Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Dawn of the Dead Again in America

It's dawn of the dead again in America.  It's not, however, because hard-pressed Americans en masse rejected "socialism," voting for austerity, against bread and peace, as the Right would have us believe.  As is usually the case with mid-term elections, the turnout was low: just "42 percent of registered voters" voted.  Which means this re-run of the dawn of the dead is brought to you by a minority, upper-class America mobilized by corporate America, voting against the working-class American majority, just as capitalist democracy American-style is designed to work.

Which Democrats ended up becoming zombie meals?  Not the bread and peace wing of the Democratic Party: progressives in progressive districts by and large survived.  Take Dennis Kucinich and Marcy Kaptur of Ohio: they even voted against the 2008 bank bailout and lived to tell about it.  Who got eaten up by zombies, then?  "23 of the 46 Blue Dogs up for re-election went down."   In other words, the very people who fed working-class meat to living dead capitalists to reanimate them in the aftermath of the financial crisis.  The lesson is clear: Don't feed the zombies -- they'll come back for more and bite your ass.

This, however, is not a moment for Marxists to indulge in schadenfreude.  The rest of America has not even noticed the existence of American socialists, who have been saying: "Obama Ain't No Socialist -- We Are!"  Hard as it may be to admit, we have failed to build an organized Left, under Bush or Obama, despite two shooting wars and now a nearly 10% unemployment rate.

And hard luck for the Left in hard times isn't a story of "Only in America."  Whether we look at a country whose working class is powerful (France) or a country whose ruling class is weak (Greece), 20th-century socialism (Cuba) or 21st-century socialism (Venezuela), the crisis has made left-wing lives more difficult, not less.

How can American socialists help build an organized Left here, in the decades of slow growth and high unemployment ahead of us?  Can we at least help squash the most voracious zombies who would like nothing better than making Americans work till death while killing Iranians to boost the economy?