Louis Proyect: The Unrepentant Marxist

November 3, 2012

25 reasons not to vote for Obama

Filed under: Green Party,Obama,parliamentary cretinism — louisproyect @ 11:03 pm

1. His key appointments indicated a tilt toward Wall Street. Tim Geithner, his Secretary of the Treasury, was the brains behind TARP–in other words “too big to fail”. As head of the United States National Economic Council, Larry Summers pushed for tax cuts rather than New Deal type spending on roads, bridges, etc. Before becoming Attorney General, Eric Holder was at a Washington law firm that represented a Who’s Who of big banks and other companies at the center of alleged foreclosure fraud. That, no doubt, is why a Justice Department panel investigating mortgage security fraud is being starved for funds.

2. Working-class homeowners have suffered under the Obama administration. On taking office, Obama promised that up to 9 million of them would be protected from foreclosure but only 2.3 million have gotten assistance. Moreover, the White House never addressed the problem of plunging house prices that left owners being both unable to stay and to leave.

3. Despite their slavish support for Obama, trade unions have been treated poorly. Obama promised that he would fight for EFCA (Employee Free Choice Act), an act that would expedite union certification. Once in office, it was relegated to the back burner.  When Wisconsin governor Scott Walker went on a union-busting rampage, Obama did nothing to back the protests and limited his support for a Democrat in a recall election to a tweet. When Chicago teachers went on strike against Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s Scott Walker-like attack, Obama stood aloof. This was to be expected, of course, since his Secretary of Education is a proponent of charter schools.

4. Despite foolish expectations that Obama would be a new FDR, Obama has functioned more like Hoover on the jobs creation front. There has been nothing like the WPA or the CCC, despite an aging infrastructure. And despite all the hoopla over the auto bailout, the net result has been a downsizing of the big three auto companies, as well as a sharp cut in benefits.

5. Both Obama and Romney love free trade. As liberal wonk Matt Iglesias put it, “And what’s more, all indications are that Barack Obama also doesn’t think Bain was doing anything wrong. As president he’s made no moves to make it illegal for companies to shift production work abroad and has publicly associated himself with a wide range of American firms—from GE to Apple and beyond—who’ve done just that to varying extents. And we all remember what happened to Obama’s promise to renegotiate NAFTA after taking office, right?”

6. Obama done nothing to solve the problem of greenhouse-gas related climate change, a point made by Al Gore in a Rolling Stone article. Despite the EPA’s requirement that new (but not existing) coal-fueled plants cut their emissions by half, there are signs that this will have little to do with reducing greenhouse gases since coal is being replaced across the board by the far cheaper natural gas.

7. Natural gas extraction is being facilitated through the use of hydrofracking, an environmentally devastating practice that the Obama administration has accepted without qualms. In his latest State of the Union speech, Obama’s pro-natural gas stance earned the praise of the pro-hydrofracking Independent Oil & Gas Association. His EPA chief Lisa Jackson told a Senate Committee that she knew of no instances where fracking affected water, a stance that endeared her to the ultra-reactionary NY Post. Finally, he gave TransCanada the OK to build the southern portion of its Keystone XL tar sands pipeline in June of this year. By contrast, Jill Stein was arrested when she was resupplying activists blockading the pipeline.

8. In the same month that he gave TransCanada the green light, Obama permitted oil drilling in the Arctic. This follows a decision in January to re-open 38 Million Acres in Gulf of Mexico to offshore drilling. The fact that BP has given the largest chunk of its $3.5 million campaign contributions to Obama might well have something to do with this.

9. Obama has supported the building of nuclear power plants, even after Fukushima.

10. In 2009 Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack gave his personal approval for a 381-acre clear-cut in Tongass National Forest, America’s largest stand of temperate rain forest.

11. Last and far from least, Obama lifted the ban on hunting gray wolves in eight northern states in 2011. Maybe he and Sarah Palin can go shoot the beasts from a helicopter some time next year in the spirit of collaboration between the two parties. They can bring Chris Christie along, after making sure that the helicopter can carry all that weight.

12. Obama promised to close down Guantanamo but the prison remained open even after he said in the ill-conceived Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech: ” I believe the United States of America must remain a standard bearer in the conduct of war…That is why I ordered the prison at Guantanamo Bay closed.”

13. When men imprisoned in Guantanamo demanded that they be tried in a U.S. court, the case went all the way up to the Supreme Court. On Obama’s urging, the court denied a hearing, thus leading some to assert that a president with a background in constitutional law was gutting habeas corpus.

14. Obama maintains a secret kill list that included American citizens. This suspension of habeas corpus not only led to the murder of Anwar al-Awlaki—an American—but his 16 year old son who was never charged with a crime. Robert Gibbs, Obama’s former press secretary, defending the killing this way: “I would suggest that you should have a far more responsible father if they are truly concerned about the well being of their children.

15. Obama’s raid on Osama bin-Laden’s house was essentially illegal. Amnesty International described it as an extrajudicial execution.

16. His use of drones has led to the deaths of many noncombatants, including a number that have been covered up. The criterion used by the White House is that any military aged male within the target range is fair game. If this is not the policy of a war criminal, then I do not know what is.

17. Many of Obama’s policies are shrouded in secrecy. When the White House leaked word about its kill list—intended to burnish its reputation as tough on terror—nothing happened. But when people like Bradley Manning reveal the machinations that lead to war, he is put in solitary confinement and faced with a lengthy prison term.

18. Despite the hostility of Netanyahu, Israel continues to get carte blanche from the administration. When Americans consider the possibility of joining a flotilla to bring humanitarian aid to Gaza, they have to worry about the threats of fines and imprisonment brandished by Hillary Clinton. Despite toothless remonstrations to Israel about West Bank settlements, the U.S. voted against a U.N. resolution that described them as illegal. Finally, despite American nervousness about an armed attack on Iran, the U.S. continues to back crippling sanctions all in the name of reducing the threat to Israel, a country that flouts international treaties against its own stockpile of nuclear weapons.

19. Against all evidence that its occupation of Afghanistan has been a disaster to the Afghan people and to the soldiers serving there, Obama pledges to “finish the job” in Nixonian terms. Sticking to a 2014 deadline for withdrawal, he will likely step up the use of drones as he begins to wind down troop deployments. 42 states and the District of Columbia are facing serious budget shortfalls this year. Spending for the Afghanistan war would more than make up for the shortfalls.  As is always the case, it is guns trump butter.

20. Despite all the hype about the breakthrough of having the first African-American president, there are signs that Obama has largely ignored the suffering of Black America. In a very important article that appeared in the October 28th New York Times, Columbia University’s director of Black studies wrote: “Whether it ends in 2013 or 2017, the Obama presidency has already marked the decline, rather than the pinnacle, of a political vision centered on challenging racial inequality.” Among the findings in this article: 28 percent of African-Americans, and 37 percent of black children, are poor (compared with 10 percent of whites and 13 percent of white children); 13 percent of blacks are unemployed (compared with 7 percent of whites); more than 900,000 black men are in prison; blacks experienced a sharper drop in income since 2007 than any other racial group; black household wealth, which had been disproportionately concentrated in housing, has hit its lowest level in decades; blacks accounted, in 2009, for 44 percent of new H.I.V. infections.

21. Obama has deported twice the number of undocumented workers per annum than Bush. 59 percent of Latinos disapprove of his policies but face the quandary of voting for Romney, who complains that Obama is not deporting enough.

22. Obamacare has effectively preempted the only health care option that made sense, namely a single-payer plan that would effectively extended Medicare (but a much improved on) to all. As Obama has said on countless occasions, this is the same plan that Romney pushed through when he was governor of Massachusetts. It is also the same plan that American Enterprise Institute scholar J.D. Kleinke defended in a September 29, 2012 NYT op-ed piece titled “The Conservative Case for Obamacare”: The rationalization and extension of the current market is financed by the other linchpin of the law: the mandate that we all carry health insurance, an idea forged not by liberal social engineers at the Brookings Institution but by conservative economists at the Heritage Foundation. The individual mandate recognizes that millions of Americans who could buy health insurance choose not to, because it requires trading away today’s wants for tomorrow’s needs. The mandate is about personal responsibility — a hallmark of conservative thought.”

