Youth Activists Need to Think Outside the Ballot Box

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There’s been a lot of buzz recently around left-wing candidates running in — and winning — local races across the country. That’s particularly true now in Chicago, with the Sun-Times reporting that Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s re-election bid would be vulnerable to challenge from Chicago Teachers Union president Karen Lewis.

But, as I write in my column for The Chicago Bureau this week, redirecting funds and energy into the electoral process would carry serious opportunity costs for activists committed to movement-building.

This critical appraisal of electioneering won’t come as a surprise to longtime readers. During the 2010 midterms I argued that left-leaning voters shouldn’t reward the Democratic Party for its staunch support of war and corporate welfare. I made a similar case during the 2012 presidential campaign, when I advanced a moral argument for electoral abstention.

My new piece for the Bureau expands on these themes by offering a more tactical critique of electoral campaigns, especially how they divert needed resources from front-line activists and foreclose more radical possibilities. Check it out here.

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