When Radicals Beat the Two-Party System

Lause, Mark A.
Date Written:  2015-11-01
Publisher:  Against the Current
Year Published:  2015
Resource Type:  Article
Cx Number:  CX21295

Today, you cannot vote for peace, justice, and environmental sanity within a system predicated on serving the war industry, the wage system sustained by the prison-industrial complex, and deliberate obliviousness to the natural world. Slavery presented the abolitionists with exactly the same problem.



In 1854, the two-party monopoly was able to do what the Free Democrats could never have done. In their arrogance, they passed the Kansas-Nebraska Act, repealing the old Missouri Compromise and opening the door to the expansion of slaveholding into the Kansas Territory. It incorporated the "squatter sovereignty" idea that would allow the settlers in a western territory to decide for themselves whether to recognize slavery as a legal institution in their constitution.

The Democrats had long hoped that this would get the issue of slavery out of national politics and avoid the sectional shattering of their own party.

At Ripon, the site of Chase's old community in Wisconsin, critics formerly associated with both parties held a series of meetings that called for a new party that would embrace the label of "republican" in opposition to the slave-based imperial agenda of the Democrats and former Whigs.

The chair of these meetings, Alvan Bovay had been the secretary of the National Reformers at New York, the body with which Marx and Engels had expressed their affinity in the Communist Manifesto.
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