Stewart Acuff

Nov 27

We Must Organize and Defeat the Awful Power of Money

One of the most important lessons we’ve learned over the last four years is that we cannot sit on our political laurels, that we must vigorously pursue public policy goals. Neither President Obama nor the Democratic Senate can make anything happen by themselves.

Of course, that doesn’t mean nothing can happen. It only means that we must work and fight and struggle and organize for those policy goals that would make a more just America! We must rally Americans to our side and build the elements of a potentially broad-based mass movement.

Over the next few days and/or weeks we will discuss a policy agenda, but first let’s discuss the elements of movement that we can work on immediately which could take root and blossom into a powerful social movement. What follows is neither comprehensive nor exhaustive:

  • There must be broad, popular, progressive consensus around the goal(s).
  • There must be major organizing around the goal.
  • There must be grassroots, organic leadership. Movement cannot be imposed.
  • Movement must take and maintain the moral high ground.
  • Movement must allow for creativity, particularly if that creativity arises from culture.
  • Movement must allow for spontaneity.

Please feel free to add to this list in comments.

If we think of recent movements we can see these elements, the very recent movement to overcome voter suppression where both individuals and our organizations fought to allow all Americans to vote, the movement of women in the last election to protect women’s rights, the movement of all sorts of Americans to defeat the awful and obscene power of money.

If you can think of other elements of movement or examples of recent movements please send them to me through the contact page on this site.


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Stewart Acuff is the former organizing Director of the AFL-CIO. Acuff has also written two books: Playing Bigger Than You Are: A Life in Organizing, and Getting America Back to Work.

Playing Bigger Than You Are - A Life in OrganizingGet the e-book edition of Playing Bigger Than You Are by clicking here!

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