Saturday, June 21, 2008

PRESSURE, PRESSURE, AND STILL MORE PRESSURE

The always astute Kathy G. has a post on Barack Obama that everyone should read and circulate widely.

Her take home point is grounded in an understanding of the limitations of the presidency and a realistic view of the critical role that social movements have played in fostering progressive change in the American past. Our political aspirations should be greater than throwing the bums out of office. As the great A. Philip Randolph put it, social change comes about through "pressure, pressure, and still more pressure." Regime change is necessary but not at all sufficient.

The nub of Kathy's argument is here:
If we want real change in this country, the place to look for it is not in our so-called leaders, but in ourselves. What we need, in short, is a movement. Without such a movement, President Obama is not going to be able to achieve a whole lot more than President Clinton or President Carter did. But with such a movement, we may actually get somewhere. FDR was able to achieve great things because he had the strong support of a powerful labor movement. Similarly, the civil rights movement was the wind at LBJ's back. But I ask you, what will President Obama have?


It's time to organize.