Progressive disarray crystallized in Milk Club
By Marc Salomon
October 24, 2007
What is pathetic about the goings on at the Milk Club last evening
is not that any one side took odious steps to prevail, rather
that the progressive movement is bogged down in ratifying kinship
networks comprised of the already connected, and asserting cooties
on other networks rather than mobilizing atomized progressives
and liberals to confront the pressing issues of the day against
a highly funded and organized corporate leviathan.
Right now, Speaker Nancy Pelosi is poised to become personally
responsible for war crimes as her Congress prepares to authorize
further expenditures for the criminal wars in Iran and Afghanistan.
Our local Democratic Central Committee, the party organ of the
Speaker's district, must take some responsibility for enabling
war crimes. Human beings are being killed daily by our inactions
as we focus on relationships rather than policy.
Gavin Newsom is running roughshod over progressives, using homeless
human beings as pawns in a public relations campaign that many
believe is a prelude to the recall of Supervisor Chris Daly. Senator
Carole Migden and Assemblymemer Mark Leno, instead of fighting
each other by proxy for endorsements, should compete in Sacramento
to demonstrate who is most progressive by providing substance
abuse, mental health treatment, work and housing opportunities
to the homeless. That would do more to further their political
careers than any endorsement.
Newsom's regime has replaced the "pay to play" era
of Willie Brown with a "just play" standard which is
festooning San Francisco with environmentally unsustainable luxury
condos that do nothing to ameliorate the oppressive housing crunch
faced by most working San Franciscans.
Progressives are sitting by idly while we are being built out
from our city.
The Milk Club and the Alice B. Toklas Club have, for all intents
and purposes, fused. This fusion, some have called it Malice,
has been a vehicle for the advancement of political operatives
in the Milk club at the expense of Harvey Milk's historical progressive
When politics gets munged together with friends trying to prove
to each other how cool and how loyal they are, and tough policy
stances are supplanted by concern for nurturing these friendships,
then the losers here are the hundreds of thousands of San Franciscans
who are not connected and have to live under conservative rule
because our gang is too busy lionizing or demonizing one another
to move the progressive agenda.
The truth is that Leno and Migden are both impressive politicians
as well as flawed human beings. Fortunately, in the Senate, progressives
have the luxury to run a heated, contested race over personalities
without threatening core progressive politics. This is one of
the times when I'm glad I'm a Green.
But next November, the Malice coalition is organizing to promote
moderate David Campos, to run in the progressive core, District
9, against progressives including Mark Sanchez. This fight on
our home turf distracts scarce resources from efforts to retain
progressive power and upgrades in districts 1, 3 and 11.
When it becomes all about loyalty to a circle of friends rather
than about electing people based on their records, who don't need
to be told how to move our common progressive policy agenda, the
progressive project becomes exhausted and irrelevant.
Marc Salomon facilitated the successful inclusion of a
transgendered civil rights plank in the platform of the California
Green Party prior to similar action by the California Democratic
Marc Salomon (far left)
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