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  • What is the propaganda that the bourgeoisie is using?
  • How is Trump using propaganda, both internally and externally?
  • How are we countering this with revolutionary propaganda?
Recorded session from 10/18/2020
Bourgeoisie Propaganda:
Progressive Propaganda:

The aim of this effort is to present our views on the main danger confronting the working class movement and the response of certain elements within this movement to this danger. Its purpose is to provide relevant information and to  stimulate critical discussion and action proposals (L.R.  &W.R)


With the approach of the decisive moment of the 2020  presidential campaign, it is important that unfolding events be appraised from an historical perspective and within the context of class struggle. Within this framework, assessment must focus on concretely identifying the opportunities and threats confronting the working class movement. 

In relation to the historical dimension, the period from 2016 to the present can be characterized as one of deep and pervasive economic distress, intense social unrest, dangerously combustible political conflict, and a deep and widening atmosphere of fear and foreboding as the COVID 19  pandemic ravages the population and paralyzes cultural and social intercourse.

In regards to the class struggle, the economic social and ideological phenomena described above have pushed the level of polarization to the point where open mass rebellion is an imminent possibility. Under such volatile conditions there is the urgent need to identify with clarity and precision friends and enemies. 

As to the matter of threats, it has become increasingly obvious that Trump and the class interests he serves pose a clear and present danger to the movement and millions of poor and working people.  During his campaign and throughout his administration Trump has employed tactics designed to foment fear, hatred, and mistrust within the population. The principal intent of this effort was to exacerbate racial, ethnic, and geographic (red vs blue states, cities vs suburbs) divisions within the working class. This is confirmed by his open courtship of white supremacist, and extreme right wing militants in contrast to his demonization of the left and his dehumanizing vilification of immigrants, and minorities.   

In addition to the divisive and incendiary tactics described above, the Trump administration has launched a stealth campaign to dismantle regulatory protections. Services and programs have been eviscerated in areas such as occupational health & safety, environment, food and drugs, labor, civil rights, and consumer protection. The aim of this campaign is obvious, to render millions of poor and working people defenseless against the onslaught of a rapacious predatory capitalism.

Further, in his zeal to eliminate all resistance to capital’s voracious appetite for profit, Trump has trampled on highly valued Democratic “norms” and institutions. He and his party have unleased a massive voter suppression campaign, and is aggressively attempting to delegitimize the electoral process. Trump has made it crystal clear that he will not accept the results of the election if he loses and will oppose a peaceful transition.

But, it is his criminally inhumane handling of the Corvid -19 pandemic that exposes the malevolent intentions of Trump and the class he represents. Every aspect of the Trump administration’s  privatized response to the pandemic  ensures maximum profits for capitalists. In pursuing this despicable course of action, the administration bears responsibility for the needless death, illness, and incapacitation of hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of American citizens.

Trump forced the 50 states into a frantic bidding war for PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) and other critical medical supplies, producing a feeding frenzy for profiteers. He is merciless in his bullying, lampooning, and intimidation of professionals in the public health, scientific, and medical fields. These tactics, along with his persistently downplaying the seriousness of the virus, severely undermines efforts to educate the public on the dangers of the pandemic and to provide guidance in the maintenance of personal and public well-being. 

The cynical machinations of the Trump administration has a definite aim and purpose; to create an environment of chaotic disorganization and dysfunction with the corresponding atmosphere of doubt, mistrust, and hopelessness. Such conditions render the masses highly susceptible to “quick fixes” and “magic bullet solutions” to seemingly intractable problems. All this leads to a “throw money at the problem” attitude. This is precisely what is happening. 

. The myriad  ways in which the public is being fleeced is almost beyond comprehension. Billions of dollars are being given to drug labs bringing untested vaccines into production. 

Billions in potentially therapeutic medicines are being hoarded by pharmaceutical companies in the expectation of dramatic price rises. Others bring desperately needed therapeutics to the market and exorbitant prices far beyond the reach of the average citizen.

For example Gilead Sciences Inc., the company that produces  the drug Remdesivir ,initially set is price for the drug at a cost of $10,000 per treatment cycle. When challenged by a drug pricing research organization who argued that only a price between $2800 – $5000 was justified, Gilead reduced this price for the drug to $3100 per treatment. 

