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!

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!

Leon

Leon sat on the porch as the sun set behind the red silhouetted hills off in the horizon. As it went down the sun turned the sky into a deep purple with streaks of orange drizzled throughout. The sun itself had shifted into a deep red hue, a red that reminded Leon of the flags he once raised over vanquished enemies. Even though the shadows of the mountains had swallowed the whole front of the compound, Leon could still see the shadows of his bodyguards patrolling the entrance, their rifles almost making it look like they were carrying crucifixes on their backs.

It had been years since Leon was forced to flee his homeland, and though he was gracious to his hosts and happy to be alive, he just never could get used to the climate. The desserts of Mexico were vastly different from the muddy winters and bright springs of home. Leon was glad to have found refuge in Mexico, but he always missed home.

Leon did find the sunsets in Mexico more beautiful though. They gave him something beautiful to look up at when he wanted to take a break from his notebooks and studies. Leon was a man of the pen, a day he did not write a letter, an article, or a chapter in his next book was always a bad day.

Today was shaping up to be a bad day, nothing could get him to work on his book, not even the strong coffee that his local comrades had gifted to him. Leon was not able to write anything that day, until he came out to the porch to watch the sunset. For some reason, the deep red sun shading the sky had inspired him, and he took advantage of the withering daylight to fill his notebook as much as possible.

After the last bit of sunlight had been swallowed into darkness, Leon grabbed his books and notes and moved inside into his study. He sat at his desk and tried to continue with his writing, but he was drained out. For some reason now that he was away from the sunset he could not think about his text, he could only think of the sunsets back home.

He was lost in his pondering when he was then jolted by a knock on the door. Leon got up to answer it an on the other end of the door was one of Leon’s guards and a young comrade, Franc. Franc was young and Leon admired the energy of young comrades like him. He had been to the compound several times before with articles for Leon to read and had earned a degree of respect for his candor from Leon’s other comrades.

“Mr. Franc calling on you, comrade.” Said the guard.

“Send him in send him in.” Said Leon, gesturing for the young man to come in, closing the door and leaving his guard in the hall to stand watch as he did every night.

“No doubt you have an article for me to look at Comrade Jacson?” Said Leon as he returned to his desk.

“Yes Comrade.” Franc said pulling a stack of papers from out of a whicker brief case. “I wrote about the syndicalists, and contextualize what happened to them in the wake of this new world war.”

“Ah yes, so many of our enemies are all at war at once and all with each other!” Leon gave a chuckle looking at the papers handed to him as he sat down.

Leon shuffled through the pages to count them quickly before he began to read.

Suddenly Leon felt like a thousand nails had been driven into his forehead. He felt the crack of his skull and the surge of torture that came flowing through his entire body from the corner of his shattered temple.

Leon looked up from the papers to see that Franc had struck him. He struck him with something both sharp and blunt at the same time somehow. As Leon screamed in pain Franc delivered another blow, adding a stabbing pain to the torturous throbbing and shattered bone that was now torturing Leon.

Franc raised his weapon for a third blow, but was stopped as Leon sprang up and grabbed France by his arm and laying a firm grasp on his weapon.

Leon screamed, “You traitor! You scum! Murderer! Help! Help!” The two danced around the room, their shoes scuffing the wood of the floors as each one dug their heals in to try and over power the other. Leon might have been older than Franc, but one does not run an entire army without learning hand to hand combat, “And be damned this Stalinist traitor!” Thought Leon as he struggled to overpower Franc, “I will not bow down to anyone without a fight!”

Leon continued to scream for help as blood from his wound pooled over his eye and lips and dripped into his long beard. The guard from outside burst in, they grabbed Franc and pulled him back, forcing him to drop his weapon. The guard blew his whistle and with in seconds the room was flooded with Leons guards, others went to handle Franc while two sought medical attention for Leon who had collapsed into a guards arms after Franc had been subdued.

The guards beat Franc senseless until he was a pile of mush on the floor, but they did beat him just short of beating him to death. They wanted the man alive for his trial.

Leon was rushed to the hospital. Blood dribbling from the top of his head and through his hands as he tried to use what little strength he had left to put pressure on the wound. Some of the blood on in his beard was beginning to dry and congeal.

By the time the doctors got to him Leon was a weak husk of himself. They managed to bandage the wound but the doctors saw little else that could be done.

At the hospital Leon lingered in and out of consciousness. He’d awake from the pain, then he would collapse into unconsciousness from the pain. The blood had been cleaned from his eye and beard, but Leon could feel more of it seep into his bandages as he lied in bed. All time was lost to the pain, Leon did not know if he had been their for hours or for days.

After what felt like days of torture Leo woke once more, he could see that the sun was setting through a nearby window, just before he closed his eyes for the last time.

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.”