Occupy the Democratic Party

By Bill Johnston

I saw a sign at one of the “Occupy” locations that really sent a message regarding how many of us feel about our government and political system these days – it read: “If elections meant anything they would be illegal.” Think about that! Add it to polls showing the favorably of the US Congress at 9 %! Pretty bad, huh?

I have been involved in politics for nearly 50 years. Known many elected politicians — taken part in party politics – worked for the government for a time – and even I think the government at all levels sucks! It is dysfunctional – broken – incompetent! It does not represent the people and, thanks to a corrupt Supreme Court, completely out of touch with the people and under the influence of corporate interests. It is a system up for sale with every election. Elections and candidates auctioned off to the highest bidder (or more appropriately — Briber!).

I admire what the Occupy Movement has been doing for the last year or so. More direct action in the streets needs to take place. But the Occupy Movement (as pointed out in the Los Angeles Times) “emphatically is not politics as usual.” By this they mean the occupy groups have rejected party politics “because you can’t really fight politics with politics anymore.”

Well, I would ask “What the hell do you fight politics with if not politics?” I might point out the worse failure of politics in this country’s history was called “the Civil War.”

The Labor Movement has a philosophical motto it unfortunately seldom follows and it goes: “Educate – Agitate – and Organize.” Any group with this as their plan will be successful.

The Occupy groups have done a great job educating the public. They have forced a lazy media to look at the corporate oligarchy like never before. They have agitated to an extent – although nothing reaching the intensity of the 1960’s — but they have failed almost entirely to “Organize”!

In the United States the only way to organize to take power is through the political parties. And the way the voting laws are established the only way to get into the offices that hold the power to change the law is to organize and get elected.

It was all well and good to “Occupy Wall Street” but, given the huge number of people involved in the effort, had their attention turned to political organizing they could very well be in control of the New York Democratic Party and several local party organizations around the country.

Numbers of people will win out over money – the political parties have no numbers and could be easily be outmaneuvered and occupied.

Occupiers – what are you waiting for ? Educate – Agitate – and ORGANIZE.

Bill Johnston is a retired staff organizer of the United Food and Commercial Workers. Email wfjohnstonehs@wamail.net.

From The Progressive Populist, July 1-15, 2012


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