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2016 is shaping up to be a year of social movements: Black Lives Matter, trans-equity, teachers and workers struggles. It is also an election year, and one candidate, Bernie Sanders, has activists and organizers across the country “feeling the bern.” But is the enthusiasm justified, will electing good politicians lead to substantial change?The case of Kshama Sawant shows that no matter how good the candidate, business as usual rules in elected office.
This article is part of an ongoing series called “Socialist faces in high places” looking at the left in relation to the electoral path and state power.
greece / turkey / cyprus / the left Thursday August 20, 2015 17:11 by Enrique Guerrero-López and Adam Weaver
Syriza’s rise to power elicited widespread praise from the left internationally, inspiring renewed enthusiasm for the possibilities and promise of “mass left” party building in and outside the United States. At a rally celebrating Syriza’s electoral victory in Spain, Pablo Iglesias, secretary general of the Spanish anti-austerity party Podemos, declared that “the sun of hope rose over Greece.”
Karl Marx once said that history repeats itself, first as a tragedy then as a farce. A case in point is that in South Africa sections of the left are once again calling for a mass workers’ party (MWP) to be formed to contest elections – this they believe will bring us closer to revolution. History says otherwise.Of course the new calls for a MWP stem from the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA) breaking from the African National Congress (ANC). As an outcome NUMSA is exploring the possibility of setting up a MWP to contest elections. Many Marxist and leftist influenced organisations, but also cadres within NUMSA, are therefore providing reasons why activists should be interested in such a party.
Across Europe, the left is excited by Syriza topping the polls in the Greek election. Some on the left have gone so far as to suggest the election itself will mark the end of austerity policies, in the terminology of the Anglo left, an end to the idea that There Is No Alternative (TINA).Another indication that something of significance is happening is that ahead of the election a new wave of capital flight has started from Greece with an estimated 8 billion transferred out of the country over the last few weeks. From an anarchist, non electoralist perspective we might hope that Syriza’s election represents the high water mark of the swing to electoralism that came out of the defeat of mass resistance to the imposition of the crisis. That won’t be today or tomorrow, it will take a period of weeks for Syriza to have been in power long enough to demonstrate that the problem with the old electoral left was not reducible to corrupt social democrats and lying politicians. Rather it is in the nature of the electoral system, a system that takes in young idealist transformers and spits out older, corrupt defenders of the status quo.
Read Also:L’hypothèse grecque Organisation Socialiste Libertaire
brazil/guyana/suriname/fguiana / a esquerda Saturday September 13, 2014 13:51 by Coordenação Anarquista Brasileira (CAB)
Eleições: A saída à esquerda não é nas urnas, mas nas ruas!
Para nós Socialistas Libertários, a política dos de baixo não se faz nas urnas, mas no cotidiano do protagonismo de classe e da ação direta. Falar disso no atual momento não significa mais remeter a abstrações ou ao passado “dos anos dourados dos movimentos de massa”, mas remeter a algo que evoca no imaginário coletivo um real exercício do poder do povo.Sem sermos ingênuos acreditando que só ir as ruas basta, sabemos que a falta de organização de base fragiliza os processos de mobilização e facilitam as tentativas de controle pelos dominantes. Deste modo, nossa aposta é nas Ruas como espaço privilegiado da ação política, mas também é a aposta na organização horizontal e de base que fortalece a ação direta, com uma agenda popular que delibera, encaminha e executa seu programa: um programa dos de baixo, que não delega poder a nenhum político de plantão. Ou se vota com os de cima, ou se organiza e se luta com os de baixo!
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