Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Dupes n' Super Radicals

I liked this recent CounterPunch essay by Patrick Walker: "Venezuelan Coup Democrats Vomit on Green New Deal." In it, Walker argues that any activist group that utlilizes electoral politics in its campaigns needs to call-out those politicians when they support such abominations as regime change in Venezuela.
For those of us leftists who put faith in politically oriented movements—like the Sunrise Movement and the Poor People’s Campaign (PPC)—our illegal Venezuelan coup poses a serious quandary. If both movements fail to protest a catastrophic policy that sabotages their own stated aims, they lend credence to leftist critics who regard such movements as hopelessly na├»ve or compromised (chiefly by fear of offending Democrat politicians and their supporting media) and therefore useless.
Walker says that what such groups (for instance the environmentalist "Sunrise Movement" and the Martin Luther King inspired "Poor People's Campaign") do is important because (as much as super-radicals might deny it) US-American society is simply not radical enough to become revolutionary:
But I’m getting slightly ahead of myself. For a politically-oriented strategist like me, the crucial point is that if politically oriented movements—meaning ones (like Sunrise and the PPC) dedicated to pressuring politicians and facing them with potential electoral repercussions—aren’t sufficiently principled and consistent to resist business-as-usual sabotage of their own aims, we leftists (who hold humanity’s future in our hands) are left without a viable way forward. For while Americans are clearly coming around to leftward-leaning agendas, they’re simply not yet radical enough to support street disruption of the Yellow Vest brand.
Obviously this confirms my own biases. I've long held that leftism is divided into Two Solitudes in Canada. The social-democratic NDP mixes constantly with LibroCon politicians and corporate media types and LibroCon-oriented bureaucrats on a daily basis. Repeated exposure to such an environment turns them into the ideological jellyfish that they are today.

Meanwhile, the super-radicals, disgusted with the system, sneer at the NDP and its grassrots of deluded saps, and insist that the only true way to the revolutionary transformation of Canadian society is by having twelve people block a doorway somewhere for half-an-hour; or to have 50-100 people shouting "demands" to politicians who are nowhere within earshot; or to have 1,000+ people march around on city streets for an afternoon.

Obviously, BOTH of these strategies are hopeless. Super-radicals and politicians NEED each other. The politicians need to hear from people who aren't centrist idiots and super-radicals need to grow-up and realize that very few people think the way that they do and they'll have to think harder to come up with strategies that deal with this reality.


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