23. Obama set up something called National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform that was co-chaired by a couple of fiscal hawks, Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles. There are fears that the policies favored by these two reactionaries will be implemented as cuts in Social Security in Obama’s second term. In his debate with Romney, Obama said, “I suspect that on Social Security, we’ve got a somewhat similar position. Social Security is structurally sound. It’s going to have to be tweaked the way it was by Ronald Reagan and Speaker — Democratic Speaker Tip O’Neill. But it is — the basic structure is sound.” With the likely continuation of Bush tax cuts, there will be pressure to cut the deficit. Between Social Security and tax breaks for billionaires, guess which will be sacrificed.

24. The White House has been a pillar of support for charter schools. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan is one of the country’s leading advocates for what amounts to the privatization of public schools and the liquidation of the teacher’s union, one of the few in the country that still has some backbone. The irrepressible Diane Ravitch described Duncan this way: “Duncan cheered when the superintendent of the Central Falls, Rhode Island, school district threatened to fire every teacher in the town’s only high school; the Education Secretary memorably said that Hurricane Katrina—which wiped out public schools and broke the teachers’ union in New Orleans—was the best thing that ever happened to the school system in that city. Teachers are demoralized by such statements.”

25. Finally, in the one bright spot in recent American history of people challenging the status quo—namely the Occupy movement—there is strong evidence that the White House conspired with local authorities to crush it. David Lindorff reported for Counterpunch: “A new trove of heavily redacted documents provided by the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request filed by the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund (PCJF) on behalf of filmmaker Michael Moore and the National Lawyers Guild makes it increasingly evident that there was and is a nationally coordinated campaign to disrupt and crush the Occupy Movement.”

None of this should be interpreted, of course, as a preference for Romney, which would be like recommending cyanide instead of arsenic.

On Tuesday I will be happily pulling the lever for Jill Stein, the Green Party candidate for president.

74 Comments »

  1. If you had a preferential voting system like the one in Australia, this would be a sound decision, because once your chosen candidate was eliminated from the race, your vote would go to whoever you indicated was your second preference. But surely, in the US’s first-past-the-post system, a vote for Jill Stein is in effect a vote for Mitt Romney.

    Comment by shawjonathan — November 3, 2012 @ 11:48 pm

  2. a vote for Jill Stein is in effect a vote for Mitt Romney

    http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1847/communist-league/1850-ad1.htm

    Even where there is no prospect of achieving their election the workers must put up their own candidates to preserve their independence, to gauge their own strength and to bring their revolutionary position and party standpoint to public attention. They must not be led astray by the empty phrases of the democrats, who will maintain that the workers’ candidates will split the democratic party and offer the forces of reaction the chance of victory. All such talk means, in the final analysis, that the proletariat is to be swindled. The progress which the proletarian party will make by operating independently in this way is infinitely more important than the disadvantages resulting from the presence of a few reactionaries in the representative body.

    –Karl Marx

    Comment by louisproyect — November 4, 2012 @ 12:07 am

  3. And you’ve been doing what for the last four years to build the Green Party into an actual electoral alternative? Or isn’t that the point?

    Comment by emmryss — November 4, 2012 @ 12:10 am

  4. A Marxist for Stein? Kills your credibility. At least look at someone like Stephen Durham of the Freedom Socialist Party.

    Comment by Myles Hoenig — November 4, 2012 @ 12:24 am

  5. @4: At least look at someone like Stephen Durham of the Freedom Socialist Party.

    I was in the SWP for 11 years. I don’t see much use in the campaigns run by sects.

    Comment by louisproyect — November 4, 2012 @ 12:34 am

  6. “the workers must put up their own candidates to preserve their independence”
    I’m not a USer, so what do I know? But is Jill Stein of the Greens a candidate put up by the workers? Or is this quote from Marx at least half empty in this context?

    Comment by shawjonathan — November 4, 2012 @ 1:20 am

  7. In today’s world, the closest we have in the USA to a working class movement is in tendencies like the Greens and the Occupy movement. Nearly all of the people who are participants belong to the working class even though they do not produce surplus value at the point of production. For those who insist on such a criterion, I can not offer any help.

    Comment by louisproyect — November 4, 2012 @ 1:25 am

  8. Again, I’m not from the US, but surely in today’s world the closest thing we have to a recipe for global disaster is Mitt Romney as president of the USA.

    Comment by shawjonathan — November 4, 2012 @ 1:40 am

  9. The 26th reason to not vote for Obama (this alone would be enough for me) was featured in your 11/2/12 post of Binh’s about that grotesque fraud of a vote for “God & Jerusalem” that was perpetrated at the “behest of Obama” on the Democratic National Convention floor earlier this year — a more disgusting political spectacle being difficult to recall.

    https://louisproyect.wordpress.com/2012/11/02/occupy-for-president-2012-and-beyond/

    Comment by Karl Friedrich — November 4, 2012 @ 2:08 am

  10. Shawjon: the fact is that “in today’s world the closest thing we have to a recipe for global disaster is…” actually this congenitally predatory militaristic monster of a One Party Capitalist State that has 2 factions which bicker over the best ways to pilfer the spoils generated by working people.

    The notion that either one of these 2 factions would measurably change the impact on the environment is preposterous as BP drills full steam ahead in the Gulf of Mexico and the AfPak war rages on.

    Comment by Karl Friedrich — November 4, 2012 @ 2:19 am

  11. Karl Friedrich: I can’t confidently disagree. But the votes for Nader all those elections ago may well have let Bush into the White House rather than Gore, and surely at a practical level that gives pause for thought. It’s hard to believe that a Gore White House would have ignored climate change quite as thoroughly , or for that matter would have invaded Iraq quite so enthusiastically against military advice.

    Comment by shawjonathan — November 4, 2012 @ 2:36 am

  12. I think it’s short-sided to cede the field to the right wing of the capitalist class and to miss opportunities for education and for the broadening of struggle–not to mention for putting pressure on the ‘not quite so right wing’ on behalf of those who most need it. History is both/and, not either/or. We help the capitalists rule by failing to press their ‘left’ against their right at every opportunity. It’s part of ‘acting locally’ to engage the political process and make it show its limitations, its inhumanity, its rottenness. Instead, the smart people run to their desks and follow events in Spain on Twitter thinking they have lefty “creds” as if that matters at all to anyone. Hey–isn’t it obvious that both parties fully and completely support capital?? Is this news? Is there some great unmasking being done here? Anyone’s illusions shattered? The approach here that accepts it as a great leftist insight that the democratic party is a tool of capital is unhistorical and lazy.It’s no wonder working class americans think leftists are elitists–every electoral cycle they forget that we do not enter a political situation of our own making. We enter a class struggle that is multifaceted and ongoing. We care more about Marxist “credibility” than broadening and deepening a movement. From a Marxist standpoint that’s pretty incredible.

    Comment by Peter Amato — November 4, 2012 @ 3:09 am

  13. That’s absurd that a Vote for Jill Stein (Go Jill) is a vote for Romney… you must understand the Electoral College in order to comprehend the protocols of US Elections. A vote for Jill is a Popular Vote and she could win a hundred percent (we’ll be elated with %5) She could not WIN because she’d have ZERO electoral votes. We need to push hard for Jill and or Rocky’s popular vote (or anyone ~ vote your desire not your fear) to make a distinction in the oft tried 3rd party endeavors. The Green Party has learned a lot and even if we don’t succeed in winning the popular vote we should get some serious visibility ~ which is imperative and this time the Greens are not going to let it go after the election.The plan is to develop it so we can get those electoral votes (then when we win we can demolish the EC).
    RE the Wolf thing: yeah it is last and least and better if you don’t even mention it since there’s a plethora of crap ObamaNationInc has heaped on the Working Class and the rugs he’s pulled out from under us, pleeeeze. FYI the Gray Wolf is 6 to 10 inchers longer and taller than the EXTERMINATED Plains wolf that these Disaster Capitalists/fake scientists have FORCED replacement on the Northwest. I’m a flamming Socialist and this should not be a peg in our reasons to NOT vote for ObamaNationInc. i feel terrible for the wolves its not their fault they were imported from Northern Canada and forced to adapt ~ hell they didn’t even know what a buffalo was when the got here (years ago) Really Lose this Wolf thing and maybe try NDAA !!!!!!!!!! we should have 50 reasons easy to not vote for the Capitalists.
    PS Obama will win the Electoral College and that’s all that counts

    Comment by Darwin26 — November 4, 2012 @ 3:23 am

  14. OK, I’ll admit that I don’t understand the US electoral system. You tell me, that voting for a third party rather than for Obama has no effect on whether he or Romney win. That sounds to me like saying that no one’s vote actually makes a difference in that contest. If only the Electoral Colleges count, why would anyone bother to vote? I’m now happily returning to lurker status.

