What We’re Fighting For

I’ve seen too many posts and comments here, and too many op eds around the country arguing that Democrats have to choose between an economic program that lifts working families up and fighting for civil rights for all Americans. Skeptics of fighting for civil rights mislabel it “identity politics” while skeptics of the working class agenda falsely equate it with the white nationalism of Trump.

What the hell happened to our party? We used to believe fighting for civil rights and the New Deal were our greatest achievements. Hillary Clinton’s maiden speech of the presidential campaign at Roosevelt Island eloquently linked the fight for economic equality with the fight for civil rights. So have Sen. Sanders and Warren. We’re all on the same page if we signed up for this party.

1) Civil Rights

Equal Justice for All. This means black lives must matter. This means stopping the inhuman deportations and travel bans of this administration. It means fighting on behalf of our Muslim and Jewish citizens when their houses of worship or burial grounds are targeted. This means making our schools bully free zones for Muslim, immigrant and LGBT students alike. And if the Feds won’t help us our states and mayors and school boards gotta step up. It means fighting for civil liberties and a free press. It means protecting our civil institutions from creeping facism. This is important and we have no excuse not to fight.

2) A New Deal for This Century

Globalization and automation can’t be reversed, but the unprecedented profits these advances generate gotta go back to the people. Progressive taxation, truly universal health care, universal college and more radical ideas like basic income have to be coupled with stronger labor unions, stronger worker protections and stronger safety nets. This is the most hostile administration to workers in American history. Time for them to own it and time for us to fight it tooth and nail while building a better vision for a fairer America.

3) Global Leadership

I feel like foreign policy got the short shrift in this election and continues to do so, even though this is where the administration has caused the most damage. Old allies like Mexico and Australia are being alienated while foes are being embraced as friends with false promised of change. We can’t have that.

A strong NATO, a strong UN, and strong alliances are Democratic achiemenrs that have been the hallmark of our foreign policy and kept the peace for a half century. America First always means America Next, and just as we couldn’t appease our way to better relations with Hitler or Stalin we can’t appease our way to better relations with Assad or Putin.

Keep it Simple

Civil rights, a New Deal, internationalism. These have always been the hallmarks of American liberalism and our party. We invented social security, the civil rights act, NATO and the UN. Our party built that and should own that. Our party has always been the party of immigrants since my ancestors came off the boat at Ellis Island and my wife and her family flew into O’Hare.

We don’t need to reinvent the wheel-we just gotta do a better job of being ourselves.



Discuss

17 Comments . Leave a comment below.
  1. PEACE, PROSPERITY AND PROGRESS....

    or Internationalism, New Deal and Civil Rights.

    Fred Rich LaRiccia

  2. this sums it up well

    We don’t need to reinvent the wheel-we just gotta do a better job of being ourselves.

  3. FREEDOM, FAIMILIES, FAIRNESS and FUTURE...

    Four F platform laid out today by my Dark Horse candidate for DNC Chair — Mayor Pete Buttigieg !

    Go Pete !

    Fred Rich LaRiccia

  4. Globalization needs tweaking

    Although globalization can’t be reversed, we can still alter the deal. We generally accept that it is inappropriate for US goods to be sourced from companies that employ slave labor, right? And that we have things in place to prevent this from happening? Even though we are paying higher prices to buy goods not made by slaves?

    So why can’t we put in similar protections that prevent goods from being made in factories that pollute, or by workers who have no labor rights?

    • Because ...

      The answer to your question is, sadly, because producers that employ slave labor are such a minuscule segment of the global economy that the prohibitions have virtually zero impact on consumers.

      The same is absolutely NOT true about factories that pollute, who use labor without rights, who dramatically underpay their workers, and so on.

      Those protections will cause prices to at least double for things like iPhones and grocery store produce. As in so many other things, the overwhelming majority of that impact will be on the 99% and especially the very poor. Paul Krugman has pointed out that it doesn’t stop there, either.

      Those price increases mean that people — especially the groups most affected — buy less. That means stores close and lay off workers. Farms plant fewer crops.

      The effect on the US economy will be devastating. Of course, it may happen anyway given all the nonsense being promulgated by the current administration.

      • I thought produce was heavily subsidized...

        …and you don’t absolutely need an i-Phone.

        • ??

          What does subsidy have to do with agricultural labor? It is the property owner that gets subsidized, not the migrant seasonal guys who bring the strawberry harvest for a buck a box.

          The point is that every policy has costs and benefits. If, through regulations, you ensure that the migrant agricultural workers get paid a lot more, then the cost of produce goes up by some degree, which makes fresh produce less affordable for some, and likely reduces demand in a way that reduces the number of agricultural workers bringing in harvest in the first place.

