On Monday, November 28, 2022, 8:00 pm EST

CCDS Peace & Solidarity Move the Money Task Force will present a Zoom webinar to address the widening "guns v. butter" trade-off.

"What's War Got to Do With It? 
Fund Human Needs Not Pentagon Greed"

On Monday, November 28, 2022, 8:00 pm EST, the CCDS Peace & Solidarity Move the Money Task Force will present a Zoom webinar to address the widening "guns v. butter" trade-off. This will consider military and national security state expenditures and their affect on domestic social program funding and underserved human needs. As then-President Eisenhower famously expressed it in 1953: "Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies...a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed...". Emphasis will be placed on the significance of these expenditures with regard to contemporary poverty, inequity, and deprivation in the United States.  

Presentation speakers will be Sandy Eaton of CCDS and the Massachusetts Care Single-Payer Network and Deborah Weinstein, Executive Director for the Coalition of Funding Human Needs. 
CCDS Peace & Solidarity Move the Money Task Force will present a Zoom webinar to address the widening "guns v. butter" trade-off.

"What's War Got to Do With It? 
Fund Human Need Not Pentagon Greed"

Presentation speakers will be Sandy Eaton of CCDS and the Massachusetts Care Single-Payer Network and Deborah Weinstein, Executive Director for the Coalition of Funding Human Needs. 
Deborah Weinstein has served as the executive director of the Coalition on Human Needs since June 2003. Prior to coming to CHN, Weinstein served for nine years as director of the Family Income division of the Children's Defense Fund, where she worked to lift children and their families out of poverty, including Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), child support, jobs and wages, housing, nutrition, unemployment insurance, and equitable tax policy. From 1983 to 1993 Weinstein was executive director of the Massachusetts Human Services Coalition, a nonprofit advocacy organization focusing on people's needs, especially those with limited income.   

There will be opportunity at the end of the presentations for questions and answers.

Co-sponsors include: CCDS Socialist Education Project, Massachusetts Peace Action, Wisconsin Peace Action,“the Fund Health Care Not Warfare working group of Massachusetts Peace Action.” and the Online University of the Left.
The next one hour meeting of the Medicare for All Update Group will be Wednesday, November 16th via Zoom at 5pm Pacific, 7pm Central and 8pm Eastern Time. Everyone is welcome to attend and to invite others. A Zoom link will be sent out in November. 

Topics for this meeting will include a group discussion analyzing the November 8th midterm elections and their impact on health care justice movements, reports from states working on Medicare for All/single payer, and opening a multi-meeting discussion called The Long Struggle for Medicine and Against the Drug Industry. 

To RSVP for this meeting email
8 Lessons From the Midterm Elections

By Julia Rock, Rebecca Burns, Andrew Perez, Matthew Cunningham-cook, and David Sirota 

Corporate media, industry-funded think tanks, and Democratic operatives were chomping at the bit to blame the party’s anticipated midterm election losses Tuesday on progressives and a prefabricated narrative about Democrats’ supposedly extreme brand. Then, the results began rolling in.

It’s not clear yet which party will control the House or Senate, but this was not the “red wave” that polls had projected, nor the midterm bloodbaths that Democrats faced under President Barack Obama in 2010 and 2014. In recent decades, the party controlling the White House has almost always lost seats in the midterms, with the stark exception of the 2002 midterms when Republicans took back the Senate thanks to the momentum of President George W. Bush’s “war on terror.”

While voters this year declined to offer a stiff rebuke of the party in power, they indicated via ballot measures, exit polls, and large preelection surveys that on key issues such as abortion rights, health care, higher minimum wages, workers’ right to collectively bargain, and legalized cannabis, the electorate is more progressive than elected officials and corporate media pundits care to admit.

Many factors can explain the Democrats’ unexpectedly strong performance in a midterm cycle, such as the Supreme Court’s massively unpopular decision to strike down a constitutional right to an abortion and voters’ apparent rejection of Republican candidates closely tied to former president Donald Trump. But there is another equally important takeaway that Democrats should take to heart.

The results suggest that when the Democratic Party listened to its progressive flank and adopted bold proposals like the child tax credit, student debt cancellation, and massive climate spending, voters rewarded its politicians.

Key Takeaways

1. The economic populism formula works in swing states.

The conventional wisdom for years has been that Democrats running in swing states must present themselves as corporate-friendly conservatives. But in the Lever’s deep dive on the Pennsylvania election, the state’s former auditor general told us that gubernatorial candidate Josh Shapiro “maintained a center-left profile the whole time, and I think that’s critical to winning statewide.” The election results bear that out.

In the Keystone State, both Shapiro and Senate candidate John Fetterman ran successful populist campaigns and significantly outperformed President Joe Biden’s 2020 results in the most traditionally Republican parts of the state. The same goes for Ohio: though Democrat Tim Ryan lost the race, he campaigned on a pro-worker agenda, and Democratic performance similarly increased in the state’s GOP strongholds. And in Colorado, Democratic senator Michael Bennet campaigned on populist economic measures like the expanded child tax credit and likewise benefited from higher Democratic performance in the state’s GOP regions.
By contrast, more conservative Democratic statewide campaigns in North Carolina and Iowa coincided with the opposite trend: higher GOP margins than 2020 in Republican-leaning parts of the state. In Virginia, Democratic representative Elaine Luria also lost a close race after calling a ban on congressional stock trades “bullshit” — and being attacked for those comments on the campaign trail.

2. Many voters didn’t buy the inflation lie.

Many corporate media talking heads and Republican politicians have spent months arguing that the Biden administration’s COVID-19 pandemic relief spending is the primary driver of inflation. Summarizing the argument, Bill Clinton’s Treasury secretary, Larry Summers, compared Biden to Jimmy Carter in April, saying: “The R
escue Plan has crowded out political space for desirable long-term investments in [Biden’s] Build Back Better plan. And Carter’s demise suggests that inflation is a grave threat to progressive politics.”

The latest Fox News voter analysis survey, a massive preelection poll, found this narrative has been effective, but not overly so: 54 percent of Americans believe that inflation is a result of Biden’s policies, while 46 percent blame factors outside Biden’s control.

In reality, corporate profiteering has been the biggest driver of price hikes — not pandemic aid programs or wage increases, as elite media pundits would have you believe.
The day after the election, Morgan Stanley analysts blasted out a memo saying that Biden’s party preventing an expected GOP wave would “undercut the notion that inflation is an electoral liability for the Democrats.” The memo added: “Investors could see this result as permission for the party to ease the political and legislative constraints that kept Congress from enacting some of the fiscally expansionary policies that were part of President Biden’s original ‘Build Back Better’ agenda.”

3. The electorate holds surprisingly progressive views.

The same Fox News voter analysis found that the majority of Americans hold progressive views on health care, guns, race, and other key issues. The poll results clash mightily with conventional wisdom among Democratic operatives: just a few days ago, for instance, Democratic data bro David Shor was quoted in Politico Magazine as saying, “There is no amount of pressure that is going to make Democrats create Medicare for All, because the public doesn’t want it.”

The Fox News poll, however, found that 65 percent of the electorate think it should be the federal government’s responsibility to make sure that all Americans have health care coverage. Fox’s 2020 preelection survey found similarly high support — 70 percent — for the idea of allowing people to buy into a government health care plan, commonly known as a public option. Biden campaigned on a public option, but hasn’t mentioned the idea once as president.

4. Progressives win at the ballot box.

Thanks to a handful of under-the-radar House races, congressional progressives are set to expand their ranks with new arrivals like Summer Lee in Pennsylvania, Delia Ramirez in Illinois, Maxwell Frost in Florida, and Greg Casar in Texas.
Progressives also notched victories on their chosen ballot measures, suggesting voters support policies like raising the minimum wage and taxing the rich, even as their elected politicians fail to enact them.

Pro-choice measures swept at the ballot box, as voters enshrined abortion access in state constitutions in California, Michigan, and Vermont, as well as and defeated an antiabortion measure in Kentucky. Nebraskans approved a $15 minimum wage, and voters in Washington, DC, voted to eliminate the subminimum wage for tipped workers. (Take that, celebrity chef José Andrés.) In Massachusetts, voters approved a 4 percent surtax on incomes over $1 million.

