Give us time, we will begin blogging as soon as events begin to unfold.
By Daniel Crawford
The following represents the opinion of Progressive member Daniel Crawford alone and does not represent the view of the larger Licking County Progressives.
A couple of months ago, I openly entertained the idea of building a true progressive political party. The reaction was mixed, as one might imagine. There are a lot of progressives in the area and around the country who’ve become convinced and crippled by the argument that all progressives must remain loyal to the Democratic Party, because of the difficulty in establishing a viable alternative to the same. So, basically, no one ever tries to build an alternative. It’s just too difficult to start.
Of course, the difficulty in getting started on building something outside the two party framework is exactly what the established political forces want you to focus on. They want us to be discouraged by the daunting task of building something new and viable which can counter the power of the elites. Make no mistake about it, both major political parties are subservient to the oligarchy and the oligarchy will fight tooth and nail – while also shedding blood, if necessary – in order to maintain their grip on power. The key is for us, the oppressed working class, to escape the mindset that we can never do any better.
It is like being an abuse victim. The abuser convinces you that there is no hope outside of a life with them. No one will ever “protect” you or “love” you the way the abuser claims to. So, instead of looking elsewhere for something better, you never leave the side of the person who constantly treats you like a piece of property, no matter how badly or how often they cause you harm. This mindset is similar to how the voting public has been treated by the two major parties, because the two major parties ultimately serve the interests of the ultimate abuser: the oligarchy. The few who actually run things don’t want the abused voters to know that there is a better way, because that means the free ride is over.
The moment that the working class recognizes that we have no major party that we can rely on is the moment that we can focus on building a real movement and political organization for change. A party of and for the working class doesn’t pander to the wealthy few or corporations. A party of and for the working class doesn’t maintain the status quo. A party of and for the working class stands and fights for the working class at all times, pushes aggressively for the changes we need, and welcomes the hatred of the few!
For us, the challenge is coming together and resolving that we WANT a party which fights for us and which doesn’t bow down. We have to desire an organization which doesn’t appease the few. It is OUR responsibility to build such an organization from the ground-up and make it a viable alternative to the false choice we have now. The only thing that stands in our way is our own self-imposed limitations of the imagination and determination it takes to break these political chains.
So, what do you say? Shall we do this? Is it in us to build a new progressive party, or are we left to hope that the Democratic Party actually gets out of the way of the grassroots building something within? This is a debate that progressives really should have. It is a discussion that we need to have.
Yes, the times we live in now are quite scary. The thought of taking on the system is not as appealing when we are staring into the abyss of fascism on the rise. As a matter of my personal opinion, I must agree that democracy and the future of humanity as a whole is more in peril now than at any point since World War Two. An authoritarian system must be defeated in its tracks if we have any hope to maintain liberty, let alone create a progressive society.
This is why my objective is to first defeat fascism and then to direct our attention to the oligarchy which helped to create the conditions for fascism. Make no mistake about it, the oligarchs may be speaking up in public against authoritarianism right now, but oligarchs throughout the history of the world have not only benefited from fascists, they have happily bankrolled them and helped facilitated the rise thereof…each and every time.
We have to defeat this wave of fascism and then focus our attention on the oligarchy and the two party system they have created for us. Only outside of the two-party construct can we ever hope to develop a society (and even a world) which serves the interests of all humans. So, yes, defeat Trump and the fascists right now, and then mobilize with even more passion to crush the oligarchs and their partisan puppets. With or without a third party, this has to be done…or we WILL end up back in this position once again in a very short period of time.
The following are blog entries from fellow progressives in the area (NONA = Newark Ohio News Analysis by Stan Wrzyszczynski and WFI = Working Families First by Garry Goldsmith):
(NONA) “Days of Irony: Gaslighting For Beginners” (April 5th, 2020): Here, Stan discusses the prioritization of profits over people even in the wake of the coronavirus. He explores how obvious this is with how the presumptive Democratic and Republican Presidential nominees implore for action to save the market and in how Licking County, Ohio’s local leaders openly brace themselves for the impact of a recession on revenue.
(NONA) “And The Creep Goes On” (April 12th, 2020): Using an analogy about the hard-to-notice emergence of climate change, Stan points out that authoritarianism is beginning to rear its ugly head with the ongoing assault on our democracy by Trump and his allies in the Republican Party.
(NONA) “Return To Normalcy” (April 20th, 2020): Stan does a great job of tearing apart the notion that we can “return to normal” in the midst of a pandemic, no matter what our desires may be while trapped in our homes listening to the insane rantings of President Trump.
