Misconceptions About Electoralism

There is a sentiment shared by some leftists that if one participates in electoral politics then one is inherently counter revolutionary. Many have the idea in their heads that if one is in favor of organizing for electoral politics then that person must think electoral politics is the only answer. This idea in my opinion is shallow, insulting, and nearsighted.

I am pro electoral politics but I am not some naive fool who thinks that we can solve all of our problems simply with reforms and elections. I believe that in order to bring about total revolution we need to be organizing on all fronts relevant to the working class in the time we live in, and yes one of those fronts is electoral.

However, I believe we must also be constructing alternatives to capitalism through local acts of mutual aid and solidarity, that we must have an internationally focused analysis and support fights for liberation all over the globe, and that we must organize the workers, tenants, and patients of the world to overthrow the capitalist system.

I do not think electoral politics can solve much but I do believe that it can 1. Help with mass base building and 2. Can be used to put up resistance to right wing influence. While electoral politics will never bring about the totality of revolution it is a way to reach millions of people at once. Reaching this many people with a working class platform is essential to laying the foundation for revolution. Not only this but participating in elections inconveniences the right wing.

The system is inherently built to protect the right wing because the interests of the right are the interests of capital, however electing leftists to all ranks of public office puts up road blocks to right wing policies. The more we can make things harder for the right wing the better. I do not understand why some on the left forsake this!

For example when abortion bans are introduced to legislatures, the presence of leftists can offer open vocal challenges to these bills and even organize their defeat. This in the short term is a genuine material victory for the working class, their rights to reproductive health are safe for another day. In the long term, if organized properly, their campaign will have built a base that can be mobilized when needed. An example of how to properly utilize the base you have built is best personified in the Bernie campaign. Bernie has used his network to alert his base about ICE raids and strike actions, this is what elected officials should be doing!

The other thing to remember is that no leftist should view one single tactic as a panacea. No single tactic will bring revolution and revolution itself is not a panacea (remember, revolution is not the end but the means to an end!) This is why it is imperative that we be present on all fronts. The number of issues that are connected to the realities of capital create so many different fronts that need to be organized. The attacks on women’s choice, the attacks on sex workers, the attacks on black lives and immigrants, the attacks on unions, the attacks on tenants, and the attacks on genuinely democratic elections are all places where the left must be taking action.

I find it insulting and genuinely shallow that some people think because I am in favor of organizing for electoral politics that I must only believe in electoralism and reform as our means.

No, I believe in electoralism and reform as a tactic of base building, inconveniencing the right wing agenda, and winning short term material goals. I believe that true revolution can only be achieved when the left is built into a massive front united against capital! I do not see electoral politics as a panacea, nor do I fetishize the idea of spotenous revolution, as many leftists do.

Another thing to remember is that infiltration is a lost art to the left. Snu Tzus Art of War makes a clear argument that spies are a necessary tool to win any war, and make no mistake because we are in a class war. We on the left have no spies, no insiders, no informants. We constantly have to worry about the likes of the FBI or local police infiltrating our ranks, the agents of the state should be just as worried about us spying on them. Yet they are not, all because so many on the left do not touch electoralism and reform.

I am willing to concede that electoralism and reform is not sexy. It is not as romantic as ultra left reading groups larping about the russian revolution, it does not feel like as much of an immediate material gain when compared to local acts of mutual aid, it is not as cool to post on social media as a sit in or mass arrest is, but internal base building is essential and electoral work streamlines base building.

Yet once again I must reitierate, I do not see electoral gains as a panacea. I see them as a short term base building gain and a short term material gain when we use elections to put up blockades to right wing attacks on the working class. To act like I believe in no other tactic, no other hope for a massive revolution is insulting, gaslighting, nearsighted, shallow, and just over all counter revolutionary. We can never expect to defeat the right wing if we are still having trivial arugments about whether or not to vote! While we continue to have these conversations, the ice caps melt and all who are not white cis males are attacked by the day.

We cannot afford to reject any area where we can achieve a genuine material gain, be it in the short or long term. We must build our base, our platform, and mobilize. What many on the left forget, we are still in the phase of building our base.

