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The Transformative Power of Democratic Uprisings


The Transformative Power of Democratic Uprisings

Mark Engler, Paul Engler

Bernie Sanders's insurgent presidential campaign has opened up a debate about how social change happens in our society. The official version of how progress is won -- currently voiced by mainstream pundits and members of a spooked Democratic Party establishment -- goes something like this: politics is a tricky business, gains coming through the work of pragmatic insiders who know how to maneuver within the system. In order to get things done, you have to play the game, be realistic, and accept the established limits of debate in Washington, D.C.


The examples of group mobilization in pursuit of social, political, and economic change are all inspiring. Still, one difference today is that the threat of the "outside terrorist" has enabled so thorough a network of intrusive spying as to make the following more difficult to assemble:

“Initially Otpor was viewed as just another student organization with no real political influence, and neither the regime nor the opposition parties paid much attention to it,” former activists Danijela Nenadic and Nenad Belcevic have written. “By the time the regime realized the strength, impact, and significance of Otpor, it was too late to stop the momentum of resistance.”

I think the purpose of the engineered threat of Terrorism is specifically in place to justify the spy-net that now seeks out these nascent coalitions to squash before they can grow into great numbers. Those great numbers are THE force the elites do not wish to reckon with.

One more thing:

While the Civil Rights movement made MANY strides, blowback against it continues on three fronts:

  1. The War on Drugs which largely serves to disenfranchise a large swath of the Black Community while reinstituting a new Prison Plantation System (to abuse human beings as cheap labor).

  2. New Voting Laws and rules that largely block elderly, poor, and previously incarcerated Black citizens from the very voting rights their peers fought so long and hard to win!

  3. A rigged, depressed economy that too often dismisses the FACT that Black Lives Matter (added to policing forces that show inordinate muscle towards Black citizens... much of it going without redress).

My point is that the struggles mentioned in the article are never really ever over!

In India, poor farmers feel the return of the Colonial Muscle in the form of Monsanto pushing them off their lands or forcing them to use genetically altered seed products that essentially turn farmers into indentured servants (depending upon seed purchases year after year whereas Mother Nature granted those seeds, freely).

So far, Gays are not seeing too much blowback.

However, the inroads into fossil fuel divestment are also being strategically countered by the insidious trade treaties like TIPP and TPP which will be end-runs around any attempts at inhibiting the rapacious reach of the Oil and Gas barons.

Through their investor state dispute tribunals which view Profit as the chief "justice," environmental and human rights will take a significant back seat.

Victories are transitory as the Old Forces continue to plunder the planet and prey upon its systems... inclusive of living beings.


Like I posted a while ago, that third party coalition although a pipe dream, would be powerful and would have a chance to bury the Repugs and the fake opposition parties. But from my perspective, no way this will happen because of too wide of a political, dichotomy between Trump and Bernie; nevertheless if they could somehow work out a compromise, we could see the birth of a new powerful, third party in the US.


Speaking of party hacks, the GOP calculus is simply: If Trump in not nominated he will run third party, thereby handing the November election to the Democrats. The GOP has not forgotten Ross Perot and is not going to enable a Trump third party run.


the real campaign will start November 9th, no matter who is elected POTUS. That is when I will have to begin to take to the streets pot & spoon in hand to demand that those who were elected to serve we, the people, not just them the .1%, do the right things. It will probably mean trips to DC to drive home the point. The Progressive movement has to become operationalized into movement politics based on a 50 state policy. The revolution will not be televised and it won't matter because the participants -the revolutionaries don't watch TV.


Englers' review of history here, in 'transformative power of uprisings' is useful but these examples do not seem to address present circumstances, which require systemic change against markets, which is to say-- against the collective action of the majority. Rather, his examples are in the nature of social issues, which have been accommodated in Congress because they don't seriously threaten capitalism or monied interests, i.e. the .01%. The foreign dictatorships are not applicable to today's circumstances in the US which is a highly inter networked business system held in place by a regime of laws that everybody accepts, and hardly anybody questions (the Constitution etc.) Indeed the revolutions in smaller countries are corporate globalization: broader business networks in those countries expelling renegades and cliques who had been too narrow.