This election cycle, there’s quite the hubbub about a ‘blue wave.’ The hope is that in response to the rise of Trump and disastrous conditions under one-party rule by Republicans, people will flock to the Democratic opposition for the 2018 midterms.
But is the Democratic Party offering people the alternative they seek? During Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation into the Supreme Court, a majority of the country opposed it, in no small part due to still uninvestigated accusations against him of sexual assault and attempted r*pe. Yet, the party caved to Kavanaugh, with one vote from Senator Jeff Flake (D) making all the difference. Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer (D) even stated that he would not penalize those who supported Kavanaugh’s nomination.
This sort of false opposition is in lock step with the party agenda; so long as the country suffers under Republicans and there is no grassroots opposition, the Democratic machine has your vote in its pocket.
At its foundation, The Democratic Party stands against the common good. Interests whose existence is incompatible with progressive change—billionaires, Wall-Street tycoons, and war profiteers—control Republican and Democratic parties alike.
Both parties promote neoliberalism, which through extreme global exploitation foments periodic economic crises. Both parties support the imperialist foreign policy behind, among countless other crimes, the cooperation with Saudi Arabia in its genocidal assault against the people of Yemen. Most threateningly, both parties are complicit in ever-increasing global catastrophe caused by climate change.
We do live under one-party rule, but it’s not under the Republicans; it’s under both Republican and Democratic wings of a single body that represents the interests of the ruling capitalist class.
We need an independent party: one that rejects the dictatorship of capital and advocates in the interests of ‘we, the people’—the ninety-nine percent.
Many of us on the left are understandably cynical of any potential for electoral politics to spur a radical reorientation of the state. Nevertheless, we must use whatever space is available to us to make our voices heard. Here in New York State, gubernatorial candidate Howie Hawkins (G) has an extensive, bold platform that calls for 100 percent renewable energy by 2030, a $20 minimum wage by 2020 (that rises with inflation), and a state-run single-payer healthcare program.
We see what happens when self-proclaimed ‘progressives’ or even ‘democratic socialists’ run as Democrats; they slip towards the party line in order to garner acceptance from those at the top. One ‘progressive,’ Andrew Gillum (D), campaigned in Florida on a program that included Medicare for All but has abandoned his healthcare vision in favor of making thinly veiled threats against foreign countries via Twitter since his congressional primary victory. ‘Democratic socialist‘ Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D) deserted her condemnations of Israel and praises John McCain as a fallen hero without mentioning his disastrous war-hawk legacy.
It is no wonder that the likes of the Obamas, the Clintons, and Michael Bloomberg can fully embrace these supposedly anti-establishment candidates. As long as they do little more than channel progressive activism into support for a bourgeois party, they pose no significant threat to the status quo and are in fact an asset of it.
Trying to transform the Democratic Party from the inside is fighting a losing battle. No matter what ‘concessions’ the party makes to its progressive base, those really pulling the levers are hellbent against a leftward shift. The DNC even publicly admits that its claims to neutrality are merely ‘political promises.’
Unlike Gillum or Ocasio-Cortez, Hawkins is not a liberal or a social democrat—he’s a socialist. The difference? While social democrats advocate for reforms and a larger welfare-state in an effort to soften the blows of capitalism, leaving the bedrock of exploitation untouched, socialists want to replace capitalism altogether with a system of collective management that directs surplus towards the common good (rather than private accumulation) at the point of production. Hawkins can run as a socialist because he is not tied to any pro-capitalist party.
To hell with blue and red waves; let us plant the seeds of revolution. §
This piece is a shortened and edited version of the original text, which one can view here: