Democrats Steer to the Right and into Defeat

PictureIf progressives can learn one thing from the 2014 election cycle, it is that they no longer have a place in the Democratic Party.

With Republicans on the offensive, Democratic incumbents and hopefuls spent the entire election running away from anything perceived to be associated with President Obama. In effect, this created numerous Democratic campaigns that ran to the right of a president that was already on a long-standing drift to the right of his own. This is in contrast to the normal state of affairs, which is where Democrats campaign on ideas that appeal to the progressive base and then do not deliver when elected.

This set of events left progressives and even many liberals without the party that they would normally identify with and vote for. The result was a sweeping defeat for Democrats in the congressional and gubernatorial elections, losing their Senate majority in the process.

At the same time that voters gave a resounding defeat to the Democrats, they also voted heavily in favor of raising the minimum wage in several states. Voters in Alaska, Arkansas, Nebraska, and South Dakota all approved minimum wage initiatives by double-digit margins, while at the same voting down statewide Democratic candidates by double-digit margins in three of the four states. By doing this, working class voters have proven that they are prepared and willing to embrace the issues and cast off the party and politicians that fail to deliver on them.

Outside of the twin parties of capitalism, Tuesday’s election saw candidates running to the left of the Democrats collectively receive over a quarter of a million votes. The parties and specific beliefs of these candidates may be different, but the fact that so many people threw their support behind at least one left-wing candidate cannot be ignored. Our own Adam Adrianson can take credit for 33,000 of these votes from his Socialist Party campaign for the Michigan State University Board of Trustees.

Moving forward, progressives in the United States have to realize that they no longer have a party that represents them. The Democratic Party is on a one-way charge to the right, and progressive-minded people have no place on that trip.

Politicians like Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren are the limit of what the Democrats have to offer. They serve as icons to entice progressives and liberals with populist messaging and hopes of building a radical element within the Democratic Party. In reality, they are puppets meant to distract voters and activists with hopes that will never be realized in the current political alignment.

Aside from staying in place and becoming increasingly marginalized and powerless, the only alternative for progressives in the United States is to break from the Democratic Party and move to the Left. By this, we mean the real Left, rather than the left that the Democratic Party has pretended to be.

Socialism, specifically democratic socialism, offers the social justice and economic democracy that progressives yearn for but will never see in a Democrat majority or the capitalist system. By moving towards democratic socialism, working class people who currently identify as progressive or liberal will find radical ideas they could have never dreamed of with the Democrats, along with a rapidly growing movement that is dedicated to building a new society of radical democracy from below.

We hope you will join us in this struggle.

Socialist Party USA National Action Committee 11/8/2014

One thought on “Democrats Steer to the Right and into Defeat

  1. My name is Robert DeVries, I am an organizer on the Washtenaw County SP Organizing Committee, in Michigan. We have seen by far the worst of America’s drift away from progressive and even social democratic polices that began in 30s with Roosevelt, and were furthered under the democrats until about the 1980s. Now, there is nothing in the two party system left for the working class. The liberal vs. conservative antagonism, is in fact mutually reinforcing. Even LEFT V RIGHT notions of political struggle can be limiting. Instead, we should think about the working class consisting of two points of view, that may conflict, but could also be mutually reinforcing for our ends. On the one end, our familiar allies amongst the progressives and social democrats, a progressive tendency, on the other, less familiar, but equally essential, libertarianism. The libertarian party is actually the creation of the Koch brothers as many know. And shouldn’t really ever be confused with libertarianism, left or right. In fact, the working class is made up of two main veiwpoints, progressivism and libertarianism. (Afterall, libertarian economics espoused by Milton Friedman were used by the Pinochet Regime to institute a dictatorship that would be a far cry from any vision of libertarianism.)

    The Socialist Party USA, must embrace progressives AND libertarians for several reasons. Perhaps the most noteworthy American Leftist is Noam Chomsky, a syndicalist and libertarian, is extremely influential among the left. Furthermore, many progressives feel the existing structure of the state and Federal Government are enough to build a social democracy. Many couldn’t really be called socialist, especially revolutionary socialists, because they believe existing government institutions can be used to build socialism. But our existing repressive apparatus is just that, repressive. To build the sort of economic democracy progressives want, they must embrace a revolution that would re write entirely all socio-economic and political human relationships. Additionally, for reasons that would take pages to go into, while the third world must rely on the workers state, and the second world relies on worker democracy (Venezuela), an oppressor nation like the US, that is first world, necessarily must trend toward libertarianism if it is to be truly revolutionary and avoid trending back toward imperialism.

    For this reason, we must bring the libertarians to our party. For one, much of the working class prefers a libertarian understanding of civilization. Furthermore, true anarchism, left or right, would dissolve capitalism in the absence of state to institute property laws or money. But, moreover, many of the goals of the socialist party involved decreasing the role of government. Abandoning the welfare state for a mandatory minimum income, scaling down the military, repealing taft Hartley, the rejection of all police institutions as unnecessary under socialism, these along with the very foundations of Marxism, drift away from statism toward stateless socialism. Libertarians, are hands down, more likely to embrace the sort of revolutionary actions necessary to deconstruct the state and abolish capitalism, where as progressives will want to approach from the angle of social humanism, pacificism, and reform. In many, progressivism has slowed the party itself. Yes we have allies amongst the progressives. To the progressives who want full economic democracy and public ownership of public services, yes we should stand beside them. But when they blindly defend Israel, when they support gun control, when they support antiquated police systems and prohibition, we must then turn to our sisters and brothers in the libertarian movement, work to draw libertarian workers in to a common movement for democratic socialism, that is both progressive and libertarian, but also…revolutionary.

    All I am saying, don’t forget those who don’t call themselves progressives but instead strive to abolish the state altogether. We need an active left-libertarian/libertarian socialist tendency in the party, and to reach out to libertarians in the working class, as the real choice for a libertarian society.