So abandon this shallow outlook. I am not asking you to embrass electoralism, I am demanding you stop assuming that someone using one tactic means the only believe in that one tactic. We cannot afford to be nearsighted, we have too much work to do.

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Don’t Just Vote for Socialists, Vote for ECO-Socialists

I am a strong supporter of the DSA’s current electoral platform, and I say that as someone who is beyond disilluisioned with electoralism. However, the DSA’s current platform for getting as many socialists as possible elected to public office has been nothing but good for the organization and for socialism.

This platform of pushing for DSA members to run for office has successfully brought socialism out from the marginalized wings of U.S. politics and into the mainstream. It has brought attention to the organization and helped force the policy platform of many otherwise moderate democrats go further to the left.

However, considering the impending disaster facing our planet, species, and existence, I move that we not only work to elect socialists, but explicit eco-socialists to office.

I don’t need to remind anyone how disastrous of a state we are in. The carbon levels in the atmosphere are at their highest in the history of humankind and too many species are already on the brink of extinction. Farmworkers are being forced to work in even more complicated conditions since we are losing consistency in our crops, and we will be seeing more mass migrations as global warming gets worse.

Therefore, we cannot, I repeat, CAN NOT, take it for granted that the socialists we seek to elect are explicitly conscious of the need for an ecological, sustainable economy. The importance of electing socialists to office allows us to seize a form of state power and push for a democratized economy, which inturn can help create a more eco-friendly one, but that will not be an inevitability if we do not make it so.

Some will say that the terms “socialist” and environmentalist are inherently intertwined because the liberals have clearly aligned themselves with the carbon economy. I disagree with this logic and say we must take nothing for granted, especially not what it means to be a socialist.

A person can identify as a socialist or as pro labor but then can flip that to mean something that is not environmentalist at all. Some have taken the stance that the environment is secondary to labor. For example the AFLCIO has released all kinds of anti envromental stances, including support for pipelines and housing developments. They take the platform of “job creation” being the priority of the working class. This stance is flawed because it blatantly ignores the reality of job creation that comes from embracing a green economy. This is why cannot take for granted that a pro working class candidate is also a pro environmental one.

Support for an eco socialist candidate should not be limitus tested by one single policy either. While I support a Green New Deal we can not rely on that alone to save ourselves. An ecosocialist candidate must incorporate the realities of mass migration, conservationism, and animal rights into their pro working class agenda.

To say that the terms socialist and environmentalist are inherently intertwined risks us losing out ecosocialist candidates in favor of ones who fail to reconcile environmentalism and socialism. We must make our demands explicit and that must reflect in our electoral platform at all times. We cannot take for granted that every socialist is an ecosocialist, I think it is pretty evident that we can take nothing for granted.

Pete Buttigieg Is Not A Genius

Many people are impressed with Pete Buttigieg’s performance during the first democratic party debate and many more are impressed with how intelligent Buttigieg appears to be. I am not one of them.

Credit where credit is due, while I disagreed with everything he said during the first 2020 presidential debate, I am objective enough to admit that he did not stumble in his responses and he did not lose any ground or footing with his base. While Kamila Harris was the clear winner in the debate and Biden the obvious loser, Buttigieg can easily be called the runner up for his cool and collective confidence throughout the night.

But here is the thing, people who applaud him are just too easily impressed by good public speaking skills and Harvard diplomas. I have met idiots with Master’s degrees, and geniuses who had dropped out of high school.

This is why I don’t give a flying fuck about Pete Buttigieg the “Rhode Scholar,” that he sells himself to be. I don’t care how many languages he speaks. I do not care that he went to Harvard, and I don’t think good public speaking and debate skills are the same as intelligence.

I am no anti intellectualist. Those who follow this blog know that! What I am is a realist, and let’s be realistic about how we as a culture treat college degrees as earmarks of status, not capability.

