[Marxism] Organizers and NYC cop agree: 500,000 marched

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Mon Aug 30 20:00:30 MDT 2004

Marvin Gandall wrote:
> But I think Eli Stephen’s comment, if it is accurate - that “the
> Nader-Camejo contingent was audibly booed, with their most prominent sign
> reading "Bush-Kerry=War, Nader-Camejo=Peace" (or something like that)” - is
> also worth noting.

I marched from 20th Street to 33rd Street and I didn't hear a single 
boo, let alone a taunt from a Kerry supporter. I am not saying that Eli 
is not telling the truth, only that I didn't see any such hostility.

> I don’t want to goad the list by doing so, nor to reopen further debate on
> what I see as a settled question among the  great majority of its
> contributors - that the best means of building the US left is by supporting
> Nader-Camejo at the present time. Many, in fact, consider such support a
> question of principle, and that it is “crossing the class line” to suggest
> otherwise, even though this particular third party bid, like many other
> left-liberal ones before it, has nothing to do with a socialist or working
> class movement - nor could it in present circumstances.

You really need to dig a little deeper into the history of such 
questions. The Comintern looked favorably on the Lafollette campaign of 
1924, even though one faction in the American CP opposed it.

> In any case it seems evident to me that 1) a powerful mass movement was on
> view in the streets of New York yesterday, 2) it is composed primarily of
> people who support the Democrats, 3) they are alienated from their
> leadership on the issue of the war, 4) they appear even more alienated from
> the Nader-Camejo ticket which they see as an obstacle in pursuit of their
> aims, and 5) they are consequently less rather than more open to influence
> by that part of the left which supports the Nader campaign – to the
> detriment, unfortunately, of both.

The Nader-Camejo campaign operates on 2 levels. For 3 percent of the 
population, which is far larger than those who marched yesterday, it is 
their preference. For the organized left, it is a rallying point just 
the way that the Peace and Freedom Party, the Henry Wallace campaign, et 
al were. I told an ISO'er at the panel discussion tonight with Naomi 
Klein, Peter Camejo et al (I left early because the ISO comrades failed 
to get an air-conditioned room) that the Nader-Camejo campaign can serve 
as a kind of point of demarcation on the left. I am ready to work with 
anybody who stood up to the ruling class pressure and fought for an 
alternative to the 2-party system.

> I/we know the arguments about the shortcomings of Kerry and the Democratic
> leadership, and the need to break with the two party system, and how it is
> necessary to swim against the current. But the first is already widely
> accepted in the DP and the second two are comforting platitudes which
> justify the left’s present political isolation.

Of course Kerry's shortcomings are accepted on the left. Doug Henwood 
says that he will put a clothespin on his nose when he goes to vote for 
Kerry. That is an old story, if you remember SDS's "Part of the Way with 

As far as platitudes are concerned, I would strongly urge Marvin to 
think twice before he labels other peoples' positions in this 
fashion--especially when he is seems so adept at channelling the late 
Earl Browder, the grand master of platitudes.

> I think the mass outpouring in the streets confirmed again that, despite the
> similarities between Bush and Kerry, this election is being uniquely viewed
> as a referendum on Iraq. 

A referendum on Iraq? William F. Buckley would disagree:

"Mr. Kerry is saying that our commitments continue until democratic 
elections in Iraq are held. This is a dream, though not, we like to 
think, extravagant. The New York Times has published an update on 
concrete questions, from which we learn that there is bad news (the 
insurgents have risen from 5,000 in April to 20,000 today), but that 
estimates of support for the new Iraqi government are at 68 percent, and 
80 percent of Iraqis believe that life will improve under the new 
government. Already there is an increase in oil production and in 

"It is an honorable thing for John Kerry to do, to associate himself so 
fully with the whole Iraq enterprise. Mr. Bush can take satisfaction 
from that endorsement, and critics of the war will have to exert 
themselves in other ways than merely to support the election of John Kerry."


> It can’t simply be separated from the overall
> movement against the war, as if the issues were independent of each other.
> Those who think it can are, IMO, missing a rare opening to the Democratic
> base, which is a pity because  it’s almost certain this is where a
> significant US left would begin to emerge, if at all.

An opening to the Democratic base? You mean the Silicon Valley 
millionaires who were written about in the NY Times Magazine article? Or 
Barbra Streisand? (I do get goosepimples when she sings "People".)

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