After years of monotonous two-party ping-pong, American politics has started to get interesting. Without a mass political party of our own, US workers are forced to abstain, cast a protest vote, or choose between one capitalist party or another. So far, these are still the only options for 2016. But although the current contest is being played out within the narrow constraints of the two-party system, the limits of the current set up are increasingly apparent. Just a few months ago, it was shaping up to be a snoozefest between yet another Bush and another Clinton. However, Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump—and above all, the American electorate—had other ideas.

In this epoch of capitalist crisis, it is only a short step from an amorphous striving for basic rights and modest reforms to drawing fully revolutionary conclusions. The rising interest in socialism is a worldwide phenomenon, with different versions flowing from each country’s traditions and history. Here in the US we are experiencing our own variant, distorted through the prism of a country with an anticommunist past and without a traditional mass workers’ party.

Bernie Sanders, the Democratic Party candidate for president of the United States, has attracted huge crowds and generated enormous enthusiasm at campaign stops around the country. He calls himself a socialist and urges a “political revolution against the billionaire class.” What does Sanders’ campaign reflect and represent? How should revolutionary Marxists approach it?

With the heinous murder of Freddie Gray, the #BlackLivesMatter movement came roaring back to life. Tens of thousands of people again flooded streets across the country to protest against racism and police brutality. These once-routine and largely unrecognized murders are now churning up powerful forces long dormant in the womb of society.

The death of Freddie Gray in Baltimore, Maryland is just the latest in a string of police killings of black men to hit national headlines. But it seems that it may mark the end of a national ebb in the #BlackLivesMatter movement. As things heat up in the coming months, an important question must be asked: what is the way forward for the movement?

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