That’s not all: a pro–collective bargaining ballot measure won by a wide margin in Illinois. Voters legalized cannabis for recreational use in Maryland and Missouri. In South Dakota, voters passed a referendum to expand Medicaid. Rent control measures passed in Richmond, California, as well as Orange County, Florida, though the Florida measure has an uncertain future, thanks to a court challenge from landlords.

5. Student debt cancellation helped Democrats.

Democrats may have young voters — and student debt cancellation — to thank for the party’s surprisingly good performance on Tuesday night. Preliminary data suggest voters under the age of thirty supported Democrats in House races by nearly a 2-1 margin. While that’s about the margin by which young voters have favored Democrats in the past couple of cycles, and the youth share of the electorate has held steady around 12 percent, young voters are the only age demographic to favor Democrats by a strong majority.

This is exactly what progressives said would happen when they pressured Biden for over a year to cancel student debt. Support among young voters for student debt cancellation was as high as 85 percent, according to the Harvard Youth Poll conducted in spring 2022. An April Data for Progress poll found that nearly half of voters in key battleground states would be more likely to vote if Biden delivered on his campaign promise to cancel student debt.

The election results have even forced one top critic of student debt cancellation to admit he was mistaken. “I thought student debt relief was bad policy and bad politics,” tweeted former Bush speechwriter David Frum. “I still think it [is] bad policy — but looking at the youth vote surge, [it’s] hard to deny its political impact. And if it helped save the country from Trumpism, the positives more than pay for the negatives.”

6. Climate action for the win.

\Democrats passed the largest climate bill in US history this summer without a single Republican vote, delivering massive investments in clean energy. But despite their unified opposition, Republicans barely attacked the legislation on the campaign trail.
There may be a good reason for that: the Fox News voter analysis survey found that 53 percent of Americans believe US energy policy should aim to expand the use of alternative energy, including wind and solar, rather than expand fossil fuel production. The same poll found that 61 percent of Americans are very or somewhat concerned about the effect of climate change in their communities.

7. Democratic voters remain dissatisfied.

A major factor in Democrats’ stronger-than-expected showing nationally appears to be the rock-bottom expectations of their voters. An NBC exit poll captured a deep sigh of resignation at the ballot box, with Democrats winning among voters who “somewhat disapprove” of Joe Biden’s job performance. Overall, more than seven in ten voters said they are “dissatisfied” or “angry,” according to exit polls conducted by Edison Research.
Such results suggest that Democratic voters weren’t inspired to vote for their candidates; they just couldn’t tolerate the alternatives.

So if Democrats manage to hang on to control of Congress, it will be hard to argue that they have their tired stay-the-course strategy to thank. Instead, it’s time for the party to take some big, bold swings. This spring, a little-noticed statistic in an NBC News poll ​​found nearly two-thirds of Democratic voters said they wanted a candidate “who proposes larger-scale policies that cost more and might be harder to pass into law, but could bring major change” — not someone who fiddles around the margin.

In fact, the new Fox News voter analysis survey found that 53 percent of Americans said the “government should do more to solve problems,” compared to 47 percent who said the government is “doing too many things better left to businesses and individuals.”

8. “What do we do now?”

The famous ending of the classic 1972 film The Candidate shows the Democratic senate nominee winning the election and then turning to his aide and asking: “What do we do now?” There’s a similar dynamic at play right now. In general, Democrats did not really campaign on an agenda beyond promising not to let Republicans steal elections or further erode reproductive rights.

That leaves us with an open question: If the party somehow retains control of Congress, what does it plan to do for the next two years? The election results show that Democrats were not punished for huge investments like the American Rescue Plan, the Inflation Reduction Act, and student debt relief. So maybe it’s time to go further and advance a true populist economic agenda — through active and ongoing grassroots pressure.

Julia Rock is a reporter for the Lever. 
Rebecca Burns is an assistant editor at In These Times and a Chicago-based reporter and housing activist. 
Andrew Perez is senior editor and a reporter at the Lever covering money and influence
Matthew Cunningham-Cook has written for Labor Notes, the Public Employee Press, Al Jazeera America, and the Nation. 
David Sirota is editor-at-large at Jacobin. He edits the Lever and previously served as a senior adviser and speechwriter on Bernie Sanders’s 2020 presidential campaign. 

Illinois Workers’ Right Amendment Protecting Unions And Preventing Right-To-Work Laws Primed To Pass

The measure would provide protections to workers and unions by prohibiting lawmakers from passing right-to-work laws and protecting collective bargaining.

9:05 AM CST on Nov 9, 2022

CHICAGO — Supporters of an amendment to the Illinois constitution that protects workers’ rights and prevents the passage of right-to-work laws claimed victory in Tuesday’s election.
The measure, which was the first question on ballots, would add a Worker’s Rights section to the state’s Bill of Rights, providing workers “the fundamental right to organize and to bargain collectively through representatives of their own choosing.” Joe Bowen, a spokesman for the Vote Yes for Workers’ Rights campaign, said the group expects to win.

“Based on the current vote count and our campaign’s internal data, it is clear that the Workers’ Rights Amendment will pass,” Samantha McClain, director for the group, said in a statement. “We firmly believe that after every vote is counted, the amendment will be approved by an overwhelming majority of Illinois voters.”

To pass, the measure needed 60 percent of yes votes from people weighing in on the question. It also could pass if a majority of all people who voted in the election supported it. The overall number would include people who left the question blank.

The amendment had 58.7 percent “yes” votes and 41.3 percent “no” votes with 85 percent of precincts reporting, according to early results from the Tribune. Bowen said his group expects to see “yes” votes climb higher as more votes from Chicago, who has favored the measure, come in.

And the group said there will be a decisive majority victory among all ballots cast.
The measure would provide protections to workers and unions by prohibiting lawmakers from passing right-to-work laws, codifying workers’ rights to join and form unions and protecting collective bargaining.

Right-to-work laws — already enacted in many more conservative states — make it so workers are not required to join labor unions when getting certain jobs. Opponents have said they weaken unions and ultimately hurt workers, while supporters say they put a rein on unions.
Unions rallied around the measure, saying it will cement bargaining rights for workers looking to negotiate fair contracts, conditions and wages, according to WTTW.

Detractors said the amendment would benefit the pocketbooks of unions, dissuade private companies from doing business in Illinois and give workers an upper hand in negotiations, according to the Sun-Times.

Credit: Alex V. Hernandez / Block Club Chicago
Old Town School of Folk Music teachers at a Dec. 11, 2018 rally for their unionization effort.
Right-to-work laws will still apply to public-sector workers across the United States due to a 2018 Supreme Court decision that held up an argument by Mark Janus, an Illinois government worker, that he shouldn’t be forced to pay union dues. Federal law already guarantees the general right to unionize.

Workers from firefighters to nurses told the Sun-Times the new amendment will give them better standing to advocate for training, equipment, realistic work loads and more staffing help.

The amendment would solidify Chicago’s place as a union town, supporters told the Sun-Times.
Subscribe to Block Club Chicago, an independent, 501(c)(3), journalist-run newsroom. Every dime we make funds reporting from Chicago’s neighborhoods.
Click here to support Block Club with a tax-deductible donation. 
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VFP Linus Pauling Chapter
Nov 9

CORVALLIS, OR: On Monday, November 7, 2022, the Corvallis City Council unanimously passed a resolution to prohibit the city from investing in weapons of war. The resolution passed following years of advocacy work by the Corvallis Divest from War coalition, including an initial hearing in February 2020 where the resolution was voted down.

The coalition represents 19 organizations: Veterans For Peace Linus Pauling Chapter 132, WILPF Corvallis, Our Revolution Corvallis Allies, Raging Grannies of Corvallis, Pacific Green Party Linn Benton Chapter, Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism Corvallis, Corvallis Palestine Solidarity, World BEYOND War, CODEPINK, Race Matters Group of Corvallis United Church of Christ, Electrify Corvallis, Corvallis Interfaith Climate Justice Committee, Corvallis Climate Action Alliance, OR Physicians for Social Responsibility, Buddhists Responding - Corvallis, Oregon PeaceWorks, NAACP Linn/Benton Chapter, Sangha Jewel, and Sunrise Corvallis. The Divest Corvallis resolution at the time of passage had over 49 individual endorsers as well.

