Flashback: Jesse Jackson 1988


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In a farmhouse, on a farm. With goats.
Here's an article from 20 years back that makes some points about how Jesse Jackson ran his campaign with decentralized people-power. Now that I think about it, I suppose Ron Paul is doing something similar this time around. If we are ever going to have serious change in the United States, I think decentralization of government in general and actually involving people in political processes at local and regional levels is going to be key.

New York Times said:
With less money to back up national campaign planning, the campaign is far more decentralized than its competitors. Many important decisions are being made by the community organizers, tenant group leaders, unionists or local political figures who form the Jackson organization state by state.

The advantage of this decentralization is exemplified by Alaska, where Mr. Jackson won the state's poorly attended caucuses even though the national campaign's investment was essentially a box of buttons mailed from the Chicago headquarters, said Eddie Wong, the national field director. The victory, which headquarters staff still can analyze only by general references to Mr. Jackson's popularity among Native Americans and unionists, was attributable to work by local organizers.


''Really it's the equivalent of guerrilla warfare,'' said Mr. Wong, a former tenant organizer in California before becoming Mr. Jackson's field director. ''We have to rely on the people who are our supporters to come up with whatever strategies they find are most appropriate.''

What got me googling Jesse Jackson's campaign was references made to it in Barbara Ehrenreich's 1988 essay "Automating Politics," which is equally as--if not much more--germane to the 2008 presidential "election" as the 1984 and 1988 ones. In it, she discusses the automating of the electoral process through voting machines to teevee campaign ads and beyond. She critiques Superdelegates and observes that, much to the elite's chagrin, "people introduce a dangerous element of uncertainty into the electoral process--no matter how thoroughly they have been polled by the pollsters or coached by the commercials."

Huh. I think I'll look into how I, as an actual person, can support that maverick Dennis Kucinich in his kooky bid for presidency, despite his increasing exclusion from the official electoral process. Whatever that is.
And here's a flash forward to now, 2008: Jesse Jackson interviewed by Tavis Smiley about the comparison and contrast of Jakson's run in 1988 and Obama's run in this election year.

As a side note, I find it interesting that Smiley and Jackson focus for a bit on what role millions of dollars play in securing delegates and election results. They don't talk about how this is possibly undemocratic or even odd. It's just there, up front, as a political reality.

AlterNet: Blogs: Election 2008: Rev. Jesse Jackson on What Has Changed Since His Presidential Run 20 Years Ago [VIDEO]