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Stein Endorses Unified Progressive Platform

By: New Progressive Alliance Wednesday May 9, 2012 6:49 am

Received late last night by the New Progressive Alliance via email, from Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein:

8 May 2012

To: New Progressive Alliance
From: Jill Stein
Subject: Endorsement of NPA Platform

This is to confirm that as a candidate for President I endorse the
platform of the New Progressive Alliance.

I thank the NPA for the hard work that went into developing this
excellent statement of progressive values.

As you know, I worked actively with the NPA as a board member until I
took a leave of absence to work on my presidential campaign. I hope
to see the NPA flourish and make a major contribution to the revival
of the progressive movement in America.

2012 is shaping up as a year in which we have a golden opportunity to
create a permanent progressive presence on the national political
scene. I am currently involved in Green Party ballot access drives
with the goal of putting our progressive ticket before more than 94%
of the voters in America. I am also working hard to qualify for FEC
matching funds that would give credibility to our campaign and provide
us with funding to undertake several important initiatives. But this
is not a short-term effort to make a splash in one election. It
involves organizing permanent organizations in as many states as
possible and helping elect local and state officials who will organize
in their areas.

We all know that no matter who is elected president on November 6, we
will face enormous challenges over the next four years. We have to
make this election the springboard to what will follow. Every vote we
get in this election, every volunteer that we activate, and every
donor that we discover will put us in a better position to meet the
challenges that will come.

I would like to invite NPA to jump into the fray and demonstrate that
they can make a decisive difference in the electoral arena. There is
much to be done. The Internet and social media have given us exciting
new techniques for political action – and these are ideally suited to
the skills of NPA activists. This is the year to show that we can
revitalize the progressive movement in America and rescue our democracy.

I respectfully request the endorsement of NPA and their full
engagement in the exciting work before us.

Forward!

Jill Stein
Candidate for President of the United States
Green Party

The New Progressive Alliance was founded by MyFDL readers in 2010. Through electoral activism, we aim to unify Progressive independents, third parties, and other organizations to create a strong, uncompromising voice for Progressive principles, policy, and reform at the national level.

Our mission is based on Noam Chomsky’s long-held belief that the American electoral process is upside down, and it is up to citizens to state what they expect of their elected officials and to support only the candidates who pledge to fight for those interests. The Unified Platform is the NPA’s statement of expectations for candidates seeking our support. In addition to the platform content sourced from current and legacy Progressive organizations, much is the result of ideas provided before and during its writing, by readers of MyFDL.

FireDogLake and its affiliated sites are officially neutral as regards the NPA, its mission, and goals. We thank Jane Hamsher for maintaining a forum where people are free to coalesce around issues that are important to them.

To contact NPA facilitator Anthony Noel, email tonyn_at_newprogs_dot_org.

 

Egypt’s Lesson to the Occupy Movement

By: New Progressive Alliance Tuesday September 27, 2011 1:07 pm

The American people’s awakening to the carefully propagandized (yet iron-handed) oppression in which our ruling elites engage both at home and abroad – an awakening exemplified in the Occupy Wall Street action and a host of other planned occupations – is heartening indeed. But for all who side with full employment, peace, national self-sufficiency (versus the plunder of other nations’ resources at gunpoint) and individual rights, a critical question looms.

What happens next?

Imagine, if you will, the moment our victory is secured. The day it is universally accepted that the unemployment rate is the last concern of money-grubbing corporatists. The day we reject militarism in the name of “nation building” and corporate collusion in the name of “market share.”

The day – whether six weeks, six months, or six years hence – we finally decide to begin building a culture and an economy rooted in scientific inquiry, peaceful technologies, sustainable industries and agriculture, education, and the arts, in order to address critical societal needs such as creating jobs, saving the environment, and developing a real social safety net.

The Occupy Movement is a beacon of hope that such a day may now be much nearer at hand than it was even a week ago.

Or even yesterday.

But as history has shown time and again – and as we are seeing right now in Egypt – successful uprisings create a power vacuum which is all too often filled by elements of the status quo that the uprising sought to oust.

The only defense is preparedness. Organization. A clear vision of the kind of country in which we want to live, and people in place who are fully committed to seeing that transition through.

