[Marxism] Walter has a point, Alarcon is dead right!

Fred Feldman ffeldman at bellatlantic.net
Wed Aug 11 23:57:07 MDT 2004

Actually, there are a lot of attacks on Bush on the Marxmail list,
contrary to what Walter says. That's why many people on the list,
including myself, had a positive assessment of Fahrenheit 911.  But I do
think the Anybody but Kerry sentiment on the list has tended to get out
of hand.
One of Kerry's services to the ruling class has been to contain and put
a damper on the genuine loathing Bush has inspired.  He has to do  that
-- just as he has to defend the war Bush carried out for the rulers --
because his job as president will be to continue those basic policies.
The anti-Bush sentiment is a THREAT  to Kerry's potential effectiveness
as president.  Of course, the job he has taken on of containing the
anti-Bush and antiwar feeling (which go together because this has been
Bush's war) can get him tangled up in ways that could end up getting a
very unpopular president re-elected.  
But there is no doubt that in his years as President, from the
standpoint of the interests of working people and quite broad strata of
middle-class people, Bush has richly earned defeat and should get it.
I thought Alarcon's analysis was right on.  I couldn't have said it
better myself.  In fact, I couldn't say it as well which is why I
haven't.  Very, very well thought out and formulated.
There is exactly one way in which Kerry is the lesser evil.  Bush has
been president for the last 3-odd years and Kerry hasn't.  Lucky, lucky
John. That is why the endless debate  over whether Kerry would have gone
to war against Iraq is a waste of time.  Kerry says so, I can give many
reasons for thinking so, but noone will ever be able to  prove it.
Meanwhile, it remains Bush's war as president and commander in chief
until he leaves office. Kerry is campaigning to make it his war in the
full sense, but he cannot do that without winning the election.
Similarly, noone can prove that Kerry won't be "better" in this or that
respect.  You can scientifically show the fact that he will continue the
core policies, but only experience will prove it.  Bush is the devil we
know as president.  Kerry is the devil we cannot yet know as president.
The mass impulse to reject Bush is positive, and it is expressed not
only in the support Kerry has but in the support for Nader-Camejo, the
Workers World Party, the SWP, and all the rest.
Jose writes:
"Maybe you were in Cuba, Walter, but a few weeks ago I posted here what
consider was quite a cogent argument on why Bush should be considered
the lesser evil.

Basically, that his ideologically-driven administration had proven
completely incompetent, even when handed something like September 11,
whereas no one could expect to have such good luck with Kerry. 

Just look at the situation in Iraq. With a really ultra-hated dictator
like Saddam, how hard would it have been really to come up with some
sort of coalition puppet regime based on the real live social forces of
Iraqi society? Instead these clowns came up with puppet regimes based on
an Iraq that doesn't exist. I mean, look at this chump Allawi. He thinks
he can put down a massive popular resistance with 140K U.S. troops and
20,000 mercs (30,000 if you count the Brits, although judging from what
is going on in their zone, they have about as much stomach for fighting
the insurgents as the Poles do at this stage)."
Frankly, I think the Bush-is-a-lesser-evil gimmickry takes an
instrumental approach to the American people. They are supposed to act
not according to a reasonable judgment of their interests but according
to some estimate of what will help  radicals propagandize them.  Maybe
such attitudes among leftists, radicals, and even revolutionaries are an
inevitable consequence of the political backwardness of the American
working class, but they are wrong.  In my opinion, hatred and rejection
of the present imperialist government because of its wars and other
crimes is the beginning of wisdom for the American people at the level
they are.  And that is what we should be most concerned about.
Alarcon's comments are on that axis, and they should be studied.
We should be glad that this government has become unpopular.  We should
be clearly for its defeat.  We should denounce Kerry for, among other
things, clouding and confusing and diverting the consciousness that is
pushing toward accomplishing that.  He has good class reasons for doing
so.  The unpopularity of Bush is bad news for the next imperialist
government.  In that sense, I think we may well end up having just as
good luck and another stage of education through experience for the US
population under President Kerry as under Bush.
And by the way, I believe that the occupation of Iraq would have led to
massive resistance whether or not Bush had been president.  Washington
is impelled toward reordering the Middle East for a variety of strategic
and economic reasons.  But the events have shown that transforming and
long-independent semicolonial state like Iraq in the interests of
imperialism is no easy task.  Social counterrevolutions don't come
easily. Imperialism is probably lucky that Bush kept the UN from burning
up a lot of its remaining credibility by pushing them away from direct
military support to the war.  Means there is more mileage left for them
in Kofi Annan, etc.  But of course, I can't prove that Gore wouldn't
have done a better job.  I am convinced however that the differences
would not have produced a qualitatively different outcome unless they
had not invaded, which would have been a defeat without a battle.
Jose cites Lenin that politics begins with the millions. He is right.
Frankly, I don't think his point speaks as loudly against SWP election
campaigns as he thinks.  I still think that those of us who joined the
SWP campaign for DeBerry and AGAINST President Johnson are way ahead of
the game for having done so.  But the politics of millions is where we
should start. A big antiwar, anti- Bush mobilization on August 29 is
needed and I think it is attainable though far from certain.  The
rejection of the Bush administration is progressive and his defeat would
be positive, just as the defeats of Johnson and Nixon were progressive.
His victory would register greater weakness and backwardness, as well as
the capacity of Kerry's campaign to reinforce and even revive
backwardness, although -- to put it mildly -- not an irreversible
problem.   The bigger the vote for Nader-Camejo (and for that matter,
the various socialists)  the better. 
Fred Feldman

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