The City of Corvallis joins New York City, NY; Burlington, VT; Charlottesville, VA; Berkeley, CA; and San Luis Obispo, CA, among other cities in the U.S. and worldwide, in committing to divest public funds from weapons of war. While Corvallis does not currently hold investments in weapons manufacturers, the passage of this resolution marks a significant commitment for the city to support peace and life-affirming industries in all future investments.

“I want to help create a better world that can live constructively. The human gift of the capacity for problem-solving needs to be nurtured more than war's vast infrastructure [...] We must think our way there together. This Divest from War Resolution is a way for us to practice imagining new futures as a community,” said Linda Richards, Divest Corvallis member and professor of history at Oregon State University. Richards is also a member of Linus Pauling VFP, joining VFP members Bill Glassmire and Joel Inman in speaking for the resolution.

The Divest from War resolution builds off of the momentum of Corvallis’ robust peace and climate justice movements. In the public comment section, coalition and VFP member Bill Glassmire spoke about the 19 year-long daily peace vigil held in Corvallis by late activist Ed Epley, which eventually led to the formation of the Corvallis Divest from War coalition. The Divest from War coalition also base their work in the climate justice movement, citing that the U.S. military is the biggest institutional producer of greenhouse gasses in the world.
“It’s estimated that the U.S. military emits more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere than entire countries, like Denmark and Portugal,” said Barry Reeves, a member of Buddhists Responding - Corvallis. “It is important for us, as a part of civil society, and for those of us in the council of government, to respond and begin the transformation to a sustainable future. May we remember that the journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step. And this resolution can be seen as a first step,” he added.
U.S.A. the Envy of World After Ten Billion
Dollars in Campaign Ads Changes Almost Nothing

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA (The Borowitz Report)—The United States of America has become the envy of the world after a ten-billion-dollar expenditure on political advertising changed virtually nothing.

People around the globe marvelled at a democracy so robust it could withstand an outlay of cash greater than the gross domestic product of nations such as Tajikistan, Montenegro, and Somalia.

“In my country, I would worry that spending ten billion dollars on campaign ads would result in the entire government being ousted,” a resident of Tajikistan said. “But America is such a great nation that you can spend that much and the results are barely detectable.”
“When you imagine what you could do with ten billion dollars, you immediately think of building new roads or schools,” a citizen of Montenegro said. “But America’s roads and schools must be in excellent shape, if they can afford to spend ten billion dollars on elections instead.”

“Ten billion dollars could pay for a lot of solar panels, wind farms, and other measures to mitigate climate change,” a resident of Somalia said. “Thank heavens Americans realized that political advertising is the thing that makes them No. 1 in the world and decided to spend it on that.”
National Coordinating Committee, CCDS
The race in Georgia between Senator Raphael Warnock and
Herschel Walker will go to a runoff. It may decide Senate control.
Let's Work to support
BREAKING: John Fetterman wins Senate racein Pennsylvania"

We Killed the Red Wave


It’s 6am and I haven’t gone to bed. The headlines are already popping up on my screen:
“No Signs of ‘Red Wave’ as Race for Congress Remains Tight” (New York Times)

“Congress hangs in balance as Democrats defy expectations” (Washington Post)

“‘Red wave’ fails to materialise as Fetterman clinches crucial Senate seat for Democrats” (The Guardian)
“Control of Congress Remains at Stake as Democrats Fend Off Anticipated ‘Red Wave’” (The Wall Street Journal)

I’ve checked my inbox and so many of you have written to me through the night. So many of you who worked hard over these last months to prevent the bloodbath. A fascist takeover by a full slate of election deniers and voting suppressors. 

And now we know there will be no bloodbath. Not today. And it’s because we and millions of others erected a force field around the haters and bigots to stop them in their tracks. And that is what has happened. Sometimes you have to lose a battle or two in order to win the war. 
I love how you all knew that if for some reason we couldn’t create a blue tsunami on Election Day, our second best choice was to make sure there would be no red wave.

And that is where we are at as America wakes up on The Day After. As Election Day 2022 came to an end, the Republicans last night were in a state of shock as they found themselves, at least for now, in control of neither the House nor the Senate! They were unable to throw a single Democrat out of the United States Senate. In fact just the opposite happened — the Democrats were able to flip control of their Pennsylvania Senate seat from a Republican to a Democrat. In stunned disbelief, the Democrats instantly went from a 50-50 Senate to a 51-49 Senate in their favor. Georgia and Nevada are still too close to call, but the Democrat in Georgia holds a small lead, and the Democrat in Nevada has played see-saw all night with the Republican. To be clear, they’ll be counting these votes for days, if not weeks, and so it’s anybody’s guess what could happen.

As for the House, you need 218 seats to hold a majority, to be able to pass (or defeat) a bill. Right now they are 20 seats short of that and that is why none of the networks nor the AP nor the New York Times have called the House for either Party. 

The looks on the faces of Fox News are glum. This was not what they — or we — have been told for months would happen. Back in the spring, Republican leadership predicted that the Trump Party would pick up nearly 60 seats in the House. It looks like they’ll be lucky to get 10. Commentators on Fox called it a “disaster.” One scenario suggests they could end up with just a one vote majority. 

“The real winner tonight” said one Republican, “is Joe Biden. He’s got a big smile on his face right now.”

There was so much heartening news coming out of last night. Abortion rights measures passing in Vermont, California, Michigan, and Kentucky — with Montana poised to follow suit. Marijuana was made legal in Maryland and Missouri. Record midterm turnouts by young people occurred in many states.
I will go into more detail when we next talk (after more votes are tabulated). For now, let me just say this:
We were lied to for months by the pundits and pollsters and the media. Voters had not “moved on” from the Supreme Court’s decision to debase and humiliate women by taking federal control over their reproductive organs. Crime was not at the forefront of the voters “simple” minds. Neither was the price of milk. It was their Democracy that they came to fight for yesterday. And because of that drive, we live to fight, and hope, for another day…
Once again, massive thanks to all of you for helping all of us build a Blue Wall that stopped an ugly red wave.

I’ll speak to y’all later. 
MAGA Republicans’ fascist push beaten back in most places nationwide

November 9, 2022 12:46 PM

reprinted from Peoples World

Supporters react as preliminary results come in for Michigan Proposal 3 on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2022, in Detroit, Mich. The ballot initiative put a definitive end to a 1931 ban on abortion and affirmed the right to make pregnancy-related decisions about abortion and other reproductive services such as birth control without interference. | Ryan Sun / Ann Arbor News via AP

WASHINGTON—Republicans who expected a GOP sweep in the elections Tuesday were dealt a major blow as voters across the country rejected fascist candidates up and down the ballot.
Defying history whereby the party in power loses many congressional seats in its first midterm elections, Democrats are likely to hold onto their control of the Senate and may even hold onto the House with what looks like a razor-thin margin. That call is still to be made, and it’s unclear how soon the final results will be available.

Huge turnouts by women, youth, and African Americans, along with the organized backing of the labor movement and its allies, all helped propel Democrats to victories in the midterm elections Tuesday—victories that major media predicted would not happen at all.
Republicans went down to defeat in many competitive races, and voters, in exit polls, shot holes in GOP propaganda that inflation and crime would sweep Republicans into offices around the country.

Neither inflation nor low approval ratings for President Joe Biden could push voters to negate their concerns about the attack on democracy and specifically the attacks on abortion rights by the MAGA Republicans.

One of the most uplifting events of the night for progressive forces was when Lt. Gov. John Fetterman flipped Pennsylvania’s Republican-controlled seat in Pennsylvania, increasing the likelihood that Democrats could hold the Senate. Republicans, after the Fetterman victory, would have to win both Nevada and Arizona to gain control, an unlikely prospect.

Right: John Fetterman talks with participants in the Braddock Employment and Training Center in Braddock, Pa.; Top left: Fetterman gives Braddock resident Delia Lennon-Winstead a hug after announcing his bid for Lt. Governor in Nov. 2017; Center left: Fetterman helps clean up the former United Brethren in Christ Church in Braddock; Bottom left: Fetterman, talks to John Luu, who operated Kim Grocery Store in Braddock, about the businesses closing in the town. | All photos via AP

If the Dems come out with 50-50 control of the Senate again, with Vice President Kamala Harris breaking the tie, Raphael Warnock would be likely to win a Georgia runoff because white Georgia Republicans would be unlikely to turn out for Herschel Walker in a scenario where Democratic control of the Senate has already been determined. That would give Dems one vote more than they have now in their majority.

In the House, Democrats kept seats in districts from Virginia to Kansas to Rhode Island, while many seats in states like New York and California remain to be called. It should be noted that districts in New York where Democrats were having a hard time were those where lines were drawn by a judge who unexplainably did the bidding of state Republicans.

Democrats also were successful in governors’ races, winning in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania, all key battleground states critical to Biden’s victory in 2020. Also in those states, the election deniers running for positions that could swing 2024 results away from a Democratic victor in the popular vote all went down to defeat.

Many Trump-backed challengers to Democrats, along with some of the most extreme Trumpites in general, lost.

In Pennsylvania, Fetterman, a 6-foot-8 pro-worker champion who campaigns in shorts and a hoodie, campaigned in rural “red” areas on his motorcycle. He supports raising the minimum wage and backing the right to organize. He beat Donald Trump-endorsed Dr. Mehmet Oz, flipping that Senate seat.

Fetterman had faced scurrilous attacks about his fitness for office after suffering a stroke just days before the state’s primary. But he nonetheless bested Oz in a major rebuke to the former president. In a very un-Trumpian move, Oz called Fetterman to concede.

“I’m so humbled,” Fetterman, wearing his signature hoodie, told his supporters early Wednesday morning. “This campaign has always been about fighting for everyone who’s ever been knocked down that ever got back up.”

And Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro (D) trashed a Trump endorsement of his election liar Republican foe, State Sen. Doug Mastriano, who littered the race’s final days with anti-Semitic slurs.

Democrats also held a crucial Senate seat in New Hampshire, where incumbent Maggie Hassan defeated Republican Don Bolduc, a retired Army general who had initially promoted Trump’s lies about the 2020 election being marred by widespread fraud that did not occur. He tried to shift away from some of the more extreme positions he took during the GOP primary, but the damage was already done.

One of the most-incendiary fascist lawmakers, Rep. Lauren Boebert, R-Colo., lost to moderate Democrat Adam Frisch, 54%-46%, in a mostly rural western and southern district that was redrawn to make it even more Republican than when she ousted a regular Republican in the party primary in 2020. She also outspent Frisch, $6.4 million to $4.4 million.

But with ballots still being counted, especially in West Coast states, many races were still uncalled as of press time, 1 p.m. Eastern Time on Nov. 9. That was especially important in Nevada, where Gov. Joe Sisolak and Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, both pro-worker Democrats, were locked in dead heats with Donald Trump-backed candidates. Cortez Masto is the Senate’s first Latina.

The catch in that race is that the outstanding ballots are apparently all from Clark County (Las Vegas), which dominates the state and where 50,000-member Culinary Workers Local 226, the largest local in Unite Here, put on an even more extensive get-out-the-vote operation than in 2020.

Maritime Trades Secretary-Treasurer Dan Duncan, quoting contacts in Nevada, said the lines at Las Vegas polling stations were so long that voting was extended for another 1-1/2 hours Tuesday.

With so much undecided, the AFL-CIO leadership, who were in committee meetings on Nov. 9 and scheduled an Executive Council meeting in D.C. for Nov. 10, put off their traditional post-election press conference to analyze the results. Only National Education Association President Becky Pringle, head of the nation’s largest union, issued an extensive statement. Excerpts included:
“Students, parents, educators, and public schools were the big winners of the 2022 elections, as pro-public-school candidates won in key gubernatorial, state legislative, school board, and federal races. Voters also made the right choices on key ballot measures from New Mexico to West Virginia, Massachusetts, and elsewhere,” she declared.
“Voters rewarded candidates who articulated a clear, positive message about public education,” before rattling off a long list of NEA-endorsed winning Democratic governors including Wisconsin’s Tony Evers—a former state education commissioner—and union members Gretchen Whitmer in Michigan and Tim Walz, an Education Minnesota member.
Right-wing extremists rejected

“Parents and voters explicitly rejected extreme politicians who engaged in the politics of division, politicizing our classrooms, banning books, dragging their culture wars into our public schools, and pushing failed privatization schemes, Pringle said.
Other key results for workers included:
  • Illinois enhanced its reputation as a pro-worker bastion. Not only did it handily re-elect pro-worker Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) and the pro-worker state legislative majorities, but voters approved a proposed constitutional amendment to guarantee collective bargaining and outlaw so-called “right to work” laws. And United Food and Commercial Workers member Nikki Brudzinski (D) won the open—and redrawn—13th Congressional District.
  • The Working Families Party crowed over the U.S. House win by State Sen. Summer Lee in Pennsylvania’s 12th District. “Summer Lee is a people’s champion, and this is a victory for the people,” said the party’s Pennsylvania Organizing Director, Nicolas O’Rourke. “Right-wing and corporate forces spent millions of dollars on negative ads to smear a Black progressive woman, but our grassroots movement could not be stopped. Summer is going to join a growing bench of Working Families Democrats in Congress who will fight for higher wages, lower costs, safe communities, and clean air and water.”
  • Minnesota became a trifecta, where pro-worker forces retained the governorship—with union teacher Tim Walz (DFL) winning a second term—and took control of the State Assembly. The Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party already controlled the State Senate. Another Education Minnesota member, current state auditor Julie Blaha (DFL), won a second term. State Attorney General Keith Ellison (D), a past chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus who has often jousted with the party “establishment” of pollsters and campaign operatives, won by 20,000 votes over Trumpite Republican Jim Schultz, who promised to stop prosecuting corporate criminals. Trumpites also opposed Walz and other top Dems. DFL state senate hopefuls Judy Seeberger of Paramedics Local 167 had a 300-vote lead out of 42,000 votes cast. Erin Murphy of the Minnesota Nurses Association romped to an 84%-15% win. Nine other unionists sought Assembly election.
  • Three constitutional amendments to protect the right to abortion by adding it to state constitutions passed, in California, Michigan, and Vermont. Voters in deep-red Kentucky followed their colleagues in deep-red Kansas and defeated a referendum attempt to abolish abortion protection from the state’s basic charter. All four votes defied the Republican-named U.S. Supreme Court majority which obliterated the right nationally in June. That 5-4 ruling sent millions of angry women and their supporters into the streets in ensuing months.
  • Pro-worker Democrats added two governorships, in Massachusetts and Maryland. Moderate Republican governors ruled both for eight years but did not run again. Wes Moore (Maryland), who heads a non-profit organization, made history as the state’s first Black governor and the nation’s third. Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey did, too, as the state’s first woman governor and the nation’s first lesbian governor.
  • Incumbent woman governors won again, too, including Gretchen Whitmer, D-Mich., Kathy Hochul, D-N.Y., Michelle Lujan Grisham, D-N.M., and Janet Mills, D-Maine. Hochul was the first governor the New York State United Teachers, AFT’s largest local, endorsed in years. Both she and Whitmer—object of a foiled Trumpite kidnap-murder plot last year—beat Trumpite election liars. So did Gov. Laura Kelly, D-Kansas, in the state where the Aug. 2 pro-abortion referendum win, 58%-42%, encouraged women voters nationwide.
At press time, votes were still being counted across the country, meaning that, in theory, Republicans could still emerge with control of both chambers of Congress. A victory by the GOP in the Senate, however, is not seen as likely, and the one thing that is abundantly clear is that the predicted GOP surge never materialized.

If the Republicans win the House, however, a handful of extreme right-wingers and fascists will be in a position to hold the country hostage on key pieces of legislation, including but not limited to raising the debt ceiling.

Despite the blow to MAGA Republicans and fascists Tuesday night, the fight against them will continue, with or without Donald Trump. Trump was sending out feelers about announcing another run for the presidency in the very near future, one he hopes will shield him from prosecution by the Justice Department. He had been planning on making that announcement following massive victories by Republicans that did not materialize, so it is unclear whether he will go ahead with those plans.