    Comment by shawjonathan — November 4, 2012 @ 4:08 am

  15. Does the author have any facts about the dangers of fracking, or is he just emoting. I would say the same about his listing of the terrible nuclear power. He compromises this article with demagogy about issues of which it is largely ignorant.

    Comment by mkbrussel — November 4, 2012 @ 4:46 am

  16. dear shawjonathan, the Electoral College is quite simply revolting. We are bound up in a dbl bind system that forces us to to join in the melee and win in order to demolish the EC. You may know that Gore won the Popular Vote ~ he lost the EC vote in a slimmy FL debacle/election.
    here tis’ The Electoral College is a process, not a place. The founding fathers established it in the Constitution as a compromise between election of the President by a vote in Congress and election of the President by a popular vote of qualified citizens.
    The Electoral College process consists of the selection of the electors, the meeting of the electors where they vote for President and Vice President, and the counting of the electoral votes by Congress.
    The Electoral College consists of 538 electors. A majority of 270 electoral votes is required to elect the President. Your state’s entitled allotment of electors equals the number of members in its Congressional delegation: one for each member in the House of Representatives plus two for your Senators. Read more about the allocation of electoral votes.
    Under the 23rd Amendment of the Constitution, the District of Columbia is allocated 3 electors and treated like a state for purposes of the Electoral College. For this reason, in the following discussion, the word “state” also refers to the District of Columbia.
    Each candidate running for President in your state has his or her own group of electors. The electors are generally chosen by the candidate’s political party, but state laws vary on how the electors are selected and what their responsibilities are. Read more about the qualifications of the Electors and restrictions on who the Electors may vote for.
    The presidential election is held every four years on the Tuesday after the first Monday in November. You help choose your state’s electors when you vote for President because when you vote for your candidate you are actually voting for your candidate’s electors.
    Most states have a “winner-take-all” system that awards all electors to the winning presidential candidate. However, Maine and Nebraska each have a variation of “proportional representation.” Read more about the allocation of Electors among the states and try to predict the outcome of the Electoral College vote.
    After the presidential election, your governor prepares a “Certificate of Ascertainment” listing all of the candidates who ran for President in your state along with the names of their respective electors. The Certificate of Ascertainment also declares the winning presidential candidate in your state and shows which electors will represent your state at the meeting of the electors in December of the election year. Your state’s Certificates of Ascertainments are sent to the Congress and the National Archives as part of the official records of the presidential election. See the key dates for the 2012 election and information about the roles and responsibilities of state officials, the Office of the Federal Register and the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), and the Congress in the Electoral College process.
    The meeting of the electors takes place on the first Monday after the second Wednesday in December after the presidential election. The electors meet in their respective states, where they cast their votes for President and Vice President on separate ballots. Your state’s electors’ votes are recorded on a “Certificate of Vote,” which is prepared at the meeting by the electors. Your state’s Certificates of Votes are sent to the Congress and the National Archives as part of the official records of the presidential election. See the key dates for the 2012 election and information about the roles and responsibilities of state officials and the Congress in the Electoral College process.
    Each state’s electoral votes are counted in a joint session of Congress on the 6th of January in the year following the meeting of the electors. Members of the House and Senate meet in the House chamber to conduct the official tally of electoral votes. See the key dates for the 2012 election and information about the role and responsibilities of Congress in the Electoral College process.
    The Vice President, as President of the Senate, presides over the count and announces the results of the vote. The President of the Senate then declares which persons, if any, have been elected President and Vice President of the United States.
    The President-Elect takes the oath of office and is sworn in as President of the United States on January 20th in the year following the Presidential election.

    Comment by Darwin26 — November 4, 2012 @ 5:11 am

  17. in addition: i googled the EC def… you should to. The Founding Fathers were essentially uninformed/WASPS ~ The system must be changed just like the 16th amendment… (a lot needs to change to be sure) did ~ we need to take up the Popular Vote (website somewhere) for all Federal elections and major endeavors like conquering the Middle East and Drug Wars etc… Popular Vote!

    Comment by Darwin26 — November 4, 2012 @ 5:21 am

  18. Darwin26: Thank you! Ugh!

    Comment by shawjonathan — November 4, 2012 @ 5:30 am

  19. “A vote for Jill Stein is in effect a vote for Mitt Romney.”

    If you are in a “blue” state (certain of a majority for Obama/Democrats) then (because of the Electoral College system) a vote for Jill Stein helps build the Green Party (achieving 5% of the popular vote in a presidential election makes a “3rd” party eligible to receive some public funding from the Federal Elections Commission during the next presidential election).

    If you are in a “red” state (certain of a majority for Romney/Republican) then a vote for Jill Stein is equivalent to a vote for Mitt Romney, but does not matter (we assume here extreme redness: the popular preference for Romney/Republicans is larger than the preferences for Obama/Democrats and all 3rd parties combined).

    If you are in a “swing state” (near equality of redness and blueness) then a vote for Jill Stein is an effective vote for Mitt Romney. The calculus here is that the combined preference for Obama/Democrats and Stein/Greens is larger than that for Romney/Republicans (which is statistically equal to just Obama/Democrats). So if in such states the voters who prefer Green uniformly sacrifice their preferences to give Obama/Democrats their votes, they can swing the state to true blue, capturing (usually all) the state’s electoral votes for Obama.

    Daniel Ellsberg has urged Green voters (and all leftists) in swing states to sacrifice their preferences and vote for Obama (as a “not” vote for Romney/Republicans), while urging similar voters in solid blue states to vote for Jill Stein (to build up the Green Party). Clearly, voting Green if in a deeply red state also helps build up the Green Party without influencing the outcome (Electoral College haul for that state).

    The choice (or guilt trip) for Greens in swing states is this:

    (hold to a long term vision) — is it better to maximize the votes to the Green Party and thus build it up as much as possible in this quadrennial cycle even if that means enough swing states go red that Romney/Republicans win nationally? (and if that happens, will it improve or diminish Green appeal subsequently?), or

    (a short term “lesser evil” concession) — is a Romney/Republican national majority too extreme to tolerate even in the short term (we have to assume two terms), and regrettably it is worthwhile to slow and even postpone (fatally?) the buildup of our Green Party, so as to donate our votes to Obama/Democrats in the swing states?

    My take on how to vote (“how” in the sense of “deciding,” not “who”) is here:

    Voting Illusions And Reality, 2012
    8 October 2012
    http://www.swans.com/library/art18/mgarci54.html

    My own preference this time is for Jill Stein (otherwise why would I be here?). Also, even if I were to ascribe “no” substantive difference (for subsequent national policy, like in the 25 items listed in the article above) between an Obama presidency (2nd term) and a Romney presidency, I would still much prefer to see Obama as president versus Romney as president. This preference is based purely on personal taste, really gut instinct, or just simply pure emotion: prejudice (very much in style in the U.S.). Now, in my case I do see some differences of substance in favor of Obama, without in any way having illusions about who Obama is as a political being: chief executive of the American Empire. I do not live in a swing state.

    Comment by manuelgarciajr — November 4, 2012 @ 8:42 am

  20. I can not listen to Romney another day let alone four years. I can work with Obama. Nah your wrong. Vote and then seek to get what you want from somebody that is a the least able to listen. .

    Comment by frankcavestani — November 4, 2012 @ 9:24 am

  21. Personally, I hope Stein does well enough to reach that threshold of 5% for matching funds. It’ll also give a boost to other third parties and hopefully with enough registered voters going that way, it would make the other 2 irrelevant or marginal, as we once were. I know it’s a pipe dream and as a former GP activist, candidate, and campaign mgr I understand the odds. I only question a ‘Marxist’ who supports a soft capitalist, as I call the Greens. Nothing personal.

