cj#564> On political Right Action


Richard Moore

Dear colleagues,

        I received the following communication from someone who ran across
the piece "On Saving Democracy":

  I found your article on political organizing in some newsgroup. I'm
  involved in the Nader for President effort and found your article to be in
  sync with what I think needs to be said and to happen. I'd like to stay in
  touch with like minded people.


        to which I replied:

Dear XX,

        How in-synch is it with Nader's positions and focus?  I wonder if
you are familiar with The Concord Papers (I have a copy if you haven't seen
it).  And do you know if that piece is an accurate characterization of
Nader's thinking?

        I found the piece to be disturbing, if it is meant to be a general
call for a re-vitalized democracy.  I perceive an overly timid emphasis on
getting more consumerist perks out of "their" system, rather than making
the system "ours" -- as it democratically should be.  For example, he says
at one point:

          "Similarly, in return for cable company monopoly and other powers,
          cable subscribers should be able to join their own cable viewers
          group through a periodic insert in their monthly cable billing

        I think this is begging for crumbs from the media banquet, rather
than taking ones seat at the table.  In my Saving Democracy piece, I
thought I was over-conservative in proposals re/media, but even that seems
more substantial than what Nader's calling for.

        Am I getting a warped impression of what Nader's about?  Is he
over-conditioned by his consumerist background?  I see "citizenship" as
being the heritage we should reclaim: we are owners of our system, not
grateful consumers of its largesse.   If Nader is proposing empowered
consumerism as a substitute for citizenship, then I fear he's more part of
the problem than part of the solution.


        "XX" then replied with a query, which I answered as follows:

From: XX
To: rkm

>How or where do we locate
>ourselves so as not on the one hand to be un-hearable and on the other hand
>not to give up on principle as you correctly point out is implied in
>Nader's position?

Dear XX,

        That's precisely the issue I've been trying to deal with for the
past couple years.  Some people take the question "What's the _ideal_
society?", others take the question "What can we ask for that might
_sell_?".  I take the question "What _must_ we have for democracy to

        What I've learned about that question, and what I've tried to
explain in most of my writing, has been:
                - The main issue is democracy, not economics.
                - U.S. "imperialism" is not about nationalism, it's about
                  gobal corporate feudalism.
                - Typical "reform measures" can be managed and subverted
                  by the establishment  -- they learn and adapt and are clever.
                - Violent revolution is both impossible and unnecessary.
                - We have a _brief_ window of opportunity to reclaim
                  our democracies.
                - Democracy, if supported by a robust popular coalition
                  movement, can and must be trusted to deal with the policy
                  details -- "trust the people".
                - A democratic coalition must be an ongoing, broad-based,
                  popular movement -- not a quick grab for immediate "gains".

        My belief, and I'm always open to new information, is that these
particular points are all absolutely essential as a basis for any "right
action" under today's circumstances.  Any movement which fails to
understand these must be educated before it can be supported.  Some
movement, either new or adpated, _must_ be launched which is based on these
principles.  When one is so launched, then Solidarity must become the
byword, and divisiveness must be overcome.  Only then can the struggle for
human dignity begin in earnest.

        "Doing something active", if it's in the wrong direction, may make
one feel better, but only if one deludes oneself.  There's _no_ use
building barricades on the hill where the battle won't be, or rearranging
deck chairs on the Titanic.  There are lots of activists,
environmentalists, peaceniks, etc. out there -- motivated and energetic.
Why don't we have a right-minded movement?

        We (activists) must have the clarity to face reality, the courage
to demand what is necessary, the faith to work with those who also
understand, and the determination to settle for nothing less than effective
democracy.  The alternative is a new Dark Ages, whose incoming tide must be
made visible to everyone.

        We have no right to blame the power of our formidable corporate
foe, nor the confusion of the propagandized masses.  Until we as
activists/leaders begin to act collectively in pursuit of essential goals,
then _we_ are the primary barrier to progress.


    Posted by Richard K. Moore  -  •••@••.•••  -  Wexford, Ireland
     Cyberlib:  www | ftp --> ftp://ftp.iol.ie/users/rkmoore/cyberlib