That being said, I really don't see how a progressive party could be viable after Citizens United. What, exactly, would be the platform for spreading ideas? Most media would be closed off without significant sums of money, and that money has to come from somewhere and strings are always implicitly attached. Please don't say the Internet.
I'm a reasonably intelligent person and the Internet turns me into a hyperconsumeristic, non-committal mouth breather after a few hours. For the most part, it is a medium that, at this point, acts almost constantly to achieve the normalization of an alienated, consumerist lifestyle. On a positive note, the Internet can be a great tool for getting a lot of people to show up at the same place at the same time, but beyond that? Do you feel, as a blogger or someone who reads blogs, that you are part of any sort of "we"? Do you feel empowered knowing other people are just as pissed off as you? I sure as hell don't. I take some solace in the fact that others are as pissed off as I am, but I also feel very aware of the fact that I am just a dude staring at the screen. But even if the Internet worked, is the progressive dream that it could help manifest worth it? In the interim, perhaps, but, ultimately, no.
Sweden is just an illusion, if only because not every country can be Sweden. In the interconnected, interdependent global economy, I can't help but thinking that any reduction in inequality in one place will be accompanied by an increase in inequality elsewhere. I haven't been to Sweden, but I imagine that, even if the wealth is distributed more evenly there, part of what makes life affordable for Swedes is the availability of the same litany of products produced in third-world countries as here. Any structural critique of capitalism that you care to make can still be made.
And that goes for one's personal experience of life as well. If you are exhausted with a world of vain and superficial attempts at self-differentiation. If you feel that buying green is still buying. If you will never feel magically self-actualized by a higher level of job satisfaction, but rather are already counting the days until you don't have to work for someone else anymore, then the progressive dream has to be a nightmare. The progressive dream is one in which middle class people fight for more people to live the same lives as them. Fifty hours a week to pay off the college loan and the mortgage on the house that shelters the kids you never see. But with added patchouli and sanctimony.
And that, ultimately, is why I am sympathetic to more radical critiques. I can't understand the desires of those who just want to live a private life, and whose vision of politics stops when that life becomes plausible for them and, at best, for others. I demand to live a life I cannot imagine.
But, until then, if you need help ending the wars, fighting for nationalized health care, and increasing taxes on the wealthy, I'm down. As long as we don't have to eat at Whole Foods before the demonstration.