    Comment by Myles Hoenig — November 4, 2012 @ 12:33 pm

  22. A vote for Stein is a vote for Stein, no less than a choice of coffee is a choice of coffee, not orange juice.
    Stop making these truly stupid analogies of a vote for Stein is a vote for Mitt, anywhere.

    Comment by Myles Hoenig — November 4, 2012 @ 12:35 pm

  23. @21: I only question a ‘Marxist’ who supports a soft capitalist, as I call the Greens.

    The answer is here: http://www.columbia.edu/~lnp3/mydocs/american_left/Nader2000.htm

    Comment by louisproyect — November 4, 2012 @ 12:43 pm

  24. The Green Party will never go anywhere.

    Comment by purple — November 4, 2012 @ 2:36 pm

  25. All this talk about “building the Green Party.” Can someone tell me what the Green Party’s been doing between elections at the grassroots level — school boards, city councils, etc. etc. — where the right wing movement has been so successful and where they dedicated their efforts from Goldwater on? I happen to live in the only riding in Canada that has a Green Member of Parliament. She’s also the leader of the party. The way our system works is you don’t run for Prime Minister — the leader of the party with the most seats in Parliament becomes Prime Minister. Having one Green in Parliament has made some difference but mostly because Elizabeth May — the Green in this case — is an extraordinary person and parliamentarian who the media have not been able to ignore (and to be fair, in many cases they seek her out, because she is often the most well-informed, clear and succinct on the issues. But going from one Green MP to even a significant number let alone holding the balance of power in a first-past-the-post system … It remains to seen if it’s even remotely possible.

    Comment by emmryss — November 4, 2012 @ 3:02 pm

  26. I personally am not ready to join the Green Party because of the continued presence of Demogreens but I am impressed with Jill Stein. In fact I donated money to her campaign when she ran for governor of Massachusetts the last go-round. I also have high regard for Rocky Anderson’s candidacy. What I have little use for are sterile propaganda campaigns mounted by Marxist-Leninist sects.

    Comment by louisproyect — November 4, 2012 @ 3:10 pm

  27. Good points, Louis. Shared with my vegan and animal rights comrades.

    Comment by Michael Feldman — November 4, 2012 @ 4:12 pm

  28. How disappointing Louis. As a long time leader this post both confirms a long slide I’ve worried was coming and sickens me.

    A “Marxist” who pleads relentlessly for his own imperialist rulers to invade an oppressed country, advises his bourgeois president from afar, and then when he tired of his refusal to accept the advice takes special time out to devote to promoting a small bourgeois party against the two larger ones. Big or small, popular or not, reformist or balls out, a bourgeois party is a bourgeois party.

    If this is Marxism, then Marx, Engels, Luxemburg, Lenin, etc., belonged to an entirely different tradition. More likely is that you now do.

    How long until you make the full jump to the right? Another Trotskyist gone Neo-Con hawk? Maybe with your esteemed career in academia you can find yourself a position in a future Presidential cabinet.

    PS. Occupy is dead, and has been for a year. It was killed by people like your buddy Pham who tried to turn into another official bureaucratic nightmare / activist machine.

    PSS. Wolf hunting has literally zero to do with class politics. “Animal rights” activism belongs to the urban petty bourgeoisie; people who in the main have never seen an animal, let alone touched one before it became the food they eat. The NAZI party was a great proponent of animal rights, while at the same time throwing Jews in the ovens. Working people across America have been decidedly for hunting since the foundation of this country, and millions upon millions participate in it yearly. Engels wrote page after page about the joys of fox hunting in Britain, absolutely a sport of the bourgeoisie. American hunting, which on the other hand is based on sport, recreation and food gathering on mainly public lands, is not something for Marxists to oppose.

    PPSS. Nuclear power like any technology is not “bad” in itself. The problem is who controls it and to what ends they use it. The problems in Japan were caused because the plant was organized to create profit, not maintained (since that would cut into profit), etc. We don’t want the NATO powers to have nuclear weapons, but it wouldn’t be bad if a workers state had some to defend themselves in a hostile world. Nuclear power will be necessary for world communism, to bring the underdeveloped world up to the standard of the West in a relatively short period of time. The argument to “abolish nuclear power” tomorrow no questions asked is 100% anti-Marxist.

    Comment by John Drake — November 4, 2012 @ 5:15 pm

  29. “no one’s vote actually makes a difference in that contest.”

    So you know more about our system than you think!

    Comment by John Drake — November 4, 2012 @ 5:22 pm

  30. emmryss wonders about the Green Party… where have they been? well comparatively they/we are just in our infancy ~ consider that the Repug Party formed in 1860 so they’ve had 150 years to sink their rapacious degenerate gene pool into the political system. The REPUG type is genetically predisposed to its I ME MINE quintessense ~ they don’t really have to cultivate their members they are born innately with the Narcissitic Authoritarian gene… Whereas us Socialists are cultivated more or less. Cultivated in an uphill battle where our essense is smeard and spat on by both Parties here in the Land of the Free. The
    Dems are Capitalists too and many in those circles are probably Socialists but don’t know how capitalistic this bunch of blood sucking liars really are (IE DLC and the Neo-libs).
    So it is that we struggle to develop our Green Party,pardon our growing pains; to me it could just as well be the Justice Party. When i lived in Los Angeles i was registered in the Peace and Freedom Party but the Green Pty has the history to help carry us into the lime light. And now WE have dedicated leaders ~ not that Nader wasn’t he just had so much uncultivated stock all over America that is now getting some ‘planting’…
    i strongly suspect that Jill and her crew will work to coalesce the Greens across the country post election. It has been a big challenge to get on the ballot but they have pushed and pushed and are on the ballot in some 40 states and ‘Write in’ acceptance on a few more like here in Montana ~
    Join in and be apart or stand on the sidlines and cast stones and make remarkes we aren’t Socialist enuff or we might be commies ~ sheeeeeeeeeesh come-on i get tired of the contempt prior to investigation…should the doubters get that far.
    If we had a Parlimentary system it would be much easier to form political parties and coalitions however we are augered into this cockamame monster of a political system that is built for the gd Captialists.

    Comment by Darwin26 — November 4, 2012 @ 5:42 pm

  31. The primary principle of scientific socialism, prior to and above all else, the one real inviolable standard, is the independence of the proletariat from all other classes, especially it’s own exploiters. Once you cross that line, you’ve left the workers’ camp. Period.

    Europe, Canada, Australia, etc. have parliaments. They are all capitalist too. Just another form of the same thing. Same shit, different odor.

    The problem with “socialists” who advocate participation in the electoral circus today and call those who don’t “sectarians” or “dogmatists” is they themselves are the worst kinds of these. They are the real dogmatists who pretend we are living in the 19th Century, in the ascendency of capitalism. The truth is that we’re at the tail end of its decadent period, even into a period of decomposition of capital (seen in the collapsing infrastructure all around). Now, bourgeois power structures have been perfected and strengthened, there is no more room for reform, and there certainly is no avenue for workers to advance through bourgeois electoral systems. It is literally a question of socialism or barbarism — and that has been innate to the mass explosions of the last few years (Arab Spring, Madison, Occupy, ILWU events on the West Coast, Spain, Peru, Chile, Argentina, Greece, Nigeria, etc.), whether or not most participants realized it (socialists should have been raising this throughout, but instead most were busy trying to smother these grass roots uprisings with blankets of bureaucracy and politics as usual).

    Of course the majority of people in the United States do not participate in elections in any form, and in fact aren’t even registered to vote. The number of working people who don’t is even higher still. Unlike our learned socialists, they realized long ago that there’s nothing in it for them no matter the result. They understand Lenin’s maxim about ‘choosing who would oppress them for four years’ more than a lot of Leninists.

    Comment by John Drake — November 4, 2012 @ 6:00 pm

  32. Shawjon: The idea that Gore would have been better than Bush doesn’t withstand scrutiny. Gore was to Clinton as Rove was to Bush, that is, his chief advisor. Back when Dubya’s dad was directing who gets what, Gore was one of the few Dems to vote for (a key vote to be sure) the 1st Gulf War, a war which probably released as much toxins into the atmosphere as did a whole generation during the industrial revolution, never mind the 10 years of unrelenting sanctions he presided over — sanctions against providing food, medicine & clean water that exacted such an obscenely staggering toll of human suffering, disease & early death that today polite gentry don’t dare even whisper about it during some cocktail party that Gore might be attending.

