Convention Discussion: We should be proud of our history and bold about our goals (reply to ‘Reconsider the Popular Front’)

BY:Ian Goodrum| March 25, 2019

This piece is in reply to Lowell B. Denny III’s article, Reconsider the Popular Front.

I don’t know that having a truly radical or anti-capitalist politics precludes working with or within reactionary institutions. Lenin himself said as much. The problem is failing to assert our fundamental independence or long-term plans enough to win over people who’ve already developed some degree of class consciousness. Too many see us as merely a tail of the Democratic Party. Sure, most people aren’t ready for a straight shot of explicit Marxist-Leninist ideology. This is obvious. But there’s a right and wrong way to frame our arguments — and the right way is one that stays true to our beliefs without alienating the masses. A tricky needle to thread, to be sure.

Our history is an advantage. We’ve been on the front lines of many important struggles, and at their most difficult moments — long before they were adopted by liberal or reactionary opportunists and sapped of their revolutionary content. Bernie Sanders supporters, for example, have pointed to photos of him being arrested at civil rights protests and stories of him marching with MLK. We have 100 years’ worth of this kind of material. And mistakes to acknowledge, as the original post very fairly enumerates. But we can safely say we’ve been on the right side of history more than any major party. This is a legacy to stand behind.

In this day and age, we can afford to stake out stronger positions on issues of the past, present and future. We have built our relationships enough to remain a key link in the struggle, and we shouldn’t fear those relationships would be jeopardized by being honest. We’re living in an era of corruption and falsehood. Courage and truth will bring far greater reward than secrecy.

This is true at least on a national level. Tactics might vary locally depending on circumstances, and we should keep this in mind. But now — when interest in socialism is on the rise and its most public advocates are pushing for what amounts to a kinder, gentler capitalism — fortune favors the bold.



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