Urgent Action Fund | Youth Artivists Use Ingenious Ways to Spark  Conversation About Our Changing Climate
[Source: urgentactionfund.com]

“For 20 years, the motto of the world social forum has been another world is possible…As we meet today that question is overshadowed by another one. Is this world possible? And the answer is ‘no.’ This world is not possible. This world is hurdling to self-annihilation. And only the creation of another world can reverse this course. Luckily, another world is still possible, though the chances of achieving it are diminishing at an ominous rate.”

Noam Chomsky’s opening remarks to the World Social Forum, April 29, 2022

The fate of humanity is at a crossroads. Humanity is confronted with two imminent existential crises: climate catastrophe and nuclear war. The corporate capitalist system is producing an assault on the earth’s ecology, perpetual war, ever-widening inequality, an attack on democracy, and a rise in fascism. If humanity does not address these crises NOW, human civilization is unlikely to survive for future generations.

Capitalism is complex and produces a multitude of oppressions. There are thousands of liberatory organizations working on important issues. But we cannot assume these projects are going to organically coalesce into a whole capable of taking power from greed-driven corporate capitalists. In the face of these existential crises, our time for “organizing the organized” is short.

The fundamental question facing humanity is: “How can ordinary working people organize on the mass scale necessary to contest for power with the corporate capitalist elite and force the change needed to save the future?”

This essay is an initial attempt to answer the question with a focus on organizing in the U.S. In addition, it is a call for a “Left” dialog regarding the “organization-to-scale question.” We need to imagine the mass organizing institutions needed both nationally and internationally for working people to contest for power.

Corporate Capitalism, the Existential Threats, and the Common-Sense Solutions Not Taken… Yet

Global corporate capitalism led by the hegemonic state, the United States, is a fundamentally immoral and irrational system. In capitalism, both states and corporations are designed to maximize short-term power and profits for the super-wealthy corporate elite. The ideology assumes the benefits will trickle down to working people. In practice, capitalism prioritizes short-term profits for the wealthy over the well-being of the people and even the survival of the human species.

In all realms of society, corporate capitalism is unable to take common-sense actions to prevent predictable crises when doing so undermines short-term power and profits (e.g., fortifying the sea wall in New Orleans to prevent flooding when hurricanes hit, regulating factory meat production to prevent the development of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, organizing a strong global public health system to prevent pandemics, outlawing automatic and semi-automatic guns to prevent massacres, eliminating debt-driven speculation that has repeatedly crashed the global economy, using diplomacy to prevent foreseeable wars).

Likewise, the apocalyptic threats of climate catastrophe and nuclear war are worsening, and capitalism is not taking the bold action necessary to stop humanity’s march toward species self-annihilation.

How nuclear war would affect the world climate and human health | by FSI  Stanford | Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies | Medium
[Source: medium.com]

Global warming is destroying the capacity of the Earth to support humans and other life. Distinguished climate scientist James Hansen recently summarized the science from an expert report he had prepared for the court case of Juliana v. United States, in which a group of young plaintiffs sued the government for not protecting their right to a livable future. Man-made greenhouse gasses, mostly CO2, are trapping heat in the Earth’s atmosphere at an accelerating rate.

Hansen_TarSandsActionMilanIlnyckyj_squar
James Hansen [Source: e360.yale.edu]

A 2022 report by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) stated that humanity must take swift action. To limit global temperature rise to 2°C (3.6°F), global greenhouse emissions must start declining before 2025. The longer humanity delays decisive action, the greater the risk that progressive climate warming will become irreversible. There are almost daily reports of dramatic changes in the Earth’s environment indicating that the climate catastrophe is accelerating now.

The possibility of an omnicide nuclear war has also been increasing. There are currently nine countries with nuclear weapons. The launch of one nuclear weapon can trigger a series of retaliations resulting in a global nuclear holocaust.

Over the last 70 years, there have been multiple close calls, in which the decision of one person averted nuclear war. With both Democratic and Republican support, the United States has committed to modernizing its nuclear weapons arsenal triggering a new global nuclear arms race.

At the start of 2022 before the Ukraine War, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, which maintains the “Doomsday Clock,” warned, “the Clock remains the closest it has ever been to civilization-ending apocalypse because the world remains stuck in an extremely dangerous moment.”

