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Friday, June 13, 2008


a major part of CCR's purpose is to bring cases that activists in the street want them to bring—even if there's essentially no chance of success. ... even though they're willing to bring important but hopeless cases that are all but guaranteed to lose...

A tenet of my personal philosophy -- one I certainly fail to live up to, perhaps often, but I do try -- is that "the fact that success is very unlikely is, by itself, not an excuse for failing to do the right thing."

In other words, the fact that I attempt to do the right thing is a better indicator of my true character, than whether I succeed. My choices define who I am, better than my list of victories, because sometimes [often?!] I lose through no fault of my own. And, more importantly, it goes both ways: if I repeatedly pass up opportunities to do the right thing, no matter how risky, then I become the sort of person who choses the wrong thing.

In my opinion this explains a lot of the difference between Democrats versus "real" progressives... the Democrats have decided that "politics is the art of the possible" and have consciously limited their strategies to battles that are likely to be winnable within the System. As we have all seen over the past 30 years, however, what this means is that when the entire System is corrupt and evil, then the Democrats participate in the corruption and evil. And it changes their very nature -- once again, your choices define who you are, not the other way around.

"Real" progressives, or whatever you want to call them since "progressive" has also become a loaded word like "liberal" these days... "Real" progressives often pick impossible battles, in fact often relish them. Because we can make progress and gain territory in the course of a battle, but we can't do that if we run away from the battle. Also, humans are very bad at deciding what is Impossible versus what is Possible. For example, your article today shows "real" progressives winning a seemingly impossible battle. Doesn't happen often but it's worth it when it does. A longshot win can change an entire nation's paradigm, if you'll pardon the buzzword.

Thanks very much for pointing out this explicit strategy of the CCR. This is not to knock the ACLU, who also stick to their guns during difficult battles. But I was recently considering signing up for membership in the ACLU, and now I'll have to investigate the CCR as competition (for my extremely, extremely limited discretionary income).

Excellent comments—thanks for posting them.

...what this means is that when the entire System is corrupt and evil, then the Democrats participate in the corruption and evil.

Yes, and not only passively participate in but actively further; the corruption and evil are not just outside them, but of them.

I have some thoughts about possible vs. impossible that I'll post at some point.

...I'd love to read them! Don't keep us waiting too long.

Thomas, excellent post.

CCR is the best, and well worth supporting. They've been on Democracy Now a number of times, so in addition to reading/watching Vincent Warren from last week, look for other appearances by CCR folks in the search function at www.democracynow.org.CCR website below:


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