Wednesday, January 05, 2011

On the occasion of Speaker Boehner's installation ...

... my focus shifts back to outsider politics.

Or put more specifically, to the necessary defensive fights to keep those people in Washington from making life worse for most of us here and throughout the world.

With the installation of a Republican House of Representatives, there's probably little point in paying any attention to policy debates. The Republicans have no policies except giving away the country to their rich sponsors, with a nod to putting women, people of color and queers back in their places. Oh yeah, and killing Muslims.

Democrats, when ascendant since 2008, enacted a few weak measures. But in the new atmosphere -- despite individual exceptions -- they are probably more part of the problem than part of the solution. If they insist on trying to get policy done, they'll cave in to whatever price Republicans extract from them. We've seen the President do this in December, acceding in extending Bush tax giveaways to the rich and undercutting the solvency of Social Security, in the name of "stimulus."

So what is a progressive to do? Hammer, hammer, hammer at the powers that be. The Reps are hopeless, in thrall to their terrified, declining white base. The Dems in the present circumstances are only marginally better -- and only if we make them so.

This is not unfamiliar territory. It's where the left has played most of my political life. We know what to do. We educate ourselves about the obstacles to making this a good society; we explain them to others; we organize to build forces for change; and we make oppositional culture. In that last arena we win, unequivocally. Considering how little power we've had in our lifetimes, that last fact should be comforting.

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