Green/Nader economic policies are not progressive

Martin Zehr m_zehr at
Tue Oct 31 16:32:42 MST 2000

a very strong feeling of being in the presence of crackpots with
>shallow, incoherent, and somewhat reactionary ideas

Beg your pardon Mr. James. But when I was asking for an analysis of the
Green movement and the Nader campaign I guess I overestimated the ability of
people to objectively analyze the political struggles of the day.

Karl Marx would have started up a hundred Internationals to
>celebrate that idea! If this and other Green policies are not a recipe
>for increasing rural xenophobia and beggar thy neighbor attitudes then I
>don't know what is.

I see now. This is objective analysis.

Your simple headed equation "collectivisation= Marxism" is sure to have made
Uncle Joe or Chairman Mao proud, that's for sure!

Might have appreciated more pasting from Green sources. Fact is that there
are divergent views regarding corporate reform, not to mention the
development of appropriate agrarian models to deal with an adequate growth
model. Are you suggesting small farmers are not allies? It does seem that
you are the one pitting urban against country.

>From: Brian James <hillbily at>
>Reply-To: marxism at
>To: marxism at
>Subject: Re: Green/Nader economic policies are not progressive
>Date: Mon, 30 Oct 2000 15:32:49 -0700
>If I lived in the United States I would probably vote for Nader for the
>same reasons as everyone else. However, I do not think that should
>dissuade me or other so-called Marxists from questioning and criticizing
>the foundations of his and the Greens' economic policies, which is of
>course fundamental to a Marxist analysis.
>Reading over the policy platforms of ALL Green Parties I've ever
>encountered--and it's perfectly valid to generalize here--leaves me with
>. But subjective
>responses aside, it is fundamental to a Marxist view to make an
>objective analysis, going beyond the rhetoric of campaign speeches to
>the real substance of the economic platform.
>Isn't socialism about collectivizing the means of production once it has
>reached a level of efficiency by which it can provide for all the people
>while giving them more free time to live fully as human beings? Do Green
>economics move towards that end?
>The Nader/Green agenda aims to publicize and radically democratize many
>industries in America (with not a single shot fired), but at the same
>time put the production of the nation's food supply in the hands of
>small family-based farmers. Does anybody else get a feeling of cognitive
>dissonance here? Wouldn't this result in pitting the interests of the
>country folk (high food prices) against the interests of the urban poor
>and workers (low food prices)? On top of that, presumably as a way of
>preventing buy-outs and monopolies from emerging all over again, the US
>Greens propose to pass laws that would enforce localism in the economy,
>such as requiring that farm owners actually live in the area of their
>farm. Wow, >
>In short, the stated ideals and commitments of the party are not
>coherently supported by an objective appraisal of the platform.
>I've pasted in some excerpts from a World Socialist Website article
>below, which in my opinion expresses a view of the Greens that Marxists
>must take very seriously.
>Brian James
>Extolling the politics of expediency: an interview with US Green Party
>By Jerry White
>2 September 2000
>[In our discussion, he described the Green Party as the defender of
>“small, independent entrepreneurs” against “global corporations.”
>McLarty elaborated: “We would say it is no longer a question of
>socialism versus capitalism, because capitalism has split into two
>directions now. There is the level of the local entrepreneur—let me call
>that entrepreneurial capitalism. Family farms, mom- and pop-owned shops,
>family businesses, small businesses. On the other hand, we face this
>increasing rule by global corporations, and that is a much different
>kind of capitalism from low-level, entrepreneurial capitalism.”
>In this way McLarty spelled out the Greens' basic class standpoint—that
>of the petty proprietor who is being crushed by big capital. In reality,
>the “free competition” stage of American capitalism was superseded by
>monopoly capitalism well over a century ago. And contrary to McLarty's
>rose-colored portrayal of what he calls “agrarian capitalism,” the days
>of subsistence
>farming and rural backwardness were far from a paradise for the masses
>of working people.
>What McLarty and the Greens are arguing for, in the name of
>anti-globalization, is a retrogression to a more primitive stage in the
>development of man's productive forces. Their ideal is a reactionary
>And further on...
>[Pragmatism, opportunism, eclecticism are held up as positive goods. In
>McLarty's words: “I think what is going on right now is that the Green
>Party is getting stronger, and it is getting stronger through Nader's
>campaign...We are doing a lot of things without a very clear theory
>behind it. I think just the emergence of a strong third party throws
>politics into a chaos, in which we are not sure how things are going to
>sort out.”
>Such an unprincipled and eclectic approach to politics is characteristic
>of the social layers upon which the Greens are based. The middle layers
>of society exercise no real independence from the two main classes—the
>working class and the capitalist class—and swing, sometimes wildly,
>between the two. A party based upon such variegated and heterogeneous
>elements of the population is incapable of a consistent and scientific
>approach to politics.
>The Greens may ignore the class struggle, but the class struggle does
>not ignore them. The right-wing evolution of the German Greens
>demonstrates the bankruptcy of such petty-bourgeois politics. In the
>fire of war and class conflict, the German Greens dutifully defended the
>interests of their ruling class. If given the chance, their American
>counterparts would do likewise.]

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