What the Doomsday Clock is really counting down to: Risk of nuclear war -  Vox
[Source: vox.com]

Moreover, the current proxy war between the United States and Russia greatly increases the likelihood of the accidental or purposeful use of nuclear weapons. A nuclear exchange between the United States and Russia would end human civilization. Undoubtedly, the Doomsday Clock will tick closer to “midnight” in 2023.

The good news is humanity can prevent these crises and in doing so create a more democratic, loving, caring and sustainable society. IPCC Chair Hoesung Lee reported “We are at a crossroads. The decisions we make now can secure a livable future. We have the tools and know-how required to limit warming.”

The solution to the climate catastrophe is a government-led third industrial revolution that quickly transitions the oil, gas and coal-powered economy to a solar and wind-powered economy. The principal technological challenges to implementing a global Green New Deal (GND) are: (1) building the solar and wind energy generation capacity to power society; (2) creating a digital energy grid for managing intermittent energy across the system; (3) upgrading buildings, transportation, and other infrastructure to support and be compatible with the new green energy system; and (4) dismantling the old oil, gas and coal industries while safeguarding a just transition for workers in those industries. The GND is potentially the basis for a high-wage, full-employment economy empowering workers for decades to come. Many authors have described the possible nuts-and-bolts implementation of the GND.

The Green New Deal Is Good for the Planet—and the Democratic Party | The Nation
[Source: thenation.com]

The solution to preventing a nuclear war omnicide is developing international peace agreements and institutions for implementing the agreements based on the concept of common security, “the idea that nations and populations can only feel safe when their counterparts feel safe.”

The ultimate goal is nuclear disarmament. International peace groups have recently released a Common Security 2022 Report which details many common-sense steps that can be taken to achieve common security.

During the Cold War, pressure from the international peace movement pushed the U.S. and USSR to negotiate a series of nuclear arms control treaties that reduced the risk of nuclear war.

The INF Treaty prohibited all U.S. and Soviet missiles with ranges between 500 and 5,500 kilometers. The official figures above show missiles deployed November 1, 1987, shortly before the INF Treaty was signed. The treaty also required destruction of 430 U.S. missiles and 979 Soviet missiles which were in storage or otherwise not deployed. The treaty prevented the planned deployment of an additional 208 GLCMs in the Netherlands, Britain, Belgium, Germany, and Italy. The Pershing IAs, under joint U.S.-German control, were not formally covered by the INF Treaty but were also to be eliminated by U.S. and West German agreement.
The INF Treaty was signed between the Reagan administration and Soviet Union in December 1987. [Source: armscontrol.org]

Part of the context of the build-up to the current war in Ukraine was the U.S. unilaterally withdrawing from several of these nuclear arms control treaties. The war in Ukraine could likely have been averted if the U.S. and EU would have been willing to reach a negotiated settlement that took into consideration Russia’s security concerns.

The Attack on Democracy and the Politics of Inaction

Despite the available common-sense solutions, politicians and corporate elites are not taking the necessary steps to avert catastrophe. The United States, the dominant nation-state in the world system, is leading humanity down a path of self-destruction. The two-party political system in the U.S. is controlled by a very rich, corporate capitalist ruling class. The ruling class, in particular factions associated with the fossil fuel, military and financial industries, oppose addressing the climate and nuclear war crises because it would undermine their wealth and power and, possibly, the dominant position of the U.S. in the global capitalist system.

At this historical moment, the Republican Party’s top concern is its own perceived existential threat. The demographics of the U.S. are changing. Republican strongholds such as Georgia and Texas are hitting the tipping point in which Whites are no longer the majority. The Republicans fear that their coalition of the rich, White Christian nationalists, and White populists is not large enough to maintain their power democratically.

Consequently, they are committed to dismantling democracy and institutionalizing a form of minority rule. The January 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol which attempted to prevent Congress from certifying Biden’s presidential victory was just the most dramatic manifestation of a party-wide commitment to ending democracy in the U.S.

The U.S. Capitol Building is stormed by a pro-Trump mob on Jan. 6, 2021
January 6: A symptom of growing desperation in the GOP and extremism bred by years of failed neoliberal policies. [Source: reuters.com]

As described by voting rights reporter Ari Berman in Mother Jones, the Republicans, since 2020, have been implementing a “slow coup.” Emboldened by the ultra-conservative Supreme Court which declared political gerrymandering legal, in Republican-controlled states, the Republicans are creating the legal foundations for a “New Jim Crow” minority rule with four primary strategies: allowing the rich and corporations to spend unlimited money in elections literally buying politicians; extreme gerrymandering; voter suppression laws making it more difficult for people of color and other disenfranchised groups to vote; and ensuring that election counts are under the administration of Republican-appointed election officials.

