Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Obama Supporters and the Coming Spring Offensive of the Occupy Movements

The way things are looking now, the Occupy movement is going to come back stronger than ever this spring. Occupy activists have been implanting themselves in working class communities around the country, resisting evictions and foreclosures, helping teachers, parents and students fight school closings, organizing against tuition increases and student debt, helping organize community movements against racial profiling and police violence. All of these movements are likely to grow in the spring months, leading to fierce confrontations with Mayors determined to continue current policies in all these areas. There are going to be marches, rallies, sit ins, building occupations, sing ins in the courts, as well as attempts to revive the actual occupations that were cleared out in the late fall and early winter. This time, the protests will be far more multiracial and connected to labor and working class issues than they were when Occupy Wall Street began, and the protests and disorder could occur in working class neighborhoods as well as downtown business districts

Based on the response I and others have gotten when we raise sharp criticisms of the Obama Administration's education policies, we can expect Obama supporters to urge protesters to "chill out." lest they jeopardize the Presidents re-election campaign. These pleas are likely to fall on deaf ears. The vast majority of activists I know believe cultivation of grass roots protests and the creation of a new vision of popular democracy is the transcendent priority, not making sure the Democratic Party controls the White House. In their view, this President is in no moral position to ask activists to sacrifice their goals, because he has sacrificed so many of the goals activists had hoped his Presidency would work towards. Their view of his historic moment can be summarized by the late Historian/Activist Howard Zinn "It is less important who is sitting in the White House than who is sitting in."

So prepare for a tumultuous spring and a long hot summer. No one is going to stop anything they planned to do to influence the Presidential election, especially since no one really knows what effect on elections protests will actually have

As for Obama supporters, they are welcome to join our protests, or better yet try to persuade the administration to change some of its policies with respect to education, criminal justice, environment, civil liberties and issues of war and peace. all of which have left many activists profoundly dissatisfied.

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