Exit polls showed that crime, an issue the GOP tried to ride to success, was low down on the list of voter concerns, with only 11% seeing it as the top issue. The economy, abortion, and democracy were the big issues according to the exit polls.

The predictions of Kevin McCarthy, the representative poised to be House Speaker if the GOP takes control of the House, failed to materialize Wednesday morning. He had said Tuesday night, “When you wake up tomorrow, we will be in the majority.” Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi countered that her party would hold the chamber: “While many races remain too close to call, it is clear that House Democratic Members and candidates are strongly outperforming expectations across the country.”

Some have said there is not much to worry about because even if the GOP takes both chambers of Congress, Biden will be able to veto whatever they pass. The reality is, however, that what the mass movements do from here on out will, on top of the outcomes of the races for House and Senate, help determine the fate of a progressive agenda in the next two years.
Republican control of the House would likely trigger endless investigations into Biden and his family. A GOP Senate takeover would cripple the president’s ability to make judicial appointments.

In the face of historic headwinds, an alert and determined voting population managed to hold back the predicted advance of the Republicans’ extreme right-wing faction, but they weren’t able to completely block GOP gains.

Some Republican wins
Incumbent Republican governors had some victories. Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp won re-election, defeating Stacey Abrams in a rematch of their 2018 race. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, two future possible Republican presidential contenders, beat back Democratic challengers to win in the nation’s two largest red states.

Trump’s win: J.D. Vance, Republican candidate for U.S. Senator for Ohio, at a campaign rally with the former president in Youngstown, Ohio., Sept. 17, 2022. | Tom E. Puskar / AP
Exit polls showed Biden didn’t entirely shoulder the blame for inflation, as Republicans had hoped. Half of voters said the higher-than-usual prices were more because of factors outside of his control, including price gouging by major corporations.

Candidates who bragged about their support for the Jan. 6 insurrection and the Trump coup were rebuffed by voters in some key races. But in the first national election since the coup attempt, some who participated in the attack on the U.S. Capitol were poised to win elected office.

One of those Republican candidates, J.R. Majewski, who was at the U.S. Capitol during the deadly riot and who lied about his military service, lost to Democratic Rep. Marcy Kaptur in a district gerrymandered heavily in his favor. Democratic Reps. Abigail Spanberger and Jennifer Wexton held off right-wing Republican challengers in Virginia districts the GOP had hoped to flip.

Trump did manage to lift one Republican Senate candidate to victory, however, in Ohio. J.D. Vance, the bestselling author of Hillbilly Elegy, defeated 10-term congressman Tim Ryan.
Trump had endorsed more than 300 candidates across the country, hoping the night would end in a red wave that he could ride to the 2024 Republican presidential nomination. After summoning reporters and his most loyal supporters to a watch party at his Mar-a-Lago club in Florida on Tuesday, he ended the night without a triumphant speech.
Biden, meanwhile, spent the night calling Democrats to congratulate them on their wins.
Florida Politics, History and Society since 2013


November 10, 2022 · by Kartik Krishnaiyer · in 2022 Elections · 

  • With Tuesday’s clean sweep, the GOP has now won 24 of the last 26 races for governor and cabinet.
  • The GOP will have either 84 or 85 State House seats. If its 85, it breaks the record for the party when it held 84 seats after the 2004 election.
  • Ron DeSantis victory margin was the largest ever for a GOPer running for governor in the history of the state.
  • Much has been made of Miami-Dade’s shift to the right, and it can now be argued Miami-Dade is the most GOP large urban county in the country. But even more damaging to Democrats is the shift we saw in Miami-Dade which was attributable to Latinos, we now have also seen in heavily Hispanic Osceola County. And we are now seeing it in every major urban county in the state. Every urban county, including heavily Democratic, Orange and Broward have shifted AT LEAST 12 POINTS TOWARD THE GOP at the top of the ballot since 2018.
  • Palm Beach County supported a GOP nominee for Governor for the first time since 1986.
  • The GOP has now won the last three races in the state for US Senate, the first time that has EVER happened.
  • Charlie Crist carrying just five counties is the least by a Democratic nominee EVER.
  • Crist’s % of the vote was the least for a Democratic nominee for Governor since 1916. It is the lowest % ever for a Democrat in a race between just two major party candidates (in 1916, the GOP nominee did even worse than the Democratic nominee as Sidney Catts, a registered Democrat was elected Governor on Prohibition ticket).
  • The Democrats are down to only 12 State Senate seats for the second time in history.
Meanwhile, outside Florida it was a good night for the Democrats. That reality should finally force wholesale change in not only party leadership but HOW the party operates.

Harry Targ

Social and Economic Wellbeing Survey Shows No ProgressA flurry of newspaper stories appeared the first week of February, 2017 in several Indiana newspapers reporting on data from a “health and wellness” national survey about the performance of the 50 states. Indiana according to several measures was ranked as the fourth “worst state” in the country. The national survey consisted of data from 177,281 people interviewed by the Gallup and Healthways organizations. Data included responses to questions about feelings of community support and pride, physical health, and financial security.

According to the survey The Times of Northwest Indiana, (February 8, 2017) reported, “31.3 percent of Indiana residents are obese, 30.6 smoke, and 29.4 percent don’t exercise at all.” Only 24.9 percent of the population had a bachelor’s degree (one of the lowest percentages of any state).  The NWIT article indicated that median household income of Hoosiers was $5,000 less than the national median income. On many measures Indiana’s rank was only ahead of Oklahoma, Kentucky, and West Virginia.

Previous Data on the Indiana Economy
The centerpiece of Indiana public policy since 2004 has been corporate and individual tax cuts and reduced budgets for education, health care, and other public services. Indiana was one of the first states to begin the privatization of the public sector, including transferring educational funds from public to charter schools. It established a voucher system to encourage parents to send their children to private schools. Also, Indiana sold public roads; privatized public services; and recruited controversial corporations such as Duke Power to support research at the state’s flagship research universities. Meanwhile the manufacturing base of the state shifted from higher paying and unionized industrial labor (automobiles, steel, and durable goods) to lower paying service jobs and non-union work such as at the Amazon distribution center.

A positive narrative about Indiana economic growth presented by the former Governor Mike Pence varied greatly from data gathered between 2012 and 2014. For example, between 2013 and 2014, despite enticements to business, Indiana grew at a 0.4 percent pace while the nation at large experienced 2.2 percent growth.

Indiana’s economy historically was based on manufacturing but has experienced declines since the 1980s (with only modest increases in recent years).  However, newer manufacturing between 2014 and 2016 was mostly in low-wage non-unionized sectors.   For example, the Indiana Institute for Working Families reported on data from a study of work and poverty in Marion County, which included the state’s largest city, Indianapolis.  Four of five of the largest growing industries in the county paid wages at or below family sustainability ($798 per week for a family of three) and individual and household wages declined significantly between 2008 and 2012 (Derek Thomas, “Inequality in Indy - A Rising Problem With Ready Solutions,” August 13, 2014, (

Further, Thomas quoted a U.S. Conference of Mayors’ report on wages and income:  “…wage inequality grew twice as rapidly in the Indianapolis metro area as in the rest of the nation since the recession.” This is so because new jobs created paid less on average than the jobs that were lost since the recession started.

Thomas pointed out that the mayors’ report had several concrete proposals that could address declining real wages and stimulate job growth. These included “raising the minimum wage, strengthening the Earned Income Tax Credit, public programs to retrain displaced workers,” and developing universal pre-kindergarten and programs to rebuild the state’s crumbling infrastructure. They may have added that declining real wages also related to attacks on unions in both the private and public sectors and the dramatic reduction in public sector employment.

Thomas recommended in 2012 that Indianapolis (and Indiana) should have taken these data seriously because in Marion County “poverty is still rising, the minimum wage is less than half of what it takes for a single-mother with an infant to be economically self-sufficient; 47 percent of workers do not have access to a paid sick day from work, and a full 32 percent are at or below 150 percent of the federal poverty guidelines ($29,685 for a family of three).” 
More recently, November 10, 2014, the Indiana Association of United Ways issued a 250-page report on the state called the “Study of Financial Hardship.” The study, parallel to similar studies in five other states and prepared by a research team at Rutgers University, introduced the concept of  Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed or (ALICE). ALICE refers to households with incomes that are above the poverty rate but below “the basic cost of living.” The startling data revealed that:
-a third of Hoosier households cannot afford adequate housing, food, health care, child care, and transportation.
-specifically, 14 percent of households are below the poverty line and 23 percent above poverty but below the threshold out of ALICE, or earning enough to provide for the basic cost of living.
-570,000 households are within the ALICE status and 353,000 below the poverty line.
-over 21 percent of households in every Indiana county are above poverty but below the capacity to provide for basic sustenance.

