Organizing? What Organizing?!?

Sondra Miller has experience working in focus groups with engineers, political organizing, and working with computers.  She is responsible for the design of this website, helping the NPA get NGO status with the United Nations, and she wrote advice for beginning candidates. This is taken from correspondence she has had with several of us here at the NPA. The way back is clear, but few want to take the necessary steps. Good companion articles by Jeff Roby are listed under references at the end of the article.


 I read the article by Noam Chomsky that Tony sent us. Chomsky points out the transitory nature of some movements and the lack of institutional stability to give them on-going impetus and preservation of their history . He mentions churches as being practically the only persistent social institution, but he doesn’t mention the fact that many churches have become institutions of right-wing politics, and the left-wing has no such on-going social institutions.


His advice on organizing is to “keep trying until something takes off”, because “it’s happened before with the women’s movement and the civil rights movement”. Since I lived through both these movements and was active in the women’s movement, I’ve given considerable thought to what caused the women’s movement and civil rights movement to coalesce and produce real-time results in my lifetime and why it’s so difficult to duplicate that today.


The two major differences between then and now are the Internet and the Churches. There was no public Internet at the time of the women’s movement and the churches were still preaching the teachings of Christ, instead of right-wing political dogma. The stimulus for the women’s movement came from speeches on college campuses and consciousness raising groups in people’s homes, and hand-crafted newspapers printed on low-end copiers. This face to face physical communication focused on one issue, women’s rights, and with local meetings in various locations around the USA it proved to be a highly effective means of bringing about change within my lifetime.


However, the advent of the Internet has caused a drastic change in the way people communicate. The Internet provides more communication opportunities with more people, but it also causes less focus among more people.  Leftists sit alone at their computers with an unlimited array of choices for expressing themselves and being influenced by others on a variety of topics from around the world. Internet cruising has replaced any real focused political activity and the variety of issues leftists feel compelled to comment upon seem endless. There are no face to face focus groups in any local Congressional Districts whose focus is to elect a progressive Representative to Congress. The left seems fixated upon the Presidency, but as Chomsky points out, there is very little the President can do without a progressive Congress to back him up.


In contrast, the right-wing still has two powerful institutions where face to face focus groups still meet regularly in local settings all over the USA and are highly effective. They are corporations and churches. The church took a sharp right turn into electoral politics in the mid-eighties and began preaching a dogma that diverted attention away from the ruthless economic agenda of the Republican Party and convinced parishioners their well-being depended upon controlling other people’s reproductive organs, which the Republican Party promised to do (in theory at least).  The current Pope made some promising statements about wealth inequality, which the right-wing protestant churches didn’t buy into, and then he eroded his own credibility on the matter by inviting the obnoxious darling of  right-wing religious capitalism, Kim Davis, to his private fare-well gathering.  The Dalai Lama seems more in touch and discreet about his associates.  He  announced on PBS last night that he is a socialist. But the USA isn’t influenced by Tibetan Buddhist socialists, they are influenced by the likes of Kim Davis and her apostolic addle brains.  The link to the Dalai Lama’s statements is below.


I don’t know how to focus left-wing individuals away from the diversity on the Internet and into local focus groups who can select a tangible goal, such as electing a progressive to Congress from their Congressional District.  Nor do I know how to interest them in the historic preservation of a movement.  If it weren’t for the historical preservation efforts of Ed Griffith, the NPA website would have gone the way of so many other transitory websites.


My only idea for establishing a local left-wing institution that could educate the electorate and influence elections, would be to establish a leftist newspaper in one Congressional District that would sponsor regular meetings for the purpose of recruiting and supporting progressive Representatives to Congress from that District, and then if this idea caught on, to export this idea to other Congressional Districts. But I couldn’t even find two people in my District who were interested in doing this.





I agree with Jeff that the organized movement of the left into electoral politics would expedite better government in the US.  However, I’m not aware of any organized left-wing groups in my area, nor was I able to get one started.  When the NPA tried to organize a national network, we got plenty of advice on how to organize but it was always from people who had never successfully organized anything themselves, nor were they willing to use their own advice to organize an NPA group in their area. So, it remains a loose network of mostly information sharing on a variety of topics.

