I met with some good thinkers on May 29, the last Sunday of the month. We started off talking about the Bernie Sanders campaign because most of my friends, and I, are engaged in it. Then we shifted to broader goals and, at last, did a "round robin" of suggestions for what needs to be done in the month ahead.
I proposed a main goal based on the essay I had already sent out. It said that workers will never make permanent improvements as long as the bosses are in power. The long term goal, then, is to relieve the bosses of their power over our lives. All discussion, I proposed, should be about how to accomplish that goal. I was a little bit surprised, given the diversity of the group, that everyone agreed!
We also agreed that the Sanders campaign has opened up the opportunity for American progressives to discuss these things. It's an historic situation. Everybody who is serious about progressive change needs to be involved in activities and discussion. It was pointed out that a lot of study is in order. Even though we may have been involved in political activities, as I have, for long lifetimes, there is much that we do not know. Further, none of us has ever been in a situation like today's.
Our youngest participant said that American youth are better armed with information and communications technology than any generation heretofore. That means they can do more than any previous generation. It's also true that they aren't hampered by decades of anti-communist indoctrination, as older Americans are. A particularly useful observation was this one: "Bring back the middle class" is not a meaningful slogan for younger Americans because they have never seen this mythical equality of income that older Americans pine for. "For us," the guy said, "capitalism has never done anything but screw us!"
Millenials, more than any age group, have already embraced the promise of the Bernie Sanders campaign. It's up to the rest of us to catch up!
An older participant made it very clear that working people are the hope of the nation. There are a lot more of us than there are bosses, and we tend to be organized. Further, many of us have already been engaged in front-line struggle. We hailed the tentative contract just announced at Verizon because it may turn out to be a fine victory.
Sometimes, the near-total domination of information outlets by big corporations seems impossible to overcome. A handful of companies control more than half of the so-called "news," nearly all the movies, nearly all the TV, nearly all the radio stations, most of the book publishers, and just about all of the newspapers. "We've got to make sure they don't succeed in taking over the internet!" was said. I wholeheartedly agreed.
Democracy came up in just about everybody's contributions. The Bernie Sanders political revolution is more about election reform than anything else, and elections are getting less democratic. The primary elections have unmasked the fundamental flaws in both Republican and Democratic parties, and people are looking for something far better. Here in Texas where I live, redistricting and "voter ID" rules are being reconsidered in the courts. The local hero of that fight is young Congressman Marc Veasey of Dallas-Ft Worth. Veasey is a Hillary Clinton supporter, so it's not all just "about Bernie."
The last part of the formal discussion was to go "round robin" asking each person what we should be doing in the immediate future. Of course, all the Bernie supporters talked about getting petitions, delegates, and other organizing done for the San Antonio Democratic Party convention. Congressman Veasey's "right to vote" forum, June 6th 5:30PM-7:30PM at Laurence Dunbar High School, 5700 Ramey Av, Ft Worth, TX 76112, was recommended. The June 9th meeting of Dallas Young Workers, 7PM at 1408 N Washington in Dallas, was recommended. I forgot to tell folks that environmentalists fighting against nuclear waste would meet at Cafe Express on Mockingbird & Central Expressway at 1PM on Friday, June 3.
I plan to have another meeting on June 26. These things charge my batteries and maybe other people's.
Somebody needs to analyze the value of working to reform the Democratic Party. I'm not sure that's what Bernie Sanders is trying to do, because he might just be making as much fuss as possible over his excellent program. But lots of people think the Democratic Party, if it were tweaked a bit, could be an important part of the democracy we seek...