Friday, November 07, 2014

What was true twenty years ago remains every bit as true today



US elections: Deja vu all over again by Shamus Cooke writing at the Global Research Centre's Global Research website.

Cooke ends his article with a fairly standard socialist prescription with which I have no real theoretical dispute:

Third parties don’t spring out of the air. They are built by organizations with pre-existing resources and large memberships, like labor unions and other large community organizations. The various failed attempts at creating third parties in the U.S. can be blamed on the lack of any large national working class organization investing in them.

A workers’ party financed and co-organized by the unions has that ability to smash the two-party system. Such a party can’t compete with the Wall Street cash, but it can use its resources and membership to rally the broader country around a progressive platform of green job creation to fight climate change, raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour, and taxing the rich and big corporations to pay for better schools and other vital social programs. Such demands would reverberate across the country in a political landscape where working people’s aspirations are complete ignored.

On a practical level, I'm not sure how realistic this is. Our two parties in this country are as much formal public institutions as they are traditional political parties (that's why if I could scrape together five hundred bucks and collect enough signatures, I could actually run as a Republican candidate for governor or US senator here in Wisconsin), and there are laws in place designed to make it more difficult for a third party to get off the ground. One solution would be for a socialistic third party to do what the Working Families Party of New York state does and back Democrats who mostly agree with their positions but run their own candidates when the Democratic choice is a blow-dried hack in the mold of John Kerry. But a mass-based third party of the left would also likely find itself coming up against the sort of institutional plutocratic harassment that the now-defunct "Occupy" movement did. If the idiot-squad of the college-campus left gets involved in any potential leftist third party the way they did the "Occupy" movement, then there you have a fairly built-in guarantee of failure from the get-go. And also, it's pretty late in the game for any new players to be entering the field. I'm still thinking that whatever is now likely to happen is simply going to happen.

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