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The “Progressive” brand — for what does it stand?

The “Progressive” brand — for what does it stand?

Yesterday we learned that Representative Allen West (R-FL) was disinvited from an NAACP fundraiser in his home state of Florida. Last week, West had commented that “I believe there’s about 78 to 81 members of the Democratic Party that are members of the Communist Party.”

West, who came under fire for his controversial comments, responded by penning a piece in The Hill:

My colleagues in the Congressional Progressive Caucus have taken umbrage with my equation of their ideals with those of communists. Why? Why shouldn’t we have this discussion? What part of their agenda are they trying to hide?

We must be able to openly discuss how our fundamental freedoms are being slowly chipped away by an over-reaching nanny state that has bit by bit slipped its tentacles into every aspect of our lives, from the types of light bulbs we can use to the size of our toilet tanks.

In a follow-up interview with TheStreetTV, West commented that “…when you look at the history of the Communist Party, when it came to the United States of America, back at the turn of the century, they rebranded themselves and called themselves ‘Progressives'”:

In response, elements of the Left from Rep. Barney Frank to Rolling Stone Magazine and the Progressive Caucus wrote off his comments as “McCarthyite” and worse than McCarthy. Soledad O’Brien–the CNN host who notably fumbled over the definition of Critical Race Theoryapplied her now-signature sarcastic style to her coverage.

Does West’s assertion that today’s Progressive brand is simply an evolution of yesterday’s Communist label hold up? It helps to take a look at the Congressional Progressive Caucus.

The Progressive Caucus includes Democratic party luminaries like Rep. Charlie Rangel, Rep. Dennis Kucinich, Rep. Jared Polis, Sen. Bernie Sanders, Rep. Jan Schakowsky, Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr., and Rep. Danny Davis. The Progressive Caucus also shares several board members in common with Progressive Democrats of America (PDAmerica), which has explicitly stated its support for Occupy Wall Street becoming a permanent encampment.

Progressive Caucus member Schakowsky, profiled in 2011 on Progressive.org, has repeatedly come under fire from her Jewish constituents for her connection with the Progressive Caucus and the Progressive Democrats of America, which supported the Hamas-led flotilla into Gaza. The Progressive brand supports this action against Israel, and for a member of the Caucus it is difficult to walk the line between defending Israel and being affiliated with Hamas’s flotilla.

Danny Davis, who sits on the House Homeland Security Committee, was recently exposed receiving a lifetime achievement award from the Communist Party USA headquarters in Chicago. This is the same congressman whom President Barack Obama had introduced by saying “he shares our values.”

While Allen West’s assertion may have been met with derision and some uneasiness on both the Left and the Right, his questions as to the origins of the Progressive brand and whether members of the Progressive Caucus share values with communism is worth exploring.

West writes:

When I was studying for my two master’s degrees in political science at Kansas State University and at the U.S. Army Command and General Staff Officer College, the very best professors were those who would begin each lecture with a challenging assertion. It engaged discussion and analysis, and was the best way to uncover the essence of the particular subject of the day.

Time for some due diligence.

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Comments

I read the entire op-ed and it is nothing short of scholarly.

This is the guy who should be the choice for VP.

Go get ’em Allen!

For God’s sake, these people are commies. It’s documented.
They’ll try to destroy West for speaking the truth.
He’ll never back down.
Here’s an article from a year ago talking about these “progressives”
http://www.trevorloudon.com/2011/04/congressional-progressive-caucus-socialists-propose-alternative-peoples-budget/

It is hard to pin down the Progressive brand for at least three reasons. First (and foremost) Progressives are linked by their shared hatred and desire to end the epic experiment in classic liberalism and individual liberty that is America. So that shared desire for destruction is probably the most important shared value.

Second, Progressives do share a deep statist political model. Attempting to distinguish between Communism, Socialism, and Fascism is similar to arguing about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin. In other words, the difference between Progressives on that matter is no difference at all.

Finally, Progressives all wish to benefit from hiding their true natures from the population and, to some extent, from each other. In this way they have “plausible deniability” when someone like West tries to identify them with a well-understood label. Progressives also benefit by hiding their true agendas, which allows them to mischaracterize themselves as “benefactors” and protectors.

    Squires in reply to iconotastic. | April 25, 2012 at 5:14 pm

    What they all most fundamentally are, are narcissists dreaming the great dream of the pathological narcissist; a humanity reduced to playing the roles of either grateful codependent or humiliated enemy. That is to say, grateful victim of deceit, or terrified victim of force.

    Archism must engender Collectivism to survive just as the narcissistic ego needs a codependent to help it avoid ever having to face an honest look at itself – at the profound lack of true substance behind the facade it hides behind even from itself. “If others believe my lies, I can believe my lies.”

