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anti-racism | government

A Letter To The People Regarding The Election

I appreciate greatly the meaning of this moment. An african american has been elected to a highly respected position in a landslide victory. This sort of popular display of respect, dignity, and equality for a person of color in a nation with such a LONG and vile history of racism and human rights violations is tremendously noteworthy and a long, hard time coming(to put it lightly).
The effects were immediately noticeable. As soon as the election was called the diversity of news staff was suddenly corrected. The faces of respected african american people were everywhere. Issues facing people of color were given their proper place in the spotlight. May you all take full due advantage of that.
However, like Obama said in his acceptance speech, he is only one man. He cannot possibly live up to all that is expected of him.
However, like Obama said in his acceptance speech, he is only one man. He cannot possibly live up to all that is expected of him. No one could, even under the best circumstances. He can only actively represent his own best interests just like anybody else. He has stated that he is pro free trade and for a "softer" imperialism, but that nastiness will be glossed over by his social politics. Be aware of that. He is now in a position that has been owned by the wealthy elite since the beginning. They will not give it up and will put insurmountable pressure and temptation on Obama to stop real change. If he does not comply, like MLKjr didn't, they will kill him. He knows this and will compromise where he ought not. This does not necessarily make him evil, it just makes him human.
The system is this way by design. Those who try to change the system from within only end up being changed or disempowered by the system. Do not go to sleep america. The lullaby is very sweet but the fight is not over. The election of Obama is purely symbolic. The real change can only come from you. You must remain vigilant and active. If you want change there can never be business as usual again. You must keep the pressure on and hold each other accountable for insufferable compromises. Continue to educate and polarize "the left". If you want to redefine the middle as Martin Luther King jr then you must really push.
We must all continue to push away from representative democracy and push hard for direct democracy. We must continue to push away from exclusive capitalism/imperialism(which deprives the majority) and push hard for a fair system of "gift" economy/mutual aid. Real change=real equality. Only you can represent your own best interests.
Stay awake, stay strong.

What would MLK say? 05.Nov.2008 11:07

indy

With the election of Obama, I keep thinking of MLK Jr's statement that we should judge a man by the content of his character, not the color of his skin. I wish that Obama had been judged that way, I feel a lot of reverse racism went into his selection and he may have won because of the historic precedent, not because of his achievements or his policy positions. Frankly, those positions are frightening. But I applaud what this poster says and totally agree, now is when the real work begins.

agreed 05.Nov.2008 11:19

Ecotopian Yeti

This is not a direct democracy. It is still a Corporatacracy or Soda Pop Democracy. Yippie no army shooting at people on the streets ... yet. Sadness for those of us hoping the middle class and other sheeple would have woken up from the structural violence in the system. Now the sheeple will have their parties and then go back to sleep with dreams of the American Wet Dream of Exploitation.

Getting Direct Democracy 05.Nov.2008 14:41

Evan Ravitz evan@vote.org

The most evolved project for a hybrid direct/representative democracy is led by former Sen. Mike Gravel. Registered voters can now vote to ratify the National Initiative for Democracy at  http://Vote.org, much as citizens ratified the Constitution at the Conventions when the Legislatures wouldn't!

Once we have national ballot initiatives we can propose and vote for laws ourselves. In Switzerland, where they've had this since 1891, the Parliament does a far better job than Congress, because if they don't represent, the people do it themselves.


perplexing 05.Nov.2008 17:50

anonymous

While I understand that Obama is not the most ideal candidate, he is, without a doubt, the BEST candidate our country has had in a long, long time. One of the gravest problems facing the far left (or the "radicals" as we're sometimes known) is the perceived inability to A) agree, and B) ever be contented with any amount of social change. When comments like this are made, it only lends weight to that perception. We can not look at the new president elect as just another tool of the system, another soda-pop democracy puppet because whatever your beliefs about his associations may be, you have to at least acknowledge what this election represents to the American people. That we CAN change, that we ARE changing as a nation. This marks the passing of a very conservative time in this country and None of us can expect true democracy restored magically just because the first black president was elected. As to the remark that he was put in just because he was black, i think that's crap. Race played a pretty small part in his campaign, and like him, i think his supporters recognized how little it really meant in the grand scheme of things. I think this election has showed a maturation of the American people, however small it may be, and to all of us who are still patiently waiting for that 100% clean and independent politician to win his or her seat in the whitehouse, we need to accept this as a pretty good start.

What exactly has Obama done to earn your respect? 06.Nov.2008 10:22

indy

There is a song, Just Give me Some Truth that should go with this posting. Please explain specifically what Obama has done or said that makes anyone believe he will create meaningful change in this country? My problem is that he is not black enough, not in skin color, but in dedication to real political and social change, like MLK and other strong black leaders. Where is the maturing of the voters when the voters are as usual picking the least worst candidate? Obama supported FISA, allowing our government to secretly wiretap us, the bailout of Wall Street, which so far has not bailed out small investors, he wants to deploy troops to Afghanistan, that poor besieged country, he does not support universal health care, he plans to outpace McCain in military spending, he supports free trade. What will it take for his supporters to realize he does not represent them? Many criticize working class folks for supporting Republicans who do not serve them, this to me is the other side of that coin.

Thanks 06.Nov.2008 10:55

Anarchist Response (AKA Dan Rather-like Simile Generator :)

I appreciate people taking the time to respond but I don't want the main points of my letter to be lost in tangential thoughts.
My points are these. People are expecting the impossible of a human. Obama is being expected to represent millions of people whose interests are complete polar opposites(the exploiters and the exploited). The exploiters are far more powerful within the confines of the system. We just can't possibly compete there. The system is designed to make our efforts fail. In fact, Obama could not have been elected if he was opposed to exploitation of the poor. We have seen this all before with Clinton(after Reagan and Bush). Obama's proposals, if you actually listen to what he's saying(he's quite a bit farther to the right from MLKjr), are almost identical to Clinton.
Hopefully Obama will be more easily embarrassed by exposure of his imperialism and thus susceptible to public pressure. But public pressure is harder to organize when people have put their faith in the leader. Especially when that leader is under deadly fire from the militant right. But when the militant right pulls their way we must push all the more harder in the other direction just to maintain the middle in it's current right of center position. In fact we should drop the stupid rope, let them fall on their ass, and run in mass in another direction altogether.
A radical can not be defined as a liberal that is more militant(a common misconception). A radical is a person who looks to the radix (or root) of a problem for solutions. In other words a radical is a revolutionary. A liberal is like a pharmaceutical corporation researching treatments for a disease as a means to secure the system of profit. A radical is like a team of doctors researching a cure for a disease as a means to save/protect lives. (a conservative says let go & let god and life's not fair:)
No real change has occurred other than a lot of people got involved. What I'm saying is people need to not only stay involved but educate yourselves further. Look at other options outside of what's currently offered. Polarize and influence the direction of american consciousness. You and only you are your own best safeguard and representative. We need a system of organization that represents that fact better.
Yeah even the Swiss model is more democratic. Now if that happened, I might be more inclined to get a little bit excited. What we have now is symbolic change. A golden calf, if you will.
Direct Democracy or Anarchism (among many other names and variations on the ideas) is based on the basic idea that we(as in all people of the earth) all have a right to choose what happens in our lives and that we are all obligated to heed the concerns of those effected by our choices. More specifically that we each represent ourselves and cooperate with each other strictly as equals. Now there are many proposals for how to logistically carry out those ideals to choose from. I can say definitively that authoritarian representative models and capitalism are right out of the list.
Please remain vigilant and open to pursuing real change.