Sophia Lopez, Abbie Norman, Mike Corr
Saturday, 7:15 p.m. to 8:45 p.m.
The campaign of Bernie Sanders opened up the perspective that candidates could openly call themselves socialists and have some success in the elections. This has raised some important questions for those who view themselves as socialists. How do socialists approach elections? Do we embrace elections as a means to fundamentally change society? Or are they simply a diversion? Do we run our own candidates or run as part of the Democratic Party?
These question have become immediately relevant with the emergence, not only of Bernie Sanders, but of other candidates who describe themselves as socialists, mostly working within the framework of the Democratic Party. What’s more, these successes are often framed purely in electoral terms – to win seats within the current government structure.
In this presentation we present an alternate perspective, that socialist electoral activity should have the goal of engaging workers consciously as a class, and providing a perspective for struggle, not a program of governmental reform. Examples of this approach will be drawn from small but relevant efforts in the U.S. today, and international examples from French revolutionary groups Lutte Ouvriere and the New Anticapitalist Party.
Abbie Norman is a socialist activist and former health care worker.
Mike Corr is a socialist, community college teacher and activist based in Berkeley,