Building a Party Progressives Can Call Home
By Scott Galindez, Reader Supported News
26 May 17
kay, so I am a dreamer, I’m idealistic, a tree hugger, a bleeding heart, and I probably care too much. I believe in shared responsibility. Republicans are proud to stand for individual responsibility. Republicans want lower taxes and, they say, smaller government. The reality though is they want the government to focus on supporting big business. Progressives and many liberals want to focus on the needs of individuals.
We believe the government should concentrate on healthcare, education, housing, environmental protection and ending poverty. That is why progressives tend to support labor, and the GOP supports management. That is why progressives support universal healthcare, and the Republicans want people to save their money and take care of themselves.
Far too often Democrats are trying to appear friendly to management and corporate America, and in the process, they are leaving workers and the people they should be organizing and representing unrepresented.
I believe progressives must continue the fight to open the doors to the Democratic Party, but if the Democratic Party continues to resist, workers need a party that puts them first. I still believe that under our current system, forming a new political party is a foolish endeavor. However, let us look at a scenario where creating a progressive people’s party would work.
An impeachment of Donald Trump could cause a split in the Republican Party, with folks like Steve Bannon leading an effort to form a new party. You might then have groups like the Freedom Caucus and the Progressive Caucus working together to reform the political process. The only way we can break up the two-party system is if there is a split in both sides that leads lawmakers to make it easier for new parties to compete. Forget the term “third party” — if there isn’t a fourth splitting up the other major party then it won’t work.
I attended a conference 20 years or more ago where the Green Party, Reform Party, libertarians, and others met to discuss how to end the two-party system. It didn’t go anywhere, and today the Democrats and Republicans still have total control of our political system despite the fact that more people consider themselves independent than a member of either party.
My fellow Democrats, if you want to avoid a scenario where the party splits between progressives and corporate-friendly Democrats, then let’s become a workers’ party again.
A workers’ party would never have supported NAFTA or the TPP. A workers’ party would see that the private insurance industry is not working for health care and that a single-payer universal system is a solution. A workers’ party would see that education should be free from pre-school to college graduation. A workers’ party would protect the environment over corporate profit. A workers’ party would represent everyone, gay or straight, whites and people of color, men and women.
That is the Democratic Party that Bernie Sanders and his political revolution is trying to create. He doesn’t call himself a Democrat, yet. Build a Democratic Party that he would be proud to join fully and he might join. If not, progressives might have to find a home that we are proud of.
Scott Galindez attended Syracuse University, where he first became politically active. The writings of El Salvador’s slain archbishop Oscar Romero and the on-campus South Africa divestment movement converted him from a Reagan supporter to an activist for Peace and Justice. Over the years he has been influenced by the likes of Philip Berrigan, William Thomas, Mitch Snyder, Don White, Lisa Fithian, and Paul Wellstone. Scott met Marc Ash while organizing counterinaugural events after George W. Bush’s first stolen election. Scott moved to Des Moines in 2015 to cover the Iowa Caucus.
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