Email Exchange on Independent Political Action #2

Peter Solenberger

August 19, 2023

The ATC editorial “Noise as Usual” — Or Crisis Now? concludes with the words:

That’s why the answer to the question we posed of whether the present moment is somewhat louder “noise as usual” or the onset of “crisis now” might well be — both.

I agree. We’re discussing the location of the present moment on the “both” spectrum. In the piece you’re replying to, I didn’t write that in our analysis we could “just replace names like ‘Reagan’ with ‘Trump.’” I wrote:

The Solidarity public statement on independent political action I’d like to see would oppose the Democratic Party as sharply as the Solidarity Founding Statement does. Substituting Donald Trump for Ronald Reagan, Joe Biden for Walter Mondale, and Bernie Sanders for Jesse Jackson, the statement expresses an attitude as correct today as it was in 1986…

The two-party system continues, successfully, to channel the discontent into “lesser evil” politics. But to contain the greater social polarization requires a greater political polarization, greater extremes to the swing. For the Republicans, Trump and rightwing populism. For the Democrats, Sanders and a new New Deal…

If I were proposing a resolution on independent political action for the 2023 Solidarity Convention, it would be to return to the positions of the 1986 Founding Statement, updated to reflect the deeper capitalist crisis, the greater polarization, and the change of names of the political actors.

Are bourgeois democracy and the two-party system still serving the capitalists effectively, or are they breaking down?

On the left, they seem to be serving the capitalists quite well, as they have AOC endorsing Biden for 2024 and precluding a challenge from the left, and DSA declaring that it will run its partisan candidates as Democrats.

On the right, January 6 didn’t work out well for Trump and his most rabid supporters. His 2024 campaign seems to be channeling Republican anger into the two-party system.

We’ll see, but at this point I’m more concerned that the two-party system will continue to herd the left into supporting the Democrats than that it will break down.