Current Affairs

The “Everything Is Shit” Roundtable

Or is it? The Editors discuss.

CATE ROOT (ADMINISTRATIVE MAVEN):

A few nights ago, I had the good fortune to facilitate an “organizer school” on power and democracy for my local DSA chapter. My mom has been sick for the past few years [editors’ note: please read Cate’s excellent essay on her mother’s illness and the show Survivor here], and so my engagement with DSA has waxed and waned. One of the things I did when I stepped back was read all of Jane McAlevey’s books, because what I’m best at is taking in a lot of information and teaching people. So while I was making the slides presentation yesterday, I reread this Socialist Alternative account of the Montgomery Bus Boycott. (I have finally figured out what schools are for, and students could easily spend an entire semester studying the boycott.) One thing I emphasized at the DSA meeting: during the Montgomery Bus Boycott the local newspaper printed a front-page story that the boycott was over, and the people were so organized that they didn’t fall for it. We must never be surprised by the organization of capitalists. What they want is our despair. Let’s not deliver it. If you need a shot in the arm, write this in black permanent marker somewhere you can see it, the words of Mariame Kaba: Hope is a discipline.

ALLEGRA SILCOX (BUSINESS MANAGER):

Why are you so amazing.

ROOT:

My comrades are amazing.

ELI MASSEY (CONTRIBUTING EDITOR):

Depressed doesn’t even begin to cover how I’m feeling, but three things are preventing me from giving up entirely. First, we have the largest, most robust socialist organizations + infrastructure probably ever in American history, thanks in no small part to Bernie, and it’s not going anywhere anytime soon. Second, I’m not yet ready to give up on electoral politics and taking over the Democratic Party entirely when I think about AOC, Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib, and the other leftists and progressives we’ve gotten elected around the country at every level. AOC alone has transformed what I thought was possible in Congress. It’s crucial we elect more people like her, and I think we can do it. (At the same time, it’s important that electoral politics not consume us entirely and we keep up other kinds of organizing.) Finally, I think the stakes are too high for us to just give up or disengage. Lack of healthcare, climate change, war, etc. Whatever ends up happening with Bernie, we can’t accept that these fights are over, because if we’re fatalistic and assume that we can’t win then we’re guaranteed a loss. But if we keep fighting I think we may be pleasantly surprised now and again. We’re probably going to lose a lot more before we finally win, but think about the monumental achievements since 2016 even. There are people who have lived their entire lives and died without seeing a serious socialist candidate for president. Never in American history has a socialist gotten this close to the presidency. That’s monumental. Insane really, that we’re alive to witness this historical event. Over four years we’ve seen a flowering of socialist politics. I can’t help but be hopeful and inspired when I think about it.

SILCOX:

Perfection is the enemy of progress. I’m new here, so I need to tell myself this a lot. Keep going, don’t worry if you didn’t do “enough” yesterday, don’t worry if we can or can’t get the Big Win. There’s always more to do. We can accomplish so much by organizing.

LYTA GOLD (AMUSEMENTS AND MANAGING EDITOR):

Given the pandemic and likely recession, this is an excellent time to get radicalized/radicalize your friends. A lot of us are already stuck indoors with little except social media for socialization. And yes, we COULD spend our days laughing at whoever has a meltdown on main, or we could start getting every single person we know to start asking questions about the incentives that led our capitalist government to botch this disaster so badly, and what we can do going forward.

It’s also really critical to look out for each other financially, the next couple of weeks especially. If you can kick a few bucks to somebody who isn’t getting paid because of quarantine, you should really help out. Venmo and GoFundMe might be horrible substitutes for a social safety net, but for the moment it’s what we’ve got. Helping each other builds solidarity; let the capitalists hoard useless mountains of toilet paper. Everything that’s happening right now—and every bit of kindness we can show each other in the face of it while simultaneously demanding a better world—is an excellent argument for democratic socialism and Bernie Sanders.

NICK SLATER (NEWSLETTER EDITOR):

Look, Super Tuesday was a kick in the groin. And so was… Super Tuesday II? Apparently that’s a thing? Anyway, regardless of the name, this week was a clear setback. But I think it’s worth remembering why it felt like such a buzzkill when Biden’s reanimated corpse was dragged to victory by the Democratic establishment: Bernie had delivered a historic ass-kicking up to that point. Nobody had ever won the popular vote in the first three primary states, and exit poll after exit poll showed that huge majorities of Americans supported his policies. In fact, Bernie was (and still is!) in a much stronger position than Obama was at this same point back in 2008. And considering the global clusterfuck currently in progress, it seems like Americans are finally starting to realize that “going back to the good old days” isn’t enough. Corporate media is unleashing a 24/7 torrent of demoralizing propaganda against Sanders, and that’s not anything to minimize, but even centrist shills like Joy Ann Reid can’t pretend that some mean tweeters sending snake emojis are the biggest threat to America anymore. So while the road to the general election is rockier than it would’ve appeared last month, it’s still wide open. I for one find this encouraging as hell.

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