    Gore is actually the father of Cruise Missile Liberalism. His first official military accomplishment 6 months after securing the VP spot & the role of Clinton’s advisor (that is, he was to Clinton what Kissinger was to Nixon) was to OK the Cruise Missile bombing which wiped out an entire Baghdad apartment building, killing the Iraqi prize winning poet woman Layla Al-Attar, among 7 other sleeping people.

    Here’s an interesting account of how bloody Gore’s hands really were, and all that without even mentioning the bombing of Serbian cities!

    http://suite101.com/article/bill-clintons-unilateral-use-of-cruise-missiles-a408772

    Comment by Karl Friedrich — November 4, 2012 @ 6:01 pm

  33. The primary principle of scientific socialism, prior to and above all else, the one real inviolable standard, is the independence of the proletariat from all other classes, especially it’s own exploiters. Once you cross that line, you’ve left the workers’ camp. Period.

    What a fucking windbag.

    Comment by louisproyect — November 4, 2012 @ 6:05 pm

  34. Says a guy who has made dozens of entries, each made up of hundreds of words, begging his imperialist government to invade a sovereign nation.

    I’m a windbag in the vein of Marx:

    “the proletariat, not wishing to be treated as canaille, needs its courage, its self-reliance, its pride and its sense of independence more than its bread.”

    “For the German working class the most necessary thing of all is that it should cease conducting its agitation by kind permission of the higher authorities. A race so schooled in bureaucracy must go through a complete course of ‘self-help.'”

    “Here [in Germany] where the worker’s life is regulated from childhood on by bureaucracy and he himself believes in the authorities, he must be taught before all else to walk by himself.”

    “the emancipation of the laborers must be the work of the laborers themselves.”

    “On you, then, devolves the glorious task to prove to the world that now at last the working classes are bestriding the scene of history no longer as servile retainers, but as independent actors, conscious of their own responsibility.”

    You’re one in the vein of Jack London.

    Comment by John Drake — November 4, 2012 @ 6:20 pm

  35. Speaking of bombing Serbia, here’s some graphic images of Gore’s true Carbon Footprint:

    https://louisproyect.wordpress.com/2012/11/03/25-reasons-not-to-vote-for-obama/?replytocom=68669

    The bombing of Serbia is particularly ironic for the socialist minded in light of the fact that a CIA analyst during the bombing admitted on MacNeil-Lehrer New Hour circa 1999 that the “US actions were not about any human rights concerns but rather eliminating the last bastion of planned economy from the Continent.” [That’s an almost verbatim quote by the way, as I’ll never forget his blunt use of the phrase “planned economy” and then at the end of the line, like some European aristocrat — “the Continent.”]

    Comment by Karl Friedrich — November 4, 2012 @ 6:24 pm

  36. Excuse me. Wrong link included above. Here’s the correct one:

    Comment by Karl Friedrich — November 4, 2012 @ 6:25 pm

  37. @34: “Says a guy who has made dozens of entries, each made up of hundreds of words, begging his imperialist government to invade a sovereign nation.”

    Really, you piece of shit troll? Why don’t you fucking quote me?

    Comment by louisproyect — November 4, 2012 @ 6:27 pm

  38. I hear people arguing day after day about who won the presidential debates. I value your opinion. Was it Canditate A or Canditate A?

    Comment by Thomas B — November 4, 2012 @ 7:17 pm

  39. “Working people across America have been decidedly for hunting since the foundation of this country, and millions upon millions participate in it yearly.” I’m sorry but that is a blatantly stupid point. The same could be said that working people across America have been decidedly for genocide, slavery, war and racism since the foundation of this country as millions upon millions participated in it at varying points in history. Just because something has been ongoing historically does not make it morally right and accepted. Many would argue that hunting is a relic of barbarism, cruel, unnecessary and a hindrance to truly becoming revolutionary “humanists.” Your broad brush painting of those who engage in animal rights as comparable to Nazi’s and disconnected from the class struggle have no real scientific basis in fact based research. Just because you don’t like animal rights politics doesn’t mean that animal rights issues are not rooted in the history of class society and thusly need to be addressed by Marxists and revolutionary’s alike.

    Comment by Michael Feldman — November 4, 2012 @ 7:34 pm

  40. i sure hope all of you will take advantage of the link posted by @21 (i think ) anyways here’s the link: http://www.columbia.edu/~lnp3/mydocs/american_left/Nader2000.htm Well worth the info and an easy read.
    It’s all a matter of HOPE. Hope that we can get %5 of the popular vote that we can build this Green-Socialist party into a force where we can eliminate Capitalism, the Electoral College, the FED you name it but short of a bloody revolution i think winning at the ballot box is the best solution. To bad the ballot box is owned, stuffed and maintained by the Capitalists… We hope that Jill wins the popular vote as a step in the right direction. We hope she’ll continue to mount the Green Socialist offensive… (or someone, i’m to old) .

    Comment by Darwin26 — November 4, 2012 @ 8:23 pm

  41. Except that working people have not been for anything of those things. Labor when organized and combined opposed slavery, war and racism in class struggles since the founding of the country. Look into the struggles the working class has waged in America: the Red Republicans, the Coal Creek War, the Great Railroad Strike 1877, hot cargo of ships bound for apartheid Africa, etc., for plenty of examples. It was usually petty bourgeois “public opinion” that did all of the things you that you claim and gave rise to things like the KKK (when free white labor, poor white farmers and freed slaves began to combine their strength). And also with the exception that those things deal with human beings rather than animals. When environmentalist wackos are able to see any difference between the two at all, it’s usually only to talk about how supposedly “noble” animals are as opposed to those “savage” humans who make wars, are racist, and *gasp* build nuclear plants.

    And I didn’t compare animal rights nutters to NAZIs, I pointed out that the NAZI party was fully for animal rights. Many misanthropes are. A quick Google search will fill you in as you don’t seem to be aware. Himler set out to ban hunting in Germany before anything else. Goring banned trapping and famously had a man jailed for using a live frog for fishing bait. In power, the party banned animal testing and kosher butchering, even as they carried out scientific experiments on living humans! And of course, ironically, the NAZIs put the first ban on wolf hunting in the world on the books (btw, the wolf hunting ban was lifted in the US because wolves are no longer endangered, because the wolves in question were not a native species but a much larger and more aggressive Canadian species imported to ‘restore the wolf,” and because the new, introduced wolves are causing havoc, wiping out native bison and elk along with farmers’ livestock — not to mention that hunters contribute more, financially and in terms of man hours, to conservation than any other group in the country).

    Marxism is concerned with the self-emancipation of the working class, the only class in society with radical chains that has nothing to claim other than the liberation of humanity from private property, class divisions, exploitation, alienation, war, hunger and want. Nature factors in as far as it is necessary for human progress. We are the stewards of nature and we must maximize its use for humanity. Marxism does not “protect animals” in the abstract, especially since all human development from agricultural to permanent homes to infrastructure, electricity, trains, roads, airports, shipping ports, industry, etc., are all predicated on the reshaping and interference in nature, which often includes disrupting the lives of animals in various ways.

    Comment by John Drake — November 4, 2012 @ 8:34 pm

  42. “Really, you piece of shit troll? Why don’t you fucking quote me?”

    Are you sliding into dementia in your old age or what? I’m here with writing thought out arguments under my legal name and personal email address and you reply with ad hom one-liners, then have the nerve to call me a troll. A quick glance at your responses to critics (or at least the few you haven’t banned yet) in the comment section of your blog and on the list you moderate shows who is serious about debate and discussion and who is interested only in vanity.

    Opposition to one’s own imperialist rulers, opposition to imperialist wars, and the independence of the proletariat have been bedrock principles of Marxism since it’s foundation. You’ve crossed all of those lines in the last year or two and yet you get angry when anyone calls you out on it. Why not address it? Are you afraid that in the process of trying to square the circle you might have to admit that you have placed yourself outside of Marxism or what?

    There’s no need to quote you. Besides, there aren’t enough hours in the day. One could fill volumes. Anyone can come here or go to your northstar site. Every other post is a call for American imperialism to unleash its infamously bloody war machine on the imperialist oppressed country of Syria. Before that it was Libya. Why deny it? Man up and become who you already are.

