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Activism After the Election

2008 has seen activism focus on personality, on the issue of who will become the next President of the United States. With Election Day just two weeks away now, reflective activists are thinking ahead. Some of them are just thinking about how to celebrate the victory of Barack Obama. Others are thinking more deeply, about how to address the issues they care about in a new political climate in which the rallying point of opposition to George W. Bush will be gone.

There will be post-election protests like the one in Columbus Jim wrote about this morning. There will also be meetings with a longer, more strategic focus.

One such meeting is being held in Chicago this December by United for Peace and Justice. Member organizations of UFPJ will converge to talk about where to go from here. I’d love to see a consideration by the group of the reasons behind the severely diminished schedule of street activism reflected on the United for Peace and Justice web site.

More immediately, state university students in New York will be meeting in Binghampton in order to coordinate a unified activist post-election agenda. I might just mosey down to take a look at that one myself.

Something both of these efforts emphasize is activist unity, but I question that premise. Through a supposedly progressive presidential campaign that has sacrificed civil liberties and equality for the sake of victory, some progressive groups have been silenced in the name of unity. Is unity really a worthwhile goal for activists, or is it just a tool for leaders who seek to use activists for their own purposes?

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