May 31, 2005

A Red-Green Electoral Alliance:

A Working Class Strategy To Win The Battle of Democracy


Snip: "That support is evident at the Old Labor Hall in Barre. "He is as good as they come," says Sue Lucas, a nurse in Morrisville. "He is about everything we believe in."

"He is not afraid to stand up to either party," said Jim Genovesi, a worker for an electric utility in Rutland. "He doesn't seem to be affected by political pressure or lobbyist pressure. He stands his ground."

"Sanders' booming voice fills the hall as he nears the end of his speech. "We know that our opponents have hundreds and hundreds of millions of dollars that they put into the political process. We know they control much of the media. We know they have an attack machine that goes from Fox to Rush Limbaugh, the Drudge Report and all over the place.

"We know that is what THEY have," his voice thunders.

"But there is one thing they do not have. They do not have ordinary people prepared to knock on doors and organize all over America. "That is what WE have.

"They have the money. We have the people.

"And when push comes to shove, the people are going to defeat the money."

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Lil Joe Comment: Of course, 'ordinary people' versus the rich folk is not a clear statement of partisan working class socialist politics. It is populism bordering on demagogy, but in America, for a successful populist running as an open 'socialist' in independent campaign races, beating Democrats as well as Republicans is very significant. Sanders successes in House races, which aren't as expensive as Senate races, shows to the Green Party, Peace and Freedom Party and Labor Party activists that it can be done. Rather than spreading money and resources running candidates for President, Governors, the US and State Senate, with no chance of winning those races, it is demonstrated by this maverick Congressman that we can in fact win seats to the House of Representatives.

Suppose the Green, Peace and Freedom, and Labor Parties collaborate in elections, an electoral united front forum to run candidates in, say ten "Blue State" Congressional Districts in 2008. Following the example of Bernie Sanders, rather than wasting money and people power in symbolic campaigns for 'President', instead spend their finances and resources including human power in these ten winnable Congressional Districts; in Districts with a favorable Green candidate the Labor and P&F party activists would support the Green -- in Districts where the P&F candidates are strong the Green and Labor activists would support the P&F candidate, and so on if we can force the Labor Party to stand candidates the Greens and P&F activists will support the Labor candidate.

This electoral united front at the polls could continue as these freshmen congress persons will be a Red-Green alliance that could then work together in Congress, constantly challenging the Republicans and exposing the Democrats voting choices as nothing but capitalist political partisans masquerading in liberal costume spewing 'progressive' jibe. Newt Gingrich showed America that an aggressive, self-confident new crew of activist politicians that are actually running to win offices in the House of Representatives for the first time, can, both, win elections and in Congress pose a formidable challenge to the old guard of both parties. If Cynthia McKinney and Barbara Lee are serious about representing the interests of ethnic working class minorities, then they could prove it by resigning the Democratic Party and coming over to the Red-Green alliance as independents if not joining the Labor, Green or P&F Party, and running as such when their reelection comes to term. If they don't, then they will be exposed as just Democrats, representative of capital and the party of war.

By repeatedly winning elections as an independent candidate and open socialist, maverick Bernie Sanders has demonstrated again and again that the American working class is ready to hear class struggle socialist ideas and work to elect socialists representative of workers issues as such in the U.S. House of Representatives.

I have argued that the Labor Party needs to undertake a radicalizing campaign to run candidates against the Democrats as well as the Republicans to actually win seats and in a decade become the majority of seats in the House of Representatives, legislate a working class agenda including a sustainable living wage equal to the median income comparable to workers wages in Northern Europe (Germany, Sweden, Switzerland, &C) and ending unemployment by reducing the workweek from 8+ hours a day (40+workweek) to 6- hours a day or 30 hour workweek with triple-pay for overtime (for more than 6 hours a day or 30 hours a week). As technology and robotics advance labor productivity, rather than outsourcing or laying off (i.e. firing) workers, the hours of the working day and workweek will legally decrease from 6 to 5 &C. so that the retrained workforce remain employed in this country.

