September 17, 2021
From Spectre Journal

[1] This vote was part of a general right-ward drift in DSA since Biden’s election. See Haley Pessin and Andrew Sernatinger, “DSA Sliding Right Under Biden” Tempest (September 8, 2012)

[2] Andy Sernatinger and Emma Wilde Botta “Strange Alchemy: The Party Surrogate and Socialist Politics in DSA” Tempest (June 5, 2021)

[3] Eric Blanc, “We Should Focus on Scaling Up Working-Class Power, Not Debating the Dirty Break” The Call (August 6, 2021) 

[4] Jacobin (December 4, 2017)

[5] “Despite more recent analyses mirroring some of Blanc’s developments, see for instance the earlier Paul Heideman, “It’s Their Party” Jacobin (February 4, 2016); and Kim Moody, “From Realignment to Reinforcement” Jacobin (January 26, 2017)

[6] The Birth of the Labour Party Has Many Lessons for Socialists Today” Jacobin (February 15, 2021)

[7] Blanc also praised the BLP’s continued electoral alliance with the Liberals prior to 1918-1920, as a means of winning workers who had remained loyal to the Liberals.

[8]Seth Ackerman, “A Blueprint for a New Party” Jacobin (November 8, 2016) ( and Jared Abbott and Dustin Guastella, “A Socialist Party in Our Time?” Catalyst 3, 2 (Summer 2019).

[9] Blanc, “We Should Focus”.

[10] “Strange Alchemy.” Sernatinger and Wilde Botta as well as Moody effectively dismantle claims that the voting base of the Democrats remains, after forty years of neo-liberal dominance, overwhelmingly working class, rather than increasingly upper middle class.

[11] For a discussion of the different dynamics of class struggle and electoral politics, see David McNally and Charles Post, “Beyond Electoralism: Mass Action and the Remaking of the Working Class” Spectre 2, 1 (Spring 2021).

[12] Joe Evica and Andrew Sernatinger, “Taking the Dirty Break Seriously: Socialists, Elections, and the Democratic Party” Tempest (September 10, 2020) I made a similar argument in “Debating ‘The Case for Bernie 2020’” Socialist Worker (October 16, 2018)

[13] Kim Moody, “’Dirty Break’ for Independent Political Action or a Way to Stay Stuck in the Mud?” New Politics (June 9, 2020) and “What Can We Learn from the Birth of the British Labour Party” Tempest (Forthcoming 2021).

[14] I am indebted to Kim Moody for the material in the following paragraphs.

[15] Heather Gautney Crashing the Party: From The Bernie Sanders Campaign to a Progressive Movement (London: Verso Books, 2018), pp. 132-134 explicitly recognizes this.

[16] I am indebted to personal correspondence with Kim Moody for these insights.


[18] Sernatinger and Wilde Botta, “Strange Alchemy” use this term, building on the analysis detailed by Moody in “From Realignment to Reinforcement” and in On New Terrain: How Capital is Reshaping the Battleground of Class War (Chicago: Haymarket Books, 2017), Chapters Seven to Nine.

[19] Moody, “From Realignment to Reinforcement”.

[20] All the data in the following paragraphs is from Moody, “From Realignment to Reinforcement”

[21] Branko Marcetic, “Bernie Sanders Is Making His Pitch to Swing Voters” Jacobin (September 1, 2021)

[22] “Strange Alchemy”.

[23] Eric Leif Davin and Staughton Lynd, “Picket Line and Ballot Box: The Forgotten Legacy of the Local Labor Party Movement, 1932-1935” Radical History Review 22 (1980), pp. 43-63. Eric Leif Davin, “The Very Last Hurrah? The Defeat of the Labor Party Idea, 1934-36” in Staughton Lynd (ed.), “We Are All Leaders”: The Alternative Unionism of the Early 1930s” (Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press, 1996, pp. 117-172.