I’ve been tempted to write more than once before, but your “Editorial Commentary” graphic in the January issue moves me finally to say Enough! with what I would call ultra-leftism in the current epoch.
If at this late date, a year into President Trump, the editors of Change-Links do not see that there is indeed some “difference between Democrats and Republicans,” then you and I are truly inhabiting different planets.
The Democrats are not perfect. They are collectively far from perfect. But we would be fighting very different kinds of fights right now if President Hillary Clinton were sitting in the White House.
There were many factors that contributed to her defeat, almost any one of which could be considered determinative. But certainly the lowered voter turnout for her (as compared to for Barack Obama) was one. A part of that discomfort about voting for her came from the “either vote for Satan or vote for Lucifer” crowd represented in this quarter-page cartoon. One cannot even argue that in certain states, like California, it was “OK” to vote third party or to stay home, because that attitude—those words, those views, those memes—also got picked up in places like Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, and discouraged voters there.
There’s a reason Bernie Sanders ran as a Democrat. There’s a reason Doug Jones ran as a Democrat, and all those women and trans candidates who won in Virginia last November and in other places ran as Democrats. Ever hear of the United Front? That’s the broadest possible unity against the main enemy of the moment, and that is fascism, the far-right corporatist administrative committee in government for the One Percent. Right now, despite its many internal disagreements, the Democratic Party forms a part of that Resistance. And I use that word advisedly: Not a single Democratic vote supported the recent tax bill the GOP rammed down the country’s throat, nor supported repeal of the Affordable Care Act.
A time may come when the working class and the movements of oppressed people are so strong that they can mount credible challenges to the Democratic Party, which will either force it into the electoral arena with opponents from its left, or force it to take more consistently advanced positions. In the meantime, even in 2016, left forces—progressives, radicals, Bernie-ites, etc.—were able to cajole the DP into passing the most progressive major party platform ever launched. This momentum is ongoing: Recently the DP substantially reduced the number of superdelegates to its convention, which opens wider the door to left-of-center activists. I know we want more, and sooner, but an engaged sense of patience and perseverance is a necessity for the long haul of an activist movement.
If we continue to identify people such as Karen Bass, Kamala Harris, Sheila Kuehl, Ted Lieu, Barbara Lee, Maxine Waters, and I could name many more from other parts of the country, as “the Devil”—as in your slogan “No More Deals with the Devil!”—then I am afraid you and the people who think like you will be forever condemned to jerking off on the sidelines, while the majority mass movement of Latinx, African Americans, women, LGBTQ folk, students, urban residents and more march on to take back the House in 2018 and possibly even the Senate. They will have nothing but contempt for the “principled” “pure” left of the left (virtually all white and most of them male, by the way) who shat on their aspirations.
Like it or not, these are the institutions of government here in these United States until such time as The Revolution creates other forms. Grow up and join the struggle where it’s at, not on the romantic barricades where you fantasize it.
Do you remember how the United Front concept got started? In the mid-1930s, with Central Europe in the grip of fascism, the Communist International came to its senses, realizing the terrible, fatal mistake it had made just a few years earlier by pitting its super-revolutionary politics against the Social Democrats (who were bastards too, I know, but they were anti-fascist). That failure to think and act strategically, rather than emotionally over past hurts and deeds, got us Hitler.
And in 2016 that same failure got us Donald Trump. Thanks a lot.
Eric A. Gordon
Reply: The cartoon as noted was an individual editorial commentary by Michael Novick. As we note, articles in C-L are the views of the authors, not necessarily of other people on the all-volunteer staff or the publication in general. We are happy to print your opposing viewpoint, and are glad to see the paper beginning to generate some letters of comment. We encourage more readers to do the same.