Proud Boys, stand back and stand by. Donald Trump made his role as front man for a fascist movement clear during the recent “debate.” His defeat in November will remove him from the spotlight, but the stage remains set.
On November 3, I will be voting for Gloria La Riva and Sunil Freeman, the Peace and Freedom Party candidates in California. I am encountering an unusually hysterical reaction to any advocacy for, or even mention of, a “third party” vote for POTUS. The argument is that Trump will contest this election, the Supreme Court is stacked, and there has to be an overwhelming vote for Biden to win without any doubt possible.
This is going on in *California*. According to the CalMatters 2020 election guide, Trump won less than one-third of the vote here in 2016, polls continue to show Joe Biden leading with more than two-thirds of state voters, and a Republican presidential nominee hasn’t carried the state in more than three decades.
Even if you subscribe to the “battleground states” strategy, California is one of the states where you can safely vote your hopes, not your fears. More importantly, it is a state in which we can do the work of building a working-class party to oppose the capitalist duopoly now.
The people who rail against the Peace and Freedom Party and the Green Party presidential campaigns are generally people who have always told us to wait until after the election to build a “third party” movement. Somehow that time never seems to come. I think that ties to the labor union tops, hopes for some reforms, and other political and social connections make influential people stay in the Democratic Party and rationalize the contradictions with their liberal or even “socialist” pronouncements.
For a while, they had Bernie Sanders as their Democratic Party standard-bearer. Sanders, who started out as the Socialist mayor of Burlington, Vermont, and was once supported by the Liberty Union Party and Vermont Progressives, campaigned on a credible social-democratic program and gave passionate pro working-class speeches.
When Biden upended Sanders in the primaries, many of the younger Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) supporters started looking for alternatives to the Democratic Party. But prominent left liberals stayed with Biden.
What do they say in support of Biden? That he is not Donald Trump. That is the central theme of Biden’s whole campaign. And it may be enough to get him elected. But what happens after that?
We can look forward to a regime much like the previous Democratic Party ones: stagnant or falling standard of living for most people (and more wealth for the rich), even with minor changes in the tax code; preservation of Obamacare but no national healthcare system that provides for everyone; continued ICE raids and deportations without the demagoguery; endless war abroad along with increased surveillance and militarism at home; environmental degradation but with electric cars (Biden promises more highways); and more police violence despite a few prosecutions of misconduct. Fascist gangs and many local authorities will continue to attack leftist demonstrators largely unchecked. At best, both sides will be condemned by the government.
The failure of the Bill Clinton presidency to make life better for working-class people brought us George W. Bush. Most of us thought it could not get worse. Barack Obama, the harbinger of hope and change, brought us Donald J. Trump. It is hard to imagine it getting any worse than that. But if we keep up the electoral flip and flop, it won’t get better. The only way to reverse the course toward fascism is to build socialism. Not going to be done by a capitalist party.
The Democratic Party kept Howie Hawkins, an avowed socialist, off the Wisconsin ballot on minor technicalities which would have been ignored if he were not the Green Party candidate. The Dems know that working-class people in Wisconsin might vote for a real alternative which their candidate and their party does not offer. Although Biden is leading in the polls, they are nervous, desperate for a victory there to oust Trump.
We need to get rid of Donald Trump. But we also need to get rid of the electoral duopoly which perpetuates the return of presidents like him, and the continuation of the destructive and demoralizing economic system which is capitalism.
There is a multiracial working-class movement growing in the streets for housing, justice and the environment. There is “intersection” between these campaigns which makes them stronger. There is awareness that capitalism is the problem and that some kind of socialist system is the solution. The element that is missing is a call for a political party of and for the working class. The idea that we will not get more than inadequate reform from the current leaders, however liberal. That we need to unite and fight as a class at all levels. And that we can’t wait forever.
In California, we have a socialist party on the ballot: The Peace and Freedom Party. Vote for our candidates, Gloria La Riva for President and Sunil Freeman for Vice President. Register Peace and Freedom.
Wherever you are, and however you vote in this election, decide that enough was enough a while ago. Join a party that represents you. If you don’t have one, find a way to join with others to start one. Let’s build a socialist future.
– written by Marsha Feinland