The Ryan Nomination, The Obama Re-Election Campaign, and the Left

Ryan NominationWhen the Communist Party and other leftists decided it was a priority to elect President Roosevelt in 1936, they didn’t slow down their labor organizing and civil rights agitation- they escalated it. The Committee Of Industrial Organizations (CIO), founded in 1935, conducted aggressive organizing drives in the automobile, steel, and electrical industries during 1936,many of them spearheaded by radicals, and the sitdown strike movement, culminating during the Flint strike, actually began during the Presidential elections.

Obama supporters who want progressives to take precious energies away from grass roots movements to re-elect the president are, whether intentionally or not, sabotaging long term possibilities of democratic change. And they are NOT following the example of radicals from the Depression Era who built the industrial labor movement.

Let us remember that the Occupy Movement, the most important grassroots Democratic upsurge in recent US History, was suppressed by Democratic mayors around the country, with the White House’s tacit support, probably because they feared it would jeopardize the President’s chance of winning a second term.

mark naisonSo we are now in the unenviable position of having no major grassroots upsurge to accompany the Obama re-election campaign. Preventing a Right Wing/Republican capture of the Presidency is a laudable goal, but not at the cost of discrediting, undermining, and suppressing grass roots movements independent of the Democratic Party and the wealthy elites who control it.

Mark Naison
With a Brooklyn Accent

Posted: Monday, 13 August 2012


  1. JoeWeinstein says

    Yes, as prior commenter webcelt says, there’s more than one strategy – or, for that matter, goal toward which strategy is directed. For some, Obama has coattails: for others – like me – he does not. On the contrary. A two-house Republican Congress would ensure that, even if returned to the White House, second-term wimp/sellout Obama will be a disaster, maybe not much distinguishable from Ryan-to-Ruin and Romneyhood. A two-house Democratic Congress would make a big difference regardless of who is in the White House. Mark Naison seems correct: just keeping Romney out of a squeak into the White House is not the only game worth playing now.

  2. webcelt says

    It depends on what you mean by taking away energies. There’s more than one strategy. For example, here in Minnesota (don’t ask me how I found LA Progressive, it’s long enough I don’t recall) we have two constitutional amendments, one to put the gay marriage ban into the constitution, and one to impose a photo ID requirement that would be the harshest in the nation. The GOP majority put it on the ballot because the Democratic governor vetoed the legislation. So we’re trying to beat both amendments and Obama is a heavy favorite here anyway. Nonetheless, many people just beginning to tune into politics know the president and that’s it. I have no hesitation about grabbing the president’s coattails to beat these amendments. So I’m helping him get reelected, with the subject always turning next to the amendments. So it’s possible to see the president’s reelection not as a distraction, but as a tool. We’re registering new voters, and getting people engaged for their first time.

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