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Building A New Independent Powerful Left (video)

This is an updated version of something I first posted in 2013, no long after the Federal election, a video (scroll down) interview with Naomi Klein. I am reposting it a) it is my go to piece that explains so much of what I am thinking and b) a lot has shifted in the previous two years. It was originally posted as a response to the election win by the Liberal National Coalition, now it is posted, with updates, as an example of moving forward towards the next election.

Naomi Klein, Canadian author of the books No Logo: Taking Aim at the Brand Bullies, The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism and This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate is speaking in this 10-minute piece about the need to create a new, independent from political parties, Left.

Although this is in the US American context of left-wing groups becoming tied to the Democrat party, Klein talks about how the Right is dominating the conversation to create a rage, rage that is doing the Left no favours, by targeting their rage at the economically-invisible, instead of those who are creating the financial apocalypse.

Selected quotes from the interview:

“The problem is there’s rage across the board. The right has organised itself very effectively and with frighteningly deep pockets to provide a voice for right-wing, often racist rage. A lot of people at the center/liberal end of the spectrum spend a lot of time trying to managing rage, particularly around election time, and there really aren’t very many outlets to voice progressive rage – rage at the elites, rage at those millionaires and billionaires. And it’s a crisis – a crisis in this country that comes from the fact that there isn’t a real left. there are a lot of institutions that pretend to be an independent left and then turn into an arm of the Democratic Party around election time – and election time in this country seems to never end.

We have to build that independent left – and it has to be so strong, and so powerful, and so militant, and so radical that it becomes irresistible. Because when people speak truth like that, and then when they hear that rage, their rage, reflected in a constructive way, so that it isn’t channeled toward the most vulnerable people, but actually going up the ladder, as opposed to down the ladder, then that builds a movement, and it builds a movement that politicians can’t ignore, they can’t ignore that constituency. Because this model isn’t working at all.”

In the original post, people took except to the word “militant” perhaps regarding its use as interchangeable with “militia”. To me, militant is about discipline, principle, and unyielding. I am a vegan and have heard some people say things like “militant vegan, you know those who don’t use shampoo tested on animals” – to me that is not militant, that is very basic, to the core vegan, I mean if your shampoo is tested on animals, you aren’t a vegan. So that is what militant means to me. Uncompromising on your core beliefs.

In the original post, some people had a problem with anger. Anger is an energy, anger is what get you up in the morning and keeps you going after midnight. Apathy can be paralysing, it can make you feel powerless, like walking in quicksand, apathy is what keeps you in bed all day, easy listening on the radio and mind-numbing drivel on the tv. If you’re not angry, you’re not paying attention.

First you get angry, then you channel that anger into energy, something productive.

I learned a long time ago that those in power don’t care that you’re angry, they care if you use that anger to do something about it.
– Al Sharpton

I find people who say “don’t get angry” aren’t really in touch with their emotions, if you don’t feel a burning, white-hot anger at what has happened to this country under PM Abbott and PM Turnbull, you must be some kind of robot. Anger does not mean losing your temper, or lashing out. Anger, to me, means being so furious at what is going on, that you need to do something about it, “doing nothing” is no longer an option.

Gough Whitlam made famous his phrase “maintain the rage” – but Whitlam’s full quote was actually “Maintain your rage and enthusiasm”, the enthusiasm part is just as important as the rage.

What I took away from this video, and people may disagree with me is knowing what your personal values are, separate from a political party, and never, ever compromising on those values.

The owners of this blog and the author do not necessarily endorse everything in this interview.

Election year – are we ready? Let’s Go (updated 6 Jan)

No great victory has ever been won by sitting back patiently and waiting.

Democracy is in the hands of those who show up.

UPDATE (6 Jan) – Building A New Independent Powerful Left (video)
A video interview of author Naomi Klein talking about the position of the Left in modern America and how to reposition it as more responsive to the needs of the people.


UPDATE (5 Jan) – Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals – Community Disorganisation.
Edited quotes from the activists handbook that sends Right wingers into an absolute foot-stomping tizzy. Find out the tactics outrage the Right so much.


My name is Alison, I do social media as “Turnleft” and prior to 2012 I was an activist. Human rights, animal rights, environment, feminism – people who didn’t really know me said I tend to flit from one cause to another like a butterfly on cocaine. To me, I was fighting injustice no matter what form it took. I gave that up to concentrate on fighting Tony Abbott and the Liberal National Party. We didn’t win that fight, but I never stopped trying, right up until the polls closed in Western Australia, I was still fighting.

This year we are again in the fight for our lives – if that sounds like hyperbole, think about cuts to health care and pensions.

If anyone would like to join me, we can use social media to make a difference in the election (and even if we can’t, we will know we never gave up fighting).

Too often the dinosaurs in old media sneer at social media as nothing more than an echo-chamber of outrage and clicktivism – but it can be so much more.

So, now I am going back to my activist roots. With AIMN’s owner’s permission I am staking my claim in this little corner of AIMN for activism.
[edited to add: Since this sentence seems to have annoyed many people, and I thought it would go without saying, I mean MY activism, as opposed to MY opinion pieces writing]

I would like this space to be for anyone who wants to join me.

What kind of activism? You ask.

Maybe you have a petition that needs signatures, post details here.

Maybe you know a corporation that are committing some horrendous outrage or are BFF’s with Liberal Party mates, post details here, and let the boycotting commence.

Maybe someone is being targeted on social media by right-wing trolls and need support, post details here (with their knowledge).

Maybe a politician has said something outrageously sexist, if they have a history of sexism, we can collect them in one place.

Is there a protest, march, picket line, sit-in, pray-in, die-in, speech happening some place near you, post details here, and afterwards share photos.

Do you live in a very safe electorate, so safe that nothing you do will change that – online adopt a marginal seat and become a champion for that seat or dig up the publicly available dirt.

Do you have a piece of information that you feel should get into the wider public but aren’t a blog writer – submit it to AIMN, either in the comments or submit it anonymously.

If there is a politician whose gross incompetence makes them vulnerable, turn up the heat until they step down.

Maybe you have lost your social media account – and as the election gets closer, trolls will form a posse and report, report, report until accounts get suspended – and you create a new one, post details here and people can find you again.

Links to great positive left, left-ish, centrey blogs and news articles, leave them here.

This would not need to be time-consuming, we all lead busy lives – participating could take as little time as signing a petition and adding someone new on Facebook or Twitter, or as long as writing a letter to the Editor or sending an email to a corporation. There is no signing up, no joining. Information would be here for You to dip in to and out of as you choose to, or not.

These are some of the ideas off the top of my head, and I have only scratched the surface of how a community can Connect via a blog like AIMN.

On the other hand, this might be a little too ambitious, but I am putting the idea out there, there might be some people who want to join in.

If this is something you would be interested in, or have other suggestions on ways to get more activism in #Auspol social media, leave a comment in the reply section below – all comments appreciated.

This is not me asking for your help, this is me asking you: tell me how can I help you in your fight to end the LNP tyranny.

For anyone who thinks it is too early to start the fight to take back government, be assured the Liberal party strategist have never taken a day off since the last election.

 

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