[Marxism] Why Ralph Nader Isn't the Anti-Christ

Danielle Ni Dhighe danielle at irsm.org
Tue Feb 24 03:57:48 MST 2004

24 February 2004

Why Ralph Nader Isn't the Anti-Christ
By Danielle Ni Dhighe

So Ralph Nader is running for President again.  The reaction from
some quarters has been what one would expect had he revealed himself
to be the Anti-Christ, which probably isn't far from the truth for
most Democrats.

If the Democrats are worried about Nader "splitting the party" (an
amazing task for someone who isn't running on behalf of their party
in the first place!), then they have only themselves to blame if they
choose a candidate who is unable to convince some Democrats to vote
for him instead of Nader's independent candidacy.

Since Nader isn't running as a Green Party candidate this time, that
party's convention in June should be interesting.  Who will they
choose to run as a presidential candidate?  Will some members call on
the party to support Nader's campaign?  Will some members call on the
party to not run any candidate so as not to risk the dreaded
"splitting the party" - meaning the Democratic Party, of course.

The Green Party is a progressive party in the context of the current
political and economic system.  They need to run a candidate and
offer more than a token campaign in doing so.  They can't make
decisions based on what's best for another political party,
especially not on what's best for the Democratic Party.

The success of anything which promotes more progressive political
alternatives is a victory for those of us with more radical politics
because it also opens up more space for us to educate, organise, and
agitate.  Even raising the consciousness of people to ideas outside
the perceived "mainstream" two-party system opens up some space for
us.  That's true even for those of us who don't believe in bourgeois
electoral politics.  For those reasons, Nader's independent candidacy
is a valid one, as is a Green Party candidacy.

The problem with "anyone but Bush" is that it really means "anyone
but Bush who is a Democrat."  It's disappointing to see so many
progressives, and even some avowed radicals, arguing that defeating
Bush is more important than fighting to win people to their own
political perspectives.  Every four years, the Republicans will run a
right-wing candidate.  Every four years, the Democrats will argue
that their candidate is the only alternative.  It's a recurring trap
for progressives and radicals, one which ultimately weakens us should
we fall into it, not the Republican/Democratic machine of political
speculators.  It's a trap to be avoided.

Even taking the position that "we'll vote for the Democratic
candidate but also try to build a progressive or radical alternative"
is a serious mistake because if our politics are really better, why
are we voting for someone who doesn't share them?  If we show no
confidence in our politics, how do we expect to win any support for

What am I going to do on Election Day?  I don't know yet, but I do
know that it won't involve casting a vote for a Democrat.

Copyright 2004 by Danielle Ni Dhighe. All Rights Reserved.
May be reposted as long as the above attribution and copyright notice
are retained. 

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