Well comrades, it’s that time of year again! Deck your union halls with black and crimson bunting and gather around the tree for the redistribution of wealth! It’s May at last, and revolution is in the air!
Or is it?
The seeds that were planted during the Arab Spring are far from dead, but no one can say that they’re flourishing. Europe has seen (as predicted by yours truly) a massive rise in openly Fascist parties, rising to power on a tide of xenophobia and racism. A similarly ugly nationalist movement has catapulted Donald Trump to the forefront of the Republican party- and lest anyone think that he’s an insane outlier, second in the race is Tea-Party darling Ted Cruz, another depraved bigot who’s even been called “Lucifer in the flesh” by high-ranking members of his own party.
And that’s accompanied by a nationwide assault on the BDS Movement, with universities across the country making a concerted push to ban the organization under flimsy (and utterly false) accusations of antisemitism.
So yeah, things could be better.
“But what about Sanders?”, you ask.
Sanders isn’t a socialist.
Oh, I have no doubt that he believes himself to be a socialist. And I think he actually is committed to building a Scandinavian-style welfare state that treats its population with greater care. But a kinder, gentler Capitalism is still not Socialism.
But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be happy about it.
<you didn’t think we were gonna let this May Day post be a downer, did you?>
Real socialism or not, this is still the biggest conversation folks have had about an alternative political-economic system since the Debs campaign of 1912. With the bogeyman of the Soviet Union fast-fading in public memory and the misery of the Great Recession still painfully clear, plenty of folks (and millennials in particular) are expressing interest in the far-left.
Do not **** this up.
The far-left has been stagnated with academic self-indulgence and masochism, treating every pitiful loss as somehow being a vindication of righteousness. Do not scare young folks off by insisting they can’t be socialists until they write a 500 page essay contrasting Leninism with Zinovievism.
I think that the Democratic Party’s Kafkaesque primaries are demonstrating just how intrinsically corrupt the party is. While plenty of Sanders supporters will doubtlessly vote for Clinton in a general election, plenty of other folks are just plain fed-up. I’ve heard it said that plenty of folks become Socialists after they’ve been disillusioned with liberalism, and I certainly hope that’s the case. But even if it’s not…
…It’s not like the poor and working class haven’t been standing up for themselves, and landing some pretty good punches too.
This past year has seen the Fight for 15 movement go from a pipe-dream in a few ultra-liberal cities to a nation-wide fight, with resounding victories in California and New York, and strong pressure in plenty of others.
Of course, the Democrats are almost certainly going to try to steal this one (as with every achievement of the radical left) but the truth of the matter is that this was a movement of and by the people- specifically, people who were fed up waiting for their supposedly bleeding-heart advocates to grow a moral backbone.
We’re seeing the greatest civil rights movement since the 60s and 70s, with countless people across the country standing up and speaking out against police brutality and racism and a justice system that so often has turned a blind eye to the misconduct of its enforcers. The Black Lives Matter movement has managed to drag the ugly specter of Jim Crow out into the light, and has even managed to affect elections. The fight has yet to be won, but no longer can anyone deny that there is a fight to be fought.
And that seems to be the state of the revolution, comrades.
The genie is out of the bottle, and he is not going back in.
This might not have been a year of victories but it has been a year of conflict. Lines are being drawn in the sand, and fewer and fewer people can shield themselves behind the veil of ignorance or apathy.
Now, more than ever, its time to offer real solutions and alternatives to folks who are wholly fed up with the state of things. And with that in mind, be sure to tune in next week to read a few modest ideas on how we might start.
Hasta la victoria siempre, comrades. A glorious May Day to you all.