Forwarded from Anthony (Nader)

Louis Proyect lnp3 at
Mon Oct 30 08:41:41 MST 2000

Hi Lou!

In reply to Mike Pearn on the subject of whether or not Marxists support
Ralph Nader

Mike Pearn wrote:

"But Marxists support political forces on the basis of their class and not
their program."

I think that this is seriously wrong. In the United States there is a
history of working class political parties with racist and imperialist
political programs -a notable example was Dennis Kearney's workingman's
party based in San Francisco, California.

It had two basic planks - white unions for white workers - and throw the
Chinese out of the USA. Their politics resulted in the Chinese exlusion act.

Class and program count, Mike. And a small party whose electoral campaign
only serves to aquaint people with ideas - i.e. that is only for
educational purposes can be a far better thing than supporting a
reactionary workers party.

As an empirical fact many people who have credentials as Marxists - at
least as good as those on this list - do in fact actively support Ralph Nader.

Marxists do support Nader.

The question is, should they?

I am not sure - because I do not really know his programmatic views - nor
whether his campaign is really an expression of the new working class
movement that has shown its nose in the USA lately.

But, I would take the two things into account.

During the 1960's there was athird party movement in the USA around
something called the Peace anbd Freedom Party.

It did not have a revolutionary program, nor was it based on the trade unions.

However it did base itself on the most militant workers - the black
rebellions of the ghettos - and the most antiimperialist sector of society
- the movement against the war in Viet-Nam. And it adopted a socialist
program within a few years of its formation.

Most of the left - especially the SWP and CP, actively worked against the
success of the P&FP.

As for the Europeans who think arguments about whether or not to support
Nader are naive, or Fabian - I think those Europeans should begin by
rereading Lenin's pamphlet on ultraleftism, before they make up their minds.


Pearn had written:
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.

Louis Proyect
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