Marxist activists operating the USA have to face a critical political reality: we have failed.
The work of our dedicated political scientists and workers has clearly failed to achieve it objective, the transformation of American society. No communist candidate (communist party or otherwise) has succeeded in securing a majority vote in any federal elections. A communist or even socialist party candidate gaining even a meager 10-20% of presidential votes is virtually impossible. Considering the possibility that communist candidates were able to win election to the three branches of federal government and install a socialist program is literally a fantasy as long as the political system remains in its present state.
Because of these realities, we are faced with continuing factionalism and infighting over what remains of a left wing movement. There are tendencies calling for increased education through the distribution of propaganda materials, there are those who call for alliances with the capitalist democrats, there are those that advocate the abandonment of the electoral system in favor of radical steps. These tendencies have resulted from the inability of Marxists to accomplish their stated goals, that of a socialist USA.
The limits of education have been reached, the circulation of party newspapers is the hundreds of thousands, while this, along with the current state of political affairs, has led to a tripling of membership in communist and socialist parties in the last four years, the essential fact remains that the total membership is proportionally insignificant to the major party institutions. Alliances with the Democratic Party have been the CPUSA party platform in recent years; this does absolutely nothing to advance the cause of socialism and only reinforces the terribly ineffective methods utilized by socialist leadership. Supporting the duo-fascist political system not only wastes resources in support of capitalist opponents, it absolutely ensures that communists will not attain political power.
The more radical elements of the left have advocated an abandonment of any US electoral processes are almost as unrealistic as those who believe that socialists can win federal elections, especially those that advocate armed struggle or mass strikes. It is not that armed struggles and mass strikes along with other extra electoral activities such as protests are inherently ineffective; it is that these groups frequently lack the numbers of persons, the organizational structure, or longevity to bring about meaningful transition.
While these may be simplistic, many of you may have reached similarly depressing conclusions. The failure of the American left is not due to the fickle nature of its membership; I have personally met extremely dedicated activists that work tirelessly only to be beaten down repeatedly by loss and hardship. The problem is not the philosophy or the education of such philosophy; born from the knowledge that society must not remain trapped within a constant cycle of boom and bust. The problem that we face as Marxists is concentration.
I have heard many Marxists tell me that the drive towards socialism and communism is a long-term project. I have been told that we should all take a long-term view of the events as they unfold and thus we should not abandon our existing programs to educate the people and shape socialist culture. It has been said that global capitalism is a fast burning candle that consumes itself as it continually grows brighter and hotter, that eventually the ravenous capitalist global economy will have consumed all the planets resources and exploited all available markets thus halting their expansion, and as we are aware capitalism is nothing without constant expansion. However we are now faced with the daunting possibility that expansion by capitalists and their national puppets is not merely constrained by our atmosphere or available land mass, we are faced with a self perpetuating virus with possibly unlimited potential for expansion. We are faced with themed casinos on the moon and palm-tree shaped designer islands, we are faced with the possibility that capitalism will always find new avenues of exploitation, always generate new markets.
We are on the cusp of a great change in not only the USA but the world, a new direction, globalized capitalism. We can continue to rely on the old methods or we can rise to meet this challenge with new tactics.
"You gain more by finding a rich mine and mining it deeper, than by
flitting from one shallow mine to another – intensity defeats
extensity every time."
The issue is concentration is a reality that we are all undoubtedly aware, in nearly every electoral district socialists and communists occupy less then a majority percentage. This simple fact means that despite dedication and policy work we are unable to secure victory on a national level. However, despite our small numbers nationally we have more then enough collective mass to influence politics on a smaller scale provided that we are concentrated into a single geographic location within the USA.
The proposal that I advocate is based upon a rather simple idea, yet one that holds with it a promise of a sustainable socialist America within our lifetime. What I suggest is that socialist and communists of all tendencies converge on a single geographic location, a US state or city, establish residence and tirelessly work to seize control of that government through electoral work. The numbers are simple, in the last election in the city of Minneapolis (a city with a population of 382,618) 69,633 persons voted, to capture 20% of the vote in the city would require 13,927 votes, to capture 50% of the vote would require roughly 34,817 votes. Even these rough figures show that a migration of less then 20,000 dedicated persons can significantly affect the balance of political power provided that these activists are motivated and dedicated to electoral work and voter turnout.
