Thoughts for conversation
A correct understanding of the Democrat and Republican parties and their function in the mechanism of the “two party system” is to see them as structural institutions of the state.
In part because much political theory is viewed through the lens of the European experience especially that of France, Russia and the British Parliamentary model, the understanding of the evolution of two party system in the United States has been flawed.
20th century movements and political organizations operating outside of the two party system found themselves locked in a trap. They remained small fractured organizations with little honest hope of gaining mass influence.
Progressive, libertarian, Stalinist, democratic-socialist and grass roots conservative factions operating on the inside typically choose which of the twin traps in which to be lost. Their activists are co-opted systematically. Their messages are lost in the factional clash called “partisanship.”
The ruling class and the political caste that serves them are not so naive about this system. It is common knowledge that the major corporations and big ruling class donors play between these two institutions funding them each intermittently–quite often concurrently–and that their armies of lobbyists and professional influencers are enmeshed within both institutions.
The tactical options are presented as a sort of triage of bad choices: operate outside of the two parties in a system structured to marginalize non-conformity and challenges to power, choose to work within the Democratic structure, choose to work within the Republican structure.
The apolitical partisanship that is fostered by these institutions serves a function not so different from that of racism and xenophobia in terms of the insidious way in which it divides the mass of the society pitting working people against one another and setting up cultural litmus tests as barriers to common understanding and human solidarity. We are recruited by social media and other interventions to play the role of pawns in the factional conflicts and electoral gamesmanship between elements of the American plutocracy.
So, why not call the bluff of this whole system? Why would it not be possible to consider an all of the above approach to the triage? Why not form an electoral front with sufficient cohesion to run independently where possible and enter the primary system and legislative races of either party formation without at any point sacrificing principles or political identity. Why could an organization composed primarily of working class persons not operate as a cohesive third party both outside and inside each of the two halves of the electoral institutions of the American State?