taxes are high, not where they are low.  The latter policies favor the sweatshops, plantations and pirates of finance who practice vulture capitalism instead of democratic capitalism.

The more I deal with these arguments, the more I see Progressives as the only fiscal conservatives around.  It is about making wise investments instead of "spending."  But it is not about not spending as if the deficit were more important than what an investment can produce in profit and value.  Saving people and communities is always cheaper than protecting the money.  Substance and symbol don't lie.  Some people make a lot of money out of the disasters, but they don't stick around to live with the disaster.  If we respond with social integrity, neighbors can protect neighbors and we can all protect the homeless and vulnerable.  We can also change the conditions that inflict this moral disaster on our society.  I remember when there were so few that caring for them was not difficult.

The Empire is going to fail.  When I think of Afghanistan as the place empires go to die, I feel a deep appreciation for these people and their mission in history to save the world from empires.  I wish we would help them end ours because I think we are finally sick of it.  Of course it means confronting all the dinos in DC.  

Meanwhile, it is essential to have that positive environmental design and green vision of harmony and balance with nature.  It is the politics, not the design that seems impossible.  And it is the dysfunctional politics, not the design of democracy that has failed.  Once again as tyranny has subverted democracy to have its own way, it has failed to govern in ruling.  It is not as stark as Reagan bearing the whole load of blame.  It is not even as stark as the Cold War as the departure from the republic.  

There is a whole lot more wrong here than any of us have recognized or analyzed even if we have acted as if disgust were our meme.  The roots of our institutional failures go deep into Robber Barons and the whole Rube Goldberg nature of our Constitution and political divisions.

Do our state borders really make any sense?  Will they help us govern and care for a harmony and balance with nature?  When we take the future more seriously than we do the past, we stop projecting the dysfunctions forward as if they were our ideas.  We are able to learn from the past without becoming what we study.  

While this thread is about Progressives and identity and vision, what about the void called Conservative?  What do conservatives believe that is not nonsense clearly demonstrated to be so in practice?  What authentic defense of history and tradition do they make?  They have been so focussed on undermining the Progressive New Deal that they have only the failed past to sell as Supply Side and Empire go down.  They have great ideologies for electoral politics but no ability to govern.

There is nothing realistic to "originalism" and nothing "conservative" about Economic Libertine Free Markets.  They do not exist in nature, and the quest for the free market may be the ultimate "Fountain of Youth" romantic myth.  Economics belongs in a social context to make sense of any value.

Dusty's picture
Where do Liberals and

Where do Liberals and Progressives want to take this nation in 10-20-50 years? --  I agree that a long and difficult process will be necessary to reform our system. -- But the future is ours, not theirs.

That's a somewhat cavilier attitude (no offence meant) when 45,000 family, friends and neighbors die needlessly, every year, because an insurance company denies coverage and another 200,000 die from the crap global pharmaceutical corporations are hoisting on an unsuspecting citizenry (us).

We can endure another couple years of that sun-of-a-bitch Obama before he leaps into that phone booth and comes out as...whatever. Sure, a quarter million dead Americans here and there every year can't be helped on the road to more of nowhere, but that's the smallest price, because, in our name, the quickly transforming US government is murdering millions of hapless people around the world.

No rush. Rest easy. You too, Thom.

LeMoyne's picture
In two words from Martin

In two words from Martin Luther King Jr : Peace and Justice.  An inseperable pair.

The American Revolution was the first liberal revolution - it threw off the autocracy of nobility and created a government based on the [willing and informed] consent of the governed which is a core requirement of justice. 

Our current government of, by and for the corporations is actually worse than a theocracy or monarchy that derives its power from a system of morality that is thousands of years old.  Both systems give power only to the wealthy and powerful but the current oligarchy is totally bereft of morals and ethics.  That is why amending the constitution is first on my version of the Progressive Agenda. 

--  Amend the constitution to restore rights to people as the Declaration of Independence makes clear: it is self-evient that ALL humans have inalienable rights (not just US citizens with proper papers). [Justice]

--  An end to war except in true self-defense. An end to imperialist wars of aggression and occupation (close most foreign bases). [Peace]

--  A progressive income tax structure AND shifting more of the tax burden onto profitable corporations and unearned income.

