10 Great Things To Be Thankful For in 2011
Photo Credit: David Franklin
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Thanksgiving's traditional harvest festival in the United States is about much more than doping up on tryptophan. It's a time to reflect on the bounty of our singular planet and its diverse people, especially when it comes to earnest progressives, who are out there fighting hard for the best interests of both. Here are their shining examples from across the spectrum:
Occupy Worldwide: A defiant populist uprising that has shone a searching light on both America's compromised political system and the powers-that-be that bought it for a song, the global Occupy movement is the greatest thing that has happened to progressives in this still-new century. That's not really setting the bar high, given the rapacious resource wars and financial scams that have more or less destroyed the light-speed American cultural and political evolution which astounded the world last century. But Occupy's true impact has yet to be measured, although it has quickly seized the planet's imagination and attention, after being calculatedly ignored until thuggish cops in New York, Oakland and UC Davis made that impossible. Today, Occupy Wall Street's dogged activism has done more than its part to pull the emperor's clothes off of the world's morally bankrupt FIRE economy -- the aptly named acronym for the finance, insurance and real estate markets -- than activists from any other traditional party or organization.
And unlike the armchair warmongers who are wrecking Roosevelt's New Deal with a fascist, consumerist panopticon that has exploded the gap between the rich and the poor, the Occupy movement has actually taken bullets for this country's impressive past and uncertain future. Climate change's intensified winter could threaten its short-term existence in the months ahead, but only useful idiots think that the Occupy movement will go away just in time for the 2012 elections. Rarely in history has such a stunning opportunity armed with true believers promised to reshape the world, and chances are it will go one of two ways.
Its walk-the-walk progressives tired of Wall Street's corporate personhood and hostile takeover of American governance could either triumph, and help reinstitute the regulatory regimes that saved the U.S. from the Great Depression in the first. Or they could be brutally put down by the same powers-that-be which mostly killed off the similarly optimistic movements of the '60s and greatly contributed to our current dystopia. But no matter may come, Occupy's place in progressive history is secure.
Elizabeth Warren: Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul recently called her a " socialist," politely truncating the heckling jackass who called her a " socialist whore" during her recent speech in Massachusetts. But despite the empty insults, one thing is utterly clear: Elizabeth Warren is a sincere progressive threat to the status quo on Wall Street and in the Senate.
As of this writing, she's unbeatable by former nude model Scott Brown, who traded wisecracks with Warren about disrobing for money to make economic ends meet. Considering that she helped create the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and watched as the 2008 bank bailouts missed their economic goals, Warren is light-years ahead of Brown when it comes to turning the nation's economy around -- especially because she probably knows where all the banksters' bodies are buried. Watch Warren's politically progressive instincts hit the ground shortly after she wins the 2012 state election in Massachusetts, with or without a strategic alignment with Occupy Wall Street.
Bernie Sanders: Unlike Warren, Bernie Sanders actually is a self-described democratic socialist, although he's formally registered as an independent. But regardless of the political pigeonhole, he's a stalwart progressive champion for Vermont and the nation. He bravely closed out 2010 by delivering an eight-hour filibuster blistering the Obama administration's preservation of Bush-era tax cuts, publishing it in March 2011 under the title The Speech: A Historic Filibuster on Corporate Greed and the Decline of Our Middle Class. This summer, he outed 10 corporate tax cheats, from Bank of America to Valero Energy that have blatantly avoided paying their fair share.