[Marxism] The Left? Why the Democratic Party Attacks It, and Not The Republicans?

Mark Lause MLause at cinci.rr.com
Fri Mar 19 06:36:36 MST 2004


Tony wrote, "Mark L. has a rather bizarre and utterly incorrect notion,
that people who don't vote are the equivalent of those who vote DP, for
Kerry say? It takes some pretty twisted analysis to come to such a
conclusion."

I never asserted any equivalent like that.  I wouldn't cross the street
to vote if there was nothing there for which to vote.  ....but let's try
again....  

1. The reality is that voters, like consumers, have their many reasons
for buying what they buy.  To those doing the selling, though, voting
Democratic says nothing more than "yes" or "no".  One might as well buy
a doughnut rather than a muffin because you're against the war.  They'll
ring up the sale either way.  Voting Democratic says nothing coherent.
Are we agreed on that?

2. Neither does not voting.  Tony says that I see nonvoters as "lazy and
consential farts" and asserts his view that they are aware and alienated
(kind of incipient IWWs).  In fact, as I've said before, the motives of
nonvoters are very complex and varied.  In the end, however, not voting
says nothing coherent.  Indeed, when there are radical alternatives on
the ballot, not voting means not voting for those radical alternatives
as well as not voting for Democrats or Republicans.  Are we agreed on
that?

3. Tony should ponder his statement that "The 'System' does not
interpret a non-vote as consent."  Liberals and social scientists might
well assert that overall meaning grows from some social averaging of our
psychological illusions about the world.  Marxists, however, understand
the class structure of power and that a ruling class and its defenders
get the final say on how these things are socially understood.  On the
least reflection, Tony himself must acknowledge that his statement is
inaccurate. 

Like many of us, Tony seems to have had a nasty experience in the SWP
and tends to respond to it by persuading himself the SWP's approach to
elections was so wrong that his (and our) loss of the SWP as a potential
tool for influencing American politics is minimal.  I'd suggest we need
to check the bath water carefully for any errant babies before tossing
it out window.  

More substantively, our political analysis has to be something other
than a kind of Rorschach test about guessing what's inside peoples'
heads.  It has to be more measurably accurate than our simply agreeing
upon a set of comforting illusions about the world.  While I'm generally
inclined to Tony's tendency to put a comforting spin on the views of
nonvoters, I must doubt the extent to which it reflects reality and
insist that sitting out an election in an election where you have a mass
assault on the two-party system is not a viable option for American
radicals.

Solidarity!
Mark L.







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