Nader/U.S. Election

Alan Bradley alanb at
Sun Nov 5 16:19:17 MST 2000

> From: "mike pearn"
> > > From: jonathan flanders
> > > I think it is important that you understand that in the US context,
> > > the Democratic Party represents mainstream Social Democracy.
> >
> > I am aware of this.  In fact, it is actually useful to reverse the
> > statement, and say that mainstream Social Democracy is identical to the
> > Democratic Party.  This provides some useful balance to the "bourgeois
> > workers' party" approaches to Social Democracy.
> To begin although Jonathan Flanders may not be aware the term Social
> Democracy has traditionally referred to those parties than originated in

<chuckle>  Hey Jon, I bet you didn't know that!

> Alan Bradley by contrast is well aware of the traditional use of the term
> and makes reference to the concept of bourgeois workers parties in order
> to reject it. This fully in line with the view of the Democratic
> Socialist Party of which I believe he is a supporter who reject this
> concept as a useful analysis of the Australian Labor Party and possibly
> its co-thinkers.

Comrade Pearns now goes on to demonstrate _why_ we think is isn't useful.

> It is certainly true that the roots of such bourgeois workers parties in
> the working class have been eroded by their failure to deliver any
> reforms to their core constituency in the shape of the trades unions
> which puts the one side of their nature as "workers parties" at risk
> given the desire of the likes of Blair to destroy the union link. But
> they still retain the institutional loyalty of the mass of the Unions and
> command the votes of the majority of politically active workers.
> Therefore they may still be seen as bourgeois workers parties and it is
> legitamate for Marxists to call upon workers to vote for these parties at
> elections.

And they are also hideous corrupt pigs who we need to defeat, but that
aspect never comes up in debates like this.

> The DSP position of rejecting this concept has the reactionary  result of
> allowing this group to call for a vote to any radical force regardless of
> its class base. Thus the DSP called for a vote for the Nuclear
> Disarmament Party againt the ALP.

The NDP being largely composed of former ALP members...  It was a split to
the left from Social Democracy.

> Thus Alan believes voting for Nader is permisable. But for Marxists it is
> not.

Permissible?  Who needs permission? The only thing that matters is if it is
a good idea or not.  This ain't a church.

> The various Green parties in the USA have at best utopian and at worst
> reactionary programs. For every 'progressive' feature that can be found
> in their program a reactionary one can be found. None the less it is
> clear that they are generally more liberal than the vast majority of
> Democrats. However they have no link what so ever to the workers movement
> and do not desire one. They are a bourgeois reformist force and a tiny
> one. For Marxists to call for a vote for this force is an irrelavance and
> diversion.

A diversion from what?  Building a mass workers' party one member at a
time?  I guess it is.  But that's not how a mass workers' party will be
built.  It will come from political differentiations amongst large groups
of people, like, for example, the kind of people gathered around the Nader

If nothing else, then the Nader campaign gives us a chance to practice
dealing with such a situation.  With the sectarian mistraining the left has
had, we need the practice.

> What then of Nader their candidate? A candidate who sees his supporters
>A candidate who is not in any way worse than Blair in Britain. The
> difference being that Blair is a member of a bourgeois workers party.
> Reject this concept and you reject the class line that divides even the
> best bourgeois reformists from those who stand as representatives of the
> independent representation of the proletariat.

Nader is "not in any way worse than Blair"?  Now this is damning with faint

But let's not get into exaggerating Nader's virtues.  Let's look at Blair
who stands as a representative "of the independent representation of the

This is a pretty strange picture, isn't it?  This smirking assassin, a
complete and totally owned possession of capital, somehow respresents "the
independent representation of the proletariat."

This party bombed Yugoslavia, but we can't support anyone else, because the
unions support them.  This is perfect dead-end sectarianism.

> That said I must again state that the emergence of Naders candidacy
> cannot be ignored by American socialists who must orientate towards it,
> perhaps this should be in the past tense given nearness of the vote, in
> order to propagandise socialism to a new young audience. But such an
> orientation is no substitute for the work that must be done to root
> Marxism in the workers movemnet and among youth in struggle.

Obviously true.  In fact, the only point in supporting Nader is in order to
_continue_ such work.  A fair slab of the "youth in struggle" are
supporting Nader.  Most probably aren't supporting anyone though - good on
them - and a certain proportion no doubt are supporting Clinton - assisted
by arguments about the class basis of the Nader campaign!

> In this sense Seattle was a far greater event for Marxists than any
> election but in the same way voting for Nader is a mere mistake and not
> as the sectarians would have an example of original sin.

Well, that's reassuring.

Alan Bradley
alanb at

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