With a rigged electoral system and control over the Supreme Court for at least the next several decades, Republicans are emboldened to remake the U.S. in their image. The repeal of Roe v. Wade is just a step towards their goal to dismantle human and civil rights. A series of Supreme Court rulings over the last decade has been building the legal foundation for authoritarian rule in the U.S.

[Source: motherjones.com]

To many Democrats, the Republicans appear crazy and disconnected from reality. The Trump wing of the party, which has become more and more dominant, has embraced QAnon, Stop-the-Steal, anti-mask and anti-vaccination, and tried to pass laws restricting the teaching of Black history. Even crazier, the Republican anti-public health stance has been self-defeating. A higher percentage of Republicans have refused to be vaccinated in comparison to Democrats and consequently there has been higher death rates in Republican-dominated states. See also this scientific study entitled the “Relationship between political partisanship and COVID-19 deaths: future implications for public health.”

However, the Republican culture of crazy is a political choice. It a) diverts attention away from the GOP’s economic policies that benefit the one percent, b) gives people disaffected with the status quo the illusion that the party is on their side, and c) creates a narrative in which the Republicans, specifically White people, are the defensive victims. Capitalizing on the deep public disgust with the political status quo and what many perceive as the draconian state response to COVD-19, it is an ideological framework that energizes high citizen engagement and justifies radical action, including violence.

Trump isn't secretly winking at QAnon. He's retweeting its followers. -  POLITICO
Pro-Trump rally in Pennsylvania in 2018. The GOP today appears crazed to many. [Source: politico.com]

Tragically, the Democratic Party is not a clear alternative to the Republican Party for promoting multicultural, multiracial, working-class interests, defending democracy, or protecting the Earth.

The Democratic Party coalition is made up of Silicon Valley and Wall Street elites, the suburban professional-managerial class (white-collar workers), and a multicultural working-class base. The essential contradiction of the Democratic Party is that the rich fund and run the party while its voting base is the multicultural working class. Thus, the common dynamic in the Democratic Party is that the progressive wing pushes for legislation to empower the working class while the corporate wing cooperates with Republicans to stop reform. Gridlock prevails, frustrating working-class voters.

Cartoon of the day | occasional links & commentary
[Source: anticap.wordpress.com]

This dynamic has played out once again under the Biden administration. When Biden was elected, there was hope his administration would address working-class priorities. Senators Manchin and Sinema refused to overturn the Senate filibuster to pass the Build Back Better bill. Working people would have benefited from Build Back Better in many ways.

Rob Rogers on Twitter: "My @newcounterpoint cartoon published 10/8/21. Joe  Biden is growing increasingly frustrated with Sentors Manchin and Sinema  because, well, the two of them may sink his entire agenda before
[Source: twitter.com]

The bill, if made law, would have created more than seven million jobs over ten years, funded free pre-school for children and free community college, expanded Medicare and Medicaid, lowered prescription drugs costs, made child tax credits permanent, created 12 weeks of paid family leave, invested in affordable housing, and gave incentives for buying electric cars and other climate initiatives. Without the passage of Build Back Better, at the end of 2021, a pandemic child tax credit that was giving 35 million families $250 to $300 a month expired.

Regarding inflation, according to progressive economist Robert Pollin, the Federal Reserve’s recent interest rate hikes are another example of government policy that prioritizes the interests of the rich over the working class. The Fed interest rate hikes are designed to increase the unemployment rate which will decrease workers’ bargaining power and thus lower worker wages.

This policy undermines labor organizing and increases the likelihood of a recession. It also fails to address corporate causes of inflation, including disruptions in poorly planned supply chains and monopoly price-gouging, particularly by oil companies.

The Fed raises interest rates | Globecartoon - Political Cartoons - Patrick  Chappatte
[Source: chappette.com]

The corporate Democrats are not organizing a serious fight-back against the Republican attack on disenfranchised groups and democracy. A Republican Senate filibuster killed two voting rights bills. Many voter rights advocates have expressed frustration with the Biden administration’s refusal to forcefully lead on the defense of voting rights.

