Podcast: The Road to the 2012 Elections (Part 2)

This episode is the second part of an extended interview in which we discuss the road to the 2012 elections with Communist Party political action commission chair Joelle Fishman. (Listen to the first part of the interview here.)

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  • Elections tactics are complicated, in theory as well as practice. Certainly 2012 is no exception.
    A Republican sweep of Congress and the Presidency would be a disaster and set the peoples’ movement back. Advances would be problematic; defensive struggles would be in the forefront for years to come. Racism and anti-union movements would be strengthened.
    On the other hand, we know from past experience that electing a Democratic President and Congress is no guarantee of popular victories. See the 1990’s – which gave us NAFTA, GATT, and “welfare reform, but not labor law reform (SB1) - and the first two years of the Obama presidency, where victories (health care bill, Supreme Court appointments) were offset by the aggression in Afghanistan and retreats on taxes, Social Security and card check recognition.
    Communists understand that elections are, to one degree or another, a gauge of public sentiment. We are a small Party with few material resources, but we have the power of our ideas and our uncompromising stance for the people.
    Using these tools, and understanding our limitations, we should advance the idea of popular mobilizations to create the atmosphere for change.
    It is not enough to simply elect leaders and rely on promises or good intentions. We – the big we – have to change conditions on the ground.
    On a local level, we could take initiatives around voter registration, calling for rallies where appropriate to oppose schemes to deny African American and Hispanic voters to right to vote. We should confront in a public and vocal way every racist and nativist attack.
    In close congressional races where we can defeat an anti-union, pro-business candidate, we should jump in without reservations.
    We should also look make alliances with independent political forces, including those outside the Democratic Party. These kinds of candidates can increase voter interest and strengthen, not weaken, the fight against reaction. We should also look to sponsor Communist and independent candidates when possible.
    When was the last time we discussed a Communist run for President, and why not?
    We should be champions of the idea of labor political independence and encourage and assist labor candidates whenever possible.
    Wisconsin, Ohio and Indiana, among other states, had significant popular mobilizations. We believe the time and mood is right to call for militant national actions in defense of workers, unions and our social safety net.
    What form could they take?
    A repeat of “One Nation” is not enough. We need more creative thinking.
    The largest popular mobilization since the Vietnam War was the Million Man March (it may have been bigger?) Minister Farrakhan, if memory serves me right, called the march for a Monday, that is, a work day. Whatever you think of then NOI’s politics, it took some courage and audacity to call on people to sacrifice more than a weekend.
    Could we be as bold? Could the movement organize a million workers around the country the day after Labor Day, 2012?
    Picket lines, rallies, mass civil disobedience, taking a “Monday off” should all be on the table for discussion. We’re always worried about getting too far in front. Solidarity Day (1981) began, I’m told, with a resolution presented to the Buffalo CLC. A little bit in front is what is needed today!

    Posted by Les Bayless, 06/02/2011 7:21pm (13 years ago)

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