Issue #2 - May 2017

Our second issue of the Rocky Mountain Revolution is out now! Here, you can read all of the articles featured in the paper, but be sure to track down a print copy for more features, photos, memes and more!

 

Why we need socialism in Colorado Springs.

By William Covington

Why does Colorado Springs need socialism? To many, Colorado Springs seems like a quiet city with few troubles. It is the sort of city where one comes to settle into a career with a family and grow old, while taking in the beauty of the state. Upon closer examination, however, one sees finds that Colorado Springs suffers from a host of problems stemming from the capitalist mode of production, issues that must be remedied to preserve the foundation of our city.

In the Springs, years of budget cuts to public education have negatively impacted teachers, students, and the city as a whole. This underfunding is a result of the state legally being able to pay school districts less than their annual calculation for how much money each district should receive. With each year, the list of services for students and pay cuts for teachers grows, creating an enormous gap between what schools are capable of and what they can actually offer. Effects of such severe budget cuts include the closure of many public schools in the city, a drastic increase in class sizes, cuts for supplies and repairs, slashing of tutoring and summer programs, and pay freezes and reduction of column movements for teachers, amongst an ever-growing list of problems. Teachers are forced to do more work, work more hours, and are expected to receive lower pay. The inability of unions to do anything more than slow this gradual decline is evidence that the system has failed the working class. 

A shortage of beds available by local homeless shelters, combined with an ever-growing homeless population, means that more homeless people are forced to live on the streets or in makeshift camps every year. These are people who have fallen on hard financial times and who have run out of options, a reality only possible under capitalism. A percentage of these individuals suffer from some form of mental illness that prevents them from being accepted by society, but would otherwise be manageable with treatment. Local shelters are pushed to their limits with limited resources, space, and funding, and still cannot meet the need. The absurdity of the situation is highlighted by the amount of vacant or foreclosed homes and storefronts that can be seen littering our city. Take a drive down Academy Boulevard and you will see countless empty buildings that could easily be converted to homes and shelters. Providing everybody with a bed, a roof, and three meals a day is by no means impossible.

The symptoms outlined above are but a snapshot of ills that Colorado Springs faces under capitalism. Countless people are being let down by a society which deems the poor and disenfranchised as “useless,” and which grotesquely exploits the working class. Obviously, these problems cannot be remedied so long as a few very wealthy individuals wield political and economic power. They will only operate in a manner that will allow them to increase their profits, and thus, their power over others. As power increases within the upper class, exploitation must increase amongst the working class, a reality that Springs citizens must face. 

What is the solution to this systemic imbalance? The answer lies in reorganizing society so that we are able to cooperate and provide one another with the necessities of life, as a basic human right. Socialism will allow us to take power and money out of the hands of corrupt business owners and politicians and distribute it evenly amongst all people. No longer will decisions that influence our lives be made by the greedy for profit, instead they will be made by all of society for the general good of that society. 

Under socialism, teachers would control their work hours, working conditions, and pay as well as have a considerable say in the amount of funding their schools receive, based on what they need and what they wish to provide. Class sizes would shrink, and schools would be opened to serve more neighborhoods. Resources for students with additional needs, as well as supplemental educational activities for all students, would be bolstered by the support of the community at large. Homelessness would be eradicated in socialist Colorado Springs. Together, we would be able to guide the production of food, clothing, and shelter with the purpose of providing for every citizen, instead of allowing them to go hungry. Resources to help the mentally ill, the addicted, and the generally disenfranchised could be provided at no cost to the recipient, and homelessness could be turned into a distant memory. Capitalism has been unable to fix the problems it has created in our city, so it is time for us to move forward. Socialism will pave the road towards a brighter future for Colorado Springs. It is the solution; there is much to be done.

Bad Aktors: How white supremacy hijacks music scenes.

By George Eliot Jr.

