Wednesday, January 20, 2010

the immediate implications

The Brown victory underscores the need for progressives to become progressives. And that means we need to become unapologetic egalitarians--conscientiously pointing out that the Liebermans, Browns, and Emmanuel-Obamanians are corporatists, explaining why that's wrong and calling them out for it. If you're in the Democratic party, it's a lot harder to do that. We need to rally behind pols like Bernie Sanders, Tony Weiner, Dennis Kucinich, and build, build, build the Greens. We need to encourage all these groups that adhere to socialist theory and practice (SWP, SEP, SPUSA etc) to form a large coalition, multiplying their numbers from a few hundred each to several thousand--a good-sized socialist education corps. And we need to develop street theater and performative protest tactics that politically and aesthetically outshine the tea parties.

And we need to do it now. This is not a "reform versus revolution" question, at least not now. It's a question of immediately re-establishing an egalitarian message and presence in politics and culture.



1 comment:

Russell Arben Fox said...

If you're in the Democratic party, it's a lot harder to do that. We need to rally behind pols like Bernie Sanders, Tony Weiner, Dennis Kucinich, and build, build, build the Greens. We need to encourage all these groups that adhere to socialist theory and practice (SWP, SEP, SPUSA etc) to form a large coalition, multiplying their numbers from a few hundred each to several thousand--a good-sized socialist education corps.

I can't disagree with this, Matt. And yet, my heart still says both yes and no. (I know, I know; my patented wishy-washiness, again.) Yes that real egalitarianism--not welfare and subsidies, but real social justice and community-empowering reforms--cannot be built through political victories, but through changes of the heart, through building up an ethos, and that means supporting movements and parties (speaking of which: don't forget the DSA!) who push these ideals, highlight their value, argue for them on their own terms. But no in that such can't be the only implication of Brown's victory. We can't assume that all battles being fought by corporate liberals are equally irrelevant in the face of the need to build a "socialist education corps." This bill--which may have died last night, but I still think it yet lives--would, if it becomes law, build upon and extend corporate liberalism in the U.S....but for millions of people, the egalitarianism promised by such corporate liberalism is far from worthless. It can mean the difference between solvency and a medical bankruptcy. It can mean the difference between life and death.

The ideal socialist education corps should urge aspiring egalitarians to keep themselves free from aligning with any of the the compromises and give-aways that will obviously attend bail-outs and Wall Street deals, etc. But they shouldn't take from Brown's victory that, in this particular case, working with the ameliorists wasn't worth it, and still isn't. In the matter of health care, I disagree about bad bills being worse than no bills; even bad, colluding bills can be more egalitarian than what we have now.

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