cleon42 at yahoo.com
Thu Jul 10 09:41:59 MDT 2003
I think there are two questions here.
1. Was Peter's campaign socialist?
2. Should socialists participate in Green Party campaigns?
As for Peter's campaign, no, I don't think it was/is socialist in
nature. I think, like all Green Party campaigns, it was left-liberal in
The Green Party has two distinct wings to it--a socialist wing, and a
disgruntled Democrat/liberal wing. The result of this is a left-liberal
tone to its politics and campaigns. Peter's a socialist--of this I have
no doubt--but his campaign wasn't socialist. Progressive, yes,
I honestly don't think you could get away with an explicitely socialist
campaign in the GP. This is an organization/movement that operates by
consensus, so it can only be as left as its most conservative members
In other words, I think the Greens hold Peter back.
Jose's contention is that simply because Peter advocated splitting from
the Republicrat party and marched in the MLK parade, his campaign was
"objectively" socialist even if he didn't call for socialism or
socialist ideas (in some cases, such as the already-mentioned "UN
inspectors" bit, he made calls that socialists would balk at). Ralph
Nader isn't a socialist, and the sort of stuff Peter was saying wasn't
much different than what Nader calls for (although Peter's much better
at *saying* it).
That said, I kinda-sorta agree with Jose that his campaign was a step
forward for the struggle as a whole. It's not the same ol'-same ol' in
California anymore. Widespread discontent with the Republicrat
Party--and possibly a political drift to the left--is manifesting
itself in Peter's campaign.
But can socialists really make a lot of headway with the Greens? I've
swung both ways over the past year, but I still rather doubt it. The
whole "consensus" atmosphere makes it really difficult to make any sort
of political stand. At this year's Annual Meeting of the county Party,
there was a 2-hour fight about whether to include the word "militant"
in its anti-war statement (specifically, IIRC, in calling for a
"militant anti-war movement.")
I think if socialists are going to intervene electorally in any
politically significant way (in a socialist manner, not a liberal
manner), it will have to be through a *socialist* electoral formation.
The value of doing so is another question.
Adam Levenstein cleon42 at yahoo.com
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mayest blow thine enemies to tiny bits, in thy mercy.
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