For generations, social movements have relied on the power of songs. From Woody Guthrie to Anti-Flag, left-leaning activists have used music as a medium to convey messages of social change and bring people together. However, this tactic has not gone unnoticed or unduplicated by members of the reactionary right. Members of music scenes, especially those in the more aggro of genres, rock, punk, metal, are no strangers to having their movements hijacked by members of the reactionary right.

The most prominent example is the English 80s Oi! punk band Skrewdriver, who openly expressed white nationalist themes and were part of the “Rock Against Communism” movement. Nazi punks have gained a foothold along the Front Range and throughout the Midwest, with bands like Minneapolis’ Bound for Glory and Denver’s Total Annihilation carrying the fascist banner in recent years.

Black metal is an extreme form of heavy metal known for its Juggalo-esque corpse paint, spiked gauntlets, and healthy doses of misanthropy and nihilism. Sonically it is equally extreme, with blast beats, distorted guitars, and vocals that run the gamut from Cookie Monster on the low end to frenetic screeching on the high end. Burzum and Mayhem, bands largely considered the progenitors of the movement, are infamous for allegedly burning churches and their singer/guitarist Varg Vikernes’ murder of Mayhem guitarist Euronymous (who was an alleged communist, though Vikernes denies the murder was motivated by politics). While in prison for murder, Vikernes mixed nationalism with Norse paganism and gave rise to a subgenre of Black Metal defined by its anti-semitism and embrace of National Socialism. Though Vikernes has distanced himself from the National Socialist Black Metal scene in recent years, his culpability in the formation of the movement cannot be denied.

Colorado Springs black metal “band” Aktor (not to be confused with the Finnish band of the same name, -1 for originality) has taken up the banner of bands like Mayhem and Marduk, whose recent US tour faced cancellations as a result of Anti-Fascist protests for their use of Nazi imagery and questionable lyrics. Aktor appears to consist solely of Ryan Mills, though he uses the name “Haji Killer” on Aktor’s facebook page, who plays guitar and growls over repetitive drum machine tracks. Aktor’s album “Persecuting the Children of Allah” speaks for itself. We are living during a time in which Muslims in America are being castigated as terrorists by the reactionary right. We are living during a time in which mosques across the country, and especially in Ft. Collins, are targeted by the alt-right for vandalism. Within the context of such vitriolic anti-semitism, and Islamophobia is a form of anti-semitism, Mills, who attended the Evangelical Christian Academy, has decided to release a hateful dog whistle disguised as art.

Mills would be hard pressed to argue how “Children of Allah,” isn’t a direct reference to Muslims, and how songs like “Deeds of a Jihadist” or “Into the Gas Chambers” aren’t simply calls for violence against Muslims and other minority groups. In addition to Mills’ blatant Islamophobia, he has a penchant for advertising his band with comments such as “if you don’t like this band you’re gay,” and “come to this show or renounce your straight card.” As someone who has long since renounced their straight card, I find such comments, which would be invariably defended as a joke with many disparaging comments about political correctness, hilarious.

If you’re interested in talking to Mills about his views on Islam or LGBTQ+ people, he has shows May 5th at the Zodiac, which used to be a queer-friendly venue, and May 28th at Sunshine Studios. It’s disheartening to see the Colorado Springs music scene support and give a platform to such overtly hateful “artists.” You can make up your own mind about Aktor by checking out their facebook page, and you can listen to them, though this author does not recommend it, at aktorforthemasses.bandcamp.com.

Friedrich Engels on women: Playboy or champion

By Carrie Peterson

Friedrich Engels may have waxed poetic about sexual freedom being the fast track to women’s equality and independence, but his playboy attitude often victimized the women closest to him. 

Engels was the son of a wealthy cotton textile manufacturer, which afforded him a lavish lifestyle away from the judgmental eyes of his conservative Prussian family. Disillusioned with the riches provided by his religious, bourgeoisie father - and rather than “toil away” in the offices of his father’s thread mill - he strived to radicalize the poor. As a means to that end, he spent countless hours observing the poor in the slums of Manchester, England. It was there that he met Mary Burns. 

