We need independence from the capitalist parties and their representatives

  • Statement about: Jovanka Beckles and Gayle McLaughlin
  • For these candidates: I oppose endorsing these candidates.
  • Summary: We can't start to solve the crying need for a working class party while supporting candidates of a capitalist party.

Written by East Bay DSA member John Reimann

The estimated 30% of union members who voted for Trump epitomizes the mass confusion in the US working class. This confusion is summarized by the absence of a mass, working class party. EBDSA can make a real contribution towards building such a party by running independent, working class representatives for local office, representatives who link the local issues to the need to build such a working class party. Yet history proves that we cannot seriously start to build a working class party while supporting ANY candidates of the Democratic Party.

Nowhere is this more clear than in Oakland, where the Oakland A's are proposing to build a new stadium across the street from Laney Community College. If built, that stadium would vastly accelerate the gentrification of Oakland and would seriously threaten the continued existence of Laney, which has long been a central gathering place for Oakland's working class youth. (Note: The owner of the A's is both a real estate gentrifier and a political associate of Betsey DeVos.) Yet the entire liberal Democratic establishment is trying to figure out a way to push this proposal through. That's because they're all tied in with the real estate developers.

Jovanka Beckles is running as a Democrat. While McLaughlin is not on the Democratic Party ticket, she has said that she is going to base her campaign around the Bernie Sanders organization, meaning the liberal wing of the Democrats. Inevitably, these two will be sucked into Democratic Party politics.

Some time ago, the Eugene Debs Caucus of EBDSA proposed to the Local Council that it initiate an open discussion around running its own working class candidates for local office. Unfortunately, the Council was unwilling to do so at that time. It is not too late to start now. It is not too late for EBDSA to start to seriously address the huge issue that is on the minds of so many working class Oakland residents, especially people of color – the issue of gentrification.

Rejection of these endorsements would be a start, but only a start. We should go from there to systematically taking up the issue of gentrification, propose a socialist solution to the issue, link it with the specifics such as the A's ball park proposal (which also involves further privatization), explain how the entire political establishment in cities like Oakland is tied in with the real estate developers, and run our own working class, socialist candidates for local office.

If not now, when? If not us, who?

The statement above is the opinion of its author and does not necessarily represent the opinions of East Bay DSA, its local council, or its members.