Again, the problem is that robust voting rights would empower the multiracial working-class majority, thus threatening the interests of the corporate elite in the Democratic Party. The corporate Democratic elite cannot create the political condition in which voters could actually demand that the Democrats deliver on policies that are highly popular among its base (e.g., universal healthcare, $15 per hour minimum wage, voter rights, the right to unionize, finance regulation) because those policies are opposed by their rich donors. Even on core values such as the right to an abortion, corporate Democrats have a long history of prioritizing collegial cooperation with Republicans over fighting for fundamental rights.

The corporate Democratic elite view Bernie Sanders’ attempt to unify the party based on a multiracial working-class agenda as an existential threat to their power. In the 2022 primaries, corporate Democrats and Republican political action committees have worked hard to defeat progressive candidates.

As an alternative to class politics, corporate Democrats have promoted a unifying Cold War-like narrative demonizing Russia, glorifying militarism, and “defending democracy” (U.S. hegemony) globally. The corporate Democrats believe they are more responsible stewards of the global capitalist system than Trump.

Editorial cartoon, Feb. 27, 2022: The Cold War
[Source: statesman.com]

From their perspective, this is evident in their willingness to “stand up to Russia.” Demonstrating this “resolve,” the Biden administration refused to negotiate regarding the possibility of Ukrainian neutrality in the lead-up to the Ukraine War. We do not know if a settlement could have been reached; however, a diplomatic effort that addressed Russia’s primary security concern was not even tried.

The Ukraine War is a disaster for global peace and security, and U.S. democracy. With high-minded moralistic and triumphalist rhetoric, the Biden administration has transformed the conflict into a proxy war with the goal of regime change in Russia. Pursuing a war to defeat Russia creates the situation in which nuclear weapons are most likely to be used, resulting in mass death and even the potential end of human civilization. The Democratic Party is transmuting itself into the War Party and the war is making the day-to-day stress of working people of all races and nationalities worse in the midst of a pandemic. A quagmire war in Ukraine increases the likelihood that the Republicans will win the elections in both 2022 and 2024.

In sum, the two-party system functions as a racist divide-and-conquer strategy that breeds conflict, anger, cynicism and alienation. Because neither party clearly represents the multicultural multiracial working class’s interests, politics is dominated by the Republican “cultural war,” scapegoating people of color, immigrants, the LBGTQ community and women. Many working people never see their interests represented in the system and stop voting and participating in politics. Over the last 40 years, the country has moved rightward.

In a speech given in 2018, Angela Davis reminded us that an alternative politics centered in the common interests of the multicultural multiracial working class is possible. She stated:

Feminist theories and organizing approaches have helped us understand the deep connections that link… struggles. Given the demagoguery emanating from our current government and the explicit exploitation of racism and xenophobia to persuade poor, working-class white populations that their interests call for an attack on racialized communities. It is important to point out that the suffering of poor, White, and working-class communities has been caused pretty much by the same economic phenomena that are responsible for the rise of mass incarceration, the prison industrial complex, and for the reasons that lead people from Central America, Mexico, elsewhere in the global south to migrate to other countries.

— Dr. Angela Davis. Inaugural lecture on Feminism and Social Transformation in the Trump Era, University of Costa Rica (2018).
Angela Davis Still Believes America Can Change - The New York Times
Angela Davis [Source: nytimes.com]

Toward a United, Multicultural, Multiracial, Working Class, Progressive Front and the Campaign to Save the Future

This moment demands the formation of a United Progressive Front (UPF), a unified coalition of progressive civic, human rights and labor groups, independent of the Democratic Party, to launch a Campaign to Save the Future. Both the Republicans and the Democratic Party are pushing the world toward self-annihilation.

Only a movement organized in a mass democratic institution committed to representing the interests of the super-majority multicultural, multiracial, working class can inspire the hope, participation, discipline and solidarity necessary to force system change now.

The great challenge the “Left” must take on is to develop a mass unifying social change strategy in the context of the sclerotic two-party system designed to preserve capitalist power and prevent social change. Historically, the U.S. Left has failed this task. It is this generation’s historical mission to try again…and succeed. As Karl Marx wrote, “Men make their own history, but they do not make it as they please; they do not make it under self-selected circumstances, but under circumstances existing already, given and transmitted from the past.”

