Progressive Splits - Time to Jump Ship
by Joshua Frank

Dissident Voice

December 18, 2002



As of late, many progressives have contemplated the best way to attack the conservative take-over of our government.  This takeover didn’t occur the first week of November, even though many act as if it did.  Philip Farruggio has mentioned that forming “progressive clubs” within the Democratic Party would be a great starting point. So frustrated are those with our current opposition party’s posturing, that is seems our only move is to attack from within; dismantle the centrist Dem party, and represent the issues that demand representation.


I see this idea as optimistic, but trite.  It lacks the fundamental framework necessary for radical change.  Yes working inside the Dem party at the local level may make some minor changes, but steering the national party as a whole will take a much more valiant effort.  The Democratic leadership (the DLC), just like the Republicans, are, as Ralph Nader would put it, “marinated in corporate cash.”  Even the late Senator Paul Wellstone couldn’t pull the Democratic Party onto the progressive path. How could he? The Clinton/Dashcle/Liberman junta sees the party’s future laid out by Wall Street, not Main Street.


Much of the damage caused by the New Democrats, along with their Republican allies has already been executed.  The passing of NAFTA and the dismantling of the welfare system by the Clinton administration got the ball rolling, and it has been racing down hill ever since.  More recently the Democrat’s “shoulder to shoulder” support of a pre-emptive war with Iraq could send this Middle East, and the world tail-spinning out of control.


The real problem with those that believe they can change the rotting system from within is that they lack the knowledge of social movement history.  Our imperial leaders will not disturb their stances by listening to a handful of dissidents at the lower ranks of their own party.  Rather they will listen only when millions of people have voiced their opposition on the streets, and at the voting booths. Denouncing the actions our leaders have taken. 


This is the only way the cultural tone of our political spectrum will begin to shift, forcing the Democrats to rouse from their slumber.


Despite how genuine these folks may be in their aspirations of altering our political conundrum, they must realize that only a broad-coalition of social agitators and ordinary citizens will change politics as we know it.  I see supporting the Dems as short-sited, one that will never heed long-term results. I am not one to believe that the Pro-Israel Pelosi is the best this country has to offer.


It is true Bush and Company are dismantling our environmental laws, but so did Clinton on a much broader level with his free-trade malfeasance.  It is also true that Team Dubya is hell-bent on war with Saddam, but there are some prominent Dems on that team too, and many more paved Dubya’s run-way for abhorrent attacks. Instead should we join the Republicans to make change? That to me, is as ridiculous and working with the Dems.


We simply must demand more from ourselves and from our politics.  I realize that we will not all agree on how best to combat the corporate take-over of our government by tyrannical forces.  In fact we all have different concerns and views as to who is actually driving our nation and the world into these nauseating circumstances.  But I am asking those that believe the Dems will actually save us, to reconsider their position with great fervor. We have no time to waste.  We must ask more from our democracy, only support populist candidates and parties that truly represent our interests.  Staying aboard a sinking ship will only result in drowning-the time to swim ashore is now.  I hope you will join me.


Joshua Frank, 24, is an activist and freelance writer living in Portland, Oregon. Email: