Common Dreams Quid Pro Toe

How delighted I was to receive an email from Common Dreams, showing signs of skepticism finally at President Obama’s growing betrayal of American progressives. After censoring CD participants who criticize the Democratic Party for its capitulation to corporate centrism, even banning the persistent voices from its online discussions, the blogosphere giant now purports to have examined it stats and rediscovered its radical base. I’m thrilled that CD has met its enemy, and it is not us, but I wish their epiphany wasn’t about who’s left to tap for money.

How can we but surmise that Common Dreams enjoyed financial support from Obama’s Dems, for toeing the party line? They paid the bills, the dream was blue.

Now that Obama is in office, and his progressive supporters don’t have the charm of his new globalist friends, Common Dreams has to go back to stickball with the rest of us with no access. I’d be a lot more inclined toward sympathy for Common Dreams if it showed some remorse for having cast aside so many while it co-opted the common dream to make it about Barack Obama.

Here’s the fund raising letter from Common Dreams, saying all the right things, just like President False Hope himself.

July 24, 2009

Dear Friend of,

When Americans voted overwhelmingly for ‘Change’ last November 4th, I, like so many of you, was hopeful.

Hopeful that we’d bring our troops home. Hopeful for a major commitment to safe, renewable energy.

Hopeful that Wall Street and corporate lobbyists would no longer be able to treat our elected representatives like puppets on a string.

Hopeful that Guantánamo would be closed and the torturers would be prosecuted. That the post-9/11 trampling of our civil liberties would be reversed.

Hopeful that President Obama would rally the people around a bold, progressive overhaul of our sickly healthcare ‘system.’

Hopeful that the neglected investments in our people, our future, would begin again.

But frankly, seven months into the new administration, my hope is fading.

I have days when I think we’ll never overcome this system.

But I never have a day when I think about giving up.

Four times a year we ask you to support our work. Will you help today by making a secure online donation today to our Summer Appeal?

Two of the most popular articles on these past months were writings by longtime activists, Paul Hawken and Derrick Jensen.

Two tireless fighters against the system.

It was clear from the stats on our site that the words of these two progressive thinkers resonated with you, and with all of our readers.

Paul Hawken has been warning against the accelerating decline of Planet Earth for decades. As he said in his May 3 speech to graduates of the University of Portland, Oregon, “If you look at the science about what’s happening on earth and aren’t pessimistic, you don’t understand the data.”

But he also spoke of hope: “. . . if you meet the people who are working to restore this earth and the lives of the poor, and you aren’t optimistic, you haven’t got a pulse.”

Last I checked, I still had a pulse.

Jensen’s prognosis for civilisation is even more sober. Still, even he urges us to resist – by voting, running for office, boycotting, organizing, lobbying, protesting. And, he says, “when a government becomes destructive of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, we have the right to alter or abolish it.”

Altering or abolishing a government is not for the faint of heart.

But sitting idly, silently by while our planet, our government, and our society self-destruct is not for people like you and me.

Common Dreamers were so inspired by the words of these two writers, they forwarded them to thousands of others to read.

Thousands of people like you, who will use the information to help fuel the fight for truth.

The fight for what’s right.

The fight for what the majority of Americans say, in poll after poll, they want – and yet are being denied by a government that is bought and paid for by corporations and a tiny percentage of people who hold the vast majority of wealth in this country.

Jensen ends his article with a call to action: “We can follow the example of those who remembered that the role of an activist is not to navigate systems of oppressive power with as much integrity as possible, but rather to confront and take down those systems.”

The time to get confrontational is now.

Because tomorrow might be too late.

Please help us continue to inform and inspire and ignite change by making a secure donation today. Or, you can use our print and mail form, which includes our mailing address, to send a check

Thank you so much.


Craig Brown
Executive Director
for the whole team

P.S. Please consider signing up to make a monthly donation. And don’t forget to ask your employer about a matching gifts program. Please pitch in today!

3 thoughts on “Common Dreams Quid Pro Toe

  1. ‘How delighted I was to receive an email from Common Dreams, showing signs of skepticism finally at President Obama’s growing betrayal of American progressives.’

    ‘American progressives’ were not betrayed except by themselves, when they went out and cast their votes for a corporate candidate, that one of the Democratic Party. It was they who betrayed the common folk by telling them that Barack Obama was sincere about bringing about a CHANGE that would benefit themselves and not the corporate world. The Common Dreams site was leading the pack in this regard and still is.

    When one casts a vote for a candidate, it is not the personality of each buffoon the 2 major corporate parties put up that determines anything. But backwards sites like Common Dreams always say that it is! They WILL censure anybody that says that it is the PARTY that counts, and not the image of some individual build and constructed by the advertising medium.

    Nothing has changed at Common Dreams. They still want your money and they still will censure people for disagreeing with them. Craig Brown is not anybody that appears to be able to have any real political insight of value and activists need much better than he and Common Dreams will be offering them in the months ahead.

  2. While as you may have read I have a sizeable hatchet to grind against CD’s wild-ass censorhip practices (I can’t call them policy, because they lack the coherent and consistent application that the word implies and “wild-ass” captures the reality so much better), the site does still have value as a clearinghouse for information. The comments section and the approach to “building community” are where there problems are, obviously.

    One thing that simply has to be learned throughout the last few yers is that there is no such thing as “progressives”. Anyone versed in political philosophy at all understands the term relates to an alliance, not an ideology, and what we see on the center-left sites is a few-way split between establishment anti-GOP libs, more progressive liberals, socialist, reds and anarchists of various stripes (and more than a few right-leaning libertarians who can’t stand the statist drivel coming from the usual right-wing suspects).

    That’s a pretty toxic mix at times, especially when political coherence and ideological IQ is probably near an all-time low, even among the well-intentioned. The perfectly natural tension that results on the boards is probably what makes Brown et. al. squeamish, because they’re clearly political unitarians who believe we should all rally around what we dislike, as opposed to what we stand for. This works well when the GOP has power, but is a recipe for catastrophe when the Dems have it.

    You’re right though, Tony, re: the betrayal issue. I hate that approach, because it implies no one could see this coming, and clearly tons of people did. Obama didn’t betray anyone. He played politics well, and became a blank canvass on which everyone could project their “art” onto at will. He’s a perfect corporatist, and a two-legged HR office (you know, the kind littered with empty feel good slogans that bear no relationship to the brutal human practices on the ground).

    At the end of the day, this is still at heart a battle between people who believe electoral politics can be an agent for substantive change and those of us who believe it no longer can be. That’s the precise source of the tension, and the most urgent political issue of our day.

  3. I agree with you, Tom, that the heart of politics within the American Left is how we view the US electoral system here? That, and how we view American imperialism and how we view world capitalism? These issues keep splitting people coming from different political traditions down the line, and even split those on the Marxist Left and the Left Libertarian Left.

    Common Dreams and Boss Man Brown clearly believe that important incremental change can occur inside the, at best, fossilized Two Party System. I believe that he is totally wrong and that looking for change to occur via the Democratic Party is utterly reactionary, since it gives people an illusion that they need do little other than vote corporate Democratic Party as directed. It promotes delusions about democracy existing in places where, in fact, it simply doesn’t.

    And that is what must be said about Common Dreams itself. It’s nice bulletin board approach gives people the sense that CD is itself a democratic functioning operation, when in fact it is not. CD is truly accountable to nobody or no group much other than itself. Common Dreams though is certainly not unique in this aspect and I continue to go to it as one source of where I can find information..

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