“[The] Working Class doesn’t have its own political party”. This phrase opened up Professor August Nimtz Jr.’s intriguing presentation to UMN YDSA and Twin Cities CDSA members on June 15 at the University of Minnesota’s (UMN) Folwell Hall. Dr. Nimtz is a professor of political science and African American and African Studies in the College of Liberal Arts at the UMN who specializes in Marxism, political economy and the politics of race. Professor Nimtz took us on a brief historical journey documenting interesting tidbits of political history and thought from a Marxist perspective.
A term used by the Professor more than once, “voting fetishism”, is the misguided belief that when we vote we are exercising power. He clarified that we are simply only registering a preference “NOT imposing our will”. Exercising our power means imposing our will and this will only happen with rebellion in the streets whereby we can then gain political power. One attending member expressed that much in posing a question to Dr. Nimtz in the Q&A: Did the 2020 George Floyd protests have anything to do with the Democratic party legislation that passed this last 2023 session? Did they throw us a few bones to keep us out of the streets?
Dr. Nimtz also reminded us that the U.S. Constitution does not include the word “democracy” and compared that to the Bolshevik’s 1918 constitution of the Russian Soviet Republic which did include the word “democracy”. He stated emphatically that private property was tantamount with the writing of the constitution and “only with the end of private property is the working class free”.
Party politics both at the state and federal level was a thread woven through the presentation as well. Minnesota’s short-lived third party, the Farmer Labor Party, and it’s cooptation by the Democrat Party were noted, as well as then U.S. Senator Walter Mondale’s key role in co-opting the civil rights revolution into the Democratic Party beginning in 1964, leading to the final nail in the coffin with President Clinton’s delivery of the “Democratic party back to its original southern roots”. For more on Walter Mondale see “Walter Mondale (1928–2021) and the decline and fall of Democratic Party liberalism”.
Thanks to Brooke B. and UMN YDSA for making this inspiring event happen. The Political Education Committee is holding a movie night about Minnesota’s third party history with the documentary “The Farm-Labor Movement: A Minnesota Story”, at the UMN Lind Hall. After the movie, a panel of experts will answer the audience’s questions. See the events calendar for more info.