(NONA) “Death Cult For Cutie” (April 26th, 2020): Stan explores the gaslighting approach of Trump shortly after Trump distracts everyone from his previous absurdity with a new one (injecting light and disinfectant).
(NONA) “Why Mail In Voting Does Not Benefit Democrats” (April 28th, 2020): An excellent analysis by Stan wherein he points out the poor turnout for the presidential primary and hints at a warning of a depressed Democratic turnout come November.
(NONA) “If That Just Don’t Beat All” (May 5th, 2020): Stan assesses the absurdity of reopening the Ohio and national economy in the midst of a pandemic before the supposed peak, all for the sake of pleasing a select few.
(NONA) “Invisible and Contagious” (May 18th, 2020): Stan examines the detrimental effect of President Trump’s presidency on our collective mental health.
(NONA) “MIA” (May 22nd, 2020): Stan explains that only a portion of the community experienced a “shut down” thanks to the virus. Meanwhile, the few are still getting their billions and political leadership is “missing in action”.
(WF1) “Thoreau ‘Civil Disobedience’” (May 27th, 2020): In the midst of the then-rising mass movement in support of #BlackLivesMatter, Garry shares a video from YouTube which tells about how a man named Thoreau believed deeply in the obligation of every citizen to stand for what is right, even when it is deeply unpopular to do so.
(NONA) “Decision 2020” (May 28th, 2020): In this analysis, Stan looks at the real decision that the American people must weigh in November 2020, which pits reality versus the cult leader challenging reality.
(NONA) “Meanwhile” (June 5th, 2020): Stan tackles what State Republicans are up to in Ohio while the eyes of all are on the demonstrations and riots (it doesn’t look good for democracy, as you will see).
(NONA) “Official Apology from the Ministry of Information” (June 14th, 2020): Stan does an excellent job looking at the “privatized” relationship of the Trump White House with its de facto propaganda network, Fox News.
(NONA) “Newark Ohio Iconoclash” (June 21st, 2020): Stan observes the transformative moment which has beset the nation but which has yet to visit Newark in any significant fashion wherein the symbols of racism are compelled to come down either by mob force or legitimate preemptive means. He openly ponders the great and “uncomfortable conversation” that we need to have as a local community and as a global one: the cancer that is capitalism.
(WF1) “Father and Son, Freedom and Liberty” (July 4th, 2020): In this Independence Day special entry by Garry, he shares a photo of his son and grandson taken a few years ago during a little league ball game. He analyzes the hopes he has as a grandfather and father that his loved ones and their peers will live to enjoy the “American Dream” that we have all been fed and promised since birth.
Are you a dehumanized tool for the production of wealth, or are you a person with real, intrinsic AND instrumental value?
This question is an important one that each of us needs to ponder in these times as our economic and political systems are tested like never before.
An upcoming podcast episode for the “The Inequality Chronicles” – hosted by Daniel Crawford – will help to trigger this discussion.
Are you ready to think like a person, or are you content with being a cog?
In lieu of the April 27th, 2020 business meeting, Daniel recorded this audio update.
Your semi-regular round-up of local progressive blog posts which you may find worth your while to read. Here are some blogs posts (typically from Newark Ohio News Analysis or Working Families First or NONA and WF1st) which may be more than a couple weeks old, but they are still worthy of your attention.
Recent blog posts by fellow Licking County Progressives that you may have missed:
- (NONA, “Food For Thought”, February 6th, 2020) Stan writes about the nationwide danger of voter enthusiasm declining, the loss of faith in our elections, and the reduced turnout in certain areas, the Democratic Party’s dilemma of corporate ties, and how all of that even impacts the conditions of a struggling democracy on a local level.
- (NONA, “Whatever is good will appear”, February 9th, 2020) Stan delves deeper into the issue of voter suppression, but from a different angle. He explores how development for purposes of aiding the market always seems to supersede development for community benefit. In this message, he notes that the recent appointment of Newark Development Partners alum Spencer Barker to the Newark City Council has a hidden message for the downtrodden: “don’t bother voting, we’ve got this”. Part of this critique is in highlighting the slow crawl of development in helping local homeless via a former Family Dollar building as compared to the swift renovation of a market-based segment of town near the town Square.
- (NONA, “American Factory”, February 15th, 2020) Stan discusses the importance of coming together and having community discussion about informative works, such as films and books.
