Not bad! I don’t have much more to say about this, but I will quote myself, from OpenLeft, about one of the most significant things – perhaps THE most significant thing – that the Coffee Party is doing. The Coffee Party is creating democratic infrastructure – a means for people of diverse beliefs to meets, on items of mutual concern, even if of different perspective.
hopefully, they will not even try to enforce conformity at the local level, where policies would be decided by the local members. (According to my reading of their website, they don’t have a top-down structure, except for some basic principles such as civility, and the principle that government is a necessary part of the solution of many of our problems. Thus, they can’t enforce conformity across chapters.)
What intrigues me most is that they are creating democratic infrastructure – whether they realize it, or not. Corrupt politicos and lobbyists have extensive infrastructure already in place to corrupt Congress – e.g., K-Street. But where are the meeting spaces – which is part of the infrastructure – that citizens who share similar concerns can meet? Even if those citizens, like the Ancient Athenians, have radically different perspectives on how to deal with those concerns? Where can such citizens in modern day America meet and start to forge alliances, unfettered by a corrupted Democratic or Republican machinery?
Ancient Athens had what I can only view as a vigorous democracy (for eligible citizens, anyway). It certainly was not vigorous because citizens would share separate spaces, and just make snide remarks about opposing groups. There was plenty of head-butting, which could even lead to formal ostracism as a means to tone down any perceived threats to stability, but the head-butting was face-to-face and everybody knew that, at the end of the day, they were most all in the in the same boat. (Indeed, the small size of the polis, coupled with the ancient Greeks’ penchant for fighting with each other, made cooperation a life-and-death matter.)
It remains to be seen if the originators of the Coffee Party will make any attempt to co-opt the enormous potential they are tapping into, for the sake of Democratic Party purposes. IMO, independents and of course Republicans will immediately revolt if this is attempted. But note that, as long as the movement takes off before any such attempt at co-option, it will actually become well nigh impossible to co-opt, later on.
I think this is the best thing to happen in American civic life in a long, long time.