Friday, June 17, 2005

Terminating Arnold

Here is an account of actions against Governor Schwarzenegger during a recent visit to Santa Monica College, which is not far from where we live.

Arnold was elected in a bizarre recall election that targetted a much-loathed (and deservedly so) Democratic governor. Arnold positioned himself as a moderate Republican, but has since proven to be anything but moderate. His approval ratings, once sky-high, are now in the toilet, and he has even stooped to doing things like praising the vicious anti-immigrant Minuteman Project to gain points with conservative white voters -- something even Bush has distanced himself from. Arnold has called a special election for the fall, despite the fact that there is scheduled to be a regular election in June 2006, to try and ram through a number of right-wing measures by ballot initiative because he can't get them passed by the Democrat-controlled legislature.

It's always hard in this kind of struggle to know when you are justifiably standing up to a right-wing thug and working for limited but important reforms -- important because they impact real lives of real people -- and when you are being sucked into the swamp of electoral politics-as-spectacle. I suppose, often enough, both are true at once.

Anyway, it's still nice to see resistance of this sort, however symbollic it is on its own. As the article describing the action concludes:

E.P. Thompson talked about how early English workers got satisfaction simply by “tugging the chain” of the ruling class – pissing them off, humiliating them, shaming them, giving them a tiny piece of the banal humiliations of daily life their privilege rests upon.

I’m sure when people saw what we did on local news, and on CNN that night and the next day, there were a lot of smiles around the country and even around the world.

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