Democratic Socialism and Taking Power – Brief Thoughts

I am dedicated to Democratic Socialism, but I also am uncertain on the question of how to take power. Right now, the socialist movement seems to be years, if not decades, from having any sort of mass power. Most of the left is scattered in silos, doing important stuff, but not working together. Capitalism makes it very hard to actually work together, we all have to spend most of our time just doing basic sustenance, working jobs, etc. Creating a revolution is not something most of us have time to do.

I can see the ingredients for a mass revolution across a broad range of society,but I also see structural obstacles to any short-term transformation of the State or Capitalism. Before Occupy Wall Street, I would have said we didn’t have mass support for ending capitalism, but OWS and the nationwide movement was pretty damn impressive, except for its fatal lack of trans-local organization. I joined the Socialsit Party USA after the end of OWS because it became clear to me that we needed a principled Socialist Party to mobilize that energy.

The Bernie Sanders campaign is also opportunistically feeding off that energy behind OWS as well, but that campaign is tied to a fatal engagement with the Democratic Party and the political establishment that is embedded in capitalism. However, the speed with which Bernie was able to mobilize a “soft socialist” movement, indicates that this radical emancipatory energy is still out there, watching for a moment when the structural barriers begin to weaken.

If the ruling class begins to truly fall apart – and come on, Hillary or Trump? that shit is going to go badly – then a socialist party that is healthy and vibrant could become a vehicle for real change.

There’s still a lot of work for us to do before we get to that point.

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