New national chair of the Communist Party USA, Chicago man John Bachtell, has admitted that his Party “utilizes” the Democratic Party “to advance its agenda.”
Writing on the People’s World website, Bachtell explains that much of the left wants to abandon the Democratic Party (as much of the “right” wants to abandon the GOP) to form a radical third party.
In an article entitled A radical third party? I agree! Bachtell explains:
Certainly, there’s widespread disillusionment with both the Democratic and Republican parties. That’s reflected in the latest Pew Research poll: 38 percent of voters describe themselves as independent, 32 percent as Democrats, and 25 percent as Republicans. In 1991, the three were approximately equal.
While acknowledging that both major parties are heavily influenced by Wall Street, Bachtell sees a big difference:
However, it’s not enough to make sweeping generalizations about the Democratic and Republican parties. It’s true both parties are dominated by Wall Street interests, but it’s also necessary to see how each party differs, particularly their social bases and how this affects their policies.
While the Republican Party is led by the most reactionary sections of Wall Street capital including the energy extractive sector and military industrial complex, it also consists of extreme right-wing elements including the Tea Party, white supremacists, social conservatives, right-wing evangelicals, climate deniers, anti-reproductive rights groups, etc.
Meanwhile the Democratic Party is also home to labor, African Americans, Latinos, other communities of color, women, most union members, young people, and a wide range of social and democratic movements. These constituencies exert influence on party leadership and hold positions at all levels.
Therefore, it makes sense, according to Bachtell, for the Communist Party to stick with the Democrats until a viable third party is feasible. To Bachtell, progress towards socialism is possible only after the “right” is soundly defeated.
The Communist Party’s tactics for political independence rest on several interrelated elements. First, they occur within the constraints of the two-party system. We don’t operate in a parliamentary system which allows proportional voting. Instead, winner takes all, and during the general election it usually comes down to voting for one of two candidates most likely to win.
That means candidates are backed by coalitions. Under these circumstances voting based on purity of positions is not a viable tactic. Coalition forces may disagree with a candidate on one or another issue, but find they must support candidates for strategic reasons – to advance issues and create a more favorable terrain of struggle.
Our tactics also occur within the framework of our strategic policy of building a broad coalition to defeat the extreme right, which we see as the main danger to democracy and social progress, embodied within today’s Republican Party. There are voting constituencies that presently support the GOP that have to be won over. Such an approach sees the need to actively challenge right-wing and GOP ideas that influence sections of the people, especially working-class whites, for example,through hate talk radio. This includes racism and intolerance which are key issues dividing the working class.
We see this as one of the stages in the long struggle for advanced democracy and socialism. Without decisively defeating the most reactionary sections of monopoly capital, disintegrating Republican Party support at every level, it’s hard to see winning more radical and advanced programs and policies and waging a fight against the monopoly class as a whole.
We envision a prolonged process toward political independence, with many turns, advances and defeats, utilizing many forms, resulting in a radical third party based in labor, working-class neighborhoods, communities of color, and democratic movements. Such a coalition third party must extend its reach beyond urban areas, to suburbs, exurbs, rural areas, and in “red” states and congressional districts.
Until that glorious day arrives, the Communist Party will continue to “utilize” the Democrats:
First, we are part of building the broadest anti-ultra right alliance possible, uniting the widest array of class (including a section of monopoly), social and democratic forces. This necessarily means working with the Democratic Party. This differentiates us from those left groups who underestimate the right danger and overestimate the readiness of key class and social forces to bolt the Democratic Party.
Second, our objective is not to build the Democratic Party. At this stage we are about building the broad people’s movement led by labor that utilizes the vehicle of the Democratic Party to advance its agenda. We are about building the movements around the issues roiling wide sections of people that can help shape election contours and debates.
The Communist Party often upsets less mature Marxist groups because of their refusal to abandon the Democratic Party, despite not always getting every item on their agenda immediately.
As an experienced Communist, John Bachtell understands that in spite of difficulties and disappointments, the Communist Party agenda is far better served by infiltrating the Democrats than by marching in the streets yelling revolutionary slogans.
The Communist Party and their only marginally less radical Democratic Socialists of America allies can point to real achievements under their “friend” Barack Obama. Obamacare, illegal immigrant “amnesty,” the NEW START Treaty with Russia, negotiations with Iran, military budget cuts and recognition of communist Cuba, are all Communist Party policies, implemented through the Democratic Party.
Bachtell understands that to prematurely break with with the Democrats, on some Quixotic adventure of forming a new leftist third party, would almost certainly hand the next few elections to the GOP. He fears that a revitalized GOP, led by Ted Cruz, or some similar figure, would roll back most, or all of the Communist Party’s hard fought gains.
If US Constitutionalist conservatives and Tea Party activists can show similar political discipline and maturity, they will abandon plans for a suicidal third party agenda – for now. Instead they will work through the GOP, as the Communists have through the Democrats. Learn from the opposition. Utilize the GOP machinery and voting base to build a big Constitutionalist base inside the GOP. Build your strength, do as the Communists have done, primary any vulnerable GOP candidates who will not support your Constitutionalist agenda.
The Communists did that to Senator Joe Lieberman from Connecticut. Now, virtually no senior Democrats will buck the Communist line. They know the price.
So, the Tea Party and their allies need to take back the GOP for Constitutionalism and ensure that someone of the caliber of Ted Cruz or Scott Walker is the GOP Presidential nominee in 2016.
If that happens, Americans can have a second “Reagan Revolution” even better than the first. If it doesn’t, the Communist Party will have theirs.
If Constitutionalists fail and Jeb Bush, or some similar milksop becomes the GOP nominee, they should gather all their forces, leave the GOP en masse and run against him as a third party. At that point, Constitutionalists have nothing left to lose. They should also make it very clear to the GOP hierarchy and major donors that a third party will inevitably follow any further “dirty tricks,” or other attempts to frustrate the will of the people.
Less than a thousand hardcore Communist Party activists and their few thousand Democratic Socialists of America allies effectively dictate Democratic Party policy.
If the much larger Constitutionalist/Tea Party movement can learn from their opponent’s tactics and maturity, they can have a real shot at restoring the Republic.
The battle for America is not between the Democrats and the Republicans. It is between the Communists and the Constitutionalists. The Constitutionalists must better understand their opposition and borrow some of their tactics, if they want a chance of victory.