|Eugene Debs. Leader of the US Socialist Party who fought to build a workers party early in the last century.|
There have been some discussions on some lists recently on the need to have what is termed a "third party." And why there is not a "third Party". I do not think this is a helpful term. It creates confusion. Here is what I wrote on another list as to why US politics is dominated by the two main capitalist parties, the Democrats and Republicans, why this is coming to an end, and what should be posed as an alternative, rather than some sort of vague "third party."
I wrote: I think there are a few reasons for US imperialism being dominated by the two main capitalist parties, the two main parties of the capitalist class. It is not a question of the number of parties that exist, it is a question of class, which class which party or parties represent. And the balance of class forces between the classes, the working class and the capitalist class.
US imperialism originally looted the North American land mass and most of the rest of the planet. The loot they accumulated gave them great resources. Their ability to loot North America and most of the rest of the planet allowed them to buy off sections of their own working class. At the same time when big class struggles would develop on many occasions the working class could move west into territory which had been depopulated through the genocide of the Native American people. On top of this US capitalism lived of the unpaid labor of the African American slave population for 300 years. US imperialism could therefore afford guns and butter. The thing to see now is that this balance of forces has changed. US imperialism cannot any longer afford the weaponry to loot the rest of the world and at the same time buy off the US working class. It can no longer afford guns and butter.
That is what has been taking place over the last decades. The US capitalist class has been reducing the living standards of the US working class so they can try and continue to afford to dominate the rest of the world. They are trying to take away the butter. This assault on the US working class will force the working class to fight. As Marx said there are times when the revolution needs the whip of the counter revolution. Given the cowardly pro capitalist role of the US union leaders this is one of these times. The whip of the US capitalist counter revolution will force the US working class to fight and will bring about a mass US workers party. The issue then will be will that party have a program and leadership that can end capitalism. To end, I do not think that it is useful to talk about this issue as having a third party. The issue is not to have a third party. The issue is to have a mass party of the united working class which can challenge and end capitalism.