By the Incendiary Editorial Board
Revolutionaries in Austin initiated a boycott campaign against the 2020 US elections in a dramatic way, egging a local politician, Heidi Sloan, part of the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA), who is running for a congressional House district. The Austin DSA is known for formerly having police union organizers in leadership, co-opting the people’s struggles, and has also protected fascists at their own anti-war rally.
While being the subject of much debate, the initiation of the campaign certainly forces the media owned by the ruling class to take notice of the election boycott for the first time. Maoists and organizations which support them have been organizing election boycotts since 2016 against the Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton campaigns, boycotts which by and large were ignored for the first few years. The fact that the ruling-class media can no longer ignore them can only be considered a success.
The ruling-class media outlet KXAN, was compelled to publish images of the election boycott wall paintings carried out by revolutionaries in Austin, and quoted Congressional candidate Heidi Sloan as saying the election boycott is “a form of voter suppression. That is continuing to propagate oppression we have seen for too long. And I think it’s time we speak out against that,” a bold claim which deserves comment.
Suppression means to disallow someone from doing what they want to do, it does not include encouraging people who have no faith in electoral politics and already abstain from voting for this reason to make their stance a concrete political one in the form of a boycott. Boycotts are taken up by those who believe in them, in opposition to the electoral farce.
Sloan, like many politicians, serves the interests of the ruling class, and when election season rolls around they go out among the people and beg for votes and donations, they attempt to browbeat and humiliate the masses into going backward into voting, legitimizing a system which does not serve them. Her view can only derive from not talking to the majority of those living in the US who do not vote, failing to ask them why they do not vote, and why they do not believe in voting.
Mark, a resident in central Austin, told activists during the 2016 election boycott campaign “I voted for Obama in the 2008 elections and I came to really regret it.” He said, “I felt dirty and I felt tricked, this guy wasted no time in supporting the wars started by Bush and he continued to deport people and even carried out extensive drone bombings.”
Since the 2008 election, Mark and many others just like him have become disillusioned, they have come to see the spectacle of US elections for what they are, a scam run on working people’s frustrations.
In times of crisis, the ruling class in the imperialist countries like the US begin to run into problems gathering support for their mainstream ruling class parties, and in response they accept politics which divert significantly from their business-as-usual model. This is seen in Trump’s support base, and in Trump himself who was elected on the basis of not being an “establishment candidate,” exactly how Clinton portrayed herself to a fault. Many Trump voters would come to regret their decision, resulting in Trump having one of the lowest approval ratings of all time.
The “Democratic Socialists,” having always been anti-communist, enter the scene on the same basis, claiming that they are not the typical establishment candidates. All the while they serve as a face-lift for the establishment, namely the Democratic Party, and their promises are just as hollow. “Democratic Socialism” is just a rewording of Social-Democracy, a class collaborationist idea that “socialism” can be voted in and coexist with capitalism without any major disruption of the imperialist system which props up the US.
Their lack of disruption of imperialism extends to their role as social fascists, using a distorted socialist politics to distract the people while fascism grows. This is what Sloan herself has done as part of the Austin DSA leadership during an anti-war rally last week. As she gave her election speech, two well-known fascists, Christopher Ritchie and Colin Whites from the Texas Nomads, as well as reactionary media outlet Infowars, were allowed to remain at DSA’s rally, earning praise from the fascists themselves. The DSA organizers harbored the fascists as they drowned out the antifascist community members who were agitating for the rally to expel the fascists.
The “Democratic Socialists” understand that working people are tired of going without the things they need and consequently have a growing interest in socialism, so they seek to broker deals with the people who inflict misery on the working class, always seeking compromise between the exploited and the exploiters. In reality there can be no equality or fairness between those exploited and the people who exploit them, this is a power imbalance that the “Democratic Socialists” constantly gloss over. Essentially, in the name of bread crumb social welfare bureaucracy, they seek to drive the working people back into the swamp of elections, giving life support to capitalism and making a mockery of socialism.
History gives the best testimony that major reforms are won through class struggle and revolutionary violence, the 8 hour work day is a prime example, and for this reason it is celebrated every May 1 on International Workers Day.
