“I think nationally, people should take heart in the fact that Alabama and the South at large isn’t as backwards as it’s always seemed to be. Yes, racism, bigotry, sexism – all those things – are still quite prominent here, but I think Doug Jones or not, we are seeing a chipping away at that image. Young, inspired people… are coming around to the idea that these conservative ideals are just not doing anything for anybody,” Adam Powell from Montgomery, Alabama. Powell is the national committee co-chair of the Socialist Party of the US.
“We’re seeing a little bit of a change, and I just hope it continues because people have to get their feet on the ground and figure out, ‘hey look, some of these things are going to be good for Alabama. And I think that Doug Jones has the opportunity really to bring Alabama into the 21st century,’” Kimberly McCuiston, Foley Alabama.
“The last slave ship that touched on here was here in Mobile… Also we have
the last recorded lynching, back in the 80s… So this is the last place where racism was prevalent. Also, when Dr. Martin Luther King came down here, they turned him around at the airport…. If you look back at the time down here after the Civil War, black people went to sell themselves back into slavery for fear of attacks by whites. So that’s the environment and atmosphere in Mobile….. I would advise everybody to pay attention to Doug Jones…. Our celebration may be a little bit too early…. I think this is a victory in our minds, but this is not actually a true victory. It’s just something that was given to us to give us hope so we can actually be a part of the system and to discourage us from separating from it.” Terrell Simmons, Mobile Bay Socialist Network
“Doug Jones, for all his flaws did do something great and that was prosecute
the Klan in the ’70s… whereas Roy moore is a piece of shit… I hope he rides his horse into the distance and never ever comes back. Because now he’s talking about running for governor… I hope this is a wakeup call because we dodged the bullet this time”
Nelson Jancaterimo, Socialist Party member, Montgomery, Alabama
“It’s a victory yes and no. ‘Yes’ because a pedophile
didn’t get elected for office aside from the one sitting in the Oval Office, but we’re still feeding into this two party system that is owned by the special interests and lobbyists,” Jennifer Rampollo, Tallahassee, Florida.
“For me, being a person of color, the election of a Democrat meant a lot to me because it meant the opportunity to just go vote…. I thought (Jones) campaign was committed and it was courage…. I believe courage and committed were the two “c’s” that I would give to Doug Jones…. Doug Jones, he represents blacks. He represents all…. I think Doug Jones was the best choice as far as helping people.” Travis Jackson, motivational speaker, Prattville, Alabama
“The ideal would be to run socialist candidates. But I’m going to always show up and vote for someone, but the ideal for me, yes, I would like to see socialist candidates run…. We have a long way to go. Yes, the US does, but we here in Alabama have a long way to go as far as poverty here. Of course we have the racial history, but as far as economics, we have to really do a lot here. And of course it has a lot to do with pushing socialist platform, socialist candidates, and that’s why I think you see a growing socialist party here in Alabama here now.” Joseph Ezekial, Montgomery Alabama
Oaklandsocialist spoke with these political activists to get their comments on yesterday’s election results in Alabama. (See recordings below.)
As for the capitalists, they had mixed feelings. As the Wall St. Journal reported “The Alabama business community is on the sidelines of the state’s high-stakes Senate special election, with some leaders refusing to back Republican nominee Roy Moore because of concerns that the controversies dogging his candidacy could be bad for the local economy.” They quote Neal Berte, member of the Birmingham Business Alliance: “I don’t think it is good for our image to have all the controversy and negativity going on around Roy Moore’s candidacy.”
Then, too, there is the national angle. Everybody knew that the Democrats were licking their chops at the thought of hanging the millstone of Roy Moore around the necks of the Republican Party had he been elected. As the Wall St. Journal’s editors put it the day after the elections: “The good news is that Mr. Moore’s loss may give the GOP a better chance of holding the Senate majority next year. Democrats were primed to make Mr. Moore a national symbol of sexual harassment to drive turnout among women. GOP incumbents would have been asked about Mr. Moore every day.”
On the other hand, the WSJ, always on the lookout for any temporary advantage, especially where immediate profits and power are in play, bemoaned the fact that that Jones “will be a reliable vote for Chuck Schumer on any important matter, including judicial nominees.” In other words, the Republicans may have to slow down their steamroller a little bit.
Civil War in the Republican Party
Moore’s loss will accelerate the civil war inside the Republican Party, as the Bannon wing is already blaming the more moderate wing for Moore’s loss. The mainstream capitalist media like CNN is already predicting the fall of Bannon, but that’s far from certain since the activist base of the Republican Party is mainly made up of Bannonites. This means that many Republican politicians will still feel compelled to cater to them in order to get renominated.
If that’s what happens, then the Alabama election could be a prototype for future ones, with the Republicans running extreme right-wing and openly racist candidates. The Democrats, on the other hand, could base themselves on black and Latino voters, a large sector of women voters, plus middle class whites. In other words, the working class as a class would continue to be divided and driven further backwards.
White supremacist base?
Overall, the US capitalist class is faced with a problem: For several decades they have stirred up religious fanaticism, bigotry and intentional ignorance in order to prosecute their war against the working class. They use it as a distraction, but they always intended to keep it under control. (The Democrats have given a slightly toned down version of the same.) Now it’s all threatening to boil over; it’s becoming a Frankenstein monster. That’s what the Trump presidency represents, just as does the influence of Steve Bannon and his links with the fascist right. But as the dead end of capitalism becomes increasingly clear, they need these distractions more than ever.
The capitalists also have another problem: Growing disillusionment with their system. All the opinion polls are showing that not only are the youth rejecting religious fanaticism and bigotry (as yesterday’s vote shows), but a higher proportion of them support “socialism” than “capitalism”. True, it’s still a tiny force, but even in Alabama openly socialist forces are growing rapidly. As Adam Powell reports, the Socialist Party of Alabama is “only one of several organizations” that’s growing there. “Right now in our local, we’ve only got about 20 members… last year I was the fifth member of the party in the state. We now have about 50 members across the state. That’s obviously not a huge number but it’s obviously a very huge increase from where we were at in January of last year. In our party we have a very good mix of males and females. We have black and white. We have gay members. Trans members. We really have a quite diverse group of people in our local.”
Former basketball star and sports commentator Charles Barkley commented: “They always want to make this thing about black and white; what America has become is rich people screwing poor people. That’s what this whole thing is about. You look at Trump and his tax proposals. Who’s it going to benefit? People like myself. They don’t do anything for poor people or the middle class. All those tax cuts are designed to help rich people like myself. And that’s sad.”
Could “Sir Charles” be positioning himself to be the next Bernie Sanders? Because the capitalists are going to need Sanders, Barkely and a whole lot of other left liberals to once again stem the rising support for socialism and, in particular, to prevent the development of a mass, working class political party from developing. Will they succeed in diverting this tendency yet again? Will Bannon & Co. be able to survive this set-back and even possibly build? Most important: Will the US working class mobilize on a mass and independent basis and start to stamp its imprint on society? It seems that some sort of shock will be necessary, but some sort of shock is coming in one form or another.
Here are recordings of the four interviews cited above: