So now that Trump has been elected, I noticed varying degrees of shock and horror, particularly from comrades who claimed “it doesn’t matter who wins”. The current state of the American left is astounding, there’s so much potential for communists to organize, rebuild the labour movement, construct an independent communist party, and real potential to actually fight for state power! And so the attitude from the left to all this potential stuns me a bit. They throw it away. People are, more than ever, clearly and unequivocally looking for a political alternative to the standard bourgeois shit, and the Democrats have undoubtedly smashed any love the working class may have had for them. The Republicans are an absolute mess, and all these unhinged chickens are going to come home to roost sooner rather than later. So, with the situation so favorable to an independent political alternative (one that the Libertarians and Greens are bumbling in an ever so delightful fashion) why aren’t the communists uniting into one party with a serious political program (or: a plan, ‘a vision for a better society’, call it what you will) for an independent proletarian government that can radically reshape society?
Any communist who’s serious about politics, and not merely abstract theory, will recognize the immense opportunity the left currently has. We need to be serious about uniting the existing independent communist organizations, and pulling in the disaffected militants and intellectuals burnt out – not just on the election – but on the strategic impotence of the existing ‘radical’ organizations. So many communists are calling for a protest, or trying to set up networks of solidarity, or trying to organize something – and none of these are bad things – but without a communist party tying them together as a mass-scale political project, these projects will go nowhere. We can’t just have sectional struggles, we need to function in an organized national (at minimum!) way, with a clear national presence and message that can appeal to society as a whole.
We want to be a part of this process – we want to be at the head at this process – and any serious communist does too. I urge you to consider joining the Red Party, and if you find something in our program so objectionable you couldn’t possibly consider joining or merging with us, tell us why. We want to debate, we want to unite.
So, Trump won. Where does this put the emerging socialist current in the US? The Sanders tendency will be emboldened, but the illusion that we can wield the Democratic Party in a way where we use it instead of vice versa needs to be predicted and fought tooth and nail. We may very well see a convergence of Bernouts and Jacobin types. Strange days, comrades, strange days.
National self-determination is a way for communists to engage with national questions as they exist. We want to overcome national oppression because the proletariat is a world class, but we don’t want the proliferation of small states – or at least, those of us who realize tailing nationalism is a dead end don’t want that.
The Red Party policy, as stated in the minimum program, is admittedly a little hazy on this, and can be read as conflating the need for radical local democracy with the larger-scale issue of self-determination. So the argument over how to apply self-determination – whether there really is a Black national question, for example (and I believe there isn’t) – is a different issue than those cases where there is clearly an unresolved national question, namely Puerto Rico as far as the U.S. is concerned. Here the best guarantor of voluntary unity, the best way to overcome the colonial relationship, is for those of us in the colonizing country to emphasize the right to separate while those in the subject nation fight for the closest unity circumstances allow.
– Gabriel Pierre