[Marxism] What is to be done in 2008

Joaquin Bustelo jbustelo at gmail.com
Sun Aug 12 16:46:28 MDT 2007

Anthony Boynton writes:

"It seems to me that the imperative for anyone in the United States actively
involved in politics on the left, is to mount a third party challenge for
President of the Untied States in 2008."

I don't see this "imperative". 

The Iraq War remains the overriding issue in the U.S. today, yet as the
article Anthony put at the end of his comments demonstrates, that is not
going to be solved through the electoral arena. 

The American people are going through an experience -- in November of 06,
they voted massively for the Democrats to get the U.S. out of Iraq. You have
to remember that Congressional Districts in the U.S. are now so efficiently
gerrymandered that at most fifty seats (out of 435) are normally considered
competitive, and that only 1/3rd of the Senate seats are ever up in one
election. Thus the change in control of both Houses of Congress was an
extremely strong statement of popular discontent.

Yet the Democrats have squandered their mandate, refusing to put an end to
the War --or forcing upon Bush at least a nominal change in course-- and
have moved further RIGHT on a series of issues (torture, domestic spying and
immigration) and their presidential candidates (except for Kucinich and
Richardson) are promising to remain in Iraq and or neighboring countries for

There are all kinds of contradictory poll numbers out there about the
approval rating for Congress, but one thing is for sure: after the Democrats
caved in to Bush in May on the war, the numbers plunged in all the polls.
But note this: in the one poll I saw that asked separately about Democrats
and Republicans in Congress, approval for the Republicans was even lower.

You would think the situation would be ripe for a resurgence of the antiwar
movement, but if that is happening, I have not seen it. Perhaps after the
summer doldrums things will begin to move, but I have my doubts. 

At the U.S. social forum six weeks ago in Atlanta, it was striking how
little emphasis there was on the Iraq War as such, never mind on what to do
to build an antiwar movement. UfPJ, USLAW and other broad sectors of the
antiwar movement seem paralyzed. The Marcyites (of both flavors) are engaged
in their usual game of unilateral calls, appeals for united fronts, and
maneuvers, but seem to have even less traction than ever.

Yet all logic and reason dictate this is What is To Be Done: taking the
fight around the war to the streets, communities, churches, and schools.
People should be ripe for a message that we have to protest, scream and
raise hell because the entirety of official Washington is completely out of
touch with popular sentiment. 

It may seem this all re-enforces Anthony's arguments for the "imperative" of
the third party campaign. But I am leery of perennially repeating tactics,
and given the fiasco the Democrat victory in 2006 turned into, I'm not sure
a Green or other left propaganda campaign is really the right vehicle or the
call for a protest vote really the right message.

I'm not sure the task right now for Marxists or other hard-core cadre is to
try to reach the millions or tens of millions that might be open to such a
campaign. Frankly, RIGHT NOW I'm much more concerned about the thousands of
politically active people that should be focusing on Iraq, yet aren't.


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