After all, the victory at the ballot box, or through the ballot box in the legislature or executive, is really only the result of a fired-up, effective mass movement that won't stop, and won't take anything less. It's hard to argue with the notion "put your efforts where the real push comes from" -- hard to counter the bald command "no more wasting energy on that old war and Wall Street mule."
Some contributors here recently have been making this case loud and clear -- and some have said more: some say flat-out "no party -- no party politics at all" -- not even Green or peace or jobs, or what not.
These folks start where Stop Me ends. Our line here is "Democrat party ... wherever you go, don't go there anymore... it's a diversion... a distraction ... a shock absorber for anything anti-corporate." But they go a further step. They say "forget party politics altogether -- go for direct action movement building only. Make it exclusively a bottom-up gig, kids."
So far as I can see for the moment, this set of marching orders is all well and good, and coincides with our Stop Me minimum program, as far as that goes. Our program is effectively acomplished if folks in flocks simply make it clear they won't vote for Wall Street lite's donkey totem.
So what's my unease here? Well sure all these frustrated, fired-up folks can join "the movements," and in particular, build or re-energize the nation's long list of noble issue orgs. We can never have enough people power, direct action, or rap music. But as a union boy by adoption -- sort of a Pharaoh's-son reverse Moses -- let me say if the majority of job folks, as they claim when asked by outsiders, really would like a nice organization at their job site -- an organization that "worked with them and for them" like job unions' standard blue prints call for them to do -- why don't they have them already?
The answer to that is obvious -- it's de facto impossible. And why? Because by code, law, precedent, and court and administrative actions, it's illegal to use techniques necessary if you want to succeed at organizing most job sites. Like a thousand other venues, job organizing is effectively barred by the system.
It's not enough to have the abstract "right" to organize, to agitate, and to take joint action, if the time, the place, and the type of all these actions are all hedgerowed. No elite ever lost out by holding on to the house odds. Unless the odds are changed, the spontaneous desires of the "people" can be easily thwarted. Such is the source, not only of movement fights but of recourse to a party too. The Job Crow system will not end by spontaneous mass action alone, any more than Jim Crow did.
Sure, there's huge movement-building to do on the job-site front. The mass of jobsters haven't the first clue about what they can do, or what needs to be done. All we know is this -- the job-site revulsion in this country is massive, and I suspect it already exceeds the flash point. But the jobsters are not even in motion yet, let alone the organizations that must arise to articulate goals, and devise ways and means.
But attendez-vous -- at last I reach my point: as soon as that org gets effective, it's bound to bang its collective head against the "state," and as Joe Friday sez so wonderfully, "that's where we come in." Electoral party activity becomes not just part of the problem, as it is now, but one of the necessities of a solution.
Obviously, on big fronts, where many stand to gain some, and a few lose lots, influence wil not be enough -- only seizing, drastically reforming, or building anew will get it done. Either way, a party capable of electoral success in these "blood" fights must emerge -- must and will become crucial.
The necessary second job of all movement fighters is building political power, and unlike the job movement, the anti-Iraq war movement is already at the point where party action is on the agenda -- and the failure to take it is hurting the movement.
Right now the troops need to be pulled out. No time to find a better vehicle. Scare these opportunist careerist scamps into doing the right thing for the wrong reasons, as with civil rights. The peace movement today needs to force this stance on the donkey like a nasty training bridle.