I knocked myself out volunteering for great candidates in the Spring elections (and knocked myself out again celebrating Nikki Conklin kicking Paul Skidmore’s ass out of office). But I’m not sure how to continue to push city politics to the left outside of election season. I voted. It’s over. Now what?
Wanna Keep Up Pressure
We can all rejoice that professional copagandist Paul Skidmore is out of office! As we celebrate, we acknowledge that the victories of DSA-backed candidates Ben Heili, Yannette Figueroa Cole, Nikki Conklin, and Brian Benford are not enough to suddenly usher in a socialist future. In a previous column, we noted that, “Elections can be a useful tool, but capitalism wasn’t voted in and socialism won’t be either.”
We must organize collectively outside of election cycles to build a truly democratic society. That work includes putting pressure on elected officials so that they make decisions that meet the needs of the working class, instead of simply serving capital, even when an election is not looming. We can see the impact of these decisions most tangibly in local politics. Think about issues like housing, transit, and policing: our city alders and mayor are regularly exercising their power as elected city officials to impact these issues. How we intervene to observe and affect their actions is where the collective organizing comes in.
None of us can effectively challenge existing oppressive power structures standing alone. However, we have significant power as an organized front. So what does that mean for you, WaKeUP, and every other person who volunteered for great socialist candidates this spring? It means we’ve got to involve ourselves with a movement and/or an organization that shares our values and our goals. For us commies, that means we want to abolish capitalism and the oppressive systems that prop it up. We work together to achieve these goals by prioritizing strategies and realizing real solutions.
Join a socialist organization (like Madison Area DSA) and give your time and skills to the organizing that is already happening around issues like tenants rights, prison and police abolition, electoralism, labor rights, gender-based oppression, environmental justice, and the ongoing analysis of state and local politics in the swirl of current events.
I find that I am most hopeful about the possibility of a bright future when I approach issues, brainstorm solutions, and take action alongside my comrades in Madison Area DSA. I also find hope when I support and show up for organizations like Freedom Inc. and Free the 350 Bail Fund. These organizations in our community, among others, have clear visions for the future and take intentional action to address the harms of and dismantle white supremacy and racial capitalism.
We must involve ourselves in the work of creating a better world, we know only limited change will come of the ballot box and groups like the ones stated above work both to immediately improve working class people’s lives while also building towards a different future. If we hope to build the power it takes to realize a better Madison, we must act in solidarity with all struggles.
It is essential that we recognize the strength and power that comes from building relationships with the people in our lives: our neighbors, peers, co-workers, fellow tenants, and so on. If we want to push Madison left, we need to be aware of the struggles of those around us, intentionally advocate for our communities, and invite everyone to join in the organized struggle.
In Struggle, Your Local Commie