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Robert

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Posts: 114
Reply with quote  #31 
I would say that the overwhelming number of Americans would claim that we have a democracy. Probably most think that it is corrupted by corporate money at the federal level and corrupted by corporate money at the state level to various degrees. I think most people believe that at the local level democracy works for the most part. Many progressives think at the federal level we have a plutocracy and some even think we have fascism. Many progressives also believe we have a duopoly which is relatively new term that the large majority of Americans probably never heard of and have no idea what it means. Probably many Americans do not know what a plutocracy is either or an oligarchy which is another term that is thrown around. It seems to me that there could be some communication problems in trying to build a democracy movement.
No Difference

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Posts: 155
Reply with quote  #32 
My point is that for a political system to be democratic, it has to include everyone, not just people who join a specific political party or organization.  In order to achieve that, all individuals and groups have to agree on the fundamentals. 

I agree with the "one voter, one vote" rule.  That has to be one of the rules in a democracy, along with permitting the public in to oversee the vote count, which is currently denied in some areas.  Not sure about twisted pretzel  gymnastics:  In the US we have a written constitution; some other countries do as well.  That is not the case everywhere.  In some cultures, the term constitution refers not only to certain significant documents of governance, but also to statutes, and cultural and social traditions, and possibly art and religion.  Is your definition of democracy what is literally and only stated in the constitution, or does it also include other things?  (I am asking, not assuming this time.)

Robert:  I agree with what you say also.  The term "duopoly" actually does date back a few years; I've been hearing it and using it for at least 10 years or so.  You are correct that it is relatively new to the vocabulary.  "Plutocracy," "oligarchy," and other terms you refer to are only "thrown around" by people who don't understand their meaning; we need to educate people more.  All of these terms, and more, do characterize our current system accurately, IMO.

All:  I think JP can demonstrate leadership quality in a democracy movement, but that movement must include other groups to be effective and to ensure that everyone is on board with it.  Not everyone will necessarily agree with specific items in the JP platform either currently, or even in the future.  There will always be people who will disagree on something.   Personally, I just accept that as a fact since there is little I can do to change it.  All I am saying is that genuine democracy must somehow accommodate everyone.

Can people here agree that it will be necessary to work with people outside the JP to bring about real democracy for all?  If so, I will be looking forward to working with you in these efforts.

__________________
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.
Joel

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Posts: 11
Reply with quote  #33 
Robert, that's my observation as well. But I believe the majority do not identify all that strongly with labels. One reason is we all harbor elements of both sides. We just don't tell or friends.

To the average guy, labels are uncomfortable or they're a tin suit that seldom actually fits. The political categories cause a problem I'm thinking, and there are many who want no label at all- we may surmise because they don't even vote.

With all the turmoil, simplicity provides broader inclusion;  It's a matter of psychological mileage. I'd hate to see the JP get branded. Other parties will attempt to do that for us and that creates a psychological barrier for those who "traditionally" think of themselves as conservatives or liberals or whatever. One could argue that seeking to restore democracy is as conservative as you can get. Demanding clean elections that are accessible to everyone is pretty liberal. Getting corporate, foreign, and private fat-cat money out of politics is something almost everyone agrees with.

In order to gather the greatest number of supporters for the JP we shouldn't accept branding by the media or other parties.  We should, when they call us liberals or socialists, say "yeah, that too, but way more conservative." That alone will raise the debate. That works in our favor. They'll be talking about the party.

When I read your statement, "I would say that the overwhelming number of Americans would claim that we have a democracy. Probably most think that it is corrupted by corporate money at the federal level and corrupted by corporate money at the state level to various degrees" I realized you stated our best opportunity.

It only takes starting that conversation to convince people while we are perceived as a democracy, and we were founded on democracy- corporations have stolen it. To show how it was stolen is easy. To state the problem and provide the means to a solution is the best way to sell an idea (and the JP). We don't need to promote the party, not if we can create a movement; The movement for justice in elections and our system.

I think it's a mistake to try educating the public to a new vocabulary.  That's almost like a secret handshake. The words are not stepping stones to higher understanding in this case, they're stumbling blocks. The average Joe or Mary isn't interested enough in the subject to bother. But if we say "corporations have stolen the voting process" or "there's been a coup they start getting interested.

As an average guy, I'm uncomfortable with terms like duopoly, plutocracy,
or oligarchy, I do understand terms like vote and democracy and ripped-off and screwed. They motivate me.  That's how the JP can become a movement and not just another political party. Those words and concepts maybe ok at a cocktail party or in a university coffee house, but on the street, or a farm or factory, folks aren't hanging around the water cooler engaging in politi-speak, they're talking football or other things pertinent to themselves. If it does get political, it's about the latest government outrage. And the only answer provided is a powerless agreement that the country is going to hell.

But if you say "Obama spent a billion bucks to get a one million dollar contract for four years work" people just naturally say "how dumb is that?". We can say, "because he can and you can't". We just need to start the conversation, and present a solution. That solution is a huge block of pissed-off Americans gravitating to a party that works for them. 
That's why I say we want everybody. And a movement to restore democracy is the key.



No Difference

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Posts: 155
Reply with quote  #34 
Who are you labeling "average" when you say the average guy doesn't like labels?

Who are you labeling as "the majority" when you say the majority don't identify with labels?

So it is OK to use labels when generalizing about people, but not when we are trying to have a conversation about political reality?

__________________
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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Posts: 155
Reply with quote  #35 
Looking at the sectarianism going on within the Egyptian democracy movement (like Tahrir Square, etc), my sense is that not everyone agrees on one single best way to achieve democracy.  Some of the people interviewed say they voted for the new constitution because they favor the Muslim Brotherhood, while others said they were against it because they felt the new constitution gave too many powers to the government and will lead them back to the Mubarak regime.

It seems obvious for real democracy to arise in Egypt, there will have to be a lot more inclusion in politics.  They can't have one side -- the MB -- deciding what the new government will look like.  They did not invite the other groups to help write the new constitution, at least not the groups who are protesting Morsi right now.

Attempting to bridge all the different philosophies of people into one, uniform, monolithic silver bullet philosophy to address all problems comes off like "it's our way or the highway" and conveniently ignores any one who might not join us because they don't agree with us on one or more points -- call that petty on their part, if you like, but that is the reality.  Different attitudes must be acknowledged, even if they are not to be accepted by everyone.

Look, I helped to run a very local political group for several years and our group could not convince even moderate Dems to get involved.  Why?  Because the local PDA was much more powerful.  The PDA was a bigger draw for progressive-leaning people.  All we did, really, was meet once a month and watch a movie together and enjoy some snacks.  I didn't even do much song-and-dance for the party, other than to introduce ourselves as believing in the ten key values...

We did everything we could to draw people.  We even had Libertarians join us from time to time.  But their identities -- labels perhaps -- were bonded with other philosophies and approaches to public issues.  You may hate labels all you like; go right ahead.  It is simply a method of describing people and their tendencies.  To ignore these is not constructive; how else can the JP identify what to include in the platform?

As some here have observed, the JP and GP platforms are similar, so we should be able to attract Greens.   In theory, perhaps.  But the Greens are a well-established political party, and political parties are loathe to give up power.  The GP scorned me and others for even thinking of joining a coalition or working with other parties, even seeking their permission.

My preference is to consider the possibility of working with other groups in coalition, and leave the JP platform as is.  The JP will attract whomever it attracts, and we can use that as a launching point for working toward Democracy in conjunction with other organizations.  Anything else is unrealistic and delusional.

__________________
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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