Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Your Money or Your Life? 

There’s a lot of talk about strategy lately. But it's so simple... really. Thom Hartmann thinks the key is organizing for 2006, starting like, ummm, yesterday. He notes that the GOPthugs are already organized and have learned well how to control elections...

The next national elections will be held in the United States in 2006, and there's a lesson for us in the 1972 midterm elections.

Although Richard Nixon won a landslide re-election that year, carrying every state except Massachusetts, he was out of office within 18 months because the House and Senate were in Democratic hands and Senator Sam Irvin was able to proceed with an investigation of Nixon's crimes while in office. Opposition control of Congress is about the only way to hold a president accountable: Republican control of Congress led to the impeachments of Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton. (And when a President appoints his own attorney as the nation's head prosecutor - Attorney General - it becomes virtually impossible to prosecute the President outside of the House or Senate.)

Thus, the first key to returning America to multiparty rule and re-opening the political process will be in electing progressive Democrats (and Independents like Vermont's Bernie Sanders) to the US House and Senate in 2006.

But first we must prepare to take on a Republican machine that has already corrupted the electoral process in the past three elections, and knows how to "pull a Ukraine" in any state at any time with single a phone call to Jim Baker or Tom DeLay. How To Take Back A Stolen Election

Which I agree with, except he doesn’t explain how to take them on. Sure, we’ve got to fight electoral fraud with lawsuits and recounts and letters, but it seems to me that the real key is to organize for the 2006 election. How about this? Get real progressives, anti-war, anti-corporation, pro-justice people into positions of power in the local Dem parties, county by county, and begin mobilizing GOTV efforts around solid anti-Bush local candidates, from county commissioners up to senatorial candidates. Can we do this in time for 2006? Yeah, if everybody starts NOW. The GOTV needs to be built around these candidates by the end of 2005, no later. And prior to that, identifying the real liberals and getting them nominated and raising money. Ahhh, and money…

Kathy Kelly thinks we should stop supporting war and neo-imperialism by refusing to give them money…

Politically, progressives were defeated by a majority of Democrat voters even before the majority of American voters ratified imperialism. We're having limited results from time-honored ways of influencing our government - getting out and protesting, the signs, the candles, the education and legislative work that is still crucially important.

Bush promised that he would spend money for the amount of troops that he needs to recruit for ongoing wars. Most of us are not targeted by the recruiters. We're not listened to by our government, nor, in sufficient numbers, the American people. From most of us, what is required is not our bodies and not our consent - it's our money. This is what we have power over. What We Can Control

And again, I agree. She goes on to recommend not paying taxes. But not paying taxes would give them a great excuse to put a lot of folks in jail and most of us don’t have Emerson-types to bail us out. Better to just refuse to support the mega-corporations and their ilk. Buy local, and buy only what you need. Know where your money goes. And, as she rightly points out, the real liberals were defeated before the campaign even began. So again, I say it’s time NOW to organize locally, time to engage in “time-honored ways of influencing our government”—if in 2006 we want slates of real, fire-breathing Liberal candidates. This then would be a fine pool for 2008 and 2010, no matter what the mainstream Dems do. And it would make the spineless wake up and understand that the real liberals are taking over. I mean, what’s the other choice aside from taking over politically?

So I guess I’d better make time to get to the next Dem meeting—the topic will be candidates and funding. I have a couple of people in mind I’d like to talk to about accepting a nomination to run for local chair. And that happens in January, I’m told.

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