Tuesday, August 14, 2012
More on History and the 2012 Elections
I agree with my longtime friend and colleague Dr Henry Taylor that the Left has to have an electoral strategy. During the 1930's, the fate of the labor movement during key strikes was profoundly influenced by who held political office and how they used, or refused to use police, the national guard, and the US Army to break strikes and suppress unions. The CIO would not have been able to organize effectively in states like Ohio, Michigan, and Pennsylvania, if there weren't pro-labor Mayors and Governors who refused to use police power the way it had been used to break strikes in the late 19th Century and during and After WW I. This is why the CP worked so hard to elect pro-labor Democratic Party candidates in 1936, even at the expense of their own leaders who were running on the Communist ticket. Therefore, I have no problem, in principle, with people on the Left putting their energies into electing Democratic Party candidates, if they think it will help build, or protect, grass roots movements for racial and economic justice. But the current situation, as another friend indicated, is not precisely comparable to the 1930's because this time the Democratic Party actually TOOK THE LEAD in suppressing the most important grass roots economic justice movement, the Occupy Movement; and has aggressively promoted the privatization of public education. Someone has to make the case, in hard headed terms, that supporting Obama and the Democrats will create MORE space for organizing rather than less. So I agree with Dr Taylor in principle, but in terms of this election, I think progressives should be very careful not to relinquish important initiatives to elect candidates who may well try to extinguish the movements they are embedded in
Posted by Mark Naison at 7:34 AM
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Someone has to make the case, in hard headed terms, that supporting Obama and the Democrats will create [no, not create, preserve] MORE space for organizing rather than less.
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