This article also appeared in Counterpunch.
The Party’s Over
Well, the party is over and the machine has prevailed. Our attempt to revive democracy in the electoral arena failed. Still, we owe Bernie so much. He has raised consciousness and expectations while others appealed to fear and told us there is no alternative to the corporate power. But, the struggle continues both within and outside the electoral arena.
The corporate elites and the Clinton machine have no idea how deep the divisions go. Trump not Clinton will most likely be the beneficiary of the election fraud, voter suppression and discontent. The DNC has made a historic blunder and it’s not going to be pretty either way. Fighting Fascism with the corporate power seems a doomed project since it is precisely the merger of the corporation and government that sets the conditions for the rise of fascism. That is the historical moment we are in and paradox we face.
There is already lots of suffering and there is going to be more; much more. We are just going to have to own up to what this country has become. The system is so rotten and dysfunctional that there is no easy way out. No amount of moralizing is going to change anything — that will take political action and organizing.
I plan on working for Jill Stein and I will count it a victory if we can get 5%. That will allow the Green party to get federal funding for next time and maybe help to create a viable opposition party. But this is no 20th century election. The trend lines on war, class warfare, propaganda, the failure of democracy and the vast militarized penal system all point toward deep trouble. On environmental issues alone the crisis will deepen and most likely in a dramatic way. We are woefully unprepared for what lies ahead.
But at least millions more have learned that the political system and the economy is rigged. That the lesser of two evils argument or the spoiler are forms of social control that have led us to exactly the choices we now have. If we do not have serious social change it is likely the Trumps of the world will just keep coming right out of the social conditions the Clintons of the world have created. I hear a lot from Clinton supporters, reluctant or not, about how they will continuing the struggle. I hope they are serious. How hard you worked for Bernie or other social movements this past year might be one indication of the value of your claims.
No one said revolution was easy, if fact its the hardest thing in the world. I hope mother earth has the patience for us to learn.
People will say I am privileged or childlike or a dreamer for dissenting. In some ways I am all three. And you? I listen to people’s claims of moral superiority, or paternalistic authority, or “realism” as they endorse and obey the political machine of the rich and powerful. We will all have to live with the consequences of our actions. All of us.
And, if you decide to persist in building an opposition movement, brace for a fear campaign unlike any you have seen. It’s all they has left.
“Fear,” Gandhi said, “is the enemy. We thought it was hate but it’s fear.”
What do you think of this? http://brandnewcongress.org/home. There’s another, so far less transparent one, directly from Sanders’ campaign, https://ourrevolution.com. No doubt there are more. Ideally, there would be some level of cooperation.
PS speaking of climate and environment, do you know Art Goodall — Colorado poet and the first (perhaps still only) Green Party County Agriculture Commissioner? If you stay in Colorado — even if not, for that matter, I think you should also consider writing for High Country News
Both Brand New Congress and Our revolution are good things in my view. for electoral activist the congress and state and local races are not key. i think that the inside outside strategy is proving itself. So while my energies are going to the Green Party, that strengthens the people inside the party or on its margins in trying to pull it left/
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Electoral activism without equal or greater emphasis on longue durée can tend to the short term and limited. Too many campaign based movements disappear after the the election. Strategic voting is another option to think about. https://medium.com/@OmanReagan/solving-the-2016-election-with-strategic-voting-2609f897bc09
i will take a look at the link but I am in agreement about the long haul. The movement is the bottom line. Maybe like a lot of activist this election was the first that I really dug into. Bernie represented such a possibility. After november we shall see.
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yes, that’s the ultimate short version. It does feel different this time.
Hi Dick – much appreciate hearing your perspective, as always. I’m left a little wanting though for more information. Choosing to work with the Green Party is all well and good as a tactic. But what’s the larger strategy here? I’m a one-note piano, of course, so I’ll encourage you again to think about a movement built upon the labor of working folks who organize themselves into worker-owned, democratically worker-run enterprises and businesses. It seems pretty clear at this stage that without a sound economic base originating from the collectively controlled proceeds of successful democratically-controlled enterprises you’re relying on volunteer-based efforts of a political vanguard. This doesn’t seem to have produced great results for progressives trying to stem the fascist tide. The thing that the Sanders campaign lacked (but that the Clinton machine possessed through decades of poltical patronage) is a *national organization*. You probably know that I’m a strong supporter of Sanders. But I’m not dejected that Sanders lost — I’m elated by how far he got against the corporate Clinton machine. It shows that the material conditions, which Sanders himself has emphasized are what drives a political revolution, are right for a Sanders or a Warren or a Canova or a Marx or a … (nice link: http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/03/18/meet-the-sandernistas-running-for-congress/) to get a lot of support — almost half of the vote. And to win with $27 average donations (which are still far beyond the means of more than half of our population) sourced from online contributions — it’s pretty encouraging. But how are we going to build a national organization — whether it be under the GP or the DP or some other vehicle? This is the question of our time. I don’t think I need to convince you that single-election movements are doomed to continue to fail — we’ve tried it, a lot. Merging the productive-life and political-life of folks who work for a living seems to me, Alperovitz, Wolff, and some others to be square one. Looking foward to hearing your thoughts.
Mark, so much here to think about. You know I support the worker owned project but am waiting until after November to write on prefigurative politics. Hey if you want to do some editorial work I can send you a draft.
Happy to read the advance copy. Not promising anything useful as far as ‘editing’ proper goes.
mark although democratically owned economies are a vital goal. The key vision in the future must be a wider discussion on resources both national and global. Whether a business is democratic or not , will matter little if we are battling over resources due to many factors. The only real way to shift to rethink the large scale use of resources in a more equitable way is political.
Hi Seth! Been a while… If I’m following your point, we still have some time, I think, to advance what is in fact a concrete political strategy, with WOWR commerce as the foundation of a democratic society, before (and perhaps averting) potential wars over resources. But maybe I’m not following you. In my view a society structured other than democratically in its mode of production will necessarily be other than democratic politically.
Why not restart the Poor People’s Campaign, but with a broader focus on the numerous crises facing humanity?
That is a great idea and some folks are taking about it. i have a link to them in my post on social movement unionism:http://poorpeoplescampaign.org/poor-peoples-campaign-1968/
Thanks, Richard! I contacted the campaign and was put on their email list.
I presented the idea of occupying Capitol Hill to Noam Chomsky and he expressed support. He said the Poor People’s Campaign was a wonderful initiative and he hopes it is revived.
Hi, I am a Green Party strategist based in Charleston, SC. I find your blog to be facinating reading and would like to talk more via e-mail but I cannot find your conatct information on the site.
If you are interested, my e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org
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