October 2 and its significance

"We now know the U.S. Senate will not pass climate-change legislation this year. Postmortems have pointed to a number of challenges: the lack of leadership from the White House, unified GOP opposition to the Senate cap-and-trade bill, the structure and rules of the Senate, and the complicated nature of cap-and-trade legislation.

"There has been one major omission in much of this analysis: the absence of pressure from Americans across the country demanding that serious action be taken to address climate change. Few Americans are currently engaged in this great societal challenge in a way that would generate the necessary political will to act. It is the absence of this public pressure, above all else [my italics], that has resulted in the current state of political inaction."

(From "Why did the climate bill die? Because we still don't have a real climate movement," by Kelsey Wirth, Larry Shapiro, Phillip Radford)

Other social justice leaders could make the same observation.

Not since the lead-up to the election of President Obama have the enemies of progress felt the weight and pressure of an aroused public.

The coalition that elected Obama didn't go into hiding, but its level of activity doesn't match the challenges the American people face, with none more important than a stagnant, jobless economy. Nor does its energy and organization compare well with the efforts of the right, and especially its most extreme elements - right-wing radio talk, Fox News, Newt Gingrich, Sarah Palin, Michelle Bachman, the tea party, rich moneybags, and I could go on and on.

Both the protracted economic downturn (with no end in sight) and the comeback of the extreme right beg for a sustained mobilization of every democratic-minded person in our country. At the core of this mobilization should be the multi-racial working class (broadly defined) and its allies.

If there is any other way to keep right-wing extremism and its capitalist class supporters at bay - not to mention undertake large-scale political and economic transformations in a progressive and radical direction - I don't know what it is.

Initiatives and openings of a democratic and progressive character from above - say from the president - are certainly important (for example, a jobs and infrastructure bill), especially if they can be leveraged by the people's coalition to widen and deepen the process of change.

At the same time, initiatives and openings by themselves cannot substitute for mass organization, action and unity at the grassroots level. At every major turning point in our nation's history - the War of Independence, Civil War, New Deal, and the Civil Rights Revolution - a powerful surge of popular action became the material force to power, deepen, and extend out the process of change.

Which brings me to the One Nation rally on October 2 in our nation's capital. Here is an opportunity to reestablish, reenergize, and repower the coalition of people's organization that elected the first African American president in our nation's history.

Opportunities of this kind are rare. But when they arise, they have to be seized. No stone should be left unturned to bring people and their organizations to Washington. This event's success will be measured by its size. A huge turnout will change the political atmosphere and send a message to friend and foe.

Success will also be gauged by the degree to which it gives a new momentum to the struggle for jobs and to punish the Republican right in November.

And finally, it will be measured by the extent that the coalition that has been quiescent since 2008 regains its legs, turns into a sustained force, and powers the struggle for progressive and radical change in the near and longer term.


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  • All out for October 2nd!

    Hopefully the Democratic leadership in Congress will alter their strategy of legislatively sitting out the elections. As Ed Schultz on MSNBC warned, if the Democrats ignore the 99ers, there is a danger that several million may sit out the elections. He urged the Democrats to force a vote to further expose the Republicans.


    Posted by David Bell, 09/21/2010 12:48am (5 years ago)

  • The positive forces of unionists,NAACP,La Raza,the mighty Latino and African American liberation forces,of course the AFL-CIO,these organizations and individuals need to be amplified and encouraged. We are not just "against"the fascistic right and traditional conservatism,we are "for"reasonable and main stream and Main Street America,as the beleaguerd Obama Administration is.
    This is the history of our movement,it is nothing new.
    Moreover,this is not only our recognition of the movement,it is the movement's recognition of the communists.
    It is a mighty internationalist like W.E.B. Du Bois,admiring the communists' policies of social equality;it is the stalwart internationalist,Elizabeth Gurley Flynn recognizing the fight for protecting women's rights as workers and civic activists;it is an internationalist like Paul Leroy Robeson,knowing the legal genius of a Benjamin Jefferson Davis Jr.,simultaneously knowing the collective meek genius of the African American people.
    It is Martin Luther King Jr. lauding W.E.B. Du Bois,along with Sean O'Casey and Pablo Neruda-their contributions to the international working class.
    The whole working people,especially the youth need to know this fact and history of the people of the United States of America-and all the international interconnections.
    It is the only way to get out of this current catastrophe,and march toward job justice,for 2 October 2010,to the polls,2 November 2010,with and beyond the White House in 2011 and 2012 for economic justice in America.

    Posted by E.E.W. Clay, 09/20/2010 5:51pm (5 years ago)

  • If there is any other way to keep right-wing extremism and its capitalist class supporters at bay.


    What about keeping the pro-bank, anti-working class White House at bay? Nearly every day there is an article about the Obama administration pushing to retain the Bush White House extrajudicial measures in place, including the right to torture and murder with impunity. The NYT interviewed an attorney in the George WH Bush administration who said that his boss would never have considered such measures.

    You people are appalling. Thank goodness you have so little influence on the left.

    Posted by Louis Proyect, 09/18/2010 9:27am (5 years ago)

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