Resistance Is Essential

Three weeks have gone by, and finally I’ve figured out what I think. I know, I know. I’m slow to process such things. There were many who would gladly have digested the experience for me, but I resisted. This was big. Huge even. I had to figure it out for myself, even if it took me, well, a few weeks.

First, I’m furious. Second, if I had it all to do over again, I would. Gladly. And I hope you would too.

Of course, I’m still furious at the Fitzwalker weasels for all the damage they’re doing to our beloved state. But I’m also furious that Obama tweeted his “support” in the eleventh hour, that the DNC’s idea of “support” was to come to Wisconsin to squeeze more money out of people who’d already given their hearts and souls and more money than they could afford to the recall effort, not to mention the money the Fitzwalkers have already stolen from them. They threw us under the goddamned bus.

The DNC treated the Wisconsin Recall like it was a marginal little regional dispute. The RNC, on the other hand, treated it like it was the front line of an epic battle, a warm-up for November. I wonder how the DNC would like it if we tweeted our support on November 5. (Don’t worry—I’ll hold my nose and vote for O, but only because the alternative is too horrible to contemplate.)

Three weeks of grieving. I keep thinking of all of you who worked so incredibly hard. Collecting signatures in the freezing cold. Organizing and canvassing and connecting and generally working your asses off. The result is so bitter, so hard to swallow.

Our state has been occupied by greedy corporate plunderers who believe the 1% are more worthy than the rest of us, who care nothing for our children’s future, for the unemployed, for students and teachers, for our health, for our state’s precious natural resources, for truth and transparency.

Not only is the result hard to accept. It’s hard to believe it’s legit. Regardless of whether there was outright fraud or just a gross billionaire-funded burial of the state in outsize lies and propaganda, or both, the system is rigged.

We the people have been subsumed by them the corporations.

In spite of the outcome, in spite of how hard it is to accept, it was the right thing to do. In fact, it’s still the right thing to do. We need not apologize for having attempted to rid Wisconsin of its weasel infestation. We didn’t fail. We were failed—by a rigged system and by the milquetoast pseudo support of Obama and the DNC.

That we didn’t succeed only means that resistance is more essential than ever. The weasels are ruthless, organized, and loaded with dirty billionaire dough. As Robert Kraig so rightly observed, “A movement is not something that can be defeated by one election. … It bears remembering that the modern conservative movement was established out of the ashes of a decisive electoral defeat, Barry Goldwater’s landslide presidential loss in 1964.”

A little voice in my head keeps saying, “Don’t mourn! Organize!” But I can’t tell you not to mourn, as I am doing my own mourning. But I will tell you to organize.

What does it take to organize? Nothing fancy or complicated. Just friends, community, and learning. By “friends,” I mean strong, lasting, deep friendships that you can count on when your back is up against the wall. Real community happens when every member counts, every member has a voice, every member is worthy of care and respect. A community cultivates cooperation, understanding, and confidence, in each other and in our leaders, even and especially when we don’t agree.

We have only just begun to build solidarity, and in spite of how often or loudly we chant otherwise, we don’t always know what democracy looks like. But we are learning. And we must continue to learn, to educate ourselves and each other. To give ourselves and each other the benefit of the doubt, and to forgive ourselves and each other when necessary.

We have to keep raising our voices, in defiance of the cacophony of the corporate mass media and the rabid right spin machine. We have to keep resisting, to keep singing. Thanks to a stalwart band of determined activists, the Solidarity Sing Along continues to be an important point of daily resistance, as well as an important point of community learning and organizing. We’re still putting the Fitzwalker weasels on notice: We’re still here. We’re not going away.

We can’t stop now. We’re only just getting started.

Many thanks to Leslie Amsterdam for use of her photo (top).

12 thoughts on “Resistance Is Essential

  1. You gotta be kidding: you’re going to hold your nose and vote for him after that! Oh yeah, we know he was busy, eviscerating civil liberties, hounding OWS, increasing the ‘drug war’ militarization, supporting the coup leaders in Honduras, chasing down whistleblowers, supporting the 1% more than Bush did, pushing 9 more ‘free’ trade agreements hemmorhaeging jobs from the U.S. to . . .

    give me a break. Sucker born every minute

    • I will vote for O because I don’t want to even think about who R would put on the Supreme Court. A nonvote or a vote for any other candidate will ultimately work in R’s favor.

  2. Reading through this post and its comments was uplifting.

    Vis a vis my own mental state, the recent Sandusky verdict and the ACA Supreme Court decision have given me new hope for justice to prevail.

