Open thread for night owls: Would a nat’l Medicare-for-All march be a good use of activists’ time?

[ Originally published on this site as post ]

Ethan Young at Jacobin writes—What a Medicare March Could Do:

A waste of time, money, and energy. Boring. Ineffective.

These arguments against national protest marches appear whenever an organization calls for a major mobilization. On cue, they resurfaced following Dustin Guastella’s proposal in Jacobin for a national Medicare-for-All march.

The Left has deployed this tactic for the past one hundred years, and we should acknowledge that it doesn’t produce direct change.


The hundreds of thousands who descended on Washington in 1969 didn’t stop the Vietnam War. That happened six years later, when national liberation armies took Saigon. When a million people came to New York to demand a nuclear weapons freeze in 1982, the arms race didn’t end. January’s Women’s March has had no apparent impact on Donald Trump’s presidency.

No organization ever marched right to its goal, because that’s not what marches are for. National mobilizations do not produce results overnight. Instead, they reveal an idea’s influence, decisively changing the national conversation.

Consider, for example, the 1963 March on Washington. We remember it not only for Martin Luther King’s famous speech, but also for the national consensus around the Civil Rights Movement it forged. Until then, citizens debated the movement’s goals, and many felt it represented, at most, a Southern problem. The march broke through that.

Two years later, another march on Washington drew a smaller crowd, but it also changed the course of history. […]

The peace movement was just starting in the spring of 1965, but the single-payer movement has been growing steadily for decades. Unions as well as public — and, increasingly, private — health-care providers support it.

Most importantly, the Medicare-for-All movement unites the most people while casting a harsh light on the center-to-far right, which wants to deny Americans basic health-care coverage. A successful march could build off the growing feeling of resentment and change the political landscape.



“Currently, the wealthy who have no pre-existing conditions can afford high-quality health care, while the poor and sick are relegated to hoping for and negotiating whatever health care safety net might exist in their area. This neoliberal form of capitalism structuring health care in the United States has led to those with the highest burden of sickness being simultaneously those with the least access to care.” 
~Seth HolmesFresh Fruit, Broken Bodies: Migrant Farmworkers in the United States (2013)




At Daily Kos on this date in 2005Cheers and Jeers: Wednesday:


Wow.  Now that it’s safe to follow the herd, Chris Matthews goes out on a limb…

“If the war in Iraq was going better, we wouldn’t still be asking how we got into it. But it isn’t, so we are. For some, the deciding argument for going to war with Iraq was self-defense…it was nuclear. If Saddam Hussein had the bomb or was about to [get it], we had to stop him.  

How many times were we told the smoking gun would be a mushroom cloud? How many times did the vice president tell us that Iraq had a nuclear program?  Who can forget that the President himself used his State of the Union to warn of Saddam cutting a deal down in Africa? It was a smart, shrewd strategy…talking about mushroom clouds. It got people off the fence.  It carried the undecideds. It shut down the opposition. It got us into Iraq. But it was based on faulty, bogus evidence.

Two years ago, with our forces fully engaged in Iraq, the nuclear threat was long seen as inoperative. Now a former Ambassador [Joseph Wilson], who had been sent to Africa before the war looking for evidence of an Iraqi uranium deal, said he came back empty. But he wasn’t the first to try and knock down the nuclear argument.  Intelligence agencies had been doing that for months, just as unsuccessfully.

The larger scandal in this White House/CIA leak story is not just who leaked the name of an undercover agent, but whether we were given a case for war—the deciding factor for many of us—knowing that it didn’t hold water. As we work to find our way out of Iraq, we should focus a bit…on how we got in.”

On today’s Kagro in the Morning show: Mooch haz a sad that his disclosure has been disclosed. Trump panics the Pentagon. Who threatens chairs, alone or in pairs? Everyone knows it’s Zinke. Today’s procedural explainer: conference committees and how the Senate can get itself hoodwinked.

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