New Hampshire Progressive Organizing Project

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Welcome to the NH Progressive Organizing Project!

(website under construction - last edited 02DEC10 - check back periodically)

People are worried; many out of work and/or losing homes.  Prices are going up everywhere.  But administration economists claim inflation has stopped, so they recommend foregoing social security increases and cutting other social programs.  Wage inflation has indeed halted for many still working.  But grocery store prices debunk claims of these insular wizards that inflation is over.  Banks and insurance companies are laughing at the taxpayers who bailed them out.  The rich get richer, and the poor poorer, in this obscene "jobless recovery".  The US has the largest income gap of any advanced country today.

Obama looks like a deer caught in the headlights. 

Under these conditions, Palin, Dobbs, Beck, et al, are folksy and visible critics to many well-meaning people who are hurting badly.  The much smaller left is either marginalized or apologizing for Obama and the other Beltway Boys. Without progressive vision, many can fall prey to scapegoating myths - those who pull the strings try to pull us apart.  We are not alarmists, but at least one deep thinker on the left (Noam Chomsky) perceives the peril of fascism here.  See http://www.progressive.org/wx041210.html

At any rate, we are on a dangerous trajectory.

Progressive forces must unify without waiting for the Democratic Party to correct itself.  Some may be trying to effect change from within, and we encourage them, but others are exploring the apparent vacuum outside the two major parties.  What option is likely to work against the Wall Street dollars standing in our way, dollars recently sanctified by the Supremes?  Meanwhile, let us raise the banner of Granny D, work to abolish PACs and other bipartisan political payola currently poisoning our democracy.

We must unify to save social security and achieve universal health care, against the war-of-the-month foreign policy, against massive transfer of public funds into private sector failures (AIG, GM bailouts under the discredited trickle-down theory), and for public enterprises and social investment.

Why, for example, support current defective insurance industry dictated health care legislation as urged by the Democratic Party?  Its failure will show the bad judgment of its supporters.  As the public sees it, the most visible critics are Tea-Party wingnuts.  "Regular" Democratic leaders cite these hobgoblins to stifle any discussion leading to a better plan.

We believe the Democratic Party, abetted by its Republican rival, has in turn led us into a well-designed bipartisan trap. 

Contrary to many party hacks and TV pundits, the recent election repudiated middle-of-the-road liberalism.  It did not endorse right-wing ideology.  For example, all but one of the 88 congressional sponsors of H.R. 676, Rep. John Conyers’ single-payer universal health care bill, were re-elected to office on November 2, often by hefty margins.  People want strong government action on their behalf, not just bogus hope hype.

Nationally, in every incarnation, the Progressive Party has done better than any other 20th century third party (except in 1948, when the short-lived segregationist Thurmond Dixiecrats actually tallied a few more votes).  A fourth resurrection is a long shot: however, conditions could change the highly improbable to something just immensely difficult.

Meanwhile, although politics isn't merely local, it certainly starts there.  And it is starting here and there all over the country as more and more voters (and politicians of principle, not a total oxymoron!) become disillusioned with the periodic Punch-and-Judy contests now dominated by the banks and large corporations.  Our first vital task in New Hampshire is to encourage progressive Independents.  There have been, and will be, many - and they need our help and support.

This task is why we started the NH Progressive Organizing Project.  Just now, it is our personal project, but that is not our intention.  Join us!  A disclaimer; although we admire the positions, people, and accomplishments of the Vermont Progressive Party, and feel very close to them in spirit, our views here and initiative for the project are strictly our own.  Although the VPP example has been an inspiration to us, they are in no way responsible for our project or for any mistakes we may make, surely a part of any new growing thing.

What steps should New Hampshire Progressives take?  The Vermont Progressive Party, in existence for just eleven years, already has a solid track record, winning many local elections and having a salutary effect on the major parties in our neighboring state.  We should study what the VPP did and how they did it.  See the VPP Party Platform at the "Principles and Issues" button.  Due to differing conditions here, formation of a New Hampshire Progressive Party may be delayed, but we cannot afford to wait.  While anticipating such a party, we must support independent progressive electoral efforts in New Hampshire starting NOW.  In a year or so, like black flies in May, the "lesser-evil" arguments will have more force.

Progressive leaders lead by identifying the situation as it is, and then explaining what to do about it.

What are some New Hampshire issues progressives should identify?  The recent claim of a 600 million state budget shortfall is the first shoe to hit the ground, and with the recent Republican sweep, the second shoe will drop soon - draconian social cuts that will no doubt exceed what our "bipartisan" Democratic governor could get away with in the past.

Gov. Lynch subscribes to the "Republican Pledge" of no NH income tax.  The tax structure is now badly skewed against working people and the elderly.  Excessive property tax, plus a plethora of nuisance taxes, have substituted for a rational tax structure.  People on fixed incomes whose main asset is real estate often have to give up or reverse mortgage the old homestead.  The Democratic Party has not shown the spine to do much about it - even though their rank and file is restive.  We have had Democratic candidates (Arneson, Fernald) who intended action, but we feel they were not adequately supported by the party brass. 

Due to the constrained fiscal climate and tax attitudes, gambling has been aggressively promoted, even by certain prominent Democrats.  Gambling constitutes a highly regressive tax, in addition to its other social negatives.  There is a danger of more gambling here, in spite of Lynch's stated opposition.

Perhaps the Seabrook situation isn't quite as serious as Vermont Yankee, but it needs vigilance, if not opposition.  Like VY, it is based on technology over 40 years old.  There have been reliability problems.

We need a public works program - NH has excellent north-south roads, but east-west routes are neglected.  We should explore revival of mass transit as well, including light rail.  Wireless internet as a public utility may become an economic and social necessity, rather than remain a utopian dream.

Can we envision a state-wide single-payer universal health care system here in New Hampshire?  Vermont and California are close to achieving it.  Other states are in various stages of considering it.

We could suggest many other priorities.  C
lick on "Contact Us" above, and share what you consider NH progressives should be thinking and doing NOW in New Hampshire!  We would like to add your ideas to post and discuss as we build this website.

Regards from Rumney NH,

David Ecklein

Marcosa Santiago MD

 

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