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View Diary: Occupy: roadmap for what to do now (29 comments)

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  •  Problem with the Alinsky book (6+ / 0-)

    from page 12:

    The basic requirement for the understanding of the politics of change is to recognize the world as it is.  We must work with it on its terms if we are to change it to the kind of world we would like it to be.

    Alinsky has often been used, when he writes in this vein, to advocate a conformist, through-the-front-door politics, that has so far gotten us in the fix we're in.  The end result, moreover, is a "recognition of the world as it is" that is distorted -- that does not, for instance, make sufficient note of the seriousness of problems such as abrupt climate change.

    There is something to be said, au contraire, for the idea of "demanding the impossible," because it is only by continually doing so that the impossible becomes the possible.

    "But it ain't about who ya love, see it's all about do ya love," -Michael Franti

    by Cassiodorus on Tue Nov 15, 2011 at 04:44:30 PM PST

    •  I think there's a difference... (11+ / 0-)

      ...between (1) accepting the world as it is and (2) recognizing the realities of the systems in which we operate. The former is counterproductive; the latter is really helpful for making progress.

      I'd make an analogy to gravity. If we deny that gravity exists or try to ignore it, that doesn't get us to flight. If we ackowledge gravity and look for how we can overcome it, we invent airplanes.

      But your point about needing to be ambitious about our goals is spot on.

    •  And yet, HE wasn't advocating that. (4+ / 0-)

      So, really the problem is that people can misinterpret the book. Not really a soluble problem, nor one that's specific to any particular work.

      •  Right. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        SolarMom, Terra Mystica

        Nevertheless the problem persists, that the unrealism of our politics is lodged in its conformism, and that the "recognize the world as it is" advice can easily be taken in a way that makes the problem worse.

        "But it ain't about who ya love, see it's all about do ya love," -Michael Franti

        by Cassiodorus on Tue Nov 15, 2011 at 05:24:59 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Alinsky was trying to give tools... (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Terra Mystica, deepeco, foresterbob

          ...very specific tools for fixing very specific problems in their communities.  Those tools are extrememly effective, and include doing a thorough analysis of the power structures and understanding where the vulnerabilities and opportunities for action are.

          His priniciples can be applied to the larger change we are trying to make, and we can learn from what he has to teach us.  It's not a perfect roadmap, but there any elements that are very instructive.  

          What are the vulnerabilities of the big banks, for example? What kind of public campaign would strike at those vulnerabilities?

          What are Mayor Bloomburg's vulnerabilities?

          What are Mitt Romney's?

          If President Obama had used his knowledge of Alinsky's principles - which he implemented in Chicago - he would never have wasted his time chasing Republican votes in the Senate, because his power analysis would have revealed that that would be playing their game - not his.

          •  thank you -- (0+ / 0-)

            for giving me a further example of just the phenomenon I am declaiming here -- Alinsky being hijacked for the sake of a conformist politics.

            If President Obama had used his knowledge of Alinsky's principles - which he implemented in Chicago - he would never have wasted his time chasing Republican votes in the Senate, because his power analysis would have revealed that that would be playing their game - not his.

            Demonstrably, Obama IS to a significant extent playing the Republicans' game, and the fact that they belong to separate political parties which compete in every instance for the same political office does not contradict their sharing of a number of meaningful social goals.  Obama chases Republican votes, then, because he wants legislation that is more distinctly Republican, e.g. Federalized Romneycare, than what he is getting at any particular moment.  

            "But it ain't about who ya love, see it's all about do ya love," -Michael Franti

            by Cassiodorus on Tue Nov 15, 2011 at 06:38:50 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Well, ok (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Terra Mystica

              I shouldn't have picked that example, because I don't really want to get off track into a discussion of just how much of a sellout Obama is.

              I still think Alinsky's tools are useful for the broader movement, because they provide a path for analyzing the situation we're in, identifying our options for the next steps, figuring out where we can poke at the powers that be, and so forth.

              I also think it's not an either/or between changing the system incrementally from within, and bringing about broader change from without.  I think both need to happen at the same time, and they influence each other.

              So at the same time we have occupiers, we also have people working to get more progressives to run for office and to get them elected (like Darcy), and humble civil servants like me writing regulations by day and politicking by night (like you).  

    •  Cassio...MOVE your MONEY! (0+ / 0-)

      THAT is how we fix the system!

      THAT is a recognition of how things are.

      NO credit cards

      ...and NOTHING for the system on Black Friday!

      BUY LOCAL ONLY!  Money spent at your local independent merchant gets spent up to 15 times more.

      But, buy from chain stores and 80% of the money LEAVes town immediately to pay CEO's at main offices. Screw that.

      THAt IS how we recognize the system for what it is, and how we fix the system.

      750,000 people moved their money on Guy Fawkes Day! That got their attention.

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