[Marxism] Latinos sank the Republicans in the mid-term elections

Joaquin Bustelo jbustelo at bellsouth.net
Wed Nov 8 12:25:34 MST 2006

Rossi writes, "you have no viable reinforcement mechanism for what is a
fine-sounding threat.  In reality, it's no more realistic than the Labor
Party or the Socialist Workers Party campaigns, and won't be unless the
two-party hegemony is broken." 

It's striking to me how completely, thoroughly, and at times like this it
seems hopelessly miseducated the entire Trotskyist-descended left is around
electoral questions.

Folks, it's not really TRUE that the problem is that "the movement" votes
for Democrats. The problem is that THERE IS NO MOVEMENT. 

There is no basis for political independence. I don't mean ideological
arguments about Mumia nor Lyndon Johnson and so on. There is no MATERIAL
basis for it, there is no movement.

Neither the Black nor Chicano movements of the 1960's and 1970's proved to
be a sufficient material foundation for an ongoing independent political
party. There were efforts made, there was motion in that direction, there
were some initial successes but in the end, without much stronger social
forces in the fray, these efforts proved to be unsustainable.

There is now the beginning of a new movement of the Latino community. There
is also, despite everything, and against all odds, the cohered reality of
the African-American nation, which has quite clear and distinct expression
in politics albeit within the Democratic party but no real movement at this
point. Even though there's tons of motion there, it's all brownian, random,
atomized. The surprising thing is that Black folks retain their coherence as
a people, and distinct political expression, despite this having to take
place within the Democrats for now. 

We view it as a contradiction but from a ruling class point of view that is
ALSO true. That's why someone like Cynthia McKinney, who gives fuller
expression to the real interests of the community, is repeatedly targetted.
And part of that is when she came to speak to a Latino group in Atlanta a
couple of years ago, her message was essentially, don't make the mistake we
Blacks made by giving yourselves to the Democrats. 

I think the evidence is accumulating that even an effort based among white
progressives/radicals, the Green Party, also doesn't have quite enough of a
social base to be viable outside a few enclaves, and that no one has figured
out how to make a real link up with the Black and Latino communities, so
that the could become a base for the party.

An independent political expression against the Democrats and Republicans
cannot be "built" from correct ideas or a correct program. It has to emerge
from actual social movements, and the experiences of people in those
movements, and movements with sufficient social and political heft to make
the independent party or formation viable electorally in some sense at some

This is where the question I raised in some earlier posts, whether there can
be a class movement under the conditions that prevail in the United States,
is an important one. Or to put it dynamically and positively rather that in
such abstract terms, the white radicals and progressives in the United
States need to figure out how to subordinate themselves and re-enforce the
motion in the nationally oppressed communities, because that's the only
place where you have both sufficient social ferment and
political/social/economic heft to move U.S. society off dead center. IF a
class movement is POSSIBLE in the U.S., then almost certainly it will be
detonated or evoked by the struggles of nationally oppressed peoples.

That's the real road to political independence, not preaching at Latinos
that they shouldn't have punished the Republicans or at Blacks that they
shouldn't vote for the Blackest candidates they can find even if they're

And, since you missed it, the message of ny "threat" to the politiqueros
wasn't really aimed at them at all, but at the community, because there's a
bunch of folks who will want us to cool it and that's precisely the wrong
thing to do.


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