The Anemic Left Fails the Structure Test in the Face of Trump

By Mark Rudd (September 23, 2019)


Well, the Stench came to Albuquerque on September 16. He filled an auditorium in Rio Rancho with about 7000 people and more hanging around outside. He and his crowds got considerable coverage on the 10 o’clock tv news shows, but there was little to nothing about our rally back in Albuquerque at Old Town’s Tiguex Park, where we countered the Stench’s hate with the slogan “A New Mexico for All.”

The Journal did report that there were about 700 there and about 200 more anti-Trump protestors up in RR. My estimate was in the range of 1000, maybe even a few more, at the rally at Tiguex called jointly by the Democratic Party and a smorgasbord of issue-based mass movement organizations involving immigrants, the lgbt movement, women, Native American and environmental groups.

Although it was a pretty nice feeling at the rally, listening to politicians and others call for the Stench’s defeat, the truth of the matter is numbers count. 7,000 vs. less than 1,000. Eek! No wonder everyone I talked with today about the rally yesterday used the adjective “anemic.”

I don’t mean anemic in terms of anything but numbers. Militancy, excitement, willingness to take risks or disrupt or shout against the Stench, I’m not considering. Just numbers attending the rally.

The union movement has a concept called “structure test.” It means every time you go public with an event such as a demo or rally or in the case of unions, a card campaign, the results in numbers show how strong your organization is. You always want those numbers to go up. Down is very bad. The structure you’re building can’t bring people out.

(An exception might be the Albuquerque Women’s March in January, 2017, which had an estimated 10,000 people; the next year there were 5,000, which is still an acceptable showing, given that the organization was new and there would be a natural drop-off due to an inevitable normalization of life under fascism. The big test is how many the Women’s March will bring out in January).

The structure test last night didn’t look so good.

The crowd tended older, a lot of white people with a decent portion of younger and browner mixed in . Women predominated, both up on the stage and in the crowd.

Women are the only demographic group in New Mexico who have shifted their consciousness as a group, a significant number of whom have decided to organize for power. The far-right crazies knew they wanted power, they’ve been working at it for decades, tirelessly and strategically. Now women are gaining control over the NM Democratic Party, following the model laid down by the right in capturing the Republican Party. They’ve been electing good women to office.

Women have reorganized the Party. They’ve entered into active leadership positions, such as running committees, chairing campaigns, captaining precincts and wards. They figured out, en masse, that the goal is power and the means to power is through elections.

Stephanie Garcia Richards would not be our first women Land Officer, nor would Deb Haaland and Xochitll Torres Small be in Congress without women power. (I suspect that Ben Ray Lujan, whom I respect for his organizational skills, has underestimated the power of New Mexican women. My money is on Maggie Toulouse Oliver, who, with the critical support of women in her campaign, has a good chance to take the primary in June and go on to become NM’s first female senator).

The anemia on display yesterday, is a symptom I think, of the fact that ONLY women have caught on as a group. Other demographic groups haven’t shifted consciousness yet, haven’t concluded that it’s time to change their lives and organize for power.

I’ve pondered the question of why it’s so hard for most of us on the left to figure out that the goal is power. Basically, I think, those on the left are people who avoid telling other people what to do, who follow a live and let live attitude. Plus, power is ALWAYS compromised and it’s necessarily dirty. So our default status is to avoid power by not recognizing the need to work for it.

This, of course, left a great vacuum that the wrong people were only too glad to fill. They are in power now because we neglected to organize for power. It’s that simple. Since we represent the large majority of public opinion–people want health care, jobs, decent education–all we need to do is organize for power. Get out the vote. What could be simpler?

While we were abdicating power we did a lot of other things, many of us choosing work and careers that held the society together while it was being looted by the rich: we are medical workers, teachers, social workers, public interest attorneys, or work for non-profits. But it didn’t matter because the Trumps of the country were going for power.

The poor numbers yesterday are an indication that our organization leaves a lot to be desired. Not enough of us have joined in, have figured out that our lives depend on our working for power.

Most of us are hoping that the Stench will be defeated in November, 2020, and that we can then go back to our normal real lives. That’s only wishful thinking: if the Stench loses, his most rabid supporters will reach for their guns. Am I the only person who’s noticed the gradual and continual ratcheting up of violence?

