The united front. I don’t think it’s possible to understand Bernie’s strategy for his “revolution” without understanding the concept of the united front. Lenin developed the strategy in leading the Russian Revolution, but as a strategy, it has little to do with communist ideology. It’s about how you win. In pursuing the strategy, we unite with everyone who agrees with a certain set of principles, points of unity. Often we unite with people and groups with which we have profound disagreements. The way we handle these disagreements determines whether we will be successful or not. “Struggle with, struggle against” is the operative methodology here: there are times when we lead with our unity (such as in the general election) and times when we debate our differences (such as in the primary campaigns).
The united front has been the primary mechanism of leftists to gain power for the last century. Where would China be today if it weren’t for Mao uniting with Chang-kai Shek to defeat the Japanese? Where would Europe be if the USSR hadn’t united with the U. S. and Great Britain to defeat Hitler? One of the main attractions of the united front for leftists is that it puts us in contact with what we used to call “the center,” the people who haven’t heard much about our program and strategy. In this way, we build the left; it beats all hell out of talking to ourselves.
The united front in which we are currently engaged is the Democratic Party itself. The points of unity are the principals outlined in the Party Platform – as well as opposition to Trump and the Republicans. The Party is composed of all sorts of people with all sorts of points of view. It is also, arguably, the largest organization of any kind in the United States. Within this organization, we fight like hell for our candidate, Bernie Sanders, and his positions to get the nomination and lead the nation.
The attitude of some of Bernie’s supporters – namely Bernie or Bust – violates the integrity of the united front. To win the general, we will need the supporters of other candidates. Suppose followers of all the candidates took an analogous position: Beto or Bust, Kamala or Bust, etc. By the end of the convention, the Democratic Party would be just that, busted, and whoever won the nomination, even if it was Bernie, would not have sufficient support to win the general. We do need to attack Bernie’s opponents’ positions, and fiercely – struggle against – but with enough good will so as not to alienate their supporters when they lose. Bernie does this elegantly. We need to follow his lead.
I get the attraction of threatening the establishment Democrats that we won’t support anyone but Bernie in the general. It shows how committed we are to our candidate. But it’s an idle threat. The country cannot suffer a Trump second term. Ask the children Trump has caged in concentration camps whether it’s okay to let Trump win again because the Democrats didn’t choose who we wanted.