Want to Elect Socialists? Run Them in Democratic Primaries

By Daniel Moraff. First published by In These Times.

There are currently 7,383 state legislators in the United States. Nine of them are affiliated with the Vermont Progressive Party. One of them is an independent from Alaska who caucuses with the Democrats.

This is the grand sum of the left presence in American state legislatures outside the Democratic Party. There has been a single instance of federal-level victory in my lifetime—Bernie Sanders’s election as an independent to the U.S. House, then Senate, in Vermont. No one else has even come close. And Sanders, after 30 years as an Independent, elected to seek the presidency through the Democratic primary. Continue reading

Number of Elected U.S. Socialists Quintuples Since 2012

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The good news is that the number of socialists elected to public office has quintupled since 2012.

The bad news is that this quintupling is a jump from one to five:

  1. Bernie Sanders, independent U.S. Senator from Vermont.
  2. Pat Noble, Socialist Party USA Red Bank Regional High School board of education member.
  3. Kshama Sawant, Socialist Alternative Seattle city councilmember.
  4. Mike Sylvester, Democratic Socialists of America Maine state legislator.
  5. Julie Ann Nitsch, Democratic Socialists of America Austin, Texas community college trustee.

Continue reading

Could Sanders Split the Democratic Party?

Shawn Whitney, Canadian writer, filmmaker, and socialist, continues our discussion of the US elections. He argues that Marxists should be playing an active role in Sanders’ campaign because of its potential to raise the general level of class-conciousness. Read previous contributions to the debate hereFirst published by Revolutionary Socialism in the 21st Century.

Presidential primary season is drawing to a close in the United States and mainstream media are trying to wrap up the dirty business of choosing the political candidates for each of the dominant political parties – so that they can move on to the dirty business of choosing the president. It will be Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, we are told, and that is the end of it.

They are probably right. But that is hardly the end of it. The looming California primary could deal another bloody nose to the credibility of Hillary Clinton as the Democratic candidate, with the potential for a late season major upset by Bernie Sanders. If this happens it would come just a week after the Inspector General at the State Department released a damning report on Hillary Clinton’s simmering email scandal, explicitly exposing her as a liar[1], further cementing her image in the public mind as fundamentally dishonest. A recent Fox poll found that more people thought her dishonest than serial liar Trump with his multiple bankruptcies and business swindles.[2] In fact, what has become most apparent in the current primary is that both presumptive candidates – Trump and Clinton – have the highest disapproval ratings in polling history for any presidential candidate.[3]

What has been different this primary season is, first and foremost, the hunger on both sides of the political spectrum for more muscular responses to the unending crisis of capitalism. On the right there is Trump touting the politics of scapegoating. He promises to build a wall between the US and Mexico to keep out Latino refugees and immigrants. He promises to ban Muslim immigration. Lately he has been using racism to attack the Mexican-American judge who is presiding over the class-action lawsuit against Trump regarding one of his (many) scams: Trump University.[4] And, once a liberal on some social questions, he has run with the reactionary politics that are fueling his supporters. He has enthusiastically taken up the cudgel of social conservatism to attack women, gays and lesbians, African-Americans, etc. Continue reading

Meet the Democratic Socialist Running for NY’s State Senate

By Sam Adler-Bell. Originally published by The Nation.

Debbie Medina has lived her entire life south of Grand Street in the Southside of Williamsburg, a historically Puerto Rican neighborhood in Brooklyn. The office of Southside United HFDC — better known as Los Sures — where Medina has worked as a housing organizer for 30 years, is on South Fifth, eight blocks away. When she walks down Driggs Avenue, Debbie can point at the buildings and recite their histories. “This neighborhood has always had some nasty landlords,” she says.

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Debbie Medina (center) with the city council’s Antonio Reynoso (D) (right).

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If Sanders Loses to Clinton, What Happens to the Political Revolution? 3 Scenarios

Part 1 of this piece dealt with whether or not pro-Sanders and Sanders-skeptics could work towards common ends despite our differences.

What happens to the Sanders campaign after the nomination fight is over has yet to be determined; its future is to a large extent what campaigners make of it since the official campaign’s three offices (one in Burlington, Iowa, and New Hampshire) can hardly control 100,000 volunteers in 3,500 groups in all but 12 of the country’s 435 Congressional districts.

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If Sanders loses to Clinton, his campaign faces three basic evolutionary possibilities: Continue reading