Engels suggested many times that he loved the company of women above all else. Indeed, he had many lovers and often hired prostitutes. In the more prudish early 20th century, historians stated that Mary Burns was a factory worker; evidence strongly suggests, however, that she was a prostitute.

As a champion for the poor, Engels probably witnessed, firsthand, the drawbacks of working as a prostitute in the slums of Manchester. You could think that, because of his ideology, he would not demand that any worker remain in crushing poverty. You could even think that, given the tragic conditions of Manchester’s slums, he would have strived to financially better his lover’s abysmal life. If nothing else, you could think that Engels would have found her a decent place to live. 

In keeping with the slumming lifestyle, however, Engels, the ever-consummate bourgeoise, kept two residences; one in the slum, and one in the “respectable” part of Manchester. Of course, Manchester’s slums were awful; crime and disease raged out of control in the mostly Irish districts. If you didn’t have to live there, you wouldn’t. It was so rough, in fact, that historians have noted that a fresh, young man like Friedrich Engels would have had difficulty walking one city block without being beaten and robbed. It was only Mary’s companionship and guidance that allowed Engels to tour those rough slums; guidance that went unrecognized in his writing. 

It could be argued that Engels simply stuck to his philosophical guns. But closer examination suggests that he may have just been a jerk. He never took any step to legitimize his relationship with her. Not only did he refuse to give in to a “capitalist” marriage, a societal structure he surmised existed only for the sake of wealth transference and stroking the father’s ego, but he hid his relationship with Mary from all but his closest confidants for the better part of twenty years! Never mind that this “societal construct” would have improved her life tremendously; it also would have imposed strong, unwanted sanctions on his roaming ways. 

And again: Many historians believe that without Mary, Engels would not have lasted an hour in those slums. And nary a mention of her in any of his writings. 

In addition to the rampant cheating, Engels would often disappear for months or even years at a time. It has been said that it was not the open relationship, but those absences, that greatly upset Mary. Marx’s wife noted that the younger, happier Mary soon faded away; she became an alcoholic in her later years.

Engels’ preoccupation with sex is clear in “The Origins of the Family, Private Property, and the State.” Strangely, his focus is on women needing to have more sex, both in and out of marriage, rather than expecting men to temper their worldly passions. His greatest error is thinking that women have the same biological sex drive as men. Sadly, he completely avoids the very real consequences of sex, such as venereal disease, pregnancy or psychological isolation; all issues that burden women more than men. There is also a dig at homosexuals, and no mention of his stance on rape or incest. 

“The Origins of the Family, Private Property, and the State” seems to be Engels’ way of justifying his laissez-faire, playboy lifestyle. Marxists would do better to stick with Marx’s few writings on the topics of marriage and family. Marx greatly loved his wife, and doted on his three daughters. And unlike Engels, Marx wasn’t galavanting all over Europe with disadvantaged women, exploiting them for his own personal pleasures.

Happiness is not profitable

By Organic Wifi

(Disclaimer: This article is a personal opinion of how I choose to interpret socialism. Socialism, minimalism, and Hinduism are three separate things that converge within my own perspective. Please do not think that you have to embrace either minimalism or Eastern philosophy to be a socialist.)

There was once a thief who lived in northern India many years ago. He was an extremely unsuccessful thief and soon became very desperate. So desperate in fact, that he decided to rob a sadhu. Sadhus were holy men who had absolutely nothing but the cloth to cover themselves with. 

He demanded that the sadhu give him something or else he would kill him. The sadhu told him he had nothing to give but a mantra that would make him the richest man in the world if he repeated it constantly day and night. 

The man knew that sadhus would rather die than tell a lie, since they devote their entire lives to the gods. So he accepted the mantra, which was “Mara.” Mara is the Sanskrit word for evil, and so it fit the thief’s aesthetic.

