An Anti-Right front?
Trump is out and Biden is in. Where do we go from here, in combating the cancer of Trumpism and working to transform our society in a socialist direction? A very important essay on strategy for the coming years has recently been written by Calvin Cheung-Miaw and published by Organizing Upgrade: “The Pivot of US Politics: Racial Justice and Democracy, www.organizingupgrade.com
This essay stresses how intertwined the struggles for racial justice and democracy necessarily are:
“Because the predominant GOP strategy—uniting both Trumpists and the tepid old-guard conservatives of the party—is one of preserving its power through white minority rule, the struggle for racial justice is at the heart of the struggle for democracy. While those of us who were taught in the U.S. school system that U.S. democracy was the foundation of aspirations for racial equality, we should reverse this relationship. Historically and today, it is struggles for racial equality that have eroded the White Republic and produced what democracy we have in the US”
The ongoing danger of Trumpism cannot be underestimated. Since Election Day, Trump has continued his claim that the election was rigged, that he actually won “hands down.” A poll taken in November found that 77% of Republicans agree with him that the election was fraudulent: people who follow der führer wherever he may lead them in safeguarding White Supremacy. Unfortunately including a very substantial portion of the white working class!
Perhaps 30% of the electorate are hard-right followers of Trump, constituting a reserve force for the capitalists to be used as society further crumbles under neoliberalism. How possible is a transition to an outright authoritarian political system, or even to fascism?
Let us look at the example of Hitler’s rise to power in Germany in 1933, as outlined in this column published last August (www.bcmsocialism.org/historical-fascism/. In contrast to the US, the various factions of the bourgeoisie had lost most mass support in the parliament.
“The only really strong political parties in the early 1930s were the fascist NSDAP (the National Socialist German Workers Party of Hitler, based most strongly in the ‘middle class’) and the Social Democratic Party of Germany (with some help from the German Communist Party,..). So the capitalists tried to use the NSDAP as a junior partner in parliament, as a substitute for their lack of mass following. But Hitler refused any deal other than one making him Chancellor, and the capitalists finally capitulated, especially since the NSDAP in the most recent election appeared to be in decline and there was the danger that it would fade away.”
And so ended (bourgeois) democracy in Germany.
Recognizing that we might face this danger, Cheung-Miaw’s essay proposes the creation of an Anti-Right Front. This would include not only progressives and socialists, but also moderate Democrats and even moderate Republicans willing to risk their political careers to combat the slide to Trumpism.
The essay acknowledges that since racial justice issues tend to divide an anti-right front, “it will require some finesse to keep an anti-right front together under a Biden administration, but backing away from racial justice struggles will only weaken our long-term capacity to fight the forces pushing white minority rule.” Thus the essay is advocating a sea-change in the way that socialists view the two-party system. Many socialists hold the view that we should have nothing to do with the Democratic Party (for very good reasons) but this is obsolete and counterproductive.
But an Anti-Right “Front”? This is a tall order, and socialists can hardly expect to pull it off themselves. For the time being it must be informal, but fostered by participation in struggles for racial justice and democracy, linking them together (ideologically) as much as possible. It may eventually be useful to form an organization—at first basically a listserv for exchange of information and strategy—of progressives and socialists who are committed to this long-term project. It would reflect construction of an anti-right front as expounded here, with emphasis on the struggle for racial justice essential to achieving democratic functioning.
It is critical that progressives and socialists who do agree with the anti-right front strategy start interacting more with each other, strategize together, and put aside differences in proportion to the urgency of stopping fascism. We already had the example of the Democratic Socialists of America, the largest socialist group in the country today, refusing to endorse Biden. Socialists will have to give up their rigorous antipathy toward the Democratic Party, if we are to survive.
Dave Jette writes this bi-monthly column and has been involved with Works in Progress since its beginnings. He is the author of A Reformation of Dialectical Materialism, which incorporates feminist theory into a traditional Marxist framework (available at www.lulu.com).