    Comment by John Drake — November 4, 2012 @ 8:42 pm

  43. @42: There’s no need to quote you. Besides, there aren’t enough hours in the day. One could fill volumes.

    You fucking pimply-faced NYU sophomore Spartacist League newspaper reading punk. I challenge you to back up your slander with a quote and you come up with this two-bit shit-ass evasion. This is not serious. This is a joke. You are out of here.

    Comment by louisproyect — November 4, 2012 @ 11:54 pm

  44. The drooling imbecile: “And I didn’t compare animal rights nutters to NAZIs, I pointed out that the NAZI party was fully for animal rights.”

    I know that most people understand that this jerk lacks both knowledge and common sense but here’s the real story on Nazis and animal rights:

    http://www.columbia.edu/~lnp3/mydocs/ecology/nazi_ecology.htm

    Consider also Walter Schoenichen, an aide to Herman Goering who in his capacity as Minister of the German Forests supervised the “Germanization” of forests in conquered territories. In 1941, the Nazis took control of the Bialowieza forest in Lithuania and they resolved to turn it into a hunting reserve for top officers.

    Comment by louisproyect — November 5, 2012 @ 12:17 am

  45. Why can’t we have a party that says, “Fuck jobs!” Who wants to work 40 hours a week? or even 10? The Greens don’t seem to realize that their proposals are impossible without causing total collapse… but isn’t that what we want? If you’re definitely going to be marginal, then why adopt “respectable” positions?

    Capitalism will collapse regardless of working class consciousness. If you think that you need to change subjectivity prior to a change in material conditions, then you’re no better than a religious missionary. The crisis of overproduction has been stalled by state consumption for 80 years. It can’t last forever and soon all prices will fall to zero as commodities are realized to be as valueless as the currency they’re exchanged for. Abundance is coming once the limiting agents abolish themselves.

    Comment by Brian Gallagher — November 5, 2012 @ 2:37 am

  46. Uh … I hate to contradict my friend Louis … but when he pulls the lever on Tuesday he will NOT be voting for Jill Stein for President but for some unnamed slate of people in a winner-take-all raffle to become New York’s “electors,” members of an “electoral college” that never meets. This is not an unimportant point, since some comments suggest that by voting for Stein Louis may actually be helping Romney by depriving “lesser evil” Obama of his vote.

    That idea is electoral cretinism of the purest water, because it is based on the illusion that who you vote for makes a difference. But in reality, if Louis’s vote could actually hurt Obama’s chances of remaining in the white house it would mean that Obama had suffered such a complete, total, utter and humiliating rout that EVEN IF Louis were allowed to cast a million votes instead of one, Obama would be well beyond salvation.

    The reason for this, of course, is the “electoral college” and the “indirect” election originaly designed to protect the Slaveocracy’s interests. Louis is not voting for PRESIDENT; he is voting for *electors* in one of 51 parallel contests held at the statewide (+ the District of Columbia) level. In Democrat-dominated New York Louis’s vote is just as significant as mine is in Republican-dominated Georgia, where there’s no one on the ballot except the democritan and republicrat and write-in votes are not counted (at least not in my county). In other words, not at all.

    Since the beginning of the primary season I’ve been a volunteer on-air poliitcal analyst (and off-air program and news director) for Atlanta’s only Spanish language talk radio station, Radio Información (www.radio1310am.com). And what I’ve discovered is that among our immigrant audience, there is little interest and less response to “third party” candidates. But there has been quite a response to honest discussions of why –even in bourgeois-democratic terms– American “democracy” is so dysfunctional.

    And it’s not just the “electoral college” but the HALF MILLION other positions that are directly elected. I get to vote for county magistrate judges, state judicial district superior court judges, state supreme ciourt justices, DA’s and sherriffs, school board, county commisisoners, city council members, state utility commisisoners and even clerk of the superior court. Not to mention the County CEO, the mayor, state rep; state sen., federal rep; federal sen. and oh yeah a half dozen or so heads of various state cabinet-level departments, including the governor and secretary of state. There’s maybe 2 dozen of these positions on the ballot here Tuesday, of which there are more than one candidate in five or six: US President, Federal Representative (Congresscritter); State Senator; and 2 or 3 libertarians running for the public utilities commission. In particular, no local government officials face ANY challengers; they’re all Democratic Party apparatchics.

    If the late Speaker of the House of Representatives was right and all politics is local, then without doubt, I live under a one party dictatorship.

    I think leftists/radicals/socialist/progressives in the United States make a mistake every time that, in relating to U.S. elections, the subtext of what we say is not “American democracy? What a GREAT idea. We should try it some day.”

    Comment by Joaquin Bustelo — November 5, 2012 @ 4:26 am

  47. hard to comprehend ? either the poster is a Libertarian, cynic or both sooooo We Greens are going to cause a total collapse WOW prescient in a way meanwhile we’ll just lay around the collapsing Capitalism ~ like a bonfire/ up in smoke… i think that Regulations and accountability are imperative for any kind of abundance to be shared.

    Comment by Darwin26 — November 5, 2012 @ 6:16 am

  48. As i’ve mentioned on this thread ~ The Electoral College makes the President. Gore won the pop vote but lost on FL’s EC vote para example. i an many others are voting for Jill Stein or Rocky Anderson because they are 1 candidates we can side with but more importantly the Popular Vote is part of the Occupy movement ~ it is a vote cast to bring about clout for our Party (so what if its third) Our Party needs and seeks the approval to carry on and become a deadly lethal challenge to the Repug/Demwit Capitalist Parties.
    No we are not voting for Romeny when we cast a vote for Stein ~ We are voting for our party’s candidate. Vote your wishes hopes desires but don’t vote out of fear. No Jill isn’t going to get even one single Electoral Vote but if we band together we can make a difference in the Pop Vote ~ we need just %5 of it to Make a serios hit. it’s been done before by the proletariat but this time we expect our party to GROW not be forgotten till the next political circus.
    Wish my town and state were as Blue as yours ~

    Comment by Darwin26 — November 5, 2012 @ 4:52 pm

  49. A vote for anyone for POTUS is an endorsement of the rotten anti-democratic (by original design) Electoral College system.

    The EC in turn casts its anti-democratic and quasi-autocratic pall over the entire Federal election system, making the 2-party monopoly possible. Especially in recent times, with the heavy money-media skew towards the single contest for POTUS, further reinforcing the negative skew.

    The result will be that Evil always wins election. Period, end of discussion.

    Comment by matthewrusso9 — November 5, 2012 @ 6:24 pm

  50. Really, shawjonathan, “recipe for global disaster”? GW Bush was certifiably a “greater evil” than Romney is now, yet “global disaster” did not follow – only political disaster for the Republican Party and, alas, for the people of Iraq.

    Not exactly the “globe”, however.

    Ditto for “A vote for [third party] is a vote for [the Republican]

    It is this sort of Lib Dem hyperbolic boilerplate robotics that discredits those who mindlessly mouth it.

    “Again, I’m not from the US, but surely in today’s world the closest thing we have to a recipe for global disaster is Mitt Romney as president of the USA.

    Comment by shawjonathan — November 4, 2012 @ 1:40 am”

    Comment by matthewrusso9 — November 5, 2012 @ 6:33 pm

  51. On the positive side, the independent left needs to look at certain municipalities, together with the State legislative and Federal Congressional districts that overlap those municipalities, as the “weak link” in a very hidebound, highly centralized, quasi-autocratic political system highly saturated with militarist-policier politics.

    The political system as a whole leaves zero – zero – room for an independent left party (in the broad sense). That is not going to change at the macro level, so we have to look for gaps in the armoring.

    This has nothing to do with an artificial counterposition of local to “global” politics. It is just that we can only start with the weak links. That right now is the cash-strapped municipalities. My preference would be for a “dual power” movement to establish a “shadow municipal government” putting down deep roots in the (working class) neighborhoods, rather than a focus on capturing useless seats in the existing city councils.

    The shadow government movement could also be a launch platform for direct electoral challenges at the State and Federal level.

    All of this would mean a direct confrontation and settling of accounts with Democrat Party “progressives”. That is a confrontation that is sorely needed and long overdue, and it can be done in a political environment where no mass fascist movement has yet to appear. This is a “progressive” milieu where ex-Maoists like Quan don’t hesitate to conspire to unleash the police on Occupy Oakland.

    Let’s face it, leftists: The U.S. political system is as hopelessly unreformable as was the old Russian Tsarist autocracy, with which it bears a certain uncanny resemblance. So let’s stop doing the same thing over and over again. It is the definition of insanity.

    Comment by matthewrusso9 — November 5, 2012 @ 6:55 pm

  52. Until we can build 1 or more viable parties to a point where voting for them isn’t a vote for a candidate I do NOT want, I cannot vote for a Green party candidate.

    The looming threat of another W. Bush-like administration, where religious arguments are given credence over factual ones almost devastated the U.S. society. Did you forget about the Right’s tendency to do that, somehow?

    Vote Green (or whatever it non-two-party-party you like) locally where they have a chance of winning.

    Comment by CAWright — November 5, 2012 @ 7:42 pm

  53. You forgot to mention his promise to leave medical cannabis up to the states, then he swooped in and cracked down on Oaksterdam and elsewhere. More medical cannabis busts than under Bush by far. It was if he was giving them the rope to hang themselves, by promising non-intervention FIRST, then cracking down.

    Comment by Bob — November 5, 2012 @ 7:59 pm

  54. For god’s sake a vote for someone who is not Obama is not a vote for Romney. Do you really think Obama will surface from the ashes of the last four years transformed into a dedicated Communist do-gooder? You cannot wait “Until we can build 1 or more viable parties to a point where voting for them isn’t a vote for a candidate I do NOT want,” for that reason at least. By voting Obama you work against the emergence of a Communist party. And such a new Communist party needs a little encouragement in the form of votes to begin with. How many times must people here quote Marx about parties before this is made obvious?

    Comment by Pandora — November 5, 2012 @ 9:33 pm

  55. You can pull whatever lever you want, but I listened to the Jill Stein and Rocky Anderson commentary-debate on Democracy Now, and was completely disheartened. Rocky was a big city mayor, he’s a good dude, and he was much more incisive than Jill Stein, but he’s no more of a rad than Bernie Sanders or your average donut shop operator. .
    Jill Stein was so earnest, so convinced of her own rectitude and the basic integrity of the political system, that she repeated advertising slogans about the “Green New Deal” like some Al Gore clone. She was a poor voice of the disenfranchised, the marginalized, the beat-down, the pissed-off- there was nothing to her speechifying that suggested any more social understanding than a Chris Hedges droneathon.
    Here’s to the next election in anywhere USA, as the austerity juggernaut collapses what’s left of the Dollar Left economy, when, just maybe, a candidate can actually show some scorn for the political system and its prospects for “reform,” and thereby be of the people, not trying to sell them some bullshit, corporate-friendly, “Green New Deal” to an audience of tens. Import a Die Linke candidate, anybody but these fantasists.

    Comment by Martin — November 5, 2012 @ 10:53 pm

  56. When I wrote ‘global disaster’ I wasn’t thinking so much of the invasion of Iraq, though arguably that’s more consequential than you seem to think, given the way it boosted support for Alqaeda. I was thinking about the delay in facing up to the climate change challenge, which there’s a marginally better prospect of remedying under Obama than under Romney.

    Comment by shawjonathan — November 5, 2012 @ 11:24 pm

  57. It’s noteworthy in regards to which of the 2 ruling class factions historically slaughters more innocent civilians abroad that Shawjon went from “I can confidently disagree” in #11 that Al Gore was no better than Dubya — to just “there’s a marginally better prospect of remedying [climate change] under Obama than under Romney” in #56.

    While that significantly changed position is still highly debatable lets put the question of which party actually slaughters more innocence abroad to rest once and for all.

    We start from the factual proposition that the Democratic Party, which owes its origins strictly to American slaveowners, (responsible for the untimely deaths of up to 100 million Africans) prosecuted every single shooting war in the 20th century, wars that lead to the deaths almost exclusively of proletarian conscripts for the almost exclusive benefit of the grand bourgeoisie. (The Panama Invasion & 1st Gulf War don’t count since only one side was shooting).

    As for recent history, where conscripts are bribed into volunteers with some benefits, lets more closely scrutinize that initial “Gore would have better than Bush” argument since that’s a stalwart political line clung to by Obama Luvin’ Pwogs, plus, to be sure & serious, lots of honest, sincere & concerned Women, Blacks, Latinos, LBGT & other historically oppressed minorities who still view Obama as a beacon of hope against racist & discriminatory reaction.

    Fact is nothing is more reactionary & discriminatory than war, a definite scourge to women, which when waged by the First World can only be imperialist war, the most sinister & cowardly variety being Cruise Missile Warfare, which has, under Obama, transmogrified into Drone warfare, currently in fashion with the Cruise Missile Left (which Al Gore fathered) that Proyect has documented & ruthlessly criticized here: https://louisproyect.wordpress.com/category/cruise-missile-left/

    Never mind that Obama has sequestered himself to a secret “kill list” like a medieval king who can assassinate anybody in his worldly domain he sees fit because this is merely an extension of the unilateral killing machine that was unleashed & perfected by Gore while he advised the Clinton administration.

    Bush & Cheney slaughtered (1) Iraqis & (2) Afghans, plus indirectly Palestinians & many others undocumented as part of Uncle Sam’s’ daily routine of global predation.

    Yet Clinton & Gore topped those monsters by slaughtering (1) Iraqis, (2) Afghanis, (3) Somalis, (4) Sudanese and (5) Serbians, plus indirectly Palestinians and many others undocumented as part of Uncle Sam’s’ daily routine of global predation.

    As a noteworthy aside The ABC’s of Marxism have consistently demonstrated that foreign policy can only be an extension of domestic policy since of course it’s all the same monsters ultimately making both policies. The “ending of welfare as we know it” domestically naturally corresponds to a certain amount genocide abroad.

    So Gore had a say in the cowardly lobbing of the 4 Cruise missiles into Baghdad just 6 months into his VP role (documented above.)

    To top it off he oversaw the next 8 years of sanctions against Iraq which nobody disputes killed at least half a million kids & old people — whereby even Leslie Stahl on “60 Minutes” likened it to a Hiroshima bomb on Iraq’s most vulnerable.

    Then there was the perfidious “Wag the Dog” scenario with the bogusly concocted bombing of the Sudanese medicine factory that lead to the deaths of possibly tens of thousands of Sudanese peasants.

    Don’t forget the real story behind “Blackhawk Down” where C130 air gunships circled & relentlessly peppered a thatched-roof Somali village with gatling gun cannons for over a dozen hours that ultimately lead to the ambush, capture & killing of American servicemen who corpses were unsurprisingly dragged through the streets. How many Somalis had their blood on Gore’s hands? Nobody knows for sure but few doubt it’s thousands.

    Then there’s the bombing of Serbia which video was linked above. How many Serbs Gore oversaw the slaughter of is unclear but one thing is clear — it wasn’t for humanitarian reasons.

    I could go on tearing apart the onerous policies of those 2 Southern crackers all night long since I’ve only scratched the surface but suffice it to say that most cats living abroad who give Yanks advice on which of the 2 Imperialist Plunderer Parties represents the lesser evil don’t really know shit from fat meat.

    In terms of the World Poker Tour Obama takes Clinton/Gore & raises with Bush/Cheney then doubles down with the fact that if the ruling class aims to exterminate lots of brown people in its quest for evermore superprofits then all the better to have a brown person as its Field Marshall.

    That’s why Obama got elected & that’s why I predict he will be around for another 4 years — for what better person has come along to utterly stifle the anti-war movement?

    Now go ahead and follow the logic of such foreign & domestic policies and see if you can honestly make a case that one guy is better for the planet’s environment than another’s because I’d love to show how that argument also cannot withstand scrutiny.