    When the individuals intended to accept codependency start demanding truth, the facade of the narcissist-codependent relationship begins to crumble – and that’s when either they must be made the enemy, a new deception must be formulated, or the narcissist must flee.

My guess is that most progressives are not full-blown Communists, with the Party’s open willingness to use violence and repression. Off the top of my head, Communists : progressives :: murder : manslaughter.

However, I consider them culpably negligent and in culpable denial. As it were, “Marx had some good ideas. Too bad they were never implemented properly.” If America slides into full-blown totalitarianism and the totalitarianism is then rolled back, I would not oppose summary courts for today’s “well-meaning progressive idealists”.

Cf. The Road to Serfdom, of course.

    StrangernFiction in reply to gs. | April 25, 2012 at 3:42 pm

    My guess is that most progressives are not full-blown Communists, with the Party’s open willingness to use violence and repression.

    But those that call the tune are full-blown totalitarians willing to do whatever it takes, and as with Islam that’s all that matters. So you might as well call the whole lot totalitarian, because ultimately that’s what they are.

      Heh. I returned to add that very thought.

      I invite progressives to point out areas of human activity that they consider exempt from government oversight. If they do so to my satisfaction, I will withdraw my claim that they are wannabe totalitarians. (Even naming areas of state & local governance that should be exempt from federal oversight would be a start.)

      …wating…wating…wating…wating…

      All I hear is an echo of Pelosi’s Are you serious? Are you serious?

        Milhouse in reply to gs. | April 25, 2012 at 7:12 pm

        Sex. Today’s “progressives” (unlike their forbears in the “progressive era”) believe that it’s none of the government’s business whom you have sex with. Offhand I can’t think of much else, though.

johnnycab23513 | April 25, 2012 at 2:54 pm

Progressives forget one thing when they demonize McCarthy. The word has gotten out that he was correct.

    Milwaukee in reply to johnnycab23513. | April 25, 2012 at 6:02 pm

    I have been told that not a single person brought before the House Committee on UnAmerican Activities on the accusation that they were a communist, was falsely accused. If this is not true, then I’m sure the erudite readers here will correct my misunderstanding.

Bernie Sanders, if I remember correctly has admitted to being a commmunist.

I think Allen West gets my vote every day of the week for talking about this. He’s Presidential as far as I’m concerned.

Yea, the liberal/progressive/marxist/Communist/Maoist/Stalinist/Obamaist movement in America has themselves quite the conundrum:

“How do promote our cause, and bring revolution–er..”change”, without anyone noticing?”

Gotta love the old days, when “change” happened at the point of a gun.

That whole “gun behind every blade of grass” thingy forces them to opt for stealth, instead of force.

Islamists have it much easier. They can be open and upfront, as long as they utter “religion of peace” in English.

Maybe the progressive need to develop their own language/vocabulary…

Oh, wait-

Around the time of Obama’s inauguration, CPUSA released a list of it’s Congressional members: 78.

Michigan’s John Conyers and Caroline Cheek-Kilpatrick were of note to me.

Since, it has been scrubbed from the internet.

Col. West did his homework….as every good soldier should-

I studied Russian as an exchange student in the Soviet Union in the early 1980s. At that time the political-economic system was officially known a “developed socialism.” Communism was a goal to be attained sometime in the future. Soviet propaganda frequently used the phrases “progressive forces” or “progressive humanity” specifically to refer to Communist parties throughout the world. While the words were not exactly interchangeable they all were tied to the ultimate goal of communism. If the members of the progressive caucus think the association with communism is wrong, perhaps they should choose their euphemisms more carefully.

    HarrietHT in reply to tomg. | April 25, 2012 at 5:43 pm

    Quite right, tomg. And as I stated in another forum just last week, please tell me, exactly, where the agenda of American “progressives” and the Communist Manifesto differ. Just because “progressives” are not using bullets today does in no way indicate that if they could, to implement their goals, that they would not. Unhappily for them, the horrible “normal” people of America remain fixated on the rule of law and Constitutionalism (but not of the “living” kind). If only they could get rid of us, which they’re doing their damnedest to do, btw.

    But we’re not going anywhere, away.

Allen West = Hero.
I am thankful that someone in Congress is turning on the light of truth. Let’s see who the fleeing cockroaches are.

In the White House, we had the former green job czar, Van Jones, self admitted communist. He fled when he got exposed by Glenn Beck.

    Milhouse in reply to tazz. | April 25, 2012 at 7:14 pm

    Self-admitted former communist. He claims to have changed; I don’t believe him, but he’s no longer self-admitted.

StrangernFiction | April 25, 2012 at 3:32 pm

In the interest of avoiding nitpicking we should just refer to them as totalitarians.

Hopefully West will hold his place in Congress and be joined there by Mia Love—and, in future elections, by other pioneering African-Americans.

    herm2416 in reply to gs. | April 25, 2012 at 4:43 pm

    “…other like-minded AMERICANS.