When Democrats, liberals, or “Democratic Socialists” are elected, they never hesitate to blame working people for their own failures, they tell us that they can only do so much inside of the system and need a mass protest movement to make anything happen; they show rare honesty with this claim. It is true that they cannot do anything for the working class, it is true that the system is built for the propertied elite, and it is true that mass protests and mass uprisings can accomplish far more than they ever can, yet the mass movement can and must accomplish it without the politicians. When they see miserable conditions, they know they cannot end them, they simply see an opportunity to get ahead politically, and this is why politicians are some of the most despised people socially.
So politicians blame people for seeing through voting and abstaining from the farce, and they blame revolutionaries for boycotting the farce. They blame the people who voted for them for not protesting for them, they blame and blame and blame, but never are they self-aware of their own maneuvers. “Democratic Socialists” like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, will even make bold, and ultimately meaningless claims like they will “abolish ICE,” and yet at the first opportunity, she voted for a package which increased financing for the very agency which she claimed to want to abolish: more lies, and when confronted she will lie again.
When it comes down to it, politicians, their paid staff, and their true believers will even pay lip service to “revolution” as Ron Paul or Bernie Sanders have done, but in the end they are all more or less like Sloan, who sees revolutionary politics as inherently “suppressive.” Not only are they for participating in a rigged system expecting fair play, but they roundly condemn and denounce anyone who refuses to follow their stupidity into the bog of this system’s politics.
“Democratic Socialists,” as worthy as they are of being despised like their revisionist counterparts (capitalists who claim to be communists), have no real electoral success, and when their campaigns meet the inevitable limits, they always endorse some Democrat whom they admit is too conservative. In essence, every one of their campaigns is a campaign for the dominant Democratic Party.
They do this invariably and often use the same argument of “supporting the lesser of two-evils” all the while the Democrats and Republicans alike march steadily to the right and slash workers’ rights. Showing that “Democratic Socialists” are part of the parasitic system which they hope to grow in, they are pessimistic about progressive changes taking place without legitimizing the ruling order. To them, boycotting evil is the greatest evil of all, and everyone should just support evil and not fight against it.
Revolutionaries like the ones in Austin that initiated the 2020 election boycott are optimists, they see the potential of everyday people to fight back, they understand that the capitalist system only serves the rich and that this system has no potential to actually serve the people. They understand that it is the common people who make history, while politicians take credit and rake in profits. They understand that by going into a plague house like electoral politics, you come out with the plague.
Sloan wasted no time, making unsubstantiated claims that Incendiary, as well as the movement which we report on, are all part of the now disbanded “Red Guards Austin.” This is an effort to use red-baiting, that is, to label an organization or individual as a part of an illegal communist organization in a pejorative way to discredit them. The ruling class media outlet, KXAN, at least this time did due diligence and did not make the same claim.
Red Guards, while it no longer exists, was one of the organizations our paper was proud to support, Incendiary is red news in service of the people and the revolutionary struggles emerging in the US. Incendiary has never hidden its aims, nor has it shied away from defense of the communist cause. Incendiary reports partisan journalism from the perspective of the oppressed and exploited, mainly the working class, and any claims that media or news which do not serve one class against another are false.
Sloan’s red-baiting does not harm or affect the revolutionary movement; she relies on old McCarthyite anti-communist hysteria, in a world that has moved on from such concerns. Her interests sit squarely with legitimizing the fake democracy of the ruling class, against revolutionary democracy, which can only be won and accomplished by means of the working class seizing power by force. In the words of Karl Marx, one of the greatest thinkers of the modern era, “The Communists disdain to conceal their views and aims. They openly declare that their ends can be attained only by the forcible overthrow of all existing social conditions. Let the ruling classes tremble at a Communistic revolution. The proletarians have nothing to lose but their chains. They have a world to win.”
Incendiary proudly supports the boycott of the 2020 election, and amplifies the slogan of the revolutionaries: Elections, No! Revolution, Yes!
We encourage all our readers to support the election boycott by joining Incendiary Support Committees, contact us for details, flyers, posters, or articles which you can distribute in your neighborhood or worksite.