Left Strategy in challenging times

Left Strategy in Challenging Times

PRINTER-FRIENDLY VERSION

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How do we convert the energy we see in the streets to electoral power? How do we fight racism and defend immigrants while setting a strong class pole? What are effective tactics for conducting the fight against corporate Democrats on Democratic Party terrain? And how do we do this while building the broadest possible front against Trump and Trumpism?

Organizing Upgrade

Organizing Upgrade

October 3, 2017.

Dear Friends,

We’re excited to let you know that we are re-launching Organizing Upgrade!  Today, more than ever, left organizers need a forum to discuss and debate strategy. We need to share organizing models that respond to the profound dangers we are facing – like the ascent of white nationalism – and that take advantages of the real opportunities of this political moment. More than ever, we need to place our work in the context of the long-term trends that shape our context: the decline of US power in the world, demographic shifts, and rampant inequality that has stemmed from neoliberalism.

You can check out these pieces to get a sense of the conversations we are working to promote:

• The Concept Paper for a new caucus of progressive organizations working to win governing power at the state level.

• A short video by Linda Burnham, challenging left organizers to remember that – while we are fighting for our own communities – we also need to fight for the country as a whole.

• A description of our vision for the relaunch of Organizing Upgrade.

Why are we re-launching Organizing Upgrade? We have to move beyond “think-pieces” and start to answer the hard strategic and practical questions of this moment, like:

• How do we convert the energy we see in the streets to electoral power?

• How do we fight racism and defend immigrants while setting a strong class pole?

• What are effective tactics for conducting the fight against corporate Democrats on Democratic Party terrain?

• And how do we do this while building the broadest possible front against Trump and Trumpism?

All around us we see new openness to left analyses and to radical race and class politics. Exciting electoral initiatives, based on different versions of an “inside/outside” strategy, are developing around the country. The dynamics of our moment have created real possibilities for rebuilding a left based on multi-racial class solidarity, a holistic and internationalist vision and a determination to break out of the margins and get to the center of national politics.

We come from a vantage point that places the struggle against racism at the center of building a powerful multi-racial working class movement in this country. We think that the left and social movements cannot work in isolation; we need to be prioritize building broad fronts in opposition to the right.  We are all part of the political trend that is working to build left inside-outside projects that enable us to wield mass people power both at the ballot box and in the streets.

On October 19th at 5 p.m. Pacific Time / 8 p.m. Eastern Time, the left inside/outside project and OrgUp will be hosting the first session of #PeopleTakePower, a series of online discussions with the raddest organizers working to defeat the right and advance progressive politics. Our first session will feature Rukia Lumumba from Chokwe Antar Lumumba’s mayoral campaign in Jackson, Mississippi, and Rafael Navar, national political director of Communications Workers of America. Register here and join the discussion!

We are reaching out to you because we think you can help us make this project a success!  We are seeking your ideas, feedback, and submissions that to help develop out this strategic position. And we also welcome thoughtful challenges to these positions. There is no obvious path forward, and we believe that productive debate will strengthen our work.

We also need your support to let folks know we are back, and gain circulation among social movement organizers! Please like us on Facebook, re-post pieces that you appreciate and let your friends know that we are back online!

In Solidarity,

Calvin Cheung-Miaw, Max Elbaum, Harmony Goldberg, Maria Poblet and Bob Wing, Organizing Upgrade Editorial Committee

 

About

We are re-launching Organizing Upgrade to serve as a space where left organizers can discuss strategy and share organizing models that respond to the profound dangers and the real opportunities of this political moment.

The Trump administration poses a series of grave threats. Most central is the dangerous ascent of white nationalism, which — after years of racist backlash and the strategic use of race by the Republican Party — now has sway at the very center of executive power in this country. This is, in turn, energizing grassroots mobilization among white supremacist forces of many stripes.

There are a number of other dangerous possibilities in this moment: the elimination of environmental regulations will have irreversible impacts on the planet, the public sector is under threat of dismantling and privatization, women and LGBTQ people are facing threats to a series of basic rights and the threat of war is growing ever stronger. Left organizers need a space for deep discussion and debate over strategic responses to these threats, and Organizing Upgrade will serve as one forum for that debate.

