On the Coming Election: Boycott!

In June, we made explicit our position on the presidential election: “We Refuse the Blackmail.” We wrote back then, “The slogan ‘Anybody But Trump’ must be recognized for what it is: political blackmail…We must refuse the blackmail in November.”

There and in other articles, we have consistently set forth the rationale for this position. We discussed history: the reinforcement of capitalist monopolies by the New Deal, the favorite historical reference for petty-bourgeois reformists of the Sanders-AOC trend. We discussed the struggle for full equality and the problems of social life in cities governed for decades by Democrats, such as racist police terror and persistent school segregation. We discussed the real nature of the Sanders phenomenon: another face of the capitalist system. We discussed the danger of the extremist far right and its roots in the crisis of capitalism. We discussed the responsibility of Democrats for a state and legal framework that renders the urban working class uniquely defenseless in the face of far-right militias, lumpen gun violence, and rampaging pro-Trump police who defy elected government. See [April 6], [April 22], [June 1], [June 5], [June 26], [July 24], and [July 31].

This consistency is a necessary virtue of the political pole we are working to construct. A stubborn consistency that says: yes, the revolutionary socialist projects of the 20th century were defeated, but what of it? We will begin again from the beginning. We hope this attitude will come to be expected from us—by those who agree as well as by those who disagree.

Rather than clever debates on election tactics—which in the absence of an organized working-class movement have the character of the musings of “generals without an army”—we are for directness and simplicity. We are against every incumbent, every candidate, every nominee, and every party that runs for every office in November.

We must also be realistic and make a sober assessment of the state of our forces: we recognize that we lack the capacity to organize an effective mass boycott of the elections. Nevertheless, a firm position must be staked out.

The experience of past revolutions calls for protracted and patient ideological, political, and organizational work. We must study history from a progressive and scientific worldview. We must oppose idealists of the postmodern and identitarian types who reinforce the disunity of the workers and the people, or even deny the very possibility of unity. We must construct an organized, socialist political pole in US society.

From the bluest of blue states to the reddest of red states, from the city to the country, the capitalist system leaves a trail of economic and social despair. Youth are without a future. Workers are crushed by work, lack of work, or both. Inequalities divide social groups. Hatreds and suspicions between and within communities are rampant. None of this is particular to the US—these are inevitable consequences of capitalism, and especially of capitalism in acute crisis.

Around the world, capitalists belonging to different countries, nations, and social groups are resolving the crisis of profitability in the only way they can: through competition and preparations for war. As they whip up a frenzy to provoke national and religious slaughter, they inevitably create conditions for advancing the program of revolutionary socialism: a world of peace between peoples, a world without the capitalists.

It is capitalism that is sick and dying. Let’s work for socialist revolution!