[Marxism] Fwd: The (un)Democratic Primary: Why We Need a New Party of the 99%

Ralph Johansen mdriscollrj at charter.net
Thu Apr 21 13:00:35 MDT 2016

Louis Proyect wrote

By Kshama Sawant

“It’s time to break the rules. An aggressive independent campaign for president by Bernie Sanders, linked to building a new mass party for the 99%, could dramatically transform American politics.”
On the other hand, if Sanders drops out and endorses Clinton after the primaries, the Democratic Party will be free to tack right in the general election, relying on fear of the Republicans to keep their progressive base in line.
The stakes are simply too high to let this moment slip through our fingers. Capitalism is plunging humanity into a social and ecological catastrophe. Bernie’s campaign shows a viable fightback is possible. What’s missing is a strategy to sustain and grow our movement. Now is the time for bold action to build a fighting, working class political alternative – a party for the millions, not the millionaires.


Couldn’t agree more; it’s articulate, positive and assertive in all the right places. 

And/but this in my inbox:

“’Weaver was asked on Bloomberg News' "With All Due Respect" whether Sanders would still be a Democrat even if he lost the presidential nomination.

"Well, he is a Democrat. He’s said he’s a Democrat, and he’s gonna be supporting the Democratic nominee, whoever that is," Weaver responded.

And when asked if Sanders was now a "Democrat for life," Weaver said, "Yes, he is."’

So yes, he’s joining the lesser evil, as he said he would. He’s surrendering what leverage he has, among a younger, potentially radical base. He has Democratic Party caucus credibility to maintain, constituencies to be fed in VT, where he has attained and relishes 70% support. Although 74, he still wants to play the conventional game instead of going for it. After all, he’s presenting as a team-player in dissent, not a world revolutionary hero, as a reformist in a defensive not an offensive mode. 

However, only months ago he was a nonentity. He has gained recognition and support by raising issues of class struggle not presented elsewhere in a forum reaching millions, touching people where they live materially, exposing the rotten core of capital for those paying attention, and engendering a demonstration effect as to how many millions have become anti-system. For that reason alone, it has been worth it to me to volunteer in his phone bank, trying to spread that part of his message. I also experienced first hand what a whole lot of registered Democrats in different places think and feel – up and down the eastern seaboard. 

What happens next, barbarism if not socialism, should not surprise us. We are in a structural conjuncture, which capital perceives no route through, and delegitimation of the system is palpable. It’s palpable in the totally inadequate approaches being made in the face of climate collapse, global conflict, domestic dissolution, the open, heedless ravaging of the commons; and capital’s increasingly authoritarian, anti-democratic solutions. 

Kshama has said it well. The times are ripe for a mass movement toward socialism, clearly. 

I don’t see how the Bernie campaign has been necessarily counter-productive on balance, because there is so far nothing productive in process in the US to counter. Except for Kshama Sawant’s success locally, there is no visible incipient movement yet, nationally. Trade unions are still on the defensive, compromised and ineffectual, not prepared to or apparently able to take the offensive and act politically. The “industrial arm” of labor is nowhere near combining with the “political arm,” since that combination was outlawed in the post-war pact in which labor climbed under capital’s tent to labor’s erstwhile benefit, so long as consistent with capital’s profitability; and while stagnant profitability is the proximate cause of anti-labor, authoritarian neoliberalism globally, labor organization such as it is remains sectional not international. The divisions of labor are still deep and on the surface at least, immobile, while labor’s mobility as reflected in current mass migrations is still a divisive issue. There is so far no visible alignment of labor with the movement against climate change. The political process is, for the time being, sewn up by capital, despite mounting contradictions. 

Sanders has opened fissures through which to see, more than he has sewn disillusion. Disillusion is what has been there all along; he didn’t create it nor does he necessarily exacerbate it, since he announced to all paying attention a year ago that he would support the Democratic Party’s nominee. And while his trust rating rises nonetheless as his message is heard, the presumed nominee’s trust quotient is in the tank. 

If many people again follow Bernie over the cliff of lesser-evilism, that illustrates a still immature, deflected learning curve amid all the ingeniously devised factors producing cultural lag and blockage in learning from our collective history; not innate stupidity. While the yeast is alive, the bread is rising.

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