But this is not a moment to only focus on defense. There are also a number of significant opportunities for expansion and real advance in this moment. The breakout success of the Sanders campaign and his continued popularity as a political figure challenge left organizers to step into the progressive possibilities of the “populist moment.” And in response to the extreme dangers of our moment, we have seen the emergence of a powerful mass opposition to Trump, from the Women’s March through the recent mobilizations against white supremacy.

Everywhere from the base of progressive movements to progressive institutions and even well into the liberal world, there is new openness to left analyses and to radical race and class politics. And there are a lot of exciting new electoral initiatives, based on different versions of an “inside/outside” strategy, that are developing around the country. The dynamics of our moment have created real possibilities for rebuilding a left based on multi-racial class solidarity, a holistic and internationalist vision and a determination to break out of the margins and get to the center of national politics.

To respond to these dangers and threats, left organizers needs space to step back and reflect on these threat and possibilities and to place them in the context of the long-term trends that are shaping our political context: the decline of US power in the world, demographic shifts, and the growth of inequality that has stemmed from neoliberalism. We have to move beyond critical “think-pieces” and start to answer the hard strategic and practical questions of this moment, like:

• How do we convert the energy we see in the streets to electoral power?

• How do we fight racism and defend immigrants while setting a strong class pole?

• What are effective tactics for conducting the fight against corporate Democrats on Democratic Party terrain?

• And how do we do this while building the broadest possible front against Trump and Trumpism?

Organizing Upgrade will address these issues in the coming months, gathering strategic reflections and case studies from left organizers around the country. Our editorial team — Calvin Cheung-Miaw, Max Elbaum, Harmony Goldberg, Maria Poblet and Bob Wing — comes from a vantage point that places the struggle against racism at the center of building a powerful multi-racial working class movement in this country. We think that the left and social movements cannot work in isolation; we need to be prioritize building broad fronts in opposition to the emergence of the right. We are all part of the political trend that is working to build left inside-outside projects that enable us to wield mass people power both at the ballot box and in the streets.

We welcome submissions that reflections that strategic positions, and we also welcome thoughtful challenges to these positions. There is no obvious path forward, and we believe that productive debate will strengthen our work. Please send us your ideas, feedback, submissions and thoughts.

Editoral Collective

Calvin Cheung-Miaw

Calvin Cheung-Miaw (he/him) is a student in the San Francisco Bay Area who has been active in the labor, anti-war, and immigrant rights movements. In November 2016 he authored the article “Trump’s Victory Is a Wake-Up Call to the Left” and he is currently involved in efforts to build left unity around an anti-right wing, inside/outside political strategy.

Max Elbaum

Max Elbaum (he/him) has been active in peace, anti-racist and radical movements since joining SDS in Madison, Wisconsin in the 1960s. He is the author of Revolution in the Air: Sixties Radicals Turn to Lenin, Mao and Che (Verso 2002; Paperback 2006). Each fall he runs a Marathon for Peace to benefit antiwar and antimilitarist projects, most recently US Labor Against the War.

Harmony Goldberg

Harmony Goldberg (She / her) is a left educator and writer, based in Brooklyn, New York. Harmony helped to found SOUL, the School of Unity and Liberation, and she’s been running political education courses for grassroots organizations rooted in multi-racial working class communities ever since. She has worked most deeply in the youth movement and the domestic workers movement historically, and she is currently working closely with People’s Action and the Grassroots Policy Project. And she talks about Gramsci alot.

Maria Poblet

Maria Poblet has a couple decades of community organizing experience, a smart mouth, and an optimism of the will. She helped build racial & economic justice powerhouse Causa Justa Just Cause, as it’s first Executive Director. She is also a co-founder of the US Chapter of the World March of Women and of LeftRoots.

Bob Wing

Bob Wing (he/him) has been a racial justice organizer and writer since 1968. He was the founding editor of ColorLines magazine and War Times/Tiempo de Guerras newspaper. Some of his essays include “Why the Fight for the South Is So Important — And How It Can and Must Be Won,” “Towards a Social Justice Electoral Strategy,” and “The Battlelines Are Drawn: Rightwing Neo-Secession or a Third Reconstruction.” He is a member of the Organizing Committee of the State-Based Power Caucus.

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The New Cold War is not our war.

