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Georgia Shows the Way, D.C. Shows the Stakes

Georgia Shows the Way, D.C. Shows the Stakes
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By Organizing Upgrade

Over the last 48 hours, we’ve seen a stark picture of the two paths that lie before us: a racial justice democracy or white authoritarianism. On Tuesday, a multi-racial working class bloc took to the ballot box to elect Rev. Dr. Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff to the Senate in Georgia. That the movement was led by Black voters, and that long-term organizing in communities of color to build independent political power played a crucial role in the victories, was no coincidence: the struggle for racial justice has always been central to the defense of democratic rights in the U.S. With Democrats now in control of the Presidency and both chambers of Congress, progressives have a significant opening to push the Democratic Party to expand our democracy and deliver material relief for working class people of all races.

But yesterday, we saw an anti-democratic, insurrectionary effort inside and outside the halls of Congress to overturn the results of the election. A dozen Republican Senators and 60 Representatives attempted to block the democratic process using arcane legislative maneuvers inside the Capitol before their violent allies stormed the building in a desperate attempt to achieve the same anti-democratic ends.

It may appear at first that the divisions within the Republican Party represent a turn to sanity. But in fact, even those Republicans opposed to a coup support voter suppression. They too want apartheid, but with a democratic cover. The split within the GOP should be widened if possible, but we cannot be lulled into seeing one wing as an ally. And within the Democratic Party, the fight for all to support racial justice and a fully inclusive democracy is far from won.

It is no accident that those storming the Capitol are carrying Confederate flags. They are launching a new round of the Civil War many have been fighting for decades: a war to return to full and open white supremacy and limited democratic rights.

We will need to remain vigilant in the days leading up to the inauguration and support movement’s calls to deal with white supremacist terrorism and the instigation of violence by Trump and his enablers as the anti-human, criminal acts that they are. The broad front we built in defense of democracy will need to stay together and grow further to create the conditions for us to fight for the future we need.

As Calvin Cheung-Miaw argued in “The Pivot of U.S. Politics: Racial Justice and Democracy,” our path is clear: we must continue to build at the base, fighting for a true inclusive democracy that this country never achieved.

 

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  • Ann Schwartz
    Ann Schwartz January 8, 2021 at 12:25 am

    The instigation of a violent attack on Congress, in the midst of deciding the electoral results, needs to be met with broad condemnation and rejection. This is a moment that can bring progressive, liberal and even conservative forces together to reject a blatantly authoritarian direction. While we need to remain vigilant against further outrages, we most importantly need to support the demand that Trump be removed from office. The Republicans who opposed certification of the vote and the Confederate-flag-waving rioters also need to be held accountable. If this attack is allowed to take on the aura of “business as usual,” then the broad front in defense of democracy will have lost a key battle.
    I agree with the overall assessment of the GOP and the Democratic Party offered here, but I don’t see this as the moment when we need to be primarily concerned about mistaking tactical alliances for longer term unity. Perhaps sections of the GOP as well as more conservative Democrats will step up to confront this blatant move towards white authoritarianism, even while still opposing a fully inclusive democracy. That would be a welcome outcome that would strengthen the rejection of authoritarianism. If, as seems more likely, conservative forces are complacent, then their failure to act will allow us to shine a light on their lack of commitment to democracy. In any case, progressive forces should support and heighten demands to hold Trump, and other actors, accountable for this attack on Congress and on democratic elections.

  • Ethan Young
    Ethan Young January 8, 2021 at 1:19 am

    The right is divided. The center is pushed leftward. This is a situation that lays a solid basis for building a national opposition to neoliberalism and fascism. I agree with the OrgUp statement and Ann’s comment. What I would zero in on is the need to indict the whole right – Team Trump, the entire GOP, and police/military – for bringing the far right into the policy making circle. The target is the right/far right power bloc, now on the ropes. This makes possible a center/left alliance that can isolate and disempower the far right, and expose the right’s complicity in their attack on democracy. Tall order but if anything demands a serious approach, it’s the current mess in politics.

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