Peter Camejo, the Greens, and Independent Politcal Action

Lueko Willms Lueko.Willms at
Thu Jul 24 02:28:15 MDT 2003

in reply to: 

# Subject: RE: Peter Camejo, the Greens, and Independent Politcal
# From: "Gilles d'Aymery" <aymery at>
# Date: Tue, 22 Jul 2003 13:43:07 -0800

  where he writes: 

> However, I tend to agree with much of what Johannes and Lüko 
> have to say about the many pitfalls any kind of loose coalition, 
> like the Greens, faces. 

   The problem with the Greens is not that they are a "loose
coalition", but that they want to lay their hand on political power
without any pretense or motive of exercising or at least influencing
political power as an instrument of the working class. 

   Caveat: I'm speaking of the German Green party in its early years,
and I can only assume that the Green parties in the USA are not too
much different. I have not yet read anything which could make me
reassess the US Greens, to the contrary, what I read from Gilles
d'Aymery's words strengthens my assumptions to convictions. 

   Coming back to political power. Political power is state power,
and that means rule of one social class over the other, which is in
today's world either the dictatorship of the bourgeoisie over the
proletariat (and the working farmers) or the dictatorship of the
working class over the bourgeoisie. 
   You can fight against imperalist wars, for higher wages and
shorter hours, for democratic rights or a sane environment without
immediately and explicitly posing the question of class rule
(although the question would and should be implicitly posed), but you
cannot deal with political power without thinking about which class
this state power is meant to serve: Who rules whom? 

   If you don't think about it, and only take part in the mechanisms
of the current class rule, there won't be any way to escape of being
a tool of the current class dictatorship. 

> Yet, somehow, does it mean that the Greens in the USA will 
> necessarilly repeat the German experience? Is there some kind of 
> pre-destined outcome (mechanistic history)? 

   The question is posed: do they intend to act as a political tool
of the working class? 

   The German Greens more or less explicitly rejected this. They
could not but end as a tool of the bourgeois dictatorship. 

   If the US Greens will emerge as a new governing party of US
imperialism, waging predatory wars the world over to further the
interests of the US capitalist class, or if they will desintegrate
before, or whatever fate they will encounter, I don't know. But if
they do not have the nose for power as a political instrument of the
working class, they are useless for socialist revolutionists, or even
more, an obstacle. 

> And, as I was asking Adam last week, what's the alternative?
> Here, in the U.S., I see none beside the Greens (I may be totally 
> incorrect). This is the only "movement"/coalition that has *some* 
> motion and has a relatively large audience, that can raise some 
> money, a loose organization that can be used by personalities 
> (Nader, Camejo...). Should we stay on the sidelines because it 
> does not represent all of our theoretical aspirations?
> So, I'm a bit at a loss here. Lüko, The electoral programme 
> of the socialist workers is on my hard drive. I've read it more 
> than once. It is 123 years old. 

   Do you refer to Marx' text which I pointed to? Or what to you mean
by the "electoral program of the socialist workers"? The SWP program?

   Marx' text which I referred to is actually not the program of the
French workers party, but only the introduction to it. 

   Thanks to Johannes Schneider I can quote it here in full: 

---- quote -----------------
 - That the emancipation of the productive class is that of all human
 beings without distinction of sex or race;
 - That the producers can be free only insofar as they are in
possession of the means of production;
 - That there are only two forms under which the means of production
can belong to them:
 1. The individual form which has never existed generally and which
is being more and more eliminated by the progress of industry;
 2. The collective form whose material and intellectual elements are
being formed by the very development of capitalist society;

- That this collective appropriation can only be the outcome of the
revolutionary action of the productive class - or proletariat -
organised in a separate political party;
- That such organisation must be pursued by all the means which the
proletariat has at its disposal, including universal suffrage, thus
transformed from the instrument of trickery which it has been up till
now into an instrument of emancipation;
- The French socialist workers, in setting as the aim of their
efforts in the economic field the return to the collectivity of all
the means of production,  have decided, as a means of organisation
and struggle, to enter the elections with the following minimum

------------- unquote --------

> How applicable is it to our present circumstances or, more 
> precisely, how can it be applied (programatically)?

   The principles layed out in this introduction the simply
explanation of the class struggle in the capitalist society we are
struck with to live in; there is no way around organizing the working
class "in a separate political party" for taking political power out
of the hands of the capitalist class. 

   The actual "minimum programme" is something which must be
elaborated for the concrete situation in a concrete country at a
concrete time. 

   As an example for such a program I recommend reading Lenin's
pamphlet "The coming catastrophe and how to fight it" written in the
second quarter of 1917. Again I don't know in the moment if it is
available on the Web in English. 

> Furthermore, how do you organize a "class party" is a society 
> that but for a minority considers itself classless and has 
> increasingly moved into identity-politics (ethnicity, etc.), 
> is deeply self-centered, and where manufacturing jobs 
> have moved to the maquiladeras on their way to China? 

   For one thing I can only note that if the US working class had a
firm conscience of it being a separate class with interests different
and opposite to the ruling class, most of the task would already be

   On the other hand I think you do overlook a lot of manufacturing
workers in the USA; the US society has not converted to a society of
rentiers who do not produce anymore. There are even new factories
being built in the USA. Try and have a look at some papers which
focus more on the actual working people in that country. 

> I think that we need to take into account reality.  
> And reality, today, in the USA, in reference to the next 
> presidential elections, if one wishes to break-
> away from the two-party system, is green -- again, with all 
> the pitfalls and the challenges.

   The task for socialists, and when I say socialists, I mean
proletarian revolutionists, is to break away not only from the two
party system, but from bourgois politics. The future lies not in a
differently configured political system for the dictatorship of
capital over the workers, but, as Marx said, organize the workers "in
a separate political party". 

> As to the message:  Use any word that the audience can apprehend 
> without rejection. It's about a looming ecological disaster. It's 
> about re-tooling the entire growth/production process (yes, it is 
> about consuming less). It's about  making people understand the 
> consequences, as David McDonald says, of  having China and India 
> and the rest of the world with a density of cars per capita similar 
> to that of the U.S. It's about poverty, abject poverty for billions. 

> It's about lack of clean water for more than 1 billion people, 
> and according to a recent UN report the distinct possibility 
> that in 20 years time we will have to do with 1/3 less clean 
> water in the world; it's about collectivisation of the 
> means of production; it's about the ozone layer, it's about 
> global warming, it's about racism; it's about.... Should I continue? 

  No, even if a number of other issues could be raised. As to the
idea of "consuming less", I would disagree, but I will elaborate this
more in my reply to David McDonald. 

  The point is to make clear in a campaign which deals with political
power, i.e. with class rule, that all these issues can only be
resolved when the working people take the power out of the hands of
the ruling rich minority. 

  I would like to add that, while one can compare the current
situation in the imperialist capitalist countries with the situation
in Germany in 1848, one would find big differences, mainly consisting
that in Germany neither the proletariat nor the bourgeoisie was fully
formed, that the main task was to build a unified democratic
republic, i.e. build national unity of Germany, of Italy, of Hungary,
to recreate Poland as an independent country, and to wage a
revolutionary war against czarist Russia to make all this possible.
We are certainly no longer in the early stages of bourgeois society,
and, especially in the USA, there is certainly no need for the
capitalist class to free itself from feudal vestiges. 

> So, let's hope we do learn from the German Green's experience and not 
> repeat it.

   The solution is to stick to Marx' advice to his French comrades,
i.e. organize the workers "in a separate political party" what "must
be pursued by all the means which the proletariat has at its

Lüko Willms 

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