[Marxism] Question re Latinos sank the Republicans in themid-termelections

Joaquin Bustelo jbustelo at bellsouth.net
Wed Nov 8 18:07:12 MST 2006


Gilles "it is evident that Joaquín and I disagree on the merits of voting
for Democrats." 

News to me. I don't see any merit in voting "for" Democrats. I DO see a
merit in two things, however.

One, I see a merit in the government of the U.S., under the impact of the
U.S. defeat in Iraq, becoming more discombobulated. It is a Good Thing.

Two, I see a merit in the Latino community, as part of its awakeningn and
its cohering in the direction of becoming a political and social force,
punishing the Republicans. That they did it by voting "for" Democrats
doesn't bother me in this specific moment and circumstance; the Democrats
were just the means to an end, a stick to beat up on the Republicans with. 

And actually I see a merit in a bunch of working people going in there
yesterdya just to beat up on George for the war and, well, everything, but
that's kind of like the Latino thing. 

And this is probably where (most) people on this list and I part ways, and
also the issue so many had with Stan Goff's perfectly reasonable tactic. I
don't necessarily view a vote as having any greater significance than that;
arguments about Germany and Lyndon Johnson and so on are, in my view,
*electoral cretinism,* expressions of ILLUSIONS in bourgeois-democratic
electoralism. People put this tremendous amount of freight on voting and
electoral outcomes and I think that's silly. SOMETIMES electoral situations
might offer significant tactical opportunities worth putting some effort
into, but not this time. 

And the idea that each and every election must be met with sermons about how
working people need their own party is saving souls, not doing political
work.

After the way the nativist, flat-earth wing of the Republicans went after
the Latino community with the acquiescence and support of the rest of that
party, I am perfectly happy with the choice the voters in the community made
to punish the Republicans by voting against them, and I am delighted that it
worked out quite well actually, with a demonstration of the power of the
community when we act together in a concerted fashion even in hostile
environs like the electoral arena.

Please note that I neither campaigned to vote for the Democrats nor
campaigned for people to "vote against the Republicans" nor anything else
like that, although on this list I did say more than once that I was okay
with people doing that, using their vote to give the finger to the
Republicans in this election.

How can I BOTH be ok with it but NOT campaign around it? Simple. What it
says on the cross that they nailed Jesus on: "INRI".

It's Not Really Important. 

It's Not Really Important to what, I hope you ask. Because that's really the
issue, what we should be about. It's not really important to the development
of the Latino movement. It would have been a diversion to organize people to
vote against the Republicans instead of organizing the immigrant rights
protest we held here early in October, or being part of the discussions I'm
involved with on structuring the national alliance for immigrant rights,
etc. 

But in my judgement it would have also been a diversion for me to get
engaged in a bunch of discussions with people in the immigrant rights
movement about the Sacred Principle of Not Voting for Bourgeois Parties in
this election. For one thing, I'm not religious, so sacred principles just
don't cut much slack with me any more. They used to, I'll confess. Actually
one of my dearest and closest comrades, who comes from the New Communist
Movement tradition, has this whole rap about why we Catholic school kids
were so susceptible to the idea that our chosen sect was the One and Only
Truly Revolutionary Party(tm). But I digress.

So although there's been all kinds of posts on the NAIR mailing list about
the importance of November 7 and so on, and I just ignored them, frankly,
because that's not where we needed to focus, we needed to focus on our own
protests and on getting our own organization together.

If I had been out in California or up in New York I'm sure my stance would
have been different. I would have been voting for the Greens, and letting
people know, though not necessarily "campaigning" around it even or getting
into a lot of discussions of it in the immigrant rights movement structures
themselves. But I'm not in California, I'm in Georgia and there are no green
candidates here. 

But also, because I am in Georgia, I couldn't go along with Stan's idea of
calling on everyone to vote a straight Democrat ticket to give the finger to
the Republicans and put the Democrats on the hot seat. The head of the
ticket here was a chump who said he would have signed the same
anti-immigrant bill as the Governor. And for Congress, it would have meant
calling for a vote for someone a coworker calls an "Oreo" who defeated
McKinney  in the primary with white money and white republican votes from
the north of the county. Trying to organize and point people towards such
candidates would have undercut the actual social movements here and
--frankly-- none of the significant positions up for election here were
contests.

I mean, you tell people to go vote for Mark Taylor, the good ol'boy the
Democrats were running for governor here, and how important it is to defeat
the republicans or something, and they're going to ask what the odds are.
And his chances weren't negative only because some bookie told me you can't
have a negative odds. If Sonny Perdue had croaked in mid-October he STILL
would have won the vote three weeks later. And you can tell people to vote
for someone like Peter or Todd in Califas or Howie in New York, that's a
vote that sends a message, that takes a stand and so on. But what the hell
sort of message does voting for a right-wing tub of lard like Mark Taylor
send? 

I know, you're thinking --aha Joaquín! You admit it, you just don't want to
recognize the principle about not voting boogie on account of you're feeling
ornery. Not so. I had no problem voting for Cynthia McKinney, and I'd have
no problem voting for state rep. Pedro Marin were I in his district, or even
John Lewis, depending on the circumstances (like, white folks getting a
bunch of corporate money and ganging up on him to drive him from office). 

Stan, BTW, wrote a very fine piece of his electoral experience leafletting
"for" the Democrats yesterday. I think it was an exercise in what might be
called "classical" critical support -- you know, like a rope supports a
hanging man. Except for some reason Stan decided to soak the rope in brine
and embed little metal spikes and blades in it before placing it around the
neck of his supportees.

It's on his blog but also on the Huffington Post, which is even funnier when
you think about it for a minute.

This is the piece:
<http://www.huffingtonpost.com/stan-goff/honeymoon-ha_b_33625.html >

Joaquín






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