A Harvard diploma is not a sign of intelligence, it is a status symbol. The ability to speak another language is not a sign of intelligence, it is a skill that comes with years of memorization. Intelligence is shown in the application of ones education and knowledge. So far Buttigieg has used his alleged intelligence to protect his cities racist police force and to enable gentrification!

Our culture has a warped idea of what it means to be smart and what an education means.

Ivy leaque schools are not beacons of wisdom, they are mostly populated by trustfund legacy kids. A Harvard or Yale degree is a status symbol used to perpetuate the myth that the rich are in their class because of their “hardwork.” https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/oct/21/what-will-help-you-get-into-harvard-super-rich-parents

Now, is a person with a college degree more educated than someone without one? Certainly, but recieving an education is not a sign of intelligence by itself, true intelligence is represented in the application of your knowledge. What good is an elite education if all it is used for is personal gain? In Buttigeig’s case, what good did his diploma do to keep him from running South Bend, Indiana into the ground? Nothing.

In all honesty, a college degree is simply a symbol of training. “You studied Science for four years, so here is the piece of paper that says your qualified to talk about it!” The only difference between a diploma from Harvard and a tech school trade certification is the job opportunities that come with them. That is all any diploma is, proof that you finished your training in some subject or trade.

Pete Buttigieg is not some kind of a genius just because he has a Harvard diploma. Remember, education means nothing if you do not apply your knowledge, and considering how awful he runs the city of South Bend, I do not think he is using it. A strong debate performance is not enough to convince me otherwise. I am not that easily impressed!

Bounce Back Bernie! My Analysis of the First Debates

Okay, so for those who watched the first 2020 democratic party debates, here is my final verdict:

Winner: Kamila Harris. She definitely came out looking the strongest out of any candidate. That is not an endorsement by the way it is just a statement of fact, the sky is blue and Kamila Harris held and gained ground thanks to her presence on the debate stage. The teeth that she laid into Biden are bites that he will have a hard time recovering from and gave her an image a more feisty “I take no shit” kind of appeal.

Loser: Biden. He took a public beating from Harris, fumbled his answers, and just straight up I lied. “I was not against bussing.” Yeah, grade A lies. I knew this would happen to be honest. Biden is riding high on Obama’s coattails for now but Biden has always debated and paneled horribly. Every time Biden runs for president he flounders in the debate and any chances he has are killed with the gush of dog shit that comes out of his mouth. Plus the more people like Harris continue to press him on the issues of race such as bussing and praising segregationists the more he will hurt. It may not be for a while, but Biden is on his way out.

Bernie’s Performance: SO/SO. I’d give him a 6 out of 10. He was definitely the candidate saying the things I agreed with the most and he stayed consistent with his message, but it came across more stiff than firm. Bernie needs to stay consistent with his message but if we wants to pull more votes in the primary he needs to find a new ways to deliver his message. I am not suggesting he compromise his working class platform, but that he find ways to make it sound different and fresher each time. He also missed some opportune free throws and chances to take on the smears against him.

“Do you hate diversity Bernie Sanders?” Asks shit for brains Chuck Todd.

“No, I have the most diverse campaign staff for any candidate. Next question.”

That is how that interaction should have gone.

However Bernie did win in another way. The fact that all of the policy questions revolved around progressive values such as medicare for all or solidarity with the undocumented, means that it is progressives like Bernie who set the dialogue for that debate. The same can be said of the debate the night before this one. Even though Bernie was not on stage, his policies and platform were.

We have a long election season ahead of us, there is time for Bernie to bounce back. If he wants to recover he needs to sharpen his teeth. He needs to find new ways for him to communicate his platform that are consistent with his platform. Harris will see a bump over the next few weeks, Biden will be struggling to recover and each debate will be worse for him.

It’s going to be a long election season.

Why Socialism? Because We’re All Going To Die!

Many wonder why I have moved so far left. They wonder why I have embraced the terms “socialist” and “communist.”

Now, many tell me that the word “communism” is still too stigmatizing and off putting to people who have not yet been radicalized. This maybe true, to paraphrase Nelson Madela “the oppressor inevitably has control over the tone of the dialogue.”