Indeed, it is the lack of any such vision or organization to which those trying to subvert the Occupy Movement most frequently point. “What exactly are you protesting for?” or “Things are bad everywhere, it’s just the way it is!” or “Imagine how much worse it would be if the Republicans controlled things.”

In short, the same old bullshit that feeds the status quo, and ensures our oppression by it.

Trouble is, they’re right. Those protesting have nothing even remotely resembling a clear statement of greivances, let alone a plan for the fundamental overhaul of what America has become – and such a plan already exists.

It was crafted over the first half of this year, based upon the input of hundreds of everyday people.

It was ratified by some of the most vocal supporters and key organizers of the protests now occuring and spreading across the country.

It is wholly non-partisan.

It’s called the Unified Progressive Platform.

It could well be a blueprint for What Happens Next.

Or… we could end up like Egypt.

Anthony Noel
NPA Facilitator
tonyn_at_newprogs_dot_org

The New Progressive Alliance is a 100-percent volunteer organization founded last year by diarists and readers at MyFDL in response to the deepening corporatization of the American electoral and legislative process. Learn more here. (You’ll also find a printable version of the Unified Platform for distribution at public events.)

Jobs for All with a Green New Deal

By: New Progressive Alliance Wednesday September 7, 2011 2:56 pm

by Jill E. Stein

Jill Stein is a member of the NPA Steering Committee. She wrote this op-ed in anticipation of President Obama’s speech before a joint session of Congress, September 8.

President Obama’s new job proposals are intended to send a political message that the President cares about the dismal state of the economy. But America needs a decisive and immediate solution, not a limited gesture for the unemployment emergency facing 25 million workers in need of full time jobs that aren’t there.

We need a Green New Deal that will establish government’s responsibility to guarantee the right to a job for every American willing and able to work. The roots of this lie in the Employment Assurance concept that the Roosevelt administration used to tackle the great American depression in 1935. Let’s turn the unemployment office into the employment office: if the private sector fails to provide you a job, you go down to the employment office to get work that keeps you afloat until things turn around.

The “green” in the Green New Deal means that we can solve our jobs problem as we build the economy of the future – a sustainable, green economy that protects the environment as the core foundation for economic prosperity. The Green New Deal would tackle multiple environmental threats to our economy – not only climate change, but also the converging water, soil, fisheries, forest, and fossil fuel crises that imperil our fundamental needs for food, water and energy. Other countries are already making major investments for a secure, carbon-free future. America needs to catch up.

The Green New Deal would enable us to build sustainable energy, transportation and production infrastructure: clean renewable energy generation, energy efficiency, intra-city mass transit and inter-city railroads, “complete streets” that safely encourage bike and pedestrian traffic, regional food systems based on sustainable organic agriculture, and clean manufacturing of the goods needed to support this sustainable economy.

The Green New Deal would also address the enormous, urgent need for social infrastructure – for public education, health care, child care, elder care, youth programs, and arts and culture.

Since a Green New Deal would go where the unemployment is, severe pockets of joblessness – where the poor and people of color are suffering rates as high as 30% – would not be bypassed.

It is time for the White House and Congress to admit that Obama/Bush approach of showering money on Wall Street has failed. Decades of hard-won experience – plus basic economic theory – show that government spending is essential in a recession to stimulate demand and put people back to work. Both major parties, as well as Obama, instead have used the recession caused by Wall Street abuse, costly wars, and bogus trickle-down economics as an excuse to slash funding for vital programs. As a result, seniors, working families and the poor are footing the bill for tax giveaways to the wealthy and large corporations. This is not only wrong it’s also guaranteed to destroy jobs and weaken the economy.

We have put America to work through public works programs many times since the 1930s. We did it with the WPA (Works Progress Administration) in the 1930s and CETA (Comprehensive Employment and Training Act) of the 1970s. These programs employed millions of workers to provide socially needed public infrastructure and public services like education, health, child care, elder care, youth programs and arts and cultural programs.

How much would such a full employment policy cost? Surprisingly, the final cost is almost nothing. It pays for itself over the course of the business cycle according to Philip Harvey, a professor of law and economics at Rutgers in his paper, Learning from the New Deal.

