Sunday, March 18, 2012

No, I do not "Want to become a 99% trainer?"

An email with the following text was delivered to me that other day:
Dear MoveOn member,

Inspired by the everyday heroes of Occupy Wall Street, this spring people everywhere are getting ready for a surge of action to confront the 1%.

To prepare, dozens of groups from across the progressive movement are starting with an unprecedented and ambitious goal for the 99% Spring: to train 100,000 people in nonviolent direct action, in the spirit of Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr., and Rosa Parks.
I say no.

There was a time I had some hopes that might prove an effective advocate for policies I support, that it would use its resources to effectively support ideas and candidates with policies I share, and most importantly, actually spend time educating and building a constituency for these ideas.

Say what you like about the reactionaries, they have spent the last 30 years do these things. They have
  • Used mass media to explain their theories, and why they are better.
  • Popularized goals and objects and made them part of the political discussion through poltical organizing and outreach.
  • Created a cadre of individuals who are willing to take on public office at all levels of govenment to implement their policies.
  • Created a core group of constituencies who are loyal to their cause -- even against their own interested.
Let us put that another way, they have play practical electoral politics effectively.  In the course of this they have created a separate reactionary nationalism, which while at odds with the views of many, has no counter balance.

Now wants me to devote resources to 'confront the 1%'.  One can only assume they mean more 'grassroots organizing',  'consensus planning', and  'occupation'. That is to say more feel good politics.

We need to organize and motivate large numbers of people, get them to the polls, provide them with candidates who not only support our goals but have an understanding of how to do that.

Whatever their spirit, Gandhi, King, and Parks were also savvy operators.  They built coalitions, created defining symbols and messages, used media, and changed the behaviors of large numbers of people.

In a recent break of the tradition of preaching to the choir, actually made a half way decent add designed to create a wedge with GOP voters.  Now,it needs to create adds explaining why taxing the rich is a good job creation strategy, why anti-union laws depress all wages and kill jobs, and I could go on and on.

They point is to sell our ideas clearly and simply -- which is doable with out deceit  -- and use our resources to counter the strength of the reactionaries.

The first obligation of a political movement is to obtain power.  Nothing else matters if that is not obtained.

Spend money where it will work, punish political figures who have betrayed us, make the movement into a base.

But no, wants protest leaders.  There is a simple reason why Republican fear their base, and Democrats have contempt for their.

Friday, March 2, 2012

You make the call.

This photo came from the Iranian Parliamentary elections.

I'm not sure it counts as foolish, brave, or clueless.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

De mortuis nil nisi bonum? Andrew Breitbart

I accept John Avalon of the Daily Beast's admonition "that reveling* in the fact that  [Andrew Breitbart] life is over is ‘uncool.’" [emphasis added], as death is the common fate.

But I do not have the Roman fear of lemures , and we are told "The evil that men do lives after them" (Julius Caesar, III,ii), nor apparently does his fellow Republican David Frum: becomes difficult to honor the Roman injunction to speak no ill of the dead. It’s difficult for me to assess Breitbart’s impact upon American media and American politics as anything other than poisonous. When one of the leading media figures of the day achieves his success by his giddy disdain for truth and fairness—when one of our leading political figures offers to his admirers a politics inflamed by rage and devoid of ideas—how to withhold a profoundly negative judgment on his life and career? (Andrew Breitbart 1969-2012):

Nicely summarized, I think.