against voting for Democrats
Thanks to John Imani and others for their thoughtful comments. I also agree that a serious and comradely discussion is necessary. Unfortunately, some resort to sloganeering and worn out formulae instead of seriously thinking through the issue.
I think I proved in practice - in action - that it's possible to vote for Democrats without getting drawn into their cabal, in other words while still being critical of the Democrats and while still calling for a working class alternative to them.
I don't think that is the true when we run on the Democratic Party ticket. Think through the logic of it: If one runs as a Democrat, then how can one at the same time say "The entire Democratic Party is a capitalist party and we workers need a party of our own, separate and apart from and opposed to both the capitalist parties"? How can one say that? It is inevitable that some worker would ask: "Well, if that's what you think, then isn't it opportunist to use their party name?" Inevitably, one would gather round such a campaign those whose focus is to change the Democratic Party, to make it take a more left position. Inevitably, then, the candidate would get dragged into that effort, which must mean abandoning the call for a working class party.
So I think running on the Democratic Party ticket, in the primaries or otherwise, is very different from being willing to vote for Democrats at this time.
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Way back in 1966, the first "peace campaign" was run in a very liberal Democratic district --- the one that included (includes) both Berkeley and Oakland --- (the one that later was represented by Ron Dellums) --- it featured Robert Sheer, then an editor of Ramparts magazine vs. a Johnson Democrat Jeffrey Cohalen --- THe Johnson White House was freaking --- they must have checked in with the vote counters two times on primary night. Though Sheer lost, he carried Oakland.
The EXACT same criticisms that are being voiced today against running as a Democrat was leveled at SHEER. Don Duncan, an anti-war former Green Beret head of "Veterans for Sheer" responded ---
"The Vietnamese use US carbines to fight their revolution. What's wrong with using the apparatus of the Democratic Party to destroy it from within?"
Not sure the parallel works perfectly but that was Duncan's answer to the charge against Sheer ---
Interestingly enough, even with the Peace and Freedom Party on the ballot beginning in 1968, Dellums chose to run (and win for decades) as a Democrat --- and I would argue his voice remained VERY important in Congress for those years ....
and unfortunately from what I understand the PFP is a shell of its original self.
Michael Meeropol : "and unfortunately from what I understand the PFP
is a shell of its original self."
Leaked recording reveals how Party for Socialism and Liberation (PSL)
cut socialist candidates from the California ballot ,
At least in Los Angeles County that has long been the case, shell
being generous.. When I was in the SPUSA in L.A. we shared an office
with the Peace and Freedom Party at 2617 Hauser Blvd, Los Angeles.
Their meetings occasionally ran over time , bleeding into when we were
scheduled to start our monthly meetings. Three members of the PFP were
regulars , one a long time fixture of the LA anti-imperialist left who
focuses on South America. It had been four regulars at their meetings,
but, they purged an activist , who joined up with the SPUSA , before
we decided to boot her, after a year of being constantly disruptive
and sectarian. Towards the end of her attending our meetings, she
would be carrying around the https://revcom.us/socialistconstitution/
. Currently she is still on the KPFK LSB, as one of their gadflies.
Michael Novick, bless his heart , is interm General Manager of KPFK ,
UNPAID. As Suzi Weissman , says , this reflects poorly on Pacifica.
Novick, a great guy with many admirable traits , has not the skill set
to run a radio station.
One of the problems is that the obvious question is “What is your alternative?” Six years ago I allowed myself to be suckered by the Green Party and Jill Stein. The operative reality is that the Greens have refused, for over 25 years now, to unite a collection of +/- 40-odd state level parties into a single national party. Individual state parties are wildly at divergence with one another on basic issues like principles of unity, membership requirements, their stance regarding “lesser evil” voting, and even simple stuff like what exactly their vague and relatively obscure Key Values mean to them. As just one example, consider the idea of “decentralization.” If you are genuinely serious about a very important matter like decentralization of the power grid (a key step in dismantling our fossil fuel economy), you have to acknowledge that decentralization would require a concerted effort to completely rewrite regulations and laws governing how our electrical distribution system works. As it currently exists, our legal system favors a centralized set of monopolies that supply electricity. That sort of policy initiative requires an entire slate of Greens to be elected to multiple federal and state offices, not to mention gain political appointments to key government positions. And yet Greens instead frittered away decades red-baiting and insulting organizers because they construe “decentralization” as a kind of inoculation against Stalinism. Until and unless you have a viable alternative that has a serious comprehension of taking political power, the broad American public will remain skeptical at best of these conversations