What is this revolution really about anyway? It’s a war. It won’t be won even if Bernie gets elected President. It’s a protracted struggle. We need to appreciate our accomplishments. We have proven that a grass roots, people-funded movement can successfully challenge the ruling class. We have built the largest progressive coalition in many years. We have engaged millions of people in the political process that wouldn’t be engaged without our movement. We have made socialism a clean word again. This is huge. We need to consolidate our gains and figure out how to function collectively and democratically going forward so that we make decisions based on a serious understanding of long-term strategy, not based on individual desires for some kind of ideological purity – the quest for which purity has derailed the left time and time again.
If by some bizarre fluke of the electoral process, Bernie is denied the nomination, we need to think about our next steps. The whole brouhaha over Bust or Blue is a reactionary distraction which only helps the ruling class. As Robert Reich so artfully put it early on, the ruling class is still the ruling class. They don’t give up easily. Our task, win or lose, is to unite our movement and consolidate the power we have achieved. The choices we make regarding what to do or how to vote should not be seen as individual decisions, as strongly as we may feel about them emotionally. We need to make these decisions collectively. We need to develop the Bernie movement into a large national organization which is a model for participatory democracy – and discipline – around the decisions collectively made. We need to take our time, deliberate respectfully, and come together around a common strategy to further the cause of our working class revolution.
The first step will be a national convening, either in Philadelphia immediately following the Democratic Convention, or I’ve also heard of a plan to meet in Chicago prior to the Convention. This convening will establish the points of unity for a national organization. Hopefully, the organization will merge Working Families Party, Move On, Democracy for America, Democratic Socialists of America, Socialist Alternative, Black Lives Matter, and all of the other groupings that have supported Bernie. Each of these groups would be encouraged to establish a caucus inside the larger organization. This convening could outline a set of options to be decided once a series of five or so regional convenings have taken place, in order to maximize participation. These options would include, if Hillary somehow gets the nomination, developing a list of demands to Hillary for her to meet if she wants our vote, like pardon all those nonviolent drug offenders your husband jailed, or make Bernie Sanders the head of the DNC.
Personally, I think we should take over the Democratic Party, the largest – and most diverse – organization of any kind in the United States. But there are other possibilities, such as uniting with the Greens in forming a serious third party, but we would need to be mighty careful that the new party was at least as diverse as the Democratic Party. I think this move would be premature, that we do need to unite with the Democratic Party to keep Trump out, if only because he will fan the flames of racism and racial violence, and has already threatened to immobilize the internet in order to disrupt the “terrorists,” by which he means us. We can use Hillary’s weakness in shape-shifting as our strength in forcing her to go along with our positions, because we do have the power, we do have the majority, it’s only the corrupt electoral system that prevents our majority from taking over. She needs us. We can make her bend to our will (heel). We can hold out a powerful primary challenge to her in 2020 if she fucks up too bad, even as we unseat the blue dogs from the party apparatus and replace them with ourselves. If we stand together, there is nothing we can’t accomplish.