Assuming that for every two public jobs created, an additional job would be stimulated in the private sector, we would need about 17.5 million public jobs. Harvey notes that all these jobs increase tax revenues that defray the cost of the program. Government saves money on unemployment insurance and other safety net programs. As working people spend their earnings, business booms and stimulus programs can be curtailed. The bottom line is simply this: Full employment through a Green New Deal is cheaper than rampant unemployment.

An initial investment is required, of course. The first year net cost for 17.5 million living-wage public jobs, $666 billion, would be less than Obama’s ineffective $825 billion stimulus of 2009. The net cost per job would be only $28,600 compared to $228,055 per job cost of Obama’s indirect stimulus.

The cost could readily be covered through a combination of needed tax reforms – such as taxing Wall Street speculation, off shore tax havens, millionaires and multimillion dollar estates – in addition to a 30% reduction in the trillion dollar bloated military-industrial-security complex budget.

A Green New Deal that decisively ends unemployment and the escalating Bush/Obama recession is within our reach – technically and financially. All that’s needed is the political will to stop throwing money at Wall Street and start building the sustainable prosperity American workers deserve. In spite of Washington’s slavish addiction to serving Wall Street, that political will may finally be catching fire in the American electorate.

Jill Stein is a medical doctor, an environmental health advocate, and former candidate for Governor of Massachusetts for the Green-Rainbow Party. She can reached at thegreennewdeal_at_gmail_dot_com

2012 Begins Today! We Need Your Help!

By: New Progressive Alliance Monday September 5, 2011 8:09 am

We stand this Labor Day at the traditional start of another presidential campaign.

Since Barack Obama’s election nearly three years ago, millions of words have been devoted to dissecting what went wrong. Were we naive to believe in “Change we can believe in”? Do Obama’s and other Democrats’ one-eighties on the issues indicate that our elected officials are merely pawns used to lend an air of democracy to the emerging corporate state?

Can there really be a meaningful difference between the two major parties when the results – rampant unemployment, perpetual war, environmental degradation, and the erosion of our social safety net – are the same, regardless which party is running things?

First conceived at MyFDL in February 2010 amid such questions, the New Progressive Alliance has steadily worked to create a lasting counterweight to their all-too-obvious answers. MyFDL readers and diarists figured heavily in the NPA’s founding – indeed, it would not exist without you. Now, we’re counting on you to take the lead as we move forward!

Today, Labor Day 2011, the NPA’s founding formally ends. Over the summer, a small group of NPA volunteers worked to create and ratify the Unified Progressive Platform, and to tweak the cyberstructure that will allow us to challenge both major parties through relentless electoral activism and popular dissent, throughout the 2012 campaign and beyond, at every level of government. Our organization is in place. It is time for the hard work that we must do to begin in earnest.

It will take thousands of volunteers working together across the long term to reform our broken system. Whether you consider yourself a follower or a leader is not important. Whether you can donate just an hour or two per week or 10 or 20, we have important work to do. Click here to see all our volunteer opportunities and to contribute your talents.

Like America, the NPA belongs to you. Are you ready to begin working for the kind of country you wish to live in?

In Solidarity,
Anthony Noel
NPA Facilitator

MA Greens Strongly Rebuke UniParty Charade

By: New Progressive Alliance Sunday July 31, 2011 7:25 am

Following is an article released today by Massachusetts Green-Rainbow Party co-chairs John Andrews and Jill Stein, in advance of Green Fest, the annual meeting of the Green Party of the United States, which begins Friday in New York State. Stein also serves on the New Progressive Alliance Steering Committee.

WARNING: WASHINGTON IS NOT ON OUR SIDE

by John Andrews and Jill Stein

The shameful debt ceiling flap that has embroiled Washington in recent weeks has left the American people wondering if they can trust any of their current political leaders to do the right thing. The immediate cause of this manufactured crisis lies with the Republicans holding the American economy hostage to a threatened default if their anti-government demands were not met.  President Obama is fully justified in rejecting those proposals which would do enormous harm to essential functions of government.

But President Obama has repeatedly failed to stake out a principled counter position that would force a truly “ balanced” compromise. Instead he has shown his basic agreement with the key Republican positions from the outset. The heated rhetoric and insults that are flying about in Washington today are merely camouflage for the fact that the two dominant parties are occupying a very narrow part of the political spectrum. The bitter arguments are all about who can best accomplish the common goals of protecting the wealthy and well-connected while scaling back programs that ordinary people depend on.