The booty raked in by corporate America has attained astronomical proportions. From the start of the pandemic to August 2020 the wealth of members of the “billionaire class” grew by $637 billion. Over this period the wealth of Jeff Bezos (Amazon) and Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook ) increased by 39% and 59% respectively. 

It is important to note that Trump provides another valuable service to US Capital. His extreme arrogance and egoism, his complete disdain for civility, his penchant  for crude bullying and vicious ad hominem attacks, his virtually delusional rejection of a reality that does not accord with his self-centered worldview, combined to produce a personage and personality that is, at once, detested and feared.

Possessing these “admirable” qualities, Trump provides excellent cover for an equally detestable capitalism. His gross incompetence and his crass demagogic behavior make it relatively easy to blame him for society’s economic social and political woes.  It also allows incoming guardian of capitalist interests Joe (“I’ll fix this”) Biden to write in as Savior.

It is of the greatest importance to fully understand that the threat posed by capitalism is objective and will not be substantially  or eradicated by changes of individual personalities and/or policies. Recall that Trump’s predecessor was Barack (“yes we can”) Obama.

In relation to opportunities, in the period under review, the antipode to the dystopian outcome of the top regime, was the enthusiasm and optimism generated by the campaigns of Bernie Sanders. Most importantly, these campaigns provided channels for millions to actively express their profound anger and dissatisfaction with the current state of economic and political life.

The massive outpouring of popular support for Sanders’ 2016 presidential campaign was a clear expression of the intensification of the class struggle. Over 13 million people voted for Sanders in the primaries.   Only blatant manipulations of party rules by Democratic leadership derailed his bid for the nomination.

Of great importance is the fact that millions voiced support for a presidential candidate who campaigned openly as a socialist. This shows that socialism is growing in popularity. For many Socialists are no longer bogey men.  Socialism has entered the mainstream of political discussion and debate.

This development is of historic significance. That the emergent mass acceptance of socialism as an alternative to capitalism,  not a transient phenomenon, is confirmed by the facts. While space limits the presentation of support for this hypothesis to anecdotal evidence, its importance demands a future  in-depth analysis.

For example, in the 2020 primaries for California and Texas Democratic voters at exit polling voiced a preference for socialism at rates of 53% and 59% respectively. In January 2020 a Gallup poll found that 76% of Democrats and 17% of Republicans viewed socialism favorably. It will be interesting to see the impact of the pandemic on these preferences.


The enormous political energy propelling Sanders 2016 campaign also found expression in the growth of two major divergent tendencies and groupings within the campaign. These reflected disagreements over the future course of the campaign following Sanders failed presidential bid.  The course of development of these groupings and tendencies and their implications for the working class movement is provided below.

One grouping, angered over the brazen tactics employed by party leadership and convinced that the Democratic party had become irretrievably corrupt and, could no longer serve as a vehicle for progressive change left the party. The leader of this group was Nick Brana, a long time operative in the Democratic Party and National Outreach Coordinator for Sanders' campaign.

Brana and Cornell West, who has served on the Democratic Party platform committee, attempted to persuade Sanders to leave the Democratic Party and lead the effort to form an independent third party. When Sanders declined in favor of another run for the Democratic Party nomination in 2020, Brana et al decided to go forward without him.

In March 2018 the group announced its intentions to build a “new People’s Party” based on the Bernie Sanders 2016 presidential campaign platform. The group became the “Movement For A Peoples Party” (MPP) Brana described the MPP as an effort to build a  “progressive  populist party”.  


On August 30, 2020 the “Movement for People’s Party” held an all  day “ virtual  People’s Convention” viewed by 400,000 on social media.  The highlight of the convention were the moving testimonials provided by participants from across the country.

The convention closed with the announcement that participants had approved a founding convention of the People’s party to be convened in 2021. The following excerpt describes the goals of the MPP:

“The goal of a people’s party is to represent the interests of the wide majority of us and create a system to sustainably maximize well-being for ALL 

 We believe we deserve a system that honors everyone for the content of their character, not the color of their skin, the land where they happened to be born, or the numbers in their bank account. One that brings powerful law-breakers to justice. One that makes sure the planet and its magnificent beings are cared for before any corporation exec’s profit margins. One where the power of our nation’s wealth serves all of us, not just failed banks or masters of war.

So many of us realize Congress currently does the bidding of Wall Street, corporations and billionaires — no matter which party is in power. That’s left most of us behind. The result is all our hard work and sacrifice has made the rich much richer, but not ourselves. It’s not our energy or work ethic that’s the problem. It’s the system.