Referring to those within the ALICE category of wage earners who have struggled to survive but earn less than what it takes to meet basic needs, Kathy Ertel, Board Chairperson of Indiana Association of United Ways said: “ALICE is our child care worker, our retail clerk, the CAN who cares for our grandparents, and our delivery driver” (Roger L. Frick, “Groundbreaking Study Reveals 37% of Hoosier Households Struggle With the Basics,” Indiana Association of United Ways, November 10, 2014,

The United Way published a revised ALICE survey in 2020 concluding that “In 2018, eight years after the end of the Great Recession, 37% of Indiana’s 2,592,262 households still struggled to make ends meet. And while 13% of these households were living below the Federal Poverty Level (FPL), another 24% — almost twice as many — were ALICE households: Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed. These households earned above the FPL, but not enough to afford basic household necessities.”

In 2022  Aaron Renn wrote that “The Hoosier state has had a Republican governor since Mitch Daniels was elected in 2004. It has been a Republican “trifecta” state, with GOP majorities in both houses of the legislature, since 2011… its average disposable income had actually declined to 89.5 percent of the national level….When Daniels was elected, Indiana’s per capita disposable income was only 90.5 percent of the U.S. average.” Aaron Renn,“Indiana under Republican Rule: ‘Pro-Business’ Policy Disappoints outside the Sunbelt” American Affairs,Winter 2021 / Volume V, Number 4

But a recent Alec (the American Legislative Exchange Council, a Koch Foundation economically libertarian lobby group) co-sponsored study Rich States Poor States says the following: “Indiana is currently ranked 7th in the United States for its economic outlook. This is a forward-looking forecast based on the state’s standing (equal-weighted average) in 15 important state policy variables. Data reflect state and local rates and revenues and any effect of federal deductibility.” The Rich States, Poor States  variables used to rank states included personal, property, and corporate tax rates, levels of workers compensation, whether the state was a so-called “right to work state’, minimum wage laws, and other pro-business measures. The more beneficial to business, the higher the ranking the state was given. 

In contradiction to this ALEC sponsored report,  David Ricks, CEO of Eli Lilly said that “Indiana’s focus for so long, over so many years of Republican leadership, has been to create a tax climate and a regulatory structure that is friendly enough to business that companies can’t help but consider Indiana for major projects.” He referred to national data indicating that the cost of living and business climate in Indiana were strong but, in his words, “Our education attainment in the state is not good. The ability to reskill the workforce, I think, could improve. Health, life and inclusion, overall, I think, conditions rank poorly nationally in our state. And also workforce preparedness, also related to reskilling, is a liability for us.”

In other words, Indiana’s economy, particularly in the years of Republican one-party rule is one of prioritized tax cuts, deregulation, privatization, and business incentives at the expense of education, health care, wages, worker rights, and public institutions, And this is the contradiction: Indiana being “currently ranked 7th in the United States for its economic outlook” versus the dramatic ALICE estimate that 37 percent of Indiana households live below a livable wage. As Renn summarizes it: “since 2000, the state ranks a dismal forty-sixth in median wage growth, and the growth in median earnings has been at only half the rate of the rest of the country. Only 42 percent of workers in the state earn a living wage (adjusted for cost of living) and have employer-provided health insurance.”

Assessing these recent studies and the 2017 report cited at the outset leads to the conclusion that an evaluation of the current state of the Indiana economy depends upon where one is located in terms of economic, political, or professional position. Those Indiana men, women, and children who come from the 37 percent of households who earn less, at, or slightly above the poverty line probably have a negative view of their futures. For them, the tax breaks for the rich and the austerity policies for the poor are not positive. 

Indiana Politics
Perhaps the starkest fact to note in reference to the growing economic insecurity in the state of Indiana over time is that in 1970 forty percent of Hoosier workers were in unions, then the state with the third highest union density. By the dawn of the second decade of the twenty-first century only 11 percent of workers were in trade unions. Recent legislation has disadvantaged Hoosier workers including passage of a Right to Work law and repeal of the state version of prevailing wage. The Mitch Daniels/Mike Pence administrations (2004-2016) have used charter schools and vouchers to weaken teachers’ unions. In addition, in his first day in office in January, 2004, newly elected Governor Mitch Daniels signed an executive order abolishing the right of state employees to form unions. 

In 2005 the Indiana state government (legislature and governor) passed the first and most extreme voter identification law. Voters were required to secure voter identification photos. Michael Macdonald a University of Florida political scientist estimated that requiring voter IDs reduces voter participation by 4-5 percent, hitting the poor and elderly the hardest. In addition, Indiana law ended voter registration in the state one month before election day. And polls close at 6 p.m. election day, among the earliest closing times in the country. Finally, requests for absentee ballots require written excuses. Republican control of the executive and both legislative branches led to redistricting which further empowered Republicans and weakened not only Democrats but the young and old and the African American community. Nine solidly Republican congressional districts were drawn in 2000.  In 2014, of 125 state legislative seats up for election, 69 were uncontested.  2014 Indiana voter turnout was 28 percent, the lowest state turnout in the country. The Governor’s office has been held by Republicans since 2004 and Republicans have had majorities in both legislative bodies since 2010, when statewide redistricting was implemented.

Traditionally when Democrats were in the Governor’s mansion and/or controlled a branch of the legislature, they too tended to support neoliberal economic policies, but less draconian, and had been more moderate on social policy questions. In recent years, many legislators and the two most recent governors have been friends of or received support from the American Legislative Exchange Council (or ALEC) funded by major corporations and the Koch brothers. 
With ALEC money, some active Tea Party organizations, the growth of rightwing Republican power, and centrist Democrats, Indiana government has been able to initiate some of the most regressive policies in reference to voting rights, education, taxing, and deregulation in the country. And as the data above suggests, the political economy of Indiana has increased the suffering of the vast majority of working families in the state. Other data suggests that the quality of health care, education, the environment, and transportation have declined as well.
The political picture is made more complicated by the fact that Indiana is really “three states.” The Northwest corridor, including Gary and Hammond, are cities which have experienced extreme deindustrialization, white flight, and vastly increased poverty. Political activists from the area look to greater Chicago for their political inspiration and organizational involvement. Democratic parties are strong in these areas but voter participation is very low. 
Central Indiana includes a broad swath of territory with small cities and towns and the largest city in the state, Indianapolis. Much of the area is Republican, many counties have significant numbers of families in poverty, and some smaller cities have pockets of relative wealth. Democrats hold some city offices but the area is predominantly Republican.

The southern part of the state, south of Indianapolis, in terms of income, political culture, and history resembles its southern neighbor Kentucky, more than the northern parts of the state. The state of Indiana was the northern home of the twentieth century version of the Ku Klux Klan. In the 1920s, the KKK controlled Indiana state government. That reality, the institutionalized presence of overt racism, remains an aspect of Hoosier history that may still affect state politics.

In sum, the working people of Indiana enter the coming period with little economic hope, a politics of red state dominance. And as Renn puts it: “Republican leadership, exemplified by Mitch Dan­iels, has chosen to prioritize the preferences of businesses, or at least a subset of them, over those of its citizens. The sentiment is captured in the state’s slogan, 'a state that works,' which is emblazoned along with a sprocket logo on the side of the state office building in downtown Indianapolis. In practice, Indiana has pandered to low-wage employers, and sided with businesses over citizens in many policy disputes."

Social change in Indiana, as with the nation at large, will require a vibrant, active progressive movement in Indiana. It is clear that in the 2022 elections and beyond, Hoosier’s, the vast majority workers, must vote to end single-party red state politics, at the same time that mass movements direct their attention to improving the lives of the 99 percent.

