[Marxism] An Open Letter to the Green Party About 2020 Election Strategy

Dayne Goodwin daynegoodwin at gmail.com
Fri Jan 24 23:32:55 MST 2020

Howie Hawkins has a working class political perspective unlike the signers
of the 'open letter.'  Hawkins is vying for the presidential nomination of
the Green Party of the U.S. which, as John Reimann says, is historically a
petit-bourgeois political formation.  IMO this was proven in 2003/4 when
the Green Party rejected the candidacy of Ralph Nader (individually a
middle-class reformer but allied with the fledgling Labor Party organizing
effort, who had opened up a significant challenge to the capitalists'
two-party political system in the 2000 election**) in order to support the
Democrat presidential candidate, using the same capitalist-centric
rationale manifest in today's 'open letter.'

Open letter signers, like other defenders of the capitalists' two-party
political monopoly, argue from a narrow-minded 'zero-sum game' framework.
I think that the participation of strong independent working class
candidates in capitalist state elections increases the progressive vote
generally, including for the mainstream capitalist parties (Democrats in
U.S.) which posture as fighting for the working class.  In the case of the
protest vote for the weak middle-class Green Party in the 2016 presidential
election, i don't think the voting result would have been significantly
different if the Green Party hadn't existed, electoral results would have
remained the same.

IMO there has not been a significant potential national working class
presence in the U.S. political system since the mid-2000s crumbling of the
Labor Party effort that had been led by Tony Mazzochi (d. 2002, btw
longtime Nader ally).  If Howie Hawkins is able to win the Green Party
presidential nomination it might be an indication that the Green Party is
beginning to develop into a working class party.

Obviously i think the political outlook for working people is pretty
dismal.  Touche' Mark: "We don't have a lot of alternatives.  Everybody in
a socialist group that hasn't done anything to create such an
alternative--and going through the motions hasn't sufficed--bears some
responsibility for this. You don't like the Greens, but haven't done diddly
to forge something better."

And as Mark says: "The path to Trump was paved by Democrats [as] much as
Republicans.  That's the nature of the system both serve."  The open letter
signers are mistaken to think that voting Democrat will make a qualitative
difference in implementing 'real solutions' for the growing crises of the
capitalist system.

**The myth that Nader cost Gore the 2000 presidential election, now 'common
knowledge' in the mainstream media and also apparently with the 'open
letter' signers, was created by defenders of the capitalist two-party
political system to attack Nader and pressure the Green Party's leadership
not to run Nader again in 2004. The reality is that half of Florida's
registered Democrats didn't bother to vote in 2000 and 12% of them - over
200,000 - voted for Bush.  In addition to Nader/Greens, each of the other
seven third party presidential candidates on the Florida ballot in 2000 got
more than the 543 votes that supposedly made the difference, see <
http://www.cagreens.org/alameda/city/0803myth/myth.html>.  In addition to
voter suppression and related Republican dirty tricks, Gore (longtime
fixture of the capitalist system) didn't even put up a fight for a full
Florida recount.

On Fri, Jan 24, 2020 at 3:12 PM Louis Proyect via Marxism <
marxism at lists.csbs.utah.edu> wrote:

> On 1/24/20 12:06 PM, John Reimann via Marxism wrote:
> > The Greens are not a working class party; they are a petit bourgeois
> party.
> > They did not develop out of a movement of the working class and have no
> > base in any part of the working class movement.
> Yeah, petit bourgeois. That about sums up this kind of politics that
> refuses to get behind a candidate like Howie Hawkins, who was a
> warehouse worker for decades and a Teamster union member. If this was
> 1934, we'd all be pushing for a labor party because there was a class
> dynamic that made it possible. We are not in 1934, comrades. Time to
> wake up and smell the coffee.

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