Click amount to donate direct to CounterPunch
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $500
  • $other
  • use PayPal
Keep CounterPunch ad free. Support our annual fund drive today!

Don’t Mourn, Go Green


For quite awhile now, the political streams have been flooded with the ever increasing wail of the progressive Democrats. The weeping and gnashing of teeth by peace and justice groups, unions, focus groups, Democratic Party blogs and liberal/left journals has become deafening: What happened, why didn’t we get what we voted for on November 4, 2008?

These progressive Democrats organized, campaigned and voted for a progressive agenda and go–drum roll–nothing. That’s right, nothing. For the past year, their party has controlled both houses of Congess and the presidency. For three years, their party has enjoyed majority power in the House. What the progressive Democrats got out of all that: absolutely nothing.

They voted for peace, and they got war–expanded into Pakistan and Yemen with escalation in Afghanistan and continuing occupation in Iraq. They voted for health care reform, and they got Big Pharma’s Frankenstein. They voted for reining in Wall Street, and the got multiple bailouts and fat bonuses on Wall Street and ever increasing foreclosures and evictions on Main Street and Back Street. They voted for jobs, and they got spiraling unemployment. Bring back Habeas Corpus? Nah. Close Guantanamo? Nix. Stop torture? Nein. Fair union organizing in the work place? Tax breaks for he rest of us? Mortgage relief? You gotta be kidding.

In all their caterwauling about this deteriorating situation, do the progressive Democrats have any suggestions for turning these policies 180 degrees around? Yes, they do! Send an email. Sign an online petition. Write a letter to your representative in Congress. Tell your neighbors how unhappy you are. Wow, with this kind of muscle, the new dawn will soon be breaking!

One progressive pundit even offered up “don’t mourn, organize,” the immortal words of the IWW martyr, Joe Hill. The problem with that suggeston is that
most of us have neither the time nor the skills to organize anything much past our own personal lives.

The real problem is–and always will be–that the Democrats In Charge (DIC) of the Democratic Party (the Clinton wing and its corporate backers) don’t give a damn about the opinions or values of the progressive Democrats because the rightwing DIC knows that the progressive Democrats will always vote for them, regardless of the actual DIC policies. Come election time, the DIC publicity apparatus will trot out all that scary stuff about the Republicans again, and the progressives will line up like bobbleheads on a dashboard and cast delusionary votes for the same people who gave us NAFTA and the WTO, took away welfare for the poor, dismantled Glass Stegall and equal time in broadcasting, expanded the prison system, and conducted the horific sanctions on Iraq.

Why don’t the progressive Democrats take a page from Joe Lieberman’s play book? Lieberman went Independent, and the Democrats In Charge attached their collective proboscis to his corporate posterior. What do you think would happen if Dennis Kucinich, Barbara Lee, Marcy Kaptur, Lynn Woolsey and the rest of the so-called progressive caucus announced themselves as independents? Would they get the same slavish attention from the DIC that the far right Blue Dogs get? What if Senator Durbin, who grumbled “the banks own this place,” had the guts to declare himself independent of his bank-owned party? Do you think that the Clinton/Pelosi/Reid axis and its cronies would be compelled to put Single Payer and multiple other issues “on the table” if they had to negotiate with a sizeable bloc of independent progressives?

On the rank and file level, what if all the progressive Democat voters registered Green Pary tomorrow? Think they’d get the DIC’s attention?

First of all, the Green party authentically represents the values the progrssive Democrats ostensibly espouse–peace, justice, small d democracy–so it’s not as if these stranded Democrats would have some kind of political heart attack over changing registration. After all, their party is the historic party of segregation, and Franklin D Roosevelt couldn’t even get an anti-lynching law passed by his Democratic Congress. Seventy years later, this same party continues to approve the over-bloated imperial war budget at the expense of critical assistance to economically destroyed non-white cities like New Orleans and Detroit. Also, for all the recent Democratic Party moaning about the Supreme Court decision to legally install the corporate state, let’s not forget that 22 of their senators voted to confirm Chief Justice Roberts.

And for those Democrats who resentfully cling to the fiction that Green Party presidential candidate Ralp Nader somehow cost Al Gore the 2000 election in Florida, they should ask the man who invented the Internet why he conceded so quickly in the face of an orchestrated voter fraud of massive proportion which involved the systematic disenfranchisement of the black vote in that state. They should also revisit that historic post-election moment in the Senate when not one Democratic senator–including the revered Paul Wellstone–was willing to provide the single necessary cosponsoring vote in support of the House members’ objection to Florida’s tainted electoral votes. Not one.