The population of the various communist and socialist parties has grown to more then 100,000 and it is a safe estimation that more then double that figure of registered voters support some socialist views, thus only a fraction of the most dedicated activists would be needed to gain majority support in a place such as the city of Minneapolis. Thus, a goal of having 50,000 socialist activists and other supporters move to one geographic location is not an unrealistic or unattainable objective, especially when it nearly guarantees electoral victory.
Although I use the example of my own city and state, similar locations with low populations or especially progressive views would produce numbers remarkably similar. This in no way states that Minnesota would be the absolute best place for Marxists to target, that is a decision to be better determined upon a more in depth political analysis of the probable target areas.
The strategy is sound. Once the target local government has been dominated by these activists, we can begin the work of reforming it based upon socialist principles, thus building outward and fostering a relationship with the governed based upon trust and democracy. The question of state politics is a different matter; traditionally Minnesota has been open to third party candidates even when considering national posts, such as the
Governor’s race of 1998 when voters elected the Reform Party candidate Jesse Ventura over both the republican and democratic candidates. Ventura took the election with 37% of the vote, a total of 773,713 votes. It is estimated that although he spent less money (estimated at about 600,000$, or less then one dollar per vote received) he was effective at getting persons to the polls that were otherwise unwilling to vote for major party
candidates, as well as appealing to the working class areas of the state including the city of Minneapolis and northern Iron Range region.
Jesse Ventura was victor but the partisan politics he faced at the capital severely hampered his ability to push forward many of his issues. Thus, it would be wise to first gain control over the legislative wing of the state before attempting to install a populist governor or other federal level authority. Once we have accomplished this seizure of power through elections, establish a more socialist government within the confines of the bourgeoisie law, and prove our ability to govern responsibly we can begin the work of negotiating with the national government for increased autonomy and the rights of the proletariat. The threat of secession would provide leverage for these demands.
Secession was attempted nearly 150 years ago and many people believe that similar declarations of sovereignty would bring the wrath of the federal government upon them. This is an analysis that, while not out of the question, is very unlikely. In modern democratic nations, the use of violence against legal secession movements is almost a non-issue. The province of Quebec currently has a large independence movement based upon electorates; they advocate a peaceful separation to be determined through referendum votes by a majority. Threats of violence against this movement are non-existent, similar to movements in Scotland, Flanders, and Catalonia. The principle point is that secession is pursued, or threat of it, through the established capitalist election system. Any attempts at pursuing such a maneuver outside of the current political system would lead to disaster.
Even if secession were not the goal of the project, it would be an effective method of forcing the government to compromise lest they lose a significant portion of federal tax money. Scotland and Quebec have used the threat of secession in the past to get large subsidies and concessions from their national governments. We could use this leverage for socialism.
This is a workable project and provided the response is positive we could expect results within a decade, within our lifetimes. The major obstacle that we face is the planning stage of getting persons to the target location. Although many of you reading this undoubtedly see the wisdom of concentration it wouldn’t make sense to commit yourselves for a move if no one else does, we have plenty of reasons to stay right where we are including work, comrades, and our families. We may all be thinking the same way, but no one ends up following through. Thus to allow for a smooth transition it would be in our best interests to form an organizational structure to assist in both planning this migration and gathering information concerning the target zone.
many more have risked far much more for an even smaller slice of socialism and I refuse to believe that those of us who have adopted a Marxist world view are so soft and so weak that we would not survive such trials for the chance at advancing socialism in the USA.
· Minnesota 1998 election http://www.sos.state.mn.us/election/genstate.pdfa
· Minneapolis election results http://www.ci.minneapolis.mn.us/elections/
· Secession http://www.secessionist.us/
· Secession: The Morality of Political Divorce from Fort Sumter to Lithuania and Quebec by Allen Buchanan, Westview Press; Reissue edition (December 19, 1991)
· The 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene, Penguin (Non-Classics) (September 5, 2000)
· Murdered by Capitalism: A Memoir of 150 Years of Life and Death on the American Left by John Ross, Nation Books (May 6, 2004)
· Left Intellectuals & Popular Culture in Twentieth-Century America by Paul R. Gorman, University of North Carolina Press (March 1996)