The power structure has a trick to keep people who think they are more radical than they are in the fold, that never seems to fail them and it’s their elections. Incidentally it also helps expose those who claim to be progressive or radically left and even revolutionary.
It enables us working class folks to see who is actually radically anti-establishment, anti-capitalist, anti-greedy landlords, anti-chamber of commerce, anti- big business and pro-grass roots and working class. And just as importantly, it allows people to see who can be easily bought, or persuaded to abandon their political principles and exposes those who were already on a shaky foundation.
And being bought doesn’t always mean accepting monetary pay offs. Some can be bought because they want their fifteen minutes of fame. Some just want to be seen. For others having their picture in campaign materials is enough to buy their principles. Some are bought because they think being identified with the favored candidate of the status quo will bring attention to them and make them appear important. That’s a particularly old trick that the oppressor has been pulling on the oppressed since the beginning of class society.
As a result people who claim Malcolm X and Che Guevarra as their role models, wind up knocking on doors for Democrats (DFL), as if they are going to break from their historic constriction and slave like commitment to the status quo and suddenly become radical or revolutionary. Some will argue their particular Democratic candidate has the best platform. There may be some truth to that, but at the end of the day they always wind up bowing to the pressure to just “go along to get along.”
Doing the same thing over and over expecting different results has said to be a recipe for insanity. Yet this election folks who should know better are doing it again.
This is not a criticism of those who sincerely believe that hitching on to the established party is the way to get attention for their candidacy in smaller local elections (wards, districts, councils) and who don’t claim to be radical or progressive.
Hopefully their experiences will teach them that the Democrats(DFL) are not the way forward and that even if running independent seems uphill, it is much more grassroots and real.
The hold of the established two party system can only be broken by independent political action and people who are not beholden to the power structure.
After the last Minneapolis elections several candidates including the mayor running under the Democrats (DFL) banner claimed to be progressive, but when activists pushed them to pass a $15 wage ordinance, they acted like any other “House Politician” and initially opposed it. When citizens were clamoring for changes in the police department their pleas were ignored and the progressive mayor and others instead voted to give the cops more money. This is because the DFL is ultimately on the side of the status quo and not the people.
Nevertheless people calling themselves progressives, some who claim the unabashedly uncompromising revolutionary Assata Shakur as their shero and mentor, are asking people to support candidates who are decidedly Democrat (DFL) meaning decidedly a part of the power structure
It’s also true that elections attract charlatans, hustlers and opportunists. Every city in the US has them. You know them as the person few people had heard of, who attend one community meeting, one protest, or organize a FaceBook event or two and then a few months later announce their candidacy for office (any office) and say “vote for me and I will set you free.”
These folks are fairly harmless because you can usually see them coming. But the folks that we put our trust in, who have worked among us around real issues, cause a lot of harm when they hand over their agency, their good name, to the status quo, the machine.
And the vote Black ‘just because they are Black’, rhetoric is a set up for a fall and a bad one. Black folks should have learned something from recent history and they don’t have to look any further than the toothless Black Congressional Congress. Working class Whites fall for this trick as well. Black mayor Wilson Goode ordered and oversaw the bombing of a Black neighborhood in Philadelphia in 1985. This thinking is akin to having voted for the madman Hitler from Vienna for Chancellor in the 1933 German elections because he was Viennese and you are to.
Furthermore, if the Democrats were going to save Black folks and working folks from all of our social and economic ills and injustices they would have done it by now.
And people shouldn’t be confused by the fact that the Democrats have been over the last nearly 60 years the most liberal wing of capitalism. History shows that prior to that, they had been the most hateful, most racist and most backward party of capitalism and were dominated by Southern White Supremacists, thus the term Dixiecrat. The Republicans were at one time in the mid 1800’s called the Radical Republicans, because of their abolitionist leanings, but sold out the newly freed former slaves with the Compromise of 1877, which allowed the South to nearly re-enslave the freedmen.
Moreover, the Democratic Party was never an advocate for Black folks or poor and working folks, but happened to be the party in power when US capitalism, feeling the pressure from the streets knew they weren’t going to be able to hold almost fifteen percent of the population in permanent (OFFICIAL & LEGAL) second class status. As a result it instituted the 1960’s Voting Rights and Civil Rights Acts. Even the Supreme Court bowed to the pressure in Brown v Board of Education.
Malcolm X said it well when he said, “I won’t vote for a Republican or Democrat because both parties have sold us out.” That quote applies to Black people and working class folks in general.
Someday we will have to take the blinders off, take our fingers out of our ears and stop pretending that we don’t hear, see and know the truth. We will have to take the Democrats pacifiers out of our mouths and stand up for what we REALLY want. As that great human being, that great woman, that great unwavering, unbending, unbowed, un-bought, uncompromising revolutionary Assata Shakur reminded us, “ We have nothing to lose but our chains.”
justice then peace