The elites have escaped justice for major financial crimes, and continue to lock into place an abusive unsustainable system threatening our lives and the planet. Things must change — dramatically, and fast.

In 1944, FDR proposed an Economic Bill of Rights guaranteeing employment, food, clothing, leisure, a living wage, housing, health care, social security, education and freedom from corporate control. It’s the end of the age of oil. We’ve begun the renewable, digital age. We can and must bring a new system to life that delivers Roosevelt’s vision.” 



The other group emerging from the split were those who supported Sanders’ decision to seek the Democratic party’s nomination for president in 2020. This grouping was comprised mainly of those who  identified as socialists. Many were members of the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) which had endorsed Sanders in his Senate race in 2005.

DSA describes itself as follows:

‘The Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) is the largest socialist organization in the United States. We believe that working people should run both the economy and society democratically to meet human needs, not to make profits for a few. We are a political and activist organization, not a party; through campus and community-based chapters, DSA members use a variety of tactics, from legislative to direct action,  to fight for reforms that empower working people. . .”

the following excerpt provides an apt description of the political tendencies within the DSA:

”The Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) is an organization of democratic socialistsocial-democratic and labor-oriented members in the United States, whose ideological views range from democratic socialism to eco-socialism to Libertarian socialism to communism…

According to the book “Bigger Than Bernie” written by two DSA members who are  also staff writers for the Jacobin Magazine, the DSA views as its main task the propagation of socialist ideas among the masses. It accomplishes this by endorsing and supporting “class -struggle candidates” who campaign openly as socialists. Campaigns are based on identification with and active participation in local struggles.

In 2016  DSA mounted an aggressive campaign to elect progressive candidates at the local, state, and federal levels. This campaign achieved some notable high profile successes.

 In 2018 DSA menbers Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Rashida Tlaib were elected to the US House.  In 2020 DSA members Jamaal Bowman and Cori Bush won their Democratic primaries. Also, Ocasio-Cortes and Tlaib won landslide primary victories virtually assuring their re-election.  

DSA also endorsed candidates in numerous campaigns at the state and local level. Most notable of these was the election of six DSA members to Chicago’s City Council and a number of state level victories in Pennsylvania, New York and elsewhere. The “Democratic Left” the official publication of the DSA is a good source of information on it’s current activities.

The DSA experienced phenomenal growth as a result of this affiliation with and support of the Sanders campaign. Paid membership increased from 42,000 to over 70,000 in the period from 2016 to 2020. More significantly, the average age of membership in the DSA dropped from 68 years in 2013 to 33 years in 2017.

Additional information on the DSA , MPP and their activities is provided in the a list of source material and links.

What is the relevance of these political tendencies for the working class movement? Such a assessment must be based on the following scientific principles enunciated by Marx:

.... And now as to myself, no credit is due to me for discovering the existence of classes in modern society or the struggle between them. Long before me bourgeois historians had described the historical development of this class struggle and bourgeois economists, the economic economy of the classes. What is I did that was new was to prove: (1) that the existence of classes is only bound up with particular historical phases in the development of production (historische Entwicklungsphasen der Production), (2) that the class struggle necessarily leads to the dictatorship of the proletariat,[1] (3) that this dictatorship itself only constitutes the transition to the abolition of all classes and to a classless society .(Our emphasis,L.R  & W.R)  (Marx to J. Weydemeyer, March 5 1852)

It must be re-emphasized that the Sanders campaign and the  offspring spawned  by it are products of intense  class struggle between capital and labor.  By virtue of its promise to fight for desperately urgent needs of the working class; the campaign has won the confidence and  support of millions of that  class. 

The sordid manner in which the Democratic party treated Sanders further galvanized mass support from him and his movement. This continuation of support for the campaign is expressed in the emergence of the MPP and the growth of DSA. 

For the reasons given above, both groups are likely to attract large numbers of working people in the immediate future. MPP may well realize its goal of becoming a viable third party in four years. It is also highly probable that DSA will substantially increase this electoral presence at all levels of government.

However, neither the MPP or DSA will be able to fulfill the strategic aim of the working class movement, the self- emancipation of the working class. This is due to the reason that both organizations are, in fact, reformist and/or populist (MPP).  This assertion is not meant to minimize or discredit these organizations. It is simply a re- statement of what they say about themselves regarding their aims and roles as participants in the movement.

