One thing that caught my eye in this article about the continuing protests in North Carolina against the spate of right-wing policies the Republicans are trying to sneak by in this demographically and culturally changing US state – the protesters are specifically saying about those protests that “This ain’t Wisconsin.”
I think that says quite a lot about what a significant failure the Wisconsin protests became, all because the protesters there wouldn’t organise to put their full weight behind a candidate for governor who could have unseated Scott Walker. In Wisconsin, the recall campaign wouldn’t put its money where its mouth was – yes to recalling the governor, but no to having a sufficient amount of responsibility to organise to replace him with someone specific. Scream bloody murder about Walker and then hope someone else is nice enough to give you an alternative, rather than creating one, that’s apparently how things work in Wisconsin. For that reason, the Wisconsin protests went the way of the Occupy protests, away from policy-relevance and towards mere anti-gummint politician-hating.
At least the North Carolina protesters are openly admitting that’s not what they want to happen with their protests. Good for them. Wisconsin went from being a reason for great hope to a big ass-kicking for progressives everywhere – and especially in Wisconsin, where Walker continues to reign.
But let’s see the North Carolinians create another model, then. It is not enough to make this all about the bad old Right and the terrible things _they_ are doing; this is about having a specific platform of things _we_ are for doing, targeted to solving the most important problems first, and specific about exactly what needs to be done about those problems.
As was the case in Wisconsin, the North Carolina protesters have the support of the North Carolina Democratic Party. Maybe in North Carolina people will have the sense to keep that alliance together, and maybe even to use the state party as a means of getting progressive people elected to the state house and the governorship.
I’d like to get my hopes up for the NC protests, but let’s put it this way – I’ve been burned before. Hope doesn’t come as easily the second time around.