Why I may run for Congress

Across the country, alarm is rising as corporate power escalates at the intersection of Wall Street and Pennsylvania Avenue.

|
(12)

OPINION One of the most inspiring political leaders in recent decades, Sen. Paul Wellstone (D-Minn.), famously declared: "I represent the democratic wing of the Democratic Party." Today we need progressives in Congress who will represent the progressive wing of the Progressive Caucus.

That's the largest caucus on Capitol Hill — but having 80 members on the roster won't do much good if many cave under pressure.

For 18 years, the North Bay has been represented in Congress by Rep. Lynn Woolsey. Her strong antiwar voice and very progressive voting record have endeared her to a lot of constituents. Now she's publicly saying that she may choose to retire instead of seeking reelection.

This week, after decades of working for progressive social change, I'm announcing a federal exploratory committee for Congress (www.NormanSolomonExploratory.com). If Rep. Woolsey doesn't run in 2012, I will.

Across the country, alarm is rising as corporate power escalates at the intersection of Wall Street and Pennsylvania Avenue. An egregious factor is the deference to such power from some elected officials who rely on a progressive base for votes but shrug off tangible accountability to that base.

Dysfunctional relationships between liberals in Congress and progressive social movements serve as enablers for endless war, massive giveaways to Wall Street, widening gaps between the rich and the rest of us, erosion of civil liberties, outrageous inaction on global warming, and so much more.

Back in congressional districts, the only way to beat corporate Astroturf is with genuine grassroots activism — committed to creating a very different kind of future for the next generations.

At a time when high unemployment is becoming more protracted in tandem with a gargantuan warfare state, we're in the midst of what Martin Luther King Jr. called "the madness of militarism."

So-called moderates are adept at fine-tuning rather than challenging a destructive status quo. But there's nothing moderate about helping to fuel the engines of social inequity, eco-disaster and perpetual war.

Eight decades ago, much of the U.S. press was hostile to a new president named Franklin D. Roosevelt, and many of his political enemies called him a dangerous radical. But there was — and is — nothing unduly radical about supporting economic fairness and social justice.

Before the end of his first term, FDR denounced "the economic royalists." He said: "They are unanimous in their hate for me — and I welcome their hatred." He did not say, "They hate me — and I want them to like me."

Today, big money and mega-media power are dominant; yet progressives who are principled, determined, and methodical can prevail in a big way. That's what happened last year when activists defeated PG&E's monopolistic Proposition 16 despite being outspent by more than 400 to 1.

Living in the North Bay for more than a dozen years, I've often been moved by the extent of local progressive passions. Antiwar, environmental, and social justice outlooks are widespread — and deserve forthright representation in Congress.

Paul Wellstone was vitally correct when he said: "In the last analysis, politics is not predictions and politics is not observations. Politics is what we do. Politics is what we do, politics is what we create, by what we work for, by what we hope for, and what we dare to imagine."

 

Norman Solomon is national co-chair of the Healthcare Not Warfare campaign, launched by Progressive Democrats of America. His books include War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death. For more information go to www.NormanSolomonExploratory.com.

Comments

Please don't.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 25, 2011 @ 9:03 pm

only the voters can decide

Posted by Guest on Jan. 25, 2011 @ 11:05 pm

Norman Solomon is the best person to represent Marin and Sonoma Counties in Washington. He knows the counties he would represent well and is connected to the grass-roots. He is the visionary leader that we need to achieve results.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 27, 2011 @ 12:11 pm

Vision, commitment, brilliance, leadership and responsiveness - all are found in Norman Solomon, as well as a highly informed sense of international relations and responsibilities - all key requirements for our next Congressperson.

Posted by Guest Pat Kunstenaar on Jan. 27, 2011 @ 8:57 pm

i'd love to see you win!

Posted by Guest on Jan. 27, 2011 @ 9:20 pm

Here's how you bust the power of conservatives in both parties in congress.

The Liberal Democratic Party of the United States of America

www.facebook.com/LDPUSA

Sign this petition at WWW.DEMOCRATZ.ORG if you want to get congress to enact a $10 an hour minimum wage, The Employee Free Choice act, a real prescription drug benefit for Medicare in part B, an End to 2 expensive wars, a single payer government health insurance plan, Tier 5 unemployment benefits extension, A social security COLA Payment, an end to tax cuts for the wealthy, an end to Republican filibusters and the women's freedom of choice act into law.

After you sign this petition Join the the facebook page at www.facebook.com/Sign.this to invite your friends to sign the petition.

