Though it may be optimistic to suggest that we are in the post-COVID area, it is strategically beneficial to look toward the future. The struggle for the destiny of the United States must be seen for what it is: a matter of our own survival. Our country’s botched experience responding to waves of a devastating pandemic should make us all aware of the inability of our government to protect us in times of need.
But government incompetence is a best-case scenario, for more often the government’s lack of a response is based on the unwillingness of officials to recognize the danger either for reasons of political gain or convenience. Officials, especially within the Republican Party, have found it convenient (beneficial, even) to paint the spread of the disease as fake news: a tactic by the left to discredit President Trump through overblown hysteria from a ratings-seeking media establishment. The unwillingness of governors and mayors, senators and congresspeople across the country to mandate masks and social distancing has directly caused the deaths of tens of thousands in a pathetic and morally bankrupt attempt to gain political points. The happenings of the past five months set the stage for a new age of politics in the United States, one in which socialists must engage to protect ourselves, our families, and each other.
Political norms have drifted far from the friendly affairs of the past, in which a loyal opposition bided its time until the next election and hands were shook across the aisle. In this deadly world in which our government is unable or unwilling to help us, politics must become what many on the right have already recognized: a zero-sum game. For socialists, a zero-sum approach to politics must center upon three principles: absolute opposition to the plans and efforts of right-wing and reactionary forces, the development and advancement of a coherent and unified program that encompasses a broad spectrum of the American working class, and the absolute unity of socialists in the face of our enemies.
The principle of absolute opposition is based on the necessity of withholding all benefit from the enemy, as any step forward for them is a step backwards for us. In practice, this means rhetorical opposition to the programs, plans, and words of the enemy through their condemnation on factual and moral grounds. Our argument, though powerful, must be based in fact if it is to succeed, with morality serving as dressing. Factual arguments are stronger in every way, as facts can be supported with data and personal experience. Our opponents seek to paint us as emotional and lacking in firm material base. But socialism as an ideology is based in dialectical materialism: the observation of the material conditions that drive history forward. And so the support for our cause is self-evident. It only remains for us to show it as a viable alternative to the slide into fascist fatalism or the mud wallowing of the revisionist pseudo-left. Attacking and defeating the enemy’s programs with fact and reason will demonstrate the workability and the moral and material correctness of our cause.
A unified and coherent platform inclusive of all working people is essential to the advancement of a successful socialist agenda. The existence of a unifying core of policies provides a clarity of thought and of mission to the public, and a rally point for cadres to utilize in conducting outreach and party work. Despite its benefits, a common problem that besets contemporary leftist organizations is the absence of a core set of policies. Contemporary American leftism centers on nebulous and half-baked ideas that appeal more to moral convictions than concrete steps. Morality, of course, forms the basis of all that we believe. It is the flame that drew many of us to pick up the red flag in the first place. Though our morality is strong, it is essential for us to move beyond image toward substance.
On substance, we can build a movement which will necessarily take the form of a coherent set of policies with workable, technical steps that outline their creation and sustainability. Those technical points must be sufficiently detailed as to provide a blueprint from which the average person can derive an understanding of the movement’s goals and be convinced of the roadmap that will take us there. Without such broad, public understanding, the best-laid plans will fall on deaf ears. Concretely, we as an organization must delineate a platform that all of our elected officials will advance. Then, through the principle of sheer mass, we will work for common goals at all levels of government and thereby move the nation toward its victorious destination.
Our movement is under attack from all sides. Right-wing reactionaries conjure images of economic ruin and political tyranny, while pseudo-leftist revisionists trample our name as outdated and extreme. Unity in the face of such opposition is therefore central to the survival, let alone the success of our ideals. Contemporary leftist circles, however, face challenges in coordination and collaboration. Competing and often counterproductive agendas within organizations weaken our effectiveness as a political force by sapping our strength through half measures and dead ends. It is not enough to start a project, only to leave it unfinished with shifting priorities and interests. The way to win the working class is to show that socialism is an effective and dynamic force capable of meeting our everyday needs. To achieve these illustrative results requires a unified effort. Unity in the face of adversity is our strength. The voices of screaming individuals are easily drowned out by indifference and ignorance, but the voice of an organized, collective mass movement can never be silenced. It is that voice that will carry us forward, putting us in the position to actualize our ideas and show the world what socialism truly means.
American socialism must reorganize itself if it is to succeed. To move forward, we must adopt a posture of zero tolerance toward reaction and revisionism. We must adopt clear and measurable goals and propagate them to voters at all levels of electoral politics. Finally, we must be united in the face of our enemies; united in word and in deed as a single, unstoppable force. This is the socialism that builds nations. This is the socialism that wins the fight. Be ready to fight, organize, and unify and we will see the workers’ state.