“Golden Bullets of Dollarism”

By Bonnie Weinstein

Fight Back

A Collection of Socialist Essays

by Sylvia Weinstein

“The oppressed are allowed once every few years to decide which particular representatives of the oppressing class are to represent and repress them.” —Karl Marx

The Democratic Party is not the “lesser evil” party. In fact, Harry S. Truman, as the Democratic Party President of the United States, was responsible for carrying out the dropping of the atomic bombs, “Little Boy” on Hiroshima on August 6, 1945 and “Fat Man” on Nagasaki on August 9, 1945, that resulted in between 129,000 and 226,000 people, mostly civilians, being killed instantly—the only use of nuclear weapons in armed combat in the world to date.

Truman didn’t do this on his own, but with the consent of the commanders of what would become the most powerful capitalist countries in the world.

There has been a discussion regarding the pros and cons of supporting Democratic Party candidates who call themselves socialists and who “use the Democratic Party ballot line” to get elected.

The underlying rationale is that the Democratic Party is the lesser evil of the two main capitalist parties, the Democrats and Republicans. However, all capitalist parties are under the control of the imperialist commanders of capital lock, stock and barrel—with their fingers on the triggers of the biggest nuclear arsenals on the planet.

They can’t be transformed into parties representing those of us who the capitalists oppress—the working class—nor can they allow their candidates, no matter what they call themselves, to represent anything but the needs of the capitalist class. And this includes Bernie Sanders who is credited with popularizing “socialism.”

People, like Sanders, who call themselves socialists and consciously use the Democratic Party to further their political careers, instead of using their status to defend the working class, use their socialist rhetoric to further their political careers and draw workers into the Democratic Party.

These people are career politicians. Their goal is to either move up from Mayor to Governor to Senator to President, or, at least, to keep a career in “politics.” They have not entered into politics to end capitalism.

Bernie Sanders is not part of an independent revolutionary socialist organization nor is he trying to build such an organization outside of the Democratic Party.

Critical support to Democratic Party candidates is based on the idea that capitalism can be significantly reformed through its electoral process and will aid in winning reforms for the working class.

While winning reforms are certainly a part of the struggle of workers—equal pay for equal work, free universal healthcare and education for all, housing for all—these will never be realized by electing candidates that are part of the parties of the capitalist class.

They will only be realized, as they always have, by mass action and organization outside of, and wholly independent of those parties, and in unity and solidarity with one another.

Austerity reforms?

As revolutionary socialists we recognize that capitalism can’t grant all the reforms workers need. At this stage of the descent of capitalism into barbarism the only thing the capitalist system can offer workers is austerity—the choice between less and less. This is what’s happening everywhere across the globe.

As revolutionary socialists we know that no socio-economic transformation of society has ever been achieved through reforms within the power structure of that society.

Supporting (critically or otherwise) candidates of the parties of the capitalist class is deceptive because it implies that the system can be changed through such reforms as long as we elect the correct capitalist candidates.

The only solution is socialist

Workers’ democratic control over the means of production and the establishment of socialism is the only solution to austerity, unending war and the destruction of our environment. And it is the only road to the reversal of the current descent into barbarism.

Working class democratic control over society is the goal of revolutionary socialism and, practically speaking, the only thing that will save the world.

This cannot be reformed into being. Supporting radical sounding or so-called socialist candidates of capitalist parties (because one can’t really distinguish between them) muddies the truth that the system of capitalism itself is the real enemy of the working class.

Reforms and revolution

Revolutionary socialism is not just about fighting for reforms or demands. World capitalism is no longer able to grant those demands.

The $15.00-per-hour minimum wage, while it’s better than nothing, is ridiculously inadequate. Even in the poorest areas of the country where $15.00-per-hour would be a living wage, there aren’t enough jobs to be had in the first place. And in the majority of the cities and towns in this country one would need at least three, full-time $15.00-per-hour jobs just to rent a three-room apartment, let alone support a family. Those are the facts. We are beyond pressuring elected officials to grant these tiny reforms that don’t count.

We need to organize independently of the capitalist class and their parties. We need to show the working class that we have strength and power on our own because we do. This is Socialism, (i.e., Marxism) 101. Supporting the candidates of capitalist parties weakens us. It ties our hands to the capitalist system to resolve our problems. It’s a dead end.

Reformism is not the same as revolutionary socialism. We can’t make that distinction clear if we lend our support to capitalist politicians no matter what they call themselves.

Conveniently, the four liberal Democratic candidates running for President, Cory Booker (Democrat, New Jersey;) Kamala Harris (Democrat, California;) Elizabeth Warren, (Democrat, Massachusetts;) and Bernie Sanders, (Independent from Vermont who calls himself a socialist;) did not vote against H.R. 3877, the two-year Bipartisan Budget Act of 2019, which increases military and domestic spending by $320 billion over two years. Instead, they simply did not vote.1

But Bernie has voted for war, money for Israel, etc., in the past. And he asked us to vote for one of the most brutal war mongers ever running for president, Hillary Clinton, with his campaign slogan of “follow me to Hillary” after his bid for the nomination went down the tubes.

Yes, it is good people are talking about socialism, but it’s the job of revolutionary socialists to clarify what socialism means and how it will be achieved—specifically through mass, independent struggle of the working class and our allies. Calling capitalist candidates socialists will not clarify anything.

The pro-capitalist, imperialist leaders of the Democratic Party didn’t have to do anything to get Sanders to capitulate and support Hillary. When he saw the polls showing Trump moving ahead, he folded all on his own.

And that’s the point. Bernie’s idea of socialism is the Swedish or Norwegian model. But those countries are also enforcing austerity—cutting back on social welfare programs and privatizing them because they are capitalist countries that called themselves socialist to win over their population.

