[Crushing fascists – especially those in one of the most
powerful executive positions in the whole of human history – is an
essential part of building democratic socialism.]
[https://portside.org/] 

 FIGHTING TRUMP/BUILDING SOCIALISM  
[https://portside.org/2019-08-19/fighting-trumpbuilding-socialism] 

 

 Luke Elliott-Negri 
 August 19, 2019
The Stansbury Forum [https://stansburyforum.com/] 

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 _ Crushing fascists – especially those in one of the most powerful
executive positions in the whole of human history – is an essential
part of building democratic socialism. _ 

 , Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Image 

 

After Bernie lost the Democratic nomination in 2016, much of the Left
felt that it was in a bind. Trump was a proto-fascist nut bag, but
Clinton was a neoliberal hack. Many took their line from the liberal
commentariat: Trump can’t possibly win (just _look_ at him!).
Therefore, the argument went, the Left is under NO OBLIGATION
[http://inthesetimes.com/features/dsa_clinton_left_support.html] to
campaign against him, and hence for Clinton.

ADOLOPH REED JR
[https://www.commondreams.org/views/2016/08/18/vote-lying-neoliberal-warmonger-its-important].,
ARUN GUPTA
[http://inthesetimes.com/features/trump_presidency_would_devastate_the_left.html],
and NELINI STAMP
[https:[log in to unmask]]
were among those on the Left to make passionate public pleas to
“support the neoliberal warmonger.”

The labor left, of course, made a clearer calculation. The
Communications Workers of America, fresh on the heels of successfully
striking Verizon and being the largest trade union to support Bernie
Sanders in the presidential primary pivoted to fight Trump, pouring
its ample resources into swing state efforts for Clinton. The
composition of the courts alone makes the general election fight vital
to the labor movement. The Working Families Party and Labor for Bernie
did the same.

The effort of course, fell short. Donald Trump has now been our
president for three years, and it’s not good.

I find myself constantly torn by how to characterize this
administration. Living in a society THAT HAS PUT MORE PEOPLE –
DISPROPORTIONATELY BLACK – IN CAGES THAN ANY OTHER IN HUMAN HISTORY
[https://www.prisonpolicy.org/graphs/pie2018.html], it’s hard to see
Trump as a rupture per se.

But on the other hand, he is a qualitatively different president than
any we’ve seen in the past century. I’ve settled on the term
“wanna be fascist” to describe him, but I increasingly wonder if I
should drop the “wanna be.”

I hardly need to list the behaviors: child separation, CONCENTRATION
CAmps [http://souciant.com/2019/07/when-history-repeats-itself/] at
the U.S.-Mexico border, U.S. troops used for civilian policing. And
the “send her back” hate rallies, leading to DEATH THREATS OF A
SITTING CONGRESSPERSON
[https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2019/apr/14/ilhan-omar-trump-9-11-september].

Lest we be calmed by Trump’s obvious incompetence, it turns out that
ADOLPH HITLER WAS INCOMPETENT TOO
[https://www.newsweek.com/hitler-incompetent-lazy-nazi-government-clown-show-opinion-1408136].

So, what is the Left to do in 2020? 

While some are stumping for Warren – the only other candidate in the
race who regularly articulates a conflict with the ultra-rich – most
of the left appears to be fighting for BERNIE SANDERS
[https://act.berniesanders.com/signup/ads_gs_personal_endorse?source=ads-gs-190709-evergreen_acq-natl-brandedkeys-responsive&gclid=EAIaIQobChMItp2e3_aF5AIVlR-tBh2TsA72EAAYASAAEgIr2PD_BwE]
to win the Democratic primary. There is ample evidence that BERNIE CAN
WIN [https://theweek.com/articles/858705/bernie-sanders-beat-trump],
and I just love his plodding, principled attack on the ruling elite of
our society. I, too, am a Bernie guy, and I fear that the planet
itself is at irrevocable risk if we don’t put him in office.

