[Marxism] Greens, Dems and Building Working Class Independence,
lnp3 at panix.com
Sat Mar 26 20:16:46 MST 2005
>Marxist are closer, in term of political culture to Lincolnian
>Republicanism than to Clintonian New Democraticism, and the Greens are
>essentially a bunch of Democrats who felt that Clinton backstabbed them in
>1992-1996, not a movement commited for the long term struggle required to
>build a real party that challenges both republicans and democrats from the
>Sure, there are individuals in the Green Party who are not like that, but
>even Nader ran out to run *his* campaing and not the Party's when the time
Carlos, for somebody who writes with such venom about the Green Party, you
seem singularly uninformed. It may be the case that you know more than you
let on, but you have seemed to picked up a nasty habit somewhere along the
line of characterizing groups and political currents without bothering to
As it turns out, we have a number of Green Party leaders on this list who
tend to lurk but occasionally have a thing or two to say--as Howie Hawkins
did the other day. If you do a google search on "Howie Hawkins", you can
find many articles that have little connection to the grotesque caricature
you have sucked out of your thumb.
I would strongly urge you to get into the habit of quoting people in the
future since generally speaking you strike me as somebody who might lack
the commitment to serious Marxist polemics despite your tendency to quarrel
with people here at the drop of a hat. If you go look at Lenin's articles
on MIA, you will rarely find him characterizing people without quoting
them. For example, in the first section of "The Proletarian Revolution and
the Renegade Kautsky" titled "How Kautsky Turned Marx Into A Common
Liberal," there is practically a Talmudic exegesis on what Kautsky said.
Here is what Howie Hawkins has written. Let's see you turn this into
There Never Were Any "Good Old Days" In The Democratic Party
by Howie Hawkins
March 1, 2004
"A liberation movement for the Democratic Party" is one of the goals Ralph
Nader stated for his campaign in the question and answer period of his
February 23 press conference announcing his 2004 independent presidential
candidacy. He went on to a lament that progressives had let their
Democratic Party slip away to corporate interests since about 1980.
While Nader is certainly correct to say that the Democrats are more
thoroughly corporatized than ever, perpetuating the myth that the Democrats
were ever a progressive party undermines the cause of independent
progressive politics and his own campaign.
Indeed, whatever his intentions, Nader implicitly gave wavering voters
permission to vote for Gore in 2000 with such statements as the Democrats
could take back Green votes by going back to their progressive roots, and
that one positive result of his campaign would be to create a spillover
vote down the ticket to help elect Democrats to Congress.
In 2000 and now again in 2004, Nader seems to be underselling his own
prospects by giving the Democrats more credit and import than they deserve.
Nader had far more support and sympathy than the final 3% vote on Election
Day in 2000 indicated. A Zogby poll found that 18 percent of the population
seriously considered voting for Nader. An analysis of the National Election
Study data by Harvard political scientist Barry Burden shows that only 9%
of the people who thought Nader was the best candidate actually voted for
him. If people had not voted strategically for the lesser evil, Nader would
have had over 30 million votes instead of 3 million and might have won the
election, especially if he had been allowed in the debates.
Contrary to conventional wisdom, a substantial proportion of Nader
supporters thought Bush was the lesser evil. While 54% of the people who
thought Nader was the best candidate voted for Gore in order to defeat
Bush, 37% of the people who preferred Nader voted for Bush in order to
defeat Gore. Nader's populist anti-corporate, clean politics,
environmentalist issues clearly appealed to substantial sections of the
bases of both major parties as well as independents.
Burden also shows that Nader would have won the election using the
Condorcet system of preference voting in which voters rank each candidate
against each other candidate, the system which most voting system experts
consider the fairest and most accurate way to reflect voters' preferences.
In a Condorcet preference vote, Nader would have won the 2000 election.
This is the only presidential election for which there is data to conduct a
Condorcet election retrospectively, in which the Condorcet winner was not
the actual winner. (See
Nader would do better to simply state that the Democratic Party is beyond
reform, completely captured by corporate interests, and that progressives
need their own party independent of corporate influence. Ironically, it is
the same "liberal intelligentsia" that Nader now scolds for a failure of
nerve that perpetuates the myth that the Democratic Party is potentially
progressive. This myth, to which Nader also contributes by some of his
statements, encourages activists to try to reform the Democratic Party from
But what progressive roots of the Democratic Party are there?
Surely they don't mean the slaveholders and Indian exterminators of the
pre-Civil War Democratic Party. In the 1800s, the only post-Civil War
Democratic administrations, those of Grover Cleveland, were not much
different from the Republicans in their hard money economic policies that
were killing the agrarian economy. While Cleveland did clean up some of the
corruption that had become so endemic after some 25 years of Republican
rule, Cleveland was no friend of the working people as evidenced by his use
of federal troops against the march on Washington by Coxey's Army of the
unemployed seeking public works for jobs and against the Pullman railroad
The idea that the Democrats are a progressive party is a 20th century idea.
And progressives entering the Democratic Party to reform it is an old and
failed approach. Since 1936, when the labor movement and the Communists,
then the largest and most influential current on the Left, dropped all
serious pretenses of independent labor or socialist politics and joined the
Democratic Party coalition, reforming the Democratic Party has been the
dominant strategy on the progressive side of American politics. The new
left social movements emerging in the 1960s -- the civil rights, peace,
women's, community organizing, and environmental movements -- oriented to
the Democratic Party. There were the McCarthy and McGovern campaigns, a New
Democratic Coalition and a Rainbow Coalition, a Jerry Brown campaign in
1992, all aimed at reform.
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