How to win in 2020: “To the left, march.”

BY:Rick Nagin| December 10, 2019
How to win in 2020: “To the left, march.”


Editor’s note: This article responds to the November 2019 discussion question on political independence, working-class leadership, and the fight for democracy.

Defeating Trump and the ultra-right in 2020 means moving the electorate to the left. The most effective force doing that is the Sanders campaign, which we should become fully immersed in. Sanders has the most consistent and clear progressive, anti-monopoly program on a multitude of issues, including health care, taxation, workers’ rights, the environment, and foreign policy. That means he is a magnet for progressives working in all fields. He has made great improvements in his approach to the question of racism and has a growing base among young, progressive African Americans. Unlike any other candidate, he also raises the systemic question, defiantly rejecting appeals that he drop use of the word “socialism,” and calls additionally for a “political revolution,” meaning a grass-roots movement needed to enact and enforce his progressive agenda. Sanders is a social democrat and sees his agenda as confined within the capitalist system, but he is encouraging movement that would likely go further. The ruling class is obviously very concerned about his impact and has lost confidence that Biden can win the nomination. That is certainly why people like Mike Bloomberg and Deval Patrick have gotten in the race.

It would be a serious error if the Party were to be indifferent about the Democratic primary and simply say we will support whoever the Dems nominate. That may be forced on us, but in the meantime, we have the opportunity to help move the electorate to the left, advance an anti-monopoly program, popularize our concept of socialism, develop ties with other healthy left forces, and build the Party. No other campaign comes close to providing us with such opportunities, and we would be extremely foolish to ignore this campaign or equate it with those of the other Dems. As the Communist Manifesto states, we fight “for the attainment of the immediate aims, for the enforcement of the momentary interests of the working class; but in the movement of the present, [we] also represent and take care of the future of that movement.”

The first step is to defeat the ultra-right. We recognize that the Dems are the only political party that can do that, but we must also prepare for the next step, which is an anti-monopoly government. This means we accept a Dem-led government but also call for the maximum number of anti-monopoly forces to be elected to Congress as well. That will set the stage for the next step of an anti-monopoly government that includes Communists, which would open the door to socialism. If we focus only on electing Dems, what is the reason for us to exist?

Of course, the electoral/legislative arena is not the only arena of the class struggle, but it is the widest arena and the one that draws together key activists in every progressive struggle, especially those in organized labor and the African American community. We should be active in organized labor and all other fronts to build the “political revolution” from the ground up. But to ignore the Dem primary or equate all the Dem candidates would isolate us from the working class and people. It would amount to an opportunist surrender to the forces of reaction.

Editor’s note: This article is in response to the discussion question on working-class leadership in political struggle.




    Rick Nagin, Ohio correspondent for the People's World, has written for the paper and its predecessors since 1970. He has been active for many years in Cleveland politics and the labor movement.

    He helped elect Cleveland's first Hispanic city councilman and served as his Executive Assistant for over seven years. Rick has run for public office a number of times and received 45 percent of the vote in a race for City Council in 2009.  He is the Democratic Leader in Cleveland Ward 14 and serves on the County Democratic Party Executive Committee.

    A member of The Newspaper Guild, Communications Workers of America, he is a delegate to the North Shore AFL-CIO Federation of Labor and serves on its Political Coordinators and Labor Day Parade committees. He is on the Executive Board of the Greater Cleveland Labor Council for Latin American Advancement and represents the People's World on the steering committee of Cleveland Jobs With Justice.




Related Articles

For democracy. For equality. For socialism. For a sustainable future and a world that puts people before profits. Join the Communist Party USA today.

Join Now

We are a political party of the working class, for the working class, with no corporate sponsors or billionaire backers. Join the generations of workers whose generosity and solidarity sustains the fight for justice.

Donate Now

CPUSA Mailbag

If you have any questions related to CPUSA, you can ask our experts
  • QHow does the CPUSA feel about the current American foreign...
  • AThanks for a great question, Conlan.  CPUSA stands for peace and international solidarity, and has a long history of involvement...
Read More
Ask a question
See all Answer