Clinton's welfare reform

Louis R Godena louisgodena at
Wed May 22 22:02:29 MDT 1996

Louis Proyect writes:

>..... The CP never endorses people like James Carter
>or William Clinton. They just call for stopping the fascist Republican

The CP, like other parties on the left, have consistently advocated a
diverse and flexible (some would say
opportunist) approach to political work.  They have supported progressive
Democrats in some races, while
running Communists or their allies in others.

In 1984, the CP all but endorsed a number of left Democrats for Congress
while running Gus Hall and Angela Davis at the top of the ticket against
Mondale and Ferraro.   This has been part of an announced strategy of
creating a more propitious political climate for the type of "Bill of Rights
Socialism" envisaged by the group around Hall and Jarvis Tyner.   1996 is
the first year (in ten) since I have been in the Party that I have witnessed
this kind of
drum-beating for the Democrats, though the theme of the "growing fascist
danger from the Right" has been a
familiar (and quite tenable) theme since at least 1984 and infamous Dallas
Republican Party Convention.

The history and the traditions of the CP naturally lends itself to this
strategy.  It has had both successes and
failures in pursuing the diverse strategies it has adopted (often
willy-nilly) over the years.   What is needed now, clearly, is a strategy
that goes beyond the self-limiting one that places most of the capital of
the workers in the decrepit basket of electoralism.   This requires, above
all, in addition to greater resources than perhaps any left party can
muster, a degree of political foresightedness, leadership and courage that
the left has not had for nearly half a century.

It is the peculiar failure of the left to effect a revolutionary
alternative to politics that is largely responsible for the alarming growth
of the Right in America, which is now all the go even among former allies
and sympathizers.
There is a milieu of ennui and demoralization that has fostered for many a
sort of perverse comfort in--even preference for--a capitalism in the
process of slow but inexorable decay.

It is against this backdrop, highlighted by the collapse of "communism" in
all but a handful of countries as well
as the recent ascendency of the Right as the seemingly only viable
"alternative" political force, that the actions
of parties like the CP need to be judged.   We live in an era suffused by
both revolutionary and counter-revolutionary tendencies.  To merely practice
electoralism--working as champions of the "lesser evil"--
will not work.  Neither will abandoning the electoral struggle altogether in
the name of some "higher" form of
amorphous "revolutionary" action.  Some combination of the two,
incorporating more traditional work among
trade unions, civil rights, and newer forms of political constituents, must
be found to reverse the trend to the
Right at all levels, and to reclaim the left's role in the vanguard of politics.

                           Louis Godena

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