[Marxism] Nader ballot woes

Eli Stephens elishastephens at hotmail.com
Fri Jun 11 23:31:10 MDT 2004


Mark wrote:

>The necessity now is breaking the two-party system, by getting as many
>voters as possible to see a third party alternative as viable.  We need
>to pool our ballots to make the possibility of an alternative as
>visible, and as viable to the voters as possible.   A few million for
>Nader does that.

I share Mark's voting philosophy exactly; the best way to send a "message" 
(to other workers, not to Kerry and the Democrats) is to have as large a 
third-party vote as possible (within the limits of ideological 
acceptability, not including Perot or Buchanan!), and that means Nader (if 
he's on the ballot). However, it's worth noting that this does NOT preclude 
someone (like, say, LouP) from doing the same thing with his or her vote and 
still CAMPAIGNING for a socialist candidate. Who you campaign for (if you 
think campaigning is worth any of your time) and who you vote for can 
definitely be two different things (and there are many people doing the same 
thing in a different context, *still* campaigning for Kucinich even though 
they'll be voting for Kerry).

Personally, I think my time is better spent campaigning on issues, i.e., 
building antiwar, anti-occupation events. I suppose this position is open to 
criticism, i.e., if I think it's good that Nader gets as large a vote as 
possible, then I should campaign for him. Given unlimited time for political 
activity, perhaps I would. But, given limited time, I think it's MORE 
important to talk to people about the war then about Nader. Although, in 
some contexts, one could imagine the BEST way to talk about antiwar issues 
IS to do so as a campaigner for Nader, since there are contexts in which one 
can enter as a political candidate (or representative of same) that one 
cannot enter as "just" an antiwar campaigner, e.g., a candidates forum. And 
why not come to the candidates forum as a representative of a socialist 
candidate? Because there is definitely a significant layer of people who 
will listen and respond to you saying exactly the same thing if you are 
representing a "respectable" candidate like Nader, but who will "get their 
defenses up" and not listen to you if you are representing a socialist (God 
forbid!) candidate, even if you say exactly the same things.

Does this mean not "campaigning for socialism," a question LouP raised a 
while back? Definitely not. But one can "campaign for socialism" without an 
ELECTORAL campaign; hopefully, all of us are doing that all the time and not 
waiting for one opportunity every two or four years!

There are definitely multiple sides to the issue.

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