There is a tendency in politics to assume that everyone farther to one side of the political spectrum than you are is in on a big conspiracy to screw you and your buddies on the opposite side of the spectrum. For people who are relatively close to the political center, this just manifests as conspiratorial thinking about the opposing major party – Democrats talking about the evil plans of the Republicans and vice versa. It gets weirder and more interesting as you talk to people more on the fringes, either far left or far right. Socialists think that President Obama, and the Democratic Party in general, is just a tool of the capitalist class to divert discontent into acceptable channels, and no better than the Republicans. Some of these socialists think the solution to this problem is to elect someone farther left, like Bernie Sanders. And then there are the people to the left of Bernie calling him “an imperialist capitalist shill.” Meanwhile on the right wing of our political discourse, you find Tea Party Republicans accusing their slightly less fanatical Republican colleagues of being in league with Obama to destroy America and usher in a communist dictatorship based on their unwillingness to hold the country hostage until their demands are met.
Presumably this is because in politics you are always trying to pull policy towards your preferences. My preferences are well to the left of current policy, so when I pull towards me, it seems as if everyone to my right is pulling in the other direction in unity. Meanwhile to someone as far to the right as I am to the left, it seems like everyone to their left is pulling in unity against them. Obama, and even Sanders, really are agents of capitalism in that their agendas do not include overthrowing our capitalist economy and replacing it with a socialist one. The important thing to remember though is that this doesn’t imply that they are actually in league with the others on ‘team capitalism’. Indeed, ignoring these internal divisions within the very broad coalition of “everyone to my right” is foolish. I have no objection to teaming up with people who don’t want to move as far left as I do, but want to move in that direction relative to the status quo. Sure they’ll become opponents eventually if we’re successful, since they’ll want to stop and I’ll want to keep going, but those are the problems of victory. The key from a tactical standpoint is that these alliances need to support the creation of power-bases that represent the interests I care about, rather than just channeling the power of those interests into supporting the lesser of two evils that we’re temporarily allying with. Don’t just fight for the Democrats against the Republicans, or even just support the better Democrats in primaries, but instead build organizations that can do all that, but retain their separate character and ideological outlook.
Of course saying all this will get me branded a reactionary ally of the capitalist regime by a certain breed of less compromising socialists, for whom I’m just on the left edge of the massive pro-capitalist conspiracy. All I can say to those people is that I promise I really will be on their team if and when we achieve the current moderate social democratic type goals we’re pushing for against my current allies who will want to rest on those laurels rather than continuing towards socialism. Also that I love them unconditionally. Keep on shining you pure, powerless, crazy diamonds.