After a one hundred-year interregnum, socialism has fought its way back into the Cathedral's (America) political bloodstream. From Democratic Socialist of America's Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's congressional victory in New York, to growing support for the 'Medicare for All' Single-Payer Health Care Plan, socialist forces have mounted the ramparts. They are shaking up the Bi-Coastal Left and the Democrat Party.
Understanding why Democratic Socialism will be more enduring than ephemeral, more multi-ethnic than predominantly white, more focused on seizing the Democrat's left-wing than indulging utopian fantasies of social protest movements, is critically important to Black Nationalists.
To underestimate or misinterpret the dynamics fueling the Democratic Socialist wave, is to weaken Black Nationalists' leadership role within the Darker Nation. It would also cripple our ability to influence broader radical forces drawn to Democratic Socialism's magnetic force field.
Since 2013, Alt.Black.com has identified three significant movements that are influencing the pre-revolutionary period of the decline of American Empire. The Alt-Right ascended as a white nationalist cultural movement. Black Lives Matter's initially rose as a spontaneous revolt opposing state-sanctioned violence against the Darker Nation before expanding its platform. Post-modern Democratic Socialism is a movement birthed in the heat of electoral politics.
Bernie Sanders' (Comrade Kerensky) 2016 presidential campaign resurrected Democratic Socialism as a political force, For the first time since Eugene Debs 1920 presidential run, socialists are running for and winning local, state, and federal offices.
Today's Democratic Socialist political philosophy is simple and digestible for the masses. It advocates achieving socialist goals within the existing democratic system. What does that mean? It means Democratic Socialist don't want to overthrow capitalism. They want to gradually empower working people to make the critical decisions that guide the economy. That means elected officials who serve Wall Street and corporate interests must be voted out of office.
Democratic Socialists don't want "da workin class" to own 'the means of production.' They don't want a single political party directing a centralized economy, as was the case in the former Soviet Union. They prefer a multi-party democracy with a decentralized mixed economy in which some industries like energy and utility companies may be publicly owned. In other industries workers could share management responsibilities with owners, or own majority stock in them. Workers co-operatives could lead other enterprises.
Putting human needs over profits is the political and economic 'true North' of a Democratic Socialists order. Public goods like access to health care, housing and higher education would be free or affordable to all. Culturally speaking, DS is anti-racist, anti-sexist and gender-identity friendly. These 'progressive' cultural positions are significant.
Taking gradual steps towards a Democratic Socialist (DS) agenda is on the ballot in 2018. With the wealth gap expanding between the majority of working people and the financial ruling class (The Fountainhead),we're witnessing a populist backlash on both the right and the left. In the 2016 general election, the right-wing populist backlash dawned the garments of White Nationalism. In 2018, populist energies on the left, are creating political space and opportunity for Democratic Socialism.
'The Heresy' at Alt-Black.com's analytics projects that Democratic Socialism (DS) can go deep as a political force within the Darker Nation. Their platform is more radical than the traditional Democratic liberal-centrist agenda, and will appeal to Black voters, especially Black millennials. Increasing numbers of Black local, state and federal candidates are signing on as Democratic Socialist of America candidates or supporting Democratic Socialist positions.
Contemporary Democratic Socialism is a millennial project. DS's political issues, and its anti-sexist, anti-racist and gender flexible sensibilities gives them common cause with millennials like Black Lives Matter and Black feminists.
The resurgence of Democratic Socialism in the post-Soviet Cold War also has its advantages. Millennials interested in Democratic Socialism are not hard pressed as they were in the past to fend off attacks of being irredeemable communists, promoting foreign ideologies of enemies of the state. Increasingly legitimized by its growing successes in electoral politics, Democratic Socialism is assuming an organic aura.
The 2018 mid-terms are just around the corner. The Democrat Party is positioned to take back the House of Representatives, and initiate impeachment proceedings to remove the Sun King Trump from office. With the 2020 presidential elections on the horizon, we are about to see an unprecedented period of intense political in-fighting and maneuvers between the political parties as American Empire spirals deeper into decline.
In this climate, Democratic Socialist have an opportunity to grow exponentially and in a very short period of time. In this regard, it's not insignificant that Bernie Sanders (Comrade Kerensky) is the most popular politician in the Cathedral today. In Part 2 of this series, Alt-Black.com will examine Democratic Socialism's electoral path and its intersection with the Darker Nation.
