originally published on November 2, 2010
Paul Rosenberg offered this the other day at Open Left:
A Republican victory this Tuesday will tilt the odds heavily in the direction of retrospectively casting 2008 as another 1968, despite all the numbers of election night pointing to the contrary. If Democrats hold on to control of Congress, however slightly, that means that we’re in a new era, no matter how discouraging the current lack of vision by Democratic leadership may now seem.
That’s why I find the following video (h/t Dave Johnson) so compelling. Because as I see it, it’s not a dishonest representation of where the current DLC-dominated Democratic leadership is today. It’s an honest representation of where we, the conscience of the party, have a damn good shot at taking it back to where it belongs once again. From the International Brotherhoood of Boilermakers Union:
originally published on November 1, 2010
In my post last week (Wow, France… Why can’t we do that here?!??), I asked, as the title suggests, what prevents the kind of broad, committed, collective action that we’re seeing in France from happening here in the United States. This is especially perplexing, given that their strike is about opposing the raising of the retirement age from 60 to 62 – whereas here our retirement age is already later than that, our college tuition rates promise a lifetime of debt, our health care system is all sorts of effed up, our hours are longer, our vacations shorter, our social safety net far less comprehensive. I could go on.
I started to answer my own question, discussing the mechanics of how collective action and protest have been negatively branded here, so as to effectively inoculate many people against participation. In response (over at Daily Kos), Pesto asked:
The $64,000 question WRT inoculation is why it hasn’t worked as well elsewhere. It’s not as if multinational corporations in France never considered trying to break French workers’ solidarity or willingness to shut the economy down to win what they want. They certainly understand the basic concepts of propaganda that have worked so well in the US. But whatever they’ve been trying in France hasn’t been working very well.
Big question. Where to begin? Well, why not start with Lady Gaga? More specifically, let’s start with CNN’s utilization of Lady Gaga as a cultural intermediary in their “coverage” of the strikes:
France strike – Some 200 demonstrators blocked France’s Marseille-Provence airport for more than three hours Thursday as strikes and protests continued across the country. The action comes ahead of a final vote on the country’s Pension Reform Bill. Pop star Lady Gaga postponed two Paris shows this weekend because of “the logistical difficulties due to the strikes,” her website said.
originally published on October 21, 2010
Do you ever look at newspaper articles about worker and student strikes in countries like France or Greece or Argentina-you know, the kind of activity that shuts down the whole country-and think to yourself, “Holy shit, that’s what I’m talkin’ about! Those people know how to protest!?”
Well, I sure do.
Not to glorify any particular tactic for it’s own sake, but geez, the spirit of collective action and common purpose that’s displayed in those moments-let alone the negotiating power it awards to grassroots movements, unions, and progressive political parties-is something that sometimes, um, feels a little lacking here in the good old U.S. of A.
So what are you waiting for. Go ahead. Try that here. See how many people you can turn out. See where it gets you.
Likely. not. very. far.
We have a situation here. We’re stuck in a Catch 22. As a society, we presently seem to be inoculated against the means necessary for our own collective advancement. (If you’re at the top of the plutocratic order, now’s the time to congratulate yourself on a brilliant system.) And I’m not talking about any one particular style of collective action or protest – we’re not France or Greece or Argentina, and I don’t particularly want us to be. I’m fully ready to embrace an all-American style, and I would settle for whatever kind of collective action (within ethical and strategic limits) powerful enough to challenge entrenched power and privilege. Is that such a tall order?
originally published on October 20, 2010
Welcome to the second interview in our series. This week we feature progressive organizer, strategist, blogger, and author Mike Lux. Mike is the CEO of Progressive Strategies, the Co-founder of Open Left, and he has been active for thirty years on many progressive issues.
Mike is the “outsider’s insider.” He has one foot in the door (having worked on five presidential campaigns, and having served in the Clinton White House health care reform war room), and he has the other foot on the outside (having worked on many issue advocacy campaigns and on building independent progressive infrastructure).
Mike wrote a book called The Progressive Revolution which looks at the threads of conservative and progressive thought and action in the United States since the Declaration of Independence.
Listen to the full interview with Mike Lux here:
Read the full interview here: