A modest proposal on joint propaganda (Jay Leslie)
During the last Presidential campaign, I made a half serious proposal to Freedom Socialist write-in candidate for President, Stephen Durham. After the election, why not get together representatives of different socialist groups ,and some movement folks, and construct a “shadow cabinet?”
Such a formation would serve a couple of purposes. It could issue joint political communiques on current events and serve to differentiate how a government of workers and oppressed peoples would handle these issues — as opposed to the current band of scoundrels in Washington. For instance, such a “cabinet “ could have offered alternatives to the stage managed “shutdown” of the Federal government and exposed the roles played by the twin parties of the ruling class. Imagine how a socialist perspective on healthcare could have changed the Obamacare debate.
This in no way requires that any of the participating organizations give up their organizational infrastructure or independence. That said, this would require joint discussion amongst the participants and may have the additional side-effect of encouraging some cooperation between organizations on the ground.
As I have said before, the notion of “regroupment” is, in my opinion, at best premature. Too many political differences exist on the left and simply gluing different groups together would make for a disastrous “franken-party” which in incapable of action. I do think that there are numerous issues- like the fight for a $15 minimum wage, anti-austerity work, reproductive rights, building opposition to mass incarceration,and the struggle for public education (to name a few) – where the united front method could be applied.
It occurs to me that we are on the verge of a political situation which is radically different from what we have faced for the past 30 plus years. Starting with the Wisconsin revolt and the Arab revolutions and followed by Occupy and the election of Kshama Sawant — the first socialist to hold office in Seattle in decades — I think we are seeing the opening episodes of a genuine class fightback. This, of course, will require that we learn/relearn how to talk to “real” people and shed the old sectarian habits of the past. It also means making our organizations places that working people feel comfortable in.