Ralph Nader’s New Book Promotes Left-Right Alliances
I remember the day Occupy Missoula launched. People gathered under the Higgins bridge, by the fish sculptures. It was an unscripted passing of the megaphone, and when I got my chance I defended the anti-TARP origins of the Tea Party.
It’s easy to look back now and see how public reaction to the economic crisis was brilliantly channeled into an Occupy vs. Tea Party binary.
In an attempt to counter this binary, Ralph Nader has a book coming out suggesting Left-Right alliances are forming. From the link:
This week, my new book is coming out with a daring goal. It is to break through the corporate imposed gridlock that prevents those on the left and right from realizing they actually agree on and can activate new directions for our country. The book’s title – Unstoppable: The Emerging Left-Right Alliance to Dismantle the Corporate State – reflects the direction of this desired action-driven dialogue.
Appearing on C-SPAN last Sunday, a widely syndicated columnist for the Chicago-Tribune – Clarence Page — said that he’s “writing a lot these days about left/right coalitions.” He was referring to such coalitions for prison reform, a review of the war on drugs and the passage of legislation in numerous states regarding juvenile justice reforms.But there are many more long-overdue redirections of our nation that receive left/right convergence at various stages from the verbal to parallel activities to outright coordinated action. In defiance of their respective political leaders, Speaker John Boehner and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, a large combination of Republicans and Democrats came stunningly close (217 to 205) on July 24, 2013, to passing through the House of Representatives a ban on NSA dragnet snooping on the American people.
A comprehensive whistle-blowing bill protecting federal employees who want to speak out on waste, fraud and corruption overcame corporate opposition with an overwhelming congressional vote in 2013. The formidable lobby of corporate contractors delayed the bill’s passage but, in the end, left/right convergence made this reform possible.
Public opinion polls regularly reflect left/right concurrence. From 70 to 80 percent of the people support a restoration of the minimum wage to reflect the erosions of inflation. Higher percentages want the “too big to fail” big banks to be broken up. Even higher numbers object to the non-prosecution of corporate crooks, especially those responsible for the Wall Street crash of 2008-2009 that drove the economy into a severe recession, cost savers trillions of dollars and led to a huge taxpayer bailout.
Called crony capitalism by the right and corporate welfare by the left, there is a rising tide of revulsion against the rich and powerful freeloading on the backs of ordinary taxpayers.
If our political system wasn’t so dependent on the campaign contributions of the rich and powerful, maybe it would be easier for politicians to tap into the populist angst that exists across the political spectrum.
But why listen to Nader? He is, after all, the great Democrat spoiler who delivered the US presidency to Bush in 2000, right?
And why try to find common ground when a feel-good crusade against standing one’s ground is presented?
I think taking on this issue right now is a huge mistake for Democrats. Despite the awfulness of a Missoula homeowner entrapping and murdering a foreign exchange student, the ability to protect one’s home from external threats is a popular sentiment that in part stems from the economic uncertainty that persists thanks to the continued predation of Wall Street.
Back to Nader, who concludes his book announcement with this:
There are latent majorities on numerous issues that do not see the light of day because the corporatists’ toadies — the political leaders in Congress — make sure there are no hearings, no floor debates or votes. Predictably, pollsters do not poll questions that are not on the table, such as long-time majority support for full Medicare for everybody, so the public is kept from having its voice reflected. By the same token, politicians, marinated in commercial campaign money, do not campaign on these convergences between the left and right.
It is a neglected responsibility of the mainstream media to expand reporting on left/right concurrences, especially where they move into action around the country. It is our responsibility as citizens to more visibly surface these agreements into a new wave of political reform. Guess what? It starts with left/right conversations where we live and work. Not even corporatists can stop you from getting that train moving.
This is political terrain I will continue to write about. Stay tuned.