Began ruminating on radical/non-state activism’s response to the Obama campaign. Here’s some initial thoughts-
I think the best way to approach newfound faith in the Obama government system would be to end run around it and just talk about specific issues. I don’t think it makes sense to try to take on the message head-on and say “don’t have hope.” I think concrete, specific struggles are the best way to get folks to recognize the ongoing failures of representative democracy in America. If Obama really doesn’t represent ‘change’ in the way you want, there should be no reason to be directly confrontational with his central messages.
My good friend who is in town also pointed out that some of the most important movements of the past 30-40 years came on the heels of very hope-y presidential campaigns. The late 60s movement came after LBJ and the ‘war on poverty,’ Seattle was during the Clinton years, after we were introduced to the “Man from Hope” who then betrayed pretty much everyone.
I think that Obama represents a substantial left-ward shift in American politics that requires rad folks to acknowledge his role in leading the country, but not make him or his message a centerpiece of any campaign. He has constructed an immensely powerful message around himself, his biography, and what it means for America, and I think trying to dislodge that in a time when he’s been very successful would make radical people sound like the person in the image above, rather than people interested in ‘real’ change for the world.