Storming heaven?

The strategic objective in this election isn’t to bring the country to the doorstep of socialism. The political conditions doesn’t exist for such a leap, notwithstanding the popular interest in more deep going reforms and, to a much lesser degree, socialism as a socio-economic system.

What then is the objective? Simply put, to defend and expand democracy that is presently under a sustained, furious, and unprecedented assault at the hands of Trump and his right wing authoritarian movement.

Storming heaven, metaphorically speaking, will have to wait a few moons! On the other hand, successfully blocking Trump and gang in their sordid effort is a BFD and would create a more favorable terrain on which the struggle for reforms can begin anew.

Not everyone agrees with this approach.

One grown up in the room

If military actions, threats, and tensions ease in the coming days, it is thanks to the leadership of Iran, not Trump. They were the grown up in the room. His recent actions and longer term policy toward Iran are criminal in nature and dangerous to everyone’s future. Either by impeachment or the ballot box we have to get rid of this cancer on everything that we hold dear!

No thanks to Trump

If military actions, threats, and tensions ease in the coming days, it is thanks to the leadership of Iran, not Trump. They were the grown up in the room. His recent actions and longer term policy toward Iran are criminal in nature and dangerous to everyone’s future. Either by impeachment or the ballot box we have to get rid of this cancer on everything that we hold dear!

A rigorous look

Wald’s analysis leaves much to be desired, but, as someone who was in the party’s leadership for many years, he is right to write that our inability to critique our past turned into a self inflicted and disabling wound. But for such a critique to be helpful, it wouldn’t be limited to the party’s relationship to the Soviet Union, nor the first half of the last century, as his analysis is. It would entail a rigorous look at our practice, theory, and internal culture over a century. On two occasions in the last half of the 20th century, we had opportunities to do just this, when larger events precipitated a crisis within the party.

But each time the necessary mass in the leadership didn’t exist and an embedded culture didn’t allow for a process of critique and renewal. On the first occasion, I was barely a teenager. But the next time, I was in the party’s leadership, but didn’t acquit myself very well. I stood along with others on a defense of old positions, understandings, and methods. And by the time I was elected chair a decade later, I had shaken off the old orthodoxy, but too many in the leadership still had no stomach for any kind of self/party-examination. Even if they had, it was, I now believe, too late anyway. The time and opportunity had passed.

No favor

People who spend a lot of time shopping their left/progressive credentials and defending their left flank from attacks from others on the left are doing themselves no favor. In doing so, they can lose their capacity to respond to changing conditions of struggle that require strategic shifts, tactical flexibility, and novel approaches. In the present election process, we see some evidence of this phenomenon.

I would like to say that militant posturing of this kind is a new arrival on the field of politics, but it isn’t. Dates back to the sixties where it was more the rule than the exception. Now the reverse is true.

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