Third Parties: From Impulse to Imperative

Protesters at the 2012 Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina. Photo/Meredith Jones

Protesters at the 2012 Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina. Photo/Meredith Jones

It is an American belief that our political parties will serve the interests of all Americans—that politicians are to serve the people of America as a whole.

This idea comes from a time in American history where the driving forces of the American economy were small farms, local merchants, and factories, employing the majority of America’s workers.

Our economy is changing in fundamental ways, as America’s once prolific industrial factory jobs and family farms have nearly completely disappeared due to a globalized economy, more efficient and profitable automated technologies, and advanced communications.

As the economy of America changes, so must the way it is organized politically. In this new American landscape, the Republicans and Democrats (often together through “bipartisan” efforts) are enacting policies that make working people pay dearly for the benefit of the corporations, banks, and very rich—a process of consolidating government with the corporations.
As the government more openly prioritizes corporate profits over the wellbeing of the vast majority of people, voters are left politically voiceless, creating a political vacuum.

This vacuum is illustrated by fact that about 50% of the electorate does not vote in national elections. Pew exit polls show that out of those who did vote in the 2012 elections, tens of millions were not actually supporting the candidates they voted for: 20% of Obama voters said they were voting against Romney rather than voting for Obama, and 40% of Romney voters said they were not voting for Romney, but against Obama.

Increasingly, people see that the major parties are incapable of meeting their needs. Under their rule, the American situation has become increasingly dire, with hunger, homelessness, and unemployment increasing each year, and an environmental crisis that threatens humanity’s long-term existence on this planet. Democratic and Republican politicians are unable to break from the corporations that have created these crises in their relentless pursuit of profits.

Only a third party that is of, by, and for America’s working people—completely independent from the corporations—is capable of addressing the crises we face. As the major parties continue to alienate themselves from the electorate, third party impulses will increase. Already, the Green Party has outlined a program to address the needs of the people by refocusing America’s spending on the green economy, creating new jobs and averting environmental collapse.

New third parties are emerging and will continue to as the American people struggle for their needs to be met, struggle to find a political voice and build power in an America undergoing fundamental changes. They will help us build our independence from corporations and to recognize our collective power as the working class. Combining our efforts with the growing third party impulse is the most important next step we can take to remake America into what we want it to be, a country with a healthy future for all people and our planet.

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