Liberal liberation

Chris Kok

Liberals claim they are for liberation. Yet these claims ring hollow. Instead of supporting true liberation, liberals support top-down hierarchies that continue to oppress people.

If you want to see this in action, attend a College Democrats meeting. From what I have seen, it seems they take their orders from the Democratic National Committee. They are told what candidates they should support and how they should support the candidates. It seems there is no input from the members. These orders from the DNC are passed to the leadership of the College Democrats, and from there, to the members. This is not liberation: This is authoritarianism.

College Democrats aren’t the only ones. This summer I experienced this situation while working for two liberal organizations – re:organize and Ohio Public Interest Research Group.

Ohio PIRG focuses on environmental and consumer-rights issues. The organization claims that one of its strategies is grassroots organizing. My job was to go door-to-door asking for donations. I was told where to go, what to say and how much money I was supposed to raise. To continue working there, I had to receive $425 per week in donations. Of that, only $125 went to the organization.

My job was not to educate people about environmental issues or to persuade them to get involved, but rather to squeeze as much money out of them as possible. I had no say in how the job was done. Ultimately, the grassroots organizing was ignored. Apparently the only input Ohio PIRG wanted was in cash.

Re:organize was different from Ohio PIRG, but it still wasn’t liberation. For this campaign I collected signatures for ballot initiatives. Although with re:organize I had the freedom to say what I wanted to, it was still very top down and shady.

The main petition was about Ohio Learn and Earn, which will create a scholarship fund for high school students by taxing revenue from new slot machines. A lot of the monetary backing for this petition came from the gaming industry in Ohio. Under liberalism, the only ballot initiatives to receive the support necessary for a ballot campaign are ones in which a profit can be made.

Although I am not opposed to gambling, I see it as an easy out rather than a true solution. I would have preferred to do a petition demanding that the Ohio General Assembly spend more money on education, rather than attaching it to the issue of slot machines. What is worse is that I was told to try to ignore the slot machines while collecting signatures. Although I did not lie, I was told not to tell the full truth. This is not liberation.

What these liberal groups were looking for was a continued top-down hierarchy, where they were the leaders, and my co-workers and I were the peons. Real liberation requires that everyone have an equal say in issues. That is the basic idea of democracy: power of the people. These liberal groups do not want the masses to have power; they only want a small elite to exercise control. Radical changes to the structure of power are needed for real liberation to exist.

Chris Kok is a senior political science major and columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected].