You may use this directory with several goals in mind:
For research to write articles about noncorporate or progressive candidates.
To organize a nationwide plan of financial contributions to noncorporate candidates.
To organize social media campaigns that spotlight noncorporate candidates.
To inform your friends and family about noncorporate candidates and progressive policies in their states
Or you may pay for access, simply to support this work.
Why the Paywall?
I put the “2022 Noncorporate Candidate Directory” behind a paywall for protection. Some political eager beavers like to check my candidate list in order to update their own lists. That is OK. But someone uses an app that can harvest the information. While the harvesting process is underway, it causes Progressive Graffiti to repeatedly crash and go offline. That is not OK. That is really invasive.
Not everyone will be able or willing to pay for the 2022 directory. But don’t worry. I’ll be publishing open-access articles that utilize the candidate data. So keep an eye on Friends in DC for timely posts about the noncorporate progressive candidates running in the 2022 election. To help alert you, I’ve installed a Friends in DC rss feed on the front page of Progressive Graffiti.
The temptation to rely on material wealth for security, comfort and status is very great. It absolutely appeals to the flesh! So, if you know anyone engaged in far-right Christian politics, please remind them of Matthew 19:16-30–before they block any more government safety net programs.
Jesus gave up the good life “Up There” to be a poor, dark-skinned socialist “Down Here.”
The Rich and the Kingdom of God
16 And someone came to Him and said, “Teacher, what [essentially] good thing shall I do to obtain eternal life [that is, eternal salvation in the Messiah’s kingdom]?” 17 Jesus answered, “Why are you asking Me about what is [essentially] good? There is only One who is [essentially] good; but if you wish to enter into eternal life, keep the commandments.” 18 He said to Jesus, “Which commandments?” And Jesus answered, “You shall not commit murder; You shall not commit adultery; You shall not steal; You shall not give false testimony; 19 Honor your father and mother; and love your neighbor as yourself” [that is, unselfishly seek the best or higher good for others]. 20 The young man said to Him, “I have kept all these things [from my youth]; what do I still lack?” 21 Jesus answered him, “If you wish to be perfect [that is, have the spiritual maturity that accompanies godly character with no moral or ethical deficiencies], go and sell what you have and give [the money] to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me [becoming My disciple, believing and trusting in Me and walking the same path of life that I walk].” 22 But when the young man heard this, he left grieving and distressed, for he owned much property and had many possessions [which he treasured more than his relationship with God].
23 Jesus said to His disciples, “I assure you and most solemnly say to you, it is difficult for a rich man [who clings to possessions and status as security] to enter the kingdom of heaven. 24 Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man [who places his faith in wealth and status] to enter the kingdom of God.” 25 When the disciples heard this, they were completely [a]astonished and bewildered, saying, “Then who can be saved [from the wrath of God]?” 26 But Jesus looked at them and said, “With people [as far as it depends on them] it is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
The Disciples’ Reward
27 Then Peter answered Him, saying, “Look, we have given up everything and followed You [becoming Your disciples and accepting You as Teacher and Lord]; what then will there be for us?” 28 Jesus said to them, “I assure you and most solemnly say to you, in the renewal [that is, the Messianic restoration and regeneration of all things] when the Son of Man sits on His glorious throne, you [who have followed Me, becoming My disciples] will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. 29 And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or farms for My name’s sake will receive many times as much, and will inherit eternal life. 30 But many who are first [in this world] will be last [in the world to come]; and the last, first. Read full chapter
Matthew 19:25 These declarations of Jesus directly contradicted the teaching of the Pharisees that God bestows wealth on those He loves and chooses. If the rich were not automatically granted entrance to God’s kingdom, how could the common man ever be welcomed?
What got to me, what brought on my Sunday sermon, is that I saw Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL) boasting on Twitter that he spoke at the University of Notre Dame.
I don’t know if anyone at Notre Dame actually read Scott’s 11-Point Plan to Rescue America, before they invited him to their symposium to talk about protecting families and democracy. I tried to alert Notre Dame (albeit, after the fact).
Since Notre Dame is a Catholic university, scriptures began flooding my mind; scriptures that jive with a people-loving, socialist-like Jesus of the New Testament. Notice the footnote to Matthew 19:25, above. Still, today, many people make a mistake in believing that “God bestows wealth on those He loves and chooses.”
Modern socialism aims to improve on previous socialist attempts, such as that of the former Soviet Union, by emphasizing democracy.
Around the time of Sander’s first presidential campaign, I realized I didn’t know anything about socialism. It was a subject I needed to study.
Conducting Google searches for “socialism” made me feel subversive, at first. Search results implied that socialism and communism are practically the same thing. Yikes! my inner child cried (that child who hunkered under her desk during many an air raid drill during elementary school). Maybe socialism is a dangerous slippery slope, after all, leading straight to communism.
And yet, the level-headed, morally courageous Bernie Sanders proclaimed himself to be a “Democratic Socialist.” I continued to research.
