The Socialist Alternative to the Democratic Party

Over the past months, much of the national discussion on the potential for third party and independent politics has been focused squarely on the right, emphasizing the tea party movement's relation to the GOP establishment, libertarian disillusionment with two-party statism, independent discontent with the duopoly's alternative to the Democratic Party etc. Yet, while Republican operatives continue to pretend that the Democratic Party is pursuing a radical left-wing agenda, actual leftists as well as mainstream liberals and progressives are growing ever more frustrated with the Obama administration and the Democratic Congress's agenda of maintaining the global warfare and corporate welfare state. As Sam Wilson points out, the right hand doesn't know what the left hand is doing. In the Socialist Worker, one disillusioned Democrat, Donna Tara Lee, explains why it has become imperative for the left to take on the Democrats from the left:
I would like to say that I have been a lifelong Democrat since I was first eligible to vote in 1969 . . . These were the politics I was brought up with and learned at the dinner table . . . as I got older, I have been an unabashed liberal. I have been active in all the following causes dating back to the 1960's: civil rights, antiwar, feminism, pro-choice, the farmworkers movement ( I boycotted grapes for years), no nukes, free speech, justice for the Palestinians, anti-imperialist, anti-apartheid, and, lastly, the LGBTQ movement . . .

So why am I now thinking of leaving the party after our biggest electoral success since 1964? I have become so disenchanted that the changes we were promised instead seem to be more of the same old politics as usual. The lobbyists are still in control . . .

Personally, I don't support the health care bills out there. I favor a single-payer, cradle-to-grave health care plan, like they have in all other industrial countries. I believe the Obama administration has basically caved in on real health care reform to achieve a non-achievable bipartisan law . . . huge sums of bailout money were given to the big corporations that got themselves and us in this mess by their greed. But there have been no regulatory reforms passed to make sure the banks can no longer fleece us. So it's back to business as usual on Wall Street . . . The repressive and unconstitutional USA PATRIOT Act remains in effect, and lawbreakers of the previous administration go unpunished. Hate crimes against LGBTQ people are on the rise . . . There is no real climate reform. Unemployment continues to rise, and our major parties are more partisan toward each other than ever. In foreign affairs, the wars go on, taking more of our treasury, and the death toll among our soldiers grows higher. We still support regimes that persecute women for being women, and that are repressive and corrupt . . .

Except for some cosmetic changes--you could call it a new brand of make-up--what has changed? Nothing is my brutally frank answer. These failures have led me to rethink my political philosophy . . . I will be leaving the Democratic Party soon and registering as a socialist. I do this with a heavy heart, but I am convinced that the only way now to a peaceful and economically just society is through socialism.

4 comments:

Bob Richard said...

The California Peace and Freedom Party is leading an effort to get socialist candidates on the ballot nationwide in 2010. The website for this campaign just went live, and is still under construction, so bookmark it now and return often to watch the national campaign develop.

d.eris said...

Thanks for the tip, I'll check it out.

Liberal Arts Dude said...

I've been curious on third-party activity on the left the past year or so -- whether it has increased. The Tea Parties have been getting all the attention and I wonder what is happening on left side. Is there a lot of new activity and engagement among leftists that is just flying under the radar? For those that are outraged at the status quo but for whom Tea Parties are not their cup of tea what is happening?

d.eris said...

LAD, there is a fair amount of third party agitation going on even among Democrats, but this seem more a threat or articulation of disapproval with the Democratic majority than anything else. The Peace and Freedom Party's project is one of the more ambitious efforts I'm aware of. Given that Obama is likely to send more troops to Afghanistan, we might see a reawakening of the anti-war movement in the coming months. Over the summer there were calls by socialists and progressives for third party opposition to the Democratic majority. I noted a couple at the time, see, for instance, progressive declaration of independence from the Democrats and the growing left wing opposition to the Democratic majority. There are a few more posts that are somewhat related from August.

 
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