By Jim Hightower on December 18, 2013

Here's a jarring headline: "Economic Populism Is a Dead End for Democrats."

That's the title on a recent op-ed piece written by a couple of longtime political flacks for Wall Street and published, naturally, in the Wall Street Journal. When the Barons of Big Money start rolling out such scolding screeds, it's not because they really think Populism is a loser, but because they're terrified by the fact that it has already gained mass appeal and is on the move all across grassroots America. Indeed, to put a thin veneer of legitimacy on this op-ed, they had to resort to the fiction that it is a political warning written to Democrats by Democrats -- specifically by an inside-the-Beltway outfit calling itself Third Way.

But this group is to authentic Democratic Party principles what near beer is to stout -- only, not as close. Third Way is just the same old Wall Street way. While it wears a Democratic mask, it pushes for policies that are Wall Street wet dreams, including gutting and privatizing Social Security.

Why would a group wanting you to believe that it has genuine Democratic genes be an advocate for further enriching Wall Street's Republican elite at the expense of America's middle class and the poor? To find out, just peek behind Third Way's organizational curtain. You'll see that its funders and governing board include no one from labor, senior citizens, consumers, environmentalists, small farmers, students, African-Americans, Latinos, and other core Democratic constituencies. Instead, of its 29 board members, 20 are Wall Street bankers, hedge fund hucksters, or venture capital vultures.

Third Way dead ends at Wall Street. So, fronting for the selfish interests of its backers, it doesn't want any party championing economic Populism. But the people do, and that's who Democrats should heed.

Listen to this commentary:

Photo: Flickr user DonkeyHotey, creative commons licensed.

Section: 

Topics: 

Add new comment

By submitting this form, you accept the Mollom privacy policy.

More

Subscribe to The Progressive and Get A Free 2015 Calendar

President Obama's executive order protects people like my grandmother.

How do progressives regroup after the Republican victories of 2014? It starts at the very local level, says Scott...

Dubbed “Ferguson to Madison,” the rally drew striking social parallels between the two cities.

By Wendell Berry

Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more 
of everything ready made. Be afraid 
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery 
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card 
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something 
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know. 
So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord. 
Love the world. Work for nothing. 
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it. 
Denounce the government and embrace 
the flag. Hope to live in that free 
republic for which it stands. 
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man 
has not encountered he has not destroyed.
Ask the questions that have no answers. 
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.


Say that the leaves are harvested 
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus 
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion—put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come. 
Expect the end of the world. Laugh. 
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts. 
So long as women do not go cheap 
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy 
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep 
of a woman near to giving birth? 
Go with your love to the fields.
Lie easy in the shade. Rest your head 
in her lap. Swear allegiance 
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos 
can predict the motions of your mind, 
lose it. Leave it as a sign 
to mark the false trail, the way 
you didn’t go. Be like the fox 
who makes more tracks than necessary, 
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

Wendell Berry is a poet, farmer, and environmentalist in Kentucky. This poem, first published in 1973, is reprinted by permission of the author and appears in his “New Collected Poems” (Counterpoint).

Public School Shakedown

Progressive Media Project

Newsletter