On Saturday, May 16, 2020, Socialist Alternative, which got Kshama Sawant elected to the Seattle City Council, presented “Beyond Bernie: What Next For The Political Revolution?” Since this was going to play all over the world on the internet, I had naïve hopes that it might draw a large crowd. Unfortunately, it didn’t seem to go over 230 views, if that. It mostly hovered around 200.
The speakers were mostly amateurs (except for Sawant herself). They emphasized again and again the need for a worker-organized third party. They emphasized organization, including rent strikes and worker strikes. They wanted to preserve the energy of the Bernie for President movement and to get a #Demexit into gear. But what they did not do is answer the most pressing issue for progressives and socialists in the U.S.: Who shall I vote for as President?
That question is difficult to answer, because the reality is that a vote that is not for Joe Biden means the Donald Trump will be re-elected president. A vote for a third party candidate will be symbolic only. There can be no real meaningful vote for a third party candidate, even one who happens to appear on all 50 state ballots. So, what to do?
It seems to me that the greater emphasis should be put on the down ballot races, even as progressives and socialists move towards unification in the 2022 and 2024 elections. First, every third party movement should emphasize, in bold red on every sign:
They should put their own party’s sign and symbols on the sign but emphasize that they are united with all progressives and socialists.
Second, they should meet locally in local conventions and choose who they want for Congress, Senate, Governor, state and local offices. If there is a Democratic candidate (or Republican candidate) who is progressive and/or socialist, they should back that candidate. If the all the Democratic and Republican candidates are lousy, then collectively they should select a candidate whom they can all support. And during the election campaign, they should try to sway local voters to choose their candidate.
Third, they should carry their solidarity signs, they should work to bring the Bernie-ites into their group, and they should shout:
And they should make it clear that everyone should vote for Biden as that is the only way to kick Trump out of office.
In meetings with supporters, they should make it clear that they are not voting for Biden but voting against Trump. In other words, they are not working to become part of Democratic Party but to destroy the Democratic Party by building the new party that all progressives and socialists want. They should work towards establishing a program and a platform that meet the needs of the people. They should support rent and worker strikes. They should espouse Medicare for All and Free College for All. They should raise money to support the local candidates they have chosen but not send a nickel in to the Democratic Party. Those who are members of the Democratic Party should make it clear that they are planning on leaving that Party as soon as the election is over, and they should encourage their friends to join them in a #Demexit.
It appears likely that there will be national vote by mail at least in the Presidential election. The socialists and progressives should set up a system for a separate count of their votes for Biden. In other words, they should send in their ballots to the electoral office, but they should also send a copy (signed) showing that they voted for Biden in order to defeat Trump and help organize the future progressive and socialist party for SOLIDARITY. This will prove, once and for all, that they are not sheep being herded into the Democratic Party. If the election is close, and Biden wins, this separate count will demonstrate that the Democrats truly are on the verge of collapse.