On the opening night of the Democratic National Convention, purportedly hosted in Milwaukee, but mostly taking place online, conservative voices and messaging predominated, demonstrating yet another shift to the right for the Democratic Party. It appears that instead of embracing the increasingly progressive energy that has developed as millions of working people have taken to the streets to protest the violent, racist system of U.S. capitalism.
While paying lip service to Black Lives Matter and racial inequality, the personalities rolled out to deliver statements of support were anything but inspiring to those ends, considering their records. These included conservative Democrats such as former Republican Governor of Ohio and Presidential candidate John Kasich, Minnesota Senator and former prosecutor Amy Klobuchar, former Republican Congresswoman from New York Susan Molinari, ultra-conservative millionaire CEO Meg Whitman, right wing conspiracy theorist and Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo, pseudo-progressive New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, and of course, presumptive nominee Joe Biden himself.
Bernie Sanders, who addressed the convention well after the conservatives had already delivered their lengthy addresses, took a conciliatory approach, urging voters to set aside their apprehensions about Biden’s conservative platform, and appealing for unity on the basis of Biden simply not being Donald Trump. His address did little to push the Biden/Harris ticket, or the Democratic Party as a whole, to the left, as many of his long standing supporters had hoped.
In her speech, former First Lady Michelle Obama invoked former conservative Presidents Dwight D. Eisenhower and Ronald Reagan, both war criminals, as unifying figures for Democrats and potentially anti-Trump Republicans to coalesce around.
The true nature of the Democratic Party is on display not only through the digital convention, but on the ground as well. In Milwaukee, the footprint of the Democratic National Convention is extremely obvious, and resembles a police state checkpoint with swarms of heavily armed local and federal police, tall metal fences, attack dogs, helicopters and armored vehicles. This display of overt authoritarian tendencies is the result of the Democratic Party’s knowledge that they do not enjoy the support of the masses of working people and that major protests are being planned in Milwaukee as a direct result of the Democrat’s right-wing shift.
On March 11, 2019, as soon as it was revealed that Milwaukee would be hosting the Convention, progressive and revolutionary forces in the city united to form the Coalition to March on the DNC. This coalition went from being a handful of activists to a large organization that has collected hundreds of endorsements from groups across the country, as well as dozens more locally. The major organizing victories the Coalition had wracked up since forming, including a massive march of more than 1,000 people against Donald Trump, when he appeared in Milwaukee on January 14, 2020, showed clearly that the march on the DNC would enjoy a great deal of popular support.
Unfortunately, the coronavirus pandemic intruded, causing massive devastation around the world and costing thousands of lives. Because of the dangerous nature of the pandemic and President Trump’s lackluster response to its ravages, the Democratic National Convention has proceeded as a mostly digital event, though the security infrastructure of a physical convention remains in place. While the Coalition does not expect a massive showing of people from all over the country, it will nevertheless be marching on the DNC on August 20. It will make the voice of working and oppressed people heard, that we oppose the conservatism and reactionism of the Democratic Party and that we demand fundamental social, political and economic reform.
We invite all progressive, anti-imperialist and anti-capitalist forces to join us for this march, which is demanding an end to U.S. wars and interventions, community control/defunding of the police and an end to police terror, legalization for all and no more deportations, taxation of the rich, Medicare for all, action on climate change, expanding unions and worker’s rights, peace, justice, and equality for all, and for the Democrats to wage war on poverty, not the poor.
While these demands are directed at the Democrats, there is not an enthusiastic expectation that they will take our platform seriously. That is why we are also directing our message outward to the masses of working and oppressed people to let them know that there are political parties and organizations aside from the Democrats and Republicans, that will stand up for their ability to access the necessities of life and against racism, imperialism and institutional violence of capitalism. Marching on the DNC is only a step toward building a movement that can usher in the fundamental changes that are needed in the imperialist core of world capitalism, the United States.