Now Is the Time to Shake Up Society at the Roots
Continued from previous page
This action signifies another smaller crack. There is a growing trend of militant trade unionism and workplace solidarity. Workers are no longer satisfied with big business unionism and are taking matters into their own hands. This is happening through the shell of the old, and with some help from sympathetic union officials. Militant worker action is happening outside of the sanctioned workers organizations, demonstrated by wild cat strikes of truckers in and around DC last spring, the growth in the number and power of independent worker centers, etc. Although the demands of the UE action were not as far reaching as those of workers who reclaimed and ran factories in Argentina during recent financially troubled times, the militancy of the action captured the imagination of rank and file workers across the globe.
Now that we can see some of these cracks in the fishbowl, we need to expand the cracks and create many more so that soon the fish bowl will just fall apart.
Now more than ever we need to build grassroots multi-racial organizations that fight against oppression and for expansion of gender, racial, economic, and human rights. These bread and butter campaigns improve material conditions through reform while developing the capacity for political and practical leadership from the grassroots. It is also through organizing that we can capture and keep a new generation of activists invigorated by the presidential election engaged in our ongoing struggle. These organizations are crucial as we expand our movement (see below) because they ground the fight in everyday conditions and realities and serve as incubators for leadership from oppressed communities, those who should be leading the fight.
These smaller campaign fights have the potential to tap into that spirit of hope and change that Obama’s campaign did, but only if mass numbers of people hear about them and are touched by them. Strategically communicating is not only about reaching targets of campaigns, or reaching constituents, it is about shifting the debate to create the space for victories, for inspiring a wide swath of people to support you and move with you. There is all sorts of new technology out there that allows this type of creative story telling to happen. This new media allows us to by-pass the traditional media that is stuck in the fishbowl. New technology democratizes dreaming and allows us to bypass the traditional media, which is stuck framing their news within the limits of the fishbowl. We need to utilize this power and create larger cracks that traditional media cannot ignore. Our frame has the potential to be the main frame.
Building from grassroots organizing to communications, there has to be a way to test our effectiveness in building consensus and support for our ideas and actions. The electoral arena gives us that space. This means forming new types of organizations beyond 501c3s and even c4s. We must build our own electoral machines that not only move candidates but also move messages.
The right wing is amazingly effective at this tactic. With the use of ballot initiatives around what are often characterized as social issues, they mobilize and test their base. These issues, usually issues of abortion and gay marriage, are used in a narrow way to divide populations and encourage strife. The electoral tool has been under utilized by the left. While it has the ability to reach masses of people in a short amount of time and encourages them to take concise action it is not a replacement for community organizing, with its longer battles and fights and expanded opportunities of leadership development and deeper messages.