Maybe part of it is because Jorge Mújica is being advertised as running for “Alderman,” and nobody knows what the heck that is. It’s a position which essentially combines a seat on City Council with being a Borough President, or local Ward executive. Point is, Mújica is a socialist running for city council, and it should be just as big a deal as when Sawant was running.
But for some reason, it isn’t being treated that way.
Sawant was the beginning of a new trend, of the socialist Left entering the electoral arena. More groups and people are running now. However there is another step to be taken — instead of groups simply running, they could be pooling resources and running collaboratively in an electoral front. If Sawant signaled the beginning of our electoral entrance in general, Mújica signals the beginning of united electoral campaigns. And yet, despite being such a dramatic step forward, he’s just not getting the attention he deserves.
Why precisely there is not an organization-wide buzz about Mújica in the groups that are part of it is curious. When Sawant was running, it’s like every single member of Socialist Alternative was talking about it. I don’t know how that happened – if there was a conscious effort to push every member to promote it, or if it was just a wave of enthusiasm. I wish the involved groups like the ISO, Solidarity, Socialist Alternative, and anyone I’m missing would treat the Mújica campaign the same way.
But this is not just some gripe about what groups I’m not a member of should be doing. Every socialist should be pumping Mújica – group members, independents, and especially the socialists who believe in cross-tendency efforts! Any time a hardcore socialist like Sawant or Mújica or Spear or Angela Walker is running not just for office, but a potentially winnable office, it should be all over social media, it should be talked about in our local meetings, it should be a huge buzz.
It doesn’t matter if they’re not in your group. It doesn’t matter if they’re not in your locale. It doesn’t matter if they’re not ideologically perfect. Everyone should be endorsing. Everyone should be mentioning. Everyone should be holding a local fundraising event, maybe a house party. Everyone should be thinking, theorizing, discussing, debating about it, maybe a local study group on socialists in elections, or a study group on attempts at creating socialist electoral fronts in recent and distant history. Most importantly, everyone should be looking to imitate.
I personally haven’t seen the Mújica buzz yet. Not to my satisfaction, at least. I think he signals something new. I fear that this “something new” may be strangled in its cradle, not by condemnation, but by silence; not by opposition, but by abandonment and neglect. Evil prevails when good people do nothing.
So let’s make some noise for Mújica (and Walker, and Spear, and anyone I’m missing). This noise should be collective, institutions should be taking it up. In the meantime, I guess we’ll make noise individually. And in the meantime, make a material difference by donating.
(PS: pro-tip – type “Alt+0250” for the accented “u” in “Mújica”)
(PPS: I put my money where my mouth is immediately after posting by donating again myself)
(PPPS: before anyone gets cranky yes I also donated to Spear)