Thursday, March 16, 2017

From Joann Wypijewski's "THE POLITICS OF INSECURITY" in New Left Review

"...(I)n New York these days, any internet search for ‘protests today’ results in directions for imminent action—and talk persists of the future of the Democratic Party. Right now, the talk feels antique. The players feel antique. The stereotype of the working class feels really antique. As a mode of political action, demonstrations feel antique, too, but these are so spontaneous (the airport rallies), so various (the women’s march, the high-school walk-out, the immigrant marches, the one-day strike of Yemeni bodega owners) and so fluid in terms of participation that they represent what hope there is for something more. At least people are fighting; soon they will have to face the problem of organizing strategically, and talking with people beyond the big cities and the familiar circles, those who don’t vote or whose vote is mainly a measure of their frustration.

During the remake of the party that Trump now leads, the Democrats didn’t fight. Organized labour barely fought for itself. There were homosexuals who fought, women who fought, blacks who fought. Too often their struggles were taken for special pleading, instead of what they were. The respectable NGOs that grew out of those fights folded into the Democratic Party out of sentiment or for lack of any other option. It wasn’t until Jesse Jackson’s Rainbow campaigns of the 1980s articulated a strategy linking all those fights that the party tops could see what might come from a race-conscious, class-conscious, urban-rural, anti-imperialist analysis—and, especially in 1988, got scared. Bill Clinton’s response was the Rainbow’s antithesis, the Democratic Leadership Council, laced with a little old country schmaltz. Obama picked up the form but without the content, as did Hillary, with less conviction. Sanders acted like the last white guy standing on the stage in the Sixties after the women and blacks and queers and Puerto Rican nationalists had broken off into their caucuses. Separate from anything Clinton did, Sanders was not going to win the Democratic nomination that way. He found that out too late. If there is a relevant future for the party now, or a vital alternative vehicle, it will have to come from other precincts, with more imagination and more experience of thick life."

Read the entire article here

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