[Marxism] Re: Getting Out Every Vote

LouPaulsen LouPaulsen at comcast.net
Sun Apr 18 21:02:59 MDT 2004

----- Original Message -----
From: "Julio Huato" <juliohuato at hotmail.com>
> >Keery or Bush makes no difference.
> Whether you or I believe it makes no difference is not material.  A lot of
> regular people in the U.S. clearly believe it does make a difference.  I'd
> dare to say that *most* politically active working people in the U.S.
> believe so.  Most people who took part in the movement against the
> and occupation of Iraq (the largest progressive mass movement in the last
> decade) obviously believe so.

Call me a non-post-modern if you will, but I think that it makes a
difference whether most politically active working people in the U.S.
believe something which is TRUE or whether they believe something which is
FALSE, and if they believe something which is false I think we should tell
them so.

In any case, I think it is a mistake to say that "Bush or Kerry makes no
difference" to US workers, to women, to the LGBT community, to
environmentalists, to oppressed nationalities in the US, and so on.  Of
course it is not the case that oppression by the Kerry administration will
be identically bad to oppression by the Bush administration.  There are
numerous differences.  I would even go so far as to say that in the short
run, the lives of the working class might be better under a Kerry
administration. The workers are not stupid and they see this.  If we who
oppose "Anybody but Bush" lesser-evilism hang it on the idea that Kerry ==
Bush from every perspective, we are just not engaging the reality.


(a) It is demonstrably true that Kerry is not qualitatively better than Bush
on the issue of US imperialist policy in the Middle East / Central Asia
which is the central region of struggle for US global power at the present
time.  Look at what he even says about Iraq, Palestine, and the "war on
terror".  He is just as rabid an imperialist as Bush.

(b) That being so, it has to be said that if organizations of US workers
IGNORE Kerry's commitment to murderous imperialist war, for the sake of
giving their support to him and getting him in the White House for the sake
of better conditions for OURSELVES, they are engaged in an opportunist
policy.  "I will support the murderer Kerry and forget about the
Palestinians, Iraqis, and Afghans whom he will murder, because it will mean
more privileges for me and more dollars in my pocket."  This is precisely
the policy which the workers and oppressed in the US are being urged to
adopt, and which organizations of the left in the US are being pressured to
legitimize.  This is a rotten deal.  It is social-imperialism in the sense
in which Lenin used it during WWI.

(c) Do you want to know WHY it is that a large number of people in the
oppressed countries now believe that radical Islamism in one form or another
is their ideology of choice, and are not fighting for a free Iraq or a free
Palestine under the red flag?  Hmm?  My explanation is that they believe,
"for some reason", that unity with the workers in the imperialist
countries - with US - is impossible, because WE are mostly composed of
social imperialists who do not take their oppression to heart, who will not
fight imperialism here whole-heartedly, and who will always be ready to make
a rotten compromise with some imperialist like Kerry who is engaged in
killing them.  If that is what they think, I would like to prove that we can
do better that, and would not like to prove all their reservations about
socialism to be well-founded.  Every "socialist" who puts aside Kerry's
imperialism and covers up for it and goes and rounds up votes for Kerry is
lending credence to the idea that only a national or Islamist (etc.)
struggle is possible, and that internationalism is a delusion.  If some
group of people takes this lesson to heart, concludes that all US workers
really ARE "the enemy" and hence legitimate targets, and continues with
9/11-style or Madrid-style actions, I personally think those "socialists"
will bear a chunk of the guilt.

(d)  Furthermore, we should raise the following question: "To what extent
could a Kerry administration be ABLE to provide for the needs of the poor,
put money in the pockets of the workers, defend civil liberties, fight
racism, defend the environment, protect women's rights, etc. - to list some
of the hopes that people have for him - WHILE at the same time waging an
increasingly unpopular and costly and racist and murderous war against the
peoples of Iraq, Palestine, Afghanistan, and more generally from North
Africa to Indonesia?"  Kerry is already saying things like "well, I might
not be able to keep certain promises for jobs etc. because of the red ink."
The red ink is because of the war!!  The war that he is committed to!!  So
even though there might not be "NO difference", I argue that the imperialist
war policy which is common to BOTH Bush and Kerry will make it impossible
for these differences to be very great.   And how can Kerry defend civil
rights in the US with one hand while massacring Arabs, Muslims, and other
Asian peoples with the other hand?  Does it even make sense?

(e) Finally, people have been saying for decades that "there is no
independent left here, so we have to work in the Democratic presidential
campaign."  There is an independent left here.  It's very small compared to
what it should be.  This is because of the people who say that there is no
independent left and they have to work in the Democratic presidential
campaign.  In the future this left will be larger, I believe, because of the
efforts of people who will not have been working in the Democratic
presidential campaigns.  THEN, some people will say, "Well, what do you
know!  Now a larger independent left has appeared from somewhere!  Who could
have predicted this!  Now we wise people will take our places as leaders in
this independent left!"

Lou Paulsen

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