Somehow I am still optimistic for the long term. Short term not so much. As MLK said, “the arc of history is long but it bends toward justice.” I believe this is true.
Short term, I think we’re in deep shit. Concentration camps for tender aged children? How bad does it have to get before the left realizes that it is our disunity which has fostered this situation? I’m going to be harsh here. People who vote their “conscience” instead of voting strategically are guilty of what we used to call bourgeois individualism, the antithesis of solidarity.
The objective is to build a movement for egalitarian societies worldwide. At one time the Communist Parties represented this movement, and made some incredible progress. Despite some clear deficiencies in Chinese society, does anyone believe that China would be anywhere near where it is today without Mao’s revolution? Does anyone believe that the progressivism and democratic socialism of European societies – such as it is – would be anywhere near where they are without the threat of Communist Revolution? Even in the U. S., where would we be without the Communist-led sit-down strikes at General Motors in the thirties, Flint, Michigan in particular? The Communist Movement effectively demolished colonialism with its strident advocacy and concrete support of National Liberation. That the movement has suffered severe defeats is unquestionable. That the Communist Movement is in retreat is undeniable. Communism is even a dirty word on much of the left, as well as the right. Revolutionary socialism might be a more accurate term for what we are advocating. But this arc of history tends also toward cycles, doesn’t it?
It might be good to learn from history. Disunity on the left was the primary cause of Hitler’s victory. Disunity on the left was the primary cause of Trump’s victory – or at least the one factor over which we had some control. Not to equate them. Trump is not as effective as Hitler was – not yet anyway.
I’d like to humbly suggest that the left focus on unity for the next two and a half years, okay? And by the left, I mean everyone to the left of the Republican Party. It seems increasingly that Bernie is winning the ideological struggle within the Democratic Party, with single payer, reduced militarism, free college, just immigration, guarantied jobs, $15 minimum wage, police accountability. Many of those politicians now espousing these ideas don’t mean them, of course. For too many, their role is to appease the people while serving their rich funders. Yes, we’ll have to hold our noses and negotiate with corporate shills and neoliberal assholes. But that’s how the united front works: struggle with, struggle against. This is the winning strategy, as the Communist movement proved over and over: Mao and Chiang defeating the Japanese. The Soviets and Roosevelt defeating the Nazis. The national liberation fronts of Cuba, Vietnam, Laos, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Bolivia. South Africa. Let’s take a page from the history books and find ways to unite like these victorious movements have done. Okay?