[Marxism] Paul Le Blanc becomes a Sandernista (from FB)

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Wed Jul 10 09:29:25 MDT 2019


These ten points indicate where my thinking is now on certain questions.

SOCIALISTS, THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY AND THE SANDERS CAMPAIGN

1. Revolutionary socialists should remain independent of the Democratic 
Party – it has historically been under the control of partisans of 
capitalism and imperialism, and its internal structures and dynamics 
ensure that this will not change. Socialists working within that context 
have traditionally compromised themselves fatally, and the Democratic 
Party, with phony friendship and the lure of practical achievement, has 
always sought to dilute and incapacitate real struggles for social and 
economic justice.

2. We are facing a new situation – a spreading and deepening crisis of 
capitalism coupled with a widespread phenomenon of open socialists 
making use of the Democratic Party ballot-line in order to help build an 
explicitly socialist movement. It would be a mistake for revolutionary 
socialists to deny the reality that this has created a mass left pole in 
the mainstream of US politics, surely inadequate but definitely there.

3. Openly socialist candidates who have a chance of getting elected, 
even when running on the Democratic Party ballot-line, should receive at 
least critical support from revolutionary socialists. The criticisms 
should be worded so that they make sense to other supporters of those 
candidates, and should focus on erroneous positions (or silences) of the 
candidates, advanced not as denunciations but as important and helpful 
correctives. The point is to build socialist consciousness and stir 
critical thinking among more and more people – into the thousands and 
millions.

4. When openly socialist candidates who have gotten onto the Democratic 
Party ballot-line are running in general elections, it makes sense for 
revolutionary socialists to vote for them and encourage others to do 
likewise – not as Democrats, but as socialists. At the same time, it 
makes sense to build independent, non-electoral social movements 
fighting against all forms of oppression and exploitation, calling on 
the candidates (especially if they win) to support their just demands 
and to be accountable to them.

5. The Bernie Sanders campaigns of 2016 and of 2019 have been open to 
valid criticisms (and such criticisms should be expressed openly). But 
these campaigns have been an expression of a broad and deep 
radicalization in US society, and have also helped dramatically in 
generating socialist thought in the political mainstream. As such, they 
are worthy of critical support by revolutionary socialists.

6. Sanders is qualitatively different from all other “progressive” 
candidates for President in the Democratic Party, because he openly 
criticizes capitalism and advances socialism as an alternative. The 
inadequacies of how he defines things are worth criticizing. But he is 
seen as an enemy by the pro-capitalist leaders of the Democratic Party, 
and they will do all that they can to defeat him. In this context, 
revolutionary socialists should support him, however critically.

7. Sanders running in the primaries will help generate mass socialist 
consciousness. Sanders winning will pose intense dilemmas – because the 
ruling class (in the Democratic and Republican parties, in the media, in 
the military, in the entire economy) are absolutely against him, and 
there is not yet a mass socialist movement powerful enough to overcome 
this immense hostility. This creates the possibilities either of (a) 
capitulation, defeat and demoralization, or (b) intense struggles which 
we will quite possibly lose, but which -- because there is 
uncompromising struggle for a better future -- will leave a powerful 
residue of intense anger, militancy, and increasingly revolutionary spirit.

8. In the very unlikely event that Sanders wins the Democratic 
nomination for President, revolutionary socialists should support him 
and campaign hard for him – along the lines of points #2 and #3 above. 
It is highly unlikely that Sanders himself will be capable of providing 
revolutionary leadership, which necessitates frank but intelligently 
expressed criticisms from revolutionary socialists, and also makes 
building non-electoral movements and struggles particularly important – 
within the context of working hard for his electoral victory.

9. In the unlikely event that Sanders wins the Presidency, revolutionary 
socialists should be prepared for intensified struggles (in some cases 
perhaps life and death struggles) and for the quite possible defeat that 
will, if engaged in effectively, increase the radicalization among the 
99 percent – and provide a basis for deepening consciousness and future 
struggle.

10. The relatively short-term tactical orientation outlined above should 
be seen within the framework of the classical revolutionary Marxist 
strategic orientation, which is dependent on the existence of a 
significant layer of the working class, with a socialist consciousness, 
being ready and increasingly organized to fight against oppression and 
exploitation. A central focus for revolutionary socialists today must be 
to help bring this into existence.



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