Despite its limited vision and its apparent reluctance  to openly advocate for socialism and  acknowledge  the class struggle, MPP will garner substantial support among  working people. As the Sanders campaign disclosed a large numbers of voters are actively seeking alternatives to the Democratic and Republican parties. For some The MPP, which is essentially the Sanders campaign without “Bernie”, is an attractive option.

To the extent that the viewpoint set forth in the “Bigger Than Bernie” book is predominant within the DSA . It is probable that DSA will make significant contributions to the growth of the working class movement. However, the DSA is a “big tent” containing a host of competing even disparate ideologies including libertarianism, Trotskyists s, post modernists, Marxists,  neo Marxists, etc. This state of affairs does not bode well for the future viability of DSA.

Further, DSA derived much of this phenomenal growth in size and influence from his participation in and support of the Sanders campaign. Prior to the campaign, there was little to differentiate it from other groups on the left.

However, the  MPP and the DSA are composed largely of people who consider themselves progressives and are indeed so. As products of this stage of the  class struggle, both groups contain revolutionary currents with connections to the mass movement and thus represent important avenues of struggle.

This is clearly evident from a perusal of DSA publications and MPP’s video library. In the “Democratic left” one would find numerous articles reporting on collaborations between DSA and black lives Matter in Seatle, Portlant, Minneapolis, Kenosha, etc. A review of MPP’s Youtube library would yield interviews with activists from the Poor Peoples’ Campaign.

In conclusion, for revolutionaries who consider themselves adherents to the propositions of Marx cited above, the upcoming period offers challenging, exciting and promising opportunities0. for creative practical and theoretical work.





link to “Bigger Than Bernie” book


Video on “Bigger than Bernie”


DSA wikipedia


Social and economic Bill of Rights


Wikipedia article on movement for a People’s Party

People Party’s video channel

Interview with C. West and N Brana

Peoples Party website

Article on “threat” of socialism





The Looming Threat of a Socialist America

Sep 9th, 2020 

Lee Edwards, Ph.D.

The grassroots efforts of Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) and similar left-wing groups are paying significant dividends.

Socialism is indeed riding a wave of momentum when more Texans than Californians view it favorably.

We cannot depend on someone else to step forward. We must go on the offensive, disseminating the truth about socialism and the free-enterprise alternative.


As the far-left congresswomen known as the Squad celebrated their overwhelming victories in Democratic primaries earlier this year, far-sighted radical strategists were plotting to achieve their long-range goal—a socialist America governed by, in the words of the Marxist group Socialist Alternative, “a tested Marxist leadership.”

For those who say it can’t happen here, there are warning signs aplenty.

In New York, Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez did not just turn back her well-known Latina challenger, CNBC anchor Michelle Caruso-Cabrera, she crushed her, winning 74.6 percent of the vote. Representative Rashida Tlaib easily defeated Detroit City Council president Brenda Jones, 66.3 percent to 33.7 percent. Ilhan Omar won her Minnesota primary against a well-funded Antone Melton-Meaux with 57.4 percent.

In each case, the socialists defeated liberal Democrats who were attractive, organized, and had plenty of money. It didn’t matter—an overwhelming majority of Democratic primary voters endorsed the OAC-Tlaib-Omar vision of a socialist America, including the multitrillion-dollar Green New Deal.

This was only some of the evidence of a revolutionary shift in the Democratic Party that is on its way to becoming the Socialist Party. Three senior Democrats in the House of Representatives lost their seats to AOC-like candidates. Representative Lacy Clay of Missouri, a 20-year incumbent, lost to Cori Bush, a Black Lives Matter leader. Representative Eliot Engel of New York, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, was defeated by progressive school principal Jamaal Bowman. Representative Dan Lipinski of Illinois, one of the very few pro-life Democrats in Congress, lost to leftist challenger Marie Newman.

>>> What Americans Must Know About Socialism

The grassroots efforts of Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) and similar left-wing groups are paying significant dividends. In New York, five statewide candidates for the General Assembly who had been endorsed by DSA all won their primaries. Several had come-from-behind victories because of absentee ballots—a key socialist initiative. At least two self-described democratic socialists not endorsed by DSA also won statewide races.

