Sunday, June 18, 2017

Civil society mobilises: UK / USA

Labour members built networks. Now Corbyn must too. by Zoe Williams
Ed Miliband rewrote the rules of Labour’s membership, and for a long time that was held as his greatest error, destroying not just his own vision for palatable leftism but also the party he cherished. Now that Corbyn has gone from Labour’s high sparrow to its saviour, the decision to give the members real power over the leadership, power to defy the parliamentary party and laugh while doing it, is suddenly Miliband’s great legacy. In fact that decision – effectively, the party went open source – won’t mean anything unless it’s followed through. It was far more radical than anyone allowed at the time, far more meaningful than simply inviting the naive and the Trotskyists to make decisions that their youth or extremism made them unqualified to make. It opened up the possibility of politics as a co-creation, one in which the members were more than just a beard-army ready to deliver leaflets for you, then moan about your centrism in the pub.

The members took this seriously: repeated attempts to evaluate Momentum along binary and adversarial lines – are they loony lefties, and if so, how loony? – missed the really interesting bit of what was going on. This was an intellectual movement as much as an activists’ one. At their conference, The World Transformed, held alongside the Labour conference last year but so different in atmosphere it could have been another decade, another continent, they asked searching and difficult questions…read more:

Victories against Trump are mounting. Here's how we deal the final blow.  By Rebecca Solnit
In this moment, populist intervention is everything, not as hate and attack but as an expression of popular will and power. Or as love, since we defend what we love. It is an extraordinary moment, an all-hands-on-deck emergency in which new groups and coalitions are emerging along with unforeseen capacities in many people who didn’t previously think they were activists. It is saturated with possibility, as well as with danger. Of course there are also people resident in the US who love the dismantling of healthcare, education, environmental protection, and the bill of rights, but they are an increasingly small minority. The most recent Gallup poll found nearly twice as many people – 60% disapprove of the president – than approve (36%). The graph shows a growing chasm between the minority that approves and the rest of us, and nearly half the public likes the idea of impeachment. Republican approval of the direction the country is going fell an unprecedented 17% in a month, according to a new Gallup poll. 

People who don’t like democracy and civil rights don’t think what the public thinks matters; that includes the Trump administration which seems to have thought that power would be inherent in the presidency, rather than dependent on honoring relationships with institutions, allies, with rules and laws. What the public thinks matters, if we turn thoughts into actions. The great conundrum of this crisis is that if people believe that they have the power to change this nation’s destiny, they will act; and if they don’t they won’t. .. read more: