[Marxism] Fwd: Socialists and the electoral arena: in response to Sophia Burns

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Tue Aug 30 09:42:17 MDT 2016

The first two paragraphs of Sophia Burns’s article struck a chord with 
me, especially the reference to mass demonstrations as a way of raising 
political consciousness and as an alternative to the dreary election 
cycles we endure every four years when the bourgeoisie gets to pick its 
next White House puppet. We may have the right to vote but not the right 
to decide policy. We pull the lever and they pull the strings. I learned 
that in 1965 with my first and last vote for a Democrat who had assured 
voters that “we are not about to send American boys 9 or 10,000 miles 
away from home to do what Asian boys ought to be doing for themselves.”

Within two years I had joined the Socialist Workers Party and threw 
myself into building mass demonstrations against the war in Vietnam, a 
major focus of the group. What I did not expect was the near collapse of 
the movement in 1968 when the other groups and individuals associated 
with the National Mobilization to End the War in Vietnam essentially 
pulled out of street actions and put all their energy into electing 
Eugene McCarthy or Robert F. Kennedy. I became convinced that the 
antiwar movement was dead and doubted party leaders who said that 
activities would pick up after the elections when the war was certain to 
continue. As it turned out, they were right—one of the last times in 
fact. After the antiwar movement did come to an end because of the final 
victory of the Vietnamese themselves, the party went into a crisis of 
perspectives that finally led to its virtual extinction.

full: http://www.thenorthstar.info/?p=12797

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