Saturday, February 27, 2016

A Revolutionary Approach to the Sanders Campaign by Ray Light

A Revolutionary Approach to the Sanders
Presidential Campaign

“Engels is most definite in calling universal suffrage an instrument of bourgeois rule. Universal suffrage, he says, … is the ‘gauge of the maturity of the working class. It cannot and never will be anything more in the present-day state.’” (Cited by Lenin in The State and Revolution)

The 2016 U.S. Presidential Race thus far reflects the bitter experience of the working class, the urban and rural poor, and the middle class with the capitalist austerity for the 99% and the almost unprecedented boom years for Wall Street and finance capital. This assault on our conditions of life has been provided by the bipartisan “Republicrats” under Republican President George W. Bush and Democratic President Barack Obama since the economic crisis hit in 2007 and 2008.

Under the banner of “universal suffrage,” the TV debates, polls, rallies, and constant media coverage have revealed that there is remarkably little support for the “Republicrat” “2016 heavy favorites” (mainstream Democratic and Republican candidates, Hillary Clinton and especially Jeb Bush). Instead, the strong showing of right wing, fascistic Tea Party candidates such as Trump, Carson, Fiorina, Cruz, Rubio et al. on the Republican side and the social-democrat Sanders on the Democratic side reflects some level of popular mass rejection of “Republicrat Rule” and the Wall Street imperialist ruling class they represent.

Many of the ruined privileged petty bourgeoisie especially the white supremacist, great nation chauvinist, and Christian fundamentalist among them) are backing Trump, Carson, Fiorina, Cruz or Rubio and have helped these candidates attract large numbers of (especially white) impoverished workers and the poor. This campaign is accelerating the already formidable fascist direction in which the USA has been going for some time now — especially during the George W. Bush and Barack Obama years. It is a disturbing and dangerous development.

On the other hand, large numbers of lower middle class and working class folks who have also experienced increasing economic hardship are supporting Bernie Sanders. This has been shown by the huge numbers of people that have attended a Sanders Rally and/or donated to his campaign, dwarfing the numbers for other presidential candidates. The Sanders campaign is mobilizing this mass support in spite of the pro-imperialist, pro-Wall Street national AFL-CIO and NAACP misleadership with their early endorsement of arch imperialist and Wall Street puppet Hillary Clinton. As 2016 begins, only three national unions have endorsed Sanders — National Nurses United, American Postal Workers Union (APWU) and the Communications Workers of America (CWA). Yet these three unions, with their Sanders endorsement and progressive leadership, do not represent any significant break with the treacherous AFL-CIO leadership, such as had occurred in the 1930’s in the split between the stagnant, top-down AFL bureaucracy and the then new and rising, emerging democratic mass-oriented CIO, with its large Communist Party influence. Moreover, Sanders’ commitment ahead of time to support Clinton or Biden or whatever imperialist war criminal the Democratic Party ultimately picks as its candidate sharply diminishes the extent to which the Sanders Campaign represents any real alternative to the “Republicrats” and to the Tea Party.

After six decades of U.S. imperialist hegemony in the world capitalist camp, a period that witnessed the dismantling of the international communist movement and the demise of the socialist camp, the U.S. sector of the international working class remains largely isolated from the rest of the class. It is still politically overwhelmed by its immediate and direct bourgeois enemy, U.S. imperialism. This still powerful global force, the U.S. Empire, as the main bastion of international capitalism, continues to draw its strength from its international connections, from the oppression of the world’s peoples.

This unequal conflict between U.S. labor and U.S. capital is reflected, among other things, in the lack of a revolutionary working class vanguard party in the USA today. Furthermore, there seems to be no short term prospect for the re-establishment of proletarian international solidarity among the rest of the international working class and especially with the U.S. workers such as existed in the days of the Soviet-led Communist International. 

Nevertheless, the U.S. Empire is itself in rapid decline, a factor that provides renewed opportunities for the advance of the proletarian revolutionary cause in the USA.

In the Presidential Campaign thus far, the Sanders For President Campaign is helping to educate the working  class and oppressed nationalities and the poor that they are entitled to a better life, after decades in which most of the workers and the 99% have bought Wall Street’s idea that the problems in the USA are due to the workers receiving more than they deserve! (The Democratic Party and its AFL-CIO Labor Lieutenants, NAACP misleaders, etc. claim that “the middle class” needs and deserves more but not the increasing masses of poor people and the working class.)

At the same time, the Sanders Campaign makes concrete positive mass demands on the U.S. imperialist ruling class. Single payer universal health care, $15/hr minimum wage, defense of the public good, i.e. free public college tuition, public schools and public post office, etc. Most or all of this Campaign’s demands had already been identified by the Revolutionary Organization of Labor (ROL-USA) as worthwhile goals of the class struggle around which we are trying to mobilize the working class and the masses. Both within and in conjunction with the Sanders Campaign we can now continue and deepen the political struggle around these demands.

