Congratulations and thanks are to be given to MoveOn, True Majority, and Democracy for America for facilitating the anti-war vigils of two nights ago. Even the Republican Party is now standing up and taking notice of the popular opposition to the Iraq War, thanks to demonstrations like these.
However, it is important for progressive activists to now ask themselves – are these organizations the backbone of the movement we seek to create? Some activist citizens, especially those who are members of Democracy for America, seem to operate this way, taking emails from these organizations as their primary calls to action. When the organization needs support, they are there to provide it, trusting that if the organization promotes a cause, it must be worth their attention.
Unfortunately, some of these progressive activist organizations sometimes ask us to support causes that do more to promote the interests of the establishment Democrats than to further the progressive cause. MoveOn, for example, is asking its members to support the re-election campaign of Senator Bill Nelson, who is one of the most conservative Democrats in the United States Senate. MoveOn also wants us to help fund the senatorial campaign of Bob Casey, a pro-lifer with Republican ties, in spite of the fact that there is a solid progressive candidate for the Democratic Party nomination, Chuck Pennachio.
Then there’s ActBlue, an organization that seems to think that so long as a candidate is a Democrat, they’re worth supporting. ActBlue is asking us to support the re-election campaign of Representative Stephanie Herseth, who supported the invasion of Iraq and has been a longtime supporter of Republican schemes to increase the tax burden on working Americans while giving special tax favors to the rich. ActBlue also wants us to support the re-election of Representative James Matheson, who earns just a 15 percent progressive score on our legislative scorecard – half of his regressive conservative score.
I’m glad that organizations like ActBlue and MoveOn exist, but I’m not about to become a tool of these organizations, supporting any Democrat simply because of party loyalty. I know the importance of taking back the Congress in 2006, but the way that the Democratic Party will prevail in next year’s elections is by strongly and consistently promoting a progressive alternative vision for America, not by changing its tune to suit the convenience of politically-connected insiders in each congressional district. We progressive activists need to be well-informed enough on our own to turn the tables on these activist networks and use the organizations as tools for our agenda of liberty and humanity.
Keep sending us those emails, but we’ll only get a MoveOn when the cause is one that we can be proud of.