How to win in 2020: “Follow the working-class line of march.”

BY:Joe Sims| December 10, 2019
How to win in 2020: “Follow the working-class line of march.”



Editor’s note: This article responds to the November 2019 discussion question on political independence, working-class leadership, and the fight for democracy.

Comrade Rick Nagin asserts that “defeating Trump and the ultra-right in 2020 means moving the electorate to the left.”

I would put the issue differently. Instead of “moving the electorate to the left,” I would argue that putting a working-class stamp on the fight to defeat Trump is the best and most effective way to win the battle for political power in the White House and Congress in 2020.

This means fighting for workers to lead the anti-Trump coalition; running trade unionists for office; holding trade union and people’s town halls and candidate forums; and emphasizing issues that will inspire the electorate like a Green New Deal, universal health care, ending police violence, and rebuilding the country’s infrastructure. It will also mean fighting voter suppression, championing equality and immigrant rights, and opposing racism, sexism, and homophobia. A working-class approach to the elections will also require a new approach to the U.S. role in world affairs, ending military intervention and cutting the military budget. In this socialist moment, an emphasis on workers’ interests also means putting forward the necessity of socialism as a permanent solution to capitalism’s ongoing crisis.

The main content of the current period, however, is the broad democratic fight to defeat Trump. The struggle for democracy is a huge issue that actually extends beyond defeating Trump and moves toward more advanced, indeed more radical, political, economic, and social solutions.

What we’ve called the socialist moment occurs within this framework. In this respect a working-class stamp means above all else fighting for unity of the people’s front against the extreme right. The key concept here is fighting for unity. It does not mean automatic concessions but rather deep engagement and constructive debate. Life has demonstrated repeatedly that it is in the midst of the confrontation and interplay of platforms and ideas that new positions are arrived at and deeper forms of unity achieved. Consider that many of the issues brought forward by the Sanders campaign in 2016 became the Democratic platform after the convention. This will doubtless be true in this election cycle as well, and our activists should make every effort to encourage this to happen.

At the same time, the fight for unity means taking into account and acknowledging that it will take much more than the left to defeat Trump. It will also require the involvement of centrists and moderates, as well as independents. Thus we should seek working-class approaches that spread left and socialist goals, but with the understanding that others will push their platforms as well. And some aspects of these positions may end up in a winning platform. A working-class revolutionary approach will acknowledge this and refuse calls to break with centrists and moderates when these issues arise. And they will arise.

These are the reasons that the Communist Party has said that in this socialist and progressive moment we welcome the candidacies of Sanders and Warren. We also acknowledge the other women, LGBTQ, and people of color who are running. Why? Because unity between the broad left and the broad center is a necessary precondition for defeating Trump. Any other approach—one that emphasizes only the left or only the center—is a prescription for disaster and defeat and must be rejected.

This is why the Communist Party has argued that during the primaries, unity around issues, not personalities, must be our point of departure. The CPUSA does not endorse candidates in the Democratic primaries. We do endorse working for realizing the potential of this socialist moment in a unifying, broad, nonsectarian way and in the general election going all out to defeat Trump.

Editor’s note: This article is in response to the discussion question on working-class leadership in political struggle.

Image: “Stand Up to Trump” by johngeoffreywalker, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0



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