Tuesday, February 17, 2009


Power - a topic many people try to avoid. It is a topic we need to take head on. We've seen what happens when people with opposite values have control. Loss of freedoms, environment, and life. What we want are more freedoms, a poison-free environment, healthy communities, strong schools, meaningful jobs, and a more caring society.

That's why La Raza Unida is going beyond rhetoric and protest - not without these. We are encompassing protest, organizing, voter registration and running for office because we need at minimum some cooperation with these different strategies if not coordination. To get to where the good things in life are not just for some but for all we will need to use our whole spectrum of tools and skills.

So we're going to organize, not just for the process but to win. Only by some actual wins will we be able to move our communities to healthier, stronger and safer places. We need power to make the changes in the world that we demand when we protest.

Power is the ability to do something. To move a box across a room, to move a person out of a burning building, or to move politics to a positive level. Doing nothing will allow others to move their agenda forward. At minimum we can keep things from getting worse. Our goal is to make things better, in a very concrete and serious way.

Harry Shearer has a great quote - "If absolute power corrupts absolutely, does absolute powerlessness make you pure?"

Each Raza Unida registered voter and each Raza Unida supporter needs to consider running for office. It is comforting to be outside of the system and critique it. It is much more humbling to think about how we would do things differently. We're not going to learn everything we need to know about creating a new world from the outside. We need giant waves of new leadership at all levels.

And all of that new leadership needs support. We have to do more than elect new progressives and leave them hanging there. We need to help them move in good directions. We need to hold them accountable to all of us. We need to make it easier to do the right things.

That's why La Raza Unida is organizing, advocating, and doing voter registration. In order for Raza Unida members to consider running for office there needs to be an LRU voter base. In order for our advocacy efforts to have any impact we need to have numbers. And for many decision makers their choices are influenced by money or votes. We can gather lots of votes and a bit of money. That gives us potential power.

That potential needs to be harnessed and used. Organizing is our best tool. It will be mostly mobilizing at first and slowly we will build more and more relationships. Then we can be organized. We start with 100 new voters. Then we continue to build. It may take years before we are "on the map." If we don't move, then things have nothing to do but stay the same or get worse. Even with a new president, things will not get better without lots of work.

Like muscles we will need to build strength and endurance. We will need to do lots of light things for endurance. And we will need to do some heavy lifting for strength. And like anything else, the more hands involved the load will feel lighter.

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