Monday, November 10, 2008

It's nice to be nice...

I've often said that Americans are incapable of self-emancipation and, during the revolution, either they will nuke the newly free world and dance on our radioactive remains going:

"We're number one!"

Or we'll have to form a people's military alliance and simultaneously invade America from revolutionary Canada and communal Mexico, forming a ring and driving any remaining Americans into a tighter and tighter ball, until we can pick them off like little fish.

But it seems there's some life left in the scrapings and shavings of the planet (please take everything I've just said completely seriously). The election of Barak Obama is a step forward for the world, and the American working class in particular. If Hillary Clinton had been the candidate the election would have been another ruling class run-off, another episode of showbusiness for ugly people.

The question remains, what will people do now. If Obama surrounds himself with the old guard how will people influence him, swing him their way, hold him to account?

To that end Gary Younge has some interesting interview material:

"People have been excited by Obama's candidacy but also by working together," says Corr. "Organised people are more powerful than organised money ... we need to make sure that all that hope that we have talked about and seen is channelled in a progressive way."

As Corr concedes, this is not only far easier said than done, it is often said and rarely done. Everyone I met who campaigned for Obama says they vow to keep on campaigning for something. But most will be working for different things, dissipating the pooled energy that erupted in this election.

Thompson wants to carry on working on issues of the environment and the Middle East. Schertz is thinking of volunteering for Planned Parenthood. "You can't just leave it up to the president. You have to take ownership of it as a citizen. Obama kept saying: it's not about me. It's about you."

At a meeting of the New York City people's convention 2009 on Saturday this was the central theme. In a moving contribution a young black man got up to declare that he supported Obama and wanted to get involved before he got bought off and cynical.

"Are you a member of an organisation?" the chairwoman asked. "I don't even know what organisation I would join," he replied. "We have a list of several you can choose from," said someone from the audience.

Read the whole of it, though.

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