By Daniel Crawford
The following represents the opinion of Progressive member Daniel Crawford alone and does not represent the view of the larger Licking County Progressives.
A couple of months ago, I openly entertained the idea of building a true progressive political party. The reaction was mixed, as one might imagine. There are a lot of progressives in the area and around the country who’ve become convinced and crippled by the argument that all progressives must remain loyal to the Democratic Party, because of the difficulty in establishing a viable alternative to the same. So, basically, no one ever tries to build an alternative. It’s just too difficult to start.
Of course, the difficulty in getting started on building something outside the two party framework is exactly what the established political forces want you to focus on. They want us to be discouraged by the daunting task of building something new and viable which can counter the power of the elites. Make no mistake about it, both major political parties are subservient to the oligarchy and the oligarchy will fight tooth and nail – while also shedding blood, if necessary – in order to maintain their grip on power. The key is for us, the oppressed working class, to escape the mindset that we can never do any better.
It is like being an abuse victim. The abuser convinces you that there is no hope outside of a life with them. No one will ever “protect” you or “love” you the way the abuser claims to. So, instead of looking elsewhere for something better, you never leave the side of the person who constantly treats you like a piece of property, no matter how badly or how often they cause you harm. This mindset is similar to how the voting public has been treated by the two major parties, because the two major parties ultimately serve the interests of the ultimate abuser: the oligarchy. The few who actually run things don’t want the abused voters to know that there is a better way, because that means the free ride is over.
The moment that the working class recognizes that we have no major party that we can rely on is the moment that we can focus on building a real movement and political organization for change. A party of and for the working class doesn’t pander to the wealthy few or corporations. A party of and for the working class doesn’t maintain the status quo. A party of and for the working class stands and fights for the working class at all times, pushes aggressively for the changes we need, and welcomes the hatred of the few!
For us, the challenge is coming together and resolving that we WANT a party which fights for us and which doesn’t bow down. We have to desire an organization which doesn’t appease the few. It is OUR responsibility to build such an organization from the ground-up and make it a viable alternative to the false choice we have now. The only thing that stands in our way is our own self-imposed limitations of the imagination and determination it takes to break these political chains.
So, what do you say? Shall we do this? Is it in us to build a new progressive party, or are we left to hope that the Democratic Party actually gets out of the way of the grassroots building something within? This is a debate that progressives really should have. It is a discussion that we need to have.
Yes, the times we live in now are quite scary. The thought of taking on the system is not as appealing when we are staring into the abyss of fascism on the rise. As a matter of my personal opinion, I must agree that democracy and the future of humanity as a whole is more in peril now than at any point since World War Two. An authoritarian system must be defeated in its tracks if we have any hope to maintain liberty, let alone create a progressive society.
This is why my objective is to first defeat fascism and then to direct our attention to the oligarchy which helped to create the conditions for fascism. Make no mistake about it, the oligarchs may be speaking up in public against authoritarianism right now, but oligarchs throughout the history of the world have not only benefited from fascists, they have happily bankrolled them and helped facilitated the rise thereof…each and every time.
We have to defeat this wave of fascism and then focus our attention on the oligarchy and the two party system they have created for us. Only outside of the two-party construct can we ever hope to develop a society (and even a world) which serves the interests of all humans. So, yes, defeat Trump and the fascists right now, and then mobilize with even more passion to crush the oligarchs and their partisan puppets. With or without a third party, this has to be done…or we WILL end up back in this position once again in a very short period of time.