[Marxism] The criticism of religion[was:RE:Vnzla:reasonstobeoptimistic]
brownh at hartford-hwp.com
Wed Aug 29 10:34:00 MDT 2007
> Haines Brown wrote:
> > a) This overlooks the enormous complexity and diversity in the
> > party at the national, state and local levels. It is not really
> > "top down" except in electoral campaigns, such as I experienced
> > when I was state treasurer for a presidential candidate may
> > years ago. Otherwise it would be a gross simplification to
> > suggest that the Party is top down.
> There is no doubt that the dynamic around electing a city council
> member in Madison, Wisconsin is much different than electing a
> Senator from that state but it is the Senator who makes decisions
> that can lead to disasters like Iraq or more restrictive
You are quite right, but isn't the context our (the Left) getting
involved in Democratic Party politics? If we boycott that party, I
hope it is only because there is a viable and more progressive
alternative. Having said this, however, I also object to the "vote
for the lesser evil" argument, which would appear to make me self-contradictory. I
hope not. We have to engage the system the best we can, but we engage
it in variety of ways and in a variety of occasions. We can always
refuse to cross our personal line if it comes to that, in particular
races, over particular issues, or in particular occasions, but I don't
think it realistic to reduce the Democratic Party to presidential
politics so that all aspects of the Party at all levels are dragged to
the other other side of our line.
On the other hand, if I lived in Germany in 1935, I believe it would
be fairly easy to show that the Party's program to salvage capitalism
entailed methods that were not only illegal and immoral, but
ultimately doomed, and that Hitler was imbalanced (much more seriously
than Bush) (the bourgois German press had many articles on how Hitler
was stupid, irrational, and a real danger going all the way back to
the late 20s), and the Party had significant (although often indirect
and not always effective) control over the local branches. In 1935,
there was no legal way to oppose the Party, and so one had to act in
illegal ways or at least distance oneself from what was going on. But
in US politics today, a comparable situation does not prevail.
> > e) One can't become politically engaged without implicitly
> > supporting the capitalist system. A militant demonstration over
> > an issue in effect lends the capitalist order legitimacy and a
> > reform effort serves to perpetuate it.
> So when French students and workers rose up against DeGaulle in
> 1968, they were lending the capitalist order legitimacy?
No, unless I get picky, of course not. But the discussion is of the
Democratic Party in the US, which has a completely different history
and political culture. If the barricades were up and if a viable
progressive movement were in the lead, that of course that would
change things. But these are counterfactuals. I was thinking of
militant demonstrations as have occurred in the US, such as over the
Vietnam War and Civil Rights. These had as their aim the rectification
of the capitalist system, and as a result of their success, the system
acquired greater legitimacy and co-opted more serious challenges.
> > Third party or independent politics is, of course always valid
> > option, but we must realize that it does not lift us out of the
> > capitalist system or separate us from imperialism. You may not
> > expect to win an election, but you can at least raise
> > consciousness or build a movement. If that happens, excellent, but
> > it is still within the capitalist system. However, to take this
> > route when you know very well that you will achieve none of these
> > outcomes borders on the insane or, less charitably, is
> > self-indulgent petite-bourgeois adventurism.
> Here's a taste of some self-indulgent petite-bourgeois adventurism:
> Camejo's Five-Point Plan
I see that Camejo is a Green Party candidate for governor in
California. His 5-point plan is clearly attractive.
However, you apparently presume that such a progressive agenda is
within the reach of the Green party, but not the Democratic
Party. However, that assumption needs justification. The argument
might well focus on the issue of whether the national Democratic Party
controls the state Democratic Party. However, such a control is not a
foregone conclusion. I don't assume that to be the case in my own
state, for example. Or one might argue that the Democratic Party in
California is little more than a power block anxious to gain power or
to perpetuate itself in power, and principles are only means to those
ends. However, this would tends to contradict the suggestion that the
Party is nothing more than the arm of the capitalist system. Also, how
is it then distinguished from the Green Party in California? You may
feel the Green Party takes its principles more seriously than the
Democratic Party, but why so? It in fact is a power block seeking to
win more power within the capitalist system. If on the contrary it is
merely an effort to use the electoral system to get some principles
aired, without any expectation of winning, then I don't know what
justification there might be for your supporting it to the extent of
abandoning Democratic Party politics.
It just happens you like what the Green Party stands for, and I assume
it has some potential for gaining power there. Well, that's a good
reason to vote for it. However, if the Green Party didn't exist, I
hope you would be involved in Democratic Party politics.
> FIVE-POINT PROGRAM TO INCREASE REVENUES BY 32 BILLION DOLLARS A YEAR
> 1. THE RICHEST 5% SHOULD PAY THE SAME TAX RATE THE POOREST 20% PAY.
> ADDS 10 BILLION DOLLARS A YEAR.
> 2. ESTABLISH SINGLE-PAYER UNIVERSAL HEALTH CARE. ADDS 7.6 BILLION
> DOLLARS A YEAR.*
> 3. STOP ALL LOOP HOLES AND TAX FRAUD. ADDS 7 BILLION A YEAR.
> 4. RETURN CORPORATE TAXES TO WHAT THEY WERE 20 YEARS AGO. ADDS 5
> BILLION DOLLARS A YEAR.
> 5. RAISE THE MINIMUM WAGE TO WHAT IT WAS IN 1968. ADDS 3 BILLION
> DOLLARS A YEAR.
> THIS FIVE POINT PROGRAM ADDS 25 BILLION DOLLARS TO OUR BUDGET IN
> full: http://www.votecamejo.com/
Also worth noting is that not a single point in Camejo's plan
threatens the capitalist system; they only aim to reform and thus
strengthen that system. By voting for Cameja (which I'm assuming is a
good thing to do), are you therefore implicitly "supporting" the
capitalist system? I don't think so. Camejo's proposals improve the
lives of the majority of citizens (so worth fighting for) and getting
the capitalist system to behave itself only deepens its
contradictions, which is a step toward revolution, even though that's
probably not Camejo's intention. If revolution is your aim, a support of
Camejo seems a good way to develop conditions for it, but that does
not mean that you "support" capitalism in the long run.
Haines Brown, KB1GRM
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