I’ve read a few different takes on strategy recently. Here’s mine. Strategy, as I learned it in the Communist Party and from reading Lenin is wide angled and dynamic. Never narrowly focused, Its field of vision is the larger political landscape on which competing coalitions (or, in Gramsci’s language, blocs) collide and compete for advantage (war of position), and power (war of maneuver). It brings into focus the main class and social constituencies in that field of struggle, clarifies where they stand in relation to each other and the main issues of struggle, and, above all, takes into account the distribution of power – the balance of power – in the moment between/among the contending coalitions.
A strategic excavation doesn’t stop here though. It goes on to specify the key alliances that are crucial to each side’s success, the key constituencies to be won, and the key democratic and class issues that, if settled in favor of one or another coalition, will either move the whole chain of struggle to a new, higher stage or in a backward direction. And of course, any strategic rendering is set within and deeply informed by a particular economic and political conjuncture.
In today’s circumstances, the main clash is between two competing cross class coalitions, each with its own distinct class and social makeup and politics. One is right wing, white nationalist, authoritarian, and if need be, fascistic. While socially diverse, it skews toward white billionaires, millionaires, and middle income Americans. The other is democratic minded and leans in a progressive direction. Unlike its rival, it can claim a majoritarian status and skews toward working people, people of color, women, and young people. While it scored victories last fall at the ballot box – the biggest the election of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris – and legislative breakthroughs this spring, the outcome of what can fairly be described as an existential clash of these two grand coalitions is still to be decided.