[Marxism] Forwarded from Anthony

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Mon Feb 23 07:05:18 MST 2004

The current thread on this list about elections is a little bit confused, 
in my humble opinion, about ruling class legitamcy in the USA.

While the ruling class of the United States can be accursed of all sorts of 
things, 'illigetimacy' isn't one of them - at least not in the way most 
people have used the term in the past, marxist and otherwise.

The ruling class in the United States led a revolution, and gained 
political independence from Britain in the process. Then one section of it, 
the northern part which exploited 'free' (wage) labor, trounced the 
southern part (which exploited slave labor). In the process they 
established their 'legitimacy'.

This fact of history is very important, because the working class, and the 
rest of the oppressed people, in the USA accepts the political and social 
regime as being legitimate. If they did not, the USA would be more like 
Haiti or Iraq.

Legitimacy is an issue of historical social and political consciousness - 
not of the rejection by radicals of ruling class leadership.

The statistics Mark Lause has posted showing the very tiny - percentage 
wise - votes of the socialist left in the USA since the 1970's attests to 
the consciousness of the working class and petty bourgeois masses in the 
USA. THEY think the ruling class is legitimate. If they do not they are so 
demoralized that they don't even get out of bed to cast a ballot.

Tony Abdo is way, way off the mark in his posts. His suggestion that the 
most advanced sections of the working class are those who do not vote 
because they understand that the system is rigged is dead wrong, at least 
from my experience.

The most demoralized workers don't vote. Those who think they can change 
things with their own actions, vote, protest, strike, and organize.

Usually there starting point is voting for what they think is the best, or 
lesser evil, bourgeois candidate or party. From that entry point into 
struggle, they proceed to protests, strikes and other activities.

The tiny number of people - percentage wise - who vote for left or 
socialist alternatives to Democrats and republicans - are either accidental 
voters, or more likely- veterans of some important struggle which convinced 
them that Democrats and Republicans alike do not represent their interests. 
The small percentage of voters for socialist and left parties attests 
simply to the small numbers of participants in these struggles in the last 
three decades.

All the best, Anthony

Louis Proyect
Marxism list: www.marxmail.org 

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