We need to build a grassroots progressive movement -- wide, deep and strong enough to fight the right and challenge the corporate center of the Democratic Party. The stakes are too high and crises too extreme to accept “moderate” accommodation to unending war, regressive taxation, massive unemployment, routine foreclosures and environmental destruction.
A common formula to avoid is what Martin Luther King Jr. called “the paralysis of analysis.” Profuse theory + scant practice = immobilization. It’s not enough to denounce what’s wrong or to share visionary blueprints. Day in and out, we’ve got to organize for effective and drastic social change, in all walks of life and with a vast array of activism.
For instance, consider the many hundreds of on-the-ground volunteers who rejected the paralysis of analysis by walking precincts and making phone calls to help re-elect progressive Congressman Raul Grijalva. He won a tight race in Arizona’s southwestern district and will return to Congress next year -- much to the disappointment of the corporate flacks and xenophobes who tried to defeat him because of his strong stance against the state’s new racial-profiling immigration law.
It’s all about priorities. The Obama presidency has given low priority to reducing unemployment, stopping home foreclosures or following through with lofty pledges to make sure that Main Street recovers along with Wall Street.
Far from constraining the power of the Republican Party, the administration’s approach has fundamentally empowered it. The ostensibly shrewd political strategists in the White House have provided explosive fuel for right-wing “populism” while doing their best to tamp down progressive populism. Tweaks aside, the Obama presidency has aligned itself with the status quo -- a formula for further social disintegration and political catastrophe.