Soon I came upon Professor Richard D. Wolff, host of Economic Update, and began to learn a thing or two about modern socialism. Wolff is a Marxist economist and historian. He advocates for worker-owned-and-managed enterprises. In fact, he founded Democracy at Work. Wolff maintains that a democratic nation should be characterized by the democratic workplace.
Still, I continued to wonder about the difference between socialism and communism.
Is There a Difference Between Socialism and Communism?
If we look at the common dictionary definitions for “socialism” and “communism,” we see that both systems mention community ownership and control. A workplace is a community. (Thank you, Dr. Wolff.)
Socialism – a theory or system of social organization that advocates the ownership and control of the means of production and distribution, capital, land, etc., by the community as a whole, usually through a centralized government.
Communism – a theory or system of social organization based on the holding of all property in common, actual ownership being ascribed to the community as a whole or to the state.
The two definitions are hardly distinguishable from one another. Later in my research, I learned that communism is a type of socialism, which may explain why the terms are often used interchangeably. But more significantly, the two definitions allow that both socialist and communist systems could also be controlled by the state or government (instead of a community).
State-controlled socialism frightens people. It is authoritarian and, therefore, presents a threat to human rights. That is particularly the case if the state/government controls all or most of the political, social, and economic systems within a country.
On the other hand, people seldom give community-controlled socialism a thought. But if they do think about it, they might appreciate how beautifully it dovetails with democracy. Hey–that must be how someone came up with the idea for democratic socialism.
So, back to the difference between socialism and communism. From what I can tell, there is no essential difference between the two ideologies. It’s all socialism.
And socialism provides an alternative to capitalism.
Where Does Capitalism Fit In?
Western economic systems have changed over time. There has been slavery, then the feudal system, and capitalism reigns today. The new kid on the block is socialism. Get ready, because modern socialism will be the first economic system to empower workers.
All I want to add here, is that capitalism and democratic socialism do not cancel one another out. Mingled together, private enterprise and worker cooperatives spur a healthy competitive business environment.
INSIDE SECRET: Wealthy corporations and billionaires hate democracy, socialism, unions, AND competition.
(Yeah. Keep connecting those dots.)
Proper Tension Creates Balance
Meanwhile, most social-economic systems are a combination of various approaches. The proper tension across diverse force fields can create balance. In the case of democratic socialism and regulated capitalism, a balanced distribution of wealth and power curbs excessive inequality.
You may want to investigate the work that scholars of socialism offer. Follow the blue links provided in this post. Visit Prof. Wolff. Watch the video below. If you’re really inspired, read Karl Marx.
As you expand your research into socialism, you’ll notice material about socialist countries that are failing. But I leave you with a finale thought, that you may apply where applicable…. Nothing works as intended, if it is corrupted.
A blogging friend of mine said he misses the intelligence, wit, and eloquence of a John F. Kennedy speech. His statement reminded me of a video clip I saw a few years ago, where Kennedy spoke about the free press. I’d been greatly impressed by something he said. Something like… an informed public makes the right decisions.
However, I could never find that video clip again. Until now. Almost. Here’s what I have:
John F. Kennedy Speech to the Press and Media – AUDIO
Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, New York City, April 27, 1961
The President and the Press: Address Before the American Newspaper Publishers Association, April 27, 1961 – TRANSCRIPT
No President should fear public scrutiny of his program. For from that scrutiny comes understanding; and from that understanding comes support or opposition. And both are necessary. I am not asking your newspapers to support the Administration, but I am asking your help in the tremendous task of informing and alerting the American people. For I have complete confidence in the response and dedication of our citizens whenever they are fully informed.
— President John F. Kennedy
Can a corporate-owned and corporate-sponsored free press/media serve American people in the unbiased manner that John F. Kennedy envisioned? Can our current news media provide objectivity, particularly on controversial topics, without the support of government regulations like the former FCC Fairness Doctrine (1949-1987)?
The United States needs more democracy and proportional representation. But a slew of democratic reforms are needed first, before we can get there. The most important reforms are:
Ranked Choice Voting
Abolish the Electoral College
Meanwhile, progressives struggle between trying to support third parties, like the Green Party, or taking over the existing neoliberal Democratic Party. Which pathway will be most effective at building democracy, or even possible?
Historian and talk radio host Thom Hartmann makes an argument for “seizing the Democratic Party.” Whether you agree with his analysis or not, his piece provides invaluable background. The article covers:
Pertinent American History
The barriers to third parties
Strategy to infiltrate the Democratic Party
Take a read. It’s succinct, only a 5-8 minute read. Tell us what you think.
When Bernie Sanders was a U.S. House Member, he was known as the “Amendment King.” Now, he gives us an update on a major piece of legislation currently on the floor of the U.S. Senate. It’s called the “Competitiveness Bill.”
Bernie says the bill requires two important amendments, in order to remove:
$53 billion in corporate welfare to microchip companies like Intel.
A $10 billion check to Jeff Bezos’ company Blue Origins.