It could further be legislated that any capitalist that tries to outsource or relocate, claim bankruptcy or close down the factory be expropriated by the workforce at the national level, and production and management be assumed by the workers themselves, as workers have proved this can work in Argentina where shut down shops were expropriated, reopened, and are now profitably run by workers. A Labor Party dominated House of Representatives, together with Green Party and Peace and Freedom Party allies in the House could legislate anything they want to.

The fact that Sanders, as an open socialist, but more importantly as an independent, consistently denouncing the Democrats as well as the Republicans, and being attacked by the Democratic Party "progressives" has shown that the American workers are quite capable of breaking with the Democrats, and voting in their class interests. The Labor Party, which is financially and organizationally based on trade unions must become a truly class party by revitalizing the organizing of the working-class into politically partisan trade unions both throwing the present leadership of Democrats out the leadership or the unions, and organizing the unorganized especially those single moms thrown off public assistance by the Clinton Democrats, and the immigrants.

Every employed worker in the United States, whether born here or not, either "legal" or "illegal", should be granted immediate citizenship with all rights and privileges. This should be the perspective of a politically partisan trade union movement, bringing into these unions class conscious workers from Central America and Mexico who already know what class struggle and socialism is. This will be transformative of the labor movement in its revitalization bringing these millions of new workers into the working class and defending their human and labor rights as the Labor Party defines them through legislation in the House of Representatives: Fuck Amnesty International and the U.N. Charter on 'human rights'.

Because it is the creative labor of workers in production in the United States that has the capacity to generate fresh wealth, and the sociopolitical power based in these economic relations of production to shut this country down in strikes and general strikes if necessary, a Labor dominated House of Representatives, in alliance with Greens and Peace and Freedom Congressmen and women, will have the power to legislate anything they want to. If the Senate and the President, or/and the Supreme Court get in the way, the House of Representatives can legislate their abolition and form a Parliamentary government as exists in Western Europe and Japan, with proportional representation. This can be done in our lifetime. Why not? Bernie Sanders perpetual re-election in Vermont shows that it is possible that socialists, and candidates independent of the Democratic and Republican Parties can beat the Democrats and Republicans in Congressional District races -- it's only a matter of beating them at their own game, winning the battle of democracy.

Of course, the existing bureaucratic-military state apparatus has to be legislated out of existence, replaced by a management administration of things in the interests of the working classes and toiling masses of America. Displacement of the military state by workers armed militias, associated with trade unions, ethnic minorities, environmentalists and at the disposal of the new government in case civil war breaks out by capitalist and their politicians against the working class. In the context of this radical transformation of American politics it will of course be necessary to call a New Constitutional Convention attended by workers, farmers and representatives of ethnic minorities, seen every day on television.

It is the generation of the 60s radicals that are being hustled by Jesse Jackson, Michael Moore, Air America,and Democrats masquerading as 'progressives'; this is the same base in the Green Party, in the Peace and Freedom Party and Nadar's sphere who are actually being manipulated by the leadership of these 'parties' in the interests of Democrats in Congress by running grandiose campaigns for President, Senate and State Governors that don't stand a snowflake's chance in hell of being selected by the electoral College, even if by some miracle a Green or Peace and Freedom candidate did manage to win the popular vote. Every member of the Senate, Congress, Presidency and Cabinet, professional career bureaucrat in every branch of government, every federal and state judge, every state governor and government body, county and city government, and every member of the officers in the armed forces are Democrats or republicans, so what will a Green or Peace and Freedom Party President do if by some miracle they were selected by the Electoral College?

I am not clairvoyant; I don't know if the "Third Party" candidates have delusions or grandeur, or consciously want to protect Democrats and Republican domination of Congress, but this is what they are objectively doing by running impossible campaigns for president rather than focusing all their resources on a dozen or so winnable campaigns for the House of Representatives. The same people that would vote for a Bernie Sanders, or a Barbara Lee, the one's who register 'protest votes' for Third Party Presidential candidates, and are conned by Democrat "progressives" and their non-party entourages to vote for "lesser evil" Democrats for Congress to 'check' the Republican 'fascist' President in office, are the very people who could be targeted by serious winnable Green, Peace and Freedom and Labor Party congressional candidates -- giving working people an opportunity of voting for something for a change, rather than against someone.

In the 60s, we were not interested in "closing the gap between rich and poor", or preserving Social Security under capitalism by making the super rich pay their 'fair share of taxes', but in ending capitalism. But, seems the radicals of the 60s have become complacent conservatives of today. So long as socialists and class conscious American workers say that coming to power, i.e. winning the battle of democracy 'can't be done in our lifetime', it won't be done in our lifetime; and this shit will go on generation after generation, until one generation says: "fuck it, we've had enough of this shit! We're taking matters into our own capable hands!" Kulu Se Mama!

We said it in the 60s: "Power to the People" and "the People, United, Will never be defeated". But we were defeated - in part because of our youthfulness which put us outside the power structures controlled by 'adults', but more importantly because we didn't have a strategy to win the battle for democracy consistent with American traditions and political values. We are not in 1917 Russia, and there will be no "Bolshevik Revolution" in America. So, we were alienated from the majority of blue collar workers and we denounced them as 'hard hats', 'racists', 'corrupt', 'privileged imperialists' and so on; and Nixon, then Reagan mobilized them into hard nosed reactionaries against us.

But, today, that generation is dead. The tens of millions of 60s activists are today parents and grandparents ready to retire. What are you going to do with your free time, other than anti-war protests and email polemics? Lets get back into the streets and finish what we've started! We were committed to turning the world over to our children and grandchildren freer and better than when we were born into it. Our objective was not to "speak truth to power", but to take state power!

Our American Revolution will be more like the English Revolution of 1640, where the lower house, the House of Commons, representing the masses as well as finance, confronted the House of Lords and Royalty, displaced them, declared a Republic and executed the king; or the Great French Revolution wherein the masses represented by the 3rd Estate supported that Estates dissolution of the Estates-General that had been dominated by the 1st and 2nd Estates representing the high clergy and landed nobility, declared a republican National Constituent Assembly, leading to a Convention and radical Committee of Public safety of peoples terror and by that terror the destruction of feudalism and royalty.

We can win the battle of democracy by winning the majority in the lower house, the House of Representatives, because being more geographically and financially accessible to working class and ethnic minorities, the people, the slogan of the 60s: "Power to the People" can become an actuality in our life time.

We can begin by running ten to twelve workers, as Greens, Peace and Freedom or/and Labor Party candidates in, say, Congressional Districts in Vermont, the boroughs of New York City; Detroit, Michigan; Chicago, Illinois; Cleveland, Ohio; St. Louis, Missouri; San Francisco, Berkeley, Oakland, and Los Angels California for example, depending upon where Labor, Green, and Peace and Freedom parties are strongest.

When the initial ten or twelve P&F, Green and Labor Congressmen and women are in the House of Representatives, those Congresspersons can use the House floor as a platform, even if they are talking to an empty chamber with only CSPAN coverage, the way Newt Gingrich did.

Our Representatives in Congress can put forth environmental protection, labor and anti-discrimination legislation, and fight for it on CSPAN, forcing the Democrats together with the Republicans to debate LP, Green and/or P&F partisans on CNN, &C., locking together Democrats and Republicans as capitalist partisans inextricably linked in the minds of the worker viewers. Greens, LP and P&F members of Congress will fight the Democrats and Republicans for working class partisan legislation, such as clean water and air, non-pollutant alternative energy sources, massive work projects to end poverty and urban blight, rebuilding the education structure and hiring of more teachers with smaller digitally equipped class rooms and fewer students per teacher, with teachers unions in charge of texts selection, hiring and promotion of the teachers, the working together with parent's organizations, free education from Head Start and Kindergarten through Graduate School for every one who wants it, paid for by corporate taxes; free quality health care and the right of every American to have access to food, clothing, shelter, and communities in peace, free from gangs, drugs and police brutality,financed by redirecting all the money to rebuilding lives from the billions now wasted on weapons of mass destruction, and ending present military occupation and dismantling all foreign bases.

Two years of fighting the Democrats and Republicans in Congress seen daily on CSPAN, two years later, given that the Greens, P&F and LP parties activists are establishing themselves in Congressional districts in the meantime, would galvanize hundreds of thousands of workers energized to vote out Democrats as well as Republicans to send more Greens, P&F and LP representatives to fight for legislation that is clearly in their interests, as human beings in nature and workers in the economy and men and women as fathers and mothers in society.

The main problem in the 60s was that the radical youth didn't have a strategy for winning state power by incrementally winning the battle of democracy, and with this, the transition of qualitative changes from a society dominated by capital to one dominated by labor. We're the adults now -- and we let Bill Clinton and John Kerry represent themselves in political power as though they were one of us, and we know damn well they weren't! Lets win this battle of democracy, by first winning the majority seats in the House of Representatives, openly as Green, Peace and Freedom and Labor Party activists. If nothing, Bernie Sanders proved that we could do it.

It is only our lack of self-confidence in taking the reins of power from the capitalist class and politicians that are holding us back. What we have learned from Reagan and Bush II is that governing ain't as difficult as the bourgeois ideologists and schoolteachers, college professors et. al, told workers it is, anyone can do it. Lets do it!

Lil Joe
joeradical@earthlink.net
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Socialist Leads U.S. Senate Race in Vt.

By CHRISTOPHER GRAFF, Associated Press Writer Sun May 29, 8:58 PM ET

BARRE, Vt. - Bernie Sanders jabs at the air, his flushed face a sharp contrast to his unruly white hair. Yet again, he pummels Washington, the Congress and the president.

"The government that we have today in the White House, the House of Representatives with Tom Delay, the Senate with Bill Frist, is the most right-wing, extremist government, perhaps in the history of the United States," he tells labor activists at a May Day celebration in the century-old Labor Hall.

"Time after time they pass legislation that benefits the rich and the powerful, and they pass legislation that hurts the middle class, working people and low income people."

The crowd roars. They have come to hear this unlikely man who is likely to be the next U.S. senator from the Green Mountain State, and they love what they hear. This is Bernie at his best: one part revivalist preaching, two parts theater, all served up with a biting sarcasm.

It is vintage Bernie - literally. The words and the message have not changed in more than 30 years. Millions of times, he has decried - in a strong Brooklyn accent - what he sees as an outrageous, growing gap between the rich and the poor.

For half of those years, though, Sanders has been part of the Washington he loves to attack.

In his eighth term in the U.S. House, the independent socialist has carved out a career in Congress as a Congress-basher. Now he is setting his sights on the Senate, and everyone agrees he is the man to beat for the seat now held by the retiring Jim Jeffords.

"He is the front-runner. Absolutely," said Del Ali of Research 2000 of Rockville, Md., which has conducted political polls in Vermont for many years. "He has high favorability ratings, high name recognition and lots of money."

This is an astonishing position for a man who spent the 1970s as a political gadfly and the 1980s as the independent mayor of Burlington, a man who seemed destined for disaster when he first arrived in Congress in 1991.

He was the odd man out: an independent in an institution that revolves around the two-party system; a socialist in a chamber dominated by moderates and conservatives; a freshman in a world that favors seniority. His style was abrasive in an institution that rewards collegiality.

Yet somehow - after some bumps at the beginning - he has made it work.

Over the years Democrats who denounced him have accepted him, and he has caucused with their party and voted for its candidates for House leadership. Republicans who ridiculed his socialist philosophy now sign on as occasional co-sponsors of his legislative initiatives.

