Tomás Ó Flatharta

Looking at Things from the Left

The struggle has moved far “Beyond Bernie” | International Socialism Project

leave a comment »

Mainstream USA politics is dominated by the Republican and Democratic parties, which are a Tweedledee-Tweedledum option.

An antidote for the radical left can be an erupting mass movement – a factor largely absent from the American continent for decades, but suddenly back in play since police officer Derek Chauvin choked gentle giant George Floyd to death in Minnesota.

The Black Lives Matter Movement has swept through the American continent, and detonated anti-racist protests across the globe, including Ireland.

First example : a wonderful mural in Tallaght, a working class district of Dublin, the constituency of RISE radical left TD Paul Murphy.

Annemarie Blake’s Mural Honouring George Floyd, Tallaght, Dublin

Second example : large Black Lives Matters demonstrations at the Ballsbridge American Embassy, a prosperous part of Ireland’s capital city.

Black Lives Matter Demonstration, USA Embassy, Ballsbridge, Dublin

Before the eruption of mass street-level struggle in the States, many sectors of the radical left made a valiant effort to break their isolation by critically supporting a left-wing candidate, Bernie Sanders, using the label of a Tweedledee party, the Democrats.

That was Plan A – which failed in early 2020. Sanders lost the Democrat nomination battle to Barack Obama’s Vice President, Joe Biden.

Plan B means backing the streets’ mass movement – the article below highlights extraordinary changes it has forced on to the agenda. But, Plan B also needs to include a viable electoral strategy. That is a weakness of this extremely good linked article. It is weakness shared by other parts of the USA radical left.

Bernie Sanders ended his second presidential bid in April—endorsing Joe Biden and urging his supporters to vote for him. Since then, the political climate in the U.S. has been transformed. The Covid-19 pandemic, the ensuing economic crisis and large scale unemployment, followed suddenly by the mass uprisings triggered by the murder of George Floyd, have thrown the presidential election that had been the focus of many on the left into the shade.

Elections can be a useful, if imperfect barometer of mass sentiment—but they are not the arena in which the mass of disenfranchised people assert their power. The nationwide eruption of Black Lives Matter protests in particular has reconfirmed Howard Zinn’s well-known statement that “the really critical thing isn’t who is sitting in the White House, but who is sitting in—in the streets, in the cafeteriasstream , in the halls of government, in the factories. Who is protesting, who is occupying offices and demonstrating—those are the things that determine what happens.”

The mass protests rapidly and dramatically altered the national conversation about the system of racist policing and the right to fight back against it. The demand to “defund the police” has left local officials scrambling to embrace various police “reforms”—in an effort to stave off anything more substantial. Who could have predicted just weeks earlier that the tepid New York Times would run an op-ed piece by Black activist Mariame Kaba on June 12th entitled “Yes, we mean literally abolish the police—because reform won’t happen.”Kaba argued, “We should redirect the billions that now go to police departments toward providing health care, housing, education and good jobs. If we did this, there would be less need for the police in the first place.” [Just nine days earlier, in contrast, the Times had run a piece called “Send in the Troops” by Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton, proposing the use of federal troops to crush the protests.]
— Read on

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: