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Regarding the liberal wing of the Democrats, Jason writes: "Since the point
isn't to "support" that wing [and I think a lot of the problems in these
discussions trace back to ambiguous words like "support" (Jason's
brackets)] but first of all to recognize the fact that millions of people
that would be the base of a mass socialist party vote forDemocrats out of
fear of the alternative, so if your premise for building that party is to
first convince them they should never vote for Democrats ever, you'll get
just where you've gotten: nowhere. If you recognize that people want
something better than the Democrats but also want to stop Republicans from
becoming more powerful, and so you offer to build with them something
better while voting for Democrats against Republicans when you can't get
your own candidates elected without 'spoiling,' then you have a premise
millions of people are actually looking for right now."
I think a large part of the problem is that comrades are thinking in too
general terms; they are not thinking about what are the concrete steps that
can and should be taken now towards building a mass working class party. I
have made a suggestion time and again: That DSA can and should run its own
candidates as working class representatives for *local* office. I emphasize
"local" because at that level if they concentrated their forces they would
put on a credible campaign, one that would register on the radar screen of
millions of workers and one that could possibly actually win. Here in
Oakland, for example, that is doubly so since we have ranked choice voting.
That means that even if a worker didn't think the DSA candidate could win,
they could vote for her/him as #1 and vote for the liberal they thought
could win as #2 choice.
So why doesn't DSA do that? Yes, it *IS* a matter of "supporting" the
liberal wing of the Democrats. How can they - or anybody else for that
matter - run a candidate who, for example, takes up the issue of housing
and gentrification (which is huge here) and shows concretely (by revealing
the major donors) that the liberal Democrats who are running against
her/him are agents of the real estate developers? How can they do that and
make the links between that fact and the role of this wing of the Democrats
in general and go from there to explaining that both parties are the
parties of the real estate developers and the other owners of capital and,
also, explain the role of the *entire* liberal wing of the Democrats,
explain that our campaign is part of an effort to build an alternative to
this party, including this wing... How can they do that but at the same
time say, "but in the case of X and Y and Z (you fill in the blanks --
Ocasio-Perez and Jovanka Beckles, for example) I make an exception. These
individual members of this wing of the Democrats are not representatives of
big business and workers should support them?
If you do that, then you are open to the question: *"Really? Then how about
this other one and that other one? And furthermore, if you think these
candidates can represent workers, then since we already have this wing of
this established party, wouldn't it be much better to get more such
candidates running in this wing?"* There simply is no answer to that.
Which is why there never has been a serious, ground-level effort to start
to build an alternative to the Democrats while supporting "some" Democrats
at the same time. It's been advocated over and over again but never, ever
done. What is it they say about repeating the same thing and expecting a
And, no, I'm not advocating repeating the same thing; what I'm advocating
is taking a first step that has never been taken at least in my lifetime.
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