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A better educated and informed electorate, yes, presuming that by "educated" you don't have schooling in mind, and by "informed" you don't have media in mind.

The early Labour Party and the New Deal coalition were both built by the efforts of millions of rather poorly schooled folks - union workers and their allies.  They didn't need a high school education, let alone a college degree, to get the basic message of solidarity, or to see how workplace organization and political agitation could have really effects.  That's not the kind of stuff you learn in school, it's the kind of stuff you learn by living it and doing it.  My own brief experience with a labor union, working in grievance and then being involved in contract negotiation, taught me more about politics and organizing than any amount of classes could have ever imparted.

I know a lot of people really mean well when they talk about educating the electorate and all, but too many people seem to think that sitting in school can accomplish all kinds of things that it really can't - and that nobody should ask of it.  You don't teach activism in a classroom.  The lived experience of being in a relatively fair and somewhat meritocratic environment for much of one's formative years makes it all the harder to wake up a lot of young people to the oppressive and unfair nature of society - no matter what they read, remember, and regurgitate.

Likewise, you don't create activists by informing people.  A big problem with the left is that there are too many people like me - people with their hearts and their minds in the right place, but who won't get off their asses and fight.

Social connections to activist movements, regular engagement with the political process, and community involvement are the key.  Sadly, these are what are most lacking in the modern world, and are what are hardest to reconstruct, given the normalization and idolization of the unfettered and atomized individual, and the disconnected nuclear family.

by Zwackus on Thu Jan 31st, 2013 at 08:57:55 PM EST
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