[Marxism] Socialist electoralism: from spectating to participation | spreadtheinfestation

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Mon May 5 13:55:21 MDT 2014

If we are following Socialist Alternative’s original vision of a hundred 
Sawants – or preferably, a thousand Sawants – by encouraging people to 
run for office, then we need to understand that it’s going to be utter 
chaos.  Some people will run and have no idea what they’re doing. 
Others will run with somewhat bizarre platforms that maybe we don’t 
entirely like, or want to be associated with.  Still others may run in 
small-town, suburban conditions which we don’t know much about.  Some 
will run with the support of various socialist groups, others will have 
to build their support entirely on their own.  Every attempt is both an 
opportunity and a danger – if people have a tough time and we leave them 
in the dark, they’ll just burn out and wander away more cynical than 
they started.  But in trying, people learn.

So not only are we at the historical stage where we should be 
encouraging everyone and their brother to make electoral attempts, but 
we should also be connecting with them, and connecting them with others. 
  This way people are sharing information about how to do it 
successfully.   They are helping stabilize each other’s emotional swings 
(“this is awesome!,” “this is pointless!”) into a steady consciousness 
that they are part of a larger movement that is trying to make things 
work, and learning through trial by error…

…lots of error.  But if those errors are part of a larger movement, and 
a collective learning process, they are not discouraging.  They are the 
building blocks to getting where we eventually want to go – a mass party 
that can wreak serious havoc on capitalist business as usual.


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