And so the thief chanted Mara over and over for days on end. Mara Mara Mara. As he chanted, his heart began to feel lighter. Tremendous peace came upon his mind. He experienced real joy unlike anything he had ever felt. That's when he realized that the sadhu had tricked him.

As he sat chanting “Mara” over and over, he had actually ended up chanting Rama Rama Rama because the syllables rolled together. Rama is the seventh avatar of Vishnu, and so he had actually been chanting the name of god over and over. While he had been lusting for gold, the divine vibrations of god purified his mind. His name was Valmiki, and he departed from his ways to become India's most famous poet. 

That was the story of a thief who believed he was free because he could take whatever he desired. The reality, of course, was that he was a slave to his desires until he changed. This is a perfect metaphor for capitalism.

The prison in which you reside is your own desire. You are free to vote, so long as it is concessionary and never amounts to taking power away from the rich. You are free to consume all things, in fact. This includes products, travel, and even drugs. Things that perpetuate a false sense of freedom:

- Travel: I always found it funny that traveling was treated like some great spiritual journey in our generation, when it usually ends up being nothing more than a chance to consume. Travel is typically only for the privileged. Travel is sold as something that makes you happy.

- Drugs: Criminalizing drugs is a billion dollar industry in the US. Legalizing drugs is also a billion dollar industry in the US. You know what wouldn’t be profitable? Helping people who are addicted to drugs. Either proor anti-drug cultures are sold as things to make you happy.

- Work: Most of us will experience the insecurity of free roaming contractors in the US. That’s because there are very little laws protecting us from our employers. The intense insecurity of living paycheck to paycheck without health insurance and fair wages enables employers to mistreat workers. And so you are free to live life as a wage slave. People repeat that old familiar parable like they’re trying to convince themselves: “if you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life.” Ignoring of course that this saying will never come true for most of the population of the planet.

- Religion: For the most part, religion acts as an opiate to the masses. People filled with religion can rationalize all sorts of evils imposed on them from corporate America and the state. Capitalist-style religion specifically tries to promise happiness via consumption.

Religion of course isn't necessarily bad, but it must come from within yourself. Religion as an identity from outside sources is simply a marketing ploy to make you a consumerist photocopy of the seller. The distinction here is where you get your identity from. If it’s something you have to buy, it’s not truly virtuous for you. 

The role capitalism plays in your day to day suffering is that of manufactured desire and consent. Think about all the things I just listed that are viewed as absolute necessities for illusions and those placed on us by others: the idea that we can only be happy when we consume, that the inability to consume is the exact same as suffering. And like the thief, we are unsuccessful in our attempts to find prosperity because it does not exist outside of enlightenment. 

Everything we have in the west is based upon our exploitation of others within and outside of our culture. That is capitalism 101. To utilize the labor of the poor in order to create excess wealth with which massive fortunes are made. This sort of karma inside our society has a detrimental effect on our cultures. 

The cult of capitalism should really be considered its own religion unto new gods. The cult of celebrity. Just as Jesus may personify love to you, or Krishna is how you visualize the universe, celebrities are how you personify the values of capitalism and visualize it as an overarching concept. Peoples celebrity obsessions are  their Gods.

The truth is that desire is captivity. You are the one who imprisons yourself. Like a man whose lust for wealth is insatiable, we wander this planet looking for what we can rob in order to feel “happy.” It is not until we take a step back and think rationally that we will recognize this. 

We do have basic needs outside of our control that must be met. But we are able to reject the imposed consumerism that creates suffering within our lives. The door to the prison is already open, it is up to you to leave.

Small Batch Theory - locally sourced and easily digestible bits of socialism

By Emma Redman

 In our last issue, we discussed the very broad term “socialism.” In this month’s issue, we’ll dive further into leftist ideology and discuss the political, philosophical, and economic philosophy of Karl Marx, perhaps the world’s greatest contributor to socialist thought.

