By Wayne Nealis
November 6, 2014
After the midterm elections the task remains the same, challenging the two parties of capitalism…advancing a people’s program for peace and economic, and social and racial justice…millions will respond…
The 2014 mid-term election changes nothing when it comes to mapping a left strategy for building independent political forces that can challenge the two parties of capitalism. The low turnout and low enthusiasm show a deepening frustration and disgust with the programs and leadership of two parties, Congress and the president. Americans dissatisfaction with all four is at all-time lows.
The opportunities for independent politics remain and have been ripening due to an increasing skeptical, questioning and radicalized public. The election affirms the need and shows an even greater opening for the emergence of a political movement, program and candidates based in and representing the interests and needs of the nation’s working class, poor and racially oppressed.
In the long run this is a winning strategy that neither the Democratic or Republican party can compete with. A significant section of the electorate is fed up with both parties. Albeit some of this frustration manifests itself in racist, sexist or militarist attitudes and ideology as emblematic of Tea Party voters. Yet polls show that even among the confused and misinformed there is support for raising the minimum wage, making the wealthy pay more in taxes and and health insurance for all.
This is a time of opportunity for bold, left-wing, working class, and independent politics. It is time for the single-issue groups to come together and hash out a common advanced political program, to bring it before the people and identify highly skilled candidates across the nation to run in 2016. This includes groups working on environmental issues like stopping the Keystone Pipeline, labor unions working for $15 minimum wage, peace groups fighting militarism, public health professionals advocating single payer insurance, those marching against police brutality, immigrant rights groups pushing for reforms, students demanding free higher education and seniors citizens protecting social security from Wall Street bandits.
Unifying around a common program and bringing together the plethora of skills, talent and people in these movements and others, is the only way to win and the only way to inspire and guide the American people. To continue to tie these issues and others to fortunes of a moribund Democratic Party would be to let down the American people and the working class and poor worldwide who are looking for a relief from imperialist economic and military aggression.
To measure up to the opportunity and historical necessity would require, on order of magnitude, 100 candidates running in 100 Congressional districts on a common or similar program. Could a few steps toward such a number be organized and implemented for 2016? Consider the possible effect of even 50 candidates running on an anti-imperialist, pro-labor program of jobs, peace and equality. To imagine the possibilities is to take the first step. At the risk of belaboring a cliché, there is compelling evidence that if such an independent electoral program and organization is built the voters will come.
Tens of millions of people desperately need hope of a better future that lies in advancing solutions to basic social problems stemming from inequality and falling living standards and war. Neither party has or will offer solutions that match the domestic and international crises that abound and will grow. No doubt this is an uphill task, but to do nothing is to leave open an even wider opportunity for extreme right wing demagogic solutions to hold sway. As this analysis implies an independent political initiative is long overdue and in part is due to misplaced hope in the Democratic Party.
The strategic dilemma of the times is not who wins the contest between the Democratic and Republican parties, but how to respond to the yearning of the American people for a different kind of politics that neither party will offer or is capable of offering. This is the task of the left and it cannot do so from within or with the Democratic Party, a party that much of the working class and poor find wanting. The long-range task is building an alternative political movement of struggle that can win over tens of millions and eventually contest both parties for power.
If not 2016, when?