The Nation: Adolph Reed- ‘What Nihilism? A Response to Michelle Goldberg’

What Nihilism_ A Response to Michelle Goldberg

Source:The Nation– “A polling site in Oklahoma City (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)” Also from The Nation.

Source:The New Democrat

“The focus of left politics must be to change the terms of a debate that leaves us with impoverished choices. It’s only in the context of a shriveled political imagination that that looks like nihilism.

Editor’s Note: In a recent blog post, Michelle Goldberg criticized Adolph Reed’s recent essay in Harper’s, “Nothing Left: The Long, Slow Surrender of American Liberals,” for its “electoral nihilism.” “A left that absented itself from the dirty work of electing a president,” Goldberg writes, “would be indulging in the very reflex Reed decries: trying to send a message to those in power rather than contending for power itself.” Reed responded in the comment thread, clarifying his position on elections and Democratic party politics. We reprint his reply here.”

From The Nation

“Professor Adolph Reed Jr., explains how the Democratic Party embraced the neo-liberal agenda, how the shock of the Reagan Presidency shaped the modern Democratic Party, the role of the Democratic Leadership Council in moving Democrats to the right, the rightward legacy of Bill Clinton, the decoupling of class and social politics, why we have one neo-liberal party that is multicultural and another that is reactionary, why the left is in retreat, why acknowledging the problem can allow for a strengthening of leftist politics, how progressive politics is cheapened, how the left can rebuild itself and why we need to stop searching for progressive savors.”

Nothing Left_ The Long, Slow Surrender of American Liberals (w_ Adolph Reed Jr_) - Google Search

Source:The Majority Report– I’m thinking this is a pro-Barack Obama rally. Just don’t quote me on that.

From The Majority Report 

“In a Web-exclusive interview, political scientist Adolph Reed Jr. talks with Bill Moyers about his new article in the March issue of Harper’s Magazine – a challenge to America’s progressives provocatively titled, “Nothing Left: The Long, Slow Surrender of American Liberals.”

In the piece, Reed writes that Democrats and liberals have become too fixated on election results rather than aiming for long term goals that address the issues of economic inequality, and that the administrations of Bill Clinton and Barack Obama too often acquiesced to the demands of Wall Street and the right.

As a result, Reed tells Moyers, the left is no longer a significant force in American politics. “If we understand the left to be anchored to our convictions that society can be made better than it actually is, and a commitment to combating economic inequality as a primary one, the left is just gone.”

Nothing Left_ The Long, Slow Surrender of American Liberals (w_ Adolph Reed Jr_) - Google Search (1)

Source:Bill Moyers Journal– talking to Adolph Reed.

From Bill Moyers Journal

In last night’s blog post about the far-left flank of the Democratic Party I wrote a line something to the effect of: “If you don’t like the menu at the restaurant, complain to the management to get different choices on the menu or find another place to eat.”

I use this analogy because Social Democrats or Socialists in the Democratic Party should think about this when it comes to their politics, that if you think current Democrats aren’t left-wing enough (meaning socialist) then work at recruiting and encouraging the people you do want to run for office or find another party that is more to your ideological liking.

The Democratic Party is run, as I’ve said many times, by FDR/LBJ and JFK/Clinton Progressives, with a social democratic left-wing, that a lot more ideologically comfortable with the Green Party or Democratic Socialists USA, then they are with the Center-Left Democratic Party.

Center-Left Democrats and leftist Democrats tend to agree on some things, but leftists tend to want a more centralized government and a bigger government than Progressives, who believe in progress through government action. But aren’t always looking to expand the Federal Government and centralize government in America.

Progressives tend to want social insurance programs designed to help people get themselves out of poverty and become self-sufficient. Whereas leftists tend to be more interested in subsidizing people while they are in poverty. Both sides tend to agree on things like privacy, personal freedom to a large extent, but leftists tend to be more paternalistic or prohibitionist in areas they see as dangerous, such as gambling, alcohol, from the past at least, soft drinks, junk food, just to use these as examples.

But Progressives and leftists tend to agree when it comes to infrastructure, immigration, workers rights, Right to Organize, civil rights, and foreign policy. Both sides tend to be internationalist, from Franklin Roosevelt to Bill Clinton, with every other Democratic president from that era as well.

The Democratic Party also have these left-wing outsiders in the Democratic Party who didn’t emerge until the late 1960s or so who are real Socialists or Social Democrats and not just anti-corporate but anti-business in many cases and even anti-for profit as well and have been looking for an alternative to capitalism. Even that doesn’t go quite as far as a Marxist state ownership of the economy, but to more power for workers.

The main reason why the Democratic Party is so big in America, is because you have multiple competing factions in it that if we were in Europe, you would be talking about multiple different political parties, instead of political factions being part of one huge political party.

So, to go back to my analogy about the restaurant menu: it is time for Social Democrats to understand that and either stop complaining about their party not being far enough to the Left for their taste and recruit more of their people into the DP to run for office or create a united social democratic party with the far-left fringe of the Democratic Party. And combine them with the Greens and Democratic Socialists and Socialist Workers. And have their own party that would be able to compete against Democrats and Republicans.

About Derik Schneider

Blogger on everything that interests me and that I'm knowledgeable about.
This entry was posted in New Left and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.