[Marxism] GP entrails [In defense of Harrington and American Menshevism]
craig at red-bean.com
Tue Dec 30 15:48:49 MST 2008
> The U.S. electoral system — something which socialists cannot change by an
> act of will — does not allow for a credible form of "independent political
> action" (as the Trotskyist and Trotskyist-derived portions of the U.S. Left
> call it). The real options are to support and build the anti-corporate left
> wing of the Democrats to the point where either (a) the Democrats become
> dominated by the left or (b) more likely, the "party" splits along
> ideological and class lines, or to abstain from electoral politics
> altogether except as a form of protest, which ensures that American workers
> will not take you seriously.
The specifics of the state-run primaries, slating law, definition of
"established political party" and other ins-and-outs of electoral law do
present very real risks to third parties. However, they are not
insurmountable, as witnessed by the California Greens, and as we're
founding out in Illinois as we build our institutional interface to the
electoral code in a state without party registration.
Of course Harrington is unable to apply this same critique to the
Democratic Party and how it operates.
Along with other Greens in Chicago, I've spent the last year and a half
building the Central Committee of our party in Cook County. CPs are
elected, and there is no provision in state law for us to exclude people
who go thru the process of getting on the ballot and winning the most
votes in their ward. These people then control the slating of
candidates if there is not a nominee from the state run primary process.
Thru this process, I've become familiar with the risks Harrington
brings up, and I'm not convinced at all that they are insurmountable.
We have been able to defend our ballot line so far, mostly because we
are a new thing and local political actors don't know what to do with
us, and many don't see us as a threat. They have tried tho, Mike
Madigan had a staffer attempt to join our CP, and failed. We have not
had to resort to a legal defense of our "right of association" yet.
In order to make these attacks, interlopers need to mobilize people to
NOT pull a DP primary ballot, but a GP one, and with the contests in the
DP primary, they would be spending their resource against a low-risk
target. They more often resort to legal challenges against the nominees
paperwork and petitions. They were able to knock out at least 4 of our
candidates this way, after the fact.
The largest obstacles third parties face are IMO social/political, and
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