Thursday, May 12, 2016

Revolution news update

-- No More Mister Nice Blog:

I foresee a big uptick in attention for Jill Stein, starting as soon as Sanders concedes. What the hell else will Salon do when Sanders is out of the race? I'm certain that H.A. Goodman and Walker Bragman will instantly switch over to being tireless Stein supporters. And why wouldn't the mainstream media reach out for yet another Everyone-hates-Hillary story? On the right, I expect the Murdoch media to begin encouraging her campaign -- I'm guessing we'll see Stein regularly on Fox in the fall.

Look at the tightening Clinton-Trump poll from Reuters, and consider Thomas Edsall's observation that Trump does best in online polls, a sign that he may have support from many voters who don't want to acknowledge their Trump leanings to in-person or telephone pollsters. (Mike the Mad Biologist has already referred to this as the "Trump effect," a mirror-image "Bradley effect.") This race could get ugly.


-- The 2014 New York gubernatorial candidate with some searing truth.

Jill Stein's Green Party campaign for president ought to be the first stop for Sandernistas who refuse to vote for corporate Clinton. Stein will give voice to popular demands and movements and help shape political debate during the election. But more than anything, the Stein campaign is a party-building campaign. It's about securing ballot lines that can be used in future local elections for municipal, state legislative and congressional seats. It's about creating campaign committees that continue after the election as local Green parties.

Local independent left candidates can win. Kshama Sawant has shown that in her Seattle City Council races. Over 150 Greens have shown that in cities and towns across the country.

When even critics contend that the Greens should focus on state and local races, well... this is exactly where the county parties should move forward.  Now, not in mid-November.

Ballot access barriers, winner-take-all elections, private campaign financing and inherited two-party loyalties are real obstacles to building a left third party. But the idea that they are insurmountable is just wrong because viable third parties have been built and independent candidates have won. The abolitionist, populist, and socialist parties from the 1840s to the 1930s garnered enough support to really affect American politics. Greens, socialists, and independent progressives, including Bernie Sanders himself, have won office in recent decades. What's been missing since the 1930s is a left that understands that independent politics is the road to power and change. Most of the self-described left today practices dependent politics. It depends on the corporate-sponsored Democrats to enact changes.

Sanders' campaign has revealed there is a mass base for left party that is ready to be organized. His campaign shows that millions are ready to vote for what public opinion polling has shown for decades--that there is majority support for progressive economic reforms like single-payer, progressive taxation, tuition-free public higher education, and climate action. Sanders' campaign also shows that millions will fund a campaign for these reforms with small donations at a level that can compete with the candidates of the corporate rich.

If this doesn't happen (and it didn't happen after Jesse Jackson's bid in 1988, Howard Dean's in 2004, and Dennis Kucinich's in 2008) then ...

If the Greens are going to be the vehicle for an independent left political insurgency, they will need to reorganize as a mass-membership party with membership dues and local branches for sustainable self-financing, democratic accountability, and grassroots dynamism. The Greens will remain underfunded, weakly organized, and politically marginal if they continue to be organized like the Democrats and Republicans with an atomized base of voters who only have the right to vote in primaries, with no locally organized base to elect and hold leaders accountable, and with minimal funding from intermittent fund appeals.

In other words, what they have always been (in my personal experience).

There is no shortcut through the Democratic Party to building a mass party on the left. That shortcut is a dead end. Hopefully, many new activists energized by the Sanders campaign will come to the realization that road to "political revolution" for "democratic socialism" lies not inside the Democratic Party, but in an independent left party that is opposed to and starts beating the Democrats.

The peasant revolt never occurs within the castle walls.

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