Where political change comes from

Keenanga-Yamahhta Taylor, a Bernie Sanders supporter, wrote this for the Boston Review:

When activists recall a Democratic Party that cared about ordinary people, what they really have in mind are the social movements and revolts that forced the party to respond to the needs and demands of those on the streets. 

RTW_protestThere would have been no New Deal without the Hoovervilles, rent riots, sit-down strikes, and Communist Party activism of the 1930s. 

There would have been no Great Society without Civil Rights protests in the South and rebellions in more than two hundred cities across the country during the 1960s. 

Even Richard Nixon, who won office appealing to a racist “silent majority,” waited out his first term before he began dismantling Lyndon Johnson’s welfare state, lest he provoke protests.

As the great activist and historian Howard Zinn put it, “What matters most is not who is sitting in the White House, but ‘who is sitting in’—and who is marching outside the White House, pushing for change.”  He didn’t mean that elections are irrelevant, but he emphasized what citizens do to shape their world. 

The anger about inequality and injustice in the United States, which has been given some voice by the Sanders campaign and most certainly by the Black Lives Matter movement, should not be stifled by the pressure to organize through the Democratic Party.  It can’t be done.

Source: Boston Review

Sometimes the art of compromise is necessary, but nobody is going to compromise with you unless you represent something powerful enough that the other person feels they have to compromise.


The Base by Keenanga-Yamahhta Taylor for Boston Review.

Cries for Sanders to be Conciliatory Miss the Point by Ian Welsh.

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3 Responses to “Where political change comes from”

  1. KWHammes Says:

    This nails the point I have tried to make with people. Thanks for sharing this!


  2. A Good Excerpt to Read – 2 Ravens 72 Says:

    […] via Where political change comes from — Phil Ebersole’s Blog […]


  3. Leaf Eating Carnivore Says:

    The Republicans didn’t want to listen to the noise from the street, so now they’ve gotten a pie shoved in their collective face. Eat, eat – The Odious Trump (TOT) correctly pegged this particular bunch of knuckleheads – they are “falling to their knees” in a futile bid to try and save their fundamentally incoherent party, and their own delusional privilege. Not, one notes, their country.

    The Democrats, meanwhile, have been equally deaf, supposing that they could also conjure what-we-want-to-exist out of what-actually-is if they just ignored the inconvenient riff-raff. The aim is the same, and also doomed to fail – themselves, and the rest of us. Magical thinking usually leads over the cliff.

    The difference? Not much that I can see, mostly window dressing. Both sides lie, both sides gaslight. Both sides are responsible for where we are. And both are brittle, and patently weak.

    TOT (who seems to have eaten his party’s brains) has been having fun pushing people around – he likes to do that, he’s abusive, and there is no reason to think he will stop. Big Daddy, Big Hands. Makes Christie look junior league.

    Did I mention that he’s a head case? Clever, but dangerously selfish and insecure.

    The DNC is ever-so-exactly-polite in telling Bernie and his folks to shut up and sit down, don’t make a fuss, just grow up and accept that we worked very hard to stymie your sort, and it’s for everybody’s good. Do what we tell you, and it will all be fine. You will be assimilated.

    Brings to mind the Genteel South – all smiles and stilettos.

    Why do we put up with this? Have WE lost our minds?

    The sad bit is that, unlike the RNC, which has carefully incubated crazy, the DNC could have chosen to evolve. Had they honestly welcomed Bernie (who is NOT odious) on an equal footing, and let their contest play out democratically and transparently, they would have been rewarded with a really heaping dose of that rare commodity – political credibility, the stuff all this unrest is about. And thereby, perhaps, have steamrolled TOT, and ridden into the future on the metaphorical white horse.

    Sadly, they chose short-term self-interest, and now the mess is much, much worse. It’s not surprising to me – dying critters tend to have a myopic interest, but – I’m sorry, kids. I didn’t do it, but I’m sad and sorry that you are going to have to live in the aftermath of extra stupid. We’ve put the shining city on the hill, the one I used to dream about as a child, that much further out of reach, and maybe – literally – cooked our goose to boot.

    The Big Parties reflect the past. Bernie and his voters channel the future. As Darwin said: Adapt or Die.

    Folks, look at what people do, and believe it. See what is. Remember that we are talking about The Suitcase, and the laws under which we live. This is serious.

    And don’t believe everything you think.


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