A Movement Larger Than Electoral Politics is More Important Than Who is President

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Quoting myself from over at RuralVotes' The Field:

One thing is certain. As Tom W. points out, there is not much distinction between Obama and Clinton on policy, and the term movement is being used pretty loosely.

Whatever candidate we get, if there is not a strong, ongoing movement not for a candidate, but for change – for liberty, for justice, for the equality these imply – we'll get little to nothing or worse. To be specific we need a movement that makes clear our current way of (economically) organizing ourselves is inefficient and destructive. All the resources we have – natural, technological, and otherwise – need to be shared to give people true equality of opportunity and to create the most favorable conditions for innovation and real economic growth. OK, that's too specific – but we need a movement outside politics that's pushing for more than will likely be "politically" acceptable.

I think Obama is likely to be more receptive to such a movement and even help make it-- simply by indicating that organizing is OK (Roosevelt's approval of the the labor movement in the 1930s and 1940s may have done as much to help organizing as his administration's less anti-union laws).

But either – any – candidate will need pressure from outside politics, will need a real movement.

Again, I think Obama understands this best. Asked which candidate Martin Luther King Jr. would endorse, Obama said:

"I don't think Dr. King would endorse any of us. I think what he would call upon the American people to do is to hold us accountable, and this goes to the core differences, I think, in this campaign. I believe change does not happen from the top down. It happens from the bottom up. Dr. King understood that.

(APPLAUSE) It was those women who were willing to walk instead of ride the bus, union workers who are willing to take on violence and intimidation to get the right to organize. It was women who decided, "I'm as smart as my husband. I'd better get the right to vote."

Them arguing, mobilizing, agitating, and ultimately forcing elected officials to be accountable, I think that's the key.

So that has been a hallmark of my career, transparency and accountability, getting the American people involved. That's how we're going to bring about change. That's why I want to be president of the United States, to respect the power of the American people to bring about change."

Great, now I'm contributing to the hail Obama atmosphere, which is so not my point. I was just trying to verify the wouldn't endorse any of us quotation I'd heard second-hand and the full thing went farther than I expected. It said what I was trying to say.

Which is that a movement larger than electoral politics is more important than any candidate.

Al certainly understands that, as it's an underlying premise of Narco News' reporting on democracy and the drug war from América. But how we get to building a movement from a focus on an important election (which inevitably will be about the candidates) I don't know if anyone knows. Except to say hey, if you're around Boston or on this Earth and you have any ideas, contact me.

Comments

A bit more from FDR

1932 Democratic nomination campaign's "The Forgotten Man Speech", annotated excerpts.

Roosevelt criticizing economic royalists (listen to the audio). And ask yourself why this history doesn't seem to be taught much. A sitting president saying things that would seem to get you banned from network and cable news today. (I mean, that's the only explanation I can come up with that every single show doesn't end with, "Well we've heard from spinmeisters and spinmeisters moonlighting as commentators. Now for an explanation of what's really going on over to Noam Chomsky." OK, well maybe Chomsky can give us an idea of why that doesn't happen.)

I also recall, I think Saul Alinsky relating in Rules for Radicals, an anecdote of Franklin Delano Roosevelt responding to an idea put to him, saying to go put the pressure on, or in effect 'now make me do it.'

A Revolution Waiting Just Beneath the Surface

Eva Golinger and Noam Chomsky on the United States and Venezuela, media, wage slavery, and democratic change

http://www.chomsky.info/interviews/20070921.htm