It seems more likely each day that Cynthia McKinney is about to make a run for the presidency. This will alarm all the “realists” who consistently cling to the pantlegs of the Democratic Party through betrayal and capitulaiton after betrayal and capitulation.
This should mobilize the rest of us. Not because the often symbolic politics of presidential elections is important enough to trump other work, but because several trends seem to be coalescing in a very dynamic way; and because Cynthia McKinney’s candidacy at this point in time has tremendous catalytic potential.
Cynthia McKinney’s candidacy will be historic.
(1) Cynthia McKinney is a former Democrat who has had the courage now to turn deepening criticism of her former party into the action of leaving and running against it.
(2) Cynthia McKinney is a witness. She has experienced first hand how the DP attacks its own members when they deviate from the military-industrial, neoliberal, and-or Zionist-supportive script.
(3) Cynthia McKinney is an experienced politician of the Sunbelt suburbs, which now serve as a political bellwether for the nation.
(4) Cynthia McKinney is an African American who is not trying to be assimilated in order to be acceptable to white backlashers. This means she has access and authenticity when she speaks to African America, the most important bloc outside of the “swing” of the suburbs, and the most taken-for-granted population, within the Democratic Party.
(5) Cynthia McKinney is a woman who is not trying a la Clinton to be one of the boys by establishing some kind of psychic bona fides by expressing the willingness to kill people “in defense of the US” agaisnt hypothetical enemies.
(6) Cynthia McKinney is on the right side of the major issues. She opposes the war and wants out now. She opposes neoliberal “trade” policies. She supports women’s reproductive freedom. She opposes the racist “criminal justice” system and the prison-industrial complex. She recognizes the current economic malaise as class-war from above, and will take sides with those below. She will investigate our own government thoroughly — delegitimating power — and openly report the results of those investigations to the people.
Within the next year, the economy will become more unstable, the war and the region of the war more unpredictable, and the candidates of the two major parties more narrowly focused on immigrant-bashing and anemic liberal social policies… avoiding the war and all the other issues raised above. In particular, none of the D/R candidates will be able to explain the economy in plain language, because they all have a stake in bewildering the public about the root causes of our problems.
(1) If run off the corporate communication grid, McKinney’s campaign can reach a tremendous number of people with critical counter-narratives. This is a perfect opportunity to push the envelope with new techniques for corporate-media bypass communicaitons and networking.
(2) The basis of a successful campaign (measure success any way you like… I put it on a continuum, and not in a win-lose context) will be local organizing, which is also the basis for successful efforts in every other political arena. Her campaign can strengthen and expand local organizing.
(3) The three-P issues that have been buried by the Democratic Party (Palestine, prison, and patriarchal “real man” politics) can be used in the context of organizing around a McKinney candidacy to reach a broader audience that will be focused on the Presidential election of 2008.
Strategy (what to get done) needs to be simple and sequential. Tactics (how to get it done) need to be local and agile.
(1) The first and most important goal of such a campaign is ballot access in every state. This requires studying the ballot aqccess laws in your state, then organizing to do the incredible grunt work that is necessary to get a third-party candidate on the ballot. Do not underestimate the difficulty or importance of this task.
(2) The second goal is to get her and her candidacy known to the maximum number of people. This has three parts. (a) Get people to know who she is and that she is a serious candidate. (b) Get her positions clarified and understood. (c) Get the disinformation and distortions about her and her positions answered and neutralized (as early and often as possible).
(3) Expand the number of voters committed to the candidacy, and to actively supporting the candidacy in expanding and overlapping networks, block by block, precinct by precinct, district by district. Trying to contain such an expansion effort within some kind of schema will only stifle initiative. Stay prepared for targets of opportunity, and use the personal networks that we all already have… family, friends, neighbors, co-workers, co-activists, churches, temples, and synagogues.
(4) Stay in touch with the national campaign to find out what materials they have, and what her itenerary is. CDs, DVDs, webcasts, podcasts, and text. Identify networks and mailing lists (email and snail mail) that are ehtically available to the national campaign.
(5) Table for McKinney at events.
Best of luck to all. Order American Blackout now, and show it widely. Available from Netflix.
If you have $$$ to spare, give at http://www.runcynthiarun.org/