So I'm well aware it's been AGES. This fairy has been all over hell and back for a multitude of work, scholarly, and activism commitments. However, I'm hoping to post at least weekly about some issue or another.
This weekend myself and a bus full of mostly white middle-aged to senior folks loaded a bus to DC for the One Nation rally. It became evident as soon as we got on the bus that this rally was being funded by the Democratic National Committee and was essentially a giant ploy to get votes and free volunteers to work on various political campaigns.
Our bus was late due to traffic, among other things, so we missed the various contingents that decided to march to the rally (due to the fact One Nation didn't organize one.. I'll go into that in a bit). This extremely bummed me out because 1. I didn't get to use my bullhorn and 2. It didn't let the people say everything they needed to say.
Why wouldn't there be an organized march to the Lincoln Memorial? Because the DNC wants to control the movement, our movement. True, anyone could hold a sign that said anything they wanted. Signs say things we aren't always able to say out loud, but signs don't speak louder than voices. People speak louder than words. By taking away a chance for folks to really speak out, you lose the productivity and the purpose of the movement. If you have a set list of speakers stepping up to the podium, you're controlling every word that is said. In a march every voice is heard, in a rally everyone blends into random cheering and booing.
The speakers spoke about unity, which was one of the goals of this rally, the reason I went. The problem? Every speaker had a different outlook on what unity is. How can we be unified if even our leaders can't decide on what that should look and feel like? Granted, this rally was incredibly diverse, and for that I was proud.
I do have to say that there was a serious lack of young folk, or people of my generation. It's as though the DNC specifically targeted labor unions and large organizations and left out the radical youth who make DC their stomping grounds on a regular basis. Maybe trying to count radicals out helps control the message: Democrats are the good guys, be sure to elect them.
What wasn't mentioned is that the Democrats have thousands of corporate sponsors. The Democrats, right along with the Republicans, voted AGAINST the repeal of DADT and ENDA, have pushed to cut Social Security, opposed putting extreme pressure on BP due to the oil spill, turned down clean energy legislation, refused to pass any form of helpful immigration legislation, and have pushed to cut Medicaid and Medicare. But they don't want you to know that, they just want to make sure you know they made some progress. Let's just note that the progress they have made has been watered down to the point where benefits are limited.
I resent the propaganda tactic of convincing thousands upon thousands of folks to come to DC to further perpetuate a flawed agenda. Yes, I believe we need to vote for representatives that will fight for something that's important to you, but playing the "we gave you a feel good experience, made you think you were heard, now we want you to elect us so we can water down your needs and wants and tell you we have your best interests in mind" card is a cheap trick.
Granted, politics are complicated. Capitalism is complicated. I say, if you want real change, you have to be revolutionary, not idolizers of corrupt or corporate politicians. And you can't tell me that Obama isn't corporate, look at his administration. Our Secretary of Treasury is an ex-CEO of the major corporation, Goldman Sachs. Do you think that might lean his politics one way or another?
I'm not satisfied with cookie-cutter answers and unified facades. It's time to rely on direct action, civil disobedience, and the power of the people to make change, not legislators. Social change comes from the ground up, not the top down. Sure, let's elect folks, but it's up to us (no matter who is in office) to demand, pressure, and even force those in power to propose and pass bills that are made by the people for the people. Elections aren't the answer for change, WE ARE.
If you want a revolution, baby you gotta be ready to march.