The following was written in response to the DSA Socialist Majority Caucus to see the statement go to
If You Don't Hit It, It Won't Fall: On the Socialist Majority Caucus statement, 'Against the Right and the Center: A Democratic Socialist Strategy for Working Class Power'

By Carl Davidson and Bill Fletcher

On the eve of the 2022 election, DSA's Socialist Majority Caucus has declared itself as a force actively engaged in building a broad united front against the far Right, with the particular aim of defeating GOP candidates across the board. It matters even more so because that task is not over with this electoral round, but will continue to 2024 and beyond.

The statement also does a good job in stressing the need for independent organization, both its own and other mass organizations among the working class and all subaltern communities of the oppressed. Without organization, there is no way for progressive ideas and their advocates to come to power. This applies both in the short term and the longer run as well.

 That said, and with all due respect, there are some problems. We'll focus on three areas: 1. Defining the current conjuncture, 2. Assessing the current terrain, and 3. Describing our tasks.

The current conjuncture

As socialists, it's very important to understand where society is at, even as it is constantly changing. In the U.S. today, we are in a non-revolutionary situation. Socialism is not on the agenda in the current or next round of elections, nor is 'all power to the workers and community councils' (or something similar) anywhere near being a slogan for mass action. Given the crisis-ridden and war dangers of capitalism, there will come a time when things rapidly change, and a new set of revolutionary programs and tactics will rise to the fore. But we are not there yet.

 We are confident that the SMC would agree with us, but they need to be clear in articulating this message. . What we find in the document instead are sections that mush together immediate demands with 'transitory' programs and situations. For example:

 "Our project is to defeat the right and the neoliberal leadership of the Democratic Party, implement a program that can substantially shift the balance of forces in our society, and lead a working-class majority in the struggle to end the capitalist system."

This formulation merges an anti-far Right/antifascist fight with a fight against centrist Democrats, leading to a moment where the working class wins state power. We would agree that there are conflicts and struggles on all these fronts, but formulating it this way causes more problems and confusion than it solves or clarifies. There are three sets of struggles that need to be conducted, but the question is, at this moment, what is the principal struggle and who is the principal enemy.

We understand and support, for example, an approach to reforms that distinguishes between redistributive demands (wage increases and other forms or relief) and deep structural reforms (altering the relations of power with new organization[WFJ1] ).

Assessing the Terrain

Here is where the issue of assessing the terrain becomes critical. We don't put the fight against the right on a par with the fight with the center. In fact, we advocate a more nuanced approach: First, unite and develop the progressive forces (Everyone from the Congressional Progressive caucus, Progressive Democrats of America, and the Working Families Party, on one hand, and the socialists, including Bernie, AOC, and those to their left on the other hand). Second, the progressive and Left forces must win over as many of the middle forces as we can (The Biden Dems, their close allies, Blue dogs, independent voters and even a few never-Trump Republicans). Third, isolate and divide the right (Overt fascists, Trump's rightwing populists and the Christian nationalists) and crush them batch by batch. Basically, we want to and need to avoid fighting all our adversaries at once.

Our approach to the center is one of critical support. We are certainly in a tactical alliance with them to defeat Republicans. But there is more to it. We are joining them in a wider fight for defending democracy and the Constitution. We also can join them in their programs, however limited, around climate change, a Green New Deal, and an expansion of high tech manufacturing. They will fight for these in their way and we will do it in ours, and there will be unity and overlap, as well as contention. We both are aware of other sectors of capital that oppose these reforms in their entirety. Where we need to struggle against them, we will do so, including where the centrist Democrats hold office and move anti-people programs.

Our base(s) must be clear that it is not the centrist Democrats who are engaged in voter suppression; the destruction of abortion; global warming denial, etc. The centrist Democrats are not the main threat to political democracy. Thus, to the extent to which we place them on the same level, even rhetorically, as the far Right, we are confusing ourselves and our base, and we are wasting valuable resources and time.

 This raises the question of neoliberalism. We think the SMC would do well to examine the matter more. We think neoliberalism, at least on the domestic front, has reached a point of exhaustion. It's had a good 40-year run, but it has no solutions to any pressing programs. Once elected, Biden had to bracket it and search for the voice of his inner FDR New Deal to come up with his Build Back Better, Infrastructure and other programs. The hard liners of the neoliberals, the Kochs, are embedded within the GOP's efforts to gut Medicare and Social Security. To be sure the neoliberals are still around, even under the Dem tent. But they operate more as Zombies, wielding some power and danger, but no life.

 Socialism and Dividing Our Tasks into Two.

 We don't want to submerge the question of socialism, nor does the SMC. What we do is divide our tasks into two, our mass democratic tasks and our socialist tasks. Mass democratic task we all know well, everything from organizing the unorganized to winning elections and beating back fascists. When it comes to socialist tasks, what we criticize is what we'll call 'last sentence socialism,' wherein we make a speech or write an article about a rent strike or a union battle, and at the end, we tack on a sentence or two asserting 'that's why we need socialism!' We have all seen this too many times.

But we are quite serious about our socialist tasks, and they are not to be put off to another day. We need clarity on what they are. We think they are largely theoretical and educational. We need serious study and debate around 21st century socialism, market economies, and many other matters. We need an array of thousands of socialist study groups among the most active and advanced workers and students on the matter, along with book stores and publishing houses. We need think tanks that can develop the policies of the deep structural reforms we want to get on the agendas in Congress and state legislatures. This is not being done all that well by any of us. But if we fail, when the time comes when socialism is being a large matter in elections and insurrectionary risings, we will be poorly armed for the moment.

"We submit our feedback, for your consideration, in the interest of strengthening clarity and unity within the socialist Left. We want to open a discussion, no assert any final conclusion. With the onslaught coming from the far Right the socialist Left must play a key role in constructing a broad front opposing the Right. The ability or inability of the socialist Left to lead in the construction of such a front and, thereby, blunting the offensive of the Right, will ultimately determine our own viability as a political current. The stakes could never be higher."

 Harry Targ

What Do They Want Us to Think?We have been living with the 2022 elections ever since November 2020. Day after day the corporate media has speculated about which candidates for public office were in the lead and whether the Congress will continue in Democratic hands or Republicans will win majorities in one or both houses. And lurking behind every news story has been the ominous vision of Donald Trump, the threat of fascism. and the extent to which the 2022 elections will determine whether the US chooses “democracy” or “authoritarianism.” And finally, the trope suggests, on November 8 the election will determine whether progressives will declare victory and assume the battle is won or lose and retire in despair.

At least, that is what the corporate media and its clients hope will happen. And it will happen if progressives forget that social change is a long and arduous process with victories and defeats. But if it is true that majorities of Americans crave affordable healthcare, remunerative work, the hope of some reduction in environmental disaster, and access to food, housing, transportation, and education, they will continue the struggles to achieve these goals whoever wins at the polls. So while the finality of the election trope, victory or defeat, is what has pervaded public discourse for months it is critical to recognize that whatever the outcome the battle for a just and humane future will continue, irrespective of Tuesday’s outcomes.

Protest Movements in the United States:
Left Unity Projects
          Data confirms that there has been a continuation and expansion of activist groups and protest activities all across the face of the globe since the dawn of the twenty-first century. For example in the United States, Mark Solomon reported in an important essay “Whither the Socialist Left? Thinking the ‘Unthinkable’” that there has been a long history of socialism in the United States despite the brutal repression against it, damaging sectarian battles on the left, and the small size of socialist organizations. Yet paradoxically the growing sympathy for the idea of socialism among Americans, particularly young people, exists extensively today. For that reason, he called for “the convergence of socialist organizations committed to non-sectarian democratic struggle, engagement with mass movements, and open debate in search of effective responses to present crises and to projecting a socialist future.”
Solomon’s call a few years ago stimulated debate among activists around the idea of “left unity.” The appeal for left unity he said was made more powerful by socialism’s appeal, the current global crises of capitalism, rising mobilizations around the world, and living experiments with small-scale socialism such as the construction of a variety of workers’ cooperatives.

Effective campaigns around “left unity” in recent years have prioritized “revolutionary education,” drawing upon the tools of the internet to construct an accessible body of theory and debate about strategy and tactics that could solidify left forces and move the progressive majority into a socialist direction. The emergence of Online University of the Left (OUL), an electronic source for classical and modern theoretical literature about Marxism, contemporary debates about strategy and tactics, videos, reading lists, and course syllabi, constituted one example of left unity. The OUL is also one example among many of available resources for study groups, formal coursework, and discussions among socialists and progressives.

