Wow! The people’s electoral uprising that defeated Donald Trump in November achieved another huge victory in yesterday’s runoff election in Georgia. In fact, led by the massive turnout of the African American people, it surpassed the November vote in both momentum and in raw numbers. It’s historic, a turning point, a sign of progress. It’s all these things, but more — the vote marks a final nail in the coffin of Trump’s fascist-like attempt to overturn the November election. The balance of power has shifted in favor of democratic forces.
The election represents what working-class masses in motion from various backgrounds can accomplish when they unite around a goal and agenda. It’s an object lesson in grassroots movement politics. Think about it! Georgia just elected its first African American senator, the Rev. Raphael Warnock. Given that the population is 30.5% African American, it’s sad to say that as late as 2021, this is a first. But here we are. And there’s more: Jon Ossoff is the first Jewish senator elected in Georgia and in the entire Deep South.
It’s hard to overstate the significance of these victories. But to be clear: the election is just the beginning.
While we can heave a huge sigh of relief because “Agent Orange” will be leaving the White House and Mitch McConnell will no longer control the Senate’s agenda, a Democratic-controlled House and Senate is no panacea (elect a couple of hundred socialists and communists, and then you’ve got something!).
So what’s the significance for a progressive agenda: racial justice, good-paying jobs and the ability to organize unions, mitigate climate change, redirect Pentagon spending for peaceful purposes, universal health care, free college tuition, and more?
It creates a new framework for struggle, where working-class and people’s movements have greater initiative and momentum.
The incoming Biden/Harris administration says it aims to address the pandemic and economic crisis in a coherent manner, unlike the criminal administration of No. 45. Good. That’s a start.
With the new Congress will come more COVID-19 relief, desperately needed to prevent hunger, foreclosures, income loss, and fiscal crises in municipalities and states. And the new president will probably address climate change, racial justice, policing, and other issues, but not adequately, limited as he is by his liberal politics, the overwhelming power of corporations, and the political landscape of Congress.
Keep in mind that the crisis the country faces is very deep, and to the extent that the incoming administration can implement its goals depends on a number of issues, not the least of which is overcoming the Senate filibuster.
Most important will be continuing to fight the right-wing danger and keeping the pressure on with respect to issues. Indeed, to the extent that the next government will implement the agenda of the various progressive movements and organizations—labor unions, Black Lives Matter, and Sunrise, to name a few—depends on those very movements.
The administration says it will be the most pro-labor since the Great Depression. This opens the door to the on-the-ground organizing needed to ensure that this comes true.
Let’s not forget that, although Trump is leaving the White House (hopefully, on his way to a prison), Trumpism will be around for some time. Trump led a well-financed, well-organized, and well-armed mass movement. The fascist danger has been set back, but it’s not over. Not by a long shot.
The storming of the nation’s capitol by armed protesters on Wednesday is evidence of this. This is a shocking sight, but not surprising. Trump has been riling up his supporters with racist, white-supremacist dog-whistles for the past four years, so it’s not surprising that he’s able to sell them a fantasy that he won the election. But it’s shocking to see his supporters act on it and try to stop the formal acceptance of the Electoral College vote by Congress.
Trumpism is a reflection of a deeply reactionary trend that dates back to the Reagan years and even before that, to 1971, when U.S. Supreme Court Justice Lewis Powell wrote an infamous memo decrying attacks on free enterprise and calling for corporations to reassert their supposedly declining power. Trumpism is a symptom of the vicious form of capitalism we see today.
In this context—the ever-present capitalist system and the temporary two years of a Democratic-controlled Congress and White House—what we do in the next two years is crucial. After we heave that well-deserved sigh of relief, the class struggle continues. The broad movement needs to keep organizing and then organize some more.
Because what matters is not so much how much power the Dems have in Congress but how much power We the People have at the ballot box, workplaces, campuses, and streets.
Yes, the dawning of a new day is beginning. Congrats to all who contributed. In the first place, to Stacey Abrams, who lost the 2018 gubernatorial election and founded the New Georgia Project and Fair Fight, two of several voting rights organizations that added hundreds of thousands of new voters.
But Abrams is not alone. Felicia Davis, Deborah Scott, Helen Butler, Nse Ufot: these are only a few of Abrams’ African American sisters who have been in the forefront of the electoral struggle in Georgia. But these women didn’t defeat Republican Senators Loeffler and Purdue on their own. They are part of something much bigger than themselves. It’s called a movement.
And that’s what it takes to win — a movement.
Image: Rev. Raphael Warnock Facebook.
Source: Communist Party USA – In Georgia, a big win for the people