Leo Panitch emphasized three core themes throughout his career: the process of class formation, the key role of political parties in facilitating this process, and the need to transform the state instead of wielding it in its current form. In doing so, he gave the democratic-socialist movement an invaluable trove of resources to change the world with.
Chris Maisano is a Jacobin contributing editor and a member of Democratic Socialists of America.
Republicans have staunchly defended the Electoral College for years, but they may soon find that the only way to remain a viable national party is to support a national popular vote. That could open the door to finally eliminating the terribly undemocratic Electoral College.
The US political system was intentionally set up to thwart popular democracy. To win Medicare for All or any other transformative measures, we’ll need to push for radical political reform that finally democratizes the country’s institutions.
If New York City is going to avoid catastrophic austerity measures in response to the COVID-19–induced fiscal crisis, the city’s municipal unions will have to summon a fighting spirit that has been missing for a very long time.
Before the resurgence of socialist activism in the United States, Jacobin Reading Groups provided a halfway house between passive, primarily intellectual engagement with the socialist project and full-fledged organizational commitment for thousands of people. They played a real role in resurrecting the US left.
In the face of climate crisis and police killings, thinking about American federalism can seem terribly boring. But the fragmentation of the US state and the dilution of popular power are at the root of many of our most pressing problems — and we desperately need fundamental changes to the country's constitutional order.
Ross Douthat wants to tempt socialists with his argument that this wave of racial justice protest is hopelessly in thrall to the logic of woke capitalism. Don’t take the bait.
In the 1960s, an upstart union of New York City social workers forged alliances with welfare recipients while fighting to improve public services at the bargaining table. They’re a model for public-sector unions today, which should be pushing for better services and struggling to democratize the state.
Many in the newly reborn American socialist movement fervently hope that someday, in the face of numerous structural barriers, they can get a viable new party off the ground. But unfortunately, we can expect unions to be among the last to get on board with such a party.
Instead of prompting the coordinated, national response that’s needed, this pandemic is exacerbating one of the most destructive and enduring themes of US political life: the sectional conflict between states, and between town and country. Progress in battling coronavirus will continue to be hamstrung by our dysfunctional federalist system.
The US’s federalist system undermines even the most basic attempts to carry out effective national action. In pandemics, that’s a recipe for death and disaster.
Our global crisis of democracy is real, but its solution isn't rebuilding political norms. It's rebuilding working-class power.
We cannot afford to come out of the coronavirus crisis without ending a health care system that decides whether we live or die based on our ability to pay the bill. Luckily, we already have working models to do just that.
The United States would be much better off with a multiparty, proportional representation system. But we shouldn't delude ourselves that this “one quick fix” would root out the rot that pervades America's political economy.
Forty years of neoliberalism have beaten down and disorganized the US working class. The Bernie Sanders campaign is showing how electoral politics can be used to re-politicize working people — and organize collectively for their class interests.
Unions are more popular than ever, but union membership just hit a new low. We need to elect Bernie Sanders, make his “Workplace Democracy Plan” a reality, and encourage a new wave of workplace militancy to stop the decline and end the devastation of working-class communities.
If we want to make Bernie Sanders’s political revolution a reality, we can’t just propose bold policies to make people’s lives better — we have to rebuild popular confidence in the possibilities of politics itself. And we can't rebuild that confidence without democratizing the United States's decidedly undemocratic political institutions.
Research shows that the organized working class, and industrial workers in particular, have been the driving force for democracy around the world. The question is whether the erosion of the industrial working class will weaken our prospects for democratic politics.
The political revolution needs mass protest mobilization. But to be completed, it will also require a radical reconstruction of the United States’ undemocratic political institutions.
After decades of decline, left parties are in the midst of a renaissance. But without a commitment to social roots in the working class, twenty-first century “digital parties” could decline just as their predecessors did.