[Marxism] Re: Some doubts from an outsider about theNader-Camejoticket

Fred Feldman ffeldman at bellatlantic.net
Sun Jun 27 18:45:00 MDT 2004

I do not think that the issue in this campaign is the future of the
Green Party, or how to build it, or whether at some point in the future
a section of the ruling class could back or move into a party of this
sort and use it for their purposes.  I don't rule out the latter at all.
After all, they have made use of parties based in workers movements,
sometimes pretty militant ones, for decades.  They seem to be  having
some success at living with and, yes, using the Workers Party of Brazil
today. (Of course, I am for supporting any stands of Lula that advance
Brazil's fight for sovereignty and the perspective of Latin American
unity and ties with Cuba and Venezuela.)  So I see no reason to rule out
them using a petty bourgeois party like the Greens.  Its hard to
visualize the next general social crisis and what measures it may force
on the rulers.
Frankly, I am not terribly interested in the Green Party, which quite
possibly committed suicide a couple days ago.  If you follow the history
of middle-class-type and working-class third parties, few have survived
a decision in reality to support the capitalist candidate for president
under whatever cover. I don't think the Green Party is a workers or
labor party or has any potential at all to become such.  It would not
surprise me if it broke up or even moved somewhat to the right.  After
all, it just did, didn't it?
Nor do I favor building a party around Nader as a foe of capitalism and
representative of the working class.  He is neither of the above.  His
"movement" is basically middle-class and his politics are basically left
liberal.  Frankly, I will not be blown away if he were to move to the
right in the future.  Although efforts to get on the ballot under the
very difficult American conditions often lead people -- even
revolutionaries --  to do things that are not necessarily pure (although
legal, I might add), I think some of his dealings may involve the
beginnings of a little attraction on his part to their ideas.  Anyway,
I don't rule this out.
The addition of Camejo to the ticket stabilizes it towards the left and,
more importantly, toward working people, oppressed nationalities,
antiwar activists and so on.
I think, however, that the issue posed by the Nader campaign is not
building a workers party, but what to do NOW,  in THIS election, with
THIS array of forces, in the absence of any form of working-class
political action,  to advance the perspective of a class opposition to
the Republicans and Democrats around the issue of the war.
I believe Nader's declaration of his candidacy, in the face of the
legitimate hatred of the Bush government and an enormous social and
political machine pushing the Anybody But Bush line, had some of the
impact of a revolutionary act no matter what his own politics and
perspectives were.  I think the act of defiance of the Bush-Kerry
monopoly, the prowar united front, and the Anybody But Bush juggernaut
has and continues to shake up US politics -- and in a way that favors
the antiwar forces and the working class and its allies generally.
I think the discussion of the Nader campaign has raised a lot of the
fundamental issues of two-party imperialist politics.  The discussion
has been more progressive and more important, in fact, than some of what
Nader has to say.  But as long as he remains on the right side of the
war question -- and the Camejo nomination hardens up that front, too --
I think that discussion will continue to be a progressive one.
I think working people who join, vote for, think about voting for, or
look sympathetically upon the Nader campaign will be taking a step
forward, not backward and not merely lateral in their thinking and
I believe Nader's declaration and the resulting discussion has shifted
the political situation more in our favor, without of course
qualitatively changing it.  I believe it has helped the fight for
independence of the antiwar movement of the imperialist parties, even
though this is an inevitably uphill battle at this time.  I believe it
gives the opponents of the imperialist parties and the opponents of any
prowar candidate an effective weapon to bring into the huge antiwar,
ant--Bush mobilization against the Republican convention on August 29.
It changed the political lineup going into this demo and created more
room for action by opponents of the imperialist parties on that day.
I believe more working people are interested in Nader this year than in
2000 and that is a good thing.  I think that motion and that thinking
should be supported in this election, not opposed and not ignored.   And
I think that people who support working-class political action against
the capitalist rulers should support this campaign from that
perspective, and use this campaign to advance it, even if under the
circumstances in the propagandistic discussion-by-discussion, one-on-one
I believe with Louis that we should definitely NOT oppose any of the
socialist campaigns.  There's nothing wrong with propaganda for
socialism.  And also, the Nader-Camejo campaign is also a propaganda
campaign.  We should not start acting like the SWP candidates may cause
Nader to lose Florida, and thus the election.  "Hey Calero and Hawkins,
thanks for Kerry!"  Not our tone.    In general, I think that imperious
demands on the socialist groups to drop their campaigns, cease
publishing their newspapers and shut down their offices NOW  -- thus
correcting the ideological "mistake" that led to the plethora of sects
-- would be a rather sectarian way to approach the process of regrouping
revolutionary-minded forces.
But these campaigns will get the votes they get for pretty much the same
reasons Nader does -- not for more class reasons and not for more
sectarian reasons, either.  And none of them represents anticapitalist
working class political action in any qualitatively different sense.
(Some of them have more reactionary positions on some issues.)   The
ABSENCE   of  this on the US political scene today is what we start
from, and what we have to try to advance from. 
Fred Feldman

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