Independent Progressivism

As I originally shared on my Xanga Blog:

            The American people have long been served a bill of goods on the myth of influencing America’s political system. For generations, we have been told that we must operate within the Two-Party System in order to achieve change. This is what the oligarchy wants us to believe; that we really only have “two choices”. In producing this myth, they feed us corporate propaganda about a vote outside the Two-Party System being a “wasted vote” or a “vote for the [worst evil]”. “Vote for the lesser evil” is the underlying mantra sold to the people by the wealthy pundit class and their support base throughout the leadership of both major parties. Would you rather have the Democrats or the Republicans win? That’s the only choice that they ever want you to have.

            Breaking free of the chains of oligarchy requires that we think beyond the narrow prism that the few have established for us. Democracy can not thrive with an artificially-limited set of “viable” options. Rather, the limitation of options is how oppression is sustained and/or made inevitable. The moment we individually and then collectively realize that we can choose a better way is the moment that democracy really takes root and our possibilities become unleashed. Why is it that we continue to permit the elites of society to dictate to us the terms of our awakening?

            Our great myth in American politics is that the American electorate has a choice for the future of this country from the options propagated to us by our Corporate-Owned Media. We are told breathlessly that we MUST select between Party Option A and Party Option B lest we lend our support to the side we most oppose by default (more on that in a moment). The Two Party System is – in fact – a farce. While there are some good and well-meaning people who try to achieve change for the people within this design the fact of the matter is that the game is intentionally rigged against those actors. The heavy hand of oligarchs working in the shadows leaves no room for actual progress as they use their pocket books to insist upon an agenda which benefits them alone.

            This agenda is reinforced by the countless foot soldiers parroting what is best for the party at every level. It starts with the upper echelon of soldiers, from the lobbyists interacting with legislators (including drafting prewritten legislation which more often than not becomes law) to the Corporate-paid professional pundits talking about politics on television and in countless printed op-eds. The former submits the agenda behind closed doors while the latter helps create the narratives necessary for promoting the passage of said agenda. “Manufactured consent” is a term which did not just come out of nowhere. It is all about creating the illusion of progress combined with the illusion of popular support for a vision which leaves out what’s actually beneficial for the people.

            Then you have those at the party leadership level accepting their marching orders without question. The National, State, and Local chairs lead their respective organizations to help drive home the message that nothing too radical can change about the system. While certain chairpersons may be well-meaning, they are quickly overwhelmed with the immense pressure to fall in line. If you rebel from the objective you may well find your organization left in the dark by the larger group. Simply having the power to approve or reject ideas for the meeting agendas of each party level can make being the chair quite powerful indeed and the same can be said about the connections with allied organizations, such as labor.

            Maintaining control and stifling progress are ensured by establishing the agenda meant to lift the few and smother the many, in creating the narrative that no change can be “radical” change with the help of the professional pundit class, and in appointing foot soldiers in party leadership to ensure that a “radical” vision is not even entertained to start with. The oligarchy undoubtedly has an incredible army at their disposal. They absolutely want us to believe that there is no way out of their version of society. To them, it is imperative that we conclude all hope is lost beyond the “two choices” they have provided for us. The myth of a “wasted vote” is an intellectual intimidation tactic and the message that we must “vote for the lesser evil” is their most effective weapon against any real progress ever being made.

            When the pundits and the party leaders insist that we vote based on their “lesser evil” myth they are hoping that you will never wake up, that you will never ask “why vote evil at all?” Their goal is to stifle progress and cripple democracy. The ultimate objective of this system built of, for, and by the Elites is to serve their masters: the fortunate few. They lull us to sleep politically by telling half of the story of the women’s suffrage movement, the abolition movement, the civil rights movement, and the environmental movement…among so many others. They hardly tell you anything about the labor movement. Why? Because they, the few, the people who finance the pundits and the comfortable politicians, don’t want you to know the real power that we have when we come together separate from the artificial lines of division that their two party system has created for us.

            If the people are truly ready for a change, then they must open their eyes to the reality that we have very few allies in politics. We must also be aware that even those who have consistently spoken out for us are mere human beings who are imperfect and have their own weaknesses which the established forces can manipulate to ensure the continuation of the wealthy’s status quo. The challenge to breaking free of the chains of oligarchy is that we must disentangle ourselves from the plethora of lies long erected to inhibit our collective growth. We must recognize that true change will not occur with media coverage or a fair process. True change must occur from a revolt of the people, demonstrated through persistent and aggressive (nonviolent) advocacy compelled by an alliance of grassroots revolutionaries. A revolution was never meant to spring from within the oligarchy’s puppet organizations and propaganda networks. Rather, the revolution was always meant to emerge in spite of the obstacles placed before us.

