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Robert

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Reply with quote  #1 
Is it possible to maintain political purity and obtain political power? Or they mutually exclusive in the US. The Justice Party seems to want both. It there any way to accomplish that? The Republicans and Democrats have political power but certainly not political purity, except perhaps the Tea Party members who refuse to compromise. The Green Party has political purity but not political power.
No Difference

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Reply with quote  #2 
Excellent topic you choose, Robert.  And I admit up front I am one of those extremists for political purity.

Having been with the GP for a while, I can understand why someone might believe that party might be accused of political purity.  What I have seen, however, is that for whatever extent the GP seemingly promotes purity via its Ten Key Values (TKV) meme, I discovered that internally, the party does not practice much of that purity it says it is based on.  Not only is there room for compromise of those values, there is plenty of room for suppression of those of us who pointed out the hypocrisies of the party leadership.  Party members dissenting are seen to do so, in the eyes of its leaders, only for personal satisfaction and gain, not because they legitimately have substantive grounds for that dissent; these people are made out to be pariahs, designated by the chiefs as working against party interests, when the fact is that those interests fly in the face of the party's own stated principles (as embodied in the TKV).

My point is that those who do not adhere to their own principles internally can hardly be expected to lead effectively outside their group to the same supposed ends.  There are plenty of other examples of this sad scenario, our own country's efforts to bring "democracy" to all of the third world being one of the most disgraceful and disingenuous.

The difficulty of any political group veering away from its goals is manifold.  Of course, you can probably list many of these issues yourself.   One is that publicly, it gives the appearance of so-called "waffling" such as we see in the Democratic Party's constant willingness to compromise with their supposed opponents; we already are clear that the Republican Party and the DP are just alternating soundboards for the agenda of the increasingly concentrated power of the elite.  I discovered this interesting quote while reading "The Joy of Revolution" by Ken Knabb:

Quote:
Since 1814 no Liberal government had come in except by violence. Cánovas was too intelligent not to see the inconvenience and the danger of that. He therefore arranged that Conservative governments should be succeeded regularly by Liberal governments. The plan he followed was, whenever an economic crisis or a serious strike came along, to resign and let the Liberals deal with it. This explains why most of the repressive legislation passed during the rest of the century was passed by them.


—Gerald Brenan, The Spanish Labyrinth

Another, possibly more insidious, problem is a loss in faith or interest by the rank and file of the party itself, and can include various leaders of the group as well.  Once the mission is squandered, it can be difficult to rouse the political passions of a now-demoralized membership.  People like myself often throw ourselves wholesale at a problem or issue -- and you can blame it on ourselves for this human vulnerability -- and we feel abused and distrustful after the point we have been betrayed, much like anyone involved in human relationships of two or more. 

Now, it is often suggested that members with such zealous interest should diversify their interests more, so that such hurts will not affect their overall psyche as much, but this approach will invariably lead to a membership that is not as dedicated, though they may still be somewhat, compared to a membership more of the fanatic kind.   They may even come to the group already feeling that this could end up a senseless waste of their own time.  Regardless of how one might allocate the time of their life for party activities, betrayal of a groups most intense advocates and workers is a powerful demoralizer and must be avoided if any movement is to be successful.

At any rate, once the "eagles" of the party have flown -- probably to a certain one of the major duopoly parties, as has often been the case -- it is typically followed by an exodus, partly consisting of people who follow their leaders closely, and partly due to the overall reduction in party energy.  I do not need to take this aspect any further.

But it is worth noting that as the party membership dwindles, so does public support.  Many erstwhile supporters of the GP have found their way to happiness by joining the DP team and its many cheerleading squads such as PDA.  Worse still is that parties like the GP tend to make themselves irrelevant, which is usually the death blow for such groups.  They are no longer an outlet or avenue toward their purported goals, so the voters and supporters take their energy elsewhere.  America's collective historical memory is notably short, and soon self-marginalized organizations become moot and forgotten.

Political purists are often accused of the inability to accomplish anything.  But what is not averred in these attacks is exactly what has not been accomplished, nor do they positively assert any evidence that disposal of platform loyalty has achieved anything in furtherance of party principles.

An example is the recent faux "debate" over health insurance reform, which has not resulted in anything resembling a universal health care system, being PPACA ("Obamacare") is nothing more than a taxpayer-subsidized giveaway and expansion of the already powerful healthcare-industrial-complex in the US.  The "other side" gave up nothing, but will be gaining a captive audience, guaranteed to be so by an increasingly oppressive government.  Over 30 million Americans will still have no health care a year from now when the exchanges kick in.  In a population of some 330 million, that can hardly be called insignificant.

Why has this happened?  It is due to yet more compromise by the DP.  They purposely gave in to the elite, upon direction from the party by way of Sen. Baucus who refused to even invite the Single Payers to speak at his "public" hearing; instead, NNU nurses and some others appeared, uninvited, at that hearing to try to get a word in edgewise.  Naturally, Baucus had them arrested and summarily removed from his courtroom.

The Democratic Party supposedly supports the working person, the student, the retiree, the unemployed, the ill ... or at least this is what we are led to believe if we take what MSM jaw-jackers have to say about it.  Factchecking by the media is only one symptom of our seeming lack of will-power; the bigger problem is that the DP has long ago departed from its principles, assuming it has ever had any.

I want to thank the OP, again, for bringing up this valuable conversation.  The original question was whether purity and power are mutually exclusive in politics.  I feel I have offered quite a bit of evidence that sacrificing purity in a trade for power will not accomplish any meaningful goals.   But I think the worst aspect of all of this is that compromising "purity" of principles may not increase political power, but may actually result in a decrease of power, starting with self-imposed marginalization and irrelevancy.


__________________
Cooperation, coordination, and clarity are essential to creating a political party based on equality. Cliches and equivocations will not move this or any other party forward.
No Difference

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Reply with quote  #3 
I would like to make one other remark here, which some might accuse me of making for pure self-interest.  I do not mean to state it for the purpose of gaining attention or sucking energy away from other members.  I am making it as a declaration of serious intent.

Earlier this year, people reading my posts urged me to join, get involved, make a commitment.  But I did not feel certain of the party's long-term goals beyond the Anderson campaign.  Upon hearing the views expressed here, I am now fully prepared to commit, contingent on the very issue that started this thread.

As someone who has been repeatedly demoralized by individuals and groups who failed in integrity, I am no longer willing to simply dive in and trust anyone singing the familiar song of angry men (allusion to tune by that name in Les Miserables).  I need to see that there is a mechanism in place to ensure that song is not just an anthem of this party, but the very life blood and expression of itself in everything it does.  If you are interested, I have suggestions for such a mechanism.

I realize this is a novel demand, and if it cannot be fulfilled here, there are many other possibilities for me.  This could be viewed as "my way or the highway."  But it could equally be viewed as "do what you please, and I will do likewise."  It is not my intention to detract this party from whatever the group decides is in its collective interests; it is just that we all have decisions to make.

__________________
Cooperation, coordination, and clarity are essential to creating a political party based on equality. Cliches and equivocations will not move this or any other party forward.
Robert

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Posts: 114
Reply with quote  #4 
I mentioned this issue because I was watching the PBS Newshour and they said Jim Demint was leaving the Senate to head the Heritage Foundation because he liked political purity rather than all the compromising that goes on in Congress. As we know Tea Party types don't like to compromise. And they speculated that a huge increase in salary from less than two hundred thousand to about a million a year also must have played a role, particularly since he isn't wealthy like many senators.
No Difference

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Reply with quote  #5 
Robert said "As we know Tea Party types don't like to compromise."   So, forcing all other political parties into a deal that will weaken government further, take away more of our social safety net, and impress some form of fundamentalist theology on the rest of us does not compromise this country for the benefit of the elite?   That's what I think of as the Tea Party, and that's what I think of when I hear "compromise:"  Usually, force someone else to take the short end of the deal.

Why not let voters decide outcomes rather than compromise?   We can start by taking a firm stand, getting a majority of the country behind us, and implement the policies that the majority of the country wants.  I don't see why the Tea Party, or any other elite group, should have the right to force compromise upon the majority.

This is only a suggestion.   To seek some kind of panacea via compromise does not sound much different than what we have currently.

__________________
Cooperation, coordination, and clarity are essential to creating a political party based on equality. Cliches and equivocations will not move this or any other party forward.
Robert

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Posts: 114
Reply with quote  #6 
I am using the word compromise here in the sense of splitting the difference not in the sense of something being degraded. Our form of government only works if legislators and the president are willing at some point to compromise when there are real differences and something needs to be done. The Tea Party seems to have come to Washington with the idea that their only mission is to shrink the size of government no matter what even if the government has to default on its debt and the world is subsequently plunged into a depression. I guess my point is that for people who are unwilling to ever compromise on political positions a think tank job is more suitable than being a congressman. I think someone in Congress should try to find a balance between not compromising too much and not compromising at all. Supposedly politics is the art of compromise. So it is not for everyone.
No Difference

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Reply with quote  #7 
As an example, what should the Left be willing to give up as the so-called fiscal cliff battle determines whether S.S. and Medicare will be severely cut, as the proponents of that policy threaten to do?  (I don't think even the right can get away with gutting those systems entirely since a whole lot of people depend on those programs.  But the right can still get away with substantial reductions AND preserve their tax cuts for the wealthy.)