If this is true, and assuming that it is, then one of the roads to liberation is taking control of the dialogue, and this can only be done by embracing the terms Marxist, Socialist, and Communist, without watering them down through other terms like “liberal” or “progressive.” It should be noted that when we are not talking about Stalinism when we are using the word socialism but the association between the terms Stalinist and Communist is an annoyingly nearsighted one that is not worth addressing.

We should not shy away from the truth of our goal as leftists, which is the abolition of the capitalist state and the creation of cooperative world, free from the toxic nationalism that comes with borders and the racist, colonialist, ableist, patriarchy, which upholds capitalism.

However, there is another reason why we should not shy away from the words communism and socialism, and that is the matter of our planet’s sustainability.

It can no longer be denied that the existence of the humanity and society is dependant on us creating a ecologically sustainable economy and lifestyle. This can only happen through cooperation.

The liberal notion that laws and reforms from the top down can salvage the planet are laughable. (Side note, I am in favor of the Green New Deal, do not mistake this for sectarianism) What I mean is that simple band-aid acts such as carbon taxes or emissions limits passed by bourgeoise politicians will do nothing to alter the course of our impending demise. We have approximately one decade to salvage ourselves from a climate crisis and we cannot afford mere reformism to be our savior.

These are moments when I often think about Rosa Luxemburg’s famous line, “Our choices are socialism or barbarism.” Well, the ecological disaster in our midst is barbarism. Socialism or barbarism is not merely a call to action, but a warning. A warning that a top down, non cooperative economy and social structure will inevitably doom our species and the only alternative to that is a democratic cooperative economy. IE, socialism, communism.

The importance of a sustainable, cooperative ecological economy also ties into all issues that are important to the left. Heavy polluting factories are always put in the poorest neighborhoods. Polluted water is raising the infant mortality rate, leaving working class mothers to watch their children die. Pipelines cut through rivers and tribal lands, perpetuating the imperialist colonialism that founded the U.S.

The only way to counter how capitalism pollutes our world is with its antithesis, and the antithesis is socialism.

So when people tell me, “Communism is too dangerous of a term,” or say, “Don’t call it socialism, it’s too off putting!” I say unto them that the destruction of our species at the hands of an economy controlled by the greedy few and not the hungry masses is far more off putting than a few simple words. Words which mean cooperation and liberation I might add!

When people say that leftist language is too dangerous, I say to them what Rosa said, “Our choices are socialism or barbarism.” The barbarism is about to kill us, it is time for socialism!

How Do We Make Bernie Better About Sexwork?

I am a strong Sanders supporter, and I am more than willing to concede that Bernie needs to do better regarding certain issues. Sex work is definitely one of them.

We in the pro-Sanders camp need to acknowledge that his votes in favor of FOFSTA and SESTA hurt sexworkers and we must acknowledge that Bernie needs to be pushed more on the issue of sex work.

Not only did Bernie vote for both of these harmful bills but when talking about media coverage of Stormy Daniels, Bernie has maintained a tone that writes off sexwork in a way that is damaging to his progressive image.

While at SXSW last year, he remarked that while the Stormy Daniels story is “legitimate news… the media is too obsessed with it,” which is actually a valid point. However, his reasoning was grossly flawed.

In this country, we have a lot of people who are in pain — single mothers, people who can’t afford college — they want to see something that reflects their reality.” And obviously, a president suing an adult film star isn’t that.

This reasoning ignores some very important realities, one being that porn performers and sex workers often are single mothers or parents. It also forsakes the reality that many turn to sex work because of the economic oppressions that he mentioned. In other words, it reflects the idea that porn stars and the issues effecting them are not to be taken seriously because porn stars themselves are not to be taken seriously as people.

This has been a difficult dance for me. I strongly support sex workers and want our culture to abandon the negative cultural constructs that we have attached to sex and sexuality. I also need the strong social welfare and environmental programs that Bernie Sanders is running on to come to fruition, we all do, or we are all going to die. So, as a Sanders supporter I think it is our job to hold him to scrutiny when he falls short.

