The US Elections and Centrism, PTS-Left Voice By Dov Winter

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02/12/2020 by socialistfight

Trump supporters rally against the election result, as requested by their President.

The US elections brought out centrist confusion. This should not be a surprise. I chose to analyze the method of Argentine PTS (en el Frente de Izquierda) to illustrate this. In an article about the election in the US Left Voice. created a centrist confusion to the point of emphasizing Trump’s “strength”. We are informed that support for Trump is growing:

“far from being an all-out rejection of the president, this election showed the strength of Trumpism, with a historic turnout. In the choice between the neoliberal establishment and right-wing populist rhetoric, the margins were razor thin.” [1]

A national US oriented article

One of the main errors in the article is that it is basically a national US oriented article. Trump’s “strength” is not put in international context. As the international crisis (Covid and the massive unemployment) is intensified, right-wing parties and open fascist parties are growing throughout the world. This is happening, of course, because the working class, in its own name, has not entered the fray because of the usual timidity of the unions’ bureaucracy and others who claim to fight for the working class.

In a sense, Left Voice repeats the Spartacist method of exaggerating the “evilness” of the Democrats. It is simply not true that the margins between the Democrats and the Republicans were razor thin. Biden got 5,540,012 more votes than Trump got. This is not a landslide. But it is neither a razor thin.

What is disturbing about the article is that it attacked Biden ruthlessly, while Trump almost gets a free ride. The article accused both Trump and Biden of sexual assaults. This is simply not true in regard to Biden. Why does Left Voice have to get to this low level of attacks, while there is plenty of political meat to attack Biden? The article also tells us that Biden run on a Law and Order campaign like Trump, which is again false. This is not to say that Biden in power will not use Law and Order to attack the working class. But this is not the theme that he run on as a candidate. To complement the theme of Biden’s Law and Order, Left Voice informs us that:

“Biden: a reactionary racist who supported segregation and ran a law and order campaign.” (Ibid)

Why the need to exaggerate? Biden renounced his support for segregation long time ago, and he did not run openly on a Law and Order ticket. Such exaggeration only turns off workers who have some illusions in the Democrats, but who are willing to listen to criticism. For Marxists, accurate criticism is not just an option, it is critical in reaching the working class.

Yet, we are informed by Left Voice that: “he [Biden] promised nothing would change.” (Ibid) Obviously, this is pretty much a stupid statement. The Democrats run on the usual empty promises to improve the life of the working class, while they prepare to do the opposite while in power. But you don’t win workers by telling them that there are no differences between the Democrats and Trump. The truth is that the Democrats make idle promises that they ignore after coming to power, and that both parties are subordinated to Wall Street. Left Voice knows this, but many workers do not know this. Writing false analysis only alienated the workers from the left. To top a false analysis after another, Left Voice informs us that:

“Biden chose to campaign hard in defense of Obamacare, which isn’t actually very popular.” (Ibid)

Working class consciousness

This only illustrates that Left Voice does not have a clue about working class consciousness in the US. It is the exact opposite. Obamacare is very popular within the working class. It is a life-saver for many workers who do not have any private insurance. Obamacare is, of course, inadequate.

We should fight to replace it with real universal health care in which the workers should get free top quality health care fully financed by Capital that should be as good as the health care the capitalists and their politicians receive. But the workers will not listen to you when you tell them that Obamacare is not popular, they know that it is popular.

Another bad error by Left Voice is their underestimation of the danger of the growing dangers of fascism. I already pointed out that they underestimate the rise of fascism internationally. This reflects on their estimation of fascism in the US. Left Voice writes that:

“the neo-fascist sector of Trump’s base — which is a small but vocal part of his electoral coalition — will continue to play a role in politics, as well as in the streets.” (Ibid)

The fascist base (I hate the neo-fascist terminology which is confusing and not scientific) of Trump is not small, it is large and it is growing. The fascists supporters of Trump attack and kill liberals and leftists. Even liberal press such as the Guardian points this out. And plenty bourgeois commentators talk about the rise of fascism in the US. We need to warn the workers about this without mincing words. Revolutionaries should call for the formation of Unions’ based defence guards to protect the demonstrations from fascist attacks. It was, in fact, done to some extent, when working class women locked arms to defend the demonstrators from fascist attacks.

But the main problem of the article is the conclusion. The article concludes that:

“we need to meet attacks on the working class with an independent political force that counters both parties of capital and provides a real alternative and path to socialism. . . Rather than continue to work within bourgeois parties, our immediate task as socialists is to build organizations of our own and show the working class that the parties of Wall Street cannot bring about our liberation.” (Ibid)

Build a Labor/Workers Party

So, what is wrong with that? It does not offer anything concrete. Somehow, socialists expose Wall Street “and provides a real alternative and path to socialism”. Left Voice rejects the fight to build a Labor/Workers Party. It expects the workers to skip this stage and start the socialist revolution. But it will not work this way. History has shown that the workers are unlikely to skip the Labor Party stage. Whenever there are massive strikes, the question of the Labor Party comes up. I have been in a number of occasions in which the question of the Labor Party was discussed in unions meetings. The Left wing of the bureaucracy raises the labor party question and then quietly forgets it when the class struggle return to low levels. But the workers are very open to to the building of a Labor Party when they feel their strength during important strikes.

It is critical to pose a working class alternative to the Democratic Party. Whether a Labor Party will be built in the midst of massive class struggle remains to be seen. It depends on the number of factors. The existence of a strong revolutionary party could bypass this stage. But the demand for a workers/labor party is an important part of the program that provide the working class an alternative to the Democrats: A labor party based on the unions and the organizations of the oppressed.

Typical of centrism, Left Voice wavers between opportunism (the talk about the “strength of Trumpism”) and sectarianism (no need to fight for a labor party). But I think that overall Left Voice is not a lost cause. There is hope that the struggle against their errors can still move them into the revolutionary road. But for this to happen a true revolutionary international still has to be built.


[1], Biden Wins, but the Capitalist Crisis That Created Trumpism Is Here to Stay ▲

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