Marx was born in Germany in 1818. As a young man, he became involved with the communist party and eventually had to flee to the country of his birth. Marx settled in London as the Industrial Revolution shifted much of the world into a capitalist economy, driving workers into cities in search of jobs and forcing them to work for pitifully low salaries and in unsafe conditions. Marx quickly became one of capitalism’s loudest critics, and began to build his own philosophy. 

The basis of conflict theory refers to a society at conflict with itself. This conflict, in a capitalist society, refers to the divide between the classes. The factory owners whom Marx referred to as the “bourgeoisie,” and the working class, called the “proletariat.” Marx further argued that capitalism was designed to ensure that the poor remain poor, and the rich become richer.

Marx, however, did believe that eventually the working class would realize their own exploitation and come to the realization that a change was needed. As the workers became more knowledgeable of the system that enslaved them, they would eventually find a way to bring about radical change. However, such radical change would only occur if the working class rose up and united against its oppressors. 

Marx believed that labor can be one of our greatest sources of joy, but only if we can see ourselves in the products of our labor. Labor is therefore a chance to externalize all that is good inside us, and yet this is often impossible under capitalism, which encourages highly specialized jobs and alienates workers from the fruit of their labor. This alienation is an inherent part of capitalism, which is always looking for the most efficient way to increase profit. 

Under capitalism, work is often insecure. As new innovations and cheaper means of labor present themselves, the worker becomes expendable. Taking into account the human need to feel secure, Marxist theory speaks of a society where individual workers are both secure and valued. 

Marx’s biggest critique of capitalism was its inherent structure, which allows the rich to become richer while the poor remain poor. Marx believed that capitalists decreased the wages of the worker in order to create a wider profit margin and increase their own wealth. This is accomplished at the expense and labor of the worker. 

While capitalists will argue that profit is a reward for ingenuity and talent, Marxist theory calls profit theft. Capitalists exploit the talent and labor of the workforce in an effort to make a maximum profit. If a worker makes an item, then the capitalist keeps a percentage of the value of that item to make a profit instead of giving the worker the full value of their labor. Therefore, profit is simply a nice word for exploitation. 

Under capitalism, crises such as the stock market crashes of today are occur often, leading to an unstable economy. While capitalist theory teaches that these crises are due to abnormal or rare events, Marxist theory teaches that these crises are an inherent part of a capitalist economy. These are caused by a surplus of product as a result of an economy that produces far more than can be consumed. 

With today’s technology and efficient production, it would be possible to ensure that all individuals have housing, transportation, education, and healthcare. However, as Marx predicted, the divide between the classes only continues to widen, as the rich become richer and the poor remain poor. 

Marx continued his theory into the effects of a capitalistic society on relationships. Under capitalism, every individual is forced to put economic issues at the forefront of their lives, therefore making it impossible to have a true, deep, honest relationship. Marx called this psychological effect “commodity fetishism,” where we are made to value things that lack actual value. Under socialism, where ultimate financial freedom is the goal, individuals are free to make honest decisions in regards to relationships, without worrying about the economic implications of these decisions. Marx believed that the core values of the economic system we live under, change our perceptions of reality. 

For example, most American’s would assume that someone who doesn’t work is inherently lazy, that we are not entitled to more than a few weeks of vacation a year, or even that the more material things we own, the happier we’ll be. These are thinking patterns caused by living under capitalism. 

Therefore, one of the biggest dangers of capitalism is not that those at the top are inherently evil; this can be said for any sort of human hierarchical system. Instead, the danger lies in the subliminal messages and thought patterns through which our actions are influenced. These thoughts patterns teach us to be anxious, competitive, and greedy. We are also taught to be conformists and politically apathetic. In this way, the capitalist economy and the state ensure that the workers are kept complacent and removed from any type of radical thinking or action. 

