Re: [sixties-l] After the Election >

From: Jeffrey Blankfort (
Date: 11/09/00

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    Marty Jezer wrote:
    > ... I despair for the left when
    > anyone who tries to present a balanced, that is objective, picture of where
    > America is today is read out of "the movement," which increasingly seems to be
    > like a fraternity more than a movement, where you have to cheer lead 100% and
    > know all the right ideological -- and I would say, knee-jerk -- constructs.
    Presenting an "objective" picture is itself a difficult proposition
    given what each of us  consider to be the criteria for making an
    objective analysis. We also cannot be expected to have identical
    criteria for defining who is or isn't a part of the movement but we each
    have a right to set our own parameters.  Mine are based on my own years
    of political experience.
    Jeff wrote:
    > >Genuine campaign reform is no more likely to happen under one administration
    > or another
    and Marty replied:
    > It's passed in one form or another in four states. And yes, as I said, it will
    > take a mass movement and grassroots pressure to have a chance in Congress.  If
    > Jeff has given up on one of the necessary structural reforms that would make
    > other reforms possible, what's the point of being involved in politics?
    There are other forms of political struggle that do not focus on working
    within the two-political system that are not only far more rewarding in
    terms of the personal relations involved but more productive as well.
    For example, in San Francisco, on Tuesday, a grassroots coalition backed
    by only $132,000 was able to pass a proposition that will put the brakes
    on the current program of gentrification, and ethnic and economic
    cleansing that is making the City uninhabitable and unaffordable for
    anyone making less than $100,000 a year.  They were up against Mayor
    Willie Brown and a pack of developers who spent at least $2.3 million
    dollars on slick mailers and TV and radio ads to defeat them. The
    coalition was made up of mostly, but not exclusively young people,
    Latino, white, African-American, Asian, gay and straight, Greens and
    anarchists, and a quite a few disaffected Democrats. The $2.3 million
    was the most ever spent on a local ballot proposition. Not only was this
    effort successful, a number of anti-Brown, people's candidates were
    successful in getting to the run-offs for the supervisors seats now open
    under the reinstituted district elections. 
    As for genuine campaign reform, it will remain a chimera as long as it
    is opposed by the AFL-CIO--they're the folks who brought us the PACS
    back in 1963--and as long as the majority of politicians can get their
    campaign coffers filled. Each year, as I wrote, we see the same charade
    illustrated by the same headlines with the same conclusions. Since the
    Supreme Court declared donating money an act of free speech. most giving
    is protected.  As far as four states passing reforms, that has little to
    do with the national government, since the public has no opportunity to
    vote directly on any issue.
    Jeff Blankfort

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