Mike Schwartz tiggertrot at
Mon Apr 22 14:50:17 MDT 2002

Hi, please forgive the fact that this letter is being written in haste.
First, Correct me if I'm wrong but I talked to some people in France who
informed me that the LCR is moving towards calling for a vote for Chirac in
the second round. Personally I think that we cannot compare the current
situation in France to that of Germany in the 1930s. Hitler's strength did
not lie in his vote totals but in the hundreds of thousands of brownshirts
that were willing to smash the workers and their organizations. Trotsky
calling for the communists and social democrats to unite in the face of that
threat is 180 degrees deffierent than calling for the left to unite behind
one right winger who is less right wing than another. I complete agree with
the position of L) (and the LCR if they are also refusing to vote for Chirac
in the seond round). I also don't think we should speak of Sectarism among
the left for refusing to unite for the election. To join with the CP would
be to unite with the party that has been in power during the layoffs and has
been a part of the capitalist state. I think that looking at the vote totals
(and poll numbers) can be very misleading. For example, people in LO would
be hesitant to call themselves a party even though their vote totals in this
election almost doubled the votes of the CP, whereas I believe the CP would
be recognized as a party and should still be looked at as such. The strength
of an organization doesn't lie in the people who are or are not willing to
go to a polling booth and pull a lever. The strength lies in the number of
militants who can be counted upon and have confidence in the organization.
LO's experience in this election should not be measured by pollsters saying
the total would be 10% and the final tally registering 6%, we need to look
at the militants in the factories and the plants and see if more of them
have confidence in LO as an organization. What would you choose 1 million
votes or 100,000 committed revolutionaries. I would take the 100,000
committed revolutionaries. Look at what 1,000 (I believe that is LO's
membership) has accomplished. 400,000 a week read the newsletters, millions
of people register their votes, thousands turn out for the rallies, etc.. I
think that the point of a revolutionary organzation is to dedicate your time
towards preparing for a situation where power can move from the hands of the
capitalists into the hands of the working class. The vote totals of this or
that election isn't what determines that. When Trotsky pointed out the rise
in the facists vote totlas the numbers were backed up by a private army and
the money of fiance capital. Le Pen's numbers this year doesn't mean that
many people are ready to take arms to smash the workers' and their
organizations. Likewise LCR's jump from 1% to 4% in the polls doesn't mean
that many more people look to LCR for leadership. This extends to Le Pen as
well, just because a bunch of people didn't vote and the far right got all
their people out to vote doesn't really express the balance of power in
France. To believe that the election of one person is what does or does not
determine the nature of the state misses the point as to the nature of the
state. This goes back to some of the discussions taking place over "coups"
in the United States, Kennedy getting assasinated and Bush coming into
office by the Supreme Court didn't change the nature of the U.S. state. The
battles have and always will be fought and won "in the streets". Like
Malcolm X pointed out...when police dogs were biting little black children
Kennedy had no "law" to send in the federal troops, yet no new "law" was
found when the urban ghettos erupted and federal troops were brought in.
Elections in Western society give us a taste as to what people are thinking,
but they never have and never will determine who controls the state. Again,
forgive any errors in this letter as I wrote it very quickly.
Mike Schwartz

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