Daru the Socialist, Daru the Democrat

Jose G. Perez jg_perez at bellsouth.net
Fri Aug 22 16:03:44 MDT 2003

"There is hope in a Kucinich presidency. I especially like the part
about the US paying for the reconstruction of 
Iraq." -- Daru Rateau

Daru quotes --extensively and approvingly-- from Kucinich's plan to push
off on the U.N. the imperialist occupation of Iraq, contrasting his
position to those of "Biden, Kerry and Lieberman" who "are pro-war
make no mistake about it."

It sounds ironic that someone who castigates activists like Stan Goff
and the movement he's come to symbolize on this list for being
insufficiently radical in demanding immediate withdrawal can, at the
same time, come out FOR Kucinich whose program is continued imperialist
occupation of Iraq albeit under U.N. auspices.

What ties these two seemingly contradictory positions together, what
they have in common, is a minimum/maximum program approach to politics,
and a lack of confidence in U.S. working people.

Thus as socialists we are castigated for popularizing the idea of
immediate and unconditional withdrawal through slogans like BTTHN, Out
Now, etc. Not sufficient. Social patriotic. "Really, the population of
Iraq is closer to doing something about the war than your masses of
Americans worried about their troops. And a great deal better informed
probably. Revelations to follow."

Notice that contemptuous phrase "your masses of Americans worried about
their troops." Maximum program all the way. Although I suspect if Daru
were a father with a son in Iraq, like Stan Goff is, he'd have a little
different perspective on this. But put that aside.

Now we come to the presidential race, where a bunch of democratic
politicos are all vying to see which one of them can best fool us in the
hopes that they'll be the one facing Bush in 15 months and that this
time, they'll actually count the votes.

And here kicks in the minimum program. Daru thinks "there is hope" in a
Kucinich presidency. And while exercising maximum vigilance against
revolutionaries who are trying to reach the masses to move them in an
anticapitalist direction, Daru gives a free ride to the Democrat

Does Daru not realize that Kucinich's program is an imperialist program?
Of course he does! He even sees imperialism where there isn't any to be
found, among Stan and his friends. Reminds me of the line from Silvio
Rodríguez I quoted here a couple of weeks ago, about people who see
things that don't exist, or even worse, who don't see the things that
really are there.

And this, I believe, is really Daru's problem. What he doesn't see is
the class struggle in the United States and how it manifests itself. As
a socialist he has no use for anything less than a maximum program for
there is no motion to link up with through what people in the Trotskyist
tradition call "transitional demands." So what's the point of going to
the masses, and starting from their level of consciousness, try to bring
them further? There is no motion there.

And that's why he also plops for Kucinich. "I especially like the part,"
he says, "about the US paying for the reconstruction of Iraq." Now as a
socialist, Daru knows damn well that's a lie. The world doesn't work
that way, imperialism doesn't work that way. Every penny the United
States "pays" for the reconstruction of Iraq is going to come back
dressed as a nickel in oil company profits, interest payments to the
banks, etc. 

But given that there is no possibility of motion among working people in
the United States, the best that can be hoped for is that at least the
imperialist overlords will be merciful. And if you said "Bush or
Kucinich, those are the only choices, choose," I think most people like
us would say Kucinich.

The reason I wouldn't support Kucinich isn't that it is theoretically
excluded in principle that there could be a difference between a Bush
and a Kucinich, but rather that there is another road, the one pointed
out in the Communist Manifesto, "the organization of the proletariat
into a class" and winning "the battle for democracy" by creating a
workers government. 

That is the road that demands like BTTHN are meant to steer people
towards. It is for that same reason I won't back a "good" or "less bad"
bourgeois politician, like Kucinich, it takes people away from  the
road, points them in the wrong direction.

Daru doesn't see the road, he doesn't believe it exists, at least not in
the United States. His socialism is thus transformed in a moral utopian
doctrine. But at the same time in the real world US elections are going
to be held and Daru takes what is a totally pragmatic position.


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