Keep in mind that even thought this battle was man-made by the mainstream press, for some reason, the right is firmly set on carrying on their battle.  The wealthy are the ones who can better afford to compromise, but I don't see the DP calling upon the wealthy to compromise.  But the DP doesn't waste a moment reminding us, the 99%, that we may have to give up some more of our hard-earned benefits.

Please explain why the Left should be willing to give up retirement benefits and/or tolerate more tax breaks for the wealthy.   I am 52 and I am looking forward to retiring at 65.  I see three alternatives for myself:

1. Prepare myself to work an additional 2 years (67) and live in poverty or near-poverty if benefits are cut.
2. Hope this aging, balding man can marry well and live off someone else.
3. Hope that the austerity plans will create so much prosperity that I need not worry.  (Considering how well this has worked for Greece, I will stay with the first two options.)


__________________
Cooperation, coordination, and clarity are essential to creating a political party based on equality. Cliches and equivocations will not move this or any other party forward.
Robert

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Posts: 114
Reply with quote  #8 
I can't see how we can keep running up trillion dollar plus deficits for another ten years without getting into big trouble so something has to give at some point. Since Obama won the election and the polls show a large majority of people think the rich should pay more taxes the Republicans are in a very bad bargaining position. I expect tax rates for the upper 2% will go up. Given that the Republicans still control the House it seems unlikely much of anything will get accomplished. Mainly I would expect the Congress to find a way to keep kicking the can down the road. That's the one thing they are good at.
No Difference

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Reply with quote  #9 
Since you are taking the pro-compromise position in this thread:

1. Please list what the Left should be willing to give up as the so-called fiscal cliff battle determines whether S.S. and Medicare will be severely cut, as the proponents of that policy threaten to do?

2. Please explain why the Left should be willing to give up retirement benefits and/or tolerate more tax breaks for the wealthy.

I think you will agree that the issues around the prosperity versus austerity battle are well-known, and I think the players and their "strategies" in this fight are transparent enough for our purposes.  I'm not requesting what you think the outcome will be.  I'm just asking what the Left must bargain with and why.

Another way of saying this is, if you (Robert) were elected as one of the JP's reps in Congress, what "chips" would you be bargaining with?

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Cooperation, coordination, and clarity are essential to creating a political party based on equality. Cliches and equivocations will not move this or any other party forward.
Robert

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Reply with quote  #10 
We probably need to raise taxes on everyone including the middle class and especially on the rich. We can't keep borrowing 40 cents on the dollar. We should reduce the money that that doctors receive, particularly for specialized procedures and the money that drug companies make. They are ones getting wealthy from this. 
No Difference

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Reply with quote  #11 
A number of economists on the Left are saying that close to 50% of the American public currently lives in or close to poverty.  If it actually is the case, would you want to further tax "everyone" which would naturally include these 47%ers?  Real wages are lower now than they were in the late 1960's; taxing poorer workers would only create more financial hardship and, in turn, more people needing public assistance!

I am not aware that Congress can cut Doctor's wages or fees, unless you are referring to doctors who see Medicare patients.  There is already a sort of virtual "exodus" of doctors who treat Medicare patients who can no longe afford to because the reimbursements from Medicare are too low already.  Now, specialists, you may have a point there.  But I'm not sure Congress can legislate caps on medical charges in a market-based system of health care providers, or the pharmaceutical companies for that matter.  Realistically, though, do you see the fiscal conservatives being interested in your propositions?

Incidentally, I note that the party platform (as it stands) aims to end the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy.  I don't see that in your bargaining plans.  Forgive me if I am missing them, but which planks does this compromise advance?  I think it is essential that any compromise with the other side would have to realize some net gain for at least some aspect of the platform, otherwise it is not really a compromise.

If we are to become just another party obeying the laws of Friedmanomics, the Left will either create an internal backlash, or those folks will leave the party altogether out of frustration.  At some point, I am likely to become one of them.

