Louis Proyect: The Unrepentant Marxist

November 11, 2005

Progressive Democrats of America

Filed under: Uncategorized — louisproyect @ 10:54 am

The Progressive Democrats of America is the latest in a series of initiatives that attempts to breathe new life into the Democratic Party, which in my eyes is akin to putting mascara on one of the corpses that dotted New Orleans’s streets after Hurricane Katrina. Although PDA supposedly has an “inside and outside” strategy for the DP, you can find about as much reference to the “outside” as there is to Noam Chomsky on the Lehrer news hour on an average night.

I was somewhat disappointed to see Cindy Sheehan on the advisory board but I am inclined to forgive her since she is doing so much else to objectively undermine this party of war and racism.

Medea Benjamin graces the advisory board, as one might expect. This person should do everybody a favor and cut her ties to the Green Party, at least for the purposes of political clarity. For crissake, doesn’t she know that she is giving opportunism a bad name? You can also find Jeff Cohen, the founder of Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting, there. In recent years he has made a living as a full-time adviser for Democratic Party politicians, who would seem to embody the very sins that he was anxious to root out in the bourgeois media. I guess he needs the money or something.

Staff members include Tim Carpenter, the national director. Carpenter is a long-time DP functionary, working for the DLC slug Bill Clinton in 1996 and Kucinich last year. According to Carpenter, the pwogwessive forces in the DP “went from being a pariah and marginal” at the 2004 convention to “being in” after putting some inexorable pressure on the Kerry warmongering campaign. What were the fruits of their victory, one wonders? Their victory, it seems, was the adoption of this plank:

“As other nations, including Islamic nations, contribute troops, the U.S. will be able to reduce its military presence in Iraq, and we intend to do this when appropriate so that the military support needed by a sovereign Iraqi government will no longer be seen as the direct continuation of an American military presence.”

I guess that crumb from the master’s table is sufficient to keep people like Carpenter, Cohen and Benjamin in the DP. Plus, the money is good.

The ubiquitous Williams River Pitt of truthout.org is their editorial director. Our good friend and comrade Jacob Levich had an interesting report on truthout.org a while back on Counterpunch that began as follows:

Truthout, an online newsletter and website boasting 250,000 subscribers, wants to outflank the distortions of mainstream media by disseminating news of interest to left-liberals. But its commitment to truth-telling seemingly stops short when it comes to Palestine.

On May 7, the Truthout newsletter linked to an Associated Press story about the Rishon Letzion suicide bombing. The AP report correctly refrained from identifying a perpetrator. (The party responsible is still unknown, although Hamas looks like the most likely culprit and the PA has since arrested 15 Hamas members in response.)

But Truthout flagged the story with a headline spun out of thin air: “Palestinian Authority Strikes Killing 15 Israelis.”

Worse was soon to come.

Truthout (http://www.truthout.org) is, or at any rate purports to be, one of the hip new breed of independent news sources providing alternatives to the biases of corporate media. (Of these, the Indymedia operation is probably the most celebrated; the libertarian Antiwar.com is possibly the most useful.)

Truthout’s editor, Marc Ash, claims the publication has no organizational affiliations and is entirely reader-supported — though five staffers, and the server power necessary to support a quarter-million users, don’t come cheap. Given its incessant showcasing of Beltway Democrats — even career hacks like Daschle and Gephardt get flattering headlines whenever they say anything remotely progressive — I’ve sometimes wondered whether it’s actually a James Carville-style undercover operation, aimed at cajoling Naderites back into the Democratic fold.

(Suggestively, of all the questions I asked Ash about Truthout’s history, purpose, and funding, the only one he was willing to answer was whether the publication is connected in some way with the Democratic Party. It is not, he said, and I’ll take him at his word — though I suspect a list of contributors might make interesting reading.)

full: http://www.counterpunch.org/levitch0514.html

Sounds like a perfect marriage between Pitt and the PDA, which also seems “aimed at cajoling Naderites into the Democratic fold.”

I imagine that this outfit is being funded by George Soros and all the other usual suspects, as Claude Rains said in “Casablanca”. Looks like we have our work cut out for us in 2008.

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