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Progressive disarray crystallized in Milk Club debacle

By Marc Salomon

Guest Editorial

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 politics.

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 Party.

Marc Salomon (far left)


Editor's Note: Views expressed by columnists published on FogCityJournal.com are not necessarily the views or beliefs of Fog City Journal. Fog City Journal supports free speech in all its varied forms and provides a forum for a complete spectrum of viewpoints.



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