In 2008, Americans elected Barack Obama in the belief that he would reverse the policies of George W. Bush. But he has betrayed the hopes of constituency after constituency. Now Obama’s “balanced” plan elevates deficit reduction to the highest priority, so important that it justifies massive cuts in badly needed domestic programs. He has falsely declared Social Security and Medicare to be too expensive to maintain and proposed a destructive “trimming” – including cuts of up to 9% in Social Security income and a two-year delay in Medicare coverage. Obama’s plan allows the bloated Pentagon budget to trundle along with only minor cuts achieved through “efficiency.” Despite his attempt to label his plan as “balanced,”  Obama cuts $3 for every $1 in proposed revenue enhancement.  He’s declared tax increases off the table before 2013, and even then advocates only small steps to correct the worst abuses.

Through all this, the President has skillfully deflected attention from the fact that all $4 trillion targeted for debt reduction could be recouped through long overdue measures to restore fairness to a drastically unfair tax system – namely reining in offshore tax dodging, modestly taxing Wall Street speculation, raising income taxes on households earning over $1 million annually, and progressively taxing estates worth over $5 million.

It’s no accident that in his nationwide speech President Obama cited former President Ronald Reagan in support of his position, and emphasized that the Republicans have nothing to object to in his plan because it is pursuing their longstanding goals. The apparent Democratic strategy is to brag about their opposition to the more extreme proposals of the Republicans. And the Republicans are happy to ask for more than they really think they can get, and watch the Democrats move ever further to the right.

Lost in the shuffle are the real concerns of everyday Americans, whose real wages are declining, whose jobs are disappearing, who can’t afford the rising costs of health care and education for their children, who are still losing their homes in record numbers, and who cannot afford lobbyists to plead their case.

The convergence of the two major parties in America has robbed voters of a way to fix a government that is failing them. When you have just two choices on the ballot, neither of which are on your side, your vote loses most of its value. The “hope for change” that drove Obama’s election in 2008 is clearly dead. But the thirst for real change still runs deep in the electorate.  This makes us more grateful than ever to be part of an independent third party that consistently stands up for the public interest, and doesn’t need a spin machine to manufacture excuses for selling out. Life becomes much simpler when you just decide to do the right thing.

“WPA” Isn’t Short for “War Powers Act”

By: New Progressive Alliance Wednesday July 27, 2011 11:18 am

Workers applying binder to brick paving on Lafayette Ave.This exhaustively researched, amazing piece of reporting deserves a much wider audience. It was forwarded by an NPA supporter:

Perhaps all is not lost for the republic’s economic future, even as its leaders let this nation hurtle toward the abyss of the Great Depression II. An immensely successful, sensible and practical solution is being signaled by increasingly thunderous shout-outs from prominent people: pundits Paul Krugman, Bob Herbert, Rich Lowry, former Labor Secretary Robert Reich, filmmaker Michael Moore and two new web sites – not to mention millions of voters with long memories and the friends and families of the nation’s 15,000,000 unemployed.

With even Democratic Party Establishment hacks like Reich sounding the call for a second WPA, Barack Obama’s (s)tone deafness – and muteness – on the need for it is all the more telling.

It tells me, at least, that the only employer of last resort in which this president, both major parties – and, of course, our military contractors – are interested is the War Powers Act. And they couldn’t be happier about it.

Harsh? No, it isn’t. Not in the least.

The fact of our military-industrial complex’s lack of concern over who gets killed and why – as long as the armament orders keep coming – is well-enough documented by now to be beyond question, the failure to pull all U.S. troops and contractors out of AfPak and Iraq all the proof we need of Obama’s fear of adding to the unemployment numbers before his already-bought re-election.

You wonder why the GOP has tolerated Michele Bachmann even this long? Wake up. The GOP will be just as pleased by the Compromiser-In-Chief’s second term as any hopey-changey Stepford Dem. So what the hell? Let the Nut From the North have her 15 minutes and self-destruct now, thereby taking herself out of the mix for One-Six.

For the past month, the NPA has been pointing up the similarities of our present situation – oppression by oligarchs and a governing elite – to that which victimized Americans 100 years ago, when our first Progressive Era rose to counter them. Unless we learn not just one but two lessons from that history, and again rise to put corporate interests in their place, their grip on power will soon become unbreakable.

