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Sun Apr 13, 2014, 01:41 PM

Why No Sustained Protests (Yet)?

Why No Sustained Protests (Yet)?
Sunday, 13 April 2014 00:00 By Richard D Wolff, Truthout | Op-Ed

May Day 2912 protests in Chicago.May Day 2912 protests in Chicago. The organized post-1945 destruction of the New Deal coalition - unionists, socialists and communists - and the failure to replace those organizations helps explain the muted reaction to the bailouts, austerity and other anti-democratic policies pursued by US governments at all levels.

The post-1945 destruction of the New Deal coalition - unionists, socialists and communists - keeps influencing Americans' lives. Today, its effects help explain why popular actions have been so muted against US economic changes since the 1970s and especially against the bailouts and austerity since the crash of 2008. Those effects also suggest what could reignite sustained protests and demands for change.

First to be destroyed after 1945 were the communists. Coordinated attacks came from business, conservatives, government and media. Most academics and liberals (including many who had supported the New Deal coalition) were complicit in that destruction. Once again we witnessed that old repressive tool: rebranding domestic social movements as mere agents of an evil foreign puppet-master. More important, demonizing the communists served to tar other social criticism that included the capitalist economic system with much the same brush.

Second went the socialists ...

More here: http://truth-out.org/opinion/item/23026-why-no-sustained-protests-yet

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Reply Why No Sustained Protests (Yet)? (Original post)
TBF Apr 2014 OP
2banon Apr 2014 #1
Overseas Apr 2014 #2
socialist_n_TN Apr 2014 #3

Response to TBF (Original post)

Sun Apr 13, 2014, 04:52 PM

1. Richard Wolf is spot on..

 

Perhaps someone would write a piece, outlining the dynamics of today's left with regard to organizing for a specific cause (say anti-war as a perfect example) and how much influence Identity Politics has over say, the goal to end the war, (the initial cause for organizing in the first place) how the various issues compete for air space, planning, strategizing, and so forth.

Once disconnected, coalition members and those they had inspired lost their identities as parts of a vast social movement with history-changing achievements. Individual critics of capitalism came increasingly to believe they were few, isolated and alienated from a society that uncritically celebrated capitalism. Such beliefs undermine efforts to mobilize collective protests or movements for social change.

Those beliefs, especially when pervasive and unchallenged, also impress former activists' children. Notions of both the danger and/or futility in trying to change society seep into "common sense." They become taboos persistently blocking collective protest even when capitalism stops delivering the goods and substitutes "the bads." The explosive solidarities in Arab Springs, Occupy Wall Street and its offshoots, Velvet Revolutions, and so on, reflect pent-up oppositions and resentments against the taboos established by previous political repressions. However, to achieve more than temporary flashes of resistance that lapse back into relative quiescence, key lessons of prior repressions must be drawn.



One chief lesson now is the importance of organization. Americans don't collectively protest capitalism's cyclical instability and its massive costs in part because they lost organization, networks and their benefits. Lingering effects of wrecking the New Deal coalition still block unions and left social movements from solving problems of self-organization and organizational alliance.


(see my opening comments above)

Of course, organizations can rot or betray their organizers and purposes or rigidify into dictatorships. There are grounds for skepticism and caution about organizations. Nonetheless, the deepening inequalities inside the United States led by capitalism's evolution since the 1970s will keep to their disastrous course unless and until their victims and opponents build an organized coalition. This next coalition needs to relearn and update the methods used so successfully in the 1930s and first half of the 1940s and yet also do better.


This statement:

organizations can rot or betray their organizers and purposes or rigidify into dictatorships.



Is a key point (among others) which cannot be said often enough, imo. Speaking for myself and others who I know personally, this is the key causation for deep frustration and disillusionment, eventually throwing in the towel. Ultimately, and unfortunately this is exactly how they win.



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Response to TBF (Original post)

Sun Apr 13, 2014, 07:21 PM

2. K&R. Well said.

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Response to TBF (Original post)

Sun Apr 13, 2014, 07:36 PM

3. To borrow a phrase.......

(and change it a bit): Reorganize, Reorganize, Reorganize!

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