Marxists dont support Nader

mike pearn mike at
Sat Oct 28 21:06:35 MDT 2000

The starting point for any discussion as to the viablity of socialists
supporting electoral candidates in elections is the question does this
campaign further our aim of building a workers party. This is as true for
the USA as it is for Britain. The tasks of socialists in elections is
firstly to advance the independence of the working class from the boss

The difference between the two countries is hat we in Britain have a Labour
Party to deal with. That is a party that although programatically committed
to a defence of capitalism and at best minor reforms remains based on the
Trades U nions. Therefore it is a what Lenin referred to as a bourgeois
workers party. Socialists may then call for a vote for such a party or even
operate within it depending on the circumstances. It is certainly the case
that few would choose to operate within it today and where there are
credible alternatives such as the Scottish Socialist Party or the Socialist
Alliances in England and Wales would be unlikely to vote for the candidates
of Blairs corrupt cabal.

In the USA your Labour Party is marginal and refuses to raise its banner in
the electoral arena. Electoral candidates offered by the small socialist
propaganda groups, that foolishly proclaim themselves to be parties all too
often, are no more an alternative for most people than the moon is made of
cheese. Although they do no harm playing their childish and self deceiving

American Socialists are then tempted to vote for Third Party candidates such
as Nader in despair at their isolation. Yet for a european their arguments
for so doing sound curiously old fashioned and reminisent of the early
Fabians. The Fabians were a group of bourgeois intellectuals who sought to
attain their own version of socialism although in point of fact their vision
sounds more like a state dominated society with a welfare system tacked on,
which explains the atteraction of them in later years to the Stalinist sytem
in Russia. Like the Fabians we are told that Nader has a progressive
program, indeed one contributer to this debate believes it to be
revolutionary! But Marxists support political forces on the basis of their
class and not their program. I would note that Blairs program and that of
the Nazi Jorg Haider are not too far apart yet we only vote for Blairs party
as it is rooted in the class. It should also be clear that Naders program is
in any case utopian in nature and were socialists to back him on this basis
it would encourage illusions in the ability of voters to change society
through legislative means. Allende and his Socialist Party, who had a
reformist program far to the left of Naders, were chrushed because they
believed this pernicious nonsense.

Historically Third Party movements have aided the union bureaucrats in their
efforts to stymie moves towards an independent workers movement that could
compete politicallty with the bosses two party system. Thus the Wallace
Progressive Party dragged many back to bourgeois politics at a time when
elements in the movement were building towards the founding of a Workers
Party. Here I note the role of the CPUSA in supporting Wallace while running
their own paper candidate.  Politically Stalinism weakened the workers
movement in the states by dragging some of the most advanced sections of the
movement back into the orbit of the Democrats. this weakened the efforts of
all socialists and unionists to fight McCarthyism at a later stage. More
recently the movement for Black liberation has been crippled by relying on
fakirs such as Jesse Jackson - trusting a priest is as stupid as trusting a
lawyer - again reinforcing the bosses more 'liberal' alternative in the form
of the Democrats.

Such Third Parties cannot be supported as they are at best shills for the
Democrats not one has left behind it anything but broken hopes and memories.
Not one has constructed a lasting organisation. Today the Green parties are
not even ready to unite in one body but are quite prepared to quarrel over
matching funds. Their real policies when in power are well displayed by the
former Maoist Fischer - again the continuity in his views informed by the
Popular Front politics he learnt as a Maoist - who delights in the murder of
childen for his masters. More prosaically the British Green Party has been
as fervant in its support of Capital as any Conservative or Liberal

Yet Naders campaign has attracted the support of a handfull of unions, more
precisely their active leaderships, aa well as a layer of radical youth.
This would seem to be the case from the various reports I have seen,
although it is clearly the case that many of the more radical elements
disdain Naders electoralism and prefer direct action tactics, with but few
choosing to join his 'party'. None the less these young people who are
beginning to think must be addressed by Marxists as they can provide the new
blood our movement so badly needs. But joining Naders campaign will not
convince anyone serious of the superiority of the socialist case and will
hardly win the election for Nader as our numbers are so small. Rather
Socialists should reorient themselves to our class as only then will we be
able to show who really has the potential power in this society. This does
not mean that we should wait until we have X number of workers in our
organisations, and I mean white collar workers not just those in smokestack
industries or such as construction, there is no room for that kind of
'workerism today, before we address youth or any other layer in struggle but
simply that our prime concern is with our own class. This is our strength
which we should realise has a great attractive power for rebellious youth.
Parroting Naders utopian balderdash merely  exposes American Socialists as
politically impotent.

Mike Pearn

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