I don’t see much chance of lefties becoming the government unless they can form electoral focus groups in each Congressional District and can organize, analyze, strategize and publicize. Right now Representative positions for the US Congress and State Legislatures often go unopposed on the ballot because only one person showed up to file.


The Republican Party fell into a ready-made network of organized groups when ordained Southern Baptist minister Pat Robertson ran for President in the Republican primary and brought churches and religious organizations into the fold. He used his TV station to create the huge Christian Coalition which had nothing to do with the teachings of Christ and everything to do with electoral politics, to the extent the IRS revoked their non-profit religious status.

The left has no such local networks with regular meetings. And shows no interest in forming them. As far as Bernie Sanders, I never expected him to get the Democratic nomination, but I never expected him to draw the huge crowds he’s drawing either. Especially with the socialist label attached to his name. He’s been a one-man whirlwind in educating the electorate and raising the consciousness of voters. He’s proven to be the type of passionate evangelist that can compete with the right-wing religious evangelists who have controlled Congress for so long. But he still doesn't have the network they have.  I agree with Tony that Sanders won’t get the Democratic nomination, and I’m not sure what he and his supports will do ( if anything) to try to form an ongoing organization after it’s all over.

I’ve come to believe that a left-wing newspaper delivered free in a Congressional District might influence voters and attract a politically motivated group in that District if the newspaper sponsored regular meetings for that purpose. I don't believe electoral change has to involve large groups meeting regularly, but rather a few smart dedicated people who can influence the larger electorate. But I couldn’t even find two people in my District who were interested in starting a newspaper or political journal, even if I donated the money for printing!  So, I don’t know the answer and have grown too old to actively pursue it. Just still enjoy interesting conversation about it occasionally.




Yesterday was primary election day in Kentucky for state offices such as governor, secretary of state, state treasurer,  and so on. I didn’t receive one piece of campaign literature from any of them and there was no TV advertising. 

The Secretary of State published a sample ballot last week with the names of those who had filed. I looked them up on the Internet. Some didn’t even have a website. One had his resume on Linkedin but you had to log in with your name and password to read it, so I passed. There were only two candidates with informative websites.

The total voter turnout for my county was only 12 per cent of the registered voters.

Five years ago I tried to get a group of progressive people organized in my District to meet regularly and discuss politics and recruit, interview and support candidates, and I thought the group should publish a publication about candidates and their platforms. There was no other political group in my District doing this including the Democratic Party.

When it became obvious that people are too busy or disinterested to meet together regularly in person to participate in the political process, I thought about doing the publication on my own, but I realized that is too much work for one person.

Running unknown and as-yet-unelected indie and alt candidates for state and U.S. legislative seats is our only real play for the time being, at least until more Kshamas win local seats, expand their bases, and then run state or Congressional campaigns. But just the fact that she has is terrific, and I agree that Sanders' presence at least pushes things forward in terms of public awareness of and interest in Socialist ideology - even if all it does is encourage people to get acquainted with it and think about what tenets they can support and how that might look at the local level. Occupy, Piketty, the Pope, Sawant, Black Lives Matter, and even Sanders are indicators to me that a confluence of pressure points are leading the Left (as opposed to Democrats) to unify around what is possible rather than grouse about what isn't. And that hasn't happened since McGovern.

Not only do local concerns require local prescriptions, but local concerns drive Congressional elections. Congress can override a Presidential veto with a two/thirds majority vote, but the President cannot override a two/thirds majority vote in Congress.

Listening to the needs of locals doesn’t mean compromising your principles. Sawant didn’t compromise the S.A. by standing with locals who needed $15 per hour. She demonstrated to locals that the S.A. cared about their concerns.

Probably the most expedient way for Progressives and Socialists to interact with locals is via local Progressive newspapers like Tony started. I don't think a circle of Socialists talking to each other at the national level on the Internet will have much local effect.   