The New Cold War is not our war

Causality has always been a dilemma for making and judging political decisions. And it is not easy to do in a bipolar and extremely contentious new cold war between Russia and the United States. Be it that the Socialist October Revolution of the Bolschewicki is going for its first century commemoration, the hopes and dreams of working people have not been fulfilled by the restoration of capitalism in Russia. As more light sheds on this historic experience, pieces of the puzzle begin to appear that help us explain the ugly developments of Russia. The imperialist tentacles of an expansive and aggressive oligarchist state are in the active process of reviving and kindling the fire of the cold war. Some of the “left” in the political sphere are being used (and is letting themselves be used!) by Russian propaganda (see “RT”) and systematic disinformation (Bernie Bros) to lower their guard and become blind on one of their antiimperialistic eyes. As accusations flow rapidly: you become labeled of being either a supporter of US war hawks like Hillary Clinton, or you are pinned as a welcome pawn of Putins aggressive expansion.  Either you get rubber stamped as an anti-Russian war mongering US-NATO imperialist or you are a supporter of one of the most despotic and corrupt dictatorships on the planet.  A true anti militaristic peace movement against both superpowers is difficult to find and has a hard time to grow.  It is a new cold war that has emerged and we have to expose that.

I refuse to be used as a pawn in this new cold war!  For me it is neither nor!

Continue reading

General Strike against Trump on February 17th

A National General Strike has been called for on Friday, the 17th of February 2017 in all of the United States to oppose the Trump regime. 

http://f17strike.com/
The website of the National General Strike is: http://f17strike.com/. 

How To Participate? Cheers ii

We encourage all who are able to demonstrate their resistance in any of the following ways:

Do not work (if possible). Post your support on social media.

Do not purchase anything.  

“#BreakLunch” Use your lunch break to disrupt and participate:

Use social media to show how you #BreakLunch. Tweet, FB, Instagram, and Snapchat messages that support democracy. Include hashtags #BreakLunch, #GeneralStrike, #F17

Donate your lunch money that day to cause you believe in. Post about it and use those same hashtags.

Get creative and show the world how you #BreakLunch

Reach out to your representatives in Washington DC or your state and tell them why you are “striking” today, and post about it using strike related hash tags.

Join with other like-minded folks and occupy public space with positive messages of resistance and solidarity on our events page.

Get creative, always be nonviolent, and consider fun ways of showing dissent.

Participate in the National Day of Community Serviceto coincide with the General Strike on February 17. We hope this will allow folks who cannot ‘strike’ to take advantage of their employer’s commitment to Community Service and Community Service Leave request systems. We will announce more details and how to participate once we have confirmed commitment from institutions with whom we are currently negotiating.

Make your feelings known at any of a series of First Amendment Open-Mic gatherings. Again, more details and participating venues to follow.

If you are a teacher or student, please consider participating in the National Teach-In on Democracy set to take place February 17. Keep your students engaged.

Get prepared to show some International Solidarity all over the planet! I have been told that in Germany Tillerson will be in Bonn the day before. VP Pence will be in Munich on that day. 

All the more reason to stomp your feet, raise your voices and get out the drums of resistance (pots and pans and wooden spoons) to challenge the Trump regime and support our striking sisters and brothers. 

This is not a National Day-Off; we’ve got work to do!! Get out and get busy!!! Be Peaceful! Have fun!

It’s our turn!

It truly is time to stop and oppose the politics of the “Billionaire Class” on the face of this planet. We all know that it is responsible for the continuation of global warming and nuclear threat. But we have no real concept of how to isolate its tentacle like influence from our everyday lives. 

In todays world the billionaire class uses the tools and ideology of neo-liberalism to maintain its power, which I would simply define as free market fundamentalism , i.e. economics which disregard the interests of working people. 

We need to choose and support leaders who represent the interests of working people. So, for example, we need a Democratic Party which is able to draw a clear dividing line between the interests of Main Street and Walk Street. The billionaire class cannot speak on behalf of working people. 

So we need progressive voices within the Democratic Party to replace the voices of neo-liberalism. We need fighters for the interest of working people. It doesn’t matter where you are in this organiization, the choice is actually quite clear. Either you are on the side of working people or you are not. 

It is your liberty to tell the truth

corporate-amerika

Taken on the 17th of September, 2016 during a massive demostration against CETA and TTIP in Berlin, Germany with more than 70.000 participants (police count).  The “Statue of Liberty” was confronted with the reality of the Corporate Flag of the USA.

If you ever want to get a flag like this, then contact Adbusters (adbusters.org).

Photo by Oli Voelkers.