[fla-left] [Election 2000] Solidarity endorses Nader _and_ McReynolds (fwd)

Michael Hoover hoov at SPAMfreenet.tlh.fl.us
Wed May 31 11:30:12 MDT 2000

forwarded by Michael Hoover

> Released:   5/26/00  From:   solidarity at IGC.ORG (Solidarity)
> A Solidarity Statement for Nader and McReynolds:
> For Independent Politics 2000
> SOLIDARITY is endorsing two presidential candidates for the
> November, 2000 election as alternatives to the capitalist parties
> and the politics of unchecked corporate power.
> David McReynolds, the presidential candidate for the Socialist Party
> USA, is deservedly among the most respected veterans of the U.S.
> peace movement. A tireless campaigner against militarism and an
> activist in the gay/lesbian rights struggle as well as a long-time
> champion of democratic socialist principles, McReynolds will offer
> the clearest voice for a socialist alternative in this election.
> At the same time, we feel that Ralph Nader's campaign on the Green
> Party ticket represents the potential for a big step forward toward a
> new politics, independent of the capitalist class whose interests reign
> supreme in this country. Nader is not and makes no claim to be a
> socialist; but the Greens' vision of an ecological and democratic world
> ultimately entails an assault on the institutions of capitalism and the
> forging of a working-class alternative.
> Ralph Nader is waging a vigorous campaign in 2000 and this campaign
> appears promising in two ways. First, his message centers on a powerful
> critique of the strangulation of democracy by corporate control of the
> political process, of the media and of all economic institutions, and the
> extension of corporate power throughout the world under the guise of
> "globalization." This critique resonates with the anger of the tens of
> thousands who mobilized in the streets of Seattle and Washington,
> D.C. against the World Trade Organization, International Monetary
> Fund and World Bank. It speaks to millions of workers watching
> their conditions of life and work deteriorate. This critique also unifies
> millions concerned with growing inequality and environmental
> destruction, including the effects of global warming, genetic
> engineering of food and the loss of biodiversity. All share a
> common belief that the corporate-dominated political process
> offers no real solutions.
> Second is the development of a "Labor for Nader" movement,
> an idea endorsed and promoted by leading figures in the Labor
> Party. (The Labor Party is a new party, whose founding convention
> was held in 1996, sponsored by a number of international unions
> and local labor councils.) While the Labor Party itself is not
> running candidates, "Labor for Nader" committees would create
> an organizing vehicle through which labor activists can directly
> challenge the Democratic Party's stranglehold on working-class
> electoral loyalties.
> In endorsing both the McReynolds and Nader campaigns,
> Solidarity is expressing a view that a socialist alternative to a
> rotting capitalist system, and a populist-democratic critique of
> the capitalist parties reaching a potentially wider audience, both
> have a positive role to play. We also recognize that there are
> weaknesses that can prevent the Nader campaign from realizing
> its potential.
> Against the Capitalist Parties
> The presidential elections in the year 2000 demonstrate the politics
> of big business. While George W. Bush poses as an outsider to the
> Washington beltway politician Al Gore, the fact is that both are
> second or third-generation politicians with the elite background,
> resources, contacts and money it takes to organize a mainstream
> campaign.
> More than six months before the election date Bush has reported
> raising $84 million for his campaign. Gore is close behind with
> $74 million.
> These figures, of course, do not include the unregulated "soft money"
> that the Democrats and Republicans will raise for the presidential
> campaign. While in 1996 "soft money" totaled $262 million, this year
> campaign watchers expect it to total $500-750 million. Various
> proposals to reform campaign financing have gone nowhere because
> Congress, too, has a vested interest in maintaining the status quo
> -- more than a year before the elections the average congressional
> incumbent already has stockpiled $350,000 for his/her next race.
> In any case, corporate funding is the symptom, not the disease.
> The Democratic and Republican parties are capitalist parties, the
> political vehicles through which corporate America gets all its welfare
> from the state, organizes sectors of the population behind corporate
> interests--including imperialist wars--and promotes various democratic
> illusions. They are the parties of profit, racism and war. This is why we
> reject supporting their candidates; a vote for the lesser evil is a vote for
> the system.
> Growing numbers of people today recognize that the government is
> mostly interested in meeting the needs of the corporations, not enacting
> legislation in the interests of the ordinary working person. The most
> significant pieces of legislation passed under the Clinton administration
> were the North American Free Trade Agreement, the 1996 Crime Bill,
> an end to welfare and deregulation of the communications industry.
> Thus the man who wanted to be remembered like FDR, when he first
> arrived at the White House, will be remembered as the president who
> completed the Bush agenda.
> Despite a "robust" economy, the gap between the rich and the rest
> of the population is widening and the rate of children living in poverty