Bernie Sanders' national TV pulpit is reaching locals but not many Socialists get the national press he does. And he started out talking to locals as mayor and then Representative and then Senator. He spent a lot of time listening to and addressing the needs of people in his District before he became a national figure sought after by national TV. 

This tendency of the left to decide what’s right for everybody and to assign needs to people instead of listening to their needs and seeing how they can be incorporated into the candidate's personal political philosophy is what got us to where we are today. 

I agree with this statement and with his comment that an engineering focus group has a well defined problem that all agree on and are interested in solving. The left however, can’t agree on what the problem is. They can’t even agree on what the left is. Or what a progressive is. Or what a socialist is. They are a disorganized, ill-defined mess.

However, like in all of politics, all these characteristics can’t be applied to all of them uniformly. For a brief moment in time, the S.A. appeared from a distance to be a pretty good electoral focus group. The simultaneous campaigns they ran in Seattle and Minneapolis were pretty slick. Both groups had identical red S.A. shirts, signs and flags. They had impressive endorsements from other organizations. They both did what historical progressives did – they stood with labor on their picket lines with their big red S.A. sign. Ty Moore stood in the snow with food service workers and Sawant sood in the rain with Boeing machinists. And Ty Moore came very close to winning the election in Minneapolis. These campaigns required a lot of organization, cooperation, planning and strategy. Sawant got a lot of press for winning in Seattle. Imagine if they had both won in two cities.

But, for whatever reasons, they haven’t exported their campaign efforts to their other chapters. If they were using the four pillars of a good campaign – organizing, analyzing, strategizing and publicizing – these can be exported to any District. Because in the analyzing phase you analyze the characteristics of the District you’re in and strategize accordingly. But perhaps their campaign wasn’t documented to be standardized or something. Or, maybe they’ve been too busy setting up branches to deal with the influx of people resulting from their campaign. I’ve long said that the best way to spread a political ideology or organization is via a good political campaign, regardless of whether you win or not.

The profession of Engineering operates on the premise that anything can be done. It’s just a matter of figuring out how to do it. And focus groups focusing on a specific goal are the starting point of choice for most corporate engineering projects.

There aren’t any Progressive Congressional focus groups in most Districts because Progressives chant the litany that they can’t bring about Congressional change because the devil or the powers that be won’t let them. It’s hard to believe that white male socialists are still doing this 50 years later. They are convincing people that they aren’t the solution.

Sent: Thursday, September 10, 2015
Subject: News From Kentucky

This week, Mike Huckabee, who quit preaching the Gospels of Jesus to interview pole dancers for Fox news and host a talk show, and run for governor and President, came to Kentucky to head up a rally for Kim Davis, a Rowan County clerk who has been married four times and divorced three and committed adultery during her first marriage by becoming pregnant by another man, and according to the teachings of Jesus in the Book of Matthew is now living in adultery with her fourth husband. Davis has recently been released from jail for refusing to issue a marriage license to a homosexual couple because she said it was against God’s law. Huckabee welcomed Davis to the rally stage and held her fist high in the air while the theme song from Rocky III (Eye of the Tiger) blared from the loud speakers. While Davis was giving God the glory for God’s people rallying around her, some other of God’s people from the Westboro Baptist church, who usually picket homosexuals by carrying signs that say God Hates Fags, decided to picket Davis instead for being an adulteress. And some other of God’s people in the persons of the band and songwriter who created Eye of the Tiger filed a $1.2 million dollar lawsuit against Huckabee and Davis for using their song without permission.
While the above debacle in Rowan County isn’t the type of subject normally discussed by intellectual progressives, comprehending the culture in Rowan County is essential to comprehending the culture of the majority of rural Congressional Districts in the United States and how our political system works. These people have created their own set of needs, values, beliefs, fantasies, entertainment and social institutions that don’t correspond to the needs assigned to them by the left.
Studying the culture of these rural Districts and how to deal with them is as critical to political change as studying the national and international issues that concern most progressives.  Both ends of the spectrum need to be discussed of course, because once Congressmen are elected from the rural Districts they will be called upon to deal with national and international issues. But until progressive people can have a frank discussion about how to deal with these religious issues, it’s unlikely progressives will be elected to Congress from these Districts.


