For a very long time I've been obsessively trying to figure out why the Left doesn't seem to be able to coalesce into a cohesive movement in American politics, at a moment when it is needed the most.
I have a few theories as to some of the reasons, but still, the whole thing is kind of perplexing to me. One theory I have is that if people are being exposed to the type of media messaging I was exposed to today, that by itself may tend to manipulate people into inaction.
Today, I was really paying attention... I listened to several hours of NPR, and watched MSNBC "liberal" news shows, read the news paper, and even let myself be exposed to a few TV ads.
Where to begin? Absurdities, false narratives, misinformation, and outright untruths for smart people? I can't even imagine what the rest of the population (6th-grade level?) is being exposed to when they watch ABC, NBC, CNN, FoxNews, and CBS!
I've pointed this out before in my writing, but this stuff is at the same level of Orwellian science fiction. But enough of that... Let me get to my point.
I think smart Lefties know what's happening. The website "Money Wins Elections" provides a pretty straightforward summary: In 2012 there were 435 House of Representatives elections; "candidates that outspent their opponents won 95% of elections. Less than 1 percent of Americans contribute 68 percent of all election funding. These big funders use their influence to lobby for policies and laws that benefit themselves."
We know the rest... Austerity, militarization of police forces, total-information-awareness surveillance system, tearing down of the social safety net, looting and pillaging of the country's treasury. All at the expense of an increasingly subjugated population.
So far so good; we're smart about that. But why do we vehemently, dismissively, and stubbornly refuse to do the one (and only) thing that could actually give us the power we need to effect real change on the debased and totally corrupt political system we have: Organize at a national level into a cohesive movement capable of developing short-, mid-, and long-term strategies with clear goals and objectives.
Again, unless I'm missing something, what needs to be done is painfully obvious. For example, we know about the problems of politicians of both parties being on the take, and acting in favor of the one percent and against the interest of the citizenry.
We know who is doing the bribery, and we know who is receiving the payoffs (campaign contributions, access, special favors, enrichment through the revolving door of corruption).
We know the U.S. media conglomerate is a very harmful propaganda machine. We know about the military industrial complex and their war profiteers (is Syria next?).
Aside from signing petitions and pledges (which all progressive groups asks us to do), and aside from supporting more and better Democrats (through campaign contributions and campaigning), is there anything else we can do? Of course; there are many other things we not only can do, but must do.
Imagine keeping track of every single meeting between politicians and corporate funders, and assigning people to picket those meetings, no matter where they take place, and no matter which party they belong to?
Or imagine launching a relentless counter-propaganda campaign against the mainstream media, contacting their management, sending press releases about the harm they are doing, contacting individual "reporters" and "journalists," and challenging them on the bullshit they are peddling?
And imagine groups in every city, some assigned to do research, to follow the trail of corruption, to keep track of the thousands of laws ALEC is pushing through State houses all over the country, and then share that information in a central database to discern patterns, relationships, and then from that come up with counter-strategies, with resistance campaigns, with campaigns to educate the public, and to recruit them into the cause (into the movement)?
Imagine stepping it up a notch. Yes, continue with the political stuff, supporting good candidates, signing petitions, airing issues of importance, but also come up with pressure tactics, targeted protest rallies, coordinating with unions all over the country to organize picket lines at certain sites, agitating to organize big-box retail workers, standing up to big oil, organizing flash mobs, passing out carefully designed, high quality flyers with very strong messaging.
This stuff is a no-brainer! Where are our leaders? I don't mind people selling books, or charging for conferences, or getting donations, etc., but where is the oomph? Where is the real honest-to-goodness grassroots street-level activism?
Why do you think there is no "oomph" in the progressive movement? Is there a real progressive, social justice movement? What's your take?
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