The socialist moment and the tasks at hand

BY:Beth Edelman| April 18, 2019

The special elections of 2017 began to show the electoral opposition. In 2018 the revulsion to the policies pursued by Trump and company were described as a wave, huge. The Dems took back the House by more than 8 million votes, about 40 seats. The House victory included 100 women, many women of color and the youngest woman to take that office, Socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

Trump set the agenda as he descended the escalator in 2015 with a full throated xenophobia racist ideas focused on building a wall to keep out immigrants and forcing Mexico to pay for it.  Our problems in the US according to Trump is immigrants, in particular people who come to the US from Mexico and Central America.

This idea with all its parts is bogus–a total falsehood which landed on a population influenced by backward and divisive ideas. The history of this particular version of a corporate-serving idea suited Trump’s personal interests and background, as well as racist ideas found in main stream US.

The systemic nature of racist policy is becoming apparent, as is the crisis of a system, capitalism, which openly and without apology strives to maximize profits and restrict and reduce the gains of workers and other strata, ignoring human need.

Another aspect of the mass upsurge is a renewed interest in socialism and communism. It’s an important beginning. Senator Bernie Sanders, a self described democratic socialist, is rightfully credited with opening door widely in the 2016 campaign. In addition to helping make socialism a popular idea, Senator Sanders never ceases to urge listeners to build a movement broader, more massive, stronger to meet the adversary – to meet corporate and banking interests of unparalleled economic and political power.

Our Party has played a positive role in this fight. We have argued for a democratic front to isolate and oust the extreme right. Days after November 2016 election we said the way forward is uniting democratic forces in a front against the policies and candidates of ultra right. The core of the movement is the working class and oppressed peoples who are the backbone of any and all coalitions and fronts.  It  also includes, all sectors of oppressed peoples, middle strata aka petty bourgeoise and sectors of capital. In the election 2018 and 2020 shape up the labor movement has provided leadership uniting the organized sector with diverse views and the foot soldiers for campaigns. Many Internationals have become a feature of this movement.

The field of candidates seeking the Democratic presidential nomination  11 months before primaries begin is almost 20. The number of women, African American and Latinos seeking office is high. This is the most diverse group in history. Most of the candidates are addressing the big important issues, healthcare, jobs, income inequality, racism. It’s a bit early to understand fully not only where the candidates stand (it’s necessary to understand the complete position) but importantly how voters are responding to them.

More than any other presidential election in memory this one is about major policies. Sifting through these policy prescriptions and assessing the seriousness of the candidates is the job of the movement. A number of these candidates are in the category progressive; in my opinion there is a number of them that could assemble a strong movement a coalition and support to defeat Trump and company.

The presidential piece will dominate. One third of the Senate and the House will stand for election. All 50 states will be in it electing state legislators and some governors. To be successful the candidate must have support in the labor movement, African American and Latino communities, other peoples of color, youth, women and the LGBTQ community.

The core politics of 2020 is ousting the extreme right and strengthening the movements. We must not take our eye off the prize. Our focus on building unity, working class unity and unity with oppressed communities is a requirement.  Other strata must also be part of the united effort. The 2018 election once again demonstrated that advanced thinkers, radical democrats, socialists and communists can get elected in the politics of this movement.


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