The Manifesto Project: Submissions Please!

To be posted soon in Orange, also

We are all a bit disappointed these days. The Golden age of a Democratic Majority has not panned out, so to speak. The Dems have pretty much given up on doing something meaningful to oppose Bush. The primary is still five months of candidate diaries away …..and people are still dying.

We seem to have no power to do much of anything while we wait for the long year and a quarter until Bush is gone and one of the Dem candidates takes office and …hopefully….begins to fix the huge mess Bush has made of the world and our nation. So it is time for “Lessons Learned” and hopefully time to build a new way for us to be more powerful in the future. The simplest and most obvious way to do that is to become more united in purpose and in focus.

Armando suggests rallying around lobbying Congress, now and in the future.

Patriot Daily News Clearinghouse suggests a bloggers union

After publishing The Big Picture Vol. 1, several commenters suggested a manifesto. Thus was this project launched.

Though agreeing on what we agree on is just a first step, it could be a meaningful one.

From last nights Ask A Kossak…

One of our many Quixotic quests over at Docudharma is ….don’t laugh now!…trying to find ways to bring both the Progressive Blogosphere and progressives in general closer together. Finding ways to unite us, and by uniting us making us more powerful and more effective.

Herding cats from ponyback.

One of the ways we think might be effective is coming up with a very basic and simple (we hope!) list of things we agree on. A manifesto. The internet is full of the things we do not agree on….including whether we need a manifesto or not. But not much is regularly said about what we do agree on. And what we DO agree on is in essence…..who we are.

Agreeing what we agree on is the first tiny step in bringing us closer together, to claiming the power we have….and are not using. Defining the principles and issues that are most important to us can help us focus.

Every Monday for the next few weeks I will publish another diary both here and at Docudharma asking for submissions for YOU! for the manifesto. We will have two categories. Issues and Principles. If you are an organized type of person, go ahead and make a list of your top five or top ten in each category. If you are a more casual person, just throw in whatever ideas you have and we will try our best to collate and rank them.

Then we will start the winnowing process through more diaries asking y’all to vote on the lists we end up with.

Tonight’s questions are meant to get you thinking, PLEASE DO NOT FEEL LIKE IF YOU DO NOT PARTICIPATE TONIGHT YOU WILL MISS OUT. There will be plenty of chances to submit your …..submissions. This is just a primer to get you thinking. If something clicks, leave it here, if it clicks later, leave it in tomorrows diary….or next weeks. But please think about it and participate if you can. Simplify already took a shot at it, but you do NOT have to use his form or get as in depth, ALL responses are welcome. And let me remind you that The Declaration Of Independence is classified as a manifesto!

Many people were kind enough to respond with lists of their top issues and principles, but of course, the more folks who respond the better a sampling we get.

If you are so inclined, submit your priorities below….but remember, you will have more opportunities to do so and the more time you spend figuring out what is really important to you….what it means to YOU to be a progressive ….the better!

We all believe that Progressivism is the solution. Polls have shown that most people agree with the rather nebulous concept of Progressive values. By assembling a list of those values we can point to it and say, look….we want the same things as you. We can defeat the Republican idea that THEY are America, the Real Americans. We can show the voters that in truth, Progressive ideals are ALREADY their ideals too. That the only thing separating us are the wedges and disinformation that the Right Wing has been so successful at perpetrating.

We ARE the center! We ARE America! America just doesn’t know it. This is a way to help show them that simple truth.

Please help if you can.


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  1. Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

  2. No manifesto you could reasonably come up with would fail to contradict your own stated and restated policies here concerning Palestine.

