"The class struggle is the central conflict of the world; all others are incidental. When that power of the working class is once achieved, as it has been only in the Soviet Union, I am for maintaining it by any means whatever. Dictatorship is the obvious means in a world of enemies at home and abroad. I dislike it in principle as dangerous to its own objects. But the Soviet Union has already created liberties far greater than exist elsewhere in the world. … [There] I saw ... fresh, vigorous expressions of free living by workers and peasants all over the land. And further, no champion of a socialist society could fail to see that some suppression was necessary to achieve it. It could not all be done by persuasion. … [I]f American champions of civil liberty could all think in terms of economic freedom as the goal of their labors, they too would accept 'workers' democracy' as far superior to what the capitalist world offers to any but a small minority. Yes, and they would accept — regretfully, of course — the necessity of dictatorship while the job of reorganizing society on a socialist basis is being done." Roger Baldwin - American Marxist, Founder of ACLU, and Advocate of Group Think Progressives
Unions - Real Trades Unions and American Labor gave America the standard of living being eroded by taxes and Advocacy Politics. Advocacy Politics is played by monster tax-salaried Political Action Groups like Services Employee International Union and the blind gutless elected officials who serve their leadership. This PAC posing as a Union is not meant to move unskilled workers into the Middle Class through education and collective bargaining. SEIU is a Marxist operation dedicated to Class warfare and the erosion of the middle class through taxes. Emphasis my own - well who else?
Take a look at the 'group think' erosion feared and repressed by SEIU operative Jerry Morrison's responses to Dan Bliss who whines on about not getting his proper endorsements from Progressive Forces in Illinois. Dan, you lost an election - didn't get enough votes.
However, the power of the reaction to invited contributor Bliss's essay Lessons On Building A Progressive Movementis most telling.
1. Dan Bliss blithely informs the boiled beets Progressives that his failure was their failure.
2. Has SEIU manfully backed his candidacy Progress Illinois would be Arcadia!
3. SEIU don't cotton to out-of-step remarks.
Read the excerpts of their exchange here and click my post title for the full magilla:
jerry morrison/SEIU State Council (not verified) on Sun, 02/01/2009 - 15:08
First of all Daniel ,I take exception to your characterization of the Progressive organizations that seemingly dismissed your candidacy. Many of the organizations you mentioned in your column like SEIU, AFSCME, IEA and Sierra Club ARE the Progressive movement in Illinois and nationally. We have funded, staffed and helped organize the civil rights movement, anti war movement, environmental movement, women and gay rights movements, the immigrant rights movement, not to mention, creating and funding this very blog where you have seen fit to question our commitment to the Progressive Movement. You may not want to hear this Dan but there are a couple real simple reasons why you didn't enjoy the support of the established Progressive organizations in Illinois.
First, your opponent has been a strong supporter of our members and has gone against her own party time and again demonstrating that support. My job is to improve the lives of the 165,000 members of SEIU not help further your personal political ambitions. We support Progressives wherever they exist including the few that still reside within the Republican Party. Second, and you might not like to hear this Dan, but the first anyone in the Progressive community ever heard of you was when you decided to run for office. Prior to running had you ever met an SEIU member? Did you support our members struggles in any substantial way?
You still may be elected someday Dan. I only hope when you do you have a more sophisticated understanding of the political process and the Progressive Movement you so passionately claim to represent.
Daniel Biss (not verified) on Sun, 02/01/2009 - 19:54
Hi Jerry :)
Obviously we mean different things when we use the phrase "progressive movement." Part of that has to do with where we sit and what our roles are, and a lot of that has to do with plain old semantics. Perhaps I should have used the phrase "new progressive movement" consistently throughout my post, or maybe I should have said "grassroots progressive movement" or something. Certainly there's some new collection of infrastructures that have appeared in the last decade, resulting in substantial growth of the movement, and whenever that happens, growing pains and internal divisions are inevitable. I was referring to one side of one of those divisions.
If you seriously want to retroactively debate whether you made the right call with your endorsement, I guess I could do that, although frankly I don't see the point and there may be a better forum to do so than the comment thread of a blog. If you go back to my post, you'll see that I was careful not to say that SEIU made the wrong call. You'll also see that I described SEIU as a valued ally. Perhaps your comment would have benefited from a similarly civil tone.
jerry morrison (not verified) on Sun, 02/01/2009 - 22:31
Daniel, you apparently still don't get it. If there are "internal divisions within the Progressive Movement" as you contend I would ask what have you done to bridge that divivde, if it does exist? As far as I know you have never asked to meet with SEIU members to offer your support in their struggles. I don't remember you turning out your friends and allies in support of the Big Box Living Wage Campaign or man the picket line during our nursing home contract fight. I don't say this to embarass you, but if you apsire to a leadership role in the Illinois Progressive Movement you need to know that there are responsibilities that go along with that priviledge.
You may ask, what has SEIU done to bridge this perceived division within the movement? First and foremost we created Progress Illinois so that Progressives would have a unique online voice in the ongoing political debate.
As far as retroactively debating the SEIU endorsement in your race I see no need to do that what-so-ever. I am proud of the decision we made to back your opponent and would recommend
we do it again in a heartbeat. I only wish you had followed your own advice about debating this issue in another forum. Unfortunately, you chose to use the space we provided you at this blog to question the integrity of some of the most Progressive organizations in the state merely because they did not support your candidacy.
This may surprise you Dan but as a young organizer I ran for office against a longtime alderman and, like yourself, enjoyed very little institutional support from the Progressive community. But, unlike you I did not question their motivations but set out to better understand these organizations and their members ongoing struggles. In retrospect these groups made the right decision in my race just as most Progressive orgs. did in yours.
Proclaiming one's self "the Progressive candidate" in a race is not enough to garner the support of the Progressive community.
Dan, why don't you spend some time doing the nuts and bolts organizing necessary to help build a vibrant and strong Progressive Movement here in illinois. Once you have demonstrtated your understanding of the issues and your commitment to something bigger than yourself I am sure that you will make real progress with Illinois Progressives.
Seeing Progressive organizations as "valued allies" is a two-way street Dan. It requires something from you first, BEFORE you ask for political support. Anyway, I am glad Progress Illinois has afforded you this opportunity to make your commitment to Progressive values known. I hope the dialogue leads to some work. There is plenty to do brother.
Daniel Biss (not verified) on Mon, 02/02/2009 - 00:20
I'm also glad that Progress Illinois granted me this opportunity, and that you joined the discussion . These dialogues are very valuable.
I don't think this is the venue to provide detailed responses to your questions about my past actions on behalf of the movement; hopefully we can focus on broader movement-building questions rather than focusing on one fairly obscure former candidate. Like most passionate supporters of the progressive movement, I've worked hard on behalf of the causes you describe, and like anyone who's honest with themselves, I would like to have done more and intend to do more in the future.
Just one last clarification: my post didn't question anyone's integrity. Indeed, I singled out organizations whose integrity was, I thought, unimpeachable.
Danny Boy - it is cold in Siberia! Cold here, too - but nice.