Trump and the other Republican tea party candidates are moving U.S. society rapidly and decisively toward fascism (Trump’s anti-Latino immigrant bashing, Fiorina’s spearhead of an anti-women campaign, the Carson-led anti-Muslim immigrant hysteria). On a positive note, however, the Sanders Campaign is moving a segment of the U.S. populace toward opposition to Wall Street rule.

Can the weak and isolated revolutionary working class forces in the USA today afford to stand outside the fray and refuse to critically support the Sanders campaign’s half-hearted and fatally compromised defense of the petty bourgeoisie, the workers and the poor?  Half-hearted and fatally compromised because Sanders himself remains wedded and committed to the Democratic Party wing of the “Republicrat”party of Wall Street and U.S. imperialism and to defense of the U.S. Empire.

Remember the guidance of our boldest leader, comrade Lenin, — we need to make political compromises and alliances. But these maneuvers can only advance the proletarian revolutionary cause if we implement a principled policy using both “unity with and struggle against” our temporary allies. For example, Lenin observed: “The Bolsheviks … since 1905 have systematically insisted on an  alliance between the working class and the peasantry against the liberal bourgeoisie and tsardom, never, however, refusing to support the bourgeoisie against tsardom (for instance during second ballots) and never ceasing their relentless ideological and political struggle against the bourgeois-revolutionary peasant party, the ‘Socialist-Revolutionaries,’ exposing them as petty-bourgeois democrats who falsely masqueraded as Socialists.”

Following the Bolshevik example, we can endorse the Sanders petty bourgeois democratic domestic platform, while ceaselessly opposing and exposing his criminal support for the U.S. Empire with its continuous imperialist war and oppression of the peoples of the world. In order to have successful (pro-revolutionary) united front work with the Sanders Campaign, however, it is crucial that we remain constantly mindful that Sanders is no better than “the extreme left wing of the imperialist bourgeoisie” and that we have a constant duty to educate the workers and oppressed within the USA and around the world of that fact.

In a section of Ray O’Light Newsletter #59 (March-April 2010) entitled, “Obama and the Federal Government Preside Over the U.S. Empire in Decline” we opened with the following sentence: “Barack Obama is well suited for the difficult task of presiding over an orderly march of the U.S. population to impoverishment in the desperate effort of the U.S. monopoly capitalist and imperialist ruling class to save itself and its hegemonic position in the world capitalist system.”

After elaborating how, in the face of the Obama bailout of Wall Street, the Obama-Biden Democratic Administration had seduced much of the U.S. “left,” the Afro-American people, Latino immigrant workers, and the organized section of the U.S. working class under AFL-CIO leadership, we concluded that: “This march to impoverishment, however, is still only in its beginning stages. And the challenge to the U.S. monopoly capitalist and imperialist ruling class and President Obama to lead the masses of working people and oppressed nationalities in the USA to poverty without us opting for revolt, without us turning to socialist revolution  for the way out of our difficulties, will only get more difficult.”

Since we made the above observation, the more than five years of bitter experience of the 99% of the U.S. population on our backward march to austerity, under the leadership of the Obama Regime and U.S. imperialism, is the concrete material basis for the strength of the Sanders Campaign that has surprised everyone – including Sanders. In this light it is clear that a section among “the 99%,” among the U.S. workers, the oppressed nationalities and petty bourgeoisie, are beginning to turn “to socialist revolution as the way out of our difficulties.” This helps explain why Sanders raises the need for a “political revolution,” despite having already committed himself to support the nominee of the Democratic wing of the imperialist ruling party, the “Republicrats.”

The Sanders Campaign represents a step, though a small one, by thousands of U.S. workers and of the 99%, including some youth, toward open “revolt,” toward “socialist revolution.” ROL-USA and the handful of other proletarian revolutionaries in the USA have a responsibility to help the class and the masses to continue on this revolutionary path to workers power and socialism.


  1. Ho hum. More big commie drivel. Despite what tis pres says, the folks in flyover country are not the backward, uneducated yokels that comprise the 'working class' in Russasia. Even people in the lowest economic groups in the USA have a standard of living far higher than the best worker's paradise in the world.

    The violent revolution espoused by the various communists won't fly in this country. Even the dumbest bible totin' hick has three or four firearms. And they aren't so thick as they can't see the evidence of the horrors BigSoc has shown.Armed revolution won't work. What will work is the frog in the pan. It's getting warmer here everyday, and it nothing to do with climate change.

    1. Very precise and concise political analysis of how well the majority is doing, does need to do and ought to get underweigh--ongoing! In other words when new-Modernist approaches alongside fascist-plutocracy, we may as well be anti-Bourgeoisie and have the balance of Medicare for all. That is, the latter of why the insurance to keep wars on-going is never paid!


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