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Mobilizing Public Opinion

Quote of the week: Alicia Garza

Sina Odugbemi's picture

“Movements are destroyed by conflicts over money, power, and credit. We have to take seriously the impact of not being able to have principled disagreement, or we’re not going to be around very long.”

Alicia Garza, an African-American activist, a labor organizer, and writer who lives in Oakland, California. She is one of the founders of the Black Lives Matter movement, and also works as the Director of Special Projects at the National Domestic Workers Alliance. She has organized around the issues of health, student services and rights, rights for domestic workers, ending police brutality, anti-racism, and violence against and gender non-conforming people of color.
 

Should Real Leaders Ignore Public Opinion?

Sina Odugbemi's picture

Many policy entrepreneurs and technocrats waving sundry blueprints dislike uncooperative public opinion. Sometimes the dislike is intense. But since you cannot go around insulting mass publics on television what they do is turn on leaders and they ask these leaders to show true leadership by ignoring public opinion…or transforming it with a feat of oratory.

We have at least two instances playing out right now. First, we have deficit slashing, austerity zealotry running amok. In country after country, governments are being asked by experts to slash budgets no matter who is hurt (but, naturally, common people bear the brunt of the hurt).  Unelected prime ministers are being used to push through painful budget cuts and then the establishment is surprised when people refuse to vote for these technocratic ‘saviors’. And we get the reaction: ‘What is wrong with the people of that country?’