The Democratic candidate for Congress from my District called me this week and talked for an hour and a half about his defeat in the Congressional election.  And all I could say was I told you so. If you recall, he was the Progressive I encouraged to run. I barely had time to tell him the facts of life about Kentucky voters before he shot off in another direction and changed his Party registration, and hired a campaign manager who took him down the wrong path, and changed his website, and shaved off his beard which I didn’t want him to do. By the time he was done, I hardly recognized him. He had been out of the country in the military just prior to running, and his naiveté about Kentucky politics was incredible. The few things I managed to tell him before he was off and running with his dingbat campaign manager, he didn’t heed and therefore he lost by a landslide."

Tony, you are absolutely right about leftist activities being a series of moments rather than an ongoing comprehensible movement. This bears out my life experiences. I was in the women’s movement in college, meeting weekly with interesting politically aware people and planning actions to benefit all. I look around today and say where did it all go?? What happened to that glorious moment in history??

We made some changes to be sure, getting women into Congress and professions, but without constant oversight of candidates, we now have women like Michelle Bachmann in Congress and anorexic young girls with body piercings idolizing entertainment idols. You can’t leave business and government unattended for one minute without it deteriorating into something undesirable.

Republican capitalists are always waiting in the wings of Congress for the latest leftist fad to pass. They seem adept at absorbing and capitalizing on popular trends. They also show more flexibility and compromise regarding minor philosophical differences, as long as those differences don’t interfere with their single-minded agenda of making money and preserving the wealth of the wealthy.

The Republican Party hierarchy wasn’t religious when the religious-right moved in, but they analyzed the advantages of the new bloc of voters  and how they could be used for the single-minded capitalistic purposes. Since Pat Robertson himself was a devoted capitalist, there was no conflict there, so the Republican hierarchy welcomed the Christian Coalition with as much respect as they could muster.

This is not the case on the left.  As you mentioned, the left is more interested in emphasizing their differences than in brokering a power coalition that would advance a basic left-wing agenda. They are more interested in dominating current arguments within their leftist peer groups and quibbling over minor philosophical differences than in building a coalition that would ensure their grandchildren won’t live in indentured servitude to corporate robber barons.

But I’m not sure how to change all this.  I feel it could best be done at the Congressional District level and would require a dedicated journalist, a publication, a charismatic candidate and s campaign assistant all acting in concert to educate the electorate and win elections. It could probably be accomplished with a small group of people in a District, and if successful, it could be documented and duplicated elsewhere in other Districts.  But getting that first group together is problematic.

I thought for awhile the Socialist Alternative had the magic formula. A great deal of conference table planning and strategy went into the simultaneous campaigns of Sawant in Seattle and Ty Moore in Minneapolis. They had identical campaign shirts, flags, and endorsements from labor organizations before stepping into the spotlight and standing on the picket lines with workers from Boeing to McDonalds. Sawant won and Moore came within 230 votes. I don’t know what stopped this momentum unless it was isolationist practices, failure to respond to correspondence, and insistence upon an unattainable ideological purity. But I don't hear much about them anymore. 

I agree with your concise summary of Pat Robertson – an F on Christian content and an A on strategy.  I appreciate your discouragement due to the corruption and criminal element in society. I enjoyed your Facebook post about Richard Winger.  (Richard Winger runs Ballot Access News which offers a website and monthly publication to keep up with changes and fight for third party access.) Focused work by people like him is encouraging and helps to offset somewhat the greedy and corrupt.

My biggest disappointment has been the lack of interest of local good people in devoting a steady portion of their time to good government.  To me, a regular round table discussions and action plans on issues and Representation in government would be the most interesting and worthwhile thing I could do as a hobby, and yet no one in my vicinity shares this interest.  

The Unitarians, Methodists and Catholics are busy manning the Homeless Shelter and serving free meals to the hungry and the Episcopalians assist refugees from other countries.  I find it incredible that refugees would end up here in Owensboro, but I’m not privy to how they got here.