    Don’t limit it to skin tone, please! We are all Americans, black, white, etc! I refuse to be pigeonholed to a demographic simply because that is what the MSM/Hollywood/Madison Avenue/politicians demand!

    We are better than that! : )

      herm2416 in reply to herm2416. | April 25, 2012 at 4:45 pm

      Sorry, like-mined=pioneering!

      Steve in reply to herm2416. | April 25, 2012 at 9:33 pm

      Well Scientifically speaking aren’t we all African Americans? Out of Africa seems to be the current in-vogue explanation for Humanity.

      Hmm I wonder if we can all get in the NAACP on that basis or sue them if they don’t allow us in.

      I refuse to be pigeonholed to a demographic simply because that is what the MSM/Hollywood/Madison Avenue/politicians demand!

      Good for you.

      However, many people, most black voters for example, do not share your attitude.

West is performing an incalculably valuable public service, one which NO ONE else on the Washington Right has proved equal to performing in my lifetime. For persisting in his studied provocation of the Left to define itself, to force it to open up a debate as to ideological nature and intentions, West is becoming the greatest overt threat to the Left in America.

This is his key point: “Why shouldn’t we have this discussion? What part of their agenda are they trying to hide?”

They’re trying to hide everything. Dissimulation has been the secret of their success. How is that Reagan could run clearly and proudly as a conservative but no leftist, up to and including Obama, has ever been willing to own, to publicly embrace and defend, the cause and effects of his ideology.

There will be no discussion or debate. The Left and media won’t permit it. West has poked his stick straight into the hornets nest. From here on all you will hear is “McCarthyism!” in a thousand variations and with ever-increasing shrillness.

    DINORightMarie in reply to raven. | April 25, 2012 at 4:26 pm

    This is his key point: “Why shouldn’t we have this discussion? What part of their agenda are they trying to hide?”

    They’re trying to hide everything.

    (emphases mine)

    YES! YES! YES!

    1000% TRUE!!!

    And that they MUST hide their agenda, keep it from being exposed; and, they will use their Alinsky tactics, every tool and weapon in their arsenal, to do it.

    Go West! And may the Lord protect him and his family.

DINORightMarie | April 25, 2012 at 3:56 pm

An article on CPUSA:

http://voices.yahoo.com/communist-party-usa-tells-us-they-progressives-5385221.html

And here is one about the Communist Party and the Progressive Party in the late 1940’s and 1950’s, involving Truman:

http://www.english.illinois.edu/maps/poets/g_l/jerome/smithact.htm

And another about the Communist Party “controlling” the Progressives:

http://www.aim.org/aim-column/a-socialist-on-the-high-court-part-two/ (Note: this references a book, Gideon’s Army; quite interesting…..)

And some more recent commentary, spawned from Rep. West’s comments and the inevitable denials/attacks from the left:

http://townhall.com/columnists/susanbrown/2012/04/17/is_progressivism_the_new_communism/page/full/

That is just from one google search. I hope to do more “due diligence” and get more red meat.

Also, I believe the book I often mention, Radical in Chief by Stanley Kurtz, as well as Liberal Fascism by Jonah Goldberg, cover this topic, as well.

Of course, Col. West is 100% correct!! That is why the rats are squealing and shrieking! They always do, when light shines on them – exposing them for what they are.

Go Professor and commenters! When there is no right or wrong, up or down, off or on, one or zero, black or white, life or death, wealth or poverty other than what the party line says it is Satan has convinced you that he does not exist. When Progressive values have deprived you of family, prosperity, happiness, faith, hope and love I pray that the grace God gave you brings you back from the cadre and into the congregation in time, and to testify to others that they may vote out the traitors that have brought us to this state.

Thanks again, Professor!

DINORightMarie | April 25, 2012 at 3:58 pm

Well, my comment seems to have been “disappeared.” Is this being moderated, and my comment is “pending”? I hope so……my comment was quite lengthy and I didn’t copy it! 🙁

DINORightMarie | April 25, 2012 at 4:17 pm

Well, here it goes, again.

On the topic of whether the Communist Party and the Progressives are the same, I found these:

http://voices.yahoo.com/communist-party-usa-tells-us-they-progressives-5385221.html?cat=9

http://www.english.illinois.edu/maps/poets/g_l/jerome/smithact.htm

http://www.aim.org/aim-report/the-progressive-communist-alliance/

http://www.plp.org/

http://www.aim.org/aim-column/a-socialist-on-the-high-court-part-two/ (this mentions a book, called Gideon’s Army; most intriguing)

and,

http://townhall.com/columnists/susanbrown/2012/04/17/is_progressivism_the_new_communism/page/full/

This is just from a single Google search. I look forward to finding more red meat.