The first lesson is that a Progressive movement needn’t win elections to be effective. Without ever winning the White House, our first Progressives drove the passage of four constitutional amendments and the institution of the eight-hour workday.

The second critical lesson is that to avoid the erosion of our victory and the necessity of rising up again another hundred years from now, we must this time make the victory permanent.

That’s why the NPA’s draft platform supports a permanent WPA-style jobs program – and why we are working to build an organization that can outlive us, our children, and their children.

Real progress results only from a cross-generational approach. Until our still-young nation has matured enough to forsake perpetual war; to put meaningful lives for its people ahead of the greed of profiteers; and to value the earth and all who live here more than the things we produce, real progress will continue to elude us – and profiteers to oppress us.

Anthony Noel
NPA Facilitator

Don’t Dump the Word – Take It Back!!

By: New Progressive Alliance Thursday July 21, 2011 10:03 pm

My wife, who teaches masters and doc students at one of the University of North Carolina’s largest campuses, calls me – a proud college dropout – “a word dude.”

That designation has saddled me with won me the privilege of reading and editing some of the most dry-as-dust exhilarating, informative scholarly writing the world has ever known. It’s a privilege I revere, as a man who knows all too well what side his bed is buttered on.

Besides, she’s right. I’ve been writing for fun and profit – in that order – for, well, a looooong time. Taped to my desk just a few inches away is Mark Twain’s famous quip, “The difference between the almost-right word and the right word is the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning.” While others watch TV, I play Scrabble on my kindle. As coworkers hunt baseball bats with which to punish our crashed-yet-again server (a la the guys opposing the fax machine in “Office Space”) I work a crossword.

So it was with more than a little surprise that I read this comment from Jane, on Warren Mosler’s terrific diary:

Well, they [the Congressional Progressive Caucus] certainly are following Obama’s exhortations that cutting the deficit must be the first thing that “progressives” should care about. I read a letter from one of them recently. It could have been written by Eric Cantor.

I seriously think we need to dump the word. It has become meaningless, the symbol of a failed movement-that-wasn’t that was easily pulled into line behind a neoliberal agenda.

While it’s clear she’s referring to recent co-opting of the term “progressive” by neolibs and their minions, I must take exception to Jane’s willingness to throw this particular baby out with the proverbial bathwater.

She’s right, of course; neolibs have shamelessly run from “the L word,” ever since Ronald Reagan invoked that phrase back in ’88 (read more about the whys and wherefores of Liberals’ voluntary castration here).

But the way we combat that is not by emulating their mistake and dumping a word which is synonymous with the most successful period of profound social change in our nation’s history. (I’m certain Jane’s reference to a “movement-that-wasn’t” refers not to this Progressive Era, but to the one neolibs attempted to conjure more recently, as their testicles hit the floor.)

No, we cannot – must refuse to – run from such a proud heritage. Instead, we must take the word back.

In America’s first Progressive Era – a 25-year period from 1892 to 1917 – the eight-hour workday was secured and four constitutional amendments passed, including women’s suffrage, direct election of Senators (they were previously appointed by state legislatures) and the federal income tax. Progressivism unified men and women of every social and political stripe to combat the exact situation we face today: Robber barons run amok. And it solidified America’s then-default position of non-intervention in foreign lands, in a phrase Teddy Roosevelt made famous: “Speak softly and carry a big stick.”

It would be a colossal mistake to surrender this proud heritage to those who are more than happy to banish real Progressive values in exchange for positions as well-paid jesters in the halls of fascist power.

Thanks to MyFDL, the New Progressive Alliance is here, and working hard to assure that doesn’t happen. We’re doing it by calling out the jesters, and by building an organization founded by people who knew – long before Social Security and Medicare were threatened – exactly what was going on: Firepups.

Founded last fall by MyFDL readers and diarists, the NPA is pleased that Warren Mosler has just agreed to join our Steering Committee. That body will vote next week on ratification of a platform crafted to once again unify people of every political and social stripe who are ready to reinstitute Progressivism, in both word and deed, in working for peace, for full employment at a living wage, and to save our planet. And to recruit candidates who will pledge to uphold that platform.

