50 Shades of Populism

50 Shades of Populism » Counterpunch: Tells the Facts, Names the Names.

David Macaray takes on rightwing populism, using John McCain’s friend Joe the Plumber as his foil. Not every American, Macaray suggests, is a nice, personable, humble being authentically committed to hoary American values. Some are scary. Others are scary, greedy and dumb — like Joe the Plumber. What is needed, according to Macaray, a talented and thus uncommon commoner.

Left populism is — ought to be! — about social movements, democratization, public accountability and reasonable communication. There are uncommon commoners who would thrive in that kind of environment. Plumber Joe, Sarah the Barracuda, Barek the Betrayer, etc. would not.

50 Shades of Populism » Counterpunch: Tells the Facts, Names the Names

Joe has enjoyed his 15 minutes in the spotlight!

An emerging populist party?

Robert Reich suggests as much:

Now we may be seeing the birth of a genuine populist movement. Call it the People’s Party. Like the Tea Party, the People’s Party doesn’t have a clear organization or hierarchy or single address. It doesn’t have lobbyists in Washington. It’s not even yet recognized by the mainstream media.

But the People’s Party seems to be growing in numbers and in intensity. And it’s starting to push elected officials — first at the state level — to listen and respond.

I do not wish to quibble, but…there is a reason the People’s Party lacks an organization (a hierarchy comes with the organization), a single address, lobbyists and the other tools a political party does possess and use. The reason the People’s Party lacks these things? It lacks them because the People’s Party does not exist. It might exist someday. But currently it is a product of Reich’s imagination.

What Reich identifies as a party is, in fact, a social movement. Consequently, if common Americans want a political party of their own, a party that will represent their identities and interests, a party that will represent their public culture, they will need to create it.

Cross-posted at FireDogLake