I have submitted this article as a response to Rob Kall’s article, “Desperate Times Demand Revolutionary, Visionary Response. It was definitely too much for the comment thread, and a good excuse to get me off my dead ass and about the business of submitting an article.
It’s wonderful to see so many people in the comment thread following Rob’s article identifying the problems we face, and gratifying to see some suggesting solutions, albeit, solutions that chew around the edges of the problems. However, if the problems we face are as dire and urgent as represented in Rob’s article and the comment thread following, (and I agree that they are) then more is required than nibbling around the edges. A comprehensive response is needed.
Once one arrives at that conclusion, a little soul searching and self-examination are in order. How far are you willing to go to effect the change that is so urgently needed? Do you believe that the current system, as provided for in the Constitution, is still viable? Can working within it effect the needed change in time to stave off the foreseen catastrophe?
If you decide that it is not, then you can move to the next option. Will you engage in massive organized civil disobedience to force change; or will you work for armed revolution? If you choose the latter, aside from the organizational and logistical problems that are nearly insurmountable, you will, in the most real sense, be laying your life on the line, with better than even odds that you will lose it or what remains of the liberty you enjoy. In other words, see you in Gitmo or the next life.
If you choose the former, you’ve still got a full time job, although the pay may be a little iffy. With the many thousands of protesters that were so easily ignored by our government and media before the Iraq war you will have to plan and organize events that will not require MSM coverage because everyone within miles of the event will have first hand knowledge of it. That means extreme action. That means something like tens of thousands of protesters doing a sit-in in the middle of a city business district and daring the police to arrest them all, then repeating the event nation wide. Less of an effort than that would be ineffective, and it carries with it a commitment to be imprisoned if it comes to that.
Back in the 1970’s, in Charleston, South Carolina, I had friends that were self-styled radical left wing revolutionaries protesting the Viet-Nam War. I’m sure the most legitimate credentials that any of us suburban raised kids had for the role was the lack of a real income. I joined them on many of their forays, which were great fun, but totally ineffective in achieving their objectives. The most effective thing we ever accomplished was, no doubt, distributing literature for the American Friends Service Committee. That’s why you never heard of us or what we did. Large-scale organization was required then, and it is more essential now. If you are willing to expend that sort of organizational energy and believe the system is still viable, you’re next option is…
Start an opposition political party. To make timely headway in this endeavor, you have to start nationally, widely distributing the seeds of the grassroots organizing so that they sprout everywhere simultaneously. That alone is a considerable organizational task, and it requires dotting all of the i’s and crossing all of the t’s to comply with local law from one place to another. That implies a need for specialized assistance (lawyers) and must be planned for. Then hope the seeds root out and grow, and don’t for a moment believe that this is “my” political party. You must consider it to be “our” party, and be prepared for other stakeholders to take it in directions you may not at first have imagined. Or you could save some organizational energy and take advantage of that last feature when you…
Join an existing political party. I did. I picked the Dems. There is an existing national organization, an existing, and serendipitously evolving (as demonstrated by Barack Obama’s campaign) fundraising mechanism, and the party is ripe for takeover. There are many, if not a majority of progressives in the party, and the key is not to be Howard Dean. The key is to get involved at the grass roots level, as I did by running for precinct committeeman. In the case of most township level organizations, you, yes you, and a dozen friends can become the new majority and begin to shape the party from there.
There are practical considerations, of course. The party is a coalition of interests, and you freeze out other coalition members at the peril of the party’s strength. Still, you can work to freeze out coalition elements that are antithetical to democracy. You can start moving the party toward the left where it should be. Move it toward stronger support of unionization and social services, toward protecting the defenseless and curbing the predators. Move it toward a practical, beneficial and sustainable use of the society’s resources.
The Democrats are by no means the only game in town, just one of the biggest. There are the Greens, the Socialists, even the Communists if you so desire, and their numbers make everything put forth about the Dems even more so. But when you commit to a party, do so with the aim of having a party that is capable of governing. That means a full slate of candidates nationally. Electing a figurehead president who is incapable of bending the Congress to his will is a waste of resources. The desired result is in making a change, not making a statement. We already have more statements than we can attend to. Let’s convert the energy of our breath to the energy of accomplishment.
If none of the aforementioned options are available to you, you can still be a citizen. If you don’t like corporate funding of your government, reach into that pocket. Until public campaign financing is codified in law, and corporations are stripped of the damnable personhood, and consequently citizenship, that was so underhandedly bestowed upon them, your government is up for auction. You have to outbid the bastards.
You also have to be a pain in the ass, buttonholing friends and family, even strangers, and spreading the word in a convincing fashion. The one thing you have going for you there is that every dire prediction you make, our government is striving to fulfill, so in the end you’ll look like a prophet.
So, as one final question, what are you doing, sitting there listening to me? There's a hell of a lot of work to do! Get out there and make something happen!