          If, through regulation, you ensure that the workers manufacturing electronics get paid on a US-comparable scale, then electronic products become something restricted to the wealthy. Sure, not absolutely necessary, but computers and computerized devices become the exclusive domain of the very wealthy, then that would cause some serious increases in inequality.

          • My understanding...

            …is that the cost of produce to the consumer is already being kept lower than it would be if left just to the market because the government makes up the difference in the cost to the farmers. In other words, I thought such was the whole point of farm subsidies.

            As for electronics I think demand (or withholding it) would pretty much mandate that we find a way to make them here and make them affordable even with various regulations if it comes to that.

            • Different mechanisms, different behavior

              Articles like this explain more about the role of immigrant labor in produce costs.

              Subsidies go to farmer owners, not to workers. If the workers aren’t there at all, the impacts are like those described above. If the workers are there but are paid more, the impacts will be comparable though perhaps not as severe.

              Subsidies benefit farm owners. Prices might well go up if subsidies were removed, but the might go down as well. My understanding is that an alleged purpose of farm subsidies is to stabilize prices and ease the boom-or-bust cycles that plague all agricultural markets. Subsidies do not alter the relationship between labor and prices, though.

              Whatever the business model is, subsidies are an income item. Labor costs are an expense item. The owner preserves profits (the difference between income and expenses) above all else. So if the cost of labor goes up, the price goes up accordingly.

              • What I mean by global leadership

                Trump in characteristically nasty remarks at CPAC said “I’m not a global leader, in the leader of this country, your country”. I’m old enough to remember (and I still haven’t turned 30) when American presidents were leaders of the free world. When both parties believed in American exceptionalism-not that might made right but that shared values led to a world order founded on democracy and the free movement of goods and people.

                Now we definitely got arrogant and drunk with power after 9/11 and there are too many examples where we thought some prettt nasty means justified short term ends in the Cold War leading to long term consequences (Afghanistan and Iran come to mind, or Southeast Asia).

                And I’ll take some military restraint-but I also want our President to command global respect because he or she stands for something greater than self interest. “All countries are killers”-well when we killed we thought it was for a higher purpose than power. It was to defeat fascism or communism abroad and protect our liberties at home. Imperfect in execution, but at least noble in purpose.

                Obama restored a lot of nobility lost under Bush, and I worry the last month has permanently eroded whatever gains he made globally. Foreign policy isn’t zero sum. Those jobs are getting exported to Asia no matter what-it’ll now be China in the driver seat cutting deals with the rest of Asia and cutting out the US. It’ll be China and Russia taking the lead on trade and the Middle East. For all the talk about American decline under Obama, America will decline under Trump and the world will be worse off.

              • imminent change

                I recently had my first drink prepared by a robot. The customer went up to the kiosk, swiped their card and the robotic arms flailed and delivered the perfect mai tai. It was exactly the same every time. It’s not necessarily a good thing, friendly bartenders would sometimes go heavier on the booze if you were having a bad day, but it is the future. No tips necessary.
                It’s not limited to food delivery but robots will make their way throughout the food chain.
                Consider the lettuce thinner, developed by Frank Maconachy, president and CEO of harvesting equipment manufacturer Ramsay Highlander. The machine removes excess seedlings from the field so that others have room to grow.
                The Hummer-sized tractor uses a vision system to find the seedlings and sends their location to a computer on board, which uses an algorithm to determine which seedlings to save and which to eliminate.
                The costs will go down with robotics, consumer prices should go down also since the use of robots is not a proprietary situation.

                • So who owns the earth, sky, and water that this lettuce plant needs?

                  Start there.

                • yup...

                  And Wendy’s just added automated kiosks for ordering to about 1,000 locations.

                  I get my coffee from Starbucks every morning, order from the application, and it is ready when I get there. I never see a cashier. I was talking to one of the workers and they said that during the morning rush, over 50% or the orders come in through the app. My guess is that allows at least one less cashier on staff.

                  I would not be surprised if sometime in the future you will pay more if you do not use the application. Just like banks did when they charged to use a teller instead of the ATM.

                  There will be a continued push over the next several years to automate out any job that can go. This will accelerate as more pressure is put on increasing the minimum wage.

  5. Truth, justice, and the American way

    That’s what we’re fighting for.

  6. I like it

    #1 Civil Rights. Really does not need to be explained, but can be quite simply

    #2 New Deal…needs to be re-introduced to today’s Democrats.

    #3 Global Leadership? …..only as it relates to #1 & #2

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Sun 26 Mar 7:08 AM