But if we give it everything we’ve got and Bernie loses, the Left
absolutely must follow the lead of Bernie himself, the Communications
Workers of America, and many, many, many other individuals and
organizations, and continue to fight Trump through the general
election. This may mean riding a horse that makes us deeply
uncomfortable. Personally, I’d feel good about WARREN
[https://elizabethwarren.com/] and INSLEE
[https://jayinslee.com/act/join-our-movement-for-climate-action?source=ad_gg_lba_us_brand-exact-p13-h13-d13-i13-20190326&utm_source=gg&utm_medium=ad&utm_campaign=lba&utm_content=us_brand-exact-p13-h13-d13-i13-20190326&gclid=EAIaIQobChMIvpKAwfeF5AIVCbvsCh0pRAdeEAAYASAAEgIQ6_D_BwE],
and nauseous about the rest.

At its recent convention, the Democratic Socialists of America
expressed this nausea about the rest of the Democratic field in the
form of a resolution prohibiting the organization from formally
backing anyone other than Bernie in the general election.
Unsurprisingly, the term “Bernie or bust” made its way to A NEW
YORK TIMES HEADLINE ABOUT DSA
[https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/06/us/politics/bernie-sanders-democratic-socialists-america.html].
I found the resolution off the mark for many reasons (What if Stacy
Abrams entered the race and jumped in the polls? What if Bernie and
Warren enter a brokered convention as allies?), but as a practical
matter DSA is not a cadre organization: Its nearly 60,000 members vote
with their feet, and what they and the rest of the Left will do in the
unfortunate event of a Sanders loss is still an open question.

We must, in my view, fight our nausea at the bulk of the Democratic
field, pivot tactically if Bernie does not win the nomination, and
keep up the electoral war against Trump.

The nausea is completely understandable: even if working people and
Black Americans made their biggest gains in the last century under
Democratic rule in the 1930s and 1960s, Democratic politicians have
been far from strong allies, especially during the neoliberal era.
Clinton gave us NAFTA, Welfare Reform, and continued mass
incarceration. And just this year, we witnessed THE RIGHT WING OF THE
PARTY OUTMANEUVER SPEAKER PELOSI TO PASS A TRUMP SPENDING BILL THROUGH
THE HOUSE
[https://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2019/06/28/house_sends_trump_46b_border_bill_yielding_to_senate_140675.html]
– the Democrat’s only lever of power in Washington D.C. –
providing billions in unrestricted funding to the president’s
concentration camps.

And it goes without saying – but why let it? – that presidential
elections are far from our only tool to fight against fascism and for
a democratic economy and society. Movements, direct action, and
strikes are in many ways the root of our power. Down ballot races are
potent too: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has demonstrated how much a
single congressional seat can do change the national conversation. And
2020 is a census year, meaning that the political composition of state
houses will immediately translate into the shapes of our districts for
the next decade.

Yet at the same time, the difference between a Democratic and
Republican White House is unfathomably significant for poor and
working people: the courts, the National Labor Relations Board, the
tax rate, and simply the prospect of any meaningful social
legislation. Under Trump, of course, putting _any_ Democrat in the
White House means an essential step toward pushing neo-Nazis and White
Nationalists to the margins.

The U.S. two-party, presidential system is an odd and rigid one: it
requires us to build our coalitions in the electorate rather than in
government. If we lived in a parliamentary system, the Left could
fight like hell for its congressional votes, and then use its leverage
in government to help select a prime minister. But in the U.S. system,
if we lose the primary – if Bernie loses the primary – our only
hope at keeping a “wanna be fascist” from the most powerful
position in the land is to fight him as part of an electoral coalition
for a centrist Democrat. Not nearly as emotionally satisfying as
parliamentary politics, but every bit as important.

Three years out, I can forgive those on the Left who were silent in
the 2016 general election, and even those who were publicly opposed to
supporting Hillary. The liberal commentariat was convincing, even to
the Left: I certainly thought a Trump victory was unlikely.

But now we know better.

Trump can win, and he may well. It’s on us to do everything in our
power to make sure he doesn’t. If we fail, you can be damn sure that
“wanna be” will be an irrelevant modifier in term two.

Crushing fascists – especially those in one of the most powerful
executive positions in the whole of human history – is an essential
part of building democratic socialism.

_THIS ARTICLE IS BEING SIMULATANEOUSLY PUBLISHED BY STANDBURY FORUM
AND ORGANIZING UPGRADE [https://organizingupgrade.com/analysis/]_

_Luke Elliott-Negri is a doctoral candidate in sociology and is active
in the labor movement. _

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