If something like civil war breaks out in this country, our movement’s chances of survival are not based on our fire power, far from it. Nor on who’s president. Only if we have the local and state power to control and rein in the police, who are naturally inclined to intervene on the side of the fascists, can we win. Law over politics.

Which brings us back to electoral power. We gotta have it.

Another big test is coming Friday, when high school organizers bring people out to protest climate extinction. It’s a global day of action, but my attention will be in Santa Fe and at Robinson Park in downown ABQ to see the first structure test of this new demographic’s organizing. Whatever happens Friday, the follow-up demonstration will tell us even more.

Friday’s rally against extinction is an absolute necessity for power, a pre-cursor. The momentum-driven mass movements around issues are necessary complements to the movement to transform the Democratic Party.

It’s happening, but how quickly?


Life in the Second Gilded Age

By Mark Rudd (January 5, 2018)

One year after the Resistance began, I think we’re doing ok. A year ago we discussed broad strategy–to build the mass movement on issues such as racism, poverty, war, and environmental destruction, and to work toward power, meaning turning the Democratic Party to becoming a party of the people. We’ve taken a year’s worth of initial steps, and we’ve even had a few successes.

It’s going to be a 20-40 year struggle to replace the current neo-fascists and to undo the damage they’ve done in the last year. But we are the majority. All we have to do is get ourselves organized–both the mass movement and the structured movement for power.

The far-right is our model. They’ve been organizing continually since 1964, when Goldwater was defeated soundly. They were able to take hair-brained articles of religious faith, like trusting the market to solve all problems, while shrinking government, and build a mass base among Christian fundamentalists to take power (Reagan, GW Bush). They created a cultural hegemony that made the slogan Government is Bad common sense. Without a better idea, Democrats became the slightly more moderate neo-liberal party, also working for corporations and finance, as thoroughly controlled by capital as the rival Republican Party. Since its high point of 1970, organized labor has diminished in size and power, and there was no counterweight to capital, which won both coming and going.

That’s how we got in the Second Gilded Age, just like the first, imbalances.

A half of our country is suffering. But those of us who still have our wits about us have been organizing, and the possibilities are great. We just need time and help.

Lessons from New Mexico

Statewide, here in New Mexico,  around 25,000 people turned out for the Jan. 21 Women’s March against Trump. That energy has been carrying over to organizing.

The anti-fracking movement in Sandoval County and statewide won a big victory this month by forcing the County Commission to reverse a previous decision to let the oil and gas companies do anything they pleased, as long as it wasn’t near Rio Rancho. Statewide the Chaco Coalition is doing well.

The movement for a renewable energy economy is doing well, with major victories over PNM by New Energy Economy out of Santa Fe and also a coalition on energy led by various groups such as the Sierra Club, Wild Earth Guardians, and Conservation Voters NM. needs some youth energy and revitalization, though, as the struggle against global climate change should actually be the center of our work. (See Naomi Klein’s “This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate.”

The movement to defend immigrants, essentially an anti-racist movement, has had a number of successful organizing events, such as the 2,000 people who attended

A rare opportunity came out to NM from North Carolina when Rev. William J. Barber held a mass meeting in August at a church in Albuquerque announcing the National Moral Revival: Poor Peoples Campaign and 1200 people attended, with 400 signing pledges to engage in direct action nonviolent civil disobedience at the Roundhouse in May and June. The goal is 1000 people in each of now 32 states all protesting various local variants of four issue areas, known as Fusion issues because they’re all interconnected: racism, poverty, environmental destruction, and war and the effects of militarism. As with the Moral Monday movement in North Carolina, this nation-wide Poor Peoples Campaign, commemorating Martin Luther King’s post-humous Poor People’s March on Washington 50 years ago.

A Steering Committee to launch and coordinate the next six months’ campaign in New Mexico is getting started. The goal is to create a united mass movement on these issues by June. After that, who knows? How about a school for organizing, say a NM version of the Highlander Folk School?

The NM Progressive Coalition, while still not yet a coalition of mass membership groups, the only one being Progressive Democrats of America, is still puttering along, laying the basis for a future progressive alliance. Our goal has always been to build the progressive movement. We are working on a big People’s Rally Feb 5 at the Roundhouse, echoing the one last year at which 1000 people attended; developing a draft progressive platform (still in process), lobbying at the legislature; forming a People’s Electoral Alliance to pool our movement’s knowledge of candidates in order to assess them; another small project, transforming the Democratic Party into a party of the people, through our work with two progressive caucuses within the party (more on this below); and a leadership training team that has been offering groups help at figuring out story, strategy, and structure, ie., building leadership for the movement. Again, we sure could use help.

At the other side of the strategy lies the structured movement for power, ie., the movement to transform the Democratic Party to become the party of the people. Approximately 350 new people came forward last February to volunteer to become ward and precinct captains for the previously moribund Democratic Party. A good number of groups, such as the Nasty Women and the Equalists, and an incipient progressive caucus of ward and precinct captains are all working to figure out how to build a progressive voter base at for the Party. Another committee is working at the state party level to create a formal progressive caucus in the party to push progressive platforms and ideas, to democratize the party rules, and to elect progressives to party offices and positions.

Tim Keller’s landslide election as Mayor of Albuquerque was the result of the mobilization of hundreds of volunteers, raising almost three quarters of a million dollars, and building electoral organization to get out the votes. Now the job is to create good government for Albuquerque and to show that progressives can make life better for all, especially the people at the bottom. It’s going to be a tough four years, but I’m hopeful. Tim’s not only a very effective candidate and campaigner, he’s a brilliant manager and office holder. We’ve all got to help.

Tim was the only viable progressive in the race. (Don’t get me started on poor Gus Pedrotti). That’s not the case in Santa Fe where four people who claim to be progressive are running against a single Democrat in Name Only (DINO). The Dino may be elected unless there’s a landslide for Alan Webber, the front runner among the progressives. How do progressives sort these things out? Shouldn’t there be a council of elders or something to say who should run and who shouldn’t? Or does this smack too much of bossism? Maybe a better way is to establish definitions of progressive, as we’re attempting to do with the People’s Electoral Alliance (above).

Moving Ahead

There’s so much work to do it’s incredible. In general we’re all learning about goals, strategy, structure, and leadership. As I mentioned at the start of this rant, it’ll take years to win, so we’d best not waste any more time.

If you’d like to help–old retired people who have time, young people with kids who are concerned about the future, and anyone in between–please drop me a line at  I’ll try to help you find a place in this growing movement for power.

2018 should be a pretty good year if we keep organizing at this local level, build our numbers, our structures, our leadership, our power.




Socialism in the US Must Contend with Racism and Militarism

By Mark Rudd (August 29, 2017)

I woke up at 2 am last night thinking: How can you talk about socialism in the US without taking into account two salient characteristics of this country’s history and present: racism and militarism?

Obviously John Judis has no problem with this question, since he never mentions either. I love Scandinavian socialism as a utopian model as much as anyone, but those countries are pretty different from this behemoth.

What would Black Lives Matter say about the Judis piece? How do we deal with the fact that the military and the corporations feeding off it have had complete free reign for almost 80 years and have now found a pot of gold in the Trump administration? Or that a separate military caste involving millions now exists apart from civil society?

At least Rev. Barber’s Poor People’s Campaign has four elements that address the realities of US society: racism, poverty and economic exploitation, destruction of the environment, and the effects of war and militarism. This seems like a much more realistic basis for creating a liberal and democratic socialism.

It will take some time to change the nature of what is “common sense.” Right now “government bad, free markets good” is dominant (that is, has achieved “ideological hegemony”). We have to keep in the forefront of all our work that WE’RE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER AND TIME IS SHORT.

That’s my socialism.


Is a youth driven mass movement possible today?

By Mark Rudd (May 16, 2017)

My friend, Glenn Silber, a filmmaker in Santa Fe, is currently screening his 1979 gem, “The War at Home,” which tells the story of the anti-Vietnam War movement in Madison, WI, from 1963 to 1970.