Bernie promises to keep us posted.
By the way, if anyone thinks amending a bill is a simple task, they must read Matt Taibbi’s 2005 Rolling Stone article “Inside the Horror Show That Is Congress.” In it, Taibbi follows the Amendment King around Congress for a week or so, and describes what the amendment process is really like. It wasn’t what Taibbi expected!
All the mainstream news media, from CNN to The Wall Street Journal, is talking about a “$3.5 trillion reconciliation bill.” Though reporters and news anchors may have forgotten the bill’s actual name (I know I did), they are referring to the “Build Back Better Act.” Now, the bill in further jeopardy.
The Cost, the Cost, the Cost!
The thing that is most noted about the bill is the cost. The cost! The cost! The cost!
There’s no doubt that $3.5 trillion is a lot of money, even when spread over a 10-year period. But in an era of burgeoning billionaires… relatively speaking… is it really that much? (Whatever happened to millionaires, anyway? Are they the upper middle class now?)
But some critics of the “Build Back Better Act” suggest $3.5 trillion is NOT nearly enough to fix America’s infrastructure, much less the climate crisis.
The Value! The Value! The Value!
Smart money-people know that good value per buck is the important thing. The value! The value! The value! In other words, what good does the “Build Back Better Act” provide for Americans?
This is the part of the bill that mainstream media is sketchy about. Let’s become better informed, on our own. We’ll go to the original source.
The “Build Back Better Act” doesn’t coddle and elevate large corporations. This bill is the one that uplifts regular people. It’s filled with people-oriented policies and programs. It addresses “a broad array of areas, including education, labor, child care, health care, taxes, immigration, and the environment.” Here’s the outline of the specific social benefits, copied almost word-for-word, from the H.R.5376 summary at Congress.gov.
Better funding for…
The National Forest System
Job placement and career services
Safe drinking water, energy-efficiency, and weatherization projects
Electric vehicles and zero-emission, heavy-duty vehicles
public health infrastructure and supply chain resiliency
Housing, rental, and homeowner assistance programs
Tribal infrastructure, housing, environmental, and health programs
Wildfire prevention, drought relief, conservation efforts, and climate change research
Small business assistance and development
Transit services and clean energy projects in low-income communities
Infrastructure and administration of the Department of Veterans Affairs.
New programs to provide…
Up to six semesters of free community college
Free childcare for children under the age of six
Free universal preschool services
Health benefits for eligible individuals who reside in states that have not expanded Medicaid
Additional provisions that…
Establish a methane fee for certain petroleum and natural gas facilities
Expand Medicare to cover dental, hearing, and vision care
Provide certain aliens with a path to permanent resident status (e.g., those who entered the United States as minors)
Provide up to 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave
Restructure and increase the tax rates for certain corporations and high-income individuals (e.g., individuals with income over $400,000) *
Require the Department of Health and Human Services to negotiate maximum prices for certain brand-name drugs under Medicare
* Note the bill’s provision that would increase taxes for “certain corporations and high-income individuals.” This is the impetus of low-information coverage by most U.S. mainstream news media, which are owned and sponsored by big corporations and billionaires. Naturally, mainstream news has a pro-corporate bias. Obviously, an exaggerated focus on funding creates a negative impression of the “Build Back Better Act,” implying it is wasteful.
Erum Salam at The Guardian gives an excellent overview of the major benefits in the “Build Back Better Act,” as well covering the limitations of the bill. The truth is, the bill has already been scaled back from its original vision and funding. In terms of large scale national provisions, $3.5 trillion can only buy so much. The amount is adequate for a small impact, but it does not fund a serious push for economic justice and climate action.
I always urge people to add independent outlets to their news consumption, to get a fuller (more realistic) picture of what’s going on in the world. In the video below, independent Canadian political commentator David Doel laments the negative narrative that cloaks the “Build Back Better Act.” And he celebrates how Representatives Cori Bush and Jamaal Bowman capitalized on a rare network news opportunity to set the record straight.
What Does It Cost to Be Cheap?
Every wise consumer is aware of the sweet spot between extravagant and cheap. It’s known as “best value for your buck.” Americans need to get best value out of the “Build Back Better Act,” in order to stave off the culminating disasters of runaway inequality and the climate emergency.
Meanwhile, President Biden said yesterday, on October 19th, that Democrats may concede to further reductions in the “Build Back Better Act” that would lower funding to $1.7 trillion. Watch today’s Democracy Now headlines (1:12) for an overview of the details and reactions to Biden’s announcement.
What can you do?
The National Organization for Women (NOW) quickly put out a “Build Back Better Act” action alert. Other organizations will do, or have done, the same. The basic action? Make calls to your U.S. Senators and Representatives!
You may use the Capitol Switchboard number, 202-224-3121, to reach any Congress Member. If you’re unsure who represents you, tell the switchboard what state you live in. They’ll connect you to the correct office. Callers often end up speaking to staff members. That’s good enough. The staff provide citizen feedback reports to their Senator or Representative.