The moment of truth has arrived for those registered Democrats who consider themselves progressives to be part of the problem or part of the solution. It’s called “fish or cut bait.” Surely these Democrats realize by now that–whatever they thought they were voting for on November 4, 2008–what they got was Bill Clinton’s third term.

DON SANTINA is a cultural historian who received a Superior Scribing award for his Counterpunch article “Reparations for the Blues.” He can be reached at

More articles by:

2016 Fund Drive
Smart. Fierce. Uncompromised. Support CounterPunch Now!

  • cp-store
  • donate paypal

CounterPunch Magazine


October 26, 2016
John W. Whitehead
A Deep State of Mind: America’s Shadow Government and Its Silent Coup
Anthony Tarrant
On the Unbearable Lightness of Whiteness
Luke O'Brien
The Churchill Thing: Some Big Words About Trump and Some Other Chap
Mark Weisbrot
The Most Dangerous Place in the World: US Pours in Money, as Blood Flows in Honduras
Eric Draitser
Dear Liberals: Trump is Right
Chris Welzenbach
The Establishment and the Chattering Hack: a Response to Nicholas Lemann
Sabia Rigby
In the “Jungle:” Report from the Refugee Camp in Calais, France
Linn Washington Jr.
Pot Decriminalization Yields $9-million in Savings for Philadelphia
Pepe Escobar
“America has lost” in the Philippines
Pauline Murphy
Political Feminism: the Legacy of Victoria Woodhull
Lizzie Maldonado
The Burdens of World War III
David Swanson
Slavery Was Abolished
Thomas Mountain
Preventing Cultural Genocide with the Mother Tongue Policy in Eritrea
Colin Todhunter
Agrochemicals And The Cesspool Of Corruption: Dr. Mason Writes To The US EPA
October 25, 2016
David Swanson
Halloween Is Coming, Vladimir Putin Isn’t
Hiroyuki Hamada
Fear Laundering: an Elaborate Psychological Diversion and Bid for Power
Priti Gulati Cox
President Obama: Before the Empire Falls, Free Leonard Peltier and Mumia Abu-Jamal
Kathy Deacon
Plus ça Change: Regime Change 1917-1920
Robin Goodman
Appetite for Destruction: America’s War Against Itself
Richard Moser
On Power, Privilege, and Passage: a Letter to My Nephew
Rev. William Alberts
The Epicenter of the Moral Universe is Our Common Humanity, Not Religion
Dan Bacher
Inspector General says Reclamation Wasted $32.2 Million on Klamath irrigators
David Mattson
A Recipe for Killing: the “Trust Us” Argument of State Grizzly Bear Managers
Derek Royden
The Tragedy in Yemen
Ralph Nader
Breaking Through Power: It’s Easier Than We Think
Norman Pollack
Centrist Fascism: Lurching Forward
Guillermo R. Gil
Cell to Cell Communication: On How to Become Governor of Puerto Rico
Mateo Pimentel
You, Me, and the Trolley Make Three
Cathy Breen
“Today Is One of the Heaviest Days of My Life”
October 24, 2016
John Steppling
The Unwoke: Sleepwalking into the Nightmare
Oscar Ortega
Clinton’s Troubling Silence on the Dakota Access Pipeline
Patrick Cockburn
Aleppo vs. Mosul: Media Biases
John Grant
Humanizing Our Militarized Border
Franklin Lamb
US-led Sanctions Targeting Syria Risk Adjudication as War Crimes
Paul Bentley
There Must Be Some Way Out of Here: the Silence of Dylan
Norman Pollack
Militarism: The Elephant in the Room
Patrick Bosold
Dakota Access Oil Pipeline: Invite CEO to Lunch, Go to Jail
Paul Craig Roberts
Was Russia’s Hesitation in Syria a Strategic Mistake?
David Swanson
Of All the Opinions I’ve Heard on Syria
Weekend Edition
October 21, 2016
Friday - Sunday
John Wight
Hillary Clinton and the Brutal Murder of Gaddafi
Diana Johnstone
Hillary Clinton’s Strategic Ambition in a Nutshell
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Trump’s Naked and Hillary’s Dead
John W. Whitehead
American Psycho: Sex, Lies and Politics Add Up to a Terrifying Election Season
Stephen Cooper
Hell on Earth in Alabama: Inside Holman Prison
Patrick Cockburn
13 Years of War: Mosul’s Frightening and Uncertain Future