In six short weeks we’ll celebrate Labor Day – with government numbers showing more than 13 million people without work for a third straight year. The real number, of course, is far higher. And from our elites, in all that time, nothing even remotely resembling a jobs program.

If now is not the time for a second Progressive Era, when is?

We invite you – and you too, Jane – to join us in bringing it to fruition.

Okay, it’s late. I’m off to bread bed.

Thanks for all you do.

Anthony Noel
NPA Facilitator

What’s In It for Them?

By: New Progressive Alliance Tuesday July 19, 2011 9:33 am

NPA StuffIn recent diaries and in the http://my.firedoglake.com/myfdl/wp-content/themes/myfdl_user/_inc/images/domain_blocked_default.png”http://newprogs.org/forums/public-forums/draft-platform/final-npa-platform-draft-public-discussion”>draft Unified Progressive Platform, the NPA has been pointing out the differences between the populist revolution that was http://my.firedoglake.com/myfdl/wp-content/themes/myfdl_user/_inc/images/domain_blocked_default.png”http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Progressive_Era”>America’s first Progressive Era and the superficialities of today’s sold-out liberal organizations. Over the past 30 years, the latter have increasingly purloined the term “progressive” in distancing themselves from what Ronald Reagan so successfully trashed as “the L word.”

Of course, that word’s poor connotation would never have gained traction if Liberals had fought to defend it. But defending the values they claim to hold has not been of much interest to Liberals since, oh, 1962 or so.

In http://my.firedoglake.com/myfdl/wp-content/themes/myfdl_user/_inc/images/domain_blocked_default.png”http://www.indiebound.org/book/9781568586441″>“Death of the Liberal Class,” Chris Hedges makes (to a fare-thee-well) the case that if these formerly vigilant, radically people-first organizations had refused to trade on their reputations, America’s slide into perpetual war, worker oppression, and the dismantling of the social safety net would never have occurred.

If one begins with http://my.firedoglake.com/myfdl/wp-content/themes/myfdl_user/_inc/images/domain_blocked_default.png”http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8y06NSBBRtY”>Eisenhower’s farewell speech of 1961, which warned of the advent of the military-industrial complex, and ends with Hedges’ book, there is little doubt that the former watchdogs of our freedoms have abandoned their principled stands in exchange for entirely imagined “influence” on the political and corporate elites who have systematically stolen those freedoms – along with our rights and our government. Their reward? Cushy jobs on their toothless organizations’ boards, and questionable reputations for fighting “the good fight.”

vector56’s http://my.firedoglake.com/myfdl/wp-content/themes/myfdl_user/_inc/images/domain_blocked_default.png”http://my.firedoglake.com/vector56/2011/07/17/obamabots/”>wonderful firsthand account of how MoveOn.org is ready to do anything except move on, (if “moving on” means actually calling out BOTH major parties for the colossal sellouts they are) drives the point home. Clearly, participation in MoveOn, or in Van Jones’ new organization, “Restoring the American Dream,” which co-sponsored the house party effort about which vector56 writes, is open only to those who embrace the duopoly’s kabuki and agree to attack only Republicans – even when Democrats are trying to out-conservative the most conservative of their supposed “opponents”! The American Dream? http://my.firedoglake.com/myfdl/wp-content/themes/myfdl_user/_inc/images/domain_blocked_default.png”http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rsL6mKxtOlQ&feature=player_embedded”>George Carlin had the answer to that. Clearly something is happening, but you don’t know what it is… do you, Mr. Jones?

Nothing New
Of course, false Progressive organizations have – for decades now – been winning accolades from clueless supporters, merely for going through the motions of defending the public interest: In short, for appearing to give a shit. Much has been made, for example, of http://my.firedoglake.com/myfdl/wp-content/themes/myfdl_user/_inc/images/domain_blocked_default.png”http://act.boldprogressives.org/survey/survey_obamamedicaress/?source=bp”>the PCCC’s current petition drive, said to have collected more than 200,000 signatures of people threatening to withdraw their support of Barack Obama if he agrees to cuts in Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid. Good as its intentions might be, this effort is about 20,000,000 people too little, 30 months too late.

