Sunday, October 23, 2016

What Is To Be Done?

New Mexico Democrats never mention wealth and income inequality. They emit an occasional "dog whistle" directed at the principle of equality that used to govern their party; it usually contains the phrase "middle class" and is always devoid of any meaning and is never followed by any concrete mention of any bill or policy. They forever say they will fight like hell for you but never detail what that will consist of, leaving them free to do nothing for you at all, which is what they do. Now, with their Neoliberal champion about to win an election and you having supported her wholeheartedly, they have even less reason to do anything for you. You fell for it again.

How did this situation come to be? Thomas Franks, who wrote the watermark book What's The Matter With Kansas, has some ideas that he discusses with Truthdig editor Robert Scheer on Scheer's Pacifica radio program (link and transcript here.) Democrats, knowing that working people have nowhere else to go, have a new core constituency, Franks says, the"professional class." The term is sometimes "meritocracy." They are the upper socioeconomic classes and most elected Democrats now come from that class and so they naturally serve the interests of their class.

What is to be done about this? First is to get people out of the mode of thinking that Democrats are their only choice. As Frank explains and other have explained, the Democrats only served the interests of working people in the first place because of outside pressure from primarily the labor movement but also from civil rights groups, women's groups and environmental groups. The leaders of those kinds of groups still support the Democratic Party. In many cases they have moved into the higher socioeconomic strata themselves and have stopped serving the interests of their members.

There are plenty of options besides the Democratic Party, but first you have to know that you need another option. Most people think only in terms of Democrat and Republican, but even at that don't know that the Democrats' and Republicans' power comes from them, and that's the problem facing anyone who still wants social and economic justice. The problem of raising that consciousness in peoples' minds and imaginations.

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