- (NONA, “Both Side-ism”, February 20th, 2020) Stan highlights the corruption of our for-profit media by noting its selective coverage of current events, and more specifically its intentional lack of coverage of local politics.
- (NONA, “C U and US”, February 28th, 2020) Stan openly wonders about the potential benefits of having a campaign with two – instead of one – prominent Democratic Socialists running for president and how it would help expose the problems with our corporate-friendly system in the age of Citizens United.
- (NONA, “How Bernie Sanders Has Already Won”, March 4th, 2020) Stan explores how the coronavirus outbreak is forcing the mainstream of American politics to seriously take a look at the numerous proposals offered by Bernie; especially Medicare for All.\
- (NONA, “Trump Lite”, March 12th, 2020) Stan highlights the problematic contrast that the American people may soon face between the corrupt incumbent president and the lukewarm support for a “return to normalcy” as exhibited in the campaign of the former Vice President leading the charge to challenge him.
- (NONA, “Reaching for the Impossible”, March 17th, 2020) Stan helps to explain why a candidate like Bernie Sanders doesn’t simply give up when the cards are stacked highly against him and why grassroots movements are so vital to change.
- (NONA, “The Wartime President”, March 22nd, 2020) Stan excellently analyzes the seemingly perpetual feeling of being in a “State of War” against the invisible enemy of coronavirus. He underlines part of how the fear and the need for feeling safe is helping an authoritarian president exploit this moment to expand his reach and power.
- (NONA, “Questions”, March 29th, 2020) Stan looks into what he says are questions for which there appear to be no answers. The main question in all of this seems to be that while former Vice President Joe Biden may have consolidated party support to stop the insurgency of Bernie Sanders, what does Joe have planned to wake up the base and defeat Trump?
A question that all progressives must ask themselves is: is it better that we continue to try and make the Democratic Party more progressive or would it be better to work towards creating a new (and VIABLE) Progressive Party to compete with the Democratic and Republican Parties?
This is a subject which was hinted at several times in 2016 and 2017 (and has been addressed several times throughout American history), but it may deserve a serious look in this moment.
More to come on this topic in the weeks and months ahead.
Our official meetings have been changing over time. When we last met in October we openly discussed how we were going to have to consider a change of venue and even consider altering our presentation of the meetings. A few months earlier we started sharing our meetings via our Facebook page doing a “Live” video. This was meant to encourage participation from those who consider themselves to be local progressives. Moving forward, it is our hope to encourage more supporters to participate in this process.
Tonight was supposed to be the February Meeting, but a number of things have come up. Health issues and a slew of unforeseen crises for our core members have contributed to the fact that we did not secure a meeting spot tonight. I, Daniel, will record a video to provide any updates which come to mind within the next 24 hours and will share said video here on this website and on the facebook page. More updates to come soon.
In the meantime, enjoy your time with family.
We will let everyone know if there will be any changes to the schedule to our planned February Meeting this Monday.
Here begins a new feature of this website, a semi-regular round-up of local progressive blog posts which you may find worth your while to read. This first installment consists of some blogs posts which extend back to November, but they are still worthy of your attention.
Recent blog posts by fellow Licking County Progressives that you may have missed:
- Newark Ohio News Analysis (NONA from this point onward), November 1st, 2019: “Something for Something”. In this analysis, the author (Stan), assesses what was then the upcoming Mayoral Election in 2019 between Incumbent Mayor Hall and Challenger Jeremy Blake. He notes that Hall claims that he wants certain services but that we supposedly “can’t afford” them, that we must focus our expenditures on improving our downtown to attract businesses, and this analysis includes an interesting take on the issue of the Hotel-designated Longaberger Basket and how it connects with the East End Fire Station.
- Working Families First Blog (WF1st), November 13th, 2019: “Talking Points that may come up on social media…know the truth”: Here, the author (Garry), offers some key pointers for how to respond to common critiques of the progressive viewpoint.
- NONA, November 13th, 2019: “Free Exercise of Faith Democracy”. Stan looks at the appointment of State Representative Mark Fraizer after he was reelected to Council, but appointed and seated to the State House before even finishing his first term on Council. He asks an important question about how Fraizer will respond to the controversial bills on forcing doctors to reverse ecotopic pregnancy removals and forcing schools to accept science homework which is turned in with the wrong answers (due to religious influence).
- WF1st, November 22nd, 2019: “Like it of not, we have to start talking about politics”: Here, Garry writes about the importance of getting over what divides us and talking about the issues which unite us. His major point here is that talking politics – while taboo – is crucial to save our democracy.
