Democracy, Not Oligarchy
As socialists, we know that a truly participatory and democratic political system is the only way the working class can assert its political interests. Presently, our government, from the federal level all the way down to municipal officials, is effectively controlled by oligarchs and plutocrats serving the interests of capital. In order to effect positive change, socialists must strongly advocate for policies that allow meaningful, mass participation in politics by all citizens.
We Must Take Back our Elections
The two-party system stands firmly in the way of mass political participation and opposes the interests of the working class. Republicans unabashedly oppose social programs that benefit the working class while cutting taxes to billionaires, increasing military spending, and allowing corporations to pillage our natural resources. Democrats offer themselves as the saviors of the working class, but when in power, consistently serve Wall Street and the interests of global conglomerates.
In order to break the graft machine of the Republican-Democratic duopoly, we must have publicly financed elections. Our privately funded electoral system, where the exchange of money is equated with speech as a matter of law, does nothing but enrich predatory “strategists” and “consultants” who serve the interests of their donors rather than those of the working class. Democratic senate candidate Amy McGrath brought in over $80,000,000 of mostly out-of-state money, while positioning herself as a “pro-Trump democrat,” and could not even post 40 points in the final tally. Public financing of elections will allow candidates to run openly on their own merits, rather than their ability to deliver for their donors.
The Right to Vote is Fundamental
The right to vote is the most fundamental right granted to citizens by any state. We believe all citizens, without exception, must have the right to vote. In a representative democracy, the disenfranchisement of even a single citizen should be understood as a grievous injury to the entire working class. The people cannot express their political will without a voice, and one of the most effective mediums we have to speak is the ballot box.
Citizens must be able to freely exercise their right to vote without impediment. We support automatic voter registration and universal mail-in voting, and an end to racist barriers to voting such as Voter ID laws. Further, Kentucky must abandon its systemic and wholesale disenfranchisement of felons and restore to them their fundamental right to have a say in their government.
We Demand Real Representation
Ranked choice voting allows the electorate to honestly express its preferences. The plurality first-past-the-post method currently used in Kentucky elections coerces citizens to vote for the “lesser of two evils” rather than allowing them to express true preferences on a broad field of candidates. This voting system entrenches the power of the two major political parties and effectively kills any outside opposition. Ranked choice voting will break this power by guaranteeing that a citizen’s vote can still be counted, even if their first-preference candidate is eliminated from contention.
A representative democracy must accurately and proportionally reflect the will of its citizens. Our constitutional scheme is fundamentally flawed in its adoption of countermajoritarian processes that give small numbers of voters a larger voice because of arbitrary political boundaries. Total house representation has been fixed since 1929, while the population has more than doubled and two states have been admitted to our union. We believe that the practice of gerrymandering must be abolished and replaced with clear directives that state legislatures draw party-blind, contiguous boundaries for congressional districts. We believe that we need meaningful apportionment in congress, including a massive increase in the number of House members and significant reforms to the anti-democratic institution of the Senate.
For and By the People, Not the Political Donors
Oligarchy stands in the way of the real freedom and self-determination of the working class. As long as small groups of billionaires and other agents of capital control our political system, working people will remain an exploited, voiceless, disorganized group. Louisville DSA holds these positions to struggle in solidarity with the broader working class to exert mass political pressure on our elected officials through concerted democratic action.