Thursday, March 10, 2005

Move On

Today I attended a MoveOn meeting. I was somewhat disappointed, though it was a good opportunity to meet people.
I arrived as the earliest person. As people trickled in, I found I was the only person below 20 in the room. This isn't new to me, of course, but it is infuriating to see how little privileged college students care about the world that subsidizes them.
Harry Reid, Senator from Nevada and minority whip, came on and began to rally the troops. He said that the Democrats simply sought to "discuss at length" when they tried to filibuster. A filibuster is never taken seriously; that's why Huey Long read the phone book. The point is that it forces debate and does not allow a bill to be voted on. If a bill can be blocked for long enough, it becomes such a harassment that the backers of the bill are forced to make compromises. It's a way for a large minority to hold back a small majority on important issues, and it's entirely appropriate when used in a limited manner, but it's not a matter of discussion.
We then heard from Howard Dean, MoveOn members, etc. A MoveOn head honcho said that our work was like a "revolution". And that brings me to my most serious objection.
MoveOn's work is important, but its commitment extends to once a month doing things like calling representatives. It seems like very little actual street-pounding or direct action is called for, simply the most reformist of reformists... Maybe that's why Howard Dean got pummeled by traditional corporate candidates.
Whatever you think, calling your representative isn't a revolution.
So I'm going to stick with working in such a group, but frankly, I'm going to continue my own work elsewhere and hope members of my team come along.


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