Saturday, July 23, 2016

The lesser evil approach cannot bring change. Vote Jill Stein

From Richard Mellor
Afscme Local 444

Politics is not a personally contest about the individual. It's about the party.

To my friends who are going to do what I have heard for 40 years, "hold my nose and vote for a Democrat because we have to stop the Republican", you are ensuring we never have an alternative. Firstly, fascism is not 6 months away and we have to recognize that the serious bourgeois in this country are opposed to Trump; he is not good for business. As much as I dislike this racist, misogynistic individualist who has nothing but contempt for and abuses working people, I would not like to see them resort to extra legal methods to remove a political person they don’t want, but you can’t rule it out here in US. It is a violent country.

For a period of years, myself and a few others managed to get my local union not to support any Democrats or endorse them, the liberals were terrified as they look to one or another section of the 1% to save their world and middle class values. The liberals do not see the working class as the force for social change. To not support the Democrats is not the norm for unions as the Democratic Party is the party of the labor bureaucracy, the agents of capitalism inside organized labor. This is why millions of workers have simply abandoned politics altogether.

Eugene Debs said it is better to vote for what you want and not get it rather than what you don't want and get it. My local didn't simply reject the Democratic Party for that period, it was a major campaigner within the labor movement nationally for a labor party based on the trade unions. Not supporting Democrats never hurt us, it politicized a section of our members and it will always cause concern among the bosses’ and the union hierarchy that wants to obscure class antagonisms and have us all on the same team. In fact, you can win more reforms if that is what you seek, from Republicans or the right if you are an independent force, independent of capital, organized and conscious of your goals and strategy and tactics to achieve them.  It is the organized working class that the power in this country fears. Aside from program, strategy and tactics, democratic structure and a conscious membership is where the power lies.

Imagine if hundreds of thousands rather than vote for Hillary Clinton and her Wall Street party, joined the Greens and voted for Jill Stein. Stein has a better program than Hillary or Bernie Sanders who is a staunch supporter of the murderous US foreign policy. Sanders called for the prosecution of Snowden, Stein says she will offer him a cabinet post. There's a bit of  difference there I would say and to be honest, Jill Stein needs to be more clear about not needing Sanders.

 If the Greens, even if Stein lost but received a huge surge in popularity this election, it would have a far greater and more positive affect than a vote for Hillary if she wins which is most likely. It will change the balance of class forces. It will have an affect on many people who have given up and have correctly determined that the lesser of two evils is a dead end. It will accomplish part of Sanders' “revolution” which is not a revolution at all but an effort to get more people to vote. It will be different in that as opposed to Sanders whose intention it was to build the Democratic Party it will be a non-capitalist party receiving them, it will open up fissures in the duopoly. This is important as so many people have decided that the dictatorship the two capitalist parties have over US political life cannot be dislodged. See our Alternative to Sanders that we published over a year ago.

Yes the Green Party has some serious problems of its own. I am aware that others from the left argue that it is a capitalist party but I do not accept that. It is neither a capitalist nor a workers’ party in my opinion. Where it ends up is a matter for history to decide. Its immediate problems are that it has no party structure. It is not a member organization. It is not taken seriously by many people and there is justification in that. It is seen as a purely environmental party but that is not the case. It recently adopted an anti-capitalist amendment and there is a growing pro-worker, socialist and anti-capitalist faction in it.

This doesn’t guarantee it will be successful in becoming a real force in US politics. But supporting for the millionth time the lesser evil, the warmonger in one capitalist party against the racist, misogynistic clown in the other, does guarantee we will continue down the road to disaster. On the environment alone, capitalism will destroy life as we know it.

I was having a discussion with someone yesterday about the situation in the US and world and he said he was not merely angry but “white hot” about the direction the capitalist class and their political representatives are taking us. It is good to feel this way. We are right to be angry, we are right to have a healthy class hatred as long as that anger is organized, is not directed at individuals and takes a political constructive, collective road as opposed to an individualistic destructive one.

Here are some of the immediate issues those of us that started this blog believe activists in the Green Party should address.  We published them in a previous blog post and hope to discuss them with activists at the Green Party convention next month:

1. Build the Green Party as an Eco-Socialist party. That is a party committed to ending capitalism and to instead build a world based on the collective ownership of the dominant sectors of the world economy and a democratic sustainable international plan of production, distribution and exchange.

2. Build the Green party as an independent workers party, that is, one with its roots in the workplaces, the working class communities, the rank and file of the unions and the schools and colleges, and with the stated objective of organizing the working class to run the world.

3. Change the internal life of the GP from the undemocratic so called consensus method to the democratic method where decisions are made after full and open and democratic discussion, where majority decisions determine the policies and program of the Party, and where minority opinions have the right to be heard.

These three points could provide the basis for building a serious movement to take on US capitalism. Points 1 and 2 state the basis of the party's policies in relationship to capitalism and what can replace it. Point 3 is also crucial if the Party is to be a viable political force. Unless the internal life is made democratic we can choose any political and or economic policy we wish but members would be able to do anything they wish. This would be a recipe for shambles and paralysis.


Skip Mendler said...

You could make those three changes - but it wouldn't be the Green Party anymore, it'd be something else. Why not just go ahead and create that something else instead?

Richard Mellor said...

But in a sense it's not a party at all is it and those changes will help it to become one. If it is to seriously put itself forward a s a party that believes it can govern those changes will help will they not. Maybe it needs to be something else if it to succeed and expect working people to take it seriously.