[Marxism] Democrats and Trump

Richard Fidler rfidler at ncf.ca
Wed Oct 31 13:08:22 MDT 2018

This is a recurring discussion on Marxmail and on any number of left web sites at least once every two years in line with the US elections calendar. How do we build a mass left party in the mighty USA? May I modestly suggest you look at some nearby examples in other countries for some ideas on how this might be done. As it is, I think the US left suffers as much as the Anglo-Canadian left from its insularity. 

I posted this month two articles to this list that just might have some relevance to your dilemma, and as usual when I post such items they met with no comment and to my knowledge no interest. But I think some of you might find it useful to look a little more closely at a phenomenon right on your doorstep, in Quebec. Here, once again, are those articles. A search of the Marxmail archives would reveal much more. Or, for my pieces alone, a search of my blog: http://lifeonleft.blogspot.com/. Just look for "Québec solidaire." Every national experience is unique, sui generis. But some generalizations are possible, if we probe deeply enough. And there is much to learn from each.



-----Original Message-----
From: Marxism [mailto:marxism-bounces at lists.csbs.utah.edu] On Behalf Of John Reimann via Marxism
Sent: Wednesday, October 31, 2018 2:41 PM
To: rfidler at ncf.ca
Subject: Re: [Marxism] Democrats and Trump

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This thread has evolved into a discussion on the alternatives to the
Democrats and how that might develop. I believe one way it could develop is
for local movements to throw up candidates for local office, with such
candidates running on an explicitly anti-Democratic/Republican Party
platform and linking up the local issues with the need for a working class
party. I would like to point out that that is starting to happen - halfway.
We have had:

   - Nikita Oliver run for mayor of Seattle in 2017. Oliver has been active
   in various protest movements in Seattle for years.
   - Sarah Morken run for city council in Tacoma in 2017. Sarah has been
   active in the 15 Now campaign and various other protest movements in that
   - Cat Brooks running for mayor in Oakland at present. Cat is one of the
   most prominent figures in the equivalent of the Black Lives Matter movement
   in this city.
   - Noonie "Belden Man" Batiste running for congress in New Orleans.
   Noonie has been very active in the housing rights campaigns in that city.
   - Last but not least, Cliff Willmeng running for Boulder County (CO)
   commissioner. Cliff is probably the foremost radical anti-fracking activist
   in Colorado. I did an interview with Cliff here

In several of these cases, such as Cat Brooks, the campaign is far from
clear about the necessity to break from the Democrats and build a working
class alternative. The campaign of Nikita Oliver has led to the formation
of a "People's Party", but it's far from clear how this "party" differs
from the Green Party.

Well over a year ago, a small group of us submitted a proposal to the East
Bay DSA chapter that we initiate a discussion within the chapter about
running our own local candidates on the basis described above. Predictably,
the chapter leadership nixed the idea. Instead, they and it seems DSA as a
whole have simply become the mobilizers for various liberal Democrats who
happen to call themselves "democratic socialist". But I do think that
potential for local candidates is there.

We should also keep in mind that a working class party does not necessarily
have to emerge through running candidates. It could emerge by coordinating
the movement in the streets and work places and in the unions too. There is
the potential for such a movement to develop around the issue of voter
suppression. Unfortunately, nobody on the left is really making much of an
issue of this. That leaves it up to the Democrats, who are channeling
everything into legal challenges. We saw how great that worked with the
election of George Bush!

Finally, as far as the Greens and the Peace and Freedom Party: I don't see
the Greens as being filled out by any significant sector of workers. So I
think it will remain stagnating in its swamp. As far as P&FP, they have
been captured by various left sects, all of which support Assad. (As does
one of the more prominent leaders of the Greens - Ajamu Baraka.) I cannot
see how they can develop, given their false methods.

John Reimann

*“In politics, abstract terms conceal treachery.” *from "The Black
Jacobins" by C. L. R. James
Check out:https:http://oaklandsocialist.com also on Facebook
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