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Gemelito Laluna
Writer. Activist. Adventist. Bibliophile. Cyclist. Law and Public Policy Nerd. Progressive. Technologist. WordPress Evangelist.
Writer. Activist. Adventist. Bibliophile. Cyclist. Law and Public Policy Nerd. Progressive. Technologist. WordPress Evangelist.

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From the latest article at my website, +The American Liberal Review,  on what the media and Team Clinton miss about +Bernie Sanders' "some days" critique of Hillary Clinton and what unpacking such criticism reveals about the political zeitgeist in the  Democratic primary season that explains the Vermont senator's surge.

"When it comes to Clinton, her problem among progressives isn’t her lack of liberal purity but rather her lack of conviction in moments where she does support progressive policies. Her habit of constantly hedging when she embraces progressive issues is the problem; it is not her failure to meet a 'progressive purity' metric (whatever that is). Clinton’s tendency to hedge opens her up to the justifiable charge made by many progressives that she’s just an uninspired, rudderless continuation of the poll-driven (and politically exhausted) third way politics of unprincipled triangulation that has been the focal point of liberal dissatisfaction with the Democratic establishment for over two decades since the centrist Democratic Leadership Council (DLC), under the lead of Al From and then-Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton, committed a 'bloodless coup' of the party in the early 1990s. (In 1989, scholars associated with the misnamed Progressive Policy Institute—the neoliberal policy arm of the DLC—went so far as to describe liberals, with dripping disdain, as 'liberal fundamentalists.')

In light of all this, Sanders’ critique last week is merely echoing what many progressive activists in and outside of the Democratic Party have felt (and continually feel) toward Hillary Clinton: Their uneasiness toward the former secretary of state stems from her incapacity to be a progressive 'conviction/signpost politician' who says what she means and means what she says.

In a political climate, within the Democratic primaries, marked by a strong sense of dissatisfaction toward the party establishment (that’s fueling the hunger for bold, liberal change), any lingering doubts that question a candidate’s commitment to be a progressive change agent this year serve only to undermine the ability of any candidate to authentically claim that he or she is the transformative force in this political season. Liberals and the progressive left suffer no such doubt toward Bernie Sanders. With Hillary Clinton, not so much. And that explains, in large part, why Sanders, not Clinton, is having so far the clear momentum in the Democratic race to be the party’s presidential standard-bearer in 2016."

From the latest article at my website, +The American Liberal Review, on what looking at the numbers behind Liberal Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau​'s recent victory says about the chances of +Bernie Sanders' insurgent campaign to win the Democratic Party​'s nomination for the presidency:

"At the end of the day, Sanders, more than any other candidate in both parties, understands the crucial dynamics that will be at play in 2016. It’s no accident that Sanders’ recent campaign mantra, as highlighted in his first political ad this primary season, touting 'real change' is one that identically mirrors the winning Trudeau campaign slogan that underpinned the Liberal strategy of expanding the electorate in the October Canadian election. And, as such, the symbolism of Sanders’ campaign mantra should give tremendous inspiration to the millions of his supporters everywhere that not only does the Vermont senator have a viable electoral strategy to win, but it also indicates the serious, laser-like focus of his efforts to offer real progressive change in America too."

#BernieSanders   #JustinTrudeau

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From the latest article at my website, +The American Liberal Review, on why the theme behind +Bernie Sanders first TV ad campaign matters not only for the future of his presidential campaign, but also for its impact on electoral progressive politics going forward:

"If Sanders in the coming months of the remaining primary season fails to flesh out the critical nexus between movement politics and practical politics, then Clinton’s argument that she’s the only credible progressive that can marry a robust liberal agenda with practical politics may very well succeed in persuading a majority of Democrats to agree with her by voting for the former secretary of state in the Democratic primaries. Such a failure would not only be regrettable for the fortunes of Sanders’ insurgent presidential candidacy but also, possibly, be a setback for the electoral future of principled left-wing politics in America fueled by the potent, collective energy of a people-powered movement in ushering a (small-d) democratic, progressive political revolution."


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From the latest article at my website, +Adventists for Progress, on the way forward for the #RIPGC  movement:
"For far too long, some of us critics of institutional Adventism have defined our Adventist creed in a fashion, with the practical effect, of what we oppose—in regard to the official positions of the General Conference—rather than what we affirmatively embrace that defines our Adventist faith that makes it altogether irrelevant of what contemporary organized Adventism does or does not do. In other words, we define our Adventist credo ourselves that’s not shaped by what the Church’s official positions are or are not in any given moment; we must take ownership of our faith.

And, as such, instead of looking to institutional Adventism (via the General Conference) to be the change agent that we wish it to be—or to be disappointed by it for when it fails to be so—we should take heed (and inspiration) in the famous words from several years ago by then-Senator Obama (italics added):'We are the change we have been waiting for.'"

