If a Budding Socialist Movement Can Defeat Amazon, Imagine What Else It Can Do

Source: Truthout

Photo by SCOOTERCASTER/Shutterstock.com


For socialists, New York has been the site of the most important electoral campaign win yet: Ocasio-Cortez’s insurgent run for the House in 2018. Her victory led to an explosion of membership in DSA nationally, the biggest jump in membership after the Sanders campaign and Donald Trump’s victory. It also led to a sea change in American politics, putting critical issues like a Green New Deal on the public agenda. Less examined, however, is how Ocasio-Cortez’s win was part of a massive shift in the politics of New York City and New York State.

Her victory, along with Julia Salazar’s in the New York State Senate, were, in the grand scheme of their respective legislative bodies, small — Salazar was the lone socialist in a body of sixty-three; Ocasio-Cortez, one of two with Rashida Tlaib of Michigan out of 435. Yet Ocasio-Cortez’s and Salazar’s victories, combined with the continued organizing efforts and electoral victories of the socialist and broader working-class movement that put them in office, quickly effected a massive shift in New York politics that produced huge victories against two of the most powerful capitalists in the world today: real estate developers and Amazon.

Ocasio-Cortez’s story is a true pull-yourself-up-by-your-bootstraps tale: a bartender who had grown up in and around the Bronx went up against a major power broker in the Democratic Party who assumed he would be next in line for his party’s most important position in the House of Representatives. Instead, Ocasio-Cortez knocked him off and headed to Capitol Hill. Pandemonium ensued. Ocasio-Cortez was the subject of nonstop press coverage, her utterances and tweets regularly calling the tune of the day’s news cycle. She instantly became an icon of the rising US Left, and right-wing media became obsessed, hanging onto her every word.

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