Open thread for night owls: How to organize to win
This guy, Marshall Ganz, is singing my song at The Nation. That song is the 176,000-precinct strategy. Local organizing, year-round, even in non-election years. It’s a song about giving voters positive reasons to vote beyond mere attachment to a charismatic candidate every couple of years. Ganz, a former union organizer, writes—How to Organize to Win: Rebuilding the democratic infrastructure is too important to leave up to the consultocracy:
This is an extraordinary moment. Tom Hayden once observed: “Change is slow, except when it’s fast.” In fast moments, chickens come home to roost, we confront inconvenient truths, small differences yield big changes, and the choices we make really matter. The promise of American democracy is at greater risk than at any time since the 1930s. The dangers we face are the result of reactive political responses to the challenges of globalization, financialization, and digitalization. Absent a compelling progressive alternative, a right-wing movement, rooted in reaction to role of the federal government in the civil rights, women’s, and environmental movements of the 1960s linked with an anti-government “free market” reaction to economic challenges of the ’70s. Together, these forces leveraged control of the Republican Party into control of the federal government—the very institution they were hell-bent on ravaging.
This politics delegitimizes democratic government, marginalizes public institutions, and lionizes private wealth—of which Donald Trump is the poster child. Trump is unique in the depth of his moral and empirical nihilism, sociopathic focus on personal domination, and dangerously erratic narcissism. But he and his wrecking crew are more effect than cause. For many, his election was the moment they realized the United States was in trouble. For others who have known trouble all their lives, it was less of a surprise than a sudden and very direct threat. [...]
Kennedy campaign in East Los Angeles. Each organizer canvassed a precinct to contact voters, looking for a volunteer whom he or she could recruit, train, and coach to become a precinct leader responsible for contacting their district, turning their house into a headquarters, and getting their voters out to vote. As we contacted the voters, we also built the infrastructure to get them to the polls on Election Day. This kind of organizing enabled us to achieve historic Latino turnout in that California primary nearly 50 years ago.
Organizing people is not only about solving immediate problems, like making sure your candidate gets the most votes or putting up a stop sign. It is about doing this and, at the same time, developing the leadership, organization, and power to take on structural challenges in the long run. It is not about fixing bugs in the system, like a safety net. It is about transforming the cultural, economic, and political features of the system. One of the main reasons I got hooked on organizing in the civil-rights movement was that it allowed me to work with people to find the resources within themselves and each other to create the power they needed to change the institutions responsible for their problems in the first place. That is what healthy democracy requires.
This kind of organizing, however, is a far cry from the political marketing campaigns run by the electoral-industrial complex today. ...]
This is a moment of fierce urgency. Thousands of groups and individuals are hungry to acquire the tools to turn their outrage into action and their hope into results. We need to bring people back into politics with strategic coordination, organizing not only to win elections but to build the capacity to renew our democracy. People do matter—in the short term, especially in close elections, and in the long term, for their role in democracy itself.
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xUnder circumstances suggesting a partisan vendetta, the AG strips an FBI leader of a big chunk of his pension based on an allegation that he may have done what Sarah Sanders does everyday at work, while Gen. Flynn keeps his pension after admitting to committing crimes in office.— Walter Shaub (@waltshaub) March 17, 2018
BLAST FROM THE PAST
On this date at Daily Kos in 2003—$90 billion for war:
Bush will ask Congress for $90B for War after the shooting starts. And, that number assumes just one month of combat. While some of that money would go to homeland security and aid to Israel, the bulk of it -- over $80 billion, would be for combat operations.
This expense will push the budget deficit well into the $400 billion range, and that's assuming a short war. The occupation and reconstruction will likely cost hundreds of billions more, not all of it recoverable by Iraqi oil revenues.
And Bush's plan to pay for it all? More tax cuts.
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