Here is what I make of the whole Bernie Fofsta/Sesta/Sexwork situation: Bernie does not hate sexworkers, however because he is a product of his time and place he has preconceived notions about sex and sexuality that are the by products of our sex negative cultural constructs. Bernie and his sexwork policies are a good reflection of how even if you lean hard to the left, you will still have ingrained notions and prejudices if you are raised in an oppressive society, and inevitably some of that will lead to a perpetuation of the same oppressions we as leftists desire to overthrow.

All is not lost though, the key to overcoming ingrained prejudices and cultural constructs is to recognize them, and then take active steps to correct them. If Bernie has proven one thing about himself it is that when the public cries fowl on him, he listens and takes the steps to do better. The good news is that Bernie has already expressed a willingness to decriminalize sex work! However, more still needs to be done. We, his supporters, need to raise our voices and elevate sexworkers who are organizing. If enough of us do this, then Bernie, as well as all of the politicians in power, will have to take notice.

So, how do we get Bernie to be better about sexwork?

1. Elevate Sex Worker’s Voices, Support Sex Worker Unions

First and foremost, to stand in true solidarity with sexworkers we must avoid the savior complex.

As long as strippers, escorts, and porn performers are generating wealth with their labor then we must acknowledge that sex work is work.

We also must recognize that there are already those in the sex industry that are working to organize their own, such as Antonia Crane, Siousixie Q, Sex Worker Outreach Project, and the “soldiers of pole” stripper union. We don’t need to invade the spaces where sex workers are trying to organize, what we must do is elevate those who are already organizing and fighting and stand behind them in solidarity when they step up to lead. Sex workers do not need saving, they need solidarity.

It should also be remembered that these workers do not need our’s nor Bernie’s validation, they do not need to beg for Bernie’s approval or his audience, what they need from him and all of us is our solidarity. The more that we support the efforts of people like strippers to unionize, the more Bernie’s hand will be forced to recognize that sexwork is indeed a form of labor. For better or worse, Bernie listens when unions are involved.

2. Fight Our Sex Negative Cultural Constructs

It is okay to talk about sex. You would think that we’d have accepted that as a culture because sex is shoved into our faces in almost every form of advertisement or entertainment. Yet the fact that we are only now having this conversation about sexwork, the fact that our government’s response to the human trafficking problem has been to go after the sex work industry as a whole, and the fact that people still have not grasped the nuances of trans rights or gender fluidity, all demonstrate how far we have to go when it comes to sex as a culture. We can’t accept the idea that sex work is work if we can’t accept our own ideas about sex. If we want to make Bernie better about the issue of sex work, then we ourselves need make ourselves better and more enlightened on the topic of sexuality.

3. Make It Clear That Sex Workers Benefit From Social Welfare Programs

The benefits that sexworkers would receive from Bernie’s social welfare programs needs to be made more explicit and central to the left’s platform. We should make it clear that Medicare for all covers sexual wellness such as fertility and STD testing.

Not only that but both Medicare for all and college for all reduce the need for people to resort to sex work out of desperation. While many resort to sexwork willingly (even enthusiastically) some in the industry get into it because they cannot find other work. Also, more often than not you will find that several sex workers are trapped under crippling student loan debt or medical debt like the rest of us.

Bernie’s programs would also benefit those who engage in sexwork willingly because if we free our minds from sex negative thinking while we also free ourselves from these financial restraints, then those who have been sexually repressed will be free to explore the aspects of their sexuality like never before. They will be free perform and indulge without judgement, as they should have the freedom to do.

4. Decriminalize all sexwork

This is probably the most important thing to push for. Those who do sex work consensually should have the freedom to do so without fear. Because we live in a punitive system, the laws that police claim will protect trafficked sex workers usually leads to them being prosecuted more than rescued. Prostitutes are also statistically more likely to get arrested than pimps or traffickers. All socialists and leftists must explicitly support the decriminalization of sex work, period.

Now that Bernie has expressed a willingness to decriminalize sex work, it is on us as his supporters to assure that sex work decriminalization becomes a part of his platform.