I attended the opening showing on May 5, as well as an earlier screening at University of New Mexico, Valencia campus. If you’ve never experienced what a momentum-driven mass movement looks like, now’s your chance to see the thousands of young people take to the halls and streets. The movie has a powerful dramatic arc, since it ends with the bombing of a US Army research center and its aftermath. A naive viewer is exposed to the inner logic of movement participation, even up to violence.

The large majority of the audience at the opening were old people, veterans of the New Left like myself. A handful of younger people were there also. During the Q and A with Glenn after the showing, one of the latter, Cathy Garcia, a teacher and organizer with the new Santa Fe chapter of Democratic Socialists of America, asked two questions which got to the core of the problem of the value of this 50 year-old history. I’ll try to accurately capture her question : “Seeing this mass movement is all very well, but how did we get from that to the mess we have now? Was something important missing, like knowing how to create an intersectional movement?”

Glenn wasn’t able to address the questions, unfortunately. I have an answer to the first one, though: the mass movement helped end the war but we didn’t build it into something that could take power. Meanwhile, the far right had no problem with going for power, having started in the early sixties with Goldwater’s candidacy.

As to building an intersectional movement, that understanding emerged in the last decades and remains to be acted upon. A young friend explained the concept to me later than evening: “Identity politics has failed, so this is an attempt to unite as many people as possible recognizing the various different experiences.”

Cathy’s questions thoroughly shook my faith in the value of studying this ancient history. For me this is a big deal, since part of what I do is sell history, that of the New Left, the student anti-war movement, and the misbegotten Weather Underground. But if this history is seen by young people as a dead end (which in a way it was), and if the lessons are primarily negative–don’t do this again, maybe it’s best to just move on and not waste time with it. Speaking of time, the movie is 100 minutes long. It demands undivided attention. Will young people even sit through it without being coerced to do so (which I’m philosophically opposed to)?

Has the world changed so much in 50 years that images of well-to-do white kids at an elite state school wearing ties and jackets and full skirts as they picket with their anti-war signs, are like finding ancient hieroglyphics? Is all this stuff so pre-digital age that it belongs somewhere long time ago, like World War I felt to me growing up in the fifties?

There are so many reasons that such a mass movement has not and will not arise among students that I won’t even begin to list them. Though such an accounting might be useful in some other context. How the current momentum-driven mass movement will grow to include young people I don’t know. Millions voted for Bernie, but now another step–organizing–has to be taken.



It’s Our Chance to Become Players in History Through Grassroots Organizing

By Mark Rudd (April 28, 2017)

My Chicano and Indian friends have in one way or another been trying to tell me that T and company are nothing new. Juan Abeyta, for example, told me months ago to look on a $20 bill and see who’s there? I already knew: Andrew Jackson, mass murderer, destroyer of whole Native nations, as cruel and repugnant a racist as anything we have in the White House now.

Today the same subject came up and Juan said, “It’s American history being exposed naked once again. Everyone can see it as it is. It’s a good thing.”

I’m sorry, what I’m about to write is reductionist, there’s all sides of American history, I know because I’ve read both the original Howard Zinn’s “People’s History of the United States,” and the comic version, “People’s History of US Imperialism.” So please don’t get all teary eyed and sentimental, like you’re listening to Garrison Keeler bleat on about this gorgeous, good good country. Anybody with half a brain and the guts to look at the situation knows that it’s been murder and theft and rape and bragging about it since before the beginning, around 1609, when the English killed their first Indians and brought the first African slaves to this continent Not to ignore the ignoble Spanish in Mexico and what is now the US Southwest, where I live. Most relevantly, I know that the only reason I live comfortably in New Mexico is the US Army occupation by force of arms in war, 1846. Beginning and end of story.

So Mr. Trump is the real deal, the embodiment of the real America. Vicious thief, bully, rapist, who knows how many people have died because of him? Make America Great Again!

Trump and his advisors, especially Bannon and the Mercer family behind him, correctly identified the true nature of the seething revolt of the left-behind, the miserable rural and white unemployed working class. And they correctly identified the bogus twin enemies to present to their angry and hurt base, immigration and Mexicans on the internal side, and the rest of the world, especially Muslims, on the outside. Promises to undo trade agreements, get tough on China, and bring back coal were supposed to somehow Make America Great Again!

