jhurd_newparty: Re: The Nader campaign, part 1

cc136 at SPAMcornell.edu cc136 at SPAMcornell.edu
Mon Jun 5 12:30:50 MDT 2000

Again, I'm not the biggest supporter of Nader, but I fail to see that he
deserves the kind of vitriol Mark is spewing below.  It makes me wonder
if Mark has ever actually heard Nader speak.  Nader has always framed the
issue in terms of citizen control over corporations - it's simply wrong
to characterize his work as supporting "pathetic consumerist
cravenness".  While I'd like to see Nader demonstrate and articulate some
knowledge of political economic structures, and I shirk whenever I hear
him use the term "citizens" (as if we were in 18th century Paris) but I
am troubled by the tendency of some on this list to attack the ideas of
others by attacking them personally.  Yes, I know this is an old Marxist
tradition which traces back to Marx himself, but is it productive?  Does
it help to bring others into our fold?  Or is it intellectual
masturbation put on view for others who agree with us philosophically?

        Chris Carrick
        PhD Candidate
        Department of City and Regional Planning
        Cornell University

On Mon, 5 Jun 2000, Mark Jones wrote:

> Surely the question is not whether blame attaches to Nader because he isn't
> Savonarola in a hair shirt, it's not a matter of personal lifestyle tout
> court, but of the _underlying_ hypocrisy of attaching the word "crusade" to
> the kinds of issues (and with the kinds of motivations) which Nader has made
> a career of. Why should we support the walking articulation of pathetic
> consumerist cravenness, of the miserable A-B of provatised Main St desire +
> fear, two items so closely associated in the minds of his natural
> constituency as to be practically indistinguishable. What, actually, can be
> more disgusting than the kind of Naderite consumer group mailshot, with its
> fearless denunciations of wrong-shaped garden tools sandwiched between
> coupons for patent bunion removers, car vacs and douche-fittings?
> We don't need to blame Nader just because he is a disgusting little petit
> bourgeois jerk in the tradition of French-shopkeeper politics (he is, but so
> what? On a scale of 1-10 and by Beltway standards, he looks practically made
> of stainless steel, and if the choice is between Nader and Bore/Gush, then
> there is no choice). The question is purely and simply whether this is the
> kind of creep which we ought to be mobilising around or supporting in any
> way. We don't need to support people like Ralph Nader. We don't WANT people
> like Ralph Nader to be associated in any way with our burgeoning movement.
> We don't want this kind of crawling geriatric politics anywhere near us, do
> we? If you have to use the electoral Saturnalia for any pripose at all, then
> make a carnival of the oppressed from it, and hold up your banners to remind
> the people back home about Chiapas, about Colombia, about Peru, about Cuba,
> about Narmada, about the traffic in women and children, and in general be a
> voice for those condemned by this very electoral process to silent death.
> Mark Jones
> http://www.egroups.com/group/CrashList
> > -----Original Message-----
> > From: owner-marxism at lists.panix.com
> > [mailto:owner-marxism at lists.panix.com]On Behalf Of Louis Proyect
> > Sent: 05 June 2000 15:51
> > To: jhurd_newparty at indiana.edu; marxism at lists.panix.com
> > Subject: Re: jhurd_newparty: Re: The Nader campaign, part 1
> >
> >
> > (This is a reply to David McReynolds, the SP candidate for president, who
> > posted a response to my Nader piece on Jim Hurd's New Party mailing list)
> >
> > David McReynolds:
> > >His comments in the paragraph three focus on some real issues.
> > But I second
> > >his "motion" that where Nader lives in DC is not really useful in a
> > political
> > >discussion. This is a little like the old discussion of the late Michael
> > >Harrington in terms of his having moved with his family out to
> > the suburbs.
> > >So?
> >
> > Look, this business is interesting to me because I had to put up with this
> > kind of hypocritical bullshit when I was in the SWP. People were being
> > driven out left and right in the late 70s and early 80s because they
> > weren't sacrificing enough to build the party. It wasn't good
> > enough to pay
> > $35 per week in dues and to be at the headquarters 3 nights a
> > week until 9.
> > People in the leadership looked crosseyed at you if you bought a
> > new car or
> > a house. The goal, our leaders told us, was to emulate the footloose IWW
> > rebel who went from town to town on boxcars. So when I spotted SWP leaders
> > Jack Barnes and Mary Alice Waters in the $100 per seat rows at the
> > Metropolitan Opera, I went ballistic. I had been driven out of the party
> > because I was too "petty-bourgeois" and here were these two
> > assholes in the
> > expensive seats.
> >
> > Frankly, I think the idea of pretending that you live in a rooming house
> > just sucks. As I said, I have no objection to Nader (or Harrington) living
> > comfortably. Just don't put on airs like you are Mother Teresa or
> > something. I personally never knew about the discrepancies
> > reported upon in
> > Sanford's book and I thought it was about god-damned time that the rest of
> > the left knew about them. I don't give a rat's ass that rightwingers write
> > about them as well. We have to be upfront on the question of
> > personal honesty.
> >
> > Now there are some troubling things in my article that people seem to be
> > stepping daintily around. One is the report in the NY Times that
> > the Reform
> > Party is putting out feelers to Ralph Nader and the Greens about running
> > him instead of Buchanan. What is THAT about? The other thing that I didn't
> > mention but which is just as troubling is the claim that rightwing
> > industrialist Roger Milliken is a major contributor to the Nader
> > organizations and the campaign. The Nader camp refuses apparently to
> > confirm or deny, claiming that secrecy is important in order to protect
> > their donors. What is THAT about? The nickle-and-dime nonprofit upon whose
> > board I served as president always listed major donors in the
> > Annual Report
> > and we were sending volunteers to the Sandinistas and the ANC,
> > for chrissake.
> >
> > At a certain point, the personal is political. We need candidates who
> > express the living heartbeat of a democratic mass movement, like Martin
> > Luther King Jr. or David McReynolds for that matter. Nader seems
> > to be very
> > dedicated to his cause, but the political culture seems distinctly at odds
> > with what I was involved with in the 60s, 70s, and 80s.
> >

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