I've got a new piece up at Blue Nation Review on how "revolution" means different things to different Democratic voters, and why incrementalism isn't incompatible with the notion of revolution:
On the Democratic side of the aisle, there is a particular disagreement about "revolution"—how it's defined and how it's best enacted—that has come to be framed as those who want revolution (generally Sanders supporters) and those who don't want revolution (generally Clinton supporters).This piece was a long time in the
But that is a false dichotomy, one that unnecessarily segments progressive voters in ways that could be detrimental to our common interests; a misleading division born of and facilitated by a profound misunderstanding of why some Democratic voters, eager for change, may quite reasonably embrace a more measured and incrementalist approach.
...The prospect of revolution, and the notions of monumental, sudden, chaotic change it conjures, can be utterly unappealing to people desperately longing for comfort and stability.
This is an idea with roots in black anti-poverty activism, whose activists have detailed that, for many people living on the precipice, the idea of revolution can be nothing short of terrifying. People struggling to find money to keep themselves fed may be justifiably wary of the consequences of economic tumult for those already in financially precarious circumstances. People whose communities are under constant assault from police, corporations, and gentrifiers may be justifiably anxious about the prospect of further civil turmoil.
Like black communities, other marginalized communities may have members who regard the specter of revolution with fear and suspicion. And with good reason: Revolution is not always kind to vulnerable people.
At least not the kind of tumultuous, upending revolution being proposed by people who don't view Clinton's incrementalist, within-the-system approach as deserving of being called a revolution at all.
But how we view revolution often has a lot of do with from where we come.