Tuesday, August 23, 2011

My answers. Sticking to em.

I put some thought into last week's Wellstone Club questionnaire. Here are two of my answers.

Agree or Disagree? "I would like the Wellstone Club to be more engaged in ISSUE-ORIENTED organizing (in contrast to "electoral" organizing.)"

My answer: Disagree

I thought hard about how to answer this. I knew what "issue-oriented" meant, but I was unclear whether "electoral organizing" referred to taking sides in elections, or working to improve democratic institutions. So I googled "electoral organizing" and voila, I found the Wellstone Triangle: http://www.organizingupgrade.com/2010/01/fast-forum-electoral-organizing/

So now I can state my views in your terms. I strongly believe that we need to gather passionate people with *somewhat divergent* views, find common ground, then choose candidates and campaigns that most closely match our collective values. So, even though I'd like my issues represented, we can speak even louder for *our* issues. Form coalitions with existing issue-based organizations that are already doing great work, rather than taking a narrower stance on particular issues. Of course, we need to stand for something; we need planks in the platform, values in the mission statement that lead us to choose our electoral causes.

Agree or Disagree? "I would like the Wellstone Club to work for the reelection of Barack Obama."

Answer: Agree

I would break the question into stages. (1) Whom should we endorse in the Democratic primary? Nobody; keep quiet. In 2008, I voted for a bridge-builder, and I got an appeaser, so I will make a protest vote -- privately. Publicly, I don't want to raise hell, because... (2) Should we endorse Barack Obama in the general election? Yes. Surely the alternative will be much worse. (3) How hard should we work for his reelection? We should do our part, but save our real energy for the openly progressive candidates (which is not to say ideologues) who can win and make a difference at all levels of politics.

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