Fascism’s new day in America

Good morning,

To my fellow veterans: On this Veterans Day I thank you, brothers and sisters, for your devotion to our country. To my fellow Marines: happy birthday! To my fellow social democrats: our failure this week is an opportunity for us to gather our strength and resolve, and set a course for the next two years. Do not let your remorse paralyze you; we have much to do.

It is a beautiful sunny day here in Pittsburgh. The fall colors are brilliant, even as they portend the coming cold winter. As the leaves fall, so did Leonard Cohen, and one could imagine that he scripted it that way. Despite the disaster of the election, we must remember that every day is new opportunity to do good. It is also important to remember that as leftists, we believe in the inherent goodness of people. We recognize that most Americans are not evil. Most Americans are good hearted people who love their family, neighbors, and country. Despite that, we have have been reminded once again that “Fear Trumps Love”. This week some bullies took over our country by tapping into fears and frustrations of Americans who see the two major parties doing absolutely nothing to stem the growing economic inequality in America. They did that the way fascists always do— by identifying scapegoats and then inciting violence against them. It’s an old formula and it works. We need to respond rather than wallow.

We know that protest is important, but by itself is ineffective. On Nov 19 we have an event planned in Buffalo which will bring together activists from labor and the broader left. See the story here. This could be a model for future events in your community. But even that type of activity does not necessarily translate into electoral action. Our members are split on our relationship with the Democratic Party; one that we have held since 1960. That may be the biggest issue that we have to address as a result of this election. I know our stance has become controversial with leftists, but election law in many states restricts the success of third parties. See this story on WFP. The goal of electoral action is to win elections. Protests are protests, elections are elections. Will Labor and the Left walk away from the Democratic Party after this stunning defeat? We will talk about that more in the weeks ahead.

 

3 thoughts on “Fascism’s new day in America

  1. This election should be seen as a cry of pain from America’s working class. After 25 years of faithful, if diminishing, support of those wonderful folks who gave us NAFTA, the people of Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan and Wisconsin had enough of neo-liberalism and turned to their only practical alternative. The task of Social Democrats today is to be a part of the coalition that is forming to take back the Democratic Party and make it responsive once again to the needs of the working and middle classes. The Sanders campaign has excited hundreds of thousands of activists. We need to organize them into a mass movement. Unfortunately, the Our Revolution organization that has emerged is not much more than an oligarchical fund-raising machine, but some of us are trying to make sure that the emerging state organizations are democratic and responsive to their members. We have an opportunity to be able to speak to the real needs of the people in 2018 and 2020- let’s not waste that opportunity. Oh, yes– Elizabeth Warren in 2020!

  2. Eldon, come back to us, we need your history of activism and wisdom. What you wrote here will be a central part of my keynote address to the Buffalo conference. Read Thomas Frank’s “Listen Liberal” and his post election article in the Guardian.

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