On Clinton and the Communist Party
Louis R Godena
louisgodena at ids.net
Fri Aug 9 07:44:51 MDT 1996
Thanks, Charlotte, and to the other members of the CP who have responded to
my remarks. You know, there is something faintly anachronistic about this
debate, as though this were 1964 or 1972, when this type of thing still
mattered. In 1996, we as a Party have become irrelevant, even to our
friends on the left. There are many reasons for this, and nearly all of
them pre-date 1991, though what happened in Cleveland that year could serve
as a case study of the blunders and mistakes of the CP leadership throughout
our age. But, as you know, I have always considered the CP--like most
marxist parties--a sort of work-in-progress, never quite living up to its
potential, but a necessary part of the political landscape nonetheless.
I think it is difficult today to know exactly where the Party line rests on
any important issue. Clinton's signing of the Welfare Bill--itself a
product of important "liberal" Democratic efforts--renders impotent any
arguments for continuing to support him. But, what of his hapless
Administration and its Congressional supporters? Do we support them on
certain issues, or assume a benign silence until after November? What of
the independent candidacies of Harrison, Nader, et al? Do we prefer the
Democrats to, say, Workers' World or the Green Party? I have never been
much of a "party line" person (I dislike the term). However, a clearly
formulated Party line, emerging not out of thin air, but from struggles
within the Party and the working class itself, is one I would find more
congenial than the present contraption. You have to decide for yourself.
When I spoke of a second Clinton Administration in terms of a "better"
situation for left issues, I of course meant "better" than a Dole regime
would prove to be. There is hardly any prospect for an improvement in
Clinton's record, except possibly in the area of federal court appointments.
We shall see.
Neil C is right about the Democrats, and much else (though it is not the
beginning of wisdom to constantly re-hash the sins of the bourgeois state
and then lay it at the door of the CP). However, I feel a policy of
ignoring electoral struggles altogether is travelling too far along a
sectarian road. Elections under capitalism is still a mass activity--an
opportunity for agitation and propaganda. It should be seen as a vehicle
for building the movement, in much the same way as we view our trade union
work, or indeed our work in a myriad(s) (sorry, Rahul) of other areas.
This, in my view, is the real work of the Communist Party.
Anyway (as a wise friend of mine is wont to say), this is pretty much all I
have time to write on the subject. It is an important topic, and I would
like to hear from others their views on the current elections.
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