Workers of the world, awaken! Rise in all your splendid might; Take the wealth that you are making — It belongs to you by right. No one for bread will be crying, We’ll have freedom, love and health, When the grand red flag is flying In the Worker’s commonwealth.” -Joe Hill, 1910

May Day & the memory of the Haymarket Massacre

By James Keith

On July 14th, 1889, the centennial of the French Revolution, the International Workers’ Congress in Paris declared May 1st “May Day” in honor of the “Martyrs of Chicago.” This is the reason that we celebrate May Day here in the United States as well. What happened in Chicago that inspired such an outpouring of international solidarity? To truly understand the impact of what would later be called the “Haymarket Massacre,” we must lay some groundwork.

In the 19th century, Chicago was a heavily industrialized city and therefore had a mass of underpaid laborers struggling against the capitalist owners that held power. In 1872, the Great Chicago Fire claimed the lives of between 120 and 300 people and left 100,000 homeless. To help placate the population, wealthy businessmen and high-society members got together and started the Relief and Aid Society in order to offer assistance to the displaced masses. It wasn’t long, however, before accusations arose that members were using some of the money to help themselves instead. Upon hearing this, thousands of starving workers marched on their building, but police drove them into a nearby tunnel and beat them with batons. 

Beginning to sense the unrest and the capitalists’ need for protection, Inspector John Bonfield and Captain Michael Schaack of the Chicago Police Department went to the owners of large local businesses and negotiated a deal that would set up a slush fund with $100,000 in it (about $1,000,000 today). This was a game-changer, as it created an environment in which it was in the interest of the police to incite fights in order to continue to drive demand for protection. They would even go as far as to stage events and hire actors to incite crowds to provoke a confrontation. 

While the eight-hour workday was already on the books in the US, the businesses in Chicago refused to honor it and were not held accountable to anyone. So in 1877, 8,000 workers marched in protest on the south side. Police opened fire on the crowd, killing three and wounding seven. Years later in 1885, streetcar workers went on strike, so on the orders of Bonfield, the police beat them until they dispersed. In 1886, Cyrus McCormick, owner of Harvesting Machine Company, locked 1000 workers out of the plant as a response to a general strike. On May 1, a labor organizer and prominent socialist named August Spies led 80,000 workers down Michigan Ave in protest of the still un-enforced eight hour workday, so on May 3, the striking workers were attacked by the police, leaving two dead. 

On the morning of May 4, Spies and other prominent labor organizers planned a gathering to protest the police brutality. Adolph Fischer, an activist and printer at the local leftist newspaper, printed fliers for the event. After Spies read it, he immediately asked for a reprint. He had had a meeting with the mayor that morning, vowing that there would be no violence, so the words “Workingmen! Arm yourselves and appear in full force!” were removed and the new fliers were printed and distributed.

The Chicago Tribune at the time was well known for sensationalizing any leftists and members of labor parties as cartoonish bomb-throwing anarchists. This would have effects still felt today, as they delegitimized the once-significant anarchists. Bonfield and Schaack used this local fear to get the mayor to agree to allow the CPD to keep 176 police on-hand as a precaution.

At 7:30 that evening, 2,500 people rallied in Haymarket Square. Spies arrived and gave a rousing, hour-long speech. At 9pm, ex-Confederate and anarchist Albert Parsons (husband of radical activist, organizer, and socialist Lucy Parsons) took the stage, and was followed by Samuel Fielden, socialist anarchist organizer and Methodist preacher. After twenty-five minutes, the police in attendance ran to the nearby station to inform Inspector Bonfield that Fielden was using “inflammatory language.” Bonfield marched his 176 officers to the gathering and, as police to this day do every time they see things that disrupt the status quo, told the crowd to disperse. Fielden turned to the officer reading the dispersal decree and said, “But this is a peaceful meeting!” There was no opportunity to respond, however, as a five-pound dynamite bomb was detonated in front of the line of police. One would be killed by shrapnel, but six more would fall that day. Most witnesses would later say that they all died to friendly fire. Four protesters were killed and as many as seventy were wounded. 