  3. education…early and often.  higher standards, higher education, higher retention and graduation rates. 

    bill of rights, civil rights, equal rights…if there’s a right that somebody doesnt get, nobody gets it.  (that’s EXTREME righting….not for the weak of ‘constitution’…heh)

    all haircuts MUST cost $400.  piss me off, and ill make that ‘per hair’  😉

    comprehensive health care.  comprehensive in inclusion and comprehensive in care provided.

    protection of body rights for everyone.  children, women, detainees….EVERYONE.  every one.

    im also fond of net neutrality, logical, peaceful foreign policy, clean energy policy, free/fair elections…to consider public funding but understanding complicating issues, exploration of corporate personhood (i dont like it, but i dont fully understand it either)…and something witty about more equitable/fair structure for taxation…when i understand that better as well…

    and in my second term….  😉

  4. have already submitted what you think, but more is always welcome too. We are about to get moving on structure, with plf515 coming aboard to see what techy stuff he can lend. We’ll keep you updated. And everything you have submitted has been saved, so no worries!

  5. Would you like the short list or the long list?

  6. …this is too much fun to miss out on, though  I’m way too maxed today.

    I just read Simplify’s.  It will be a neat trick if something persuasive and effective comes out of this.  I’m not sure issues and principles divide out very well — it seems like the best political writing, the stuff one reads half a century or two centuries later, tries to describe deep principle through the lens of the day’s issues; and that generality describes a distance between a policy exercise and something that makes people catch fire…

    I don’t know.  It will be fun to try if I can get the time :}

    • ANKOSS on October 9, 2007 at 01:17

    Where are the manifesto essays that have been submitted to date? Shouldn’t there be a library section available for assembling and reviewing this material? It seems everything is always being washed down the stream of scrolling diaries and message threads.

    Some serious thought needs to be given to how to equip Docudharma as a political policy construction site, which is different from what is needed to support emoting/venting/bitching/bellowing.

  7. because we didn’t know if they were a lobby or what, how they had so much power. Their power isn’t direct money, instead they keep track of congress’s votes on issues regarding Israel minutely and have a large list of rich donors who they send this information to. So if a legislator crosses them or doesn’t pony up they can loose the donations of many.

    Perhaps we could do something of this nature with the Democrats, regarding how progressive and responsive they are to us the people. ActBlue for instance does not publish much other then candidates PR information. The last election I picked several to donate for and work for I regret. MoveOn is similar I GOTV for a couple of real Blue Doggies. So maybe all blogs could come together for projects that are not soley Democratic but progressive on issues and action. I believe we can impact the country, I believe each revolution starts somewhere, and that change is good, Issues are just as important as politics and, so far except amonst ourselves we aren’t getting enough information out there in action land. I posted this in the meta essay then moved it, see meta does help  as it kicks out the jams.

    • plf515 on October 9, 2007 at 01:26

    but it doesn’t seem to have worked…

    • Tigana on October 9, 2007 at 01:26

    Please count me in. 🙂

  8. things that are important to me.

    Ending the occupation of Iraq and removing all troops from Iraqi soil.

    Restoring our Constitution and the Rule of Law.

    Making climate change and finding clean alternative sources of energy top priorities.

    Replace military threats with strong diplomatic efforts throughout the Middle East and actively engage in FAIR brokerage of an Israeli/Palestine peace agreement.

    Rebuild NOLA.

    Ditch NCLB and provide equal educational opportunities to all children.

    Establish universal health coverage.

    Demand accountability of all members of Congress through the use of frequent primary challenges.

    Public financing of elections and aggressive action on making sure that people are able to vote and their votes are counted as cast. 

  9. …I have to note that I’m left out of your revolution.  I clearly don’t believe Progressivism is the solution.  And I don’t want to rain on your manifesto parade, but I wonder if you might not want to consider your “solution” a bit in the context of it leaves me as part of the problem and the opposition.

    • Robyn on October 9, 2007 at 01:39

    …which some folks see as self-serving:

    We don’t sacrifice some people so that others can have more rights.

