Sunday, October 19, 2014

#293 / Two Magazines

Last Tuesday, I got two magazines in my mailbox. One was In These Times, a magazine dedicated to the issues that political progressives care about most. The second magazine was Campaigns & Elections, which advertises itself as "the magazine for people in politics." I have subscribed to both of these magazines for years.

The main focus for the September/October 2014 issue of Campaigns & Elections was GOTV ("Get Out The Vote"). Campaigns & Elections is a magazine for political "professionals," and this edition suggested a number of techniques that might be able to convince political supporters actually to cast a vote for a particular candidate, something that those eligible to vote (and even those registered to vote) are increasingly unwilling to do. In essence, the techniques touted by the magazine were a list of ways to manipulate individuals to do what the campaign professional wanted to get them to do. 

The November issue of In These Times, pictured above, contained an abbreviated presentation of the arguments made by Naomi Klein in her recent book, This Changes Everything. That article is well worth reading. What grabbed my attention, however, was another article in this edition, written about Stanley Aronowitz. Aronowitz is urging the labor movement to go "post political."

What does "post political" mean?

It means that unions (or any of us) need to stop thinking that electoral politics is the way to achieve the kind of fundamental economic and social change that progressives think is most necessary. Direct action is the alternative advanced by Aronowitz, particularly for labor unions, which have lots of independent power. 

If you are tired of being manipulated by the political "professionals," whether on behalf of President Obama, the Democratic Party, or some right-wing gun group, the answer is not to discover more adroit techniques of manipulation (as per the recommendations of Campaigns & Elections). Instead, the solution is to shift the focus from electoral politics to strikes and other forms of direct action to achieve the objectives that our ever more "professional" politics is failing to deliver. 

As a person who successfully ran for elected office five times (and who lost once!), I am always fascinated by the latest campaign techniques. That's why I am still a subscriber to Campaigns & Elections

But to make the changes we really need?

I'm with Aronowitz.

Image Credits: 
(1) -
(2) -

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thanks for your comment!