The 2022 and 2024 elections are incredibly important. Without a massive Democratic turnout to stop the Republicans in 2022 and 2024, the Republicans will further solidify their domination of government for at least a generation. With Republicans in power, humanity has little hope of stopping the climate catastrophe. In early primaries, Republicans are turning out at a higher rate than Democrats.

In the short run, the UPF must focus on organizing the mass voter turnout necessary to defeat the Republicans. People will act if they understand the stakes in 2022 and 2024 and if they believe the multiracial working class has the mass institutional capacity and solidarity necessary to be effective. In 2020, many voters said, “I like Bernie’s ideas, but I don’t think he can win.” What they were saying is “I don’t think the multiracial working class has the institutional capacity and solidarity necessary to battle capital.”

Mass action and a common political agenda inspire hope and participation. For example, millions of people acted in the Black Lives Matter protests. We need to institutionalize that spirit, so “the People” can act in unison day in and day out. Everyone must understand that mass voting is a necessary but not sufficient tactic for defending democracy and saving the world. The multiracial working class is the majority. If we vote en masse, we win.

Mapping Black Lives Matter Protests Around The World | Here & Now
A New Left needs to channel the energy of the Black Lives Matter movement for larger ends. [Source: wbur.org]

The UPF will need to democratically decide on clear demands, a media campaign, a get-out-the-vote campaign, and a street-mobilization strategy. Clear demands will put pressure on both the Democratic and Republican parties. For example, the UPF can have mass rallies demanding that the government and Fed maintain a full-employment economy and fight inflation by stopping monopoly price gouging.

There needs to be a clarion call to action. The UPF will need to create a detailed plan for coordinating on-the-ground organizing in urban, suburban and rural working-class neighborhoods. Coalition partners should reach out personally to activists who participated in Black Lives Matter protests and the Bernie and Warren campaigns but who stopped participating in activism during the pandemic. Coalition partners should ask them to get active again and help lead the UPF.

The alternative media will have to report daily on the Campaign to Save the Future as relentlessly as the Right trumpets “Stop the Steal.” There are already many local grassroots groups working on getting out the vote for 2022. There needs to be a common website to go to where activists can figure out how they can plug into campaigns and the get-out-the-vote effort. In sum, the goal is to create an institutional home for a self-conscious, multiracial, working class to come together and organize as a democratic mass movement. A unified and competent organization will inspire hope and participation.

As a mass multiracial working-class voting block independent from the Democratic Party with a street presence, the coalition will have the power to pressure the Democratic Party to address core working-class demands. If the multiracial working class regularly voted en masse, it would dramatically change U.S. politics. In 2016, “unmarried women, Millennials (aged 18–34), African Americans, Latinos, and all other people of color” represented 59.2% of the eligible voting population.

In 2004, it was 44.6%. A study of the 2016 presidential election by the Poor People’s Campaign found that, if the low-income population voted at the same rate as the high-income population and they voted against the winning party, they could have flipped the winner in 15 states.

Everything you should know about this weekend's digital Mass Poor People's Assembly and Moral March | CNN
Poor People’s Campaign march on Washington, D.C. [Source: cnn.com]

I hope the UPF will also demand that the U.S. negotiate directly with Russia to end the Ukraine War. Wars end either in negotiated settlements or the complete defeat of one side. The current Biden policy of pushing for the defeat of Russia increases the likelihood of a nuclear war, a long quagmire war, and exponentially more death and destruction in Ukraine. To resolve the climate/nuclear war crisis, the U.S. needs a new foreign policy based on diplomacy and compromise, not global military hegemony.

Some will argue that it is useless to organize for the election because the Democrats are not much better than the Republicans or the Left should focus on labor instead of electoral organizing. There is some truth to these arguments. However, we need to organize in the world as it is. There is no possibility that the Republicans will ever address the climate/nuclear war crises. The Republicans are fundamentally committed to climate-change denial, militarism, racism, attacking immigrants and replacing democracy with authoritarian rule. Also, it is difficult to imagine how organized labor can make gains under a Republican administration. Historically, mass people’s movements have been able to pressure the Democrats to pass some progressive policies.

In the two-party system, the multicultural working class has two main enemies: the corporate Democrats and the corporate Republicans. The Left does not have the power to beat them both at the same time. The strategy implemented by Sanders and the Squad is to take the corporate Democrats on in the primaries and the Republicans in the general election. It means making defensive votes (voting for the lesser of two evils) when an offensive vote option (voting for candidates that you really want) is not available. It is harder to motivate people to vote in defensive elections.

