Hey there! Listen, I'm struggling to figure out my political leanings, and you seem pretty up on all this jazz. I'm kinda feeling a fan of the SEP, but they've decided that unions have betrayed the proletariat, whilst I instinctively feel like they're a necessary bulwark against what's coming, and a useful hub of organising to leverage. What are your thoughts?
Eh, I’m a registered Democrat but I tend not to align with specific parties. No single party represents my beliefs wholesale and also has the power to actually do jack about them. I find a loose conglomeration of grassroots activist organizations much more useful in terms of getting good information and assembling to support or protest a given action.
I suppose it depends on why you’re working it out – I mean if you want to be able to identify As Something and you like socialism, just say you’re a socialist. If you’re looking for a party to support because you wish to make change in the world, you’re better off aligning with a party that at least has SOME seats SOMEWHERE in the government – I’m not intimately familiar with the party but Wikipedia tells me they are…not influential.
If you just want shit to get better and want to be a part of that, forget joining a party and study up on activist groups and join a couple of those instead.
I mean there’s no reason you can’t join the SEP if you’re liking the vibe, but there’s also no reason you can’t join the SEP and still follow other parties’ sites and news and actions as well. Remember not to let perfect be the enemy of good – if you strongly want to join a party, join a party whose faults you can tolerate, but know that every party has faults, and go outside of the party for what you can’t get from within.
Anyway, FWIW, I don’t think the unions betrayed the proletariat – or rather, because it’s kind of an ongoing process, I don’t think unions should be dismantled if they do or done away with because they have in the past. I think union management is frequently corrupted by organized crime or other forms of greed, and sometimes the workers get screwed because of it, but unions are still more useful at protecting labor against capitalist oppression than pretty much any other organization humanity has ever been able to produce.
(Four months after I joined the union the entire union leadership was found to be embezzling from the dues, and about a year after that the first-in-first-out rules dicked over both me and a friend of mine. But I still got a yearly cost-of-living raise and equal benefits with salaried employees, and the union worked hard to get those for me.)
Uh, I guess this isn’t really helpful in offering you a specific party to join, but hopefully it has helped in some sense :D Remember that you can join a party – but that doesn’t mean you have to toe the party line.