This and unionizing your workplace are good new year’s resolutions, if you don’t have one already.
By Hamilton Noah
Splinter News (12/29/17)
Are you discouraged by our national political nightmare? Looking for a project for the new year? Great: Your local Democratic Party, which may not be worth a damn today, is just waiting for you to revive it.
Do you live in “red” America? Are you surrounded by Trump voters? Have you spent the past year asking yourself what dark stroke of fate has plunged you into this nightmarish world, making you question whether your friends and neighbors are your sworn enemies? Have you, in past months, cast about vaguely for some sort of project to help “The Resistance,” before falling back on donating a few bucks to the ACLU and tweeting out some hashtags? Do you wish that you could be doing more, but don’t really know what that would consist of? Allow me to introduce you to a project called “Take over your local Democratic Party, please, we beg you, for the good of America.”
There are plenty of problems with America’s broken democracy. Gerrymandering and campaign finance issues and voter suppression and more. Yes, these exist. Yes, these will each require concerted action for years or decades to fix. Even so, it is important to do what we can in the meantime. The silver lining of Donald Trump’s election is the incredible groundswell of will among people on the left to do something. For some, that urge to become more politically active has led them to the Democratic Socialists of America. This is a fine group and their resurgence is doubtless a healthy trend. But if I may, let me try to convince you that—depending on your personal circumstances—you may get the most bang for your buck by seizing control of your local Democratic Party and injecting the sort of energy that the DSA already has into it, like a (healthy!) virus invading a host.
Make a ruckus for change
Outside of major cities, it can be shockingly easy to take effective political action. In many small towns, a little handful of committed people willing to make phone calls and mail fliers and knock on doors and wave signs and write letters and attend public meetings and generally make a very visible ruckus can get a lot of things done, because the competition for attention is not so great. Much of the actual work of politics is this sort of mundane, labor and resource-intensive stuff. Money helps, yes, but on a local level, what you really need is a band of committed people, a useful list of contacts, and a name recognizable enough for people to pay attention. …
(Commoner Call cartoon by Mark L.Taylor, 2017. Open source and free to use with link to www.thecommonercall.org )