Working people are more likely to turn out for every election if they understand that mass voting is part of the UPF’s long-term strategy for contesting for power with the capitalist class. In the long run, if the UPF can organize a super-majority, multiracial, working class voting bloc, it can then decide whether the best strategy is to take over the Democratic Party or to form a third party.

Building the Institutional Capacity and Solidarity Necessary to Save the Future

The first step to a collective agreement to form the UPF is collective acceptance of the fact that, as currently organized, the Left cannot build the power necessary to avert the climate catastrophe/nuclear war crises. Historically, the Left in the U.S. is fractured. We have thousands of organizations working on many important issues. But we have never had an umbrella coalition or institution to form a united, multicultural, working-class identity grounded in a common political project.

There is no workers’ party in the U.S. due to both repression and the straightjacket of the two-party system. The good cop, bad cop winner-take-all system prevents the development of a mass third party. In parliamentary systems with proportional representation, third parties can grow organically over years, accumulating power from election to election. In a two-party system, even a tiny third party can act as a spoiler, taking enough votes from the lesser-evil party to give elections to the more-evil party. Most voters do not want to gamble on a third party.

On the Left, there is a practical comfort with fragmentation. It is easy to default to an ethos of “Let a Thousand Flowers Bloom.” There are many types of oppression. It makes sense for an activist to focus on issues that hit “closest to home.” Activism and democracy are hard, even in small groups of like-minded people. Developing a uniting political project is fraught with difficulties. There will be conflicts. Working through them and staying united will be challenging.

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[Source: facebook.com]

Yet, over the last 10 years, there has been a palpable yearning for a common political project of a united, multicultural working class. The Occupy Wall Street slogan was, “We are the 99%.” The 2016 and 2020 Sanders presidential campaigns and 2020 Warren campaign were exciting because they contested for multiracial working-class power at the national level. Millions of people donated to and joined the campaigns.

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[Source: facebook.com]

After 2016, motivated by Bernie Sanders’s success in the primary and the threat of Trump, there was an upsurge in Left organizing in the U.S. New national groups, such as Indivisible, Our Revolution, and Justice Democrats, formed and established groups, such as Democratic Socialists of America and Working Families Party, grew and became more active. In the wake of the murder of George Floyd on May 25, 2020, Black Lives Matter organized the largest street mobilization in U.S. history. One study found that the Black Lives Matter, labor and other protests played a role in motivating people to vote for Biden in 2020.

Historically, there are many examples of the Left’s fractured organizational structure limiting its ability to contest for power and win. The 2020 Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren primary campaigns never united. The corporate Democrats united behind Biden and won. After the election of Biden in 2020, the Left did not organize an independent mass mobilization to demand the multiracial working-class agenda (e.g., the Green New Deal, voter rights, Protecting the Right to Organize Act, student debt relief, a $15 minimum wage, Medicare for All, etc.). Instead, progressive groups deferred to the Democratic Party’s inside-Washington deal-making political strategy. No long-standing multiracial, working-class priorities passed. The activist base was demoralized or turned their attention to local struggles.

Seth Ackerman [Source: fair.org]

Hopefully, the UPF coalition can evolve into a permanent uniting organization, a proto-party. In an essay entitled “A Blueprint for a New Party,” Seth Ackerman presented a strategy for building a nationwide, multicultural, working-class proto-party. He discussed the long history of the Left’s inability to organize a uniting institution in the two-party system. He argued that a new party could incorporate as a social welfare organization, a 501(c)(4), democratically adopt a platform, and then make case-by-case decisions about running candidates in a major party primary or as an independent. Adopting this strategy, the new party could minimize the possibility that their candidates would be “spoilers.”

A new proto-party would give the united, multiracial, working class an institutional home that could take on the crises of climate catastrophe, nuclear war and democracy head-on. It could operate independently of the Democratic Party and compete for power in the Democratic Party. It would give working people a democratic forum to work through differences and craft a united political strategy distinct from the corporate agenda. The proto-party could do both grassroots and electoral organizing and have a street presence. If millions of working people joined the party, it could raise the big money necessary to compete in politics in the U.S. Moreover, it could hire hundreds of organizers to build on-the-ground solidarity and action.