The following day, May 5, martial law was declared in Chicago. Hundreds were arrested. Eventually eight were brought to trial. After a suspicious trial with an openly hostile judge, Spies (who had left the gathering after his speech), Fielden, alleged bomb-maker Louis Lingg, George Engel (who had helped plan the rally but didn’t attend), Michael Schwab (who had given a speech to another group in another area that prosecutors would testify “could have inspired someone to violence”), Albert Parsons, and typesetter Adolph Fischer were all hung. Pacifist Oscar Neebe, whose only “direct” connection was $2 he had donated to help buy the printing press for the newspapers two years earlier, was given fifteen years in prison. The defense maintained the entire time that Pinkertons had been responsible for the frame-job, but could never provide enough evidence to prove it.

These are the “Martyrs of Chicago” that are still remembered today. The violent collaboration between business owners and the police against workers continues, and every year as we celebrate May Day, we join in solidarity with comrades past and present. 

“There is no evidence to show that I was connected with the bomb-throwing, or that I was near it, or anything of that kind. So I am only sorry, your honor—that is, if you can stop it or help it—I will ask you to do it—that is, to hang me, too; for I think it is more honorable to die suddenly than to be killed by inches. I have a family and children; and if they know their father is dead, they will bury him. They can go to the grave, and kneel down by the side of it; but they can't go to the penitentiary and see their father, who was convicted for a crime that he hasn't had anything to do with. That is all I have got to say. Your honor, I am sorry I am not to be hung with the rest of the men.” -Oscar Neebe’s address to the court.

Ask the Reds

“What is the best way to achieve socialism in your minds? It seems to me that the best way to do this (and the one that avoids violences and authoritarianism) is to work with left-leaning politicians to get them elected so that incremental reforms can be made. What are your thoughts on this?” - Pat Cleary via our websit.

Dear Pat,

That is an excellent question, and if you ask 10 different socialists you will get 10 different responses. We’ve been trying incrementalism here in America for a while now, and if you’ve been paying attention you can see the problem with incrementalism: it is much easier to erase the incremental gains than it is to achieve them. In 100 days, Trump has done significant damage to the incremental gains we made after 8 years of Obama. Neil “Fascism Forever” Gorsuch is now a Supreme Court Justice. Will Ginsberg hold on? ICE is deporting people left and right (not that they didn’t under Obama, they just had the decency to be quiet about it, but that’s another topic…). The Affordable Care Act is on the chopping block. Arts, education, LGBT rights, and really anything that isn’t helping the military-industrial complex or Wall Street is on its way out. That’s in just 100 days. When you settle for incrementalism you have to accept that the illusion of progress is transitory.

If your goal is to avoid violence we have already failed. Poverty is violence.   H o m e l e s s n e s s      i s                v i o l e n c e .  M a s s    i n c a r c e r a t i o n     i s    v i o l e n c e .  Allowing incrementalist candidates like Obama or Clinton drone strike people across the globe is violence. We currently live with violence and authoritarianism, but we outsource to third world countries and the lower classes so that we don’t have to think about it. Not only is incrementalism transitory and precarious, it is also essentially a bait and switch–privileged groups benefits while historically oppresse groups continue to suffer or see only marginal improvement.

So what are the options if we refuse to ally ourselves with left-leaning Democrats? We build grassroots socialist parties, make newspapers, build momentum, run for school board, city council, mayor, county commissioner, and whatever office we can get into. People are looking for alternatives to neoliberalism, and if we build them they will come. Of course, the argument against this is that it take away support from other left-leaning candidates. “A pure Socialist will never win an election!” you say. Right-leaning candidates will win elections, enact their odious policies, and continue to oppress and disenfranchise the marginalized in our society. Discontent with conservative policies of corporate welfare and austerity will drive more people to the immortal science of Marxism-Leninism. Upon realizing our two-party system is essentially rigged, the workers of the United States, realizing they have nothing to lose but their chains, will revolt against their capitalist oppressors and usher in a new era of equality and communism.

... Or something like that. The three options for achieving socialism, from least- to most-radical: incrementalism, building our own movement, and then inevitably accelerationism and revolution.