All of these are worthwhile activities but meanwhile, the political issues of government go begging, and the greedy and corrupt rush in to fill the void.

The left seems to be  a conglomerate of single-issue do-gooders, uncooperative and territorial socialist and leftist groups, and reactionaries who act only on sensational news events.  The idea of steady, on-going, year-round, strategy meetings to research issues and recruit candidates doesn’t seem to be of interest.

Last year, I told you about Owensboro having an Occupy group at the height of the Occupy sensationalism. They only demonstrated a couple of times in a space beside a busy thoroughfare where people were driving too fast to read their signs and there was no place to pull over and park.  After great difficulty, I managed to talk with one of them and arranged to meet her at a local coffee shop to give her information on the NPA and get an idea of where the local Occupy movement was going. She wasn’t interested in the NPA or any other organization. She was only interested in the next Occupy project which was called Occupy Food or something like that, and it consisted of planting food on public lands such as city parks, and she pointed out the square areas of earth around the trees along the concrete sidewalk in front of the cafe, where she said she would plant carrots and stuff.


I was too stunned to say much other than wish her good luck and leave. I wasn’t sure carrots would grow with their tops trimmed down by city weed-eaters and sprayed with weed killer by city employees, but I didn’t feel inclined to enter that arena. In retrospect, it seems that city government designated areas for public gardening would make more sense, but of course that would require the conference table planning approach that most aren’t into.  They prefer the revolutionary act of sneaking carrots into the easement around the trees on public sidewalks at their leisure.

Hope You Have a Merry Christmas.



Sent: Tuesday, December 16, 2014 2:07:26 PM

The first time I heard of Jacobin magazine was when Tavis Smiley interviewed the young editor of Jacobin on TV and introduced him as a socialist. I was intrigued by a prime talk show host interviewing a socialist on mainstream TV and I took notes and looked up the magazine on the web.

When I looked at Jacobin, my first question was - what is this all about?? There were no articles on socialism per se, or on the different types of socialist governments in Europe, or even on the different socialist groups in the United States.

I realized at that time that Jacobin was the most recent in a long list of leftist groups, organizations, publications, and communications that I had asked myself the same question about.  What is this all about??

It started with the Democratic Party and their preoccupation with food and progressed to the Coffee Party where meetings were interspersed with personal anecdotes ranging from redecorating one’s living room to the latest play at the community theatre, and continued through a long list of unfocused left-wing progressive and socialist organizations on-line.

After a year or so of this I realized that I’m a product of corporate focus groups. And this affects my tolerance for unfocused groups. Furthermore, I had to admit that I like corporate focus groups. For one thing, the corporate focus group assumes that every attendee’s time is valuable. Therefore, the meeting’s agenda is announced in advance and all remarks in the meeting are pertinent to the agenda. Each person in the group is given the opportunity to speak and the moderator’s function is to write down a brief description of the topic of each person’s contribution.  

The corporate focus group was democratic, polite, efficient, and effective. The only rule was to respect other people’s valuable time by staying on-topic.  There was no chance of being subjected to personal trivia about food or decorating that wasn’t pertinent to the agenda. The first time someone commented on redecorating their living room they would be in danger of being fired.

Most groups on the left however seem to be a conglomerate of diversified personal interests ranging from the Palestinians, to the Pentagon, to the Pipeline, without any common agenda to see their common core ideals represented in seats in Congress.  If the Democratic Party ceased to exist tomorrow, the left wouldn’t have any candidates to offer to replace them in the majority of Congressional Districts. And turning things over to the Republicans is no answer at all to the national problems.

It would be good if the left had a focus group in each District whose agenda focused on getting some core-left Representatives in Congress and whose discussion focused on what’s required to do that. And when people veer off and start talking about saving the camels in Syria or something like that, the moderator needs to acknowledge that saving the camels is a worthy cause, but not part of the electoral focus group discussion and therefore cannot be discussed there.

