Social Justice Movements and the Major Political Parties
When the Democrats held their national meeting in Minneapolis on August 29 they passed a resolution endorsing Black Lives Matter. The organizers responded: “We don’t endorse you.”
Other movements avoiding endorsing candidates and instead making demands: Fight for 15 dollar minimum wage, Seattle and Chicago teacher’s strikes and the campaign to stop the Keystone Excel Pipeline.
This is really heartening.
Social movements are effective when they stand outside and assert pressure, demanding a response from politicians. When they endorse candidates and then hope for the best – well that’s when we get the Trans Pacific Partnership – eroding protections for workers worldwide, detention centers for children in Texas, mass incarceration, the privatization of prisons, remixed No Child Left behind policies, the militarization of police, and drone warfare.
The best way to “Dump the Trump” is to build support for immigrant rights movements, forcing candidates to take up our demands for citizenship for 12 million, making connections with the refugee crisis in Europe.
Remember that moment last election when candidates of both major parties courted the Occupy movement? Even Michele Bachman. They will when they have to – every time. It’s up to us to demand action behind words.
Would anybody be talking about the deep systematic racism practiced in St Louis County if young people in Ferguson had decided to just vote and not stay out in the streets and protest and develop demands and refuse, refuse, refuse, to be silenced?
Would Obama have issued his Differed Action for Childhood Arrivals without the dreamers sitting in and speaking out, shouting undocumented and unafraid?
I would love to see the labor movement stop endorsing candidates and endorse workers’ rights and social justice issues instead. Make them come to us – not the other way around.
Otherwise what you got is cronyism – not a social movement with teeth.