- Any grown-up left asks not whether to participate in elections, but how.
- Us vs Them: When Politics is Treated Like a Football Game, No One Wins
Tom Gallagher, Common Dreams
The mark of a genuine "movement," writes Gallagher, is that it tries to move people into action and interacts with every other positive strain of activism, no matter its origins. (Photo: AP)
Thursday, May 21, 2015 | Most people we might think of as being on the American left don’t generally embrace the idea of “American exceptionalism.” There is one apparent exception to this unexceptional point of view, however, at least in some corners of the American left. That is the notion that in the U.S. – unlike any other country with a reasonably democratic system – electoral politics are somehow only an optional part of a serious political movement. The latest expression of this “only in America” point of view comes in response to Senator Bernie Sanders’s declaration of his intention to run in next year’s Democratic Party presidential primaries.
The objections to his candidacy come in at least two variants – “not now” and “never.” The “never” perspective is articulated by David Swanson in his CounterPunch article, “Invest in Activism, Not Bernie Sanders.” It’s not that Swanson doesn’t like Sanders. On the contrary, although he allows that he has some disagreements with him – which he characterizes as “imperfections” on Sanders’s part – Swanson considers “the contrast with Clinton ... like day to night.” Nevertheless, he pleads, “please do not give him or Hillary or the wonderful Jill Stein or any other candidate a dime or a moment of your life. Instead, join the movement,” referring to people seeking justice on the streets of Baltimore, trying to abolish nuclear weapons in the halls of the United Nations, and doing any number of other valuable things.
In years past, Tom Gallagher has served as a surrogate speaker for presidential candidates George McGovern, Jesse Jackson and Dennis Kucinich. A past member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives, he is the author of "Sub: My Years Underground in America's Schools."
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Us vs Them: When Politics is Treated Like a Football Game, No One Wins, Alex Gauthier, The Independent Voter Network
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