  3. I’ve just had hand surgery, so I’ll be brief. We live in a two party dictatorship. The DNC is a traitorous, bought and sold institution. Forming local 3rd party movements is a key strategy. Occupy activity is a must. Teach children about the lies forced on them by authority figures. Encourage children to be revolutionaries. Nothing less will do. The arts afford a way into young minds. This is a marathon, not a sprint.

  4. We had our first local grassroots community meeting last night since the election. Worley Dervish has very succinctly captured the essence of our conversation in the last six paragraphs. We also discussed some of the comments made in the response section, while we did not focus our conversation on the lack of support from the national level, we did discuss the short comings of our state leadership and the lack of quality messaging that is able to cut across party lines and appeal to the uninformed general public. Is Mike Tate capable of leading our states democrats in this messaging endeavor for future success?

  5. That article pretty much said it all, at least as to how I’m feeling.
    The Democrats suffer from a fatal flaw, their inability to foresee, prepare and legislate…they have become totally reactionary displaying no leadership. You can bet those Reps have all their legislation lined up and are ready to roll, like Bush when he took office..3 days to kill the Kyoto Accord? We worked so hard on the Recall but failed to prepare beyond that..what, run a former loser? I can’t tell you how angry I was about that…somewhere in this state there has to be a candidate with ideas, one that we can support wholeheartedly. As far as the DNC goes, well I called them and gave them my opinion about their lack of support and’s frustrating beyond belief. You talk about organizing, well what about the upper eschalon??? What will they offer besides not being Mitt? Organize, organize, organize and have a plan that will appeal to voters…Let’s get a budget reduction plan, even if it’s just cuts by attrition, do away with subsidies to profitable corporations, that can’t be seen as anti business..come on folks, send in some ideas…

  6. We lost for several reasons. The first obvious one is the Repubs outspent us by 7 to 1. The second is that some of “us” defected because they believe the recall should only be if the person has been proven to have committed a crime. Stay tuned on this one.
    We came out of this with thousands more who are committed and organized. We came out of it with the sense of community you are writing about. We came out of it stronger and more determined. Right now we must do things like get a Tammy Baldwin t-shirt and wear it to busy summer activities so we increase her name recognition. Peace, from Appleton

  7. The recall showed Dems are children when it comes to fighting a campaign. We knew the Get Out The Vote was going to be critical. The Republicans used predictive dialing computerized techniques. The Dems used paper with a two or three day delay in getting results into a database, cell phones, and shoe-leather.

    The Barrett campaign never did get a theme (again) and even now I still don’t know what his agenda for the future was going to be (again).

    Perhaps most astonishing was the decision to pull the trigger on a recall without first doing a poll to see if the vast majority of Wisconsin citizens were in favor of such a move.

    It doesn’t matter if we were outspent. We still could have won. But first we had to be grown-ups using 21st century methods and simple old-fashioned and proven campaign tactics to win.

    As for Mr. Obama, he has had his hands full. While it is understandable that many fault him for not putting on his running shoes to march in solidarity with Wisconsin workers, given the disarray of the Dems here, can you blame him really?

  8. You and other Wisconsinites have nothing to apologize for. Nor is your anger unjustified.

    But… there is every indication that this election was rigged within the black box machines… and that the incessant advertising was a cover for the “results.”

    I urge you to refocus your efforts on ensuring election integrity in November.

    And I thank you for your tireless, thankless, and passionate defense of our freedom.

  9. Couldna hae said it better meself, dearie. No kidding, Carol, this is exactly the way it’s been for me, what I’ve been feeling and thinking. One thing that might be helpful–the IWW (Industrial Workers of the World, aka the Wobblies) have the experience and literature available for how to organize–great to see you quoting Joe Hill, one of the best–“Don’t Mourn, Organize!” I haven’t asked Felix Bunke about it, but I think he would be a good contact person. I think their Education Committee is meeting this evening at Michelangelo’s.

  10. I think there are two big lessons to learn from Wisconsin’s sad recall experience. First, while “money can’t buy our votes,” money CAN create an effective propaganda blitz with the result that the citizens who vote base their choices on inaccurate information. We have to speak truth to power to try to change that dynamic. Second, the Democratic party is just as much in thrall to big money interests as the Republicans are. Just as the Republicans pander to right-wing social issues to gain voter support, the Democrats give lip service to more progressive social issues. But at base they support the same oligarchy. The system is broken.

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