Voting, clinton/dole, the CPUSA

Tue Aug 13 02:15:16 MDT 1996

Louis G writes....

> I have criticized these groups because they have chosen the easy avenue of
> the insouciant windbag; the promiscuous issuing of empty slogans and
> impotent threats without bothering to undertake the vital work of sinking
> deep roots among the mass of ordinary workers.

Comrades comrades.

Why is callling for abstentions *automatically* counterposed here with
undertaking vital work, sinking deep roots among ordinary workers? Do
ordinary workers see the election of a Democrat president as so central that
they would refuse to discuss ideas with anyone who called for an abstention?
Myself I doubt it.

> Voter abstention programs,  in and of themselves,  I argue, simply do not
> work, without a credible alternative.    Raging furiously together against
> the state,  in and of itself,  is not a serious alternative.    Where is

Errr, that is not what a Marxist abstention campaign should be.

Rather you should be saying, calmly and without *rage*, that the current
political choices on offer give nothing to the working class. You should be
explaining that the circumstances do not exist for a mass working class
based alternative. Therefore you should say, the options are all evil
(greater and lesser, perhaps, but all evil) and that therefore progress for
the class is best served by using the election for propaganda, not the
election of the democrats.

But therein lies the rub. I think abstention campaigns should only be used
(it is a tactic, remember) where it is genuinely not possible to build a
working class based campaign. And that means *working class based*, not
*commuunist based*. If you can get other socialists to join united work
around the issue of presenting the workers with a platform for independent
class activity in the election, and instead you choose to say, "but they are
not communists" and as a result work for the democrats, or abstain, then you
are being sectarian.

> 		     The MLP was like bad sex; better than none at all,
> perhaps, but leaving the participants tired, frustrated, angry, and with
> nowhere else to go.

I wouldn't know. But I'll take your word for it.


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