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Movements, Not Presidents: The Nationwide Fight Against Neoliberalism


Movements, Not Presidents: The Nationwide Fight Against Neoliberalism

Jake Johnson

Just months after becoming president of the United States, Barack Obama met with some of the world's most powerful executives.

It was a time of crisis: The economy was wavering dangerously in the aftermath of the housing bubble's great burst, and many of the nation's largest financial institutions had just been yanked from the brink of collapse.


OK, help me out here, Jake. How does one carry on about the “Nationwide Fight Against Neoliberalism” and absolutely fail to mention even once the efforts of Dr Jill Stein and the platform of the Green Party—this question is, of course, rhetorical.
Once again you defy the urge to act the journalist, and instead, opt to be the polemicist. A journalist would report, as much as is possible, the whole truth.
The polemicist resists such temptations, and if not telling lies outright, does so through omission. Your writing shows promise. When do you become a writer of conviction?


Considering the subject matter, social movements force change and not the ballot box, there’s value in this article.

And while the Greens have a platform to support systemic change, they are organized as a political party. Or are they a movement building apparatus?

The Green Party has positioned itself to be the electoral arm of the movement once it reaches critical mass. But just like the Sanders campaign, it is unlikely to meet with success in terms of electing candidates until there’s a viable growing social movement at work.

I have no illusions that the next president will most likely be Clinton, followed by Trump. If by some miracle Stein were elected, is a movement going to spring into existence that will force the changes she seeks in a hostile Congress?

I’ll be punching Stein’s name, but in fact I’ll be voting to help the Greens reach 5%, to raise their visibility in the hopes that they can hang on long enough for the movement to grow and support their candidates in future elections. I do so with the understanding that voting Green does not a movement make; I’m throwing my skills at organizations like those mentioned here and others that are building solidarity and empowering others to take action in communities at the grassroots level.


Aaron Tippin’s lyrics “You have got to stand for something or you will fall for anything” says it all with respect to movement building and the US voter.

Although most US voters say they are not political, they are identity voters or one issue voters who latch on to somebody else’s movement without giving it much thought. Movement building requires voters figure out what they want and stick to it.

Seeing who and what US voters have fallen for confirms Murka has a lot of work to do building movements that benefit the 99%.


in his post jake johnson mentions “unfettered capitalism” as one problem we have to contend. essentially capitalism as an economic philosophy means taking advantage. capitalism takes advantage of natural resources, labor or whatever else profits a man. capitalism rewards aggression and greed. capitalism turns the meaning of life from a joyful shared experience into a deadly competition for survival. the very term “unfettered capitalism” suggests that our political system has the will and power to monitor and control unbridled greed and insatiable lust for power. to expect those at the top of the “food chain” hierarchy to hold capitalism at bay is tantamount to allowing the fuller brush man to get his foot in the door. once the vampire is invited in we become his helpless victims; he’ll drain us of every drop of blood. from the article:

"Fight for $15 has made quite remarkable progress given the strength of the opposition, as have the Democratic Socialists of America and the Movement for Black Lives.

But if you’re not failing, are you really challenging power?"

oh, i feel for all of us who labor long and hard yet always lose ground as the cost of living continues to outpace our ability to move up the economic scale, but the fight for $15 an hour does not solve but only exacerbates the problem. how can X dollars an hour have any lasting effect when that dollar itself has no intrinsic value?

johnson gives an example of brave and desperate walmart employees bravely “speaking truth to power” in an effort to receive a living wage. doesn’t that strike acknowledge international mega-walmart’s power? we need lots of small business in communities, with locally run banks. main street does not need wall street! wall street was established in 1913 and crashed in 1929 . “something there is that doesn’t love a wall!”


Ballots combined with action brings the desired results.
The plutocrats and oligarchy couldn’t care less that you don’t raise your voice at the ballot box. They don’t want you to vote. “Stay home. Smoke a bunt,” they say.
Because if you don’t vote they’ll claim that you think that they are doing a fine job. Another satisfied and docile customer is what you’ll become.


Might as well face it: the US is a failed democracy. We now know that what the majority want doesn’t much count for anything. The contrary is an illusion. This election cycle is bordering on farce.

Thomas Jefferson was right about the need for periodic fundamental constitutional change, as pragmatic experience reveals its necessity. Obviously, this change would have to come from the bottom, not from the self-interested lackeys to concentrated wealth installed by money to pose as our leaders.


So vote for Stein.


Until we get rid of representative government and employ direct democracy, we seem to be doomed to threatening politicians, demonstrating in Washington, contributing to causes, competing with oligarchy bribes and finally begging our “representatives” for some crumbs.

Them with the gold makes the rules, unless we all do.


So vote, but not for either. That way you place one voice against that just as surely as a vote for either of them is a vote for all that.


No, liberals have been preaching against the neoliberal agenda while embracing neoliberal ideology and policies. Every call to Stand in Solidarity with middle class workers alone is a declaration of support for neoliberalism. It reinforces the lie that our deregulated capitalism is so successful that every American is able to work, there are jobs for all, therefore no need for poverty relief.

Ah, but don’t worry about it. As Bill Clinton said, all anyone needs to do is “Get up every morning, work hard, and play by all the rules.” We’ve slowly been taught to embrace neoliberal ideology to the beat of a rock and roll song. Be of good service to your employer, don’t look around, don’t ask questions, don’t think.


Surprising. In the US (if not elsewhere), even liberals reject democratic socialism. Did you know that democratic socialism includes a (non-punitive) welfare system?

Democrats in Congress kicked off 2015 with voting to virtually end food stamps to the elderly poor and the disabled, cutting monthly benefits from $115 to $10. Did you hear the public outrage? Right.


I’ve only heard of the labor left in the US. They seem focused on improving wages and working conditions for those who are fortunate enough to have jobs, yet are unaware of the consequences of years of shipping jobs out, etc. Well, we’re all for workers, until they get bumped out of the job market.


Great post!


I agree - its time for nation wide referendums on all issues.

That way, what is done in our name by ignorant seekers after power and privilege would at least be done in our name for real - we would own those decisions for better or for worse.

Its called democracy.


“Ballots combined with action brings the desired results”

Yup - electoral politics and movements - one without the other is like a one legged man, he can hop around a lot, but he won’t get too far …

“The plutocrats and oligarchy couldn’t care less that you don’t raise your voice at the ballot box.”

I suggest that, in fact, they would prefer that you don’t vote, they discourage you from voting - unless you are voting for a D/R …


"If by some miracle Stein were elected, is a movement going to spring into existence that will force the changes she seeks in a hostile Congress?

The movement with the potential to do that is already here - it just has to decide to bring its power to bear - both in the streets and in the ballot box …

As to the “hostile Congress” - shucks, we have had a hostile gov’t for some time now - isn’t it time we chose some friendly folks to run it - wherever we find them running for office, for Pres or Senate or House reps, as mayors and council (wo)men, etc. - “firing on all cylinders” as Stein puts it … And then there is the effect that simply electing a Green Pres would have - that “hostile Congress” would be having MIs and coloring their shorts - because we would have done what they thought we would never do, what they counted on us not doing, which smug assurance enabled them to keep throwing us under the bus with impunity - actually throwing the bums out, and they would know they could well be next if they didn’t play ball …


I agree that there’s a movement but it is still nascent or Sanders would have been the Democratic nominee. I see it growing at a quickened pace, but it is nowhere near the maturity it needs to help Stein win, let alone govern.

When Stein or some other alternative Party candidate actually gets elected, it will be proof that the movement is strong enough to force change legislatively. Movement first, election second.


" ‘something there is that doesn’t love a wall!’ "

Thank you for that! That is a great image!

A wall - a physical wall on the border there to keep our bodies out and an economic wall on the inside, whose symbol, Wall Street, is there to keep our access to all those things we need to survive and thrive, out …

So, in the immortal words of ole Ronnie, - we have to “Tear down that wall!”


" …but I would argue that they’re a necessary part of the overall effort."

Amen to that!