[Marxism] Voting for the lesser danger

Jeff meisner at xs4all.nl
Mon Nov 7 15:17:14 MST 2016


On 2016-11-07 22:39, Louis Proyect via Marxism wrote:
> 
> Jeff, I have no idea of what your connection to Marxism is but when
> you speak of principles, there is none more sacrosanct that refusing
> to vote for bourgeois parties.

I'm glad you used the word "sacrosanct" rather than "well thought 
through in relation to the immediate context." Indeed, if you had asked 
me in previous years I would have used your exact formulation. Now I 
would change the "sacrosanct" principle to refusing to SUPPORT bourgeois 
parties. People should vote against Trump in order to stop what could be 
a fascist take-over (a danger that also exists if he loses the vote), 
and Clinton should absolutely NOT be supported. Marxists should tell the 
truth about her, and also the truth about Trump, neither of which 
deserves support, and then choose the best voting TACTIC. Just saying 
that they are both pro-capitalist could be a repeat of the ultraleft 
Stalinist tact in 1933 where Hitler was just another bourgeois 
politician, in fact one that would be easier to defeat subsequently. 
Right.

Also, I don't believe anything is so "sacrosanct" even in your own 
judgement. On Marxmail I read one after another glowing accounts (and 
some less glowing) of Bernie Sanders' campaign. Indeed it would have 
been possible for him to have won the nomination (especially if the 
Democratic party had been more democratic!). I have no doubt whatsoever 
that in that case a number of comrades on this list would have made an 
exception to that sacrosanct principle and urged a vote for him -- that 
is, a vote for the Democratic party ticket! -- in the general election. 
And you know it.

The difference is that I'm not talking about giving the party any 
political support, just checking a box on the ballot as part of a 
(hopefully) well-thought out strategy in the case where a vote for only 
one of two parties has an effect on the outcome. When a fascist is 
running for power, as they are in a number of European countries 
(including here in Holland next March), defeating the fascist is a 
priority that goes beyond the propaganda that a socialist campaign can 
effect. But in most countries there is a parliament which decides the 
head of state so you can vote for any party that will gain seats, for 
the same effect. But in cases like France, or the U.S., you get an 
election where the best you can do is place a check-mark where it will 
count against the fascist, effectively voting for the status-quo as a 
lesser danger.

Same goes for Brexit, come to think of it, where most on this list 
recognized the reason to vote "no". I know people who would say "What? 
So you are supporting the power of the EU, all 28 states??" Well yes, 
the UK staying in the EU (the status quo) doesn't represent the danger 
that the Brexit initiative does. So in that particular case, you vote 
for 28 capitalist states and against the increased independence of 1 
capitalist state. All of these examples involve THINKING about the exact 
circumstances you face, rather than just holding ideas formulated 
decades ago as "sacrosanct" with no further thought allowed.

- Jeff



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