Right now we are part of the Popular Front against fascism. But we know how that ended last time. As soon as the fascists and Nazis were defeated, the popular front – the collection of socialist and bourgeois liberal parties – began to split apart. The liberals united with the reactionaries and blocked the left.
The political leaders of the American bourgeois class (led by Prescott Bush, Averell Harriman, Allen and John Foster Dulles) set the foreign policy. They started the anti-communism of the Cold War in post World War II America to defend the property rights of American colonials in foreign lands. They overthrew the elected government in Guatemala in 1954 and ushered in 50 years of military dictatorship that committed genocide against the native Mayan people.
The Old Left had made a bargain with the ruling class. The unions agreed to cooperate in an anti-communist foreign policy, but they should have known that would inevitably lead to an anti-communist domestic policy and to the House Un-American Activities Committee. And that meant that left-wing labor unions like United Electrical would get purged from the AFL-CIO.
The New Left was anti-imperialist and occasionally Marxist. It was wildly popular in the sixties and seventies until they eliminated the draft. Then everybody thought the New Left was dead. But then Bernie ran for President, and a sleeping giant rose up. He spoke for millions and a new generation.
We will join the Popular Front against fascism again knowing we will be betrayed. We know they will look for an opportunity to do us in. But we know we can get some things done. Working people made good progress after World War II: the G.I. Bill, highway construction, and union protection.
We’re hoping for something like that again. But we know as soon as the liberals see our backside, they’ll put a knife in it.
And that’s the optimistic version.