The uncommitted movement and voting against fascism

BY:Jesse Sherbourne| April 24, 2024
The uncommitted movement and voting against fascism


This piece is a contribution to the Pre-Convention Discussion for our 32nd National Convention. During Pre-Convention Discussion, all aspects of the party’s program, strategy, and tactics are up for consideration and debate. The ideas presented here are those of the author or authors alone, and do not necessarily reflect the positions of the Communist Party USA, its membership, or their elected leadership bodies. — Editors

It has been said time and again that communists must run in elections, build the progressive and labor movement and defeat fascism. What are the implications this has on the present election where the current Democratic U.S. President and Democratic Party nominee has abandoned the progressive platform that he ran on, allowed Republicans to pass their backwards legislation in several states, allowed abortion to be banned, and is currently abetting a genocide and stoking a regional war?

The progressive answer was to protest as loudly as possible and let the Democratic Party know that they would not allow this. The Democrats ignored this and tripled down. Their leaders looked straight into the camera and said, “this is the most important election of all time for the nth time in a row, so shut up, grit your teeth and vote for us.”

The progressive movement responded by organizing the Uncommitted campaign. This campaign has importantly also centered itself as in solidarity with the Palestinian people, and thus shouldn’t just be understood in terms of the movement against fascism, but also as a part of the peace movement in which the Communist Party is also engaged. The message of this campaign is that peace and international solidarity take precedence over our domestic affairs. This campaign has been rushed and half-baked, and yet it has resulted in tens of thousands of votes against Biden, beating all the other Democratic candidates. In essence, the progressive movement has is openly challenging the Democrats.

The progressive movement is staring down the possibility of a second Trump presidency, declaring, there is no difference if the Democratic Party gives us no protections from fascists and endorses genocide. So, the Uncommitted campaign shouldn’t be understood as a bluff, but as a very real threat to the Democratic establishment and as a facet of the progressive movement. However, if this is true, how do we interpret the Party’s call to vote against fascism not just in the ongoing election, but in all future ones as well, especially with our larger goals in mind? Should the Communist Party support the Uncommitted movement?

We should consider a few things. Firstly that Joe Biden is 100% complicit in a genocide and every criticism from the uncommitted movement is correct. In spite of the fact that he busted a strike, the NLRB is as strong as it’s ever been, and the progressive movement has grown under him. Bernie Sanders’ first primary run came out of the disappointment of the Obama presidency, not Trump and not Bush. Under Trump, while there was a huge mobilization to prevent his policies from being enacted, they largely already existed under Obama, and while they continued under Biden the mobilization did not, proving that these demonstrations were purely performative by a large number of the Democratic base. The order of the day was to flood Congress with Democrats no matter what their politics. While Bernie Sanders made waves by refusing PAC money, the disdain for PACs has never been more crystalized than by the number of politicians voting in favor of genocide and against the wishes of their voters because of AIPAC.

While Biden’s support of genocide in Gaza is abhorrent, this doesn’t mean that allowing a Republican to win would be better for the world. Case in point, Obama and Hillary Clinton together overthrew Libya and brought back the institution of slavery in that country. However, Obama also began easing restrictions on Cuba. It was for this reason that Cuban comrades urged communists in the U.S. to vote for Hillary Clinton over Trump. We don’t know what would have happened under a Clinton presidency, but we should expect there to be at least some consistency between two Democrats with similar politics. And after Trump was elected, he reversed the progress on Cuba.

If Republicans win, the national conversation will ultimately revert back to fighting their agenda and electing more Democrats. Under a Democrat government, while they may compromise with fascists the contradictions of doing so are on full display, which gives us ground to expose them and build the progressive movement to ultimately supplant them. This cannot be done if the national conversation is rolled back and we once again have to vote for every Democrat in sight. The importance too of a strong NLRB is not just that people can organize unions. Unions are good for several things, but most importantly they highlight the contradiction between capital and labor. This feeds into the progressive movement as a whole. If the NLRB is weakened or abolished as some capitalists desire, then this would significantly mire the progressive movement. While the uncommitted movement is unequivocally morally and ethically correct to challenge Biden, allowing Republicans to gain power is a strategic miscalculation.

It’s clear that the conditions for our country have changed significantly. The progressive movement is more militant than ever and announced that it’s ready to fight, not just in labor, but also in politics and in favor of peace. The call to vote against fascism contains several weaknesses. For one it doesn’t represent the danger posed by moderate Democrats, nor does it contain any militancy, constantly putting our party on the defensive, and doesn’t contain much thought to the future. Calling to “vote to defeat fascism and expand the progressive movement” for instance neatly summarizes our rejection of fascism, rejects moderate Democrats in races that are viable to boycott, and also informs us when to compromise and leaves open the door to a potential third party. This needs not be the literal line of the party during elections, but hopefully opens up the discussion of what our potential line could be. Our party must not tail other movements or parties but be a thoughtful and decisive leader!


    Jesse Sherbourne is co-chair of the Central Pennsylvania Club, CPUSA, and member of Put People First PA.

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