[Marxism] Campaigning in Germany and other European countries vs. the U.S.

Brian Shannon Brian_Shannon at verizon.net
Mon Oct 3 20:58:50 MDT 2005

The passion for electoral reform in the U.S. is about the manipulation 
of electronic balloting and the dominance of big money.

For many years, many liberals have urged that we have to keep private 
money out of campaigns. Law after law is passed by both Republican and 
Democratic controlled legislature in the national and state 
governments. All of these laws are circumvented.

In any case, a good argument can be made that keeping money out of 
campaigns would be a suppression of the right of free speech.

There is no government money for campaigns here. With this notable 
exception: the state and national governments run primaries for the 
Democratic and Republican parties, even though these parties set the 
regulations regarding participation and even though the rules for 
primaries are different in each state. In other words, our taxes go to 
pay for the huge bureaucracy that funds these private political 

There is no free access to TV, radio, or newsprint for any party. Of 
course, the media covers the Democrats and Republicans as news. For a 
minor candidate to be considered newsworthy, s/he has to do something 
outrageous or nominate an outrageous candidate. I am sure that a former 
prostitute and minor actor Gary Coleman got more coverage in California 
in the gubernatorial campaign two years ago than was received by Green 
Party candidate Peter Camejo.

Many years ago, if a candidate appeared on a non-news program such as 
Johnny Carson (today, it would be David Letterman), all opposing 
candidates had the right to equal time. In other words, they could get 
a similar interview for a similar amount of time. The same, of course, 
was true for radio, which at one time was important. In 1968 and in 
1976, Fred Haltead and Paul Boutelle and Peter Camejo come some 
national coverage because of that rule. That right has been taken away.

My understanding is that there are significant differences in Europe 
and elsewhere in the world. I think that it would be useful if some of 
our international contributors would make a comparison between the U.S. 
election campaigns and the ones in their countries.

Brian Shannon

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