__________________
Cooperation, coordination, and clarity are essential to creating a political party based on equality. Cliches and equivocations will not move this or any other party forward.
Robert

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Posts: 114
Reply with quote  #12 
My mistake. I didn't mean increase taxes on everyone, only the middle class and the rich. One way to increase taxes on the rich is to let the Bush tax cuts expire. The problem of course is that most of the tax money comes from the middle class. Both parties are falling over backwards to pander to the middle class but I think somewhere down the line tough decisions are going to have to made on taxes or we will wind up like Greece. The 47% of people who do not pay taxes should continue not to pay taxes. The role of the politicians is to arrive at a compromise, certainly if only a compromise can save us from financial disaster. We, the public should not be be compromising. Those of us on the left should state our positions and those on the right should state theirs and leave it up to the politicians to find a solution. That's their job (which they are not doing very well these days). If there is a compromise, at the end of the day both sides, right and left, should be unhappy. But it will be best for the country as a whole (hopefully). In the long run I would hope the country shifts somewhat to the left but in the meantime we have to deal with the political realities as they are.
No Difference

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Reply with quote  #13 
Quote:
If there is a compromise, at the end of the day both sides, right and left, should be unhappy. But it will be best for the country as a whole (hopefully).


I'm not sure how you are using the word "should" here.  But at any rate, unless I misunderstand you, the Left will take even more of a financial lashing as this "compromise" ends.   And what kind of lashing will the 1% take after this compromise?  How does/will that help the Left, and how would this gain power for the JP, which was the subject of the OP?  Increased suffering is not a goal of the JP, so far as I know, so one of our other planks must be fulfilled by this outcome, no?

I don't see why the 1% should enjoy yet more prosperity while the rest of us, whether poor or middle class, must continue to struggle under steadily worsening conditions.   I just don't understand the objective of this proposed bargaining approach.

Quote:
In the long run I would hope the country shifts somewhat to the left but in the meantime we have to deal with the political realities as they are.


I agree that the Left must, to some degree and for some time yet, deal with our political realities as they are.  OTOH, I think we need to use the present moment -- the only moment we will ever have -- to begin wrestling back our losses in the post-Reagan era, and begin achieving victories for the 99% as well.

You hope the "country" (meaning the public?) shifts to the left.  I don't actually know where the American public is at, to be honest.  The polls I do not trust entirely because often times they are commissioned by forces on the other side (well-bankrolled think tanks, etc), some of whom claim to be "non-partisan" and others who disingenuously call themselves "Left-leaning."  (Any truly Leftist organization is usually broke, for obvious reasons, and can't afford these expensive apparatuses.)

The way I see it is we need to get a majority in the Congress, and equally importantly, the state houses.  Then we get to control the outcomes, and we don't need compromise, nor is there much of an obligation to give the elite anything, whether through bargaining or otherwise. 

(Out of respect to you and the integrity of this thread, I won't discuss the details of my approach here.  I have posted many of my ideas in this regard elsewhere in this forum.)

__________________
Cooperation, coordination, and clarity are essential to creating a political party based on equality. Cliches and equivocations will not move this or any other party forward.
Robert

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Posts: 114
Reply with quote  #14 
When I say both sides should be unhappy I mean both sides did not get everything they wanted. I think the attitude that we should develop is shared sacrifice. As Thomas Friedman has said there are really big things we need to do. Unless there is a sense that everybody is sacrificing something it's difficult to do them, probably impossible. Certainly nothing big gets done now. Just incremental stuff. As John Kennedy said "Ask not what your country can do for you but what you can do for your country." Without that attitude is it hard to fight global warming, get our financial house in order, educate our population to be competitive in the future, rebuild our infrastructure, and so on. If its all about what is in it for me and nothing about what where does the country need to be in the future we will continue to go downhill. We have to sacrifice for future generations to make it work. That seems to have gotten lost. Now it is just about winning the next election, about having more than the next guy, about the next quarterly earning statement, etc. Where are things going to be in 20 years? That should be a major concern. We can't keep ignoring the long term for the sake of the short term. It is already beginning to catch up with us, probably the climate being the most obvious example. Our growing debt is another example.
No Difference

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Reply with quote  #15 
Quote:
Now it is just about winning the next election, about having more than the next guy, about the next quarterly earning statement, etc. Where are things going to be in 20 years?


True, perhaps, for the wealthy, and maybe some living off of unearned income.  But for those of us living at or below the poverty level, the concerns are rather different, maybe something more like:

Quote:
Now it is just about surviving until the next paycheck (if there will be one), about having at least as little as we had today, how the next round of austerity cuts will take even more from us, etc.   Where are things going to be in 20 years?


The 1% will certainly benefit from your approach, but the rest of us must sacrifice and get nothing in return?  Sorry, Robert, but I would never be interested in that kind of compromise.

And, hopefully, few if any members of the JP would be either.

__________________
Cooperation, coordination, and clarity are essential to creating a political party based on equality. Cliches and equivocations will not move this or any other party forward.
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