Tomás Ó Flatharta

Looking at Things from the Left

Left Politics after Sanders: Think Internationally, Historically and Dialectically – New Politics

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Peter Drucker’s useful article examines radical left electoral initiatives in various parts of the world. It includes descriptions of the Left Bloc in Portugal and the Red-Green Alliance in Denmark. These are examples which should be compared with the experiences of radical left candidates in Ireland.

Drunker concludes with a plan of action leading up to the November 2020 USA General Election. He highlights the campaign of Green Eco-Socialist Candidate Howie Hawkins, rejecting lesser-evilists like Bernie Sanders, who lined up behind Joe Biden of the Democratic Party.

Howie Hawkins Campaign, USA Presidential Election November 2020

And what about the national election this November? Leftists are understandably preoccupied with stopping Trump. But Biden is a terribly weak reed to lean on in the fight against the racist far right.

Particularly in the forty-odd states where either Trump doesn’t stand a chance (California, New York, Massachusetts) or Biden doesn’t stand a chance, a vote by leftists for Biden – up to his knees in the shit of the Iraq war, the destruction of welfare, the growth of mass incarceration, the power plays of Big Pharma and more – is a wasted vote if ever there was one. Especially when there is a clear alternative – presumptive Green candidate Howie Hawkins – who is himself a long-time stalwart of the socialist left.

Given the groundswell on the left toward a critical vote for Biden, independent-minded socialists may be tempted to soft-pedal this debate. I think that would be a mistake. Of course, we shouldn’t push the debate to the point of alienating our allies in the movements. But neither should we imagine that what people do for a couple of minutes in the privacy of a polling booth is harmless.

In times of polarization like these, people and especially activists usually don’t keep their voting plans secret. Their declarations that of course they’ll vote for Biden to stop Trump help keep broad social milieus in the Democratic Party’s orbit. Even more serious, movement organizations’ success in delivering votes to Biden will be the currency for years of their quid pro quos with the Democrats: some crumbs for my base, some jobs for my staff, in return for lasting political allegiance.

For all their imperfections – notably their shallow roots in social movements – the Greens, who explicitly declared themselves anti-capitalist in 2016, offer the clearest possible rebuke to this kind of lesser-evilism. A vote for them is a small but meaningful step in the direction of the future new socialist party. So let’s take and advocate that step.
— Read on newpol.org/left-politics-after-sanders-think-internationally-historically-and-dialectically/

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