Meet the New Left: Small Business Owners

From the frontlines of the battle for a human economy, some interesting noise, via the Nation. Our times are indeed crying out for new kinds of associations and coalitions. "Small Business Owner," the sacred cow of American politics has become a contested brand, a classic David v. Goliath.

The corporate bureaucracy resembles Nike, circa early 1990s, and its attempt to indirectly own the whole category of sports.  It almost worked for a while and then it didn't. Now, an outfit who trademarked the phrase "The Voice of Small Business" back in 1997 is being accused of political identity theft. An interesting stirring, and I thought an interesting read for OAC heads. 

A promising new force is finding its voice in progressive politics, though it is still widely ignored or misunderstood. These overlooked progressives are small-business owners and entrepreneurs who are not usually confused with left-wing activists. It does seem improbable: roughly half of small-business people are Republicans, only a third or so identify themselves as Democrats, and some certainly fit the old stereotype. The GOP idolizes business folks as free-market, small-government conservatives. On the left, they are frequently dismissed as small-minded right-wingers.

But if you listen to them more closely, you will hear jarring expressions of distinctly liberal opinions. And they express salty disgust for the US Chamber of Commerce and the National Federation of Independent Business, which claim to speak for the little guys on Main Street. Actually, these little guys accuse the US Chamber and the NFIB of identity theft.

Read the rest here.

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Comment by Nathan Dobson on April 1, 2013 at 1:17am

Taken on a Nokia 6500s-1, ‎02 ‎January ‎2013, ‏‎15:13:58

I just wanted to include the original picture I took because I used the camera of a crappy phone to take a picture of a printed newspaper, but I don't want to take the conversation in a different direction.

Comment by Nathan Dobson on April 1, 2013 at 12:41am

That was really interesting Boris, thanks for pointing us to it.

I picked up the thread of small business banking after meeting a local BOA rep and then reading about how Chuka Umunna was importing the idea for the UK when I was back there at Christmas. The BOA rep has plans to implement something along small and medium business lines in Kenya.

"Black Friday" is a key index that markets make decisions on. How much (and what kind of) markets (could?) move on "Small business Saturday" or something similar?

Comment by Boris Popovic on March 31, 2013 at 11:23pm

Thank you, John, for both. I shall dig in. 

Comment by John McCreery on March 29, 2013 at 8:53am

Boris, you might also find this McKinsey report interesting []

Comment by John McCreery on March 29, 2013 at 4:31am

Thanks, Boris. Small business isn't the only sector where people who were once reliably right wing are changing their political orientation. See John B. Judis and Ruy Teixeira, The Emerging Democratic Majority. The argument there is that growing numbers of white-collar knowledge workers, who used to identify with their bosses' politics are now finding themselves in the position that led skill craftsmen to form the American Federation of Labor, as the routinization of factory labor threatened their jobs.


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