After the Election, Then What?

by Joel Olson

Is Bush the worst president ever? Arguably. But in the long run, does it really matter?

The problem is not the person but the system. No matter whether Bush, Kerry, or Nader wins, people will still be fired by their bosses, parents will still struggle to feed their children, cops will still racially profile kids with baggy pants, Iraqis will still die, teachers will still teach the same crap they did last year, and poor kids will still get suckered into joining the Army. Is this any kind of world to vote for?

Maybe you agree. Maybe you hate Bush and the Republicans and maybe you hate this entire rotten society of sweatshops, stock markets, banks, prisons, bosses, thieves, cops, bureaucrats, racists, homophobes, warmongers, and “grief counselors.” Maybe you’re angry at a society that talks about liberty and justice for all but only seems able to give it to a few people from the “proper” class, gender, or race.
If you are, we should talk.

Bring the Ruckus is an organization that develops political theory and practice that we hope will, in some small way, help lead to a truly free society. We believe that the struggle for freedom and justice doesn’t take place by voting for one party instead of the other. It happens when ordinary people join together to challenge the system from the outside rather than trying to reform it from within. Only a radical politics that gets to the root of the problems we face can bring about the new world we seek.

The root of these problems is capitalism. Unfortunately, both the Democrats and the Republicans are for it. But we’re not. We want to do away with the whole rotten system and replace it with one in which all people have an equal say in those affairs that affect their daily life, including the economy.

Lots of Marxist and anarchist groups have a similar critique of capitalism. But we don’t pretend to be the “vanguard party” that will lead “the masses” to revolution (whether they like it or not). Further, we don’t believe a new society will spontaneously emerge just by fighting the cops or going vegetarian. We believe that change comes from ordinary people themselves, and that our task as conscious revolutionaries is to help develop the radical tendencies that already exist within American society.

We also believe that the secret to destroying capitalism is by fighting the racial privileges that whites have traditionally enjoyed in this society (such as better treatment by the police, better access to education and job opportunities, better housing and health care, etc.). White privilege is the key obstacle preventing a large movement for a free society because whites historically have preferred to accept racial privileges from elites rather than fight alongside people of color to create a society without elites.

For this reason, Bring the Ruckus believes that the central political task of today is to destroy white privilege, which is the glue that holds American capitalism together. Two of the main ways we do this is by working against the police and the prison system. These institutions are strongholds of racial privilege and racial oppression. By fighting to abolish them, we believe we do far more toward creating a free society than any election ever will.

So if this election doesn’t bring about the kind of world you want to live in, get in touch.

We have chapters or members in New York City, D.C., Massachusetts, Atlanta, Phoenix, Flagstaff, Los Angeles, Portland, and London and we’re always looking for more.

Joel Olson is a member of Bring the Ruckus