I’m not suggesting the left abandon diversified interests, conversations, readings and publications. I’m only bemoaning the lack of focus groups, or even focused publications, that could put the collective knowledge to work in focused electoral politics. The NPA has made an effort to get people focused on this, but trying to get the left united or focused is like trying to herd cats.


Sent: Friday, December 5, 2014 12:23:00 PM


As far as our duties toward society, I feel we have already done our duty and anything from here on should be at our leisure and enjoyment. If we can enjoy politics as a leisurely hobby then so be it.

I believe positive change hinges on encouraging personal responsibility and positive action instead of promoting the idea that individuals are helpless victims of problems out there somewhere that are not related to their own individual neglect. Any time individuals neglect the government, the greedy will rush in to fill the void.

While I’m a big fan of personal responsibility, I don’t subscribe to the idea that the same  people should have to do all the work all the time. That’s why I haven’t taken the responsibility of a political newspaper in my District. I put the idea to several people in my District and no one wanted to help, even though I was going to finance it myself.

I want to share a story about personal political neglect here in my District because I think it is typical of the entire country.  During the first Congressional election after I retired to Kentucky, the Democratic candidate for Congress from my District didn’t have a website, didn’t publish a platform, didn’t grant interviews, nobody knew what he stood for, he had run for various offices before, sometimes as a Republican and sometimes as a Democrat, had never been elected, he was 79 years old and had throat cancer and talked with an electronic device and had been arrested for menacing his niece. I discovered this through my own research and it was easy to do but this information wasn’t published in any media in my District.

89,541 people in my District voted for this man. After the election was over, I called a few of them who were my personal acquaintances. They were college graduates with comfortable retirements or professional jobs.  I said “Did you know anything about this dude you voted for Representative to Congress from our District??” And the answer was invariably NO. So I said let me tell you a little about him and I proceeded to do so. After which there were horrified expressions like How did this happen? Who is responsible for this? Who is in charge of vetting these candidates? And my reply was YOU are. You are responsible for who you vote for. You are responsible for vetting candidates. You are responsible for the choices on the ballot. And then there was invariably a stunned silence after which I quickly said “Nice talking to you, I’ll see you later, have a nice day” and hung up.


These are the same people I had tried unsuccessfully to organize into a Progressive group to monitor government and recruit and interview candidates. And they are the same people who sit down at the Coffee Shop every Saturday and gripe about the Koch brothers controlling everything.

It is possible that a local political newspaper or even some inexpensive fliers distributed in this District could have made a difference in this District election. I don’t know. Sometimes it seems that people on the left had rather gripe than get good government. 



(Ed’s note:  Sondra's story of female democrats who do nothing but put on an annual picnic and male democrats who do nothing but vote yearly to let the women put on a picnic is typical and widespread.)

I think the most successful path is the focused path and to contribute as much in your own District as possible, like you are doing with the Greenville Guardian.  However, I haven’t recovered yet from the shock of my own foray into District politics by encouraging a very progressive Independent from my District to run for Congress in the last election based upon on a number of things I liked about him, only to have him metamorph right before my very eyes.

He hired an out-of-state campaign manager who knew nothing about the electorate in this District, he changed his registration from Independent to Democrat and ran as a Democrat, he took down all the progressive essays on his website and put up a more generic candidate message, and he even shaved off his beard that I liked. I don’t know what he thought he was doing. I told him there hasn’t been a Democrat elected to Congress from this District in 24 years. And sure enough, he didn’t get elected either.

"The left wing in this country is a disorganized mess - physically and philosophically. The various socialist groups don't like each other and can't unite on anything, and many Green Party chapters don't focus on recruiting and running candidates. And grass root Democrats at the local level are clueless about what is going on."


On Nov 1, 2014:

The perversion of Christianity including the propaganda of the Prosperity Gospel has been going on since the religious-right invaded the Republican Party.  It is a concept that is little understood by the left. 

During most of my lifetime, there was an unwritten law in both the Republican and Democratic Parties that religion was a private and personal affair that was off-limits in politics - that religion was about spiritual matters and politics was about worldly economic matters. This attitude has been carried over to the left in general today.

