There is plenty of hope for progress if we struggle as a people

Originally published on LatinoLA, Jan. 7,

The change in the White House and Congress is significant, important victories can be won

Just imagine if John McCain and Sara Palin had been elected. How many Confederate flags would there be sold on Jan. 20? How much damage will Bush do in the next two weeks, and his parasites planted throughout our government and courts do in the days after? The last eight years have been a nightmare. Not a bad dream, a real one. It is no illusion that on January 20 there will be change for the better, a change whose base must be consolidated, nurtured and expanded. It will be a day of celebration and new resolve in the struggles for justice and peace.

I think the focus should be on the progressive changes that can improve the correlation of forces. Obama proposes hundreds of billions for rebuilding and greening our infrastructure, increase the spending power and labor rights of the workers and people, instead of on militarism and financial manipulations, merits much more than critical support. They deserve strong support with constructive criticism in action. Change will not be automatic, it is not guaranteed by parliamentary procedure, but political, economic and spiritual struggle within the context of the democratic bases of our constitution. Que ruede la bola, lets get the ball rolling!

The biggest change, and possibilities for growth are among the people. The masses of trade unionists, youth, African Americans, Latinos, environmentalists, civil libertarians in every part of the country, from every strata of the people got involved like never before in spite of the media distortions. The people wanted change and did something about it in collective, organized ways. The wealth of common experience opens up opportunities for greater consensus building and unity in action, to overcome prejudices, dispel myths, greater confidence for building unity.

It was this activism that was the big difference in the election. This was people to people, neighbor to neighbor, cousin to cousin, not image to image, sound bite to sound bite. In the past too often corporate spending for negative ads resulted in smaller turnouts, suppressing the vote, not this time not the money. The election was won on Main St, Cesar Chavez and King Blvds, not Wall St., Madison or 5th Avenues. This is the basic promise for change and Obama's experiences, intelligence, dedication, sense of propriety and sanity opens many doors.

One of the reasons for my optimism is necessity. The political climate is global, problems cannot be solved in isolation, out of ignorance. Cooperation, honesty and truth are keys to survival and more and more of us indigenous to this planet know it.

Rosalio Munoz is a lifelong left activist who believes history is on the side of the people.