Posted by Guest on Jan. 28, 2011 @ 9:16 am

The Liberal Democratic Party of the United States of America

www.facebook.com/LDPUSA

Sign this petition at WWW.DEMOCRATZ.ORG if you want to get congress to enact a $10 an hour minimum wage, The Employee Free Choice act, a real prescription drug benefit for Medicare in part B, an End to 2 expensive wars, a single payer government health insurance plan, Tier 5 unemployment benefits extension, A social security COLA Payment, an end to tax cuts for the wealthy, an end to Republican filibusters and the women's freedom of choice act into law.

After you sign this petition Join the the facebook page at www.facebook.com/Sign.this to invite your friends to sign the petition.

Posted by www.democratz.org on Jan. 28, 2011 @ 9:16 am

You'll be a thoughtful and eloquent voice for the average Joe/Josephine. And I'll look forward to working on your campaign!

Posted by Guest on Jan. 29, 2011 @ 9:33 pm

Thanks for this note of support! I hope you'll sign up for email updates at www.NormanSolomonExploratory.com ...
-- Norman

Posted by Guest Norman Solomon on Jan. 29, 2011 @ 10:03 pm

Thanks to all who've responded with enthusiasm and support. I really feel gratified, appreciative and encouraged...
-- Norman

Posted by Guest Norman Solomon on Jan. 29, 2011 @ 10:05 pm

I have listened to many of your F.A.I.R. broadcasts and have always found you succinct and concise in your stories of media bias and abuse. Please include in your campaign (if Lynn Woolsey does decide to retire) great thinkers such as Washington DC-based Dr Dean Baker and New York-based Dr Joseph Stiglitz. As Naomi Klein so aptly said in her book, "The Shock Doctrine," we must have a great plan ready and waiting to be implemented when the opportunity presents itself.

We can turn this great country around quite quickly if we were given the chance. Forget GE's Enron-based windpower subsidiary. Vestas Wind Systems, Enercon, Nordex, Gamesa, and all the other great world wind power makers would gladly convert our current coal and nuclear electric power systems into wind powered systems.

Likewise, Dean Baker's plan to allow defaulted mortgagees to rent their homes for 10 years would light a fire under the banks to renegotiate inflated and unrealistic defaulted mortgages.

Dr. Stiglitz's total cost accounting for the Iraq and Afghanistan wars would bring a realistic debate in Washington on the true cost of these illegal wars.

Lastly California Nurses Association's Donna Smith has the answer to America's fiscal crisis - Single Payer Healthcare. A single payer system would produce the savings needed to cover everyone, largely by using existing resources without the waste. Taiwan, shifting from a U.S. healthcare model, adopted a single-payer system in 1995, boosting health coverage from 57% to 97% with little if any increase in overall healthcare spending.

We have the solutions to America's problems. We just need a chance to implement those solutions before the "behind the curtain Oz-based" crazies running our great country ruin it forever with their endless War of Terror, homegrown class warfare and instigated racial strife.

Posted by Jim on Apr. 17, 2011 @ 8:42 am

"We" do not have the solution to America's problems if we are at the level where we have no means to run a competitive campaign to elect independents to state legislatures much less Congress.

Solomon, Stieglitz and Baker win the debate which is not the same thing as winning an election.

If progressives cannot plan to win a seat in legislature, the Congress or the SF Mayor's office, and have had all local Greens converted to Democrat in a successful inquisition, then I'm not seeing how Klein's notion of a "plan" can be formulated with any broad base of consent, of popular support.

Yes, we all want transitions like this to happen, however absent any sort of ongoing grassroots mobilization, the accountability that the progocialite celebrites fear the most, we're going to continue to see professional third partiers, homeless leftists and sociopathic narcissists on stages before microphones receiving adulation from the converts. That must be nice (doesn't) work, if you can't get it, huh?

We have to take a cue from female thinkers like Klein and Rebecca Solnit, to combine the ingenuity that Solnit recognizes in response to disasters at the micro scale and figures out how to scale those impulses up to present a radical critique of libertarian capitalism and supply side junk economics capable of changing things, so we don't get bewildered like the herd is supposed to and can mount significant challenges to affronts to democracy and a functioning economy.

This educated white knights are going to ride in to our rescue myth might have worked during your childhoods in the 1950s on BW TV, but, like the millenialist Christian putting life on hold in the eternal wait for the rapture, it ain't gonna happen.

-marc

Posted by marcos on Apr. 17, 2011 @ 9:16 am