Mostly, though, fantasies of a mythological America, sturdy independent pioneers conquering the wilderness, subduing savages, bringing to heel the wretched Mexicans, swirl in the heads of Trumps right-wing populist base. And Trump is more than willing to say anything, insult anyone, demean whole nations and peoples, even murder them in war if need be.

It actually gets even worse. As official committed global warming deniers, Trump and the Republican Party are hastening the demise of the planet. Ideology is much more poerful than science. Naomi Klein has written extensively in recent years of the origins of global warming in global capitalism. I believe it’s in her 2014 book, “This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the climate,” that she makes the bitter observation, “When given the choice between saving the planet or saving capitalism, many people will choose capitalism.”

But Klein also points to the resistance of indigenous people to fossil energy development in their lands. Calling the resistance “Blockadia” she effectively predicted the rise of Standing Rock and other struggles here in the US and around the world.

And that points to a way out of our predicament. There are many more of those of us who love our planet and our lands and peoples than there are those who worship money. We can resist injustice and global destruction through direct action, and through whatever other nonviolent means exist, such as running candidates. The levers of political power still have some semblance of democratic access. It will take work, it will take organizing, it may take years. But we’ve got to do it. It’s our chance to become players in history, rather than observers.

Here’s a great example of what can be done through organizing: In Houston, TX, of all places there was an almost clean sweep by Democrats in local elections in November. This article from the March 2017 Harpers tells the story. The organizers of the Texas Organizing Project achieved the Holy Grail of progressive Democrats, something that regular Democrats have rarely if ever done, mobilizing unlikely voters to actually vote.

Actually the Grail was achieved also by Obama’s campaign in 2008 and 1012, but this Houston/Harris County model brought brought people out to vote in local elections. Their method in 2016: old fashioned, fine-grained community organizing. Check it out.

(Thanks for staying with me this long. I know it’s tough to read long stuff, but I’m trying to bring back the form. I’m the anti-Trump.)


King’s Riverside Speech the Origin Story of the American Left

By Mark Rudd (April 4, 2017)

Today is April 4, the fiftieth anniversary of Dr. M.L. King Jr’s historic speech at Riverside Church in NYC in which he broke his long silence on Vietnam and made the crucial link between militarism and poverty and racism. I consider this the left’s origin speech. It’s who we are, what we stand for.

Please take just five minutes to watch this beautiful video of excerpts from the speech presented by members of the US Dept. of Arts and Culture, progressive intergenerational arts organizers. It’s called A Revolution of Values.

Why Trump Happened (And What We Can Do About It)

By Mark Rudd (November 26, 2016)

People tell me they don’t want theory. That’s ok, but we do need to know where we’re going, both in opposing Trump’s rule and in transforming the Demo Party, for example. There’s a huge debate raging in the digital world around what the problem with Hillary’s campaign was–and by implication the Demo Party in general. Here’s my stab at it.

Since the Carter administration both the Republican and Demo Parties embraced neo-liberalism. Reagan put the nail in the coffin of the New Deal, with its government intervention via legal protections for unions, social programs involving taxation and transfer payments, and regulation of corporations. What replaced it was the precipitous rise of capital over labor, in both concentration and power, which is what we’re experiencing now. (I’m still enough of a Marxist to believe that it’s always a fight between the two adversaries capital vs. labor).

Globalization, with the free flow of capital across borders facilitated by computer technology and low oil prices, caused manufacturing to flee the country. Look in any Walmart in any town over 10,000 people and you’ll see the results, you don’t need to go to Detroit. There were a lot of losers, though, especially unemployed. Whole towns and inner cities were devastated, as was the industrial working class in general. The service economy took up a lot of the slack, but it wasn’t available to inner city blacks or to rural whites. Also service sector paid a hell of a lot less since it by and large isn’t unionized.

The Demo Party meanwhile lost its former union labor orientation with the decline of the unions (from 30% of the workforce in 1970 to 6.7% now, including government employment). It became the party of two mass constituencies–educated professionals, known as “elites” or the “meritocracy,” and “diversity,” ie, non-whites, women, lgbtq. That’s the 63,000,000 who voted for Hillary over Trump. But neither the Republican Party–until Trump–nor the Demo Party, including Hillary ever talked about the plight of the unemployed. They couldn’t, because they were both the party of capital over labor. The Dems were the good guys, taking up sometimes moral issues like racism and women’s reproductive rights and the civil rights of gays, but they studiously ignored unemployment or class issues.

