Coming Soon:

The following books by Robert Paul Wolff are available on Amazon.com as e-books: KANT'S THEORY OF MENTAL ACTIVITY, THE AUTONOMY OF REASON, UNDERSTANDING MARX, UNDERSTANDING RAWLS, THE POVERTY OF LIBERALISM, A LIFE IN THE ACADEMY, MONEYBAGS MUST BE SO LUCKY, AN INTRODUCTION TO THE USE OF FORMAL METHODS IN POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY.
Now Available: Volumes I, II, III, and IV of the Collected Published and Unpublished Papers.

NOW AVAILABLE ON YOUTUBE: LECTURES ON KANT'S CRITIQUE OF PURE REASON. To view the lectures, go to YouTube and search for "Robert Paul Wolff Kant." There they will be.

To contact me about organizing, email me at rpwolff750@gmail.com




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Sunday, November 11, 2012

NOW WHAT?

The Obama campaign once again put together a political ground game unparalleled in modern American political history.  The power and efficiency of the machine has been proven in battle.  It is a weapon of enormous power.  It would be a tragedy if it were once again to be mothballed, or worse still, disbanded now that Obama has run out of elections.  If this machine were kept oiled, it could be an extraordinary force for progressive change, pressuring Congress to move left, targeting vulnerable Republicans, forcing Washington to focus on issues of concern to the Left.

It would take a fair amount of money to maintain the machine, but because no election is in the offing, at least for a while, there is no limit on the amount that individuals could give to such an effort.  Surely there are a dozen rich progressives who could be tapped for a pool of one hundred million dollars or so.  That is peanuts -- indeed, it is eight times as much as Americans spend each year on peanut butter.

As the United Negro College Fund might have said, but didn't quite, a weapon is a terrible thing to waste.

2 comments:

AW said...

My absolutely intuitive, unsupported impression is that the "ground game" initially developed not around a desire to advance particular policy positions, but to elect a charismatic man who embodied very vague commitments to a progressive ideology. And I think that Obama's (2007-2008) charisma is very important here. I'm not sure that those who participated in expanding and maintaining the "machine" will be motivated to continue to do so absent either (1)another charismatic leader, or (2)what appears to be a clearly regressive opponent. In that sense I think the Obama machine is very different from whatever "machine" exists to advance religious conservative interests.

As much as I wish 2008 and 2012 were about progressivism, my cynical heart of hearts keeps telling me that it was really about Obama. Hopefully I'm wrong.

Robert Paul Wolff said...

I am sure that much of what you say is true, but surely it is worth a major effort. I mean, look, if a hunger for progressive politics does not exist out there, even with a massive machine already in place and ready to go, then we are dead in the water. Suppose we combined a well-oiled and paid machine with a call for union rights, climate change policies, Wall Street regulation, and immigration reform, just as a start. Is it really true that we could not generate any well-targeted energy behind those policies, using the existing network of contacts and voter mobilization mechanisms? God knows, it would be better than anything we have seen thus far in recent American politics.