In 1991, Rep. Barney Frank (news, bio, voting record), D-Mass., complained of Sanders' "holier-than-thou attitude, saying in a very loud voice he is smarter than everyone else and purer than everyone else." Now the two are close allies on the House Financial Services Committee.

"Do I work better with people than I used to? Yeah, I do," said Sanders, who is 63. "That's simply a learning curve, knowing how to reach out, how to put together coalitions, getting to know people in a way perhaps that I now do better than I did before."

An example, he said, was the formation of the Patriot Act Reform Caucus, designed to ensure civil liberties are protected in the reauthorization of the Patriot Act. Sanders, a Democrat and two Republicans will chair the caucus.

Speaking of the two Republican co-chairs, Sanders said, "We disagree on 98 percent of the issues, but it just so happens that on the issue of civil liberties and the USA Patriot Act, we have a lot in common."

Sanders remains a socialist, although not a member of the Socialist Party.

"What does it mean to me? I want government to stand up for working people, for the middle class, rather than representing, as is currently the case in the United States, multinational corporations and wealthy people.

"I also believe that as citizens in a democratic society people are entitled to certain inherent rights - and those rights include the right to health care, the right to form a union, the right to breathe good air, the right to send your child to college.

"There is something fundamentally wrong and very dangerous about a society in which so few have so much and so many have so little," he said.

Jim Barnett, the chairman of the Vermont Republican Party, is fervently dedicated to ensuring that Sanders never arrives in the Senate. As often as Sanders uses the word extremist to describe Republican leaders in Washington, Barnett uses it to describe Sanders.

"The Senate race will give Vermonters a new opportunity to more closely scrutinize Bernie Sanders' extremist record in Congress," he said. "Extremism, futility and abrasiveness are not qualities that Vermonters have traditionally looked for in their senators."

Sanders says his greatest value in Congress has been to highlight issues before others even identify them: He notes he was the first congressman to lead a bus tour to Canada to help seniors get cheap prescription drugs and he is proud of his efforts to bring attention to a pension dispute at IBM.

Sanders is certainly one of the most visible congressmen. He is a regular guest on Fox News, especially "The O'Reilly Factor." Once, when he accused Fox of having a conservative slant, host Bill O'Reilly countered by asking, "Congressman, is there any other news organization on this planet that gives you more air time than the Fox News Channel?"

"You have been very generous to me," Sanders acknowledged.

And one of the most anticipated exchanges of any year - for its theater, if nothing else - is Sanders' semiannual grilling of Federal Reserve Board Chairman Alan Greenspan when Greenspan appears before the House Financial Services Committee.

He once asked the Fed chief if he gave "one whit of concern for the middle class and working families of this country?"

National Democrats, including former Gov. Howard Dean, now the party's chairman, are urging Democrats to support Sanders. Leaders of the Vermont Democratic Party are not rushing to endorse Sanders, though no Democrat has moved to run against him.

His most likely GOP challengers are Lt. Gov. Brian Dubie and Richard Tarrant, chairman of IDX, a medical software company. In early May, a poll for WCAX-TV put Sanders ahead of Dubie, 59 percent to 23 percent, and ahead of Tarrant, 62 percent to 18 percent.

That support is evident at the Old Labor Hall in Barre.

"He is as good as they come," says Sue Lucas, a nurse in Morrisville. "He is about everything we believe in."

"He is not afraid to stand up to either party," said Jim Genovesi, a worker for an electric utility in Rutland. "He doesn't seem to be affected by political pressure or lobbyist pressure. He stands his ground."

Sanders' booming voice fills the hall as he nears the end of his speech.

"We know that our opponents have hundreds and hundreds of millions of dollars that they put into the political process. We know they control much of the media. We know they have an attack machine that goes from Fox to Rush Limbaugh, the Drudge Report and all over the place.

"We know that is what THEY have," his voice thunders.

"But there is one thing they do not have. They do not have ordinary people prepared to knock on doors and organize all over America.

"That is what WE have.

"They have the money. We have the people.

"And when push comes to shove, the people are going to defeat the money."

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