I’m not sure what part of “We’re a private organization that can pick its candidates in a smoke-filled back room if we want to” some folks didn’t get, but after the DNC used exactly that defense against a lawsuit brought by Bernie donors, you’d think everyone would have wised up and Demexited. Watching people kvetch all these years later about the unfairness of this second Biden coronation, even after
What an excellent example of the English language being used as a weapon against one's political enemies. Mark Twain and Winston Churchill would both love this column for that reason alone. Well done!
When it comes to people like Krystal Ball and Briahna Joy Gray, I know from personal experience that, for people who never looked into an empty refrigerator and felt that punch in the gut when they realized that there was no money to restock it until next Friday, poverty just isn't real to them.
I know because it wasn't real to ME until I was in my 20s. Once it was, though, it never left me. It is a lesson that the Reagan Administration taught me very well indeed.
It was also then that Marxism became more than just a theory I read about in college, but a tool I could use to at least understand what the hell was being done to myself and my family. Unlike me, Gray and Ball have never had the consequences of capitalism threaten their very existence.
The working class must always remain guardedly skeptical of such people. I know that because, had I not had some years in poverty and become working class myself, someone else could easily have been writing this same comment about the me who was never poor.
Kshama Swant and Socialist Alternative spent two election cycles supporting Bernie Sanders on the basis of wishful thinking that he would break with the Democrats or that his campaign would spawn an independent workers party. Democratic Socialists of America also buried itself in the Democratic Party. Socialist Alternative now advocates a non-electoral political strategy.
The working class has no party. There are propaganda groups which advocate the formation of a working class political party, including Socialist Alternative, but no working class party in the US.
Where to begin? Back in the 1990s, an organization called Labor Party Advocates campaigned for a labor party and held its first and only national conference of the Labor Party in 1996. There were affiliated labor unions, labor party advocate chapters, Troskyists, Stalinists, Social Democrats and others. It looked very promising. But by a slim majority, the LP adopted a non-electoral strategy. No LP endorsed candidates. Some of the union formations that gained control of the LP did not want to break with the Democrats. Except in New York City the LP withered on the vine. Socialist Alternative played a role in the leadership NYC chapter of the LP and helped the chapter grow almost to the point of meeting criteria for being allowed to field candidates. The national and regional LP organizations eventually killed the NYC chapter by sometime in 2001.
At the June 1996 LP Convention, Ralph Nader asked to be endorsed for president. He wanted to use his candidacy to build the Labor Party. The people in charge said No thank you. So Nader went to and got endorsement from two national Green organizations, one an electoral and the other nonelectoral, which endorsed him in 1996 and 2000. These Green Organizations merged, became the Green Party US and experience a huge growth in membership in 2000. With Nader on their ballot line, The GPUS achieved major party status in more than 20 states, and continued to grown in 2001.
At Nader's insistence, the Green organizations which endorsed him in 1996 agreed to adopt the Labor Party platform, "A call for economic justice." The Greens went from being an environmentalist party to a social democratized environmental party. A eco-socialist formation within the Green movement became more influential and the Greens attracted socialist groups and individual socialists.
A pro-Democratic Faction gained the upper hand in the factional struggle by 2004 and promoted a policy of urging a vote for Democrats in all states were there was a real or imagined contest between the Democrats and Republicans. The Green Party with Nader as presidential candidate focused more focused on class than racial and other identifies.
Much of the pro-Democratic wing of the Party exited the Green Party in 2008 and 2012 to work for the Obama campaign, many returning to the Green Party in non-presidential election years. The same pattern was repeated in 2016 and 2020. Bernie Sanders. In 2017, the Green exiters returned to the Green Party with social justice Democrats and Bernie Sanders supporters in tow. The Green became very reparations centric in 2017-2018. In 2020 the Green Party nominated Howie Hawkins for president, who was a believer in the Russia gate conspiracy theory, referred to Julian Assange as a Russian cut out. The Green Party was more securely on board with Covid 19 policies of the CDC and FDA than the Democratic Party, and was way ahead of the Democrats in advocating vaccine mandates, calling for 100% vaccination rates when the vaccination campaign was launched. That would require physically restraining and jabbing people against their will.
From 1976 to 2016 I voted for socialist or Green Party candidates on the ballot. In 2020 I didn't vote in the general election. I could not vote for Trump Deranged Greens and Socialists. Ditto in 2022. I rarely voted for Democratic Party candidate, such in 2004 when Keith Ellison was the only candidate for Minnesota's 5th Congressional District who called for the immediate, unconditional and unilateral withdawal of troops from Iraq. The Green Party candidate advocated the same stance as Ellison until the day after his endorsement, then supported the occupation. I responded by calling for removing the endorsement from the GP candidates and personally endorsed Ellison. The day after Ellison was sworn in as a Congressman, he supported the occupation of Iraq. He was part of a pro-occupation party.
Most of the left, including socialists are Trump Deranged lackeys of the Democratic Party, as far as I am concerned. Unless they get their collective heads out of the ass of the Democratic Party and begin to orient themselves to the working class as a whole, they can play no part in launching a working class party independent of the Democratic Party. That goes for Ksamma Swant and Socialist Alternative.
Kshama Swant was elected to the Seattle City Council prior to 2015 and reelected. Her electoral campaign and her Party supported a hike in the local minimum wage, and her electoral victory gave her a platform that strengthened the movement for a 15 dollar minimum wage. Socialist Alternative came close but failed to win city council seats in Minneapolis in 2013 and 2017. The philosphy of SA was to run a campaign to win, and after two consecutive losses stopped trying. SA was more interested in non-electoral struggles, especially union organizing and minimum wage campaigns.
I stood for election to the Minneapolis School Board 12 times, a city council seat once and for mayor once. I generally had little by way of money and volunteers. I ran for office as a policy advocate. In K12 schools I called for increasing retention rates for teachers during their 3 year, post hire probationary period, which was only about 25%, more or less to more than the state average of 70% via stronger protections against arbitrary dismissal, including administrative due process rights against unfair job evaluation, firings and the replacement of laid off probationary teachers with new hires, which amounted to arbitrary dismissal concealed as a layoff. These low retention policies translate to high turnover rates and high concentrations of probationary teachers in schools and in watered down curriculum tracks where black students were heavily concentrated. The objection to this change in policy was that it would increase operational costs, and this would require cuts in teacher pay. It actually drove up operating costs because of increased utilization of special Ed services and increased teacher training and recruitment cost. The argument that I had an anti-union agenda helped turn the teachers union leadership and most teachers against me. I advanced to the general election ballot 5 times in city wide school board elections, but never got elected. I had done some freelance news reporting for two local newspapers over a period of 5 years. After I advanced to the general election ballot for the first time in 2002, the newspaper editors told me that they could not run articles with my byline. The public schools and charter schools were major advertisers.
In my view, electoral campaigns provide a platform to advocate for changes in laws and public policy. That is reason enough to enter the electoral arena, even if you are up against an electoral machine, such as the Democratic and / or Republican Parties who are almost certain to win every election. The campaigns of token candidates allow a minor party to reach out to and recruit new members. The Democrats and Republicans have the support of a wealthy donor class, media assets and a patronage network that makes them nearly invincible in the electoral arena. However, I think it is a bad idea to not contest them in the electoral arena because you are unlikely to win. Electoral campaigns give you a potential audience to whom you can speak.
Today the ruling class has an enormous propaganda and censorship to manufacture consent to its policies. That is a sign of weakness. It is a sign that important policies are supported by a narrative based on lies. The increasing concentration of wealth in a few hands and widespread poverty increases class antagonisms poses a danger to the social and political order. When a critical mass of the population draws the necessary conclusions about the need for a working class party, a revolutionary crisis may not be long in coming. Efforts to organize a party of the working class via electoral and extra-electoral activities are already seen as a threat to the regime.
Your logic breaks down where you refer to America as hyper-capitalist. It’s not, and hasn’t been since 1913. A more accurate description would be hyper-fascist if you accept Mussolini’s definition.