There will be many challenges. The proto-party will have to address the current “race vs. class” debate on the Left, which has been going on for decades. The corporate capitalist elite use racism to “divide us against each other.” A divided multiracial, working class cannot contest the capitalist elite’s monopoly on both business and political power which subordinates all working people, Black, Brown and White.

The party will have to develop an independent foreign policy and take on U.S. militarism and imperialism. The people cannot be free or safe at home if the U.S. spends trillions of dollars trying to rule the rest of the world with coercion and violence. The party will have to organize with activist groups globally to forge a new people’s international and devise global actions to pressure capital to save the future (e.g., international boycotts or strikes targeting the U.S.). Globally, the people must demand that climate catastrophe, war and inequality end now.

To Have a Future, We Must Organize to Scale and Claim the Future

To save the future, the People of the world must defeat a capitalist ruling class led by a United States that is hell-bent on destroying the Earth. Unfortunately, this is not hyperbole. In the U.S. that means organizing the multiracial working-class unity necessary to stop the authoritarian Republican Party from taking power and killing democracy, and an imperialist Democratic Party which is prioritizing U.S. global hegemony and militarism over saving democracy and the planet.

I will end with an example of an on-the-ground call for unity. In 2022, dark money political action committees such as one tied to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee have spent historic amounts of money to defeat progressive candidates in competitive Democratic primaries. For example, in Pennsylvania’s 12th Congressional District, PACs spent more than $3 million in a failed attempt to defeat progressive candidate Summer Lee.

AIPAC's Super PAC Faces First Big Test in Crucial Democratic Primaries - U.S. News - Haaretz.com
[Source: haaretz.com]

Lee won by less than one percentage point. Summing up lessons learned from the campaign, in an episode of the podcast Bloc Party (May 24, 2022), Justice Democrat Campaign Director Geoff Simpson stated,

The biggest lesson we can take away from this is there is very little margin for error if we are going to get millions of dollars spent against us on the Left. And it took the whole Left throwing down for Summer in order to get her across the line…That is what it is going to take in future races all of us working together to defeat the other side that has an endless bank account. They can spend unlimited amounts of money…On what can we do better?… The Left…needs to commit earlier in races. Early money is worth so much more than getting money in the last two weeks. It allows you to build campaign infrastructure. It allows you to plan out how you are going to spend those dollars talking to voters across the different mediums that are available. We need the Left to get in sooner on races and invest early and that is going to make us more successful at the end of the race…

Facing our current reality is terrifying. It is understandable that, as individuals and communities, we struggle with isolation and hopelessness and focus on day-to-day survival and distractions to get by. After two and a half years of pandemic and a criminally negligent corporate and government response, people feel disheartened and alienated.

But our private lives are not a respite from reality. We are living through a pivotal moment in human history. We are responsible to our children’s children’s children to organize a united liberation movement despite the odds. The antidote for our collective existential fear is a mass unified organizational plan to defend democracy and to force the implementation of known technical solutions to the climate and nuclear-war catastrophes. Victory will be found in mass institutionalized solidarity.


A version of this article originally appeared in Socialism and Democracy.


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6 COMMENTS

  1. Alberto makes a painful, but valid point: Many “workers” make a living building death machines. Working for “defense” contractors (I prefer “war” contractors) means excellent pay and benefits. Worker unions will need to start planning for alternative jobs in a peace economy with equal pay and benefits. The unions (I predict) will resist even thinking about change. The American War Business, pretending to be for “democracy” and “freedom”, is just too lucrative for both workers and ownership.

  2. The writer makes a lot of excellent points, but I feel that there is too much emphasis of systematic change and improvement and not enough emphasis on individual change and improvement. If each individual in the world becomes a better and improved version of his former self, then the whole world will improve regardless of what political system. is implemented. Perhaps I am dreaming and being unrealistic, but I feel that this is the solution
    for the world. If people do not improve individually no system can resolve all the world’s problems.

  3. Whenever I see an article written by a professor I check the website ” Rate my Professor ” to see what students think of the professor. I noticed that every single student rated John W. Lawrence as an awesome professor..

