Left Voice - December 17, 2020
The following is a collection of short writings from eight socialist organizations in the United States. Each was asked this question: “What are the main tasks and challenges facing socialists after the election?” Contributions are from Left Voice, Philly Socialists, Punto Rojo, Reform and Revolution, Rampant Magazine, the Revolutionary Socialist Network, Socialist Alternative, and Tempest Magazine.
The main tasks for the Left today are three-fold: advance and unite ongoing struggles (for workers’ demands, against racism, sexism, homophobia, police brutality, and climate change), articulate an anti-capitalist and anti-imperialist vision, and build an independent working class party with a socialist program.
The current health and economic crisis caused by the pandemic takes place against the backdrop of the crisis of neoliberalism, which has brought about a partial delegitimization of traditional parties, and the decline of U.S. global hegemony, which makes it impossible for the U.S. economy to secure the material conditions that historically fed the illusion of the American dream. Meanwhile, capitalism keeps generating obscene economic inequalities.
Biden’s election is a “restoration” project, meant to restore the legitimacy of U.S. institutions and the profitability of U.S. corporations. After four years of tax cuts for the rich, blatant racism, and populist rhetoric that undermined the legitimacy of the regime, and amid the multiple crises and ongoing political polarization, this may prove impossible. The working class is desperate for relief, and many voted for Biden in the hope of something better than Trump. The movement against racism and police brutality shook the country this year and unveiled the rot in the regime. Meanwhile, a still-emboldened and increasingly violent right-wing movement continues to clash with a growing sector of the working class and the youth that is ready to fight against neoliberalism, if not capitalism altogether.
In this scenario, the Left must accelerate the experience of the masses with the Biden administration and show that the only solution can come from the workers organized as a class. We do this by organizing to fight from day one against bailouts for corporations, pushing instead for universal health care, the expansion of unemployment insurance, rent cancellation for the duration of the pandemic, and more. Building off the summer’s BLM insurgency, we need to put anti-racist struggles at the center of our efforts and use the firepower of the working class to make those struggles bigger. We must also work to unite labor and anti-racist movements if we want to avoid cooptation and strengthen the fight for socialism as we combat racial oppression.
And the working class has begun to show its strength, from the teachers’ strikes in 2018-2019 to the hundreds of labor actions of frontline workers at the start of the pandemic. But as leftists we have to be more than cheerleaders for labor struggle. The U.S. Left has often failed to combat union leaders who discourage and inhibit rank-and-file militancy, who boycott the push for universal health care, turn their backs on the movement against racism and police brutality, and continue to rally support for the Democrats. The fight against the union bureaucracy is at the center of any effective effort to strengthen workers, unionize new workplaces, and turn unions into fighting organizations. We need a fusion between the most advanced workers in struggle and the socialist movement.
To accomplish this, the socialist Left must articulate an anti-capitalist and anti-imperialist program. This means charting a path of internationalist working-class solidarity, rejecting both the blindspot of imperialism that characterizes the social democratic Left and the support for bourgeois governments outside the United States typical of the campist Left. A Left that works within the Democratic Party or supports its candidates is nothing but a left cover for American imperialism.
Biden enjoyed the support of sectors of the Left in these elections in part because he was running against Trump. It is hard to imagine how these organizations could now continue to justify their support as Biden fills his cabinet with neoliberal technocrats. Socialists need to break with the Democratic Party, and build an independent working-class party that fights for socialism. This means recognizing and fighting the Biden administration as our class enemy, and not trying to be left-wing advisors for his policies. ...
Read full compilation at Left Voice