> is rising. But neither Gore nor Bush Jr. talk about how the government
> could begin to reverse these trends, and given their financial base,
> why would they?
> Meanwhile Patrick Buchanan--whose program is to mobilize white
> working-class anger against the wrong targets: other nations
> (especially non-white ones), immigrants, people of color, women
> who dare to exercise reproductive choice or to be economically
> independent--is building a base in the Reform Party (or what's left
> of it). In a climate of insecurity and political alienation, the kind of
> far-right pseudo-populism represented by Buchanan has the
> dangerous potential to move from the fringes of politics toward
> mass appeal.
> For Independent Political Action
> In the United States, where no big labor party exists and where
> most top labor movement officials are actively incorporated into
> the Democratic Party, Solidarity looks for all openings to break
> the two-party logjam and move in the direction of genuinely
> independent politics even though each and every one of
> these efforts faces long odds against success. Even when
> Independent candidates win, they may be intimidated by the
> power and money of the two-party system. It is clear that we
> cannot predict which particular opening will ultimately be
> successful.
> Unless we begin to build it, there will never be a party that
> can represent working people's interests. That's why we
> have supported the Labor Party and participate in building
> its membership base and activity. That's why we have
> supported the Greens in legislative races and the presidential
> campaigns of Ron Daniels in 1992 and Ralph Nader in 1996
> -- despite the limitations of those resource-starved campaigns.
> On the other hand, we are critical of third parties in name only.
> For example, the Working Families Party that is on the New York
> state ballot is essentially a second line for the Democratic Party.
> Overcoming Weaknesses
> Weaknesses of the `96 Nader campaign need not be repeated.
> In the 2000 elections Nader's core message of resisting corporate
> capital's assault on democracy and human dignity needs to be
> inseparably linked to human rights and social justice issues: the
> criminalization of a generation of youth; the obscenity of the death
> penalty; the never-ending assault on reproductive choice and
> abortion rights; the rollback of affirmative action; foreign wars
> masked as humanitarian intervention.
> Another question facing this campaign is the danger of a
> nationalist-protectionist response to "globalization," rather than
> one based on international solidarity. If this campaign is to offer
> a clear alternative to Bush-Gore and Buchanan, it must not echo
> the America-First, "American Jobs for American Workers" rhetoric
> of Buchanan or much of the AFL-CIO leadership.
> It is not Chinese (or Mexican or Indian or Haitian or African) workers
> who are driving down the wages and working conditions of working
> people in this country. It is the U.S. economic elites -- the corporate
> ruling class -- in partnership with the elites of China and elsewhere,
> who are driving down conditions and rights for workers everywhere.
> The Nader campaign is stressing an alliance of blue-collar workers
> and green opponents of corporate global capitalism. Invoking the
> message of the Seattle demonstrations against the WTO, Nader
> introduced an extensive "blue-green" agenda that pointed to core
> labor rights and environmental safeguards as central issues in his
> campaign. His campaign will also back single-payer health care
> reform and other issues that the Labor Party has focused on.
> This is an important beginning.
> Moving Forward
> We in Solidarity value highly those democratic rights that people
> in this country do enjoy. But rights are respected under capitalism
> not because of the sentiments of politicians, but only as long as
> people are ready to fight for them. That's why we place such an
> emphasis on building mass movements.
> As socialists we believe there are inevitable inherent shortcomings
> in even the best efforts to "recover" democracy within  a capitalist
> system. The full development of democracy requires a  fundamental
> and revolutionary change in the structure of power, replacing
> capitalism with workers' control of the economy and democratic
> planning for human needs, not profit. No electoral campaign can
> accomplish such a change, which can only be brought about
> through a powerful revolutionary movement. But this year we see
> greater opportunities for an alternative to the Democrats and
> Republicans than there have been for perhaps two decades.
> This can help us to expand the democratic space that does
> exist within U.S. society.
> Why? The WTO events showed clearly the bipartisan nature
> of the ruling class's globalization policies and its contempt for
> ordinary people. Seattle put protest and opposition to the
> powers-that-be on the map once again, raising the hope that
> ordinary people can throw a monkey-wrench in the powerbrokers'
> plans.
> McReynolds and Nader, each in their own way, will reflect that
> opposition to the corporate elite, to the business-as-usual
> candidacies of Gore-Bush and to Buchanan's reactionary populism.
> Solidarity is a socialist, feminist, anti-racist organization committed
> to independent political action and the goal of a society controlled
> from below, by and for working-class and oppressed people. We
> sponsor a bimonthly journal, Against the Current, and are active in
> a variety of unions and social justice movements. Visit our web site:
> http://www.solidarity-us.org

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