They ran on platforms that included the Green New Deal, single-payer health care, criminal justice reform, housing for New York State’s 70,000 homeless, affordable housing for the poor, and new taxes on the rich and Wall Street to pay for all of it. Their goal, as set forth in campaign literature, is to “advance a vision for a socialist world.”

Socialists found receptive voters across the country. In Philadelphia, democratic socialist Nikil Saval won the Democratic primary for the state senate. Summer Lee, the first Black woman to represent southwestern Pennsylvania in the state senate, won reelection with 75 percent of the vote. In Montana, six “Berniecrats,” backed by Our Revolution, a progressive political action committee, won their primaries. San Francisco elected Chesa Boudin, son of the leftist militants, its district attorney. In the California primary, exit polls revealed that 53 percent of Democrats viewed socialism “favorably.” In Texas, Democratic voters in the primary approved of socialism by 56 percent, a 20-point margin over capitalism.

Socialism is indeed riding a wave of momentum when more Texans than Californians view it favorably.

Socialists are building on the remarkable candidacy of Senator Bernie Sanders, who raised more money than any other candidate in 2020 (an estimated $200 million), enlisted an unprecedented army of volunteers, and won the Iowa caucuses and the primaries in New Hampshire and Nevada. But he was unable to overcome the still-powerful Democratic establishment, which rallied behind former vice president Joe Biden.

Socialist strategists are calculating how best to push the Democratic Party farther to the left. Writing in Jacobin, Curt Ries argues that socialists need stronger institutions on the left, especially more militant labor unions. Ries, who worked in the Sanders campaign, points out that only three smaller unions backed Sanders. He also claims that socialists need more activist organizations like DSA, Our Revolution, and the Sunrise Movement, along with more independent media like Democracy Now! and Jacobin.

Socialists need “class-struggle elections,” argues Ries, that pit the people against the ruling class and focus on “the greed and corruption of capitalism.” Socialists believe, he said, that with the multiple crises in the economy, government, and public health, now is the time to push for a world where “all people can live with dignity, security, and freedom.”

The Socialist Alternative has called for the formation of a new left party with “a clear socialist program and a tested Marxist leadership.” The Call, a publication run by Bread and Roses, a caucus of Marxist organizers, has declared, echoing Karl Marx, that American workers need “a mass working class party.” The Sunrise Movement, a youth-led leftist climate group, has cautioned that a workers’ party should not be an “immediate” goal. But those on the far left agree that a workers’ party is “a crucial strategic goal for the socialist movement.”

These radicals clearly see themselves as a revolutionary vanguard like the Bolsheviks of 1917, prepared to strike when the moment is ripe to bring down a weakened political and economic structure. Although they are comparatively few—DSA has a membership of about 70,000—they are committed. They have helped to elect a number of national and local candidates. According to the polls, the mood of the country is favorable to radical solutions such as free education, free health care, and the Green New Deal, which would eliminate oil, coal, and natural gas as energy sources.

Writing in Javelin, DSA strategist Jared Abbott refers to a great debate that will take place between pragmatists and idealists on the left. Should socialists adopt a strategy of coalition-building with Democrats and others on the left? Or follow a strategy of confrontation with Democrats, running their own candidates and building a combative class-centered left-wing organization?

Resolution of the debate depends in large measure on our national leadership. A Democratic president and a Democratic Congress would strengthen the pragmatists’ call for collaboration. A Republican president with a Republican Senate would enhance the idealists’ strategy of confrontation.

Given the electoral gains cited above, are we certain that a socialist America is impossible—especially when 70 percent of Millennials say they would vote for a socialist? We cannot depend on someone else to step forward. We must go on the offensive, disseminating the truth about socialism and the free-enterprise alternative.

We must point out that socialism has never worked anywhere, most recently in Venezuela and in past years in Israel, India, and Great Britain. We must show that it is based on the failed prophecies of a delusional economist named Karl Marx, who predicted two centuries ago that capitalism would wither away, that socialism would mean the end of private property and of small businesses, of which there are now 30 million in America.

Further, we must explain that, thanks to free enterprise, one billion people left poverty and a new middle class has formed around the world—that capitalism not socialism has brought greater wealth and more freedom to more people than any other economic system in history.

Unlike the rights that Thomas Jefferson wrote about in the Declaration of Independence, these facts are not self-evident. We must present them untiringly and defend them ceaselessly. The alternative—losing our country to so-called democratic socialists—is unthinkable.

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