On October 2, approximately 175,000 people from across the United States gathered at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. for the One Nation Working Together rally, organized by the One Nation Working Together Movement. The main objective of the rally was to demand that the incumbent administration actually fight for the numerous changes that voters had believed and hoped it would push through. These demanded changes include the creation of quality jobs, the passage of important labor legislation, such as the Employee Free Choice Act, an end to the bank bailouts, an end to the U.S. wars abroad, and an end to environmental destruction.
One of the most notable parts of the rally was the presence of a relatively sizable socialist contingent of approximately 100 to 200 participants that marched down to the rally. The group with the clearest presence by far within this contingent was the International Socialist Organization, which provided most of the signs that the participants in the contingent carried; however, members of the Socialist Party USA and Socialist Action were also present, although in much smaller numbers.
Although the primary aims of the rally–outside of the socialist contingent–were in no way related to breaking with the two-party system, there was a clear air of anger and frustration directed towards the Obama administration for its failure to push through many of the changes that voters had believed his election would bring for the working class. I believe that the rally was definitely worthwhile, and that some of the people who attended it–those who are very dissatisfied with the present state of political affairs in the U.S. and are becoming disillusioned with the Democratic Party as an advocate for working class interests–present a possible future force for the advancement of a socialist movement.
I believe that the way to bring these dissatisfied people closer to the cause of socialism is to demonstrate that the political and economic failures and shortcomings that they are protesting against are not simply caused by wrong choices within the framework of capitalism by a particular capitalist political party, but that these failures are, rather, inherent in the logic of capitalism itself–a demonstration for which the recent economic crisis and current recession provide the perfect context.