Also, a book I often menion, Radical in Chief, by Stanley Kurtz covers this topic well; also, Jonah Goldberg’s Liberal Fascism covers this topic.

The rats are reacting to the sunlight – the best disinfectant!! Of course they squeal and screech in protest! Truth is anathema to them – it reveals their utter wretchedness and polluted souls.

DINORightMarie | April 25, 2012 at 4:19 pm

Okay……NOW it shows up!! I see my first comment, which is just about the same as the second. (It’s times like this I wish I could hit “delete” or “edit”.) *sigh*

The Professor leaves me several relevant threads to plop this down on-

EPA Official: We’re “Crucifying” Oil And Gas Companies…

In their own words…

EPA’s “philosophy of enforcement,” said EPA’s Region VI Administrator Al Armendariz, is “kind of like how the Romans used to conquer little villages in the Mediterranean: they’d go into little Turkish towns somewhere, they’d find the first five guys they’d run into, and they’d crucify them.”

“That town was really easy to manage for the next few years,” Armendariz added.

http://weaselzippers.us/2012/04/25/epa-official-were-crucifying-oil-and-gas-companies/

Having read too much Soviet history in my youth I understand that there is no meaning between Progressive and Communist. They change there labels to fit their time. Once they wear out their welcome the just give it a little side step and come up with a new name or an older (lost its meaning) name. Why do you think they adopted the Liberal moniker? At the time Liberal was a well respected label. Once they donned that mantel they started the usual non-liberal crap they have been pedaling as “main stream” ever since. Now, of course, the term liberal has lost its glow so soon they will change their spots but their hearts will still be in the same place. This latest Alan West issue I find incredibly amusing in that West did not name names but they sure are rattled that this might go further. The only problem is had they are giving it legs. As usual, Communists/Progressives/Socialists/International Socialists/Fascists never know when to shut up. This last is for tomg remember when Lenin couldn’t get the Duma, under Karensky, to give his Mensheviks the recognition that they felt was their due? Lenin brought in his followers, packed the observer seats to the Duma, had them revile any speaker that wasn’t one of theirs and ran the session late into the night. When enough of them finally left, after abuse after abuse, Lenin locked the doors and called a quorum. In the second, locked session, he declared that his faction were the Bolsheviks! For the non-russian speakers a menshevik is one from the minority while bolshevik is a member of the majority! So typically progressive, no?

There is no quandary.

They are Collectivists…ALLLuvEM.

That avoids the word-gaming they love to pull.

DINORightMarie | April 25, 2012 at 9:03 pm

Bill Ayers is a perfect example of these folks. Today he will admit, in certain circumstances, that he is a Marxist, that he “wakes up every day thinking ‘today I will end capitalism'” (I believe that is the correct quote).

He used to be out-and-proud revolutionary, violent anti-Captialist, anti-America bona fide RADICAL. Then, when the Weathermen blew themselves up (literally), and they had to become the Weather Underground, that they FINALLY learned what the Cloward/Piven Marxist, Alinsky-ite crowd had been preaching was correct: stealth and slowly, taking over from within, will be the ONLY way to take down America.

(Yes, it’s in Radical in Chief, if you were wondering. 😉 )

Billy Ayers never changed; he just put on the facade of a mellow, middle-aged (now older) professor. Kinda like Van Jones, a well-know, confirmed Communist, who explained how he traded the outward radical for the effective change (or some such…..it’s been a while).

They don’t change – just the label does. Rebranding.

Lead on, LTC West. We’ve got your back.

The communists in a master stroke inoculated themselves against criticism in the McCarthy era. Anyone who calls anybody a communist or criticizes communists or progressives as they call themselves are now immediately branded a McCrthyite. It was a sublime maneuver facilitated by the media including the NYT and CBS. So Fascists are open game – justifiably – but communists are a protected species even though the crimes of communists far exceed those of fascists.

Daily, new films, articles, TV shows, and fiction arrive decrying the terrible behavior and history of fascists. They are reliable boogeymen. Do you see a comparable outpouring regarding the communists?

As for definitions I would think Karl Marx’s basic “From each according to his ability, to each according to his need (or needs – “Jeder nach seinen Fähigkeiten, jedem nach seinen Bedürfnissen!”) from the 1875 Critique of the Gotha Program would suffice. If you believe that you fulfill the Marxian requirement.

This is a book that should be on everybody’s bookshelf:

http://www.amazon.com/The-Black-Book-Communism-Repression/dp/0674076087/

[…] The “Progressive” brand — for what does it stand? […]

The only difference between a Progressive and a Communist is that the Communist is in more of a hurry.

Oh, I do so look forward to voting for Col. West for President someday!

[…] broach the subject of that awful Allen West and his awful defamation of the Progressive Caucus by calling them communists . . […]

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