Calling All Populists!
I admire The Nation, but now and then it hits me where I live and my gratitude spilleth over. To wit: Jim Hightower’s “Time for a Populist Revival!” [March 24]. Inspired and inspiring! Thank you!
I concur with Jim Hightower. At 101 years of age, I have declared myself a candidate for Congress (joenewman101.com) with the primary purpose of bringing to public attention the threat to morality from the far right. Part of my platform is to remind us that in 1787 some of our best minds met and set this goal—dreamed this dream, if you will—that “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, to establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity….” Can we keep that hope, that dream, alive? We must.
Climate leaders would do well to read Brother Hightower’s prescription for the progressive movement as a template for developing a working collaboration between the grassroots climate movement (including scientists) and climate advocates in Congress. Where is the coalition—you know, the one that a third of voters are waiting to be part of?
One hundred million Americans are concerned about the climate emergency. And yet the climate movement has no actionable unity of message on solutions, goals or plans to bring its separate entities together. The hour is late, friends. It’s five minutes to midnight for planetary life. Time to get very angry, very determined and very organized.
Brian R. Smith
When French Foreign Minister Pierre Lavalle informed Comrade Stalin that he should promote Catholicism to appease the pope, Stalin replied, “The pope! How many divisions has he got?” Jim Hightower shows the same departure from reality. For two years now, we have been regaled with the impending demise of the Republicans. We are told of a party riven by internal war, on the wrong side of history, the issues and the demographics.
We hear of the resurgence of populism/liberalism among the American people, shot into afterburner by the Occupy movement. The massive injustices cited by the author are real enough, and they are lamented by a majority of Americans. But the contention that we can effect change by working harder and smarter and organizing better is an exercise in self-delusion.
The massive power crafted by the oligarchs by means of a carefully planned and hugely financed intergenerational program of political capture has carried the day. We have long passed the point where social, economic, legal and political justice can be obtained at the ballot box. Power never yields without a fight—a real fight. We can prevail only in the streets, by massive peaceful protest. We ended the Vietnam War and toppled a corrupt presidency, not from the ballot box but from the concrete and asphalt. This octogenarian liberal is ready to go once more unto the breach.