Black Vote 2020: Democratic Socialism & Black Nationalism
Comrade Kerensky for President 2020
Amid the revolutionary tumult of the 1960's, it was the Black Panther Party that introduced socialist and communist ideas to radicalized Black youth. Clad in black berets and leather jackets, the Panthers sold copies of Mao's Little Red Book, the Panther paper, and popularized slogans like "Political Power Grows out of the Barrel of a Gun." Download to 2018. It's the white grandfatherly octogenarian Bernie Sanders who is opening the frontier of socialism to Black millennials and young Black Democrats.
Vermont (I) Senator Bernie Sanders (Comrade Kerensky) is a self-proclaimed socialist and undisputed leader of the growing Democratic Socialist movement. Whether this incipient political movement consolidates as a mainstream third political force and trend within the Darker Nation, could hinge on whether Comrade Kerensky makes a presidential run in 2020.
Sanders won 13 million votes and raised $220 million in 2016. After losing the nomination to Hillary Clinton, Sanders created 'Our Revolution,' a (501) (C) (4) to raise money, promote his platform and endorse candidates. Resourced with money, organization, and an army of loyal followers, Comrade Kerensky appears to be prepping for a second shot at the Oval Office.
Bernie's boning up on foreign policy, meeting with former Defense Secretaries and old adversaries like American Federation of Teachers President, Randi Weingarten. But the most serious signal that Comrade Kerensky is in the 2020 hunt is his courtship of Black Civil Rights and Democrat leaders (The Tabernacle).
Sanders failed to win the 2016 Democrat presidential nomination for one reason; he lost the Black vote by a 70-30 margin in most states that held primaries. Worse still, his campaign deliberately conceded Black voters to Clinton without a fight. The Sanders campaign literarily refused to spend money in Southern states with large Black voting blocs or even purchase ads with the Black press. He didn't have a clue of what was percolating on Beale Street (the Black Street).
Comrade Kerensky is not making that mistake in 2020. On the 50th Anniversary of Martin Luther King's assassination in Memphis, he marched and hung out with 'Rev. Al' Sharpton and M.L. King lll. He convened a sit down with Congressional Black Caucus Chairman Cedric Richmond (LA) in Washington, D.C. Later, Bernie swung over to Duke University for a joint event with hard hitting social justice activist Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II of North Carolina.
Comrade Kerensky also traveled to Jackson, Mississippi on April 5, to speak at an economic justice forum with the 35 year-old left-wing Mayor Choke Antar Lumumba. Antar was the son of the legendary attorney, activist, former 2nd Vice-President of the Republic of New Afrika, and Mayor of Jackson, Chokwe Lumumba who died unexpectedly in office in 2014. After the event the 'Comrade' and Antar (endorsed by 'Our Revolution' in 2017) threw down some chicken wings.
Bernie and 'Our Revolution' are also flexing their muscles in the 2018 elections, endorsing more than 40 Black candidates in local, state and Federal elections. Among the candidates Sanders backed are Georgia's Stacey Abrams (D) for Governor, Keith Ellison (D) Attorney General in Minnesota, and Somali born Ilhan Omar (D) U.S. House of Representatives. The crown jewel of Comrade Kerensky's endorsements was his support of Andrew Gillum, who at the time was polling a distant third in the Florida's governors race. But, increasingly, to be young, Black, and going 'hard left' as a Democrat is in vogue.
Running on an aggressive platform of supporting a $15 minimum wage, legalizing marijuana, beating the NRA, supporting a single pay health care plan, and impeaching the Sun King Trump, Gillum shocked the Democratic Party establishment coming out of nowhere to win Florida's Governor's race. The young Mayor of Tallahassee calls himself a 'Progressive Democrat,' but less than 24 hours after his primary win, Gillum's opponent and the entire Republican establishment excoriated him as a 'Socialist.' Gillum along with Alexandrio Ocasico-Cortez are now the poster children of the new young left-wing Democrats who will be associated with Democratic Socialism in the 2018 mid-term elections.
Comrade Kerensky is accumulating receipts among Black Democrats, especially with millennials. Expanding his influence in the Black political biosphere is not just making up ground lost in the 2016 election. Bernie is positioning himself to withstand possible presidential challenges from New Jersey Senator Corey Booker and California Senator Kamala Harris. Should either candidate, particularly Harris enter the race, Sanders would certainly lose Black supporters. What he can't afford is another waxing by one or multiple candidates that minimizes his share of the Black vote.
