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Cook Organic not the Planet Campaign

Movement-Building and the 2012 Presidential Campaign

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All of a sudden the news media is full of stories about President Obama about to officially announce his 2012 reelection campaign, with headlines that he may end up raising a billion dollars in the process.

The question for independent progressives, those of us who fully understand that the Obama administration and the national Democratic Party are in no way consistently progressive and cannot be counted upon to stand up and fight for a progressive agenda, is what do we say and do about this.

One independent progressive national leader, U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders, two weeks ago endorsed the idea of a progressive challenge to Obama within the Democratic primaries. In an interview on radio station WNYC in New York City, he said: "If a progressive Democrat wants to run, I think it would enliven the debate, raise some issues and people have a right to do that. I've been asked whether I am going to do that. I'm not. I don't know who is, but in a democracy, it's not a bad idea to have different voices out there." Huffington Post

Whatever happens as far as a progressive challenge to Obama within the Democratic primaries, there will be "different voices out there" in 2012, and at least one, the Green Party's nominee, whomever it may be, will be progressive. The problem, of course, is that we live under a farce of a democracy where big money dominates the political process, including the mass media. We have winner-take-all, not proportional representation. Alternative party candidates are almost always excluded from the televised debates, unless you're a billionaire like Ross Perot. As a result it is extremely difficult for alternative candidacies, especially at the Presidential level, to have much impact, much less seriously contend to win.