Originally posted in Crimethinc.

Excerpts from the full article:

You can bet if 400,000 people responded to climate change the way a couple thousand responded to the murder of Freddie Gray, the politicians would change their priorities.

Today’s demandless movements are not an expression of political immaturity—they are a pragmatic response to the impasse that characterizes the entire political system.

The problem is not that today’s movements lack demands; the problem is the politics of demands itself. If we seek structural change, we need to set our agenda outside the discourse of those who hold power, outside the framework of what their institutions can do. We need to stop presenting demands and start setting objectives.

Instead of making demands, let’s start setting objectives. The difference is that we set objectives on our own terms, at our own pace, as opportunities arise. They need not be framed within the logic of the ruling powers, and their realization does not depend upon the goodwill of the authorities. The essence of reformism is that even when you win something, you don’t retain control over it. We should be developing the power to act on our own terms, independent of the institutions we are taking on. This is a long-term project, and an urgent one.

In pursuing and achieving objectives, we develop the capacity to seek more and more ambitious goals. This stands in stark contrast to the way reformist movements tend to collapse when their demands are realized or shown to be unrealistic. Our movements will be stronger if they can accommodate a variety of objectives, so long as those do not openly conflict. When we understand each other’s objectives, it is possible to identify where it makes sense to cooperate, and where it doesn’t—a kind of clarity that does not result from lining up behind a lowest-common-denominator demand.

Read the full article here: http://www.crimethinc.com/texts/r/demands/