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Long Live the New American Revolution
Posted on Oct 8, 2011
By Scott Tucker
Indeed, in the state of Pennsylvania, the Democratic Party operates like an outright political mafia, using the “independent judiciary” as brass knuckles against candidates who dare to challenge the bipartisan lockdown of big elections. Not content with hammering Ralph Nader and Green Party Senate candidate Carl Romanelli with court fines calculated to shut out insurgent citizens from public life, one of those Pennsylvania judges also fined one of the lawyers on their legal team. That is truly an unprecedented attack not only upon fair elections, but also upon the very rule of law. “Progressives” are eager in every big election to “make every vote count” for their chosen party. In the Democratic Party, however, the apparatchiks have not yet learned that real democracy means we, the people, have the right to vote as we damn well please, even when they have rigged “the two-party system” to discount our votes.
Yet there were “progressives” who simply regarded this political thuggery as team sports, played on a field where the corporate parties own the judges, make all the rules and move the goal posts whenever the wrong team valiantly racks up an insane number of signatures on ballot petitions. If a judge finds any ZIP code in bad handwriting or even a few “Mickey Mouse” signatures, that counts as grand fraud and subversion of democracy; while the whole system of corporate dictatorship is simply law, order and business as usual. Such impartial judges and professional politicians are in no position to preach the gospel of democracy, neither in the big cities of Pennsylvania nor in the provinces of Afghanistan. On the contrary, we will learn better morals and better politics from the revolutionaries of Africa and the Mideast who have now placed social democracy on the public agenda of their countries.
From the beginning of the Occupy Wall Street movement, a few Leninist groups jumped into the action seeking to place their banner, program and public speakers at the head of the parade or at the top of the grandest flight of marble steps. The deep conviction of such groups is that 1917 is the key to all subsequent history, if only we read the classic texts and events correctly. Thus the Trotskyist, Maoist and frankly Stalinist groups and parties have waxed and waned for nearly a century.
The achievements and sacrifices of honest communists should not be ignored, especially at critical junctures of industrial class warfare, in times of imperial wars beyond our borders, and certainly in many anti-racist struggles. But Leninism, in theory and practice, has not kept up with actually existing democracy. The critique of congressional cretinism is even correct in many particulars, and yet the sectarian left is trapped in historical shadowboxing as soon as we consider the living forms of democracy that have already sprung up outside and even against the big corporate parties of this country.
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Anarchism, in both the more explicit forms and in the more diffuse circles of influence, is a vastly underestimated political movement; for well over a century this has been an unpredictable electric current among many of the young. In the countries of Latin Europe and for a time in Argentina, anarchist labor unions have been a significant political presence. During the Spanish Civil War, anarchist militias not only took part in the fight against fascism but even earned the sober admiration of George Orwell, who was by no means a political romantic.
The Black Bloc (a term often used to describe a diffuse group of young anarchists, sometimes masked by bandannas) has taken some adventurist actions and drawn all the familiar criticism from police, liberals, pacifists and the Leninist left. Anarchists rarely march in orderly partisan ranks, and they constitute a political ecosphere as diverse in its own way as the Amazon jungle or the healthier coral reefs. For the fact remains that many of them detest violence but are willing to fight for the one life they have on earth. Anyone who tries to understand the liveliest forms of youthful rebellion without understanding the magnetic draw of the anarchist ideal will simply fail to give a good account of an evolving movement.
Do democratic socialists demand the revolution yesterday, today or tomorrow, any more than we demand that the protesters now in the streets should adopt a class-conscious worldview the first time they are pepper-sprayed or jailed? No, because socialists do not steer our course based only on hopes of change, or on the north star of our own ideals. In a country where both corporate parties have done so much practical work smashing labor unions and shipping good jobs offshore, socialists can only advise both fighting spirit and stark realism.
The corporate state undermines both democracy and the republic; and the professional politicians who have made Congress the front office of the ruling class must learn to earn an honest living. If we regard the basic forms of social democracy in health care, housing and education as “revolutionary,” then long live the American Revolution.
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