I didn't want to interrupt the flow of conversation there, but there were at least two occasions there where speakers blamed backward motions in history on the inattentiveness and the shallowness of progressive people. In one case, the rise of new Jim Crow and Mass Incarceration slipped by folks because we thought we had won everything already. Or the many new restrictions on reproductive rights happened because we had thought Rowe v Wade fixed everything.
Start listening carefully and you will see this type of thinking everywhere.
Come on kids, let's get into Mr. Peabody's Wayback Machine and go back to 1968.
In much of the progressive world, Lyndon Johnson and Hubert Humphrey were the Rightwing. Robert Kennedy and Eugene McCarthy were Centrists and Bobby Seale and Tom Hayden were the Left. Richard Nixon was off the charts on the right and considered a joke and a has-been.
Since then, and continuing up to now, there has been a well-funded, very aggressive, very sophisticated conservative counter-revolution to everything progressive. Nixon won that 1968 election on its strength. And they have gone from strength to strength almost ever since. Only since 2008, has it been blunted. It was funded at the highest class level. It's economic policy was income inequality; its answer to African America's struggle was the drug war and mass incarceration; its answer to energy and the environment was an alliance with Saudi Arabia for cheap oil; its answer to the women's movement was conservative Christianity. The insurgent movements had scared them and they fought back successfully. And of course, they were successful; they were the ruling elite, and progressives were disorganized, poorly funded, divided and ultra-democratic insurgents.
When we will stop blaming the last 45 years of Reaction on ourselves? We had wounded a bear and were trapped in the iron cage of history with it. Yes, we could have been smarter and more organized and less eager to trash our own leaders and more willing to build up genuine grass-roots leaders. But it was still a big, wounded, and angry bear.
If we aren't clear on that, we will not fight any better in the future.