  4. Pretending to do the opposite, Lawrence pushes ruling-class propaganda. Specifically, he pushes two cardinal tenets of ruling-class propaganda: (1) “Climate catastrophe; and (2) that the problem is American “empire.” I have little doubt that Lawrence is fully aware that these are lies. The “climate catastrophe” is unadulterated BS, and the ruling class has been systematically dismantiing America, and everything that is American, since the 1960s. They accelerated it in the early 1970s by multiple “initiatives” which included, as a partial list, Nixon’s taking America off of the gold standard (at Kissinger’s orders) and opening the US market to Chinese products made by 12-year-old girls chained to the floor of production lines. Nixon called this “normalizing relations” with China. That’s just a partial list. As Angie Carlson aptly summarized in August, 2001:

    “…the media cult conveyed to the world that unregulated
    free-trade, privatization… deregulated banking… and…
    highly speculative and unregulated investing practices,
    were all correct policies.”

    “They told Western nations, that the…source of their…
    enrichment, the manufacturing base…had finally outlived
    its usefulness. They screamed… that the manufacturing
    economy must …be replaced by service industries run by
    information technology.”

    “…Paul Volcker, in 1979, actually instituted a policy of
    ‘controlled disintegration.'”

    “…the oligarchy …used two oil hoaxes during the 1970s,
    to send oil prices shooting upward. In the United States,
    industrial and agricultural production collapsed by huge
    amounts. Between 1979 and 1982, the production of the
    following critical U.S. manufacturing industries fell by the f
    ollowing amounts on a per-capita basis: metal-cutting
    machine tools, down 45.5%; bulldozers, down 53.2%;
    automobiles, down 44.3%; and steel, down 49.4%. In some
    cases, such as the machine-tool industry, parts of
    machine-tool capacity and of a skilled workforce were
    permanently lost. Those collapsing industries formed the
    very heart of the United States’ physical economy.”

    “Volcker’s measure also exacerbated the Third World debt
    crisis…” “…these poverty stricken nations…more than
    doubled their obligations, in other cases, tripled their
    payments to the IMF and World Development Bank. The
    horrible truth is that they have been cruelly ripped off at
    the expense of their own national development [sic].”
    “They were far better off before…’world development.’
    The problems are serious and diverse, ranging from famine,
    tribal conflict…warfare and widely prevailing plagues.”

    “Two of [Project 1980s] nine directors were W. Michael
    Blumenthal and Zbigniew Brzezinski *…appointed Treasury
    Secretary and National Security Adviser, respectively.
    Cyrus Vance, who headed a “Project1980s” working group,
    was appointed Secretary of State. Paul Volcker, spokesman
    for “Project 1980s” “controlled disintegration,” became
    Federal Reserve Board Chairman.”

    That’s the truth, Mr. Lawrence. And I daresay you fully well know it.

  5. “The United States, the dominant nation-state in the world system, is leading humanity down a path of self-destruction” All empires self-destruct. For many it is slow motion suicide. The US started WWIII years ago. All “World Wars’ are really wars between imperial competitors or wannabees, as with the case with WWI and WWII. Nuclear weapons precludes real military options so WWIII has been largely economic and “moral” where “moral”, for the US means PsyWar. But the US lost. It started the war because it could not keep up. And things got work with blowback from sanctions and now the Ukraine fiasco. All it has now is propaganda. A war on the minds of its own people. As I write here. . https://julianmacfarlane.substack.com/p/lies-damned-lies-the-media-and-kharkov

  6. I understand very well John W, Lawrence’s message, but sadly I could not agree with him. Democracy could never be killed because Democracy was never born. Democracy is a myth. Democracy Is the magic word that allows Governments (Right and Left-leaning governments alike) to literally ‘get away with murder.’

    And, if the situation in America as the rest of the world, is so bad, it is all due to a sector of the working classes: the millions and millions of workers, representing multiple cultures, ethnicities, religions, who make a living killing their peers. They produce machine guns and bullets, grenades, landmines, bombs, rockets, torpedoes, mortars, rocket launchers and interceptors, tanks, Apache helicopters, air-bombers, warships, war-submarines, drones, torture instruments. Then another sector of the working classes seeks employment in the Armed Forces. They get paid to become professional and legal murderers, ready to obey the marching orders of politicians and kill people they’ve never met and also ready to die.

    To me, a Working Class “Progressive” Front, multicultural, multi-ethnic and multi-religious, should unite to have all those factories of Death closed. Not that the workers should stop earning their crust, but rather make all those war corporations change from manufacturing and selling death toys, to manufacture instruments, gadgets, vehicles that enhance human life.

    I find it incomprehensible, not to say absurd, to expect decency, honesty, justice, from people who pay scientists for them to develop a bomb that is more lethal than what the competitors produce.

    Alberto

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