Monday, November 14, 2016

Discussing Our Opposition---#2

Here is another thoughtful local response to our post "Our Opposition," found below. 

I think it's important to point out that Clinton was a terrible candidate when having good faith conversations with those on the left. We can't allow our organizing to be centered simply around opposing Trump so we must call out the ineptitude and arrogance of the neoliberal Democratic leadership. The blame for Trump's win lies at both his supporters’ feet as well as the Democratic Party for running a terrible candidate.

One of the things that pained me the most about the Sanders campaign was that it either fell in line with Clinton (Sanders himself and many supporters) or turned into an idealistic and somewhat incoherent attempt to 'elect better Democrats’ (Brand New Congress/Our Revolution). The fact that I've seen a huge influx of people reaching out to the PSL, WWP, and FRSO has countered that feeling (although it also could be who I surround myself with on social media).

On another note, I'm not so sure that the fact that racism coincides with the interests of the bourgeoisie is that much of a coincidence. Maybe I'm wrong here, but it seems that stoking racist fears about immigration as well as a Black president/Black progress is inherently in the interests of the monopoly capitalists so as to divide the working class. This doesn’t change the fact that a main driver of Trump’s candidacy as well as the last 8 years of opposition to Obama was largely rooted in racism.

I agree that it is important that we take back the ‘language of struggle’. We've seen the Sanders campaign co-opt the phrase 'Political Revolution' and ‘Revolution’ in general. And while some of the Cold War, McCarthyite stigma has been removed from the word Socialism, we’ve seen the concept of what socialism watered-down to mean ‘anything the government does’ (e.g. I saw many ‘Berners’ post memes that called the FBI, CIA, police ‘Socialist Institutions). Not to mention the fact that Clinton continued to self-describe as a progressive with or without any qualifiers.

Now under a Trump administration, I wonder if much of the unknown about the divisions and contradictions that exist or will appear, stems from not knowing exactly how his administration will govern. Because he's an opportunist, no one knows if he'll stick to his TPP opposition (or any trade deal that may come after) or his Muslim ban, or really anything else that he ran on. I mean he nominated a fairly mainstream conservative as Chief of Staff (Priebus) and a white nationalist as his top advisor (Bannon). Though, I do think we need to take him at his word and prepare for the most reactionary possibility. We also need to organize and confront the rise in fascist groups across the county. Being anti-fascist needs to be a foundation.
And while organizing against reactionary forces and policies, I think it’s crucial to make to connect the fact that Democrats have not offered a viable alternative for the working class and poor. The working class, and like was previously pointed out, particularly working class women and people of color, have not benefitted from the most recent ‘recovery’. Obama has deported more immigrants than any other president. We can’t fall back into just organizing electoral politics to support Democrats take power from Republicans.

We must focus on “patient and long-term organizing is needed of the kind which forces us to put aside the no-longer-relevant aspects of our thinking and pick up the daily tasks of loving and serving the people to revolutionary ends.” This tendency is one where I feel I have no experience with, but it makes a lot of sense. Patience is one area in which I am always trying to improve and I can see how damaging not being patient would be in organizing work. I'm in full support of being a listener/learner before leading. And I really like the concept of shifting away from just being oppositional to becoming "builders and co-creators".

I think current organizing efforts should be directed toward working to implement the Vision for Black Lives Policy Demands, organizing potential strikes, and defending our immigrant communities from ICE and other law enforcement. I'm a bit skeptical of focusing too much on building a true left within the Democratic Party or replacing leadership. Maybe I'm being bitter or arrogant or maybe it's my relatively short experience with being disappointed with the Democratic Party but I feel like the party might be beyond repair and energy should be directed elsewhere.

To end, I am really at a loss as to how to answer the pressing question of whether we organize among the politically engaged or among the most disaffected people. I am curious as to how different the tactics and structures would be and whether or not we cannot do both.

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