The current chaotic political climate reminds me of Hungry Hungry Hippos. In the aftermath of Bernie Sanders’ campaign for president, activists, progressives, and socialists are bouncing around while organizations frantically try to capture the energy of this populist wave. The exciting part of all this is the amount of young people who are engaged in our political system. The frustrating part is that the establishment is working overtime to capture some of this energy to turn it back toward support for the very same neo-liberal system we revolted against together.
Today I am 39. Our generation has plenty of energy left for a few decades of struggle. We have gained personal experience and study that we did not have in our 20’s. Our generation saw the change an economy propped up by bubbles collapse into a disaster. Then we watched our government bail out those that needed it the least. We watched our parents’ dream of a comfortable retirement get turned into a lifetime struggle to make ends meet. We watched as the 1% systematically took over our political system and flaunt their opulence, while our friends were sent into a never ending war based on fraudulent claims.
Now, at this age, we are inspired by the younger generation that can see their future more clearly than we could. They are not afraid to take action, to demand more, and to boldly challenge the arrogance of an establishment that tries to belittle them as selfish for wanting a bright future.
To all these inspiring young people involved in Black Lives Matter, the Bernie Campaign, the environmental justice movement, and the Labor Unions my sincere thanks for the hope you have given us. Your rallies, protest, and demands give hope to so many people who will continue the struggle alongside you. The question now is what does that struggle become?
In Washington, the “progressives” from the Democratic Party are staging a sit in to demand a vote to a bill that claims to be gun control, but does not effectively address any issues that would provide real safety to Americans. The media has covered it extensively, using their consolidated corporate power to dominate our airwaves and social media. While this protest went on to support a poorly written bill that will do nothing of substance, the DNC held its platform meetings. The political theatre in Washington is a transparent attempt to have the progressive wing distracted by flash while the neo-liberal establishment cements its agenda in the party platform. The issues you have worked so hard to have recognized are being buried. This party refuses to take a strong stand for a living wage, refuses to ban fracking, chose not to fight the TransPacific Partnership, and refuses to acknowledge that we need medicare for all.
At the same time they ignore or dismiss your demands they claim you must you join them. Using scare tactics and lesser evilism as propaganda they insist that you support a war mongering neo-liberal icon. Is that what you want from your efforts?
The Democratic Party demands conformity to an increasingly conservative ideology, it is banishing progressives from any position of leadership. In New Jersey the 2 super-delegates who supported Bernie Sanders were removed from their positions with the DNC and replaced by Hillary supporting donors. One of the replacement delegates is an insurance company executive, which makes the party’s refusal to embrace a single payer system all the more clear. This is a clear message from the top Democrats, “We don't want activists in our party.”
The choice is not between the collapse of society and the Democratic wing of the party of capitalism. You do not have to spend your energy building a movement only to be used as a distraction from the issues you care about. We can build a better world together, outside the establishment.
Life moves fast. You will have the gift of hindsight not long from now. What do you want to see? Do you want to look back and see that you helped prop up a Democratic party that continued to push bad trade deals and start new wars of imperialism? Or do you want to see the 2 party system brought to its knees by the emergence of a new progressive block of power led by a party of the 99%? What you commit to now matters; this moment in time will set a path for so many futures. That future is not predetermined by anyone. Your energy and passion could go to fighting in a party controlled by corporate cash and privileged oligarchs. Or you could commit to struggling alongside comrades who truly share your values. When you look back on these next few years do you want to see that you built something revolutionary, or that you compromised for the sake of claiming hollow victory?
By becoming a member of the Green Party you can take a stand against a system designed to siphon your efforts back into a failed state. The effort to pull the Democratic party to the left is a trap that maintains order for corrupt bureaucrats and oligarchs. This is not the first time a progressive political campaign has tried to do it. Jesse Jackson, Howard Dean, and others strew the terrain of the Democratic Party as it sucks up the energy of progressive movements, then chews them up and spits them out. We cannot challenge a 2 party system by putting our own efforts into one of them, and we cannot build a better future in the 2 party state. Building a working class party is what will make change happen. That's what the Green Party of New Jersey is committed to, and I hope you will join us.
Green Party of New Jersey