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Rise of the grassroots

from the Editors  |  Issue: September | October 2018

As the tech revolution advances, the old party systems in Mexico and the United States are breaking up  


Two themes run through this issue of the Tribuno del Pueblo — the threat of oncoming fascism and the breakup of the old political party systems in the United States and Mexico.

Those themes are intimately interconnected. They derive from the same source, the disconnect between rapidly rising economic productivity and rapidly decreasing jobs and wages, both resulting from pitting workers against high-tech robotics.

Mexico is experiencing this disconnect in violence and corruption. Paramilitary gangs in league with police and politicians are terrorizing people and becoming virtual governments in some states, as drugs feed working-class despair in both countries.

In the United States, the fear of fascism is palpable, as Trump and his minions attempt brutally to pit worker against worker — by region, gender, race, and ethnicity — and against the workers of the world, Mexicans and Chinese particularly.

Trump’s shock-doctrine move to fascism is splitting and redefining the Republican Party. But the Democratic Party is splitting, too, as the financiers who have run the party for decades are spurned by grassroots rank and file who are throwing up their own candidates in the November elections.

The developing change in the American party system mirrors the historic change in Mexico: the overwhelming victory of the National Regeneration Movement (Morena) and its presidential candidate, Andrés Manuel López Obrador. They are paralleled by momentous changes in the party systems in Europe — Spain, France, Italy, and the United Kingdom.

Organized only in 2012, Mexico’s Morena won a majority in the legislature as well as 54 percent of the vote (in a field of four) for the presidency. Grassroots Mexicans have voted the oligarchy out of power. AMLO’s victory is comparable to that of Abraham Lincoln in another four-way election in 1860.

The 1860 success of the new Republican Party — and the civil war that followed it, ending slavery and dispossessing the slave oligarchy — created the basis for a new party system in the United States that has persisted with little change until now.

That system was characterized by opposing parties of the post-slavery oligarchy. One (the Republicans) represented the industrialists. The other (the Democrats) represented the financiers, who for many years were able to pull working-class voters behind the Democrats as the party willing to bring the industrialists to heel.

Now, with robotic technology replacing human labor in steel and auto, as well as the mines, mills, and shipyards, and even the warehouses, neither party has anything to give workers being dispossessed in America. The old party system is giving way and a new one is arising in its place, which will pit the capitalist oligarchy against the grassroots working class.

Trump represents the new fascist form of the party of capital, attempting to bind one section to promises of nationalist pride based on saving the oligarchy. This false unity has no future. The rise of the grassroots in the Democratic Party, however, has great promise — as does the rise of the grassroots in Morena.

Yet neither will be successful unless the political revolution that they represent is carried to fruition — with class-conscious parties of the working-class majority solidly in power.

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