[Marxism] The Democrats Had Their Chance (by Howie Hawkins)

Yoshie Furuhashi furuhashi.1 at osu.edu
Tue Feb 24 06:51:02 MST 2004


******   Date: Sun, 22 Feb 2004 23:16:58 -0500
From: Howie Hawkins
Subject: Re Open Letter to Ralph Nader: The Democrats Had Their Chance

The Nation's "Open Letter to Ralph Nader" (Feb. 16) says "this is the 
wrong year for [Nader] to run: 2004 is not 2000," as if The Nation 
supported Nader in 2000, which it did not.

The Democrats had their chance to oppose Bush's repressive 
militarism. But only one Democratic Senator opposed the PATRIOT Act. 
Only one Democratic Representative opposed giving Bush unilateral war 
powers after 9-11. Only  10 Democratic Representatives voted against 
the March 2003 resolution of "unequivocal support" for Bush as he 
launched the occupation of Iraq.

The Democrats had their chance to fight for electoral reforms that 
would rectify the selection of Bush in 2000 with a minority of the 
vote, such as Electoral College abolition, open presidential debates, 
instant run-off  voting, and proportional representation. Instead of 
pushing for electoral reforms that would enable a multi-party 
democracy and end the lesser-evil dilemma our current 
single-member-district, winner-take-all system forces voters into, 
the Democrats have tried to smash the Green Party from Maine to 
California. Maine's Green state representative, John Eder, is 
gerrymandered out of his district by Democrats. Democrats in San 
Francisco enlist Republicans to unite behind a Democrat, Gavin 
Newsome, who supported Bush in 2000, in order to prevent (narrowly) 
the election of the Green mayoral candidate, Matt Gonzalez.

The Democrats had their chance to fight Bush's regressive budget 
priorities. But no serious Democratic presidential contender opposes 
Bush's $500+ billion military budget. The Democratís Senate leader, 
Tom Daschle,  declared the passage of Bushís first round of tax cuts 
for the rich a "victory" because they were for $1.3 billion instead 
of the $1.6 billion Bush first proposed. The logic of supporting the 
lesser evil leads to such  self-defeating "victories" as the 
Bush/Daschle tax cuts.

You crow about the "passionate volunteerism at the grassroots of the 
Democratic Party." The grassroots are passionately committing 
political suicide. The grassroots oppose the war in Iraq. But they 
have united behind a pro-war candidate, John Kerry, because he is 
"electable." Thus, the logic of lesser-evilism leads them to support 
the war they started out to oppose. A pathetic example of this is the 
puzzled anti-war Kucinich supporters who came out of the Iowa 
caucuses wondering why they had voted for the pro-war Edwards on the 
instructions of the nominally anti-war Kucinich.

The Democrats might beat Bush, but they are not going to beat the 
Bushism to which your Open Letter refers because they have supported 
it. As the Democratic performance over the last three years shows, 
Bushism is the current manifestation of the ongoing Bipartisan 
Consensus around militaristic foreign policies and neoliberal 
economic policies of welfare for the rich and austerity for workers 
masquerading as the "free market."

The Democrats had their chance. And The Nation wants me to count on 
the Democrats to fight Bushism now? No thanks. Run, Ralph, Run.

Howie Hawkins
Syracuse NY    *****
-- 
Yoshie

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