As regular readers of this blog* know, I’m not particularly fond of the ‘progressive’ netroots, largely because I don’t know what they stand for, and what little I do know doesn’t strike me as particularly compelling. Over at MaxSpeak, there’s an excellent take on the netroots, which includes some points I hadn’t considered. Let’s turn it over to Max (italics mine; I’ve added a relevant link to me):
1. The liberal netroots are soft on Democrats in every issue area except Iraq.
2. The liberal netroots are tough on Iraq, but narrow in their criticisms, since fundamentally the liberal netroots are soft on imperialism, if not completely oblivious to it.
3. The result is a kind of love-hate/manic-depressive posture regarding the Democratic Party. Democratic apparachniks treat the netroots as patsies, since on most issues they are. All the “people-powered” rhetoric marks them as naive, since their people-powering is mostly uncritical. The exception is the war; the netroots are frustrated with the Dems’ inability to stop the war, but all they can do about it is type faster.
4. People power rests in the ability to mobilize people and resources around some common, substantive agenda by turning them out for meetings and demonstrations (local and national), boycotting, petitioning elected officials, shutting down workplaces, and mounting campaigns to contest the seats of incumbents. It’s more than surfing the web, donating money and voting…
In fairness, I think the last point isn’t entirely accurate. There have been some very effective boycotts and petitions organized by the ‘netroots.’ For me though, his final point is the take home message and is dead on target:
6. What is different is their pretensions of being radically new, progressive, and independent. They are not. There’s nothing wrong with that either. My interest is ideas and their consequences. Anti-intellectual preemption of the rubric of progressivism by the not-very-progressive obscures genuinely critical ideas about life under capitalism.
As I’ve said before, opposing Bush is simply a mark of sanity, not a political program.
*I thank both of you…