    • plf515 on October 9, 2007 at 01:41

      Tonight’s First Question: What do you feel are the top ten (5?) principles of Progressives

    We hold these truths to be self evident:

      1. That all men are created equal

    and that they are endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights, and that among these rights are

      2. Life

      3. Liberty

    and the

      4. Pursuit of happiness.

      5. As I would not be a slave, so I will not be a master – Abraham Lincoln

      6. Most men are worried about their own bellies, and other people’s souls, when we all ought to worry about our own souls and other people’s bellies – Rabbi Israel Salanter

      7.  If I am not for myself, who is for me?

      If I am for myself alone, what am I?
      If not now, when? 

      8.  If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer.  Let each man march to his own rhythm, however measured, or far away.

      9.  That which is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow. That is the whole Torah; the rest is the explanation; go and learn.


      10. Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom.  It is the argument and the creed of slaves –  William Pitt

      Tonight’s Second Question: What do you feel are the top ten (5?) issues for Progressives?

      1. Education

      2. The environment

      3. Diplomacy

      4. Civil rights

      5. A more egalitarian tax and income structure

      Tonight’s Third Question: Any suggestions on HOW to do this?

    Not sure what exactly you mean here.

  10. but I’d like to see something done about the availability of ultra low sugar Tiramisu.

    And no more gunpoint democracy.

    • plf515 on October 9, 2007 at 02:14

    or two ideas….

    1) Indexing by key words.  There are lots of lists of key words out there, for various online databases.  I’m most familiar with psychology, but I bet the political science journals have their own set, and that could be useful

    2) This is more of a wild and crazy idea. A long time ago I worked at Consumer’s Union and came up with a scheme for giving a unique number to every topic in a letter.  The letters ranged a LOT, from “Write about appliances!” to “You reviewed theXXX model XXX-XXXq, but the model XXYQz is much better because of….” to “I won’t subscribe to this commie publication!” to one guy (really) who wrote that he disagreed with our support of groups like the FDC, because “I educate myself about products, and people who don’t deserve to die”

    well…here’s what I came up with:
    a multidigit coding scheme, with dots between the numbers.  SO
    First digit
    1 – Products
    2 – Services
    3 – Other.

    within 1 there was e.g.
    1.1 cars
    1.2 appliances
    1.3 electronics  etc etc.

    and something like “write about this particular model of electric toothbrush” might be

    so, here, the codes would have to be all different, of course: maybe
    1.  Domestic issues
    2.  International issues
    3.  Unclassifiable

    then, within each, we could come up with lists.  The nice thing is, it’s endlessly extendible.

  11. While you all may consider my suggestions in the extreme I submit they actually may not be as these things are going to happen either by catastophic means or by general gradual decay and the decline into third worldlyness, economically and otherwise.

    General strike, I suggest the 11th of every month.

    Stop buying stuff.

    Institute TV viewing tax of $50 per TV set per hour.

    David Ray Griffin to chair new 911 investigations.

    Alter building codes to allow active solar and alternative energy schemes to be built into new and existing housing.

    Termination of all “free” trade agreements.

    Repeal the entire last six years of “legislation”.

    Cut the power to the NSA.

    Disband the BSA, no not the Boy Scouts, the Business Software Alliance.

    Medical freedom act.
    The right to computer free medical records.
    The right to make your own medical decisions concerning your body, no exceptions, no government intrusion, no bullshit, no religion involved, period.

    Nationalize Microsoft Corporation seizing all of it’s assets and make Windows 98, and XP available for free download on the net.  We know Vista is simply a pipeline into the NSA.

    Alternative energy superfund.
    Cold fusion, no it is not dead, just Eugene Mallove is.
    Yes there is lot’s of crap out there but it’s still worth a second impartial peer reviewed look.

    Enviornmental depleted uranium clean up initiative.

    HAARP, may I suggest “alternative” interrogation techniques to find out what exactly went on with this project.

    In order to sell goods and services to the American populace the executive staff must reside in the predominant country of origin of said goods and services for at least 50 weeks in any calendar year.  Oh and the transfer of money from one country to another shall take a minimum of six weeks and be limited to a maximum of $600 dollars.

