The National Safety Net (NSN) political proposal is more visionary than anything I have found on the top/leading progressive websites. It’s amazing to me that some of the best and brightest folks/editors in America disregard or shy away from a radical positive vision. These websites, to their credit, have no problem posting radical critiques of society–by Chris Hedges, for example–but posting a far-reaching, comprehensive plan that elevates the overall standard of living for everyone “appears” to be beyond their serious consideration and confidence–in the richest country in the world? Commondreams.org, for example, certainly one of the most influential/powerful and progressive websites in my opinion, is weak/timid about promoting a visionary concrete alternative (such as NSN). Do the editors of this website consider it “unrealistic,” or “utopian,” or “impractical,” (or any such description that I have heard again and again from nay-sayers and fiscal conservatives ) to satisfy the hunger in this country,, especially among the best and brightest folks, for a common life of fundamental security and reasonable comfort. It “appears” to be so because nothing of this magnitude is being offered to those who visit their website.
What’s clear to the best and brightest Americans is that Capitalism has to go. What’s not clear is what exactly should replace it? Socialism, a publically owned and operated not-for-profit economic system, has many forms– some historical and some theoretical, and the only thing certain is that there is no way to predict now what the best future society will look like, if it arrives at all? That’s why the National Safety Net (NSN) program is the key for getting from here to there. It gives us a solid foundation on which to build an ideal society, even though we can’t clearly see the finished product. All progressives should come together and support NSN as the necessary universal basis for the model society toward which we are all striving (in various ways).
The “myth” that Capitalism is an economic tide that lifts all ships certainly needs to be deflated (before we all go down with the Titanic) , and the promotion and enactment of a National Safety Net (NSN) is a practical way to accomplish this? I agree with intellectual theory and arguments about the superiority of Socialism over Capitalism , but NSN is the beginning of an alternative economy within Capitalism that will prove to vast numbers of people that the Government doesn’t have to be the enemy, and that life doesn’t have to be a competitive struggle for survival and growth? The National Safety Net (NSN) opens a path from the insecurity and disappointment of life in a market-based society, to a qualitatively different kind of life altogether. Embracing it, and supporting it, is more important than deciding on a particular political Party, and a clear path to a better world. The anger that Tea Party people and others feel toward Government is best dealt with by demonstrating that Government can really work for the people, not in insignificant ways, but in a way that dramatically augments the quality of life for everyone, as NSN does.
John Pilger is correct that serious dissent exposing illegal war has become a serious crime because western-war states such as the US are not threatened by the Taliban or any other tribesmen in faraway places, but by the antiwar instincts of their own citizens. I suggest that Pilger’s news of a Third World War, horrible and accurate as it is, can best be dealt with in America through the adoption of the National Safety Net (NSN) political proposal because the enactment of a guaranteed minimum lifestyle for every American, as concretely defined in the NSN platform, will vastly reduce the fear ( and so hatred) in the country that makes possible, more anything else, the manufacturing of consent for the ultimate atrocity.
Despite an invitation that promised the meeting to be open to the public and closed to “lobbying”, it was neither. In fact it was the opposite. Everyone that spoke in the first hour had a specific issue to lobby, asking for petition signing and circulating their “calls to action”. A group from Redding traveled down in an effort to recruit for its “regressive democrat club” and a candidate for Congress sent a representative to campaign.
A bloated loud mouth, claiming to be an Army Colonel, a chemical engineer and a newspaper columnist spent the first twenty minutes spitting out every nonsensical thought that came into his otherwise empty head. No introductions were made and no organisation was attempted, though the meeting was billed as an “organisational meeting”.
When a member of the public proclaimed that he had been going to “Tea Party” meetings and “was looking for something different”, he was initially shouted down by a loud-mouthed, post-menopausal cow in the audience and told to “Get Out”. But someone spoke up and said he should be allowed to finish his statement. The crowd clapped vigorously and it appeared that the cow was over-ruled.
However, five minutes later, another young man spoke up and introduced himself as someone who had gone to “Tea Party” meetings in the past. He had a very polite tone and manner and said that he was there “to see what he could learn”. But before he could finish his statement, another disruptive, post-menopausal cow, this one a “professional club organiser” from Redding, shouted him down and angrily proclaimed that “such people were not welcome”. She started to go into a paranoid rant about how the “Tea Party” was “trying to disrupt meetings everywhere”.
I asked the organiser to stop the disruption of people trying to introduce themselves. When he refused, I put a stop to the disruption with my own unique form of disruption. If speaking politely and calmly doesn’t get you enough respect to stop the cows from shouting you down, I think my own brand of speaking finally did get their attention.
I left the meeting, as my educated and politically experienced friend had left ten minutes before me. This was not the place for intelligent people, or educated people, or people with real experience in the politics of this country. This was a place for the dim-witted and cowardly and the folks who want to push them around. It was the place for people with no power and no hope for any power.
It was the Tea Party. It was the Coffee Party. It was a bunch of cowardly fools being pushed around by controlling, passive aggressive, post-menopausal cows and bloated clowns.
We didn’t get Single Payer Healthcare, or a Public Option because the Obama Administration wanted a market solution to the crisis, and now it wants financial reform for Wall Street along the same lines, and just as the health insurance companies wrote the new healthcare bill, so the bankers and money lobbyists are writing their own new regulations. The truth is that the American private sector economy is not going to solve any big problem , and not even seriously limit the greedy exploitation of the many by the few. This is why the National Safety Net (NSN) is a public sector political program that takes the profit-motive, the bottom line mentality of making money, out of the decision-making process about the satisfaction of basic, survival needs for the American people as a whole. Casino Capitalism, with its winners and (mostly) losers, has no place at the center of our economy or society, where matters of life and death, happiness and misery are determined.
The Coffee Party meeting that I attended in Northern California yesterday is off on the wrong footing. Like so many (failed) well-intentioned political gatherings and movements across America it contains a great diversity of individual perspectives and agenda items held together by some vague sense of preserving the Constitution, or tolerating and respecting different viewpoints, or being a good American. In other words, it’s both too specific and too general, or to say it in a better way, it’s not an integrated group or mission. The value of the National Safety Net political proposal is that it identifies 7 critical elements of a worthwhile society, and promotes them as parts of a single, irrefutable goal that every American deserves a basic level of security from the uncertainty of a market economy. NSN is the right mix of diversity and unity. It focuses very important issues around the central demand for a universal safety net, so I hope that future Coffee Party meetings across the county will adopt it and be guided by it, instead of rambling on aimlessly and meaninglessly.