Tuesday, November 15, 2016

The party we need

A Blueprint for a New Party.

It's difficult to create a new political party, mostly because state election laws actively discourage such a task, and if some party manages to surmount the barriers to just getting on the ballot, the state legislators just raise them. And, because the barriers to entry are so high, any alternative party has to devote most of its energy and money not to policy and active organization, but just to get on the ballot.

However, Seth Ackerman believes that Citizens United is a blessing in disguise: it allows unlimited money to flow not just to the Democratic and Republican parties, but to any party, which makes financing new political parties financially viable. And Sanders showed tat quite a lot of money can be raised even without Wall Street and the Democratic 1%.

Ackerman talks about third parties' worries about being "spoilers" for the sympathetic wing of the traditional parties, the left and the socialists no longer have to worry about spoiling anything for anyone. If the neoliberal welfare-busting, mass-incarcerating globalizing Democratic bastards even had a progressive wing, which they don't, they've proven they cannot actually, you know, win an election. Not just for president; the Republicans control the House, Senate, and most of the state legislatures and governorships. Anyone who says that working within the Democratic party is the only way to get things done is delusional: The Democratic party can't get anything done. If y'all can completely reform the Democratic party, good on ya, but I've waited for 36 years for the party to get its shit together, and I've seen not just zero progress but substantial regress, both ideologically and strategically.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Eleven theses on Trump

As much as my friends are horrified at a Trump presidency with a Republican congress, that's exactly how horrified Trump voters considered a possible Clinton presidency and Obama's actual presidency. Elections are about values, not about policies.

Trump and the Republicans are not just about racism and sexism, but racism and sexism are real factors. We don't seem to understand racism and sexism; I myself don't claim to understand them. I definitely strongly dislike racism and sexism, but dislike is not understanding. If we're going to get the white proletariat and white petty-bourgeois/petty-professional class to turn away from racism and sexism, we have to understand them, so we can propagandize and negotiate effectively. Screeching at racists and sexists, dehumanizing them, placing them in the "basket of deplorables," may be emotionally satisfying, but it doesn't seem to be moving racism and sexism back.

Clinton and the Democrats, as well as the "traditional" Republicans, are not just about classism, but classism is a real factor. Upper-middle class people do not want to lose their class privilege, which they justify in exactly the same way that white people justify white privilege and men justify male privilege. (I don't mean to say that classism is exactly the same as racism; only the justifications are identical.)

Too many Democrats, especially Clinton Democrats, have nothing but contempt for the working class and the poor; unlike Trump, they do not hide their contempt. Republicans are only a little better, at least at hiding their contempt. I think I understand classism. I don't understand racism and sexism, but I do see racism and sexism as emerging from classism. I don't think we're going to make progress so long as we try to address racism and sexism as divorced from class.

Liberalism, i.e. technocratic professional/managerial class rule, is decisively over. Technocrats do not understand values, which are not "rational" but emotional. They do not understand politics. More importantly, it is precisely the technocratic core of the Democratic party that has destroyed the American working class, and who cares if a bunch of ignorant racist hillbillies are suffering. The Republican party too, of course, but the technocratic Democrats supported them, demanded the credit, and are taking the blame. We still need highly educated people, but they (well, we) are unfit to rule.

The Republican party has been running a long affinity con on the white working class, petty-bourgeois, and petty-professional class. These classes have at least begun to wake up, so they nominated Trump. I remains to be seen if Trump actually delivers anything to the white working class or doubles down on the long con. The Democratic party has been running a long affinity con on black people. I don't know when black people will wake up to the con. Some have, but not many.

The Democrats are not as bad as the Republicans, who are not as bad as Trump, but that's the best I can say about them. The Democratic party has not fought against the police killings of black people, they have not fought against assassination and torture, they have not fought against imperialism, they have not fought against the financial, medical, and industrial monopolists, and, most importantly, they have not fought for the working class, white or black. We can condone losing; we shouldn't condone not fighting.

Only the working class can bring in authoritarianism and fascism, and only the working class can avoid it. The bourgeoisie has shown itself incapable of resisting authoritarianism, and the professional/managerial class is too weak and too stupid to even see it, much less prevent it.

Either the working class has to take over the Democratic party, or they must form a new political party; I don't know which would be easier. The strategy should be first to go after working class Democrats: "Clinton and the party (or party establishment) betrayed you." In a couple of years, when Trump betrays them himself, go after working class Republicans.

However one defines "democracy", choosing between fascism and fascism-lite ain't it. We have a republic, so we have to use it, but we must transcend the republic.

We cannot have political democracy without economic democracy. Indeed, economic democracy must precede political democracy.

[Edited 31 July 2017 for grammar.]