14 October 2009

"Can You Hear Us Now?" Good?

Tea-partiers and like-minded people think that they aren't getting proper recognition from the media. They feel that the turnout for the September 12 march on Washington was underreported and the event itself largely ignored by most major news organizations. The next phase of the struggle, then, is to get into the faces of the media, metaphorically or not. Operation "Can You Hear Us Now?" has targeted news organizations for mass calls and e-mails, and in Albany organizers are planning a live event, a demonstration outside the offices of the local newspaper, the Times Union. Of course, with the event scheduled for a Saturday the demonstration may not get as much coverage as the protesters hope for, but they presume that their proximity will make it impossible for whatever reporters are there to ignore them.

Again, people opposed to "big government" are showing initiative I once thought them incapable of. The revival of a populist streak has in many cases overcome what I took to be a characteristic conservative aversion to crowds or the mob mentality. It seems like the "right" has the field to itself, apart from still-aggrieved minorities, because the "left" suffers from a complacency based on the belief that Barack Obama is their President. Instead of taking to the streets themselves to pressure the Democratic regime to push through more progressive reforms, they look at opposition demonstrations and imagine the brownshirts on the march. Some won't go that far in their fearful rhetoric, but many of those most likely still see the tea parties and like phenomena as irrational mobs. My point is not that they aren't irrational mobs, but that it's odd and even unseemly to see the "left" look down its collective nose at mass demonstrations. Maybe it's understandable when they're demonstrations of which leftists don't approve, but shouldn't it be the leftist strategy to prove that they are the party of the people by bringing out the bigger battalions, to answer every tea party or anti-"big government" outburst with a larger demonstration of support for bigger and better government in the people's interest? I can't help but wonder whether too many liberals, progressives, etc. simply act now on the assumption that the Democratic Party is the proper vehicle for all their aspirations, and that to go off the rez to make demands of the Dems would simply confuse things. It should come as no surprise if that's the case, since that's what most reactionaries do when the Republican party holds the national reins. But the reactionaries are doing more now while out of power than they've done during past cycles of exile. The question now is whether progressives can match or top them while they arguably have some chance of influencing government by doing so, or whether it'll take yet another Democratic crack-up to galvanize them into more constant action.

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