Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Some Posts on Election 2012

Here are a couple of posts on election 2012 that may be of interest, given that the corporate media's obsession with "the most important election of our time" is in high gear.

First, here is a post that diagnoses a general attitude of "wishful thinking" that the Democrats cynically encourage (the better to exploit at election time) among people who want to see progressive changes. The occasion for the post was Obama's executive order re: immigration, but this is hardly the only example of this problem.

Next, here is a post asking the question "do the 2012 elections matter?". My answer is, basically, no they don't. Of course they "matter" in some minimal sense---but measured against where we are and where we could easily be with the aid of mass direct action and struggle, the elections are of little importance. Should Obama be re-elected, we will immediately be confronted with all the same questions we're confronted with now: how can we organize to stop austerity, how can we stop imperialism abroad, how can we fight to beat the New Jim Crow, how can we re-build a fighting labor movement, how can we win genuine health reform that works for the 99% rather than the 1% insurers, how can we stop environmental destruction and end off-shore drilling, etc. etc.

Then, there's two posts (one, two) which attacks the elections as "non-political". It's not just that I reject the narrow "political" options on offer. I make the stronger claim that the election itself---dominated as it is by a two-party duopoly whose wide area of agreement pales in comparison to their disagreements---is one of the least political things happening right now in our country. So, contra anarchists who oppose certain forms of "politics" on principle, I argue, instead that the working class absolutely should have a political and not simply an economic/industrial strategy. But for a political strategy to be "political" in any meaningful sense, it has to actually stand the chance of seriously changing the status quo and opening up the possibility of winning reforms. The presidential election does no such thing---hence I polemically attack it as "non political". What's political is what's happening with warehouse workers, with what happened with the teachers strike, with occupy, with anti police brutality struggles and all the rest. The success or failure of those movements is infinitely more important---and more political---than the narrow electioneering PR fight between two parties struggling to better represent the 1%.

Finally, I'll throw out a post on what I call "PR politics". This is the conception of politics that we see in much of the consensus for-profit media. It equates politics as such with "rooting" for one or other of the two sanctioned teams, standing on the sidelines, and internalizing the campaign's narrow PR strategies. It equates politics with horse-races and participation with cheering and strategizing from the sidelines. This demobilizes people and encourages them to adapt to their surroundings rather than change them. No reforms were ever won in this way---all of them, without exception, were won because mass independent movements acted outside the electoral arena to pressure those in power to act.

1 comment:

TechZilla said...

You bring some solid points, but a few to consider..

SYRIZA has betrayed the left, most of the sections that are not comprimized have actually already left the unholy coalition. Why unholy? One word, Purple.

We cannot form a coalition with the well-funded neo-liberal SJWs, they poison the well for their own interests, and will use the left to garner legitimacy as not the usual neo-liberalists they actually are. This is what killed SYRIZA, it was structurally unable and unwilling to struggle in a way that threatened established interests. This is because a cross-class coalition like SYRIZA is always a bad idea for the actual left. The pseudo left is poison to us, we must stay away at all costs. Meaning they win, yes... but we still lose, since what we want isn't what they can ever fight for.

On the flip-side, the CPUSA and other democratic side parties are too compromised to challenge the established interests. They are often funded specifically to not challenge anything, I'm not saying they couldn't show up to something, I'm just saying they cannot be considered in any coalition. Plus they show no commitment to the working class interest, 'lesser evil' neo-liberal acceptance is clearly not serving anyone but themselves.

So the coalition would need to be, basically everyone left who's red... maybe the reddest part of green. Within that coalition a strategy on how we make progress can be discussed, without the political hacks and SJWs, we can seriously discuss how we connect to the working class.... which is clearly the biggest challenge, I know first hand.