Mass Movements
The Occupy Movement, first surfacing in the media in September 2011, initiated and renewed traditions of organized and spontaneous mass movements around issues that affected people’s immediate lives such as housing foreclosures, debt, jobs, wages, the environment, and the negative role of money in U.S. politics. Perhaps the four most significant contributions of the Occupy Movement included:
1.Introducing grassroots processes of decision-making.
2.Conceptualizing modern battles for social and economic justice as between the one percent (the holders of most wealth and power in society) versus the 99 percent (weak, economically marginalized, and dispossessed, including the precariat).
3.Insisting that struggles for radical change be spontaneous, often eschewing traditional political processes.
4.Linking struggles locally, nationally, and globally.
During the height of Occupy’ s visibility some 500 cities and towns experienced mobilizations around social justice issues. While Occupy campaigns are gone today activists correctly ground their claims in the long and rich history of organized struggle and remain inspired by the bottom-up and spontaneous uprisings of 2011. And in 2020 the explosion of street actions to protest the police murder of George Floyd led to thousands of protest demonstrations around the country, inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement.

Building a Progressive Majority
Along with left unity projects and those who were inspired by Occupy, many have embraced a third approach to political change, “building a progressive majority.” This approach assumes that large segments of the U.S. population agree on a variety of issues. Some are activists in electoral politics, others in trade unions, and more in single issue groups. In addition, many who share common views of worker rights, the environment, health care, undue influence of money in politics, immigrant rights etc. are not active politically. The progressive majority perspective argues that the project for the short-term is to mobilize the millions of people who share common views on the need for significant if not fundamental change in economics and politics.

Often organizers conceptualize the progressive majority as the broad mass of people who share views on politics and economics that are ‘centrist” or “left.” Consequently, over the long run, “left” participants see their task as three-fold. First, they must work on the issues that concern majorities of those at the local and national level. Second, they struggle to convince their political associates that the problems most people face have common causes (particularly capitalism). Third, “left” participants see the need to link issues so that class, race, gender, the environment, and peace for example, are understood as part of the common problem that people face.

At this point in time, as the recent data set called “Start” shows there are 500 leading organizations in the United States working for progressive change on a national level. “Start” divides these 500 organizations into twelve categories based on their main activities. These include progressive electoral, peace and foreign policy, economic justice, civil liberties, health advocacy, labor, women, and environmental organizations.  Of course, their membership, geographic presence, financial resources, and strategic and tactical vision vary widely. And many of the variety of progressive organizations at the national level are reproduced at the local and state levels as well.

START Study, Think, Act, Respond TogetherIn sum, when looking at social change in the United States at least three emphases are being articulated: left unity, the legacies of the Occupy and Black Lives Matter movements and building a progressive majority. Each highlights its own priorities as to vision, strategy, tactics, and political contexts. In addition, the relative appeal of each may be affected by age, class, gender, race, and issue prioritization as well. However, these approaches need not be seen as contradictory. Rather the activism borne of each approach may parallel the others.

Co-Revolutionary Theory Becomes Practice: The Road Ahead
David Harvey has written about a “co-revolutionary theory” of change (The Enigma of Capital and the Crisis of Capitalism, New York: Oxford 2011). In this theory Harvey argues that anti-capitalist movements today must address “mental  conceptions;” uses and abuses of nature; how to build real communities; workers relations to bosses; exploitation, oppression, and racism; and the relations between capital and the state. While a tall order, the co-revolutionary theory suggests the breadth of struggles that need to be embraced to bring about real revolution.

Harvey’s work mirrors many analysts who address the deepening crises of capitalism and the spread of human misery everywhere. It is increasingly clear to vast majorities of people, despite media mystification, that the primary engine of destruction is global finance capitalism and political institutions that have increasingly become its instrumentality. Harvey’s work parallels the insights of Naomi Klein, Joseph Stiglitz, Robert Reich, Noam Chomsky, and a broad array of economists, historians, trade unionists, peace and justice activists and thousands of bloggers and Facebook commentators.

Of course, these theorists could not have known the ways in which the connections between the co-revolutionary theory and practice would unfold. Most agreed that we are living through a global economic crisis in which wealth and power is increasingly concentrated in fewer and fewer hands (perhaps a global ruling class), and human misery, from joblessness, to hunger, to disease, to environmental devastation is spreading.

But history has shown that such misery can survive for long periods of time with little active resistance. Even though activists in labor, in communities of color, in anti-colonial/anti-neo-colonial settings are always organizing, their campaigns usually create little traction. But sometimes, such as in 2011 (and in response to the police killing of George Floyd in 2020), mass mobilizations occur. And they facilitate the ongoing organizing that already is going on. In 2016 the Bernie Sanders candidacy inspired a generation of activists. Since then, many joined existing socialist organizations as a new round of militancy grew among youth, women, African Americans, workers, environmentalists, and peace activists. Since 2016 a broad array of people began to publicly say “enough is enough.”

Where do we go from here? I think “co-revolutionary theory” would answer “everywhere”. Marxists are right to see the lives of people as anchored in their ability to produce and reproduce themselves, their families, and their communities. The right to a job at a living wage remains central to all the ferment. But in the twenty-first century this basic motivator for consciousness and action is more comprehensively and intimately connected to trade unions, education, health care, sustainable environments, opposition to racism and sexism, and peace. So all these motivations are part of the same struggle. And activists are beginning to make the connections between the struggles. As Harvey suggests, “An anti-capitalist political movement can start anywhere…. The trick is to keep the political movement moving from one moment to another in mutually reinforcing ways.”

On Resistance
As this recent election season comes to a close, activists need to see their work as part of an historic process. Whatever the outcomes of the 2022 elections the multiple struggles for progressive change, and indeed movement towards socialism will continue. Electoral work will continue. Movement building work will continue. And addressing singular issues such as health care, the environment, workers’ rights, anti-racism, anti-patriarchy will also continue.
And some time these movements and campaigns will need to address the question of resistance. Gene Sharp, peace researcher, identified 198 non-violent ways in which activists can resist repression and build for social change. He and others have argued that in the long-run non-violent actions have yielded significant positive results.

And Dr. King in his historic “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” has argued that some times resistance requires embracing a “higher law” when civil law does not address profound human grievances. In sum, education, advocacy, and organizing requires action as well and that action might pit the activists in contradistinction to those who resist humane and necessary change.

In the end, the election trope promulgated by the powerful and their friends in the corporate media serve to minimize the mass impulse to endorse and work for social change. If progressives lose, the message is that pursuing change is hopeless. If progressives win, the trope suggests, the need for waking the sleeping giant, the masses, is not necessary.
However, whatever the election outcome, the struggle must continue.

In case you missed it!
Past months 4th Monday's programs.
Report on the results of the 20th Congress
of the Communist Party of China
October 31

Presentation by Duncan McFarland,
cochair of the CCDS Socialist Education Project

sponsored by Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism

The Left, Progressives and Social Media-- October 2021

November Fourth Monday: Assessment of COP 26, US-China cooperation and future prospects:
Fourth Monday in September, watch here: IDEOLOGICAL HEGEMONY AND HIGHER EDUCATION
From the CCDS Socialist Education Project...
A China Reader

Edited by Duncan McFarland

A project of the CCDS Socialist Education Project and Online University of the Left

244 pages, $20 (discounts available for quantity), order at :

The book is a selection of essays offering keen insight into the nature of China and its social system, its internal debates, and its history. It includes several articles on the US and China and the growing efforts of friendship between the Chinese and American peoples.

Click here for the Table of Contents

Taking Down White Supremacy 

A Reader on Multiracial and Multinational Unity 

Edited by the CCDS
Socialist Education Project

166 pages, $12.50 (discounts available for quantity), order at :

This collection of 20 essays brings together a variety of articles-theoretical, historical, and experiential-that address multi-racial, multi-national unity. The book provides examples theoretically and historically, of efforts to build multi-racial unity in the twentieth century.

      Click here for the Table of contents
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