As I pointed out yesterday, corporate lobbyists and some Democrats are already planning their post-November 7th agenda--and that is not good news for the people. Progressives need to act now and form, for lack of a better name, the November 8th Coalition: a group of people and organizations who, in the event the Democrats retake one or both of the houses of Congress, will stand on the steps of the Capitol the day after the election and clearly articulate a progressive agenda--before the lobbyists and inside-the-Beltway Democratic Party hacks get their hands on the policy and message wheel.
The fact is that, if the Democrats take over the Senate and/or the House, it will be precisely because the public will have rejected failed foreign and domestic policies that have been promoted first and foremost by Republicans but also by too many Democrats: pre-emptive war and an aggressive military posture in the world, coupled with so-called "free-market" ideas that have saddled the average American with a worsening standard of living.
The November 8th Coalition needs to clearly state that it is representing the majority of the people when it calls for an agenda that embraces the preservation and enhancement of our shared Commons. As Onthecommons.org explains, the Commons is "the sum of all we inherit together and should pass on, undiminished, to our heirs." In the Commons are both natural assets and commons assets that we share. For example, the air we breathe and the prosperity that an economy gives us.
I'll offer five front-line Commons proposals, not as an all-encompassing list but simply to get your juices flowing:
1. A rapid, safe withdrawal of the U.S. military from Iraq, reconstruction of Iraq and replacement of the U.S. military with a truly international force (essentially, the proposal by Rep. Jim McGovern, H.R. 4232), followed by a serious broader discussion about how to substitute the use of military power and force in our relations with the world in favor of a far more generous reliance on negotiation and economic bridge-building. 2. An end to so-called "free trade" and a commitment to an economy that values the prosperity of communities and workers over the enrichment of a few. 3. Single payer health care (not "universal coverage" which even Republicans support via Health Savings Accounts). Forty-eight million Americans without health care are quite enough casualties on the altar of greed and profit. 4. An alternative energy and pro-environment plan that clearly states that in the next decade we have to adjust our economy and lifestyle so that we can reduce the strain on our planet and slow global warming. 5. We deserve an election system that works, and one that captures the will of the people not by the power of money but by the ideas put forth in the public sphere of political debate.
After you've checked out the Onthecommons.org website, jot down your ideas.