Sunday, June 17, 2012

Unger is Right: the Left Must Defeat Obama

There's good stuff in the Unger statement about the purpose of society and government pointing towards the development of human capabilities, and the need to pay for education that does this.  Then he drops the bomb around 6:17 that got us the Huffpo headline, "Roberto Unger, Obama's Former Harvard Law School Professor, Says The President 'Must Be Defeated'

Here's what he says, after 6'10"
President Obama must be defeated. He has failed to advance the progressive cause in the United States. He has spent trilliions of dollars to rescue the moneyed interests, and has left workers and homeowners to their own devices. He has subordinated the broadening of economic and educational opportunity to the important but secondary issue of access to health care, in the mistaken belief that he would be spared a fight.  He has disguised his surrender with an empty appeal to tax justice.  He has delivered the politics of democracy to the rule of money. He has reduced justice to charity. His policy, is financial confidence and food stamps.  He has evoked the politics of handholding. But no one changes the world without a struggle.  Unless he is defeated, there cannot be a contest for the reorientation of the Democratic party as a vehicle of a progressive alternative in the country.   There will be a cost for his defeat, in judicial and administrative appointments. The risk of military adventurism, however, under the rule of his opponents, will be no greater than it would be under him.  Only a political reversal can allow the voice of democratic prophecy to speak once again in American life.  Its speech is always dangerous. Its silence is always fatal.
This is all quite right - except for the part about the Democrats becoming progressive if Obama is defeated.  Bit if it makes the chronic, semi-permanent fear vote for the Dem candidate feel any better, Unger is calling for a strike on the Democratic party that is nothing less than what the Tea Party did to the Republicans.  But it must go far beyond that.

When I began this blog in 2006, most people assumed that the fortunes of the working- and middle-classes went up and down with the business cycle, but that the overall trend was up.  Now over five years later, studies of the inequality boom have made it clear to anyone who reads that the gains of economic growth have gone largely to the very top, and to an almost unimaginable degree.