[Marxism] Sam Smith on Green Party issues

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Thu May 6 08:08:44 MDT 2004


GREEN PARTY CANDIDATES have a 44% win rate for elections so far this 
year. 39 Greens ran for office in the first four months of 2004, with 17 
victories. Another 255 are in election races this year

THINGS AREN'T LOOKING so bright for the Green national convention where 
a train wreck is possible over a choice between Ralph Nader, David Cobb 
and no candidate. The Naderites, mostly concealed behind stalking 
horses, presently hold a delegate lead over Cobb's backers, who favor a 
safe states strategy and emphasize building the party's base. The safe 
states strategy would limit presidential activity in those states in 
which the Bush and Kerry are in a tight race.

Greens are badly divided over the best approach to the 2004 election. 
Beyond the Cobb-Nader schism there are those who favor no nominee or 
even Kerry - as well as threats (including from officeholders) to walk 
out on the party if things don't go the their way. Already fundraising 
has been hurt thanks in part to the Democrats' slander that Nader was to 
blame for the poor 2000 showing of their weak candidate and campaign.

Ironically, Nader, who undeniably helped the Green Party grow in 2000, 
may do more harm this year to the Greens rather than the Democrats. 
Local Greens depend upon sympathetic Democrats for money and votes; with 
a Nader candidacy both will be in short supply. It is entirely possible 
that Ralph Nader will prove responsible both the rise and the fall of 
the Green Party, all in just four years.

A strategy that deemphasizes the presidential run, such as Cobb's 
approach, would be much easier on local candidates. In fact, the most 
successful third parties in recent American history were those - such as 
the Populists and Socialists - that concentrated on grassroots 
organizing and used presidential campaigns as icing on the cake.

To make matters trickier, however, events are not totally in anyone's 
hands. Continued stupidity on the part of the Bush regime could cause a 
spurt in the anti-war movement with Nader as primary political 
beneficiary, much as with the Socialist spurt in Spain. Nader wouldn't 
win but he easily could make the Democrats' phony excuse for their 2000 
debacle come true in 2004. That is if one assumes the Democrats don't 
still have the choice of finally taking a sensible stand on the Iraq 
disaster. - SAM SMITH


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