Non-Electoral Activism in Presidential Election Year

by on February 18, 2008 · 0 comments

in Civil Disobedience, Civil Rights, Election, Environment, Organizing, Peace Movement

By Ted Glick

Just about a year ago a leading activist in the climate movement made a comment that I took note of at the time and haven’t forgotten: Presidential politics overshadows all other politics during a Presidential election period.

This comment was made in the context of a discussion about how do we keep building a non-electoral, grassroots-driven climate movement which makes the global warming crisis a central national issue. But it could be said about any issue. Presidential campaign season sucks up activist energy, popular attention and donor contributions, as we have definitely seen so far in this particular campaign season.
Issue-oriented, independent progressive activists ignore this truth at their peril.

But there’s an opposite mistake that can be made-accommodating tactics to the electoral season in a way which strips our movements of urgency, creativity, militancy and edginess. At its worst, this approach opposes or denigrates mass demonstrations and nonviolent direct action, seeing them as distractions from the “real work” of getting good candidates elected to office.

[For the remainder of this article, go here.]

Ted Glick is active in the climate movement with several organizations and has been working with United Federation for Peace & Justice since its founding.

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