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From the latest article at my website, +The American Liberal Review, on the momentous Canadian federal election and what lesson can be gleaned by center-left parties worldwide from Prime MInister-designate Justin Trudeau's recent victory:

"At the end of the day, by veering right during this year’s federal Canadian election, on a major economic policy issue, the NDP lost the all-important 'progressive primary' to the Liberals that resulted in the center-left and left-wing bloc of Canadian voters to massively coalesce around the latter, during the late stages of the election, to be the standard-bearer of the progressive anti-Harper vote. A decision that proved quite decisively costly for Mulcair and the NDP such that it, alone, may have very well cost them the opportunity to become Canada’s governing party this past Monday. Theirs is a cautionary tale for center-left parties around the world: by moving to the center-right on the economy, you not only lose your credibility, you also lose your progressive brand that alienates both supporters and potential supporters on the left and center alike—that, ultimately, lead to losing elections.

On the other hand, the lesson of Trudeau and the Liberals’ victory for the center-left is this: it’s time to bury the losing, timid and uninspired ways of austere third way economics and embrace the winning path of bold, optimistic and progressive (pro-growth) Keynesianism. At their best, for center-left parties, embracing progressive economics is not just a laundry list of sound, constructive policies that will do much to economically lift up the many (rather than just the few), but it also goes to heart of the social liberal and social-democratic project: fighting for a hopeful and just vision of society where—to borrow the memorable words from the election victory speech of Prime Minister-designate Justin Trudeau—it means rejecting 'good enough is good enough and that better just isn’t possible' and fighting for a future where the 'better is always possible.'”

#CdnPoli #Elxn42 #JustinTrudeau #TomMulcair #LiberalParty #NDP

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From the latest article at my website, +The American Liberal Review, on the first debate of the Democratic primary season, and why +Hillary Clinton's and +Bernie Sanders' respective theories of change are crucial for the viability of a post-Obama liberalism:

"When all is said and done, both Hillary Clinton’s and Bernie Sanders’ respective theories of change show much promise and potential, despite some of their (unresolved and resolved) shortcomings. Nonetheless, individually, the theories of change proffered by Clinton and Sanders may not be sufficient, alone, in solving the so-called 'elephant in the room' that has befuddled Democrats and stymied the advancement of the liberal agenda. Specifically, it is the issue of how to defeat the Republican gridlock in Congress.

However, by combining both theories into a formidable political pincer strategy, the consequences of which will be positively twofold. First, it will put Republicans on the defensive by publicly naming and shaming them which, taken as a whole, indicts the GOP by faulting them as the source of government impasse and dysfunction, exposes their extremism, and, hopefully, goes to the next step by making an explicit, public argument against contemporary conservatism as a failed ideology. Second, it will undermine the GOP majorities in Congress through an engaged and mobilized mass movement that maintains meaningful levels of motivated energy, among a large swath of the Democratic coalition, beyond 2016, so as to increase the party’s voter turnout in the 2018 midterms and the all-important presidential cycle and census year of 2020. This pincer strategy has the compelling promise of undermining Republican obstructionism that, for the past several years, has bogged down government to a standstill and arrested the furtherance of President Obama’s second-term agenda.

At the end of the day, the Democrat who quickly grasps that it isn’t an either/or proposition as to which theory of change is the more effective route that can counter Republican intransigence (it’ll require the deft embrace and energetic advocacy of both) may very well be the candidate who can offer the more plausible solution to defeat GOP obstructionism. Which, ultimately, may result in persuading Democratic voters to elect such candidate to be their party’s presidential nominee in 2016 tasked with finally defeating the Republican logjam in Congress."

  #HillaryClinton #BernieSanders #DemocraticParty #Liberalism  

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From the latest article at my website, +The American Liberal Review, on why the struggle for the SEIU​'s Democratic endorsement by both camps of the Clinton and Sanders campaigns is emblematic of the serious challenge facing the American labor movement:

"Recently, Politico reported that Bernie Sanders supporters, within the SEIU, petitioned their union’s international executive board to hold off in endorsing any candidate for they fear the board might come out for Hillary Clinton. On its surface, this story would be just another news item of the jockeying between pro-Sanders and pro-Clinton supporters, within a union, as to which candidate received its prize endorsement during this primary season. However, the Politico report is more than that. The news item chronicles a situation representing an emblematic challenge facing the broader trade union movement itself. Specifically, how does the labor movement flex its political muscle, in the Democratic Party, at a time when its once sizable influence and numerical heft has significantly dwindled (since the peak of organized labor’s power during the 1950s) in the face of an unfavorable environment where a corporate donor class’ sizable influence has risen in the same party?"

#Labor #Unions   #BernieSanders   #HillaryClinton  

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From the latest article at my website, +The American Liberal Review, looking at +Bernie Sanders' challenge of attracting voters of color:

"For some people of color who are committed supporters of Bernie Sanders‘ candidacy to become the Democratic Party’s presidential standard-bearer in 2016, it’s been a disconcerting experience observing his campaign’s less-than-stellar outreach to their racially diverse communities. Although Sanders, by far, has put out one of the most forward-thinking policies on racial justice (the other being Martin O’Malley‘s, in particular his robust criminal justice reform proposals)—a vital, important first step—that does not, however, compensate for the fact that the Vermont senator’s efforts to deepen ties to the large voting blocs of Asian-Pacific Islander, African-American, Latino, and other communities of color in the Democratic coalition have been lackluster in light of the particular challenges facing him.

