Thursday, February 12, 2009

Truth Teller William Greider

I first read William Greider as a kid in the 1980s (yes, I was a nerd!) after his Atlantic Monthly article entitled, The Education of David Stockman was published in 1981. My Dad had left the article lying on top of the sports section which was my usual reading preference. For me personally, Greider's article was a seminal moment in my political awareness.

In the video above, Greider is essentially telling us Democrats that we can no longer be a little bit pregnant. Either Democrats opt to work on behalf of wage earners or the fat cats. Given the current economic crisis, straddling with half measures as recently offered by Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner is no longer sustainable. We liberals have an opportunity to seize this moment of crisis and restore the Democratic Party to what it was from FDR to LBJ.

I believe in President Barack Obama personally even as my critique of his administration so far may seem harsh. In our political system, Presidents are hesitant to be too out in front when it comes to bringing systemic progressive change. Legend has it that FDR once instructed a group of liberal reformers to "make me do it." That is the best way to support both Barack Obama and the Democratic Party. Winning in 2008 was stage one. Taking over the party so it can become an agent of peace and economic and social justice is stage two.

Obviously, stage two remains a far more formidable challenge than stage one. So called moderates will continue to rationalize kickbacks to agents of America's plutocracy as a way of keeping Democrats in the "center." It's up to us however to keep up the fight on behalf of the decency center.

UPDATE: A few weeks after this post I actually did a podcast interview with William Greider. Click here to access that post.


Christian_Left said...

I love Greider's work too! If I see an article by him, I am always eager to read it. His book, One World, Ready or Not from the late 1990s provides a great synopsis of the global economy that exposes its fundamental weaknesses. (A nice antidote to Thomas Friedman...) What I find extremely interesting in the present moment is how one of his former "enemies" (in the intellectual sense, as a harsh critic of the aforementioned book) is none other than Paul Krugman, who seems to be joining with Greider lately in an all-out intellectual assault on our country's financial elite and their allies in politics (Geithner et al.) I'd like to think that Krugman has come a long ways to recognizing some of the fundamental weaknesses of prevailing economic wisdom, but I suppose they still may have some disagreements.

Jude Cowell said...

Yes, Greider is the man! Thanks for posting the video, jude

Ahma Daeus said...

A “SINGLE VOICE PROJECT” is the official name of the petition sponsored by: The National Public Service Council To Abolish Private Prisons (NPSCTAPP)


The National Public Service Council To Abolish Private Prisons (NPSCTAPP) is a grass roots organization driven by a single objective. We want the United States government to reclaim sole authority for state and federal prisons on US soil.
We want the United States Congress to immediately rescind all state and federal contracts that permit private prisons “for profit” to exist in the United States, or any place subject to its jurisdiction. We understand that the problems that currently plague our government, its criminal justice system and in particular, the state & federal bureau of prisons (and most correctional and rehabilitation facilities) are massive. However, it is our solemn belief that the solutions for prison reform will remain unattainable and virtually impossible as long as private prisons for profit are permitted to operate in America.

Prior to the past month, and the fiasco of Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, AIG, Lehman Brothers, and now the “Big Three” American Automobile manufacturers, the NPSCTAPP has always felt compelled to highlight the “moral Bottom line” when it comes to corrections and privatization. Although, we remain confounded by the reality that our government has allowed our justice system to be operated by private interests. The NPSCTAPP philosophy has always been “justice” should not be for sale at any price. It is our belief that the inherent and most fundamental responsibility of the criminal justice system should not be shirked, or “jobbed-out.” This is not the same as privatizing the post office or some trash pick up service in the community. There has to be a loss of meaning and purpose when an inmate looks at a guard’s uniform and instead of seeing an emblem that reads State Department of Corrections or Federal Bureau of Prisons, he sees one that says: “Atlas Prison Corporation.”

Let’s assume that the real danger of privatization is not some innate inhumanity on the part of its practitioners but rather the added financial incentives that reward inhumanity. The same logic that motivates companies to operate prisons more efficiently also encourages them to cut corners at the expense of workers, prisoners and the public. Every penny they do not spend on food, medical care or training for guards is a dime they can pocket. What happens when the pennies pocketed are not enough for the shareholders? Who will bailout the private prison industry when they hold the government and the American people hostage with the threat of financial failure…“bankruptcy?” What was unimaginable a month ago merits serious consideration today. State and Federal prison programs originate from government design, and therefore, need to be maintained by the government. It’s time to restore the principles and the vacated promise of our judicial system.

John F. Kennedy said, “The time to repair the roof is while the sun is shinning”. Well the sun may not be shinning but, it’s not a bad time to begin repair on a dangerous roof that is certain to fall…. because, “Incarcerating people for profit is, in a word WRONG”

There is an urgent need for the good people of this country to emerge from the shadows of cynicism, indifference, apathy and those other dark places that we migrate to when we are overwhelmed by frustration and the loss of hope.
It is our hope that you will support the NPSCTAPP with a show of solidarity by signing our petition. We intend to assemble a collection of one million signatures, which will subsequently be attached to a proposition for consideration. This proposition will be presented to both, the Speaker Of The House Of Representatives (Nancy Pelosi) and the United States Congress.

Please Help Us. We Need Your Support. Help Us Spread The Word About This Monumental And Courageous Challenge To Create Positive Change. Place The Link To The Petition On Your Website! Pass It On!

The SINGLE VOICE PETITION and the effort to abolish private “for profit” prisons is the sole intent of NPSCTAPP. Our project does not contain any additional agendas. We have no solutions or suggestions regarding prison reform. However, we are unyielding in our belief that the answers to the many problems which currently plague this nation’s criminal justice system and its penal system in particular, cannot and will not be found within or assisted by the private “for profit” prison business. The private “for profit” prison business has a stranglehold on our criminal justice system. Its vice-like grip continues to choke the possibility of justice, fairness, and responsibility from both state and federal systems.
These new slave plantations are not the answer!

For more information please visit: or email:
To sign the petition please visit:


William Thomas
National Community Outreach Facilitator
The National Public Service Council To Abolish Private Prisons
P.O. Box 156423
San Francisco, California 94115