How to Compete in a Rigged Electoral System
I was looking for a purpose in my life. I have been in prison over 10 years. What can I do in this place, I wonder. I hear so many people with dreams, or talents they would like to pursue. What is it that I like or have passion for. Politics is a love of mine, always has been. Also since being locked down, I want to help my people.
I started talking to these conscious brothers on the status of black men in America. One thing led to another and I was given information to contact ULK. Then the issue at hand was facing me. In ULK 64, I read the article written by a New York prisoner about voting and the mid-term.(1) This article and your reply sparked something in me. I'm not a writer, but I think this issue at hand may be the most important one for us as people.
I understand the writer's views, but also yours as well. I believe the worst thing we can do is decide that we can't change the political landscape. We are in America, and if we like it or not, the system is money and politics. Look, maybe we made a mistake yesteryear, when the leaders in the black community chose to fight for integration instead of us being a sovereign community. That's up for debate, and can be spoken about later. But back to the issue at hand, we didn't fight for sovereignty as a whole, so we must play the hand we have. I heard the same guys who told me about ULK, on the walk talking about how we don't need to vote. I also hear that displayed in the African-American Community so much. What difference does it make if we vote Republican or Democratic, they are both the same. Sorta like your reply to the article was stating. I get it, but this is why that thinking leads to the status quo. We can't win not fighting, right? We are not the majority, right? We hold no power in the political sense. We don't make the rules. The only way for us to win is to make the rules work for us.
I would not call myself a communist, but I do agree with a lot of the platform. I also know it's 2 major political parties. You can either work in one of those, or take your ball and go home. You can put resources behind third party candidates, and lose, that's an option. Or you can hijack one of the major parties. That is the best and only option for us to get our platform to the mainstream. Look, the Tea Party (say what you will) started the hijacking of the Republican Party, crack after crack. They mobilized people who shared their worldview, forcing candidates to take up their issues or face a primary. This led to a more forthright party, and house of representatives. That allowed them to block President Obama's agenda, and force in their movement. It all led to this racist, bigoted, homophobic, anti-American nationalist, treasonist person who occupies what is supposed to be the people's house. Now it is no longer a Republican Party, it's his followers. They all have bowed down to "Dear Leader".
So we have the blueprint. Senator Bernie Sanders, Senator Elizabeth Warren and others are pushing a socialistic platform. We need to mobilize our people to get out and hijack the Democratic Party; that's our only way. We need to force all Democratic politicians to take up more of our platform, or be primaried. We need to start at the grassroots level. Start getting our people or people who share our worldview on board and winning local elections. Then we repeat the playbook of the other side. Before we know it, we will have a party and a president who share our worldview.
I know it's hard work, but that is how we change the game. Other demographics are forcing their issues onto the main stage, besides us. By us saying "what difference does it make" we are not hurting anyone but ourselves. Like it or not, the game goes on if we participate or not. The other side prefers we don't take part. Isn't it funny the other side always are the ones who try to take our voting rights? Wonder why? Now the Democratic Party has not been friends to us, they have hoodwinked and bamboozled us. I get it, we don't trust them, but we must use them as our vessel for change.
I hope to be out soon. I can't wait to start my mission to fight against the status quo. I may not make it out before the next fight, but I hope you take my suggestions up for thought. Please take the fight up, mobilize our base, our future depends on it. He has declared war, it's up to us to fight back.
MIM(Prisons) responds: The author is saying that we must work within the capitalist electoral system if we want to make change. "The only way for us to win, is to make the rules work for us." If that's true, eir strategy of trying to take over the Democratic party might make sense. But what if that's not true? What if there's another way?
We aren't limited to just studying and learning from the history of the United $tates. We can also learn from the history of other countries. This includes countries that have had successful socialist revolutions. The Soviet Union, China, Albania, Vietnam, Korea, Cuba: all places where they won by forcibly overthrowing the government. None of these victories came through elections.
On the other hand, we can look at a few countries where socialist candidates did win elections. Chile, with the election of Salvador Allende in 1970 is a good example here. Allende tried to implement policies in the interests of the oppressed while in office, and the imperialists saw him as such a threat that they sponsored a coup which ended in Allende's death and the fascist government of Agusto Pinochet taking over in 1973. Implementing socialism in bits and pieces proved impossible in the face of imperialist opposition.
From the many lessons of historical struggles of the oppressed we conclude that the bourgeoisie will never give up power peacefully. For this reason, we know we can't vote them out of power. We have to take power and force them out. A socialist government in the United $tates would work against the interests of the bourgeoisie, so of course they would oppose it. This includes the bourgeoisie in the Republican and the Democratic parties.
So why were the Trump folks so successful in taking over the Republican party if we can't take over the Democratic party? Well Trump is an imperialist. This is just another brand of imperialism. Variations in imperialism will come and go, and the bourgeoisie will get behind various factions. That's not counter to their interests.
There will also be some local initiatives and candidates where the impact of victory will have a net positive effect on the oppressed. This could be part of strategic organizing locally. But that's very different from working to groom candidates in a long term strategy of changing Amerikan society via the electoral process as this writer is advocating.