The elections are over and while many Demo-liberals are heartened by the results the rest of us should understand that we have a long way to go.
The DiBlasio victory in New York shows hopeful signs for a city that has been run for more than twenty years exclusively by Wall Street, banking and financial interests and their upper income servant class. Of course that’s true for the nation as a whole, so one victory for a candidate at least speaking to more humane values is a step in the right – as well as slightly left – direction. And more important than DiBlasio’s long time Democratic affiliation was the fact that the Working Peoples Party both endorsed and labored for his victory.
Alternative parties are not supposed to matter in our winner-take-all corporate imitation of democracy, but this New York group and the nationwide Greens and Libertarians are playing a greater role in moving people to bother at all with election days that usually offer a lesser evil choice of cancer or polio.
Considering the massive obstacles put in place by the wealthy national ownership of the political-economic-electoral process, even small gains can inspire but also offer further experience to activists on how to present issues and candidates to the public and then organize to get understandably disgusted voters to the polls.
Some initiatives were even more hopeful than individual candidates, especially a minimum wage increase in New Jersey and an even bigger one - $15 an hour – in Washington. What we really need are a $20 an hour minimum wage, a twenty hour work week to make full employment and family life possible, a national health care program covering all, public banks, an end to multi billion dollar military meddling in other nation’s affairs, vastly improved schools and infrastructure paid for in part by the savings of such a peaceful policy, a much higher tax rate on the corporate rich, and a full employment program for americans that ends our destruction of foreign economies in order to create cheap immigrant labor here that pits natives against immigrants strengthening the divide and conquer policy that keeps a minority in power and a majority squabbling over massive losses it carries so that the even more massive profits are gorged on by an ever richer minority at the top.
It will take more than the electoral process to accomplish those ends and more, but that process is necessary even in an imitation democracy like ours. But for a real one it is absolutely essential. This election saw some victories, some setbacks, and as such was like all others. “They” of the minority still control the process and while “we” of the majority made some small gains, for substantial change and not simply more moving around of the deck chairs on the Titanic, future elections will need to offer far more opportunities than this one. We need to see to that and we’d better or they will continue leading us to greater inequality, more wars and ecological breakdown of the planetary life support system.