- NONA, November 24th, 2019: “Under the Law Updated”: Stan analyzes the recent forced selling of the Arcade downtown, including all of its small businesses and the residential units. He connects this conspicuous sale with the equally conspicuous and curious appointment of a man named Spencer Barker to replace Mark Fraizer on City Council. As he points out, Barker is a key figure in development plans for the Newark Development Partners, which is the organization responsible for the Arcade sale.
- NONA, November 28th, 2019: “Act Like An Owner”: An excellent analysis by Stan bemoaning the horrid and embarrassingly low turnout in Newark’s recent election and in elections overall.
- NONA, December 1st, 2019: “Uncanny Prophet”: An interesting entry by Stan wherein he offers the words of some author about American prosperity back in the 1960s.
- NONA, December 8th, 2019: “Framed, the Continual Sequel”: This, another excellent analysis by Stan, is a clever indictment of the way the City of Newark (and perhaps even the County and Country as a whole) approaches a whole host of problems. Here, the author assess a recent public forum on homelessness, the willingness of the City to spend money on consultants to “frame” the problem, and the equal unwillingness of the same City to spend money on addressing the root causes which we all know exist.
- NONA, December 9th, 2019: “ALEC gets Religion”: Stan does a great job touching on the corrupt connection between the infamous lobbying organization and Ohio Elected Republicans.
- WF1st, December 12th, 2019: “The Case for Impeachment is Overwhelming”: Garry asks readers to take the time and read a compelling case for Trump’s removal from office.
- NONA, December 14th, 2019: “Culture of Denial”: As the title suggests, Stan delves into one of the premier hurdles we face as a society.
- NONA, January 6th, 2020: “Remember the Alamo”: A stinging analysis of the downfall of print news, and particularly the plight of local newspapers like the Advocate and the Columbus Dispatch. Stan reminds readers that all printing for both papers will be outsourced, which is the reason for the delay in reporting local news…a delay which will only get worse.
- NONA, January 18th, 2020: “Representation”: Stan looks at the erasure of history (including National Archives editing which edited photos of the 2017 Women’s March to erase images critical of Trump) while also delving into our creepy new facial recognition technology.
- NONA, January 25th, 2020: “How It Starts”: Stan assesses the historic revisionism by Putin, his connection with Trump, and how Trump appears as willing as Putin to test our definition of “right v. wrong”.
Agenda for Monthly Progressive Business Meeting
Location to be determined
Subject to Change
- Introduction (5 Mins. 7:00-7:05)
- Labor Education/Working Families First (10 Mins. 7:05-7:15)
- Local Activism (5 Mins. 7:15-7:20)
- Open Discussion (If Desired) (100 Mins. 7:20-9:00)
- Adjourn (9:00)
Minutes for Progressive Meeting
- We discussed changes to the meeting location and the presentation thereof, since we only met at the church to make attendance more convenient for a fellow member whom has now decided to virtually “attend” via the livestream.
- We talked about the emphasis on local development and infrastructure was becoming a key focus of the local races for office.
- We highlighted the then-upcoming Freedom School Picnic.
- Councilman Blake’s fundraiser with Senator Sherrod Brown was noted.
- We discussed plans for the Third Annual Democracy Day at the Library – which was held in Meeting Room B on Constitution Day -; mentioned the possibility of inviting “electronic testimonials”, noted how people get involved in politics when they feel threatened, brainstormed about a 2020 Democracy Day promotional effort, emphasized the importance of education on the issue and the link with the Koch Brothers, mentioned that Democracy is under attack from all end.
- We highlighted the ongoing “Issues and Answers” Podcast with episodes available at workingfamiliesfirstohio.org and stated that labor ideas and contributions to the movement are welcome.
- We talked about a recent City Council meeting in Newark where a noise ordinance change was discussed and how every government’s focus should be to balance the people’s collective interests with the interests of the economy. We, again, noted the lack of attention the homeless issue receives, and that transitional housing and the root causes of homelessness must be at the center.
- In our open discussion, we talked about Universal Basic Income and discussed how the “UBI” is insufficient, we highlighted the real long-term dangers of automation, we touched base with the real world limitations of resources available and how that limits economic prospects, and (again) discussed how 2020’s election is the most important to date.
There was no October meeting on the 28th, despite us planning for such initially. A few members were unable to attend and there was nothing major to update via a livestream brief.