The oligarchs keep us in line by convincing us that our resistance to their rule is a futile effort. They present false choices and create this narrative of “lesser evils” to present the impression that we will never escape their clutches. Oppression is made possible and is sustained with this lie. When we buy into their deception about the limitations of democracy we help to drive a stake through the heart of our collective power. Our greatest challenge is overcoming the obstacles that they have erected within our minds. In order to progress together we must first conquer the fears of failure that they have instilled in us

Why is it that we allow this to proceed? We know through our lessons in history that the people, together, have more power than the few can contain. World history is riddled with countless examples of popular uprisings (both peaceful and not) deposing the tyrannical power structure meant to exploit the many for the benefit of the few. There are even more examples of popular movements forcing even incremental changes for a collective benefit. Yet, we find ourselves almost lost when presented with the need to rise up together once again in this crucial moment testing the strength of our collective power as well as the well being of the planet overall. Why do we let the Elites convince us that we can’t win when humanity has so often come together to prove them wrong?

The elites have long held the reins of society. Aristotle himself was a major proponent for such; calling for “Philosopher Kings” to rule in a system which he called “Aristocracy”.  America’s Founding Fathers were students of Aristotle’s school of thought, and they took to heart the valid concerns he had in his time about an illiterate and otherwise ill-informed democracy which would have been plagued by chaos. The lack of education was barely improved (on purpose, by the way) between the Classical Era in which Aristotle lived and the Enlightenment Era from which the likes of Benjamin Franklin, Alexander Hamilton, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, and James Madison emerged. Their era was plagued with a worldview which saw empires ravage the planet (including the one against which they were rebelling) and the rise of dictators like Napoleon through a populist revolt.

Napoleon’s rise via democracy which was bolstered by him tapping into populist outrage was especially influential in the thinking of the so-called “Framers” of the American Experiment. They were alarmed by the destructive potential of letting the many upend the established order when the system seems to fail them. This was one of the key factors in their decisions to create the Senate, the Electoral College, and in seriously restricting the powers of the American Presidency. They wanted to create a political system which listened to the people – through the House of Representatives – but which allowed the political elite to keep the populist sentiments tamed; through the Senate and the Electoral College, both of which were directly elected by the Elites of each State at the time.

While the emergence of political parties as we know them today came after the Constitution was drafted, the parties themselves soon became another tool to steer the conversation of the people. The Elites of American society (as well as society abroad) use the simplistic labels created by parties to divide the conscience of the people and to divert our class consciousness. When we think of our neighbors as being an adversary due to their claimed political label as opposed to being a fellow victim of exploitation it is a lot easier for those doing the exploiting to avoid class unity amongst the oppressed. This is crucial, because the prospective unity of the working class would undoubtedly sew the seeds of the Elite being held to account.

Truth is, the availability of information and the ability to fully educate every adult has vastly improved since the late-1700s. The internet alone presents a grand opportunity to teach every man, woman, and child to read and then become far more informed than any other generation in the history of the world. Also, the internet creates an opening for enhanced communication between the people from all walks of life and from around the globe, and it absolutely has the potential to make organizing easier and democracy stronger than our species has ever experienced before. Alas, we find ourselves crippled by the propaganda showered upon us by the relentless onslaught of the wealthy handful that depends on our continuing to doubt the power that we collectively share as we sheepishly choose between the choices they have prepackaged for us.

They want us to forget how the Civil Rights Movement succeeded. They want us to forget how the Women’s Suffrage Movement succeeded. They want us to forget how the Abolitionist Movement succeeded. They especially want us to forget how the Labor Movement succeeded. They want us to forget these things because each of those movements and many more prevailed through the use of mass popular resistance; a key component for democracy. In summary, they want us to forget that democracy works and that we don’t need them. They need us.

As has been so often the case in the past two decades, we are at yet another crucial turning point in history. Now, more than ever, we must recognize the class war which has been raging since long before any of us alive today were born. This class war has always benefited the Elite few, and that handful of advantaged humans has been doing everything possible to weaken the power of those they exploit. Democracy is the greatest weapon for the exploited to break their chains and democracy can not prevail if it is artificially bound by unnecessary labels meant to divide and conquer us. If we believe in progress then we must believe in democracy, and democracy must be utilized independent of political parties.

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