The time for threats such as this was at the moment this president – and the spineless party he fronts – refused to mount the inauguration dais with this clear statement: “I hereby order the complete and immediate withdrawal of all American troops, contractors, and mercenaries from Iraq and Afghanistan.” Or even, “With this election, America has spoken with one voice and said it is finally ready to join the rest of the civilized world in providing guaranteed, federally funded health coverage for all its citizens.”

Countless other opportunities for ersatz Progs to threaten abandonment of Obama and his sold-out party have come and gone: Their delay in repealing DADT; refusal to end torture; willingness to keep Guantanamo open; treatment of Bradley Manning; their pointless little FinReg bill – well, you know the list.

A few weeks back I challenged another huge, theoretically Progressive organization on its own blog. I asked that they defend their assertion that voting for anything but Democrats (or, by inference, Republicans) is voting for – their word – “spoilers.”

Long story short, my challenge – to simply explain how political parties, let alone populist movements, are supposed to get started without bucking the status quo – went begging. These self-described “Progressive Democrats” http://my.firedoglake.com/myfdl/wp-content/themes/myfdl_user/_inc/images/domain_blocked_default.png”http://www.pdamerica.org/blog/view/the-high-cost-of-voting-for-spoilers/”>shut down the debate, then diverted attention from the question – the real crux of the matter. And they’ve failed to address the question ever since.

The Fallacy of “Infighting”
Everybody – Left, Right, Center – claims they’re tired of “infighting.” They say it’s silly to battle within their ideologies. Some even make a show of wringing their hands over the “uncivil” character of political debate.

This is, of course, a lot of malarkey. Politics never was and never will be pretty or uncontentious, so can we please stop fooling ourselves?

The facts are these: There are powerful, warmongering, for-profit interests whose only concern is increasing their bottom lines, and the less impunity with which they might do so, the better. They will let nothing – human lives, workers’ rights, public health, personal freedoms, or the environment – get in their way. And they have captured our government.

The NPA has consistently stated our intent to disarm the Left’s “infamous circular shooting squad” as we pursue a broad coalition that extends beyond the Left – one that in fact puts the lie to the Left’s (and Right’s) claims that we are in an ideological battle. Because, quite simply, we are not. We’re in a class war, as has always been the case in America: Millions upon millions of poor and working-class citizens versus – proportionally speaking – a few elites.

If we are to succeed in defeating this foe once and for all, common sense dictates the first thing we must do is figure out who is on our side.

Not Infighting, But Inviting
While there is no question that many pseudo-Progressive organizations joined the fray never intending to sell out, at this stage of our oppression, that truth serves little purpose – save perhaps to point up what becomes of good intentions gone awry: They pave the Road to Hell.

The slogan that drives the NPA’s strategy says it all:

The “lesser of two evils”? STILL EVIL.

Interesting, isn’t it, how easily our national situation lends itself to themes of Hell, evil, warfare. As the NPA sees it, the stakes are nothing short of these, and we believe a second Progressive Era – like the Revolution which founded this country, and our first Progressive Era – must also be a populist, all-volunteer effort.

Whether by accepting the elites’ money or perpetuating the “lesser of two evils” myth which has led to those elites’ concentration of power, the complicity of the organizations which choose to remain in our major parties’ orbits is only making our current class war harder to win. They may not like to admit it, but when anybody within such groups takes a salary, “What’s in it for them?” becomes a perfectly legitimate question.

As sure as the Populists and http://my.firedoglake.com/myfdl/wp-content/themes/myfdl_user/_inc/images/domain_blocked_default.png”http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Progressive_Party_(United_States,_1912)”>Progressives fought for what they believed in on principle, not payola (securing, by the way, the eight-hour workday, women’s suffrage, and the federal income tax to name but a few of their victories) – and notably, without ever electing a president – so must today’s Progressive organizations, in order for their people-first advocacy to be taken seriously, put principles above personal gain.

Truly Progressive organizations must remove the compensation component from the equation. They must insist that their directors and staff refuse remuneration of any kind, and the organizations themselves must stop accepting money from national, state, or local affiliates of political parties and corporate interests.

We invite other Progressive organizations to follow the NPA’s lead in refusing such dirty money. To choose instead to engage their human resources – their members and volunteers – in pursuing their agendas. For it has always been, and always will be, people who make the difference.

Anthony Noel
NPA Facilitator