I argued recently on lbo-talk that radicals should not concern themselves with the far-rightists who have been pushed into lunacy by the steady right-ward move of the DP, leaving no room for even minimally rational opposition to their right. Our concern as radicals is expanding the number of radical activists & enlarging local left groups; and it is the DP which is our enemy there. This is of course especially visible in election years. I refer not to the mass of voters but to those radicals who fall for the “lesser evil” line, and give their time & energy to the DP.
In the years before Wisconsin, in the decades in which, to borrow a phrase from Tolkien, we fought the long defeat. But new possibilities opened up after Wisconsin, as became startlingly visible in the nationwide and even worldwide response to OWS. There have been many horrors of police violence against Blacks during the past decade, some worse than the Troy Davis or Trayvon Martin case: the immense nationwide reaction to these cases showed the impact of Wisconsin on local activists. In the 1970s the Normal Fired Department went to jail for 40 days for refusing to obey an injunction. Near the end of the 40 days the city contracted with a private firefighting company called Eagle, which sent three men. When word got around on the location where one was staying, a crowd of well over a thousand gathered, and the man left town. (Later on a local judge, refusing to extend the injunction, noted that the Eagle had flowen.) Time magazine published a story on the jailing. What happened around the nation? Nothing. What would happen now if such an event in a little hick town (such as Normal was then) occurred? There would be demonstrations all over.
My point: We need more local activists, desperately, because the world is opening up for us, and we need to exploit that opening. There aren’t enough of us – and the reason is the pull of the More Effective Evil (Black Agenda’s label for Obama) on so many who might be giving their thinking and their energy to building the radical left movement in this country. And it is the horror at the ‘danger’ of the lunatic left that attracts them, not the positive appeal of the DP. We’ve got to discipline ourselves to just ignore the Republicans and their lunatic supporters. Keep our eye on the prize.
From: Science for the People Discussion List [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Phil Gasper
Sent: Tuesday, April 17, 2012 10:52 PM
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Subject: Can You Understand the Republican Brain?