    Comment by Karl Friedrich — November 6, 2012 @ 4:01 am

  58. we need one of those ‘thumbs up’ thingies ~ Two thumbs up here. But sadly ObamaNationInc will still be in the WH still filthy dirty from the previous regime.
    i call your Bush/Cheney with a EU crumbling and Iran possibly picking up the pieces in a good way and rounding out the full house all hell breaks loose in Bahrain where Freedom Fighters take on the 5th Fleet. (there’s nothing to gain by the ‘Fighters’ anywhere that the US isn’t augured in) Palestine wins its independence in the UN Nov 30th (yeaaaaaaa) and that will make Obama/Rice an Hillary squeek ‘n squeel..
    And it will be interesting to see what kind of scum bags ObamaNationInc will foist on us: Summers, Geithner, Duncan, Kathleen (form gov of KS whatsherface) duchebags Salazar & Vilcek (sp) ~ break out the barf bags

    Comment by Darwin26 — November 6, 2012 @ 5:32 am

  59. ***two thumbs up for #57 Karl Friedrich’s pitch

    Comment by Darwin26 — November 6, 2012 @ 5:34 am

  60. Does no one here believe capitalism and it’s enabling states are collapsing? Hell, vote for Romney; his running mate believes in zero state debt. LOL! No debt means no credit, i.e. the end of capitalism. Austerity declares misery now while Keynesian debt promises it later.. and this time around later is a lot sooner than you think.
    The revolutionary activity of the worker , i.e. going to work everyday, is the worker’s vital, life-giving role to this, the most revolutionary system every known: capitalism. If you think they end of capitalism is a problem of how to “raise awareness” among the working class, you’re simply wrong.
    If you think this system can continue except for the conversion of consciousness then you really are petty-bourgeois. This is the terminal crisis (i.e. appearing) of capitalism and it can’t come back. It won’t come back. But no one will forget how to maintain the internet and every other sphere of human production deemed necessary. The era of abundance is coming. Money is the measure of scarcity. Money is losing its power to effect change in production.

    Comment by Brian Gallagher — November 6, 2012 @ 6:00 am

  61. A vote for Obama or Romney is a vote for Obama or Romney. (paraphrasing Anderson in 1980)
    If voting changed anything, they’d make it illegal. (Emma)
    I’d rather vote for what I want, and not get it, than vote for what I DON’T want — and get it. (Will Rogers)

    Except for a lapse in 1972, voting for McGovern because he was despised by the Dem leadership — I wouldn’t vote for the Democratic Party (or Republican Party) nominee for prez at gunpoint…and that’s speaking as one who’s been at gunpoint.

    Comment by nasrudin — November 6, 2012 @ 6:01 am

  62. I see ageism is alive and well among the ultraleft.

    Comment by Greg McDonald — November 6, 2012 @ 9:24 am

  63. “When I wrote ‘global disaster’ I wasn’t thinking so much of the invasion of Iraq, though arguably that’s more consequential than you seem to think, given the way it boosted support for Alqaeda. I was thinking about the delay in facing up to the climate change challenge, which there’s a marginally better prospect of remedying under Obama than under Romney.”

    Really doubt the “boosted support for Al Queda” – in any case, the basis for Al Queda-like phenomenon likes in the Saudi Arabian regime, backed to the hilt by both US parties. So long as that is true, we’ll have unending Al Queda.

    “Lesser Evilism” arguments stand on even weaker legs here. If there was ever an argument for *planned socialist* economy, it is with global warming. It will never happen so long as the main contributor countries – including China – base themselves on capitalist economy.Never, ever.

    So again, it is precisely with these two issues that there really is *absolutely* no difference, the apparent difference is purely on of ideological appearances. Romney “bashes government”, at least until Sandy comes along, then admits that “government” has a use in disasters – just like Obama. Neither will be able to do a thing about global warming, because neither can do anything that will cross their capitalist sponsors and bite into profits. Both will lead us to climate disaster. You say Romney will get there faster? That’s is not good enough! You can’t just be “a little bit pregnant” with the issues that affect the working class and the masses generally!

    Either we are moving in the correct direction or we are not. And after 4 year of Obama it is clear we are not – we are still moving towards more capitalism!

    Comment by Matt — November 6, 2012 @ 6:26 pm

  64. karl, you don’t have a clip of that MacNeil-Lehrer New Hour do you? there are some i wish i’ve kept. once rukeyser and his gang were laughing about how unemployment would result from one of their favored policies. the one of tom friedman emphatically supporting war crimes is something.

    the albright clip is good – note that their sanctions [read clinton/gore] killed over a million iraqis [see hans von sponeck’s expose, for example] half being the children albright signed off on.

    in this thread, i am exhausted by the same tired arguments that supporting the opposite of what we claim to stand for will bring us closer to the end of the age of exploitation. if obama’s drones were targeted at your neighborhood’s families, not some you don’t know a long way off, would you be parsing the value of a marginally-better supreme court justice? don’t bother answering.

    Comment by jp — November 7, 2012 @ 4:12 pm

  65. I unfortunately do not have that tape and am not even sure of the year but I remember clearly watching the episode with my mother and when the CIA analyst said that — we both turned & looked at each other in amazement since we had just agreed earlier that evening that the real reason for the war on Serbia was not the alleged mass rapes & ethnic cleansing but rather ridding Europe of the last vestiges of a workers’ state, and then lo & behold the CIA guy conceded just that to McNeil who had told the guy he was confused on what the real US interests there were.

    Comment by Karl Friedrich — November 7, 2012 @ 5:50 pm

  66. i would really like to have the clip on Tom Friedman supporting WAR CRIMES. send to: williamcrain@earthlink.net please and thank you.
    Capitalism is the Problem.

    Comment by Darwin26 — November 7, 2012 @ 6:41 pm

  67. see:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZwFaSpca_3Q

    also this from his column:” Do the Geneva Conventions prohibit civilian targets? So what? NATO’s bombing targets in Yugoslavia should include �every power grid, water pipe, bridge, road,” Friedman wrote. �It should be lights out in Belgrade.”

    …among others

    Comment by jp — November 8, 2012 @ 4:33 am

  68. can’t wait for 4 yrs time when the lesser evil proponents surface yet again to peddle their pathetic liberal drivel.

    Comment by meltr — November 8, 2012 @ 4:37 am

  69. by the way, karl, hats off to your mother

    Comment by jp — November 8, 2012 @ 10:43 pm

  70. Louis P. @5: [In response to: “At least look at someone like Stephen Durham of the Freedom Socialist Party”.] “I was in the SWP for 11 years. I don’t see much use in the campaigns run by sects.”

    Louis P. @26: “I also have high regard for Rocky Anderson’s candidacy. What I have little use for are sterile propaganda campaigns mounted by Marxist-Leninist sects.”

    So you “have high regard for” a candidacy that is purely reformist and has nothing to do with socialism or any fundamental opposition to the ruling class, but you “have little use” for campaigns that use the election to propagandize for socialism and against capitalism.

    You are very principled, Louis, your principle being to oppose anybody who takes a principled stand against the ruling class.

    Comment by Red Snapper — November 14, 2012 @ 11:55 pm

  71. You are very principled, Louis, your principle being to oppose anybody who takes a principled stand against the ruling class.

    You will note that when Ralph Nader ran for President in 2000, the entire bourgeois press went ballistic against him while it blithely ignored the sectarian election campaigns. This should tell you all that you need to know.

    Comment by louisproyect — November 15, 2012 @ 12:01 am

  72. Louis writes: “You will note that when Ralph Nader ran for President in 2000, the entire bourgeois press went ballistic against him while it blithely ignored the sectarian election campaigns. This should tell you all that you need to know.”

    If you accept such logic, Louis, try this on for size:

    The entire bourgeois press went ballistic against Gaddafi when he threatened to retake Benghazi by force while it blithely ignored the actual destruction of Sirte by the anti-Gaddafi forces. Should this tell you all that you need to know about Libya?

    As for the elections, none of what you call “the sectarian election campaigns” had the resources to reach more than a tiny fraction of the population. Any media attention to such campaigns would have helped them get their ideas across to people who would not otherwise have been exposed to them, so would have been counter-productive for the ruling class.

    Comment by Red Snapper — November 30, 2012 @ 1:52 am

  73. Snapper, comparisons between Nader and Qaddafi make no sense but I would be disappointed if you were any more lucid.

    Comment by louisproyect — November 30, 2012 @ 3:14 am

  74. […] Van zijn benoemingen van mensen uit het grote zakenleven tot zijn escalatie van de drone-oorlog. Lees en huiver. Gevonden op het weblog The Unrepentent […]

    Pingback by Liveblog Amerikaanse verkiezingen | Ravotr — January 7, 2013 @ 11:59 am


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