Workers in those countries are finding it necessary to augment their healthcare with private insurance packages that offer what austerity has cut.

U.S. insurance companies are descending on those countries like flies on shit to sell their insurance policies, further cutting back the living standards of workers. It’s happening throughout the world.

Therein lies the problem. Sanders has already capitulated once and he will again because he’s not really a socialist. The capitalist class would never allow a real socialist candidate to run under their banner and, more importantly, out of their control.

Directing workers to put their all into such campaigns as Sanders’ takes the wind out of the real, necessary, independent organizing and action of the working class.

It gives false hope that electing a candidate or participating in electoral politics alone can achieve all the reforms workers need to survive—all the reforms the world needs to keep the planet from being destroyed.

Building a mass workers party

The only good reason for participating in capitalist electoral politics is to facilitate the building of a mass, independent workers party and movement that can effectively challenge the rule of capital.

We know that the only solution to the plight of the working class and the planet is socialist revolution—the complete overthrow of the capitalist mode of production for profit and replacing it with a system of production for want and need, democratically controlled by the working class—to end hunger, homelessness, oppression and inequality.

To achieve this, we have to build an independent working class electoral intervention. This cannot just be an independent struggle for demands, which are an essential component of our struggle—but we must build a mass labor party that is totally independent of the parties of the bosses.

This is the fundamental first stage for the working class to realize our power to actually take control of society and structure it to our advantage in diametric opposition to capitalism.

There is no shortcut to this essential work. If we, as revolutionary socialists don’t advocate the necessity of this—teach the lessons of the mistakes that were made that lead to World Wars I and II—then we will be faced with World War III and, most probably, the end of the human species.

This is our most fundamental task. We can’t substitute fake socialism for the real thing. It will only lead to defeat and demoralization.

 History has shown us that defeat and demoralization delays the deepening of consciousness of workers. It leads us to think, “what the hell’s the use of fighting when it will only lead to defeat?”

Winning real reforms through independent working class struggle will lead to the realization of our power and strength and encourage us to continue the fight.

Only through working class independent organization and action will we feel our own power and realize that those who have taken away the reforms we have won in the past are our class enemies who can’t be trusted and must be removed from power over us.

The question is just that, how to organize the fight against oppression and exploitation while raising the consciousness of the working class that capitalism itself is the problem.

This can’t be achieved if we support the candidates of the parties of capital—the parties of war, racism, sexism and oppression of the masses of humanity on the planet. It is an oxymoron to support capitalist politicians while fighting capitalism.

A small yet profound case in point

On April 20, 2019, The New Afrikan Black Panther Party (NABPP) organized a demonstration2 in Newark, New Jersey, in front of West Side High School to protest a proposed new youth prison to be built near the school—a real life example of the school-to-prison pipeline.

It was pointed out that the school is situated with an elementary school behind it, a playground across the street, a graveyard next door, and, if the prison were to be built, a direct pipeline from elementary school, to high school, to prison and then the graveyard.

It was a very small demonstration but subsequent demonstrations took place in May protesting more prisons in New Jersey. And on May 18th there was a large and vocal demonstration of hundreds of youth protesting the prison system.

Lessons from the April 20th demonstration

New Jersey Revolution Radio recorded interviews with the organizers of the April 20, demonstration called by the NABPP.

At the very end of the YouTube video, Shaka Sankofa Zulu, the chairman of the Newark chapter of the New Afrikan Black Panther Party railed against Newark’s Democratic Mayor, Ras Baraka who, before he was elected stated, “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere,” and promised to be Newark’s “radical” Mayor who was described as being a “native son from activist royalty.”3

Chairman Shaka then gave his remarks in front of West Side High School:

“...Ras Baraka used the golden bullets of dollarism to seduce the activists in this community and as a result, the job they have, the car they have, the status they have is more important than a child’s life—more important than a child’s future. ...We’re going to be here...because we’re not going to stand for a Black capitalist or a white capitalist or any kind of capitalist to come into our community to take the money out of town by sundown—and Ras Baraka is doing that.

“...Our children are dying; our children are crying; our parents are helpless, hopeless, our community is blighted. ...Don’t tell me, ‘I’m a Mayor today so I can’t be an activist’...because it’s not about seizing power and then your responsibility ends. It’s about building the nation—about building the people.

“Ras Baraka, they put you there because they thought you was going to build the nation, build the city but instead you are throwing kids to the wolves, to the hyenas, the vulture capitalists, the hedge fund managers. ...Ras Baraka wants to build a prison to tear the community down, to put more cops on the street. Shame on you, Ras Baraka.

“...And Martin Luther King said something...and Malcolm X said it too, ‘Do not allow yourself to be seduced by the trappings of the enemy system because they will weaken your resolve to be strong.’ We this prison. We’re gonna put our lives on the line. ...And Ras Baraka, over our dead bodies will we allow you to incarcerate our children’s future.”4

There can be no clearer example today of the wrong-thinking of giving support—critical or otherwise—to any candidate representing the parties of the capitalist class no matter what they call themselves or how radical they sound.

They represent the class enemy of the working class.

Our power is in our unity and complete independence from the capitalist class and their political parties.

Only by organizing independent, revolutionary socialist parties of the working class we will finally realize our power to end capitalism and establish socialism everywhere and for everyone.


2 View the full video of the New Afrikan Black Panther Party protest, on April 19, 2019, of a proposed new youth prison near West Side High School in Newark, New Jersey. Video interviews recorded by New Jersey Revolution Radio.


4 This excerpt was transcribed by Bonnie Weinstein.