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The Primary Route in 2020 with Tom Gallagher

Sunday, April 14, 2019
10:30 AM - 12:30 PM
Event Type:
Eugene E Ruyle
Location Details:
NPML, 6501 Telegraph Ave, Oakland (just North of Alcatraz Ave.)

Sunday Morning at the Marxist Library

The Primary Route in 2020

In 2015, prior to the Sanders candidacy, Tom Gallagher authored a political pamphlet entitled, The Primary Route: How the 99% Take on the Military Industrial Complex. Examining the history of third party presidential campaigns as well primary challenges within the Democratic Party, it emphatically advocated the "primary route" as the appropriate response to the specific structure of the American political system.  Gallagher's joke is that his deal with the devil was that either the book would be a commercial success, or the course that he advocated would be a political success -- but not both.  We know how that turned out -- and it was by far the preferable outcome.
    Although the success of the Sanders campaign -- far exceeding the expectations of Gallagher, and almost everyone else -- would seem to have proved the book's point, there will, of course, be those still opting for a third party route.  Gallagher will address the question of why he respectfully disagrees and why he regards participation in primaries (and caucuses) as the “safe” option, in which candidates of the left are less likely to see their message overshadowed by the perceived danger of their efforts ultimately making matters worse by inadvertently helping to elect a Republican – a debate that has continued for nearly twenty years since Ralph Nader’s 2000 run. 
    He concludes that the current level of public discussion and appreciation of democratic socialism -- beyond anything seen in almost a century -- is due to the American left's acknowledging that wishing for a parliamentary system would not make it so, and instead embarking upon a course that better fit the really existing political terrain.  
    The question of the moment is whether this breakthrough will ultimately prove to be just a one-off historical anomaly or the beginning of a lasting sea change in American politics. Will the future include an American left consistently able to navigate the often murky challenges of real world politics? Or does it fall back to its traditional, largely non-participant critique, generally delivered from the margins?
 Tom Gallagher is a former member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives, a Bernie Sanders delegate to the 2016 Democratic Convention. and current member of the Progressive Democrats of America, and the Democratic Socialists of America.

Sunday, April 14, 2019 – 10:30am-12:30pm
6501 Telegraph Ave, Oakland (just North of Alcatraz Ave.)
Seating is limited, so plan to come early. We start promptly.
FREE - but hat will be passed for donations to NPML

About Sunday Morning at the Marxist Library
A weekly discussion series inspired by our respect for the work of Karl Marx and our belief that his work will remain as important for the class struggles of the future as they have been for the past.

For info or to subscribe to our weekly announcements,
Call Gene Ruyle at 510-332-3865 or email: cuyleruyle [at]
For our full schedule, go to
Labor donated by ICSS volunteers
Added to the calendar on Tue, Apr 9, 2019 5:31PM
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