When Will “Progressivist” Video Media Get Some Balls?

There are glimmers of brilliance in “progressivist” video media. (I am forced to add quotation marks around this term because so many groups want to seize onto it as a descriptor, a descriptor that is hard to disparage; but are all progressives equally progressivist?) Democracy Now! is covering “third” party candidates, and that is somewhat praiseworthy, but that coverage is a tag on to the coverage given to the business party candidates. The Real News is slightly better, but it has hardly changed since 2008. There are scraps of coverage provided “third” party candidates, but the coverage revolves predominately around Obama and Romney.

Paul Jay, senior editor at the Real News is fixated on the question of whether there is any substantial difference between Romney and Obama. It is a farcical question because if one reframes the question, the answer becomes obvious: Was there any substantial difference between the terms of Obama and GW Bush?

A recent broadcast asks Jeff Cohen, a “progressive,” whether people should vote for Obama versus voting for a “third” party candidate in swing states.1 Jay notes Cohen has been a staunch critic of Obama: “You’ve been quite withering in your criticism of President Obama, but now you’re asking people to vote for him in swing states.”

Cohen responds that “…right-wing Republicans [] will be worse in almost every regard than Obama…” Cohen was not challenged on that assertion, and he provided no evidence for it. He later stated, “The reality is, I think, that most people see correctly that the Republican Party is more dangerous, they’re more racist, they’re more militaristic.”

It is easy where there is a track record to ascertain the credibility of Cohen’s assertion. How is it that the Republicans are more dangerous than Democrats? Let’s compare GW Bush and Obama’s track records. Both have supported Zionist racism against Palestinians. Both have waged wars against Afghanistan and Iraq; throw in Libya and machinations against Syria by Obama – and yes, Bush had Haiti and machinations against Venezuela). Is one party more dangerous economically? Obama has left intact Bush’s tax cuts that greatly benefited the wealthy; Obama bailed out the so-called too-big-to-fail finance sector and car-manufacturing sector; employment remains poor under Obama; Obama has social security in his sights. So where does Cohen get off making such unsubstantiated remarks on air and without challenge?

It is the lesser evilist argument again. In 2008, the Real News had on another “progressive,” Eric Alterman. This time, however, Alterman was strongly challenged on his advocacy for lesser evilism by Pepe Escobar.2 Alterman held, “I have so little patience for the romanticism of left-wing romanticism with defeat. I want to win. I want to do the world some good. Let the other side blame themselves for being impure. Politics is about compromise. If you don’t want to compromise, you don’t want to do what’s necessary to get power, do something else.”

“[Obama]‘s the most progressive … he’s certainly running the most progressive campaign since Jimmy Carter, you know, as a Democrat nominee. And I think he’ll be the most effective president, if he wins, since Franklyn Roosevelt…”

Alterman complained about the anti-lesser evilists, “But I’m just so sick of saying, you know, ‘We’re pure and they won.’ You know?”

Alterman whined throughout the interview, but the accuracy of his predictions have been laid bare. The aftermath was “We‘re impure and they won.” That is what makes people opposed to lesser evilism nauseatingly sick. The support for lesser evilism gets repeated every election cycle like some badly warped LP and the outcome is invariably — excuse the English — same shit, different asshole.

When will a progressivist video media have the balls to progress beyond the business party shit and focus coverage primarily on “third” party candidates or to investigate ways of overthrowing the political system that favors two factions of the business party while stifling challenge from other parties? Because if no progressivist video media has the gumption to do that, are they not catering to the system as it is? How does that serve the masses that might view their programming?

Stephen Gowans really had it spot on a while back (as far as a male-oriented paradigm goes) when he depicted lesser evilism as choosing to be kicked in either one’s left ball or right ball. In both cases you’ve been kicked in the balls, and one wonders why a person would continue to opt for being kicked in the balls.

If people keep sticking to the same old electoral strategy of ball-crushing defeat, that is opting for the status quo, in other words, business as usual. In such a scenario, hope is not only audacious; it is plain stupid.

Either call for a change in voting strategy — dump the business parties; they do not deserve the vote of ordinary people – or call for a revolution, backed by sustained and dedicated resistance, to overthrow the farcical political system and replace it with a people-system where the masses control their own destinies.

  1. See “Should Progressives Vote Obama in a Swing State?Real News, 22 October 2012. []
  2. See “Is Obama a conservative or a progressive realist?Real News, 30 June 2008. []

Kim Petersen is co-editor of Dissident Voice. He can be reached at: kim@dissidentvoice.org. Read other articles by Kim.