Active boycott

Hugh Rodwell m-14970 at
Sun May 26 03:59:52 MDT 1996


Thanks for a very interesting posting.

But when you write:

>I confess that I have an allergy to voting. There was one time the
>revolutionary left was voting which I disagreed then but now I think it was
>the right thing to do. I was going to go cast my vote like a good li'l
>but mirable dictu, I got incredibly high fever to the point of delirium on the
>election day, which also miraculously cleared up the next day. I think I may
>be suffering from a case of undifferentiated somatoform election withdrawal

I must say: 'Tut!' I know the feeling, but 'Tut!' anyway.

You yourself give the reason for the Tut.

>But, if the US left does not have an organisation strong enough to boycott en
>masse, it may well run independent [snip] It depends on the mood of the country
>as well.

Only you should turn this on its head. You see, if you can run an
independent to put your own line against the bourgeois/imperialist
political monopoly when you're *weak*, as you suggest, then you can run one
with even more reason when you are *strong*. That's logical enough, I

And the mood of the country has got nothing to do with it. That's a
cop-out, unless the mood is directly revolutionary (as it would be in the
exceptional cases that Lenin acknowledged for a boycott campaign with any
point to it). Our political positions are not based on mood, but objective
class needs. The needs are there, even if the political climate in the
country concerned makes it difficult for workers and oppressed people to
acknowledge them politically, and our independent stance is psychologized
as 'loony leftism' or whatever. (Some other time on how this ties in with
when and how to give electoral support to reformist workers' party -- the
Left-Wing Communism arguments).

Having said all this, elections are only tactical questions (in very
exceptional cases they may have strategic impact, but this would be in an
acute revolutionary situation, where everything takes on a different

I've been in a situation where one and the same party had *three* different
electoral lines in the same country! The underlying reasons for this were
of course fundamental political differences, as emerged a little later,
when a split took place provoked by the faction that had the most dogmatic
position in the electoral disagreement. They lost a subsequent vote in
relation to the next lot of elections (it was touch and go, the youth swung
it against them), and were quite unable to continue in the party as a
disciplined minority. You should have seen their faces when they lost the
vote! (A parasitical group with a self-important 'leader' ('I'm Lenin, and
you're Trotsky!'), they're still looking for a suitable host!)



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