[Marxism] RE: Voting by the U.S. Left--and the main stategicgoalof2004

Tony Abdo gojack10 at hotmail.com
Sun Feb 22 15:26:54 MST 2004

Marv, this is not my position at all......
<<Unfortunately, while Tony Abdo is right to question the stats, he is
engaging in his usual wishful thinking that the revolutionary left can,
in present circumstances, break the hold of the two party system – if
only it could unite to call more loudly and forcefully for a break with
the Democrats, and organize larger and more effective mass action
campaigns. If only. Dancing down that yellow brick road with the Greens
is only a slightly less fanciful case of wishful thinking.>>

This issue relates to how the American population currently sees "the two 
gangs" that run things.    The fact is that many support one or another of 
these two gangs, and at present have no desire to create what they fear 
might just well become the third "gang".     And sad to say, there are still 
many people who believe that neither of the DP or the RP are in fact gangs.  
    So we still have a very conservative population out there.     I have no 
wishful delusion as Marv thinks I might about this.

Plus, most Americans still are not totally convinced that corporations hold 
all power politically at present.    Or that even if they are convinced of 
this, that it is necessarily bad that corporations do run so much if not all 
of their lives.     So my main point about electorialism (of any stripe) in 
this current state of conservatized political awareness, is that it most 
often detracts from building mass movements, or in the building of socialist 
organizations that could ACTUALLY and ACTIVELY go about building any mass 
movements.     Participating head over heels in elections often is an 
example of side-tracking an organization's own and other more important 

In this sense, I think it has been wishful thinking that jumping on board 
the Green Party political horse would deliver some sort of grand bonanza.    
Despite their many words to the contrary, elecioneering began to substitute 
for building an antiwar movement, or even to trying to build a struggle 
sector within the established trade unions by these socialist tendencies.    
Oftentimes, electorialism begins to be motivated by socialists as a way to 
have election interventions used in a way to bolster the building of mass 
movement in the streets.    But there are solely so many hours to a day, and 
most likely electioneeering begins to replace other political work.

Plus, particularly to the tendencies that have exSWP types in some numbers 
within...    These comrades came from an organization, the SWP, that 
actively began to reject anti-imperialist anti-war work within the US as 
being their main strategic goal.  And way back in the mid '70s, too.    They 
used a phoney "TURN TO THE WORKING CLASS" lunge into workerist union work as 
the substitute activity for the organization.

Some of the list posters recently have been examining the current SWP 
retreat from even being anti-imperialist in regards to their analysis of the 
US occupation of Iraq.    But this is like examining a patient's cancer at 
the time of the dying gasp.    And many of the exSWPers still identify with 
the substitute activity of union work much more than they do antiwar work, 
and electorialism falls into being just another extension of that workerist 
substitutionism that they learned as the SWP drifted into decay.

Reality today, is that most US socialists do their politicking in a manner 
that actively seeks avoidance of appearing to be too anti-military  to the 
conservative pro-military US majority.    So an activity like campaigning 
for candidates, can be a sort of replacement work for the hard work of 
trying to build opposition to the US war machine.    Mark Lause's vote 
tallying comes to us in this mindset.    And having been inside the 
Solidarity organization, I know full well that antiwar work has always been 
one of many things they marginally do as individuals desire, while labor 
union stuff (similar to the SWP) was their real focus as a group.     Green 
Fever felt most righteous to that group at the start of the electioneering.

Whereas Mike is busy gaging how the Left is doing by sorting vote tally 
numbers around, he really would be better off thinking about the sinking 
numbers of participants in antiwar activities right now.     Here, we have  
an example of the pitfalls of excessive electorialism.   It focuses Leftists 
into swimming in the middle of the conservative sea (campaigning) without so 
much as a life jacket on (no real Left press).     Maybe it would have been 
better to build a much smaller (but better organized than now) antiwar boat 
on the shore of the sea of electoral madness instead?

Tony Abdo

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