Electoralism and Reformism Are Not The Same Thing

Because one participates in organizing for electoral politics does not mean one has put all their faith in reform.

Some treat electoralism as a form of base building, and given the current political landscape it is the kind of base building that can reach the most people in the fastest way.

However, just because one is supporting a candidate or ballot measure does not mean they have put all their hopes in changing the system that way.

Reformists believe in changing the system from the inside.  Electoralists understand however understand that change is unlikely to happen from the outside without massive public pressure that is also rank and file.   Electoralists understand that elections can be used to base build and can chip away at the power of capital in one is both victorious and consistent after that victory. For example, a reactionary anti woman republican will have a much harder time gutting abortion rights or taking away welfare if he has to worry about losing his seat to a socialist, and when he loses his seat they must live with the reality that a socialist is now in office making policy decisions.

Of course, one cannot depend on that socialist in office alone to make all the right decisions, not without a huge base constantly putting pressure on them to do the right thing.

If that elected socialist demonstrates good practice they will push for policies that direct power away from capital and expand social services. The odds of them going full Lenin and leading us to a revolution are microscopically slim, but their base can now be called on to show up for strike solidarity and anti racist protests. They can be called on to pressure and bird-dog other elected officials to act on climate change.

This is not what reformists believe.  Pure reformists believe that we can count on elected officials to do their jobs once elected.  There is no room for an interest in base building for a revolution if one is counting on reform alone to liberate the working class.  Reformists only care about the bottom line, but electoralists know that they can use the base they have built from the campaign they have organized to build a genuine alternative to the capitalist system.

To reject electoralism because of a false equivalency to reformism hurts us more than it will help.

Plus, more elections should be what ever socialists push for. We need more elections, more mass participation, more things should be put to a public vote. The more we are voting the more we are in control of our communities. This is the goal of socialism and communism, democratic control over what affects our daily lives, that is going to mean lots of voting in lots of elections.

Another world is possible, but we need to get our practice in now. Until we have a mass movement behind us, we have no other choice than to build our base any way we can.

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