04 November