Thursday, Feb. 1, 2018 12:18 am
Fed up with corporate-rigged politics?
The professional political observers are like cats watching the wrong mouse hole. They are so fixated on the minutia of Washington-centric politics that they’re missing the much bigger story of transformative political changes that have erupted in every region of the country. Far from panicking, America’s political left is organizing, strategizing, mobilizing ... and winning. Coalitions of local progressive activists (newly energized by an infusion of dynamic, creative young people and people of color) came together after the 2016 election. They recruited and trained candidates from their own ranks; methodically knocked on doors, having thousands of front-porch conversations with voters on basic issues; mobilized supporters for intensive election-day turn-out drives; and elected scores of audaciously populist mayors, council members, legislators and other officials.
This is the mouse hole to watch, for it is where ordinary people are actively rebuilding democracy and beginning to produce real change. It’s a nationwide rebellion made up of spontaneous local rebellions, each sparked by various specific grievances with America’s ruling royalists.
This burgeoning movement is not merely about protesting or lobbying the government, it intends to become the government. It’s a new politics embracing a three-front strategy I call R-I-P:
– Resist the Trumpeteers and corporatists of all parties who’re imposing plutocratic rule over us commoners.
– Insist on enacting a positive, aggressively progressive people’s agenda.
– Persist in organizing from the ground up to sustain both “little-d” democratic politics and “everybody” policies.
The most common characteristic of last year’s progressive, populist candidates is that they were genuinely of the people, not career pols who were next in line. And they were not simply running for office, but running for specific economic, social and political changes to make America better for families and neighborhoods like theirs. Politics is not a game to them – they know who they are, what they’re fighting against and, more importantly, what they’re fighting for.
Knowledgeable and trusted local groups have been key to the recent election victories by bona fide progressives. These groups build relationships through work in their communities, know whom to speak with, and can tackle the intensive work of going door to door. Several national organizations understand the power of a local focus and have invested in identifying amazing grassroots partners. Groups like Our Revolution, Working Families Party, Black Lives Matter, Democratic Socialists of America, People’s Action, Progressive Democrats of America, Democracy for America and the Movement Voter Project are just some of the organizations doing important work. As the Movement Voter Project put in its recent report, “Failure is not an option. Not for our children. Not for our grandchildren.”