The ‘we must build an independent worker’s movement’ isn’t working

The difficulty lies not so much in developing new ideas as in escaping from old ones.

If I hear one more leftie say in response to the insane turmoil of our current moment that we must ignore politics as usual and instead build an independent worker’s movement, I’m going to scream.

This is wrong on so many levels and in so many ways. First off, the fightback against Trump needs to be, wait for it, a fight against Trump, and not some wishful thinking about a movement decades in the future. Nothing progressive can happen until Trump is gone. Nothing. You want a better future? Reducing Trump to smoking rubble on Nov. 3 will make a real good start on that.

WMBAIWM isn’t happening

As for the whole tired trope that the only way the left can succeed is by building that mythical independent worker’s movement, well, I have copies of Osawatomie. It was a magazine by the Weather Underground who were real live fire-breathing bomb-throwing Marxist radicals. They also spoke of building this movement. In 1975, 45 years ago… The movement has yet to happen. Go back to radical publications from the 1950s and 1930s. They say the same thing. WMBAIWM (We Must Build An Independent Worker’s Movement.) And it hasn’t happened.

Why hasn’t it happened? Yes, I know capitalism is a wily beast that reinvents itself quickly to respond to new situations and threats. This is made worse by WMBAIWM insisting on using the same Marxist organizing ploy (Yes, it is Marxist, deal with it) for decades expecting that surely this time will be different and the workers will finally rise up. Instead, there are crickets. Maybe it’s time to dump old ideas and get some new ones.

Perhaps a better way is to work ferociously now to destroy Trump and to take back the Senate. Then take those victories and move on to organizing and winning on new issues. But first, Trump has to be humiliated and broken. The next few months are going to be probably the most vicious politically that most of us have ever experienced. So, get into the fight, and fight hard. Long-term goals like independent worker’s movments are important. But not at the detriment of immediate fights that must be fought now.

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