I see a lot of people posting about the hard work ahead. It’s true, it will be a rough road. But let’s be real about what that hard work means. Make no mistake, none of the strategies employed by the professional advocacy world of the last forty years will suffice to meet the challenges ahead.
Third-wave environmentalist partnerships with multinationals will not suffice. Corporate sustainability initiatives will not suffice. Big tent progressive coalitions clustered in coastal bubbles will not suffice. Elite, inside-the-beltway lobbying strategies will not suffice. Reactive, ephemeral protests will not suffice. Feel-good clicktivism will not suffice. Conventional wisdom will. not. suffice.
We cannot draw from the playbooks utilized in the last 40 years to address the big issues today. Now is not the time for false optimism and empty hope. Now is the time for cold, hard analysis. Now is the time to scrap what we’ve gotten wrong and build new strategies based on new realities.
This means working for a complete turnover of DNC leadership.
This means rejecting the Big Greens and their dead weight; they have achieved less than nothing to rapidly decarbonize in the last 30 years. Sorry friends, that is the difficult reality.
This means building a cohesive economic doctrine that can supplant neoliberal orthodoxy, and then evangelizing that doctrine with forceful zeal. The absence of this is the left’s greatest failure.
This means getting educated in unsexy academic minutiae so that we can competently dismantle the destructive ideology of market faith that has infected everybody, including progressive interests.
This means learning the languages of the people we need to persuade and avoid speaking solely to our own insular concerns.
This means getting outside our echo chambers and progressive coastal bubbles and infiltrating institutions in every corner of the country.
This means letting our bodies get beaten and bruised, means risking our careers and comfort.
This means doing the boring work of redrawing district lines, poring over arcane parliamentary procedures, and deconstructing, by any means, undemocratic municipal, state, and federal policies.
This means experimenting, trying new approaches and rapidly rejecting failed approaches; it means learning from history.
Comfort is no friend in desperate moments. Only progress will suffice, and only unflagging commitment to critical, passionate struggle will deliver that progress. Working together, united as progressives have rarely been, we can win progress even now.