The relevant article (by The Editors) is entitled Socialist Action National Convention registers gains. Precisely what has been gained is left unsaid. Commenter John B estimates they have about 100 members--which seems consistent with the only statistic offered: there were 70 contributions to the pre-convention discussion bulletin.
The showstopping news is that the Party now declares China to be a capitalist country. Wow! They finally noticed. And Russia, too. But that's not all--they've gone all out on a capitalism-shaming kick. Even Venezuela and North Korea are now put into the capitalist camp.
As late as 2017 SA classed North Korea as a "deformed workers state," similar to the former Soviet Union. They don't explain how or when the counter-revolution and capitalist restoration has since occurred.
Likewise, Venezuela, once a beacon for leftists everywhere, has now become anathema, disowned by everybody. Apparently SA uses capitalist to describe any regime it doesn't like--the term is reduced to mere epithet.
For SA capitalism is an on/off switch--there are no gradations. A country is either capitalist (apparently all countries except Cuba), or a workers state (Cuba). Of course that's not true--some countries are more capitalist than others. A good proxy for degree of capitalist is the measure of economic freedom put together by the Heritage Foundation. Hong Kong tops the list, followed by Singapore and New Zealand. The US comes in at #17.
Ironically, super-socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC), often accused of "going the full Venezuela", denies it, claiming her model for socialism is Sweden. Sweden ranks #15 in economic freedom--i.e. is more capitalist than even the USA!
The countries at the bottom of the list--i.e., most likely to be non-capitalist--are (in order) Cuba, Venezuela, and North Korea. The correlation between economic freedom and per capita GDP is pretty good, especially if you exclude rent-collecting petrostates and off-shore banking havens. Capitalism is good for children and other living things.
But back to China. SA claims that a poor China is good for our economy. This is certainly not true--how can we sell things to a bunch of poor people? And further, people who can cost-effectively manufacture goods for American consumers will not remain poor for very long--300 million Chinese have been brought into the global middle class. I have discussed this issue at length in my replies to Lynn Henderson, here and here.
The Editors add a wrinkle to the argument bringing in America's defense of intellectual property rights. They write,
China’s entry into the World Trade Organization in 2001 was conditioned on its respecting foreign corporations’ intellectual property rights—that is, agreeing not to compete by transforming its primitive factories via state-of-the-art technologies, which the U.S. today insists are protected by U.S. patents (“inviolable” intellectual property rights). As a result, for close to two decades and until recently, the level of Chinese labor productivity lagged far behind most capitalist nations.The US (and the European Union) expected China to obey WTO intellectual property laws. This is a free market principle that the US wants to defend. It does not follow that the US wants China to be poor. No way. A poor China means a poorer United States.
But geopolitics gets in the way. Not only are we economically dependent on China, but China is a military competitor. For that reason we care very much if military technology falls into Chinese hands--and preventing that from happening is really important, even at the cost of more poverty.
Trump's trade policy is to lessen our dependence on China by moving as much "Made in China" over to "Made in Mexico." It is understood this will lower Americans' standard of living somewhat.
SA follows the Leftist lead in slandering President Trump. They write,
Yes, Trump is a billionaire businessman—an overtly racist, sexist, anti-immigrant, climate crisis denying, detention center/concentration camp crusading, homophobic, Islamophobic, warmongering, imperialist beast.Trump may be racist (I don't think he is), but he certainly isn't "overtly racist." An overt racist would call for the restoration of Jim Crow, or claim that Blacks shouldn't be allowed to vote, or tout the superiority of white people. Trump has said nothing like that. An overt racist, eating a taco bowl, would have said "I hate Latinos" instead of (what he did say) "I love Latinos."
He's not even overtly racist against Mexicans. Here is what he actually said.
When Mexico sends its people, they're not sending their best. They're not sending you. They're not sending you. They're sending people that have lots of problems, and they're bringing those problems with us. They're bringing drugs. They're bringing crime. They're rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.He is not saying that all Mexicans are problematic, drug-pushing rapists. Only the ones that the government is sending over the border. Now I think that statement is completely false, but it's not "overtly racist." It is a criticism of the Mexican government.
Some on the Left are smarter than our Editors. They say that Trump talks in "dog-whistles" or secret code. In other words, he's not overt, but instead a disguised racist. That position is arguable, though I don't think it's true, either. Instead he just doesn't care about race--the issue is to him completely unimportant. He's race-ignorant.
Likewise, it is hard to call Trump a "warmonger," especially now that he's pulling troops out of Syria. He's said nothing to suggest he's "homophobic," and it stretches credulity to think he advocates "concentration camps." Only the "climate crisis denying" charge sticks--and I'm down with him on that one.
Socialist Action would have a lot more credibility if it could get its own house in order. This is what they say about the Fourth International (FI).
Our delegation at the FI’s February 2018 World Congress aimed at re-orienting the FI to its historic rejection of coalition capitalist (“popular front”) politics and imperialist wars, unconditional support to the right of oppressed nations and peoples to self-determination, and the construction of disciplined revolutionary parties on the Leninist model aimed at the construction of a world socialist order.SA is defending a strategy that has never, ever worked in world history. Despite the rewriting of history after 1917, not even the Russian Revolution was caused by a Leninist Party. Neither were the (since failed) Chinese and Cuban revolutions. The concept of a Leninist vanguard party is a total dead letter.
Compare, for example, AOC. While it's obvious that she's a major ignoramus (a problem that will solve itself in time), at least she has charm and good looks. Indeed, in a recent Rasmussen poll AOC essentially tied Trump in a hypothetical presidential match-up. So the lady has some serious charisma, along with formidable social media skills.
Compare her with Jeff Mackler--Socialist Action's 2016 presidential candidate.
Socialist Action’s decision to run our own candidate for the presidency, even as an extremely modest propaganda effort, stood us in good stead with regard to the education of our ranks along with radicalizing layers who were beginning to learn the lessons of independent working-class politics in the electoral arena.They're not kidding about the "extremely modest propaganda effort." All they did was a five-day campaign swing through southern New England. And contrary to AOC, Mr. Mackler has all the charisma of Leonid Brezhnev.
That despite the fact that he is the Vanguard of the Vanguard, uniquely possessed of The Precisely Correct Revolutionary Program. So perspicacious, in fact, that he can tell us that North Korea is now capitalist when it wasn't in 2017. Not even AOC can compete with that!
I think an American socialist revolution is hopelessly improbable. But if I were to bet on somebody leading it, that somebody would be Ms. Ocasio-Cortez instead of Mr. Mackler. I'll put million to one odds on that.