That being said, Sanders potentially has some influential Black surrogates. They include Minnesota congressman Keith Ellison, former NAACP President Ben Jealous, former Ohio State Senator Nina Turner, Press Secretary Symone Sanders and possibly Professor Cornell West, who has ties with the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA).
Outside the Democratic Party there are two groups that could also play important roles in expanding Democratic Socialism's influence in the Darker Nation: Black Lives Matters and the Democratic Socialist of America.
Black Lives Matter and the Black Futures Lab
Since 2013, Black Lives Matter has emerged as the dominate radical political force in the Darker Nation. They have grown from a loose coalition of activists fighting state sanctioned violence against Black people, to a global organization of 40 chapter members with an expanded agenda. Politically, BLM is an anti-capitalist, anti-racist, anti-sexist, and gender equity formation. Their political agenda is in sync with the leftist profile of Democratic Socialists.
In 2016, BLM refused to endorse Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders. Quite the opposite, they protested against both candidates, disrupting their events and forcing them to take more aggressive positions against police brutality and in support of prison sentencing reform. Thus far, BLM has sought to influence Democratic Party polices, without endorsing their candidates. BLM has maintained its formal political independence from Democrats and other parties, but to the extent its base and supporters vote, it's likely they're more disposed to support ' progressive' Democrats.
In a recent Alt-black.com article on BLM we noted the organization is going through a period of critical assessment and reorganization. Co-founders Opal Tometi and Alicea Garza have resigned from working on day-to-day-operations. Patrice Cullors now runs BLM, and Garza is spearheading a new initiative called Black Futures Lab. BFL is mission-tasked to study policy initiatives, identify and support Black candidates, and create a fund raising war chest to support their campaigns. In all likelihood those candidates will be hard-left Black Democrats or Independents who mirror a proximate version of social democracy ideologically couched in the Black collective experience.
The Democratic Socialists of America
In the aftermath of Comrade Kerensky's 2016 insurgent campaign, the resurrection of the Democratic Socialist of America 's (DSA) has been off the charts. Their dues paying members jumped from 6,745 to 49,000. DSA elected officials doubled, moving from 15 to 38 local, state, and federal office holders. Geographically, DSA metastasized like a video gone viral, spreading across the country from 40 to 181 local chapters.
For all DSA's meteoric growth, what's most astounding is the one area it experienced a fortuitous decline. DSA members median age plummeted from 68 years-old in 2013 down to 33 years-old in 2017. DSA, founded in 1982 as a compound of 1960's left socialist groups, was in danger of becoming a geriatric socialist debating society.
Their is a lesson to be learned here from the DSA experience. Sustaining your political and ideological beliefs during over long periods when your beliefs are not popular or held by a small minority is critical for revolutionaries. History has a way of extending second chances to political movements, usually during periods that are pregnant with crisis. In these periods of crisis or when events take a sharp political turn, organizations can grow fifty-fold in a condensed time frame. Suddenly they are presented with an extraordinary leadership opportunity and more often than not, aren't prepared to leverage the moment.
Infused with a timely injection of youthful exuberance, college chapters of the DSA are springing up everywhere. DSA banners can now be seen at protest marches across the country. Flanked by Black Lives Matter on one side, and Black Bloc anarchists of Antifa on the other, DSA now has visibility on the ground. DSA may not have a large Black membership today, but its growing. So too is DSA's support of Black socialists and 'progressive' candidates. They are positioned to make inroads in the Darker Nation. Time will tell how DSA leverages its opportunities.
Democratic Socialism and Black Nationalism - Prospects for the Future
The combination of DSA and Bernie Sander's 'Our Revolution' gives Democratic Socialism a potent political presence. Its rise, while invigorated by Bernie Sanders presidential candidacy can also be attributed to reactionary reign of the Sun King Trump and the emergence of the Alt-Right. It is also a reaction to the increasingly grotesques disparities of wealth between the ruling elites of Global North's imperial project and the struggling broad masses.
Young people who view the world as it should be as opposed to the way it is, will always seek out alternative visions. Youth, by their nature are also more disposed to rebellion against the existing order. Millennials rallying to Black Lives Matter, Antifa, Our Revolution and the Democratic Socialists of America are part of a new generational wave.
The rise of Democratic Socialism represents another opportunity for Black Nationalist to influence the future direction of this movement. Democratic Socialism may find varied forms of expression within the Black community. Our goal is to divert our some of the advanced elements awakening to political life from the path of Democratic Socialism's reformist agenda toward a more revolutionary path for Black self-determination.