We need movements first (and they’re out there)

This morning I’m reading all the important sources of political analysis. I can finally do that. I think I can finally begin to absorb and consider the realities of this post-election era. Reality is what I’m looking for. Careful analysis of the “real.” But there’s still way too much predicting going on. This article from Salon, “Neoliberalism’s Epic Fail” does a pretty good job.

Interesting title. I expected an article about the failure of neoliberal policies (corporate globalization, “the Washington Consensus”). But what it offers is an indictment of traditional liberal politics, and the white elites who hold them. A lambast of limousine liberals—who are actually the most insulated from the impacts of the direst Trump policies. Those people who crashed Canada’s immigration website.

[I pat myself on on the back for my own quick (day after) recognition that the people most threatened by Trump’s ideas and potential policies don’t have that option; that I better get over my despair-driven fantasy of a Mexican artist enclave and get back to work.]

There’s a lot of important things to consider in the article. But, in the end, I’m really not that interested in bashing the armchair politicians and liberal political hobbyists (too easy), or in dissecting what the capital D Democratic Party got wrong (too speculative).

The writer closes with this:

The repugnant white identity politics and faux populism of Donald Trump must be repudiated and defeated; but it is now clear that only a Democratic Party that advances a strong populist vision of universal economic and social justice stands a chance at accomplishing this. Former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich has called on the party to return to its roots and become the party of the people, rather than the party of the professional elite and donor class.
“The Democratic Party as it is now constituted has become a giant fundraising machine, too often reflecting the goals and values of the moneyed interests. This must change,” observes Reich. “The election of 2016 has repudiated it. We need a people’s party — a party capable of organizing and mobilizing Americans in opposition to Donald Trump’s Republican Party… What happened in America Tuesday should not be seen as a victory for hatefulness over decency. It is more accurately understood as a repudiation of the American power structure.”

Reich is right… but I think what we NEED is a MOVEMENT—or movements—first. A movement or movements that demand the Democratic Party hears them and represents them. This is how we got the New Deal—Social Security and Medicare—(which, by the way, is threatened more by the ascencion of Paul Ryan than Donald Trump).

I highlighy recommend Poor People’s Movements by Frances Fox Piven and Richard Cloward. It’s a fine history of many radical actions of organized groups to influence policy and social change. Read it. And get involved … in something more than wallowing and watching CNN.

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