If enough of a movement is started, especially among his core base of supporters, then Bernie will have to take notice of how he has misstepped on the issue of sex work in the past. While it is fantastic news that he has said he is willing to decriminalize sex work, we cannot ignore where he has fallen short on this issue. His FOFSTA and SESTA votes are a glaring black mark on his progressive resume. I assure you, I say this as someone who loves Bernie Sanders, I want to see him win.

Bernie needs to be better about sexwork, and it looks like he is on the right track. But we, the public, need to be attentive and see to it that sex workers receive the attention and solidarity they need.

The Dumbest Anti Bernie Take Ever

Andrew Ferguson wrote a piece for the Atlantic titled, “Tyranny of the 70 Somethings,” in which he not only equates Bernie Sanders to Joe Biden, but acts as if both are equally complicit in holding the Democratic party back. His logic? Because they are both old.

Ferguson calls the Democratic party a “gerontocracy” and goes so far as to equate Bernie Sanders with some kind of a cliche version of a creepy old man.

Sanders and Biden have made themselves the equivalent of the old dude cruising the pool at Club Med in his sagging Speedo, capped teeth gleaming, knobby shoulders and fallen pecs bronzed and shiny with tanning oil, gold chains twinkling through the chest hair

We will put aside how lazy of a simile this is, and I am not even going to go into Ferguson’s blatant use of body shaming, (it’s 2019 why are jokes about people’s body types still considered funny!?) Instead let us address the biggest oversight of the article, that the only thing Bernie and Biden have in common is that they are both old. That is literally it.

Ferguson claims that Bernie and Biden are holding the party back from the agenda that would benefit young people because they are not elevating younger candidates in the presidential primary. Ferguson is ignoring the fact that Bernie is the most popular candidate with young voters because of one thing, his policies, not his age.

The “younger candidates” (keep in mind Warren and Biden are very close to the same age by the way and Harris is over 50) are not polling as well as Bernie because the younger generation has seen how identity politics fail to yield any actual results if the candidates policies suck. I may be young, but I am old enough to remember how Obama failed us.

In Ferguson’s, who is over 60 year old, mind identity politics are still the way to win elections and fix the larger social issues we face as a nation. Apparently Ferguson is one of the many people in this country who slept through the entire Obama administration or suffers from the pre Trump amnesia that causes people to forget that poverty, sexism, and racism have always been problems in the U.S.

Obama’s tenure as president proves one thing, that it doesn’t matter if the president is an old white man or a young black man, what matters is will your policies benefit the most people? We elected a black president in 2008 who also supported drone bombs and neoliberalism, did it solve the countries woes? Did it end racism? Did it liberate women?

No. The U.S. war machine is now stronger than it has ever been. White supremacy is still rampant. The wealth gap has grown between the poorest and the richest and continues to grow. A woman is still not in total control of her own body. All of this is enough proof to demonstrate that electing someone to the presidency based on identity lines instead of policies does nothing to fix our greater societal issues.

However, the most glaring oversight of the article is that Ferguson completely ignores how Bernie Sanders has been CONSISTENT with his integrity and policies for his entire political career, whereas Biden is the complete opposite.

Until a few weeks ago, Biden supported the Hyde Amendment. Bernie Sanders was marching for abortion rights in 1972.

Bernie got himself arrested to demand an end to segregated student housing at the University of Chicago.

Biden negotiated with segregationists in order to defeat integration and school bussng bills.

Biden supported invading Iraq.

Bernie didn’t.

Biden publicly attacked Anita Hill, Bernie did not.

The list of policy differences between Biden and Bernie is staggering, but to Ferguson that means nothing. In his mind Bernie and Biden are both the same, you know, because they are both 70. -\_(“/)_/-

If anyone is holding the party back it is Biden. We don’t need Biden in the race not because he is old, but because his record is atrocious and his policies are just more of the same watered down, capitalist garbage we were given under Obama.

Ferguson would do well to take his own advice, step back and let the younger people lead, this way nothing will stand in the way of us electing Bernie Sanders and we won’t have to endure hack takes from lazy, nearsighted “writers.”