The real red wave is yet to come

No, I don’t mean that red wave, the one that the pundits and commentators have been talking about this year. True, the conventional wisdom among the punditocracy was that because of people’s worry over inflation and “crime,” added to President Joe Biden’s low popularity, that the Trump-led Republican Party would win massive victories up and down the ballot. Didn’t happen.

That’s not to say that it won’t happen in the future, the context of which is the subject of other analyses.

To those of us over a certain age, the concept of “red states” and “blue states” is relatively new. Its advent came about because of advances in television broadcast technology. With the development of color programming and the computer, it became practical to color the states on an election map in two different colors—red and blue. Wikipedia has an interesting article on how red came to represent the Republican Party and blue the Democrats.

The terminology, however, has become ubiquitous.

But the real history of red as a political symbol is far older than U.S. presidential politics. As far back as the French Revolution, if not before, red has symbolized the struggle for revolutionary change. It was said that red represented the blood people were willing to shed in the struggle for a better world. Red blood is one thing that all human beings have in common.

In the nineteenth century, it became inextricably intertwined with socialism and communism. (See the flag in the play “Les Miserables.”) It was also the color of the flag of the Paris Commune—the first workers’ state in human history—in 1871.

In the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, red (in addition, often, to the hammer-and-sickle) has been on the flag of every country where the working class has come to power.

And coming to power will be the ultimate victory of the workers and other progressive forces in every country on Earth. That includes the United States.

The day will arrive, though probably not in the lifetime of many of us alive today, when the American working class and its allies will come to power peacefully and begin the building of socialism with American characteristics.

That will be a real red wave.

As with all op-eds published by People’s World, this article reflects the opinions of its author.


David Cavendish
David Cavendish

David Cavendish is a retired teacher, active in the union movement, the peace movement (many years in an anti-Iraq/Afghanistan War vigil), and other progressive political activities. He is a longtime contributor to People’s World. David Cavendish es un maestro jubilado, activo en el movimiento sindical, el movimiento por la paz y otras actividades políticas progresistas. Colabora desde hace mucho tiempo en People’s World.