[Marxism] Nader, ISO, the Left and the Greens

Jose G. Perez elgusanorojo at bellsouth.net
Mon May 31 07:20:39 MDT 2004

To "Frontlines":

>>I think the editorial he quoted is an old one (I might be mistaken,
and will gladly apologize if I'm wrong) or does not reflect the actual
position of the ISO on the ground.<<

Okay, I confess, I made the whole thing up, and cleverly tricked the ISO
into putting it on page 3 of the May 28 issue of their newspaper and on
their newspaper's web site because I am just an inveterate trotskyite
wrecker and splitter.

Yeah, I'm pissed off.

If you had bothered to READ my post, or at least gone to
socialistworker.org and actually LOOKED at it, it would have disabused
you from these FANTASIES.

But you were too much in a rush to present an analysis copied by rote
from other latitudes to even give much thought to how to use my post as
a pretext to send in yours.

Contrary to what your "analysis" indicates, the TRUTH is the big
majority of what is generally viewed as the left in the United States is
either Anybody But Bush, which means they're backing the Kerry-Bush
ticket, or under tremendous pressure from the ABB crowd not to back
Nader and give backhanded support to Kerry or at least not lift a finger
against the multibillionaire.

The listing you give of all the different groupings supposedly involved
in the Nader campaign shows you haven't seen what has been going on for
the last several months.

One very important reason Nader is running as an independent and NOT as
the Green candidate this time, I believe, is that he was unsure that the
Greens wouldn't pull the rug out from under him. People who thought his
concerns were ridiculous should have had their eyes opened up by what is
actually going on in the Green Party.

There is a very sharp debate between the pro-Nader wing led by Camejo
and the others you mention, and the David Cobb faction. 

The leadership of the Cobb faction and Cobb himself are ABB'ers, and
Cobb quite shamelessly states that if he is nominated, he would stay out
of battleground states like New Mexico and Florida and his campaign
would be "culminating" with Bush leaving the White House, i.e., Kerry's

How sharp the internal situation is becoming in the Greens can be judged
from the paper criticizing the Cobb campaign that I copied to this list
a week ago from a member of the  Avocado Education Project, and this
statement by Camejo that began circulating a couple of days ago:

* * *


No convention of elected delegates rights can be limited from anything 
they wish to do by any rules set up prior to the convention. A
convention always has the right to suspend any rules. One of the most 
classical anti-democratic rules used by bureaucrats and Democrats in the

labor movement is to not allow motions and votes from the floor. The
of a convention should be to promote the wishes of the majority or in
case of Greens the best concensus that can be reached. Any rule that
to block that passed by anyone prior to the convention can be and should

be over ruled by the convention. 

Everyone knows that our convention must decide between support for 
Nader or Kerry. Obviously most Kerry supporters prefer a more indirect 
approach such as the safe state strategy or whatever you want to call
Some just call it not running at all which is another way to say vote
While some Greens would object to my description of the choice the fact 
is that three motions will dominate our discussion, run David Cobb for 
president, support Nader or run no one and endorse no one. Anything that

blocks that discussion and honest vote is aimed at weakening democracy 
in the Green Party. 

Peter Camejo 

*  *  *

Notice that if you read between the lines, you'll see that the Cobb
people are in control of the convention organizing machinery and the
rules committee, otherwise a statement like this wouldn't be

In this context, it is unhelpful to project that Nader is walking away
with the support of the left when in fact there is a huge brawl in the
Green Party and quite obviously there are discussions going on even in
groups with long standing traditions of opposition to the Democrats and
Republicans about what to do.

Obviously such groups are hardly likely to take an anyone but Bush
position, but there does seem to be some sentiment for abstention. And
in a way that is what Cobb represents among the Greens -- his stature
and the deep divisions among the greens, mean that his campaign in the
fall would be exceedingly modest, even leaving aside his stated desire
to avoid taking votes away from Kerry (supposedly only in hotly
contested states, but that sort of distinction can't work in practice,
it is the sort of politics only a lawyer could understand), and its main
effect would be to deny ballot lines and some activists and resources to

Moreover, the tactical situation on the ground is extremely confused. If
you hear that members of XYZ group were all over the Anytown Nader
committee in March when it was formed, don't assume that is still true.
I know of more than one case where people from the Greens and the
socialist left have gone in only to pull back out again. There is a huge
rumor campaign about how Nader disses the Greens, how Nader is a
power-mad megalomaniac, on an ego trip, he is in bed with the Fulani
cult, etc., etc., etc., 

In my view, this reflects the confusion being created by the ferocious
ruling class offensive against Nader as this pressure is then
transmitted through the labor officialdom and the "professional"
leftists of NGO/nonprofit/coalition staffs, who are 98% ABB, and from
them to radicalized layers, especially from the middle class
intelligentsia, that they tend to draw around them.

This means that it is very important to counter the anti-Nader
statements, even when they come from excellent comrades like the ISO
folks who seem to have been victims of a lack of information more than
anything else, and not lightly try to undercut and dismiss those of us
who are trying to do that so you can present "analysis" that may or may
not have been correct when they were first made decades ago in another
country, but in reality have little to do with the situation in the
United States in 2004.


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