[Marxism] Re: Getting Out Every Vote

LouPaulsen LouPaulsen at comcast.net
Mon Apr 19 21:07:15 MDT 2004

(referring to Julio's post of 10:30 AM)

Well, it's said to see this happen to Julio.  We all want to be on the side
of the workers.  We all want the workers to love us.  But we can't just lie
whenever and however we please in order to achieve this.  It comes down to
this: although Julio claims that this family he knows has 'progressive
instincts', he actually has so little faith in those instincts that he
thinks there is just no possible way to bring up in conversation with them
the fact that Kerry is an imperialist murderer.  He thinks he has to go
undercover into this grass-roots detachment of the Kerry campaign.  Not out
of fear of the police.  Out of fear that this family won't respect him.  He
is gagging himself.  He is silencing himself more effectively than Nazi
tyranny could do, on the dysfunctional-family basis that we shouldn't tell
all our feelings because it would cause friction.

I have never met this family but I have more faith in their progressive
instincts than he does.  My whole experience with workers in the U.S. is
that they contain within themselves many shades of political idea at once,
from the bourgeois to the rebellious.  And they bring out these ideas when
prompted, not because they are unshakeably wedded to them, but at least in
part to see what other workers around them are going to say about them.
Workers like Julio.

If some progressive family invited me to a Kerry dinner, I certainly would
not respond in the cartoon-Spartacist words that Julio invents for me about
"revolution being the only answer."  But I might say something like this:
"I'm sorry - I just can't stop thinking about that damned war.  I think
about those hundreds of people who are getting murdered over there by this
war.  I think about how much it costs and how racist it is and how
impossible it is for us to get anything good done while this war goes on.
And Kerry is all for this war.  This is a man who was in Viet Nam and should
know better, but now he wants this killing to just grind on and on.  And I
can't overlook that.  I can't support that kind of war program."

What would happen if I said this to a working-class family with progressive
instincts?  Would they show me the door and never speak to me again?  I
suppose it's possible.  I think it's more likely that they would get angry
and argue with me, but I could live with that.  It's also possible that they
would just be perplexed about it.  Maybe they've never run into anyone who
has said that before.  And it's ALSO possible that they would look a little
shamefaced and say, "Yeah, Lou, I can't argue with you, I know you're right,
but I hate that damned George Bush so much."  They might say, "Well, come to
the dinner anyway, there is already going to be so and so who is going to
vote for Nader."
I don't know what they would say, but I am willing to find out.

There was a labor film called "The Salt of the Earth" which we had a copy of
back in the 1970's and showed in DC probably 40 times.  But do people
remember the Bible verse that gave it its title?  "Ye are the salt of the
earth; but if salt has lost its savour, how is it salt any more?"  More or

Lou Paulsen

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