Voting. Was Air your views... godena's sup

Sun Aug 11 16:46:35 MDT 1996

More on the 'voting dilemma'...

> >I don't agree with your premise, that voting feels
> >comfortably ordinary to the  "average person".
> Enough people vote (ca. 100 million) that we can say,  as I did, that
> is "comfortably familiar" to the average American,  even,  I suspect, to a
> substantial number of those (60-70 million) who do not vote, but who,
> nonetheless, are passive participants in the electoral process.     This
> does not mean that they approve of politicians or the particular economic
> system that they serve and represent.     It simply means that this facet
> bourgeois democracy still enjoys at least the tacit support of most
> Americans.    It is,  in our epoch, a mass activity, and one pregnant with
> possibilities for the marxist left.

Indeed. But also pregnant with disasters. That's kind of the nature of
opportunity, don't you think?

The communists who approach each electoral question from the point of view:
"which strategy takes forward the class?" will build a thinking movement.
Those who open the scrapbook and say, "What did we do last time?" will,
probably, not.

> I have time and again criticized the CP's often unstinting support for
> Democrats who turned out to be fakers--or mere clowns--I have always
> preferred independent candidates or those running under the banner of the
> Communist Party--as I did--or a Party initiated front.    I have been

OK. Can you, for the benefit of newbies like me explain on behalf of the CP
majority (I'm impressed by your interpretation of democratic centralism,
incidentally - many on the left would consider it a crime to speak in public
against your party's line) why they have led the CPUSA into support for the

And the basis for you opposing it?

It appears, you see, that you are evaluating this question on a candidate by
candidate basis - this Democrat has a good position on abortion, that one is
known to support strikers, the other one is up against a particularly
reactionary Republican. But that is not helpful to the working class, who
need, not 'relatively good' capitalists getting elected, but class based
politics - the class sturggle through the mass participation in the
electoral process.

> on this.    On the other hand, do I think that, given the realistic
> alternative, that support for say,  Geo.   Crockett  or John Conyers or
> Dellums is, or was,  a mistake?    I do not.      And the role of the

Why? Do they advocate communism, speak at CP events, and build the CPUSA? Or
do they just have a conscience?

Unless these people are class-struggle oriented then they are no use to the
working class. And if they are, then they should be pulled out of the
Democrats and into the workers' movement.

> in the earlier struggles for unemployment insurance,  Social Security,
> welfare rights and benefits,  and on behalf of national civil rights
> legislation has,  on the whole, been a positive one.     On the other
> as I stated on Friday,  the era in which the Democrat Party could be
> effectively pressured into endorsing ameliorative or progressive policies
> now past.    It is time,  simply,  for a new strategy.

THAT WAS YOUR STRATEGY? Pressuring the Democrats in endorsing ameliorative
or progressive policies? That took the place of independent working class
political action? Why - did the American working class lose faith in the

Or did the communists lose faith in the working class?

>       The second is to become social democrats,  go into politics under
> the rubric of one of the major parties (or their subsidiaries like Labor
> Party Advocates),  frankly accept the capitalist system, and work for
> whatever limited reforms are possible within it.

Whoa there. The LPA, I thought, were arguing for a political formation, a
mass party, based on the working class. If this is not true the coverage
they've received here in the bourgeois and left press has been wildly

But if it is true, I would have thought it represents the biggest step
forward for decades.

The first prerequisite for marxists has to be working class political
action, and a Labor / Labour Party is essential for that. TYou cannot just
wait to recruit the entire working class into the CPUSA, can you?

If there's a possiblity of a mass working class base, marxists have to be in
it, arguing for a marxist perspective. The SDF in the Labour Party quit at
the very first conference when the Party refused to adopt a maximim
communist programme. This was blatant sectarianism.

But at least they tried. Not involving yourself in the LP because it is not
communist, whilst at the same time advocating a vote for Clinton seems to me
completely upside down!


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