    Government shall not fund organizations promoting the export of American jobs.

    Re-regulation of industry to eliminate obvious and blatant conflicts of interest.

    Save Gitmo and the other FEMA camps for Congressional lobbyists, Faux News staff and most of the current three branches of the current Federal government.  War crime tribunals to be headed up by Alex Jones.

    Immediate termination of the Federal Reserve(101st Airborn, I suggest) and return to silver certificate based money.

    Termination of the Internal Revenue Service with retraining of this entire workforce into the alternative energy science fields.

    And to even out the Palestinian issue?  We stop subsidizing Israel, zip, zero dollars, zero high tech military gifts.  Period.

  12. We all believe that Progressivism is the solution.

    I don’t.

    Progressivism, as Shelton Stromquist pointed out in “Reinventing ‘The People'”, was an attempt to “clean up” capitalist society while at the same time looking away from the ongoing class struggle.  Progressivism looked good in the 1960s, when the status quo in the field of economics was a Keynesian macroeconomics with some meaningful populist props.

    Today, however, the class compromise that once characterized the American economy is no longer a going concern, and the economic status quo is “neoliberalism,” both in the Democratic and in the Republican Parties.  Neoliberalism is a doctrine of class warfare — for the neoliberals, the working class and the ecosphere are only so much raw material to be turned (against all resistance) into profit for the investor class, in line with the doctrine of “market relations” that is to prevail worldwide and against the background of an aggregate global economic growth rate that is generally slowing down.  Dominant neoliberalism makes mincemeat of Progressive doctrine, which assumes that the problems of class warfare can all be dissolved in class compromises and robust economic growth.

    The neoliberal Democratic Party elite, moreover, have the “Progressives” hoodwinked in this regard.  The “Progressives” can yell and scream all they want in election off-years, but when it came time to choose a President, the “progressives” were obliged to demand nothing of Kerry, who was more or less a DLC suit.  We just simply aren’t going to deal with the oncoming crises, either in economic or in ecosystemic collapse, if the best we can do is a philosophy that accompanies a “lesser of two evils” voter posture in an era of elite-consensus neoliberalism.

    Now, this isn’t to say that there is “no difference” between the Republicans and the Democrats.  By all means, vote for whomever you must.  It is, however, to say that “Progressivism” isn’t going to get beyond that difference toward something worth fighting for.

    Many people were kind enough to respond with lists of their top issues and principles

    To my thinking, there is one issue, and one principle; survival.  Capitalism’s time is nearly up, and accompanying the dull thud of its newly-dead carcass against the despoiled terrain of a world plundered for profit will be various struggles for survival.  The question of the future is one of how we will fit into a world grinding inexorably toward ecological sustainability.  This will either take place against the background of a global  desert or perhaps as something better.

    So it is time for “Lessons Learned” and hopefully time to build a new way for us to be more powerful in the future. The simplest and most obvious way to do that is to become more united in purpose and in focus.

    I don’t see the problem as one of “unity.”  The “Progressives” were all united behind John Kerry and Al Gore, and in blaming Ralph Nader after the Repubs stole the vote count.  The problem is one of what we want to do.  Now, we can be united behind “Fuck Bush” and against all of the self-serving fraud that today calls itself “the Right,” in ways I can’t count.  But that won’t tell us what to do.

    I really do think we need to get into disciplines such as agroecology and permaculture.  We need to re-ruralize the cities which are devouring our planet, and bring people back in touch with the land.  This is the most important thing, and it has to be primarily a working-class project.  It won’t work on a macro level unless we succeed in using it to reverse the direction of class struggle.

    • snud on October 9, 2007 at 04:16

    was too long for a comment.

    Hell, it was too long for an essay!

  13. I am in the early stages of putting together what I tentatively call an ‘economic manifesto’. Man, does that sound arrogant to me, but what the hell – I’m having fun with it.

    Perhaps it will be done by next Monday, perhpas the Monday after that.


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