2016 Elections News
In this interview, Judith Stein shares insights into the relationship between race and class in the evolution of the Democratic Party over the last century.
You can read the full piece here: https://www.jacobinmag.com/2016/06/white-working-class-new-deal-racism-reagan-democrat
In this piece, Kate Aronoff describes the potential of the Bernie Sanders momentum.
If the task ahead is to mobilize the broad public — and not just the already existing left — the questions raised above can be replaced by simpler ones: What happens on July 28 when Clinton wins the nomination, leaving those who support a democratic socialist to choose between a hawkish corporate democrat and a far-right xenophobe? How can Sanders staffers and volunteers keep giving the people inspired by his message something to do and to believe in?
To accept defeat and withdraw from electoral politics would be disastrous. It goes without saying that movements should never commit all their energy to electoral work, long understood — and with good reason — as a graveyard for popular insurgency. But the Sanders campaign has started to erode the half-century-long divide between activists and the halls of power.
You can read the full piece here: https://www.jacobinmag.com/2016/06/bernie-sanders-american-left-socialism-movements/
In this piece, Gary Younge lays out the dual need to fight to defeat Trump and to prepare to challenge Hillary.
Even as one votes for Clinton—if she’s the nominee, then no one else is going to be able to stop Trump from taking power—one must prepare to organize against her. If she wins, her agenda will make an eventual victory for someone like Trump more likely, not less. More than a decade after Le Pen’s defeat, his daughter, who now heads the National Front, could yet reach the runoffs again. Hofer’s Freedom Party came in second place in the parliamentary elections in 1999 and was in a coalition government. Elections alone cannot defeat the populist right; we have to drain the swamp from which they gather their bait. When your house is ablaze, you grab whatever’s handy and put it out. But when the flames are quenched, the laborious task of fireproofing is in order.
You can read the whoel article here: https://www.thenation.com/article/how-to-fight-a-fascist-and-win/
Dreier lays out a systematic approach that the Sanders campaign could take in the coming period. Regardless of whether you agree with it or not, the structure and rigor of his argument provide compelling points for future conversation.
1. Between now and the convention, Sanders should fight to the end to get as many delegates as possible.
2. At the convention and through Election Day, Sanders will surely remain on the public stage.
3. After Election Day, once Clinton has won the White House and the Democrats have recaptured the Senate, Sanders will be in a strong position to reshape the agenda of both the Democratic Party and the nation.
4. After January, when the new president and Congress take office, Sanders will become chair of the powerful Senate Budget Committee—assuming Democrats retake the upper chamber, as predicted.
5. Through the 2018 midterm elections and beyond, Sanders can help build the “grassroots political revolution” without which, as he has said throughout his campaign, there is little hope for transformational change.
You can read the full article here: http://prospect.org/article/five-point-plan-sanders
Excerpts from a Trump article with Bloomberg Business Week suggest a disturbing trajectory for the Trump campaign:
Presumptive GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump predicted the Republican Party will become a "worker's party" under his leadership.
“Five, 10 years from now — different party," Trump said during an interview with Bloomberg Businessweek published Thursday.
"You’re going to have a worker’s party. A party of people that haven’t had a real wage increase in 18 years, that are angry."
Trump said he thinks cutting Social Security is a "big mistake" for the party.
You can read the full article here: http://thehill.com/blogs/ballot-box/presidential-races/281332-trump-my-gop-will-be-a-workers-party
In this piece, Tarso Ramos calls on left and progressive movements to disrupt Trump through protests, but also to compete to win over sections of Trump's white working class base.
To defeat the current upsurge in right-wing populism, progressives will need to disrupt, defuse, and – critically – compete for portions of its constituency....
You can read the whole article here: http://www.politicalresearch.org/2016/05/24/beyond-trump-disrupt-defuse-compete/#sthash.chrtxRq1.5Qke0ftU.dpbs
In this piece, Kshama Sawant critiques the proposal that getting behind Hillary is the best way to defeat the Right.
Recent polls show widespread discontent with the political establishment in both major parties and the key institutions of American capitalism. In this context, hitching labor and social movements to the Clinton bandwagon would only strengthen the forces behind Trump.
It would give Trump a virtual monopoly over the anti-establishment vote and silence left-wing voices in the general election — exactly when millions of the most politically alienated begin paying attention.
Already we see the disgraceful spectacle of labor and progressive leaders covering up Clinton’s pro-corporate record in an attempt to motivate their base to vote. Such tactics only demoralize, disorganize, and alienate their rank-and-file, further opening the door for the far right.
In this article, Conor Kilpatrick provides an interesting rititque of the class condescension of the liberal Democratic elite.
The party has established a clear line on the white wage-earning class: they’re all either dying (demographically orliterally), irrelevant in an increasingly nonwhite country, or so hopelessly racist they can go off themselves with a Miller High Life-prescription-painkiller cocktail for all they care. As liberal hero and Sanders nemesis Barney Frank put it a couple of weeks ago, “the likelihood that fifty-eight-year-old coal miners are going to become the solar engineers of the future is nil.”
The problem with this line is not just that it’s gross and elitist — it’s that it’s not even true. The working class is bigger than ever, is still really white, and is broadly supportive of a progressive populist agenda.
It just turns out that the Democratic Party outside of Sanders isn’t too interested in that agenda. And it’s even less interested in that specificchunk of the working class that forces liberals to confront head on the naked brutality of the economic system they cherish...Instead of acknowledging the size and importance of this part of the electorate, Democratic Party elites have simply constructed a new narrative to suit their interests — a narrative that was on display after West Virginia. Following Sanders’s win a significant chunk of the punditocracy came to the conclusion, mostly by abusing the hell out of exit polls, that a vote for the Jewish socialist was actually a vote for white supremacy.
You can read the full piece here: https://www.jacobinmag.com/2016/05/white-workers-bernie-sanders-clinton-primary-racism/
In this piece, Benjamin McKean provides a fascinating exploration of the relaitonship between populism, racism and identity. He draws on the hopeful examples of Spain and Greece to provide an alternative vision of multiracial left populism.
The populism of both George Wallace and the tea party movement rely on racial resentment and anti-immigrant views. Even Sanders can seem indifferent to outsiders. When he decries the trade policies that allow U.S. corporations to “pay slave wages in Mexico or China,” he usually implies that the solution is to bring U.S. jobs back rather than boost wages abroad.
But it’s not always so. In Europe, populist parties like Spain’s Podemos and Greece’s Syriza have won by campaigning against austerity policiesand in favor of rebuilding the welfare state while explicitly opposing xenophobia. Instead of directing populist anger at immigrants and other outsiders, they direct it toward the political and economic elites whose policies create inequality. Podemos’s current platform details policies against almost every conceivable form of discrimination, even proposing a “Celiac law” that would end discrimination against people who need gluten-free food.
You can read the full post here: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/monkey-cage/wp/2016/05/18/is-it-possible-to-have-populism-without-racism/
In this piece, Jeff Cohen talks about the possibilities of building progressive power in this period.
Good news about the Bernie campaign is that the whole world — including even mainstream media — now knows that there is a loud and proud left in our country. They know exactly where we stand on domestic issues and that our positions are widely popular...
The best-case scenario, of course, is that Bernie becomes the next president.
But here’s another decent scenario: The divisive Trump-led Republicans suffer a massive defeat. The centrists take power . . . but with a mobilized and independent left breathing down their necks.
Such a scenario hasn’t occurred in our country since about 1932.
You can read the full post here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jeff-cohen/should-progressives-unify_b_10051194.html