Wednesday, October 3, 2012
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.
Posted by t at 11:06 AM