Trump’s genius was to recognize the aggrieved angry outsiders, the losers, the white men and women left out of the new economy dominated by capital and culture dominated by the professional classes. They voted, while the millions of natural allies–young blacks and young women, for example, didn’t like either so they stayed home or were victimized by disenfranchisement of one sort or another.

But Trump is playing to a very tough bunch. They love violence. Fortunately, fascism is a system that is set up to give its base–the losers–the violence it craves. Already the authorities in North Dakota now feel they have the go-ahead to do anything vicious and brutal to the peaceful water-protectors at Standing Rock. In general, the police won this election–for example, DoJ oversight of the Albuquerque police department will now end (all the Republican Berry administration needed to do was to stall the last year). The result will be lots more cops with military gear and military mindsets murdering people. There will be much more roundups of immigrants, which is why 15,000,000 people are now living in abject fear.

Trump will not be able to bring manufacturing back to the Great Lakes states; he will not be able to bring coal mining back to W. Virginia. In fact, unemployment in the service industry will grow steadily faster in the service industries over the next ten years as robots replace humans. So there will be more need for even more internal enemies and violence.

This is the World Wrestling Federation in reality, though not really TV, scripted and phony.

Over the next four yeas the new Trump administration and allied Republican governments in the States will do so much damage, with total control of Congress and the Supreme Court and the police, that it’ll take 20-40 years to undo it. Especially because of redistricting, to happen in every state in 2021.

So we need a 20-40 year strategy. First, we’ll be building social and economic mass movements that unite a variety of people around all sorts of race and gender and class and economic issues. Defending the victims of government and mob attacks will be part of this. Second, we’ll be remaking the Democratic Party into a huge tent party of the people, a party of the working class, that counterbalances the power of capital. (There are many interesting issues I’m ignoring here, such as what constitutes “the working class?” for example).

This party will be for saving the planet, for eliminating militarism and substituting international law for war, thereby freeing up trillions for social needs and for conversion to renewable energy economy. This new party will be moral, in that it respects diversity and respects all working people, including unemployed white guys. It will stand opposed to governmental violence.

Reforming the Demo Party can only happen by building from the bottom, the local level, city, town, and county, and working up via the state level, to the federal level. In New Mexico we have some elements in place, such as, for example, the progressive Democratic local governments in Santa Fe and Las Cruces, and a significant progressive caucus in both houses of the Legislature. But so much more needs to be done. Albuquerque, for example, and Bernalillo County have center-right governments but could very easily be switched over.

That is, if we are able to find the Holy Grail: moving “unlikely voters” over to actually vote. Reaching these disaffected young people, overworked single moms, non-white people who believe nothing can make a difference, that’s our work for the next 20-40 years. And it can only be done through strategic (ie, focused for power) organizing.
Bernie’s candidacy was a good start since it exposed the fact that there’s a base for democratic socialist reforms, millions of potential Democratic voters.

But the enormous work, mobilizing all of us, building our movements and our political party from the bottom is just now beginning.

What are our alternatives?

How Do We Approach People Not Like Ourselves?


By Mark Rudd (November 18, 2016)

I went to the demonstration today. By my estimate there were about 1,000 people there. About half the crowd were older people, but the other half were young. Lots of Native Americans. Great spirit, “Save the Water, Save the Land!”

During the close, I noticed a young woman wearing a bandana. This is a particularly sticky subject with me, from past demos here in Albuquerque and elsewhere. After the demo was over, I noticed that she had let her bandana drop. I went over to her, a muy India latina, probably mexicana, and said, “You’re so beautiful! Why do you cover your face.”

“I’m a Zapatista, that’s why,” she said.

Then she looked at me, and asked, “You’re that guy who was a terrorist long time ago, aren’t you?” After I introduced myself she remembered when and where we had met–at our house, through a mutual friend.

I asked her, “Can I tell you a story?” She agreed.