--  Investment in infrastructure including major sustainable energy initiatives especially in times of endemic unemployment.  Consideration of our actions and developments to the seventh generation. 

--  Single-payer or non-profit healthcare for all.

--  A living wage.

--  No children and elderly people left in poverty.

mtdon's picture
there is no left anymore -

there is no left anymore - the left follows Obama down his rightwing blackhole with nary a complaint -  only servile compliance.....

leaving them irrelevant hoping for a crumb -  the left has Gotten in Line and refuses to admit the trouble we are in -  because hey it's OUR GUY in the White House......

the LEFT is hypocritical and basically useless........ at least when it comes to true progressive values -  and if you want those you CANNOT support these democrats......

The LEFT has been beaten by the Story - they've folded on the use of Language..... and WE THE PEOPLE are suffering the consequences.....


LeMoyne's picture
Thanks MTDon.  The left has

Thanks MTDon.  The left has precious little representation with some few representatives that actually stand on principles.  I agree that a simple consistent statement like Peace and Justice is more important than the fully fleshed out agenda that flows from a principled stand for Peace and Justice. 

Dan4liberty's picture
It's the Constitution! That's

It's the Constitution! That's the Tea Party, and now the neocons have taken it away from them. They have taken a great American icon and used it against the true Americans, the liberals, who believe that all men should have an equal opportunity in business and the working place. The right says they want to take us back to the Constitution, but it's a lie because they are lobbied by the corporations and Wall Street to keep things the way they are and if you cross the line to liberal polices that help workers and small businesses to grow, then you will be punished by  not funding your campaign contributions.

Liberals need to find a rich person, like FDR or TR, to lead us to the promised land that sees what is happening in this country. A person that acutally stands up to the economic royalists and speaks to the public in terms they can understand and believe in. This person will energize the public to acutally turn the tide of right wing corporate logic that has taken control of our national agenda.

The corporate agenda is to take control of the world by controlling the governments of the world for thier capitalist profit margins and the Constitution should be enforced to stop this private take over by the rich. If there weren't a government there wouldn't be a corporation becasue corporations are given their charters by government to operate within their boarders and therefore can be regualted and taxed by government when they operate in monopolist, immoral means. But to here the right wing logic, corporations should be unregulated and not taxed becasue they create jobs, as their obligation to society.

tayl44's picture
Progressives need to get the

Progressives need to get the message out,period! Any way possible! We can`t do the right thing with the wrong info!

DRC's picture
Being on the right side of

Being on the right side of history and the wrong side of power does not give us many options to cut through the entropy and make the change happen!  Being on the wrong side of history and the right side of power can get you into very big trouble, particularly when you think you are not on the wrong side of either history or morality.  

I am amused at the idea of the Constitution saving us.  As a tactical weapon in our imperial distress, we will use it.  As a reminder of what America was supposed to be about, it is helpful.  But as a lever to unseat the principalities and powers of this world, it is made of paper mache.

As the format for effective democracy, it gets a prototype niche in the Democracy Hall of Fame.  Modern design has bypassed most of its early compromises with the fear of the mob; and the bicameral Congress has proved to be no Parliament.  Having executive leadership vested in the head of the representative constituencies instead of a separate player also makes more sense from a strict democratic design standpoint.

And our crazy, unrepresentative Senate where big and little states get the same number of votes has to go.  It is not needed by its own justifications, and it has disqualified itself by its ineptitude and corruption.

Is it OK to think creatively about democracy in the Green 21st Century and to put aside the polemics about government?  What kind of Commerce can be part of a reality based future if it is not about stewardship and sharing?  Growth is not the way to do it.  Greater efficiencies can help.  But the idea that we can evade finitude or should wish to needs to go.  Abundance is not about infinite expansion.

tayl44's picture
DRC, it makes no difference

DRC, it makes no difference where we`re at in history and how much we follow or don`t with the constitution,people want better. The people who know better,need to start taking care of business.People are tired of seeing very bad & stupid people in charge.We need to control the message! We need Thom on free TV!