Progressives, real progressives, are frustrated. If you didn’t know this, watching the 2016 Democratic Convention should have made it obvious. Reasons like: claims that the DNC is “a rigged system”, ties to Wall Street, ties to Big Fossil, ties to Big Pharma, tepid action on climate change and minimal support of alternative energy are just some of the issues. What it really comes down to is that progressives are tired of being taken for granted. They believe the time for a political revolution is here and they want to be involved. The problem is that after feeling the Bern and coming so close, the Democratic Convention has once again shown them to a seat in the rear of the bus. OK, maybe they moved up a couple rows but are they actually players? Is Hillary really on their team? Will any of their policies be consistently supported? The frustration of some of them is almost volitile, needing assurance that they have become full or equal players.
In our two party system, owned and operated largely by the wealthy and multi-national corporations, there are no longer other groups powerful enough to exert any real influence on either party. Once the election is over they both focus on supporting the real power sources. For a long time labor was a consistent center of power, but since the Reagan years, that influence has become just another nice thing to have on your political resume. Corporate Personhood has concentrated all real political power into the hands of giant, ficticious persons with which “we the people” have not found a way to compete.
The article below by Ruth Conniff of The Progressive.org, gives insight into the reasons for the frustrations felt by Bernie supporters at the 2016 Democratic Convention. Bernie delegates said “we utterly reject the system we’re operating in now.” Various groups and movements came together empowering this movement. Sanders even admitted that he “owes his success to the protest movement outside the party system … (groups like) … Black Lives Matter, Occupy . . . these are all movements that are resistance-based.” But, it’s like Hillary wan’t paying attention. “The choice of Virginia Senator Tim Kaine, Hillary’s corporate-friendly running-mate, in particular, did not sit well with the Bernie delegates.” Regarding his supporters Bernie said these “are not fringe players … We are setting the agenda for the future of America.” They really seem to feel their power and the DNC policies seem to have adopted a substantial shift to the left. “Here, in the hall, the progressive insurgency looked powerful—not like a fringe group of trouble-makers, but like a near-majority of delegates and a force to be reckoned with.”
Are progressives really a force yet? I sure hope so. Whether or not progressives, labor or any other group can find a way to consistently exert it’s power over our corporate / two party system is definitely a challenge. Groups representing the base, “we the people”, need to find ways to wield their power collectively, giving and taking it away as a whole. What they really want and need is a parliamentary-like way to hold all of their support and make political actions, not promises, the real measure of every candidate. Right now, the actions/power of Bernie supporters are all over the place, which dilutes their current and future influence. It’s hard to take a chance standing up to the system and there is always something that might be lost if you do, but if we don’t then how does real change occur?