…we organized a “People’s Budget” coalition and won increased funding for social services, including year-round homeless shelters for women and basic services for homeless encampments. We also won $1.6 million in raises for low-paid city workers and strengthened the enforcement of labor laws. We fought alongside tenants and community organizations to defeat an Orwellian attack on low-income housing called “Stepping Forward,” forcing the Seattle Housing Authority to back off from plans to begin 400 percent increases on rental rates over five years. Organizing with indigenous activists, we established Indigenous People’s Day (on the day celebrated federally as Columbus Day), putting a spotlight on the brutality and genocide unleashed under colonialism, and on the need to fight against the continued poverty and marginalization of indigenous communities. We have also helped publicize and support campaigns against regressive taxation, rising rents, climate change and the school-to-prison pipeline.
It was very disappointing for me to see Sanders make the decision to endorse Clinton for president. In some ways this was always very predictable; his coded, tactful response to the constant “will you #endorse her” gotcha questions in every interview towards the end of the Democratic party primary elections always left this option open.
Activists working within, at the periphery of or explicitly beyond the realm of electoral politics must now engage in the difficult and urgent task of ensuring that a generation of outraged youth do not turn inward and become apolitical or apathetic (which is precisely what the Democrat-Republican duopoly craves for).
The recent anti-establishment mass movement forays into establishment parties were always going to be fraught with contradiction, as long as the financial oligarchs control the levers of power and a ubiquitous network of influence within the party (as with the Clinton dynasty) is permitted to remain and intervene in its ongoing political operations.
For the upcoming election, it seems to me the answer is clear – vote and campaign for #JillStein, support #Green candidates at the local, state and federal office wherever they stand. If Trump wins, it is the Democratic party’s own damn fault for throwing the youth who supported Sanders under the bus.
Beyond this, I hope people do remember that there is a whole world of politics happening beyond these obscene public relations extravaganzas we call elections, and the same issues the candidates campaign on; don’t wait for “them” to pass some law making it easier for unions to go on strike. Support the current #BlackLivesMatter mobilizations against police brutality, systemic racism and mass incarceration by going to a rally and asking organizers what you can do to help them achieve their movement’s goals. Join your local chapter of the Fossil Free network and pressure your university, your bank and your government to Divest from the fossil fuel industry. As Kshama Sawant of the [American] Socialist Alternative network in Seattle in this article from Shadow Proof says;
So, depressed Bernie supporters wondering what to do next, remember that electoral politics isn’t everything. Look at the thousands of people that turned up for one single Bernie rally; motivated by material experience of the inequality and injustice their candidate raged against. Imagine their collective power over industry and society, if coordinated and channeled effectively, by coalitions of organizations independent of the corporate (anti-democratic) Democratic party. Imagine what Sawant describes above, being replicated by organizations and members coordinated on an international scale, working towards a truly democratic, cooperative society free from the endlessly escalating crises, wars, and injustices of capitalism. Above all, as Joe Hill sang – Don’t mourn, organize!