Therefore, when Pat Robertson (an ordained Southern Baptist minister) performed the marriage between the church and the Republican Party and began the propaganda that God thinks greed is good and anything the left approves of (like gay rights and abortion) is bad, the left had no response to this.

I don’t recommend the left should start making equally ridiculous claims that everything they do is ordained by God, but I do recommend they educate themselves about the true teachings of Jesus Christ as found in the New Testament so they will at least be able to point out perversions of these teachings when they occur.

This is no different from educating yourself about climate change or anything else in order to be able to point out propaganda that is inconsistent with reality.  I’m not a Buddhist; however, I have studied the life of Buddha and the Eightfold Path and if a group of people calling themselves Buddhists started running around robbing, raping and killing people as a way of life, I would say excuse me but this is inconsistent with the teachings of Buddha, therefore you aren’t really Buddhists.

This religious propaganda of what God does and doesn’t approve of, is a driving force in politics today and most Republican candidates incorporate the prevailing propaganda of the preachers into their campaign platforms  because they know the overwhelming need of  a large segment of their constituents is approval from God.  Democrats however (like most of the left), assign needs to people and run about touting economic and healthcare issues. And guess who has been winning in my state so far  – the Republicans.

This is why I say there is a huge amount of education needed on both sides – the left and the right.


The election of the current right-wing Representatives controlling the House of Representatives didn’t follow massive demonstrations with pitchforks and torches or civil disobedience on their part. It followed smart campaign strategy born of discussions around conference tables at the Congressional District level. Their power and control of Congress was seized through the ballot via focus, strategic planning and a belief that they could win.  

If the left believes the only way they can win is through civil disobedience and mass demonstrations born of the breakdown, deterioration, decay or destruction of our economic, social and political system, then of course that is the only way they can win.

But Ed has quoted Chris Hedges as saying that even this massive breakdown of the current system and massive protests may not produce the end result the left desires. It might produce something worse than a Republican controlled Congress.

It is also worth noting that all the human rights gains, corporate reforms, anti-trust laws, progressive taxation, and union gains that did grow out of the great depression and civil rights demonstrations are now being quietly dismantled by smart but ruthless right-wing Republicans sitting around a conference table.

If we had an equal number of smart left-wing progressives sitting around a conference table in each Congressional District, dedicated to educating the public and winning elections, we might not have to go through mass destruction Chris Hedges foretells. He has done an excellent job of documenting the problems – but not so good at figuring out solutions.


In Kentucky the fees and signatures for Independents are manageable. Unfair of course but manageable. $500 fee and 400 signatures. The next thing I knew, he told me he was going to run as a Democrat because there are no signatures required, and no one from the Party has to approve you or anything. He simply changed his Party registration and eventually filed as a Democrat.

This was the first in what I considered a series of strategic mistakes. There hasn’t been a Democrat elected to Congress from this District in 28 years and I pointed this out to him. The second mistake was going off to a commercial candidate school and meeting up with a professional campaign manager and hiring her and she proceeded to arrange speaking engagements at such places as the Democratic Women’s Clubs (who are going to vote for the Democratic candidate anyway regardless of who they are). There’s a much wider audience on public TV here but he hasn’t arranged any speaking there. Then, she changed his website and deleted his essays which were directly related to the needs of the people in this District and put up a bland, brief  generic website like all the candidates are using .

Politics is a fickle business and it’s entirely possible this guy may get elected. But if he does, it will be because the Republicans have behaved so badly people just won’t vote for them anymore. It won’t be because of his smart campaigning.

Anyway, the point of this rambling story is that getting on the ballot is feasible and there was no interference or contact from the Democratic Party and there haven’t even been any attacks from the Republican Party. At the District level, things are fairly inactive and wide open. Howard Dean, when he was Chairman of the DNC, confirmed this was a national situation as well, that the Democratic Party at the District level is mostly a few lethargic County Chairmen concerned only with their own careers and not active otherwise.


1-Cautionary Tales

2-Mass Consciousness and its disconnects

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