2020 elections

The hour is late, but not too late

Eric Blanc, one of the leaders of DSA, has published an article urging DSA to campaign for Biden.

His point is that this time it’s different (which is also the title of an article in Foreign Affairs magazine, the journal of the influential Council on Foreign Relations). I agree with his analysis of the extreme danger of a second Trump term. This danger is magnified by how he would get into office – through the worst sort of maneuvering, voter suppression, fraud. Added to the danger is the fact that this would be a huge boost to the far right vigilante groups. 

Blanc doesn’t mention the limited time the planet has to start to get global warming under control, but I suspect he wold agree about that issue.

I always thought that the DSA position on only supporting Sanders was somewhat childish. If you can support one Democrat, why can’t you support another? It’s not as if a President Sanders would be able to get a single piece of his legislation passed. I did not support Sanders because I don’t believe in supporting Democrats, and I don’t agree with DSA’s support for a whole host of other left liberal Democrats at the local and state level.

However, I do agree that “this time it’s different”. If Trump gets in again, I think it will almost certainly have to be through his suppression of democratic norms. Blanc points to the statements of several labor bodies on the issue. But the problem is that the labor leadership does not exactly have a track record of decisive and timely action. Missing among Blanc‘s calls is a call on the union leadership to act now to oppose Trump’s dictatorial moves. The labor movement – or even just one or two major leaders – can and should immediately organize public meetings in every area where they have a presence in order to build this opposition. These meetings would be the basis for construction of local organizing committees, complete with leaderships that are democratically elected. Coordinating bodies of these committees should be built at the regional and national levels, all of this on a democratic basis. Plans should be laid for marches and rallies in every area to oppose Trump’s plans to rely on the Supreme Court to undemocratically return him to office.

Along with this a clear program should be developed. These should include economic demands, demands around racial justice, and demands around health and the environment. (Regarding Covid, we absolutely must start to raise the environmental basis for this and other zoonotic diseases – factory farming and wild habitat loss!) Starting such a campaign now would actually do far more to even get out the vote than any direct appeals to vote. More important, it would also be the start of building an independent working class movement, one which could lead to the building of an independent, mass working class party.

The hour is late, but not too late.

10 replies »

    • I campaign for building the movement in the streets. As for the three minutes it takes to fill in the ballot, I filled in the little box next to Biden/Harris. That was the first time in 50 years that I’ve done something like that.

  1. That really doesn’t answer the question. We’re not dealing with personal, individual “choices,” but with the social needs of building a “movement.” So when there is a demonstration and a speaker from a community group, or a labor union, uses the demonstration as an opportunity to advocate voting for Biden as a “solution,” or even the “lesser of evils” does Oakland Socialist oppose that advocacy?

  2. Of course I would not have opposed a call for a vote for Biden.

    I would have explained, though, that the issue is not so much Trump as TrumpISM, and that the only way to get rid of that is through building an independent working class movement along the lines of what I explain above.

    What would you have done? Said workers should not vote at all? Or vote for the useless Green Party, which is nothing but a diversion from building a working class alternative to the Democrats?

  3. I would have done just what I’ve done: Point out that the economic/social forces that have spawned Trump will continue and accelerate; that the Democrats cannot, will not, confront that, much less arrest that trend; that workers have to create organizations outside the established political parties. Kind of the basic ABC of Marxism, you know– the problem isn’t the “personalities;” it’s the institutions built on the mode of production… so just as I thought supporting LBJ over Goldwater was nonsense, or Gore over Bush, I think telling workers to vote for Biden will produce no worthwhile results.

    Yes, the Green Party is “useless,” but you contrast that to voting for Biden, which indicates you think voting for Biden is useful. Why is that? Because Trump is so much more a “greater threat” to workers than Biden? Well, if that’s the case, you’re way too late. You should have been at it 4 years ago, getting out the vote for Clinton. Do you think it was a mistake to not vote for Clinton?

    • Thank you for your comments. Unfortunately, the view you expressed is all too typical of the left, which apparently sees no significant difference between Trump and Trumpism and previous Republican candidates. No, I do not see Biden as useful, nor did I ever write anything of the sort. What is useful, though, is to campaign for an independent movement of the working class to defeat Trump’s efforts to steal the election. The reason the union leaders are so reluctant to organize such a thing is that they know that it would not stop there; it would inevitably tend to turn into fighting the Democrats. Unfortunately, these union bureaucrats understand such matters better than many socialists do.

  4. I think Trump is the logical/illogical conclusion of the 45 year attack the bourgeoisie have waged against the working class in general, and black workers in particular. Look at who’s filling all those government slots for Trump– all of them “matriculated” in the Bush administration, or in the earlier Bush administration, or in the Reagan administration. And exactly why do you think every Republican senator has supported Trump? Because he represents some sort of “rupture”?

    I’m all for organizing an independent working class movement to defeat Trump, but you don’t get that if you allow Democrats to share the platform, no more than you could end racism by going part of the way with LBJ, etc. etc. etc. Or can you sustain a movement against the war in Vietnam by letting people John Lindsay commandeer anti-war rallies.

    I would oppose a call to vote for Biden on exactly those grounds of building an independent working class movement. Although I’d still be interested to hear why, if voting for Biden is acceptable or necessary today, why wasn’t voting for Clinton necessary in 2016? Because it wasn’t clear how bad Trump would be? If that’s the explanation, then there’s no way to get to your independent movement.

    It’s been swell.

  5. Let me start off by saying that I will not be voting, not for a Green and certainly not for the Trump-Biden machine. The economic crisis driving this runaway train isn’t going to be solved short of world war. The alignments are already under construction as both China and Russia begin to work closer together while at the same time one wing of the ruling class has picked their target already-Russia; while the other wing is choosing China. Clearly the distortion of Trump as fascist in the media and among the apparatchiks demonstrate a profound split on the structure of American imperialism and it follows that they will move their constituencies accordingly. There is a huge question that is not even being discussed in regards to the consequences of a Biden election, both in terms of the civil disorder and in terms of the agenda of the wing of covert operators, assassins and coup masters of the world. There is no doubt that Trump has painted himself into a corner and lost the bureaucrats. That provides a certain cover to the intent of the destabilization that has been going on. Regime change is the call. There is a mobilization of a “progressive” anti-fascist united front that is disingenuous, and vacuous from its inception. It is NOT a united front when there is no Left party or organization within it. It is simply collaborating with the effort at re-stabilization of the Empire. There is no Kapp Putsch here or Russian coup attempt of 1992. The ruling class has already given the thumbs down and the Emperor will simply signal it. There is the risk that the militarization of politics will lead to political and territorial wars domestically. It is ironic that with all the statue busting, there is not a similar focus on the self-determination of occupied peoples and nations, even from nationalists within the occupied territories. Independence for Puerto Rico? Not a peep. Annexation of the SW by Mexico? S-h-h-h. Not even word of a non-binding referendum like the Kurds in Iraqi Kurdistan had. There’s more at work here than meets the eye.

    • There is too much here to know even where to begin replying, from return of SouthWest United States to Mexico to a possible coup or putsch to whether or not to vote for Biden or even vote at all. The administrator of oaklandsocialist did at the end of the day vote for Biden. I did so reluctantly, but the more I read about why workers shouldn’t vote for him, the more convinced I am that I was right. Oaklandsocialist will be publishing an article explaining the reasoning more fully.

  6. Thanks for your response. It is interesting that there was a strong affirmative response that I got within La Raza Unida Party about a non-binding referendum. The proposal included recognition of Native sovereignty and their ability to express this in separate referenda. Choices were basically Independence, annexation with Mexico or continued American occupation. The referendum in Iraqi Kurdistan created a big stir internally and internationally. I am not concerned or trying to build a base for boycotting the election, as much as I am trying to personally and politically get at the critical mass of the current American implosion.

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