- AFSCME Local 444 negotiations assesment 1997
- Preparing for Revolution: A discussion document
- The Internal lives of Revolutionary Organizations
- Socialist Alternative members: Questions and Answers
- Sanders: Our Alternative
- The Nature of the New European Left
- Catastrophic Climate Change: Caused by Capitalism
- University of California workers and Unions
- An Invitation to Our Readers
Sunday, July 31, 2016
To former Sanders' supporters: Who to vote for? What to do?
As the authors of this Blog predicted many months ago, Sanders would support Clinton. We said when this happened there would be a break in the Sanders' movement and there would be many people looking for where to go to carry on their struggle. This has come to pass. These are our thoughts on this issue and what activists should do today.
We strongly oppose voting or working for any of the capitalist candidates Clinton, Trump or the Libertarian slate. All of these represent the interest of the US capitalist class and oppose the interests of the US working class. This position is contested by many who say yes we agree with this but Trump is worse than Clinton. Look what he will do to the Supreme Court, he might lose it and start a nuclear war, he would also be worse against the rights of women and minorities. There is truth in these points. But not the whole truth nor the most important truth. The most important truth is that it will only be a mass militant, enraged movement on the streets and workplaces and schools and colleges that will block the policies of capitalism whatever capitalist politician is elected. It will not be the numbers of votes cast nor who is in the White House. This is the essential truth. This is what has to determine our actions. What approach will best build such a movement. This is the question?
The most important truth is this: US capitalism is headed for a new and worse economic crisis than 2008. Along with this US capitalism is bogged down in wars from which it cannot extract itself. And along with this it can no longer afford to maintain its huge military machine with which it dominates the world and at the same time allow its own working class to maintain the living standards to which it has been accustomed. The result is that US capitalism will increasingly step up its attack on the living standards of the US working class to try and maintain its world domination. As it does so minorities will be particularly targeted as US capitalism uses repression and divide and rule and racism and sexism to weaken the US working class. This will be the case under either Trump or Clinton.
So what should the tens and tens of thousands of former Sanders people do? What should the hundreds of thousands of people who are disillusioned with the two main parties, the hundreds of thousands of people who do not vote, have not voted for years, what should they do? We in our Blog, although it has been more successful than we imagined, can only reach a small number of these people. So here is what we say.
First we have to recognize how change major in society comes about. It does not come about through elections. It comes about through major mass direct action struggles such as the union struggles in the 1930's and the Black and women's struggles in the 1950's and the 1960's. So the task is to build movements of struggle which use mass direct action to achieve their ends. Movements such as the Occupy Movement which changed consciousness putting the idea of the 1% front and center. Movements such as Black Lives Matter which has put racism and police brutality front and center. So first and foremost the task is to build mass movements of direct action struggle to take on the attacks which are part of the capitalist offensive against the working class and the minorities.
Sanders speaks about carrying on his "struggle" in purely electoral terms. This is a mistake. It reflects his commitment to capitalism and electoral and capitalist politics. It will fail. It will lead to only more disillusionment. The task is to build a mass direct action movement against the attacks of the capitalist offensive with roots in the workplaces, the rank and file of the trade unions, the communities and schools and colleges. Then pull these movements together into a united front network which would carry out mass direct action against the capitalist offensive. There are also allies in the small community based businesses that would join this movement.
The trade unions have over 12 million members in the US. These 12 million workers could bring the country to a halt, they could determine the policies of the country. They could build a mass workers party, they could organize mass direct action for a better life for all which would defeat the capitalist offensive.
But the leaders of this movement are committed to the capitalist system and to the Democratic Party. They will not lead such a movement. In fact they will do, they are doing, all they can to block such a movement. But this does not mean the trade unions should be ignored. The mass direct action movement/network should put down roots in the rank and file of the unions and the workplaces. These should organize to oppose the pro capitalist policies of the leaders and remove these leaders from office and replace them with leaders who are prepared to fight. If this is done these leaders will feel their positions threatened and splits will develop among them with some coming over at least temporarily to fight for the working class and with some clinging on to their pro capitalist position.
As such splits develop, if independent fighting oppositions are being built in the rank and file and in the workplaces, then a new leadership can be built which can fight and lead and as this would develop, tens of millions of new members would be drawn into the unions. On this basis a mass movement of tens of millions can take on and drive back whatever capitalist government, Clinton or Trump, that would be in power. This is the way to go forward.
As this is done there is the issue of who to vote for and what political work to do in the meantime. This Blog wishes to challenge the conservatism of the leadership of the Green Party and of most of the population of the US. Change is absolutely definite in this country. It is already taking place. It is only a question of time as to when this will explode on a massive basis changing the country in the most unrecognizable manner. This will happen. Look at the huge numbers who are discontented with both main capitalist parties. They are unprecedented. There is a powerful opening for an alternative.
The main problem is that the leadership of the Green Party do not understand this. They cannot see the big picture. They cannot see such events as in Europe where the new left leader of the British labor Party has been put into his position with up to 300,000 new members joining that party. New left parties have grown from nothing to up to 30% of the vote in a couple of years. Examples are in Greece and Spain. We strongly advocate that the Green Party leaders in the US stop making welcoming gestures to people like Sanders and instead stand alone and hold their and the Party's hand out to the hundreds of thousands who supported Sanders and to the millions who have not voted for decades.
If the leaders of the Green Party took these steps then a major new political movement could be built in record speed. Look at how quick the Sanders movement developed. A movement so sizable and powerful could be built in months, a movement so powerful that even if it did not win the Presidency or a majority in congress, would be seen as such a threat that it would force whatever major capitalist party was in power to retreat from its right wing policies.
To keep as many of the former Sanders movement together as possible, to involve as many of those previously not involved in political struggle as possible, we advocate that those who are opposed with the status quo, we advocate to those who want to oppose capitalism to join the Green Party. It is not the ideal situation but it is the best option at this time. The Green Party is not a Workers Party. Nor is it a Bourgeois Party. The trade union leaders could build a workers party if they mobilized their resources but their right wing policies prevent this happening for the moment and it will not happen before November. Therefore we advocate joining the Green Party. As we say it is not a Workers Party. Its class character has not yet been defined.
But it is the Party most taking up the threatening catastrophe of climate change, it has recently added an anti capitalist plank to its program, it is discussing adding an eco-socialist plank also. And it has been gaining support. So given the present overall background we advocate that all who are disappointed with Sander's role and all who are looking for an alternative, and all who have not been involved in political action for decades but who want an alternative to the capitalist parties should join the Green Party. We advocate the leaders of the Green party should lead on this basis.
But we do not leave it there. We also advocate and are active to the extent our resources allow in seeking to build within the Green Party, in a non sectarian way a left socialist current. This would advocate the following three points.
1. Turn the Green Party into an eco socialist party that would base itself on the collective ownership of the dominant corporations which dominate the world economic, military and environmental policies and with these corporations collectively owned draw up an international sustainable plan of production distribution and exchange.
2. Transform the Green Party into a Workers Party which would have its roots in and represent the interests of the working class and the indigenous peoples and the rural poor and which would organize to end capitalism and in so doing learn the lessons of history: that capitalism will not give up its power without a struggle.
3. Change the internal life of the Green Party from its undemocratic so called consensus method to a democratic method where decisions are made on the basis of majority opinion with minority opinions always having the right to be heard. Only in this way can the Green Party become a living breathing organism which would have the power and flexibility to take on and end capitalism.