Specifically, one meaningful challenge confronting Bernie Sanders, when it comes to communities of color (especially African-American voters), is that Hillary Clinton, in comparison, has deeper and longer established ties to these vital constituencies. The other challenge is that Clinton has more name recognition and known positive branding among these voters than Sanders who has represented a small, predominantly white New England state throughout his 24-year career in Washington, D.C. In light of all this, the Sanders campaign’s handling of voters of color has been frustratingly mystifying—and slow.

Now, what does this article, here, mean by 'frustratingly mystifying'? Specifically, it is referring to the campaign’s seeming agreement with the assessment made by some progressive Sanders supporters who argue that he garners credibility among communities of color (in particular African-Americans) sufficiently because of his admirable long-standing history of civil rights activism going back to the 1960s as well as outlining policies that explicitly deal with (and are better at targeting) racial inequality. However, there is a critical problem with their assessment. Like other voting constituencies, credibility is gauged among communities of color by trust that arises, among other things, from building relationships and constantly maintaining familiar rapport. At the end of the day, a stellar pro-civil rights history and policies, no matter how racially progressive, are not substitutes for building relationships."


From the latest article at my website, +The American Liberal Review, looking at the insurgent progressive campaigns of +Bernie Sanders  and Jeremy Corbyn, and how they are upending the neoliberal Washington-Westminster center:

"One of the most remarkable transatlantic political developments this year has been the surprising rise of two unabashedly left-wing insurgent—initially longshot—campaigns that have upset the establishment sensibilities of the Washington-Westminster neoliberal center: Bernie Sanders‘s campaign in the Democratic presidential primary and Jeremy Corbyn‘s race in the Labour Party leadership election.

The reactions by the neoliberal centrist grandees in the Democratic and Labour parties toward the emergence of Sanders and Corbyn have included, among others, not-too subtle, modern-day form of soft red-baiting, and demeaning insults and over-the-top rhetoric. And in some instances the reactions have veered ingloriously into the territory of strident paroxysms, in particular in Corbyn’s case, with, among other things, outright anti-democratic maneuvering and chilling warnings about an intra-party putsch. (Should Sanders be on the verge of capturing the Democratic nomination for president in 2016, his campaign would do well to wisely study the British establishment’s all-out assault against Corbyn and be ready to counter similar undermining torrents of attacks that may await the senator should the neoliberal Beltway centrist insider class become severely rattled by the political threat posed by a left-wing insurgent within reach of leading a major party.)

In light of all this, what explains the reactions toward the insurgent campaigns of Sanders and Corbyn by the neoliberal array of centrist Democratic and Labour grand party poohbahs? One word: Fear.

Specifically, they fear that their Democratic and Labour centrist theory of progressive change has lost its legitimate hold, credibility, and political luster among the vast swath of supporters in each party as the political landscape has shifted to the left, among the grassroots base, in a seismic fashion in revulsion to the many decades of unprincipled triangulation and the domination of carefully scripted politics of style over profound, progressive substance. And that such lost only does more to publicly reinforce what many astute party activists and outside progressive critics of the Democratic and Labour establishment have long known: the ideological exhaustion, failure, and ideological bankruptcy of third way neoliberal centrism that has gripped both center-left parties for more than two decades."

#‎BernieSanders‬ ‪#‎JeremyCorbyn‬

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From the latest article at my website, +Adventists for Progress, on the way forward for the Adventist Left in light of the recent General Conference vote against ordination equality and what can progressive Adventists learn from the American Right on how to revitalize itself to become an effective force within the Church:

"Despite numerous setbacks for progressive Adventism, and the understandable despair and cynicism that engulf much of the Adventist Left community, liberal Adventists should not lose sight that on some issues, like ordination equality, there has been a growing, noticeable shift, in some conferences, toward the values embraced by progressive Adventism.

Now, granted, it has taken much time for a critical mass to build up a momentum for change on some issues of concerns for progressive Adventism. However, like the debate on ordination equality, change and reform, within the Church, will ultimately march forward in the steady drumbeat of progress. Although the General Conference voted against ordination equality, the fact that 41% of the total votes casted on the issue of ordination equality were in favor of ministerial gender equality, such affirmation is a healthy—and promising—indication that the tide of change cannot be reversed despite the efforts to contain it by some conservative elements within the Church. Like most changes in history, the march forward toward progress, despite suffering setbacks, can neither be fully contained nor defeated.

Going forward, it’s going to require the patience of progressive Adventists to take a long view approach toward progress if they hope to see that their Church is reformed from within and becomes the vehicle for progressive change. Surely, the historical laws of progress dictate that positive change, however challenged by the forces of retrenchment, will nonetheless ultimately succeed.

As such, the 'moment' of change will surely arrive—the only question will be this: Will progressive Adventists meet the moment or will they be incapable, regrettably, of meeting it? Now, the precise answer to that question depends, in part, on whether progressive Adventists will mobilize to build movement, leadership, and infrastructure capacity, as outlined in this article, that pushes the Adventist Left from the institutional margins to prominence."

#MyChurchToo #Adventist #SDA #Adventism   #ProgressiveAdventism  
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