“Back in 2003, the day the US started bombing Iraq, about 1,000 people more or less spontaneously gathered on Central across from UNM. The cops were pissed, because they liked the war, so they attacked the crowd with tear gas, beat people, and arrested a bunch. Several of their victims eventually sued the City and APD for violating their civil liberties, namely the right to assemble and free speech. After 8 long years the case came up to a jury. After a three-week trial, in which everyone testified, with photos and witnesses, that the police attacked, the jury found the defendants innocent. Why? Well, it seems that the defense attorneys showed the jury a giant wide-angle photo of about a block of demonstrators, easily 100 people. Then they zoomed in on three people wearing bandanas. The lawyers told the jury, ‘See, those are terrorists. The police had to attack because they knew (how?) that the terrorists were about to make trouble.’

“To many people a bandana means you have something to hide. But we have to win those people over. We can’t play into the government’s hands.”

I’m not sure whether she understood me. I actually asked whether she thought my point of view had any logic. She sort of nodded her head. Maybe.

What my Zapatista friend didn’t understand is that the goal is building a mass movement, involving many people unlike us, including some who don’t think like us. All mass movements are coalitions.

The demo today had lots of support from Indian organizations,, Sierra Club, and probably a lot more.

But it was still a fringe demo, showing very little sign that we had gone beyond likely suspects. It was great to see 500-1000 people rallying together, I was glad it happened and glad to have been there carrying a handmade sign that said, “We stand in solidarity!” that somebody handed me as I approached and they were leaving.

Still, the goal is to broaden out our movement for Native Rights, to stop global warming, to save the planet. It has to be bigger. How do we approach people not like ourselves?

NOT wearing bandanas.

In Chicago, this weekend several thousand young people marched in the Loop. One held a sign, “America Was Never Great!” Hmmm. Self expression or strategy? Which is more important?

We Need to Take over the Democratic Party

By Mark Rudd (November 11, 2016)

The number of people who voted for Hillary was 60,000,000, not 42,000,000. The latter is the number of people who voted for Demo candidates for the Senate.

Anybody who would turn his or her back (it’s actually mostly guys) on 60,000,000 voters has to have his head examined. That’s lunacy, in the service of some sort of purity. Please don’t waste my or anyone else’s time with your fantasies. We’ve got too much work to do.

One of the best things about our current situation is that people are starting to talk politics again, to wake up and realize that it really does matter who controls government. This has opened up vast possibilities.

Here’s the opportunity: NOBODY VOTES IN LOCAL ELECTIONS!!! If we had a united progressive movement within the Democratic Party we could very easily vote in completely progressive City and County governments. The point is that young people’s depoliticization will probably be reversed from now on. More people will be paying attention. And if we can run good progressive candidates as Democrats we’ll be able to through out the ineffectual careerists and opportunists, the center-right hacks.

The article by George Packer in the New Yorker is particularly useful in thinking about the Democratic Party and the possibilities. Packer says that the Dems have exactly two mass bases: professional class (known as “elitests” or “meritocrats:) and non-white people (known, oddly, as “diversity”). That’s who carried the cities and states that Hillary won. The tragedy of Tuesday is that because of redistricting, rural states and counties have much more numbers in the electoral college than urban states and counties.The electoral college itself is a legacy of slavery, an 18th century balancing act intended to keep the planter class in power or at least contenders against the rising northern commercial and soon to be industrial bourgeoisie. Think Hamilton vs. Jefferson.

But in the blue states, the professional class and non-white people (many of whom are in the professional class and vote accordingly)–those who turned out for both Obama and Hillary–are decided majorities. All we need to do is develop good programs–on policing, taxation, land use, environment, health, education, etc.–run good candidates, and take power. It’s so simple it’s disgusting, staring us right in the face. So now we have to start the organizing.

A short note on power: Lefties abhor power. It’s nasty, dirty, coercive. It attracts psychopathic people like Trump and the Clintons and a host of nut-cases on every level that we all could name. Also, we’ve been out of power so long that the position is comfortable. It suits our desires for purity. But here’s the “chinga:” if we don’t grab power you know who will. The same jerks that have always had power, though now even worse are coming out. So it’s time to get real. The nutcases of the Republican party may control the federal government, but we can reform the Demo Party and elect progressive local and state governments. If we only organize ourselves! What could be more obvious?