- Category: Revolutionary Strategy
- Created on Friday, 29 October 2010 11:53
- Written by Nando Sims
"How many times do we hear that the vote for Congress is a "referendum on Obama"? Why can't we say: No, it is a referendum on Afghanistan, on Guantanamo, on the last 100 ICE raids, on the payoff of the Banks, on the official opposition to gay marriage, on the federal insistence on prosecuting marijuana in California?
"Why isn't this election a referendum on the FBI raids on antiwar activists in the Midwest? Why can't we say that, in a thousand discussions that we here are collectively involved in? And why do you believe that only the "already convinced" will hear us?"
by Nando Sims
TNL writes: the liberals.
The plans made by "Progresssives for Obama" are not for alliance with the liberal grassroots (which we all support), they are for subordination to the liberal ruling class.
They are a recipe for an indentured servitude (to be regularly renewed). And they are promoted (year after year) by the same tricks we should make everyone familiar with (exaggeration of the Right, disappearing of the liberal crimes, announcement of urgent-urgent-urgent short term legislation, illusions about left pressure on the system, underestimating how their strategy weakens any radical left...)
3) If you don't have real forces to throw into a fray, it is unwise to train your embryonic core forces in dispersal and kow-towing.
Yes, someday, a growling left might adopt subtle tactics (serving its own advancement!) in some future bourgeois electoral season. But even seeing the Obama vote as a "referendum on white supremacy" (which was one sliver of the situation) didn't require dispersing our own core forces into their electoral door-to-door efforts (which could not possibly be done under our independent banners, with our politics, in a way that didn't set people up for Obama blues.)
4) Carl asked not long ago "what should we have done then" in the electoral season -- as if we are required (at this point, and at every point) to participate somehow, right now, in every political event.
In fact, all my political life, the periodic bourgeois electoral seasons have been a time when radical openings have been (temporarily but almost completely) covered over by a thick sudden mudslide of bourgeois politics. We (the largest left we) have tried (in a dozen different ways) to rise above that muck -- to call for boycott, by running communist candidates, by participating in third parties, by running anti-candidates, by trying to time militant mass movement actions in the midst of electioneering) -- and the truth is that the two party juggernaut has simply held the stage for those months, and reduced everything else to the shadows.
I actually don't think we need to attempt to grab some spotlight at those moments when it is least advantageous for independent politics. Because, realistically speaking, even the most favorable and radical sections of the people are (temporarily at least) just not able to hear anything but the lesser evil argument.
The very least we have to do is make it clear, to ourselves and those with half-an-ear, why we communists cannot legitimized the Democratic Party -- why even its McGoverns or Obamas in power will be the directors of war machinery and great crimes.
Bourgeois politics runs the people through years of utter passivity and weeks of intense indoctrination. And our communist political busy-seasons are a kind of anti-schedule to that. AT LEAST, until that day where we have gathered a critical mass with enough gravity to warp and intrude during their main electoral events.
Out of Normal White Noise: The Making of a Profound Political Divergence
TNL writes: were at the point of wanting an end to the outrages.
But having conjured this up (like the Sorceror's Apprentice), these same forces have a great deal of trouble stuffing it all into the bag labeled "comprehensive immigrant reform." Any "reform" that can pass congress threatens to be so odious and military that few on the street will see it as a reform. The one place the Democrats and Republicans agree is the escalating roundups and border militarization -- and they are exposed by their mutual rhetoric to the many who are watching. Even the Dream Act gets shot in the ribs -- while the two parties compete over who is the most intolerant of "law breaking."
When people are awakened, when they have a particular faultline grievance they are pursuing, there are times when the “mutual exposure filling the airwaves” (and the very terms of it) are startling and instructive. Sometimes it is like hearing your kidnappers debate where to dispose of your body.
I'm saying, luckily, the exposures that tear at the "buzz" do not (as you say) always have to start from us. Sometimes there is a "Pentagon Papers," or a Watergate scandal, or the hypocrisies of a Minnesota bathroom, or a Republican Constitutionalist unfamiliar with the First Amendment, or an Obama escalating the second war, or a Kent state massacre -- and our work is to build upon the self-exposure that their workings have done.
We cannot, and will not, garner a radical upsurge by "building one" (day by day, neighborhood by neighborhood, through "kleinarbeit" the invisible micro-organizing over micro-issues). We need to organize (and jump start a serious work of revolutionary organizing), but it needs to be the organizing of radical disaffection as it emerges out of the buzz of normalcy. That can't be done by just each getting a job at your local factory and organizing a union there, or by becoming part of a local Democratic ward and uniting with people's fears of Sarah Palin.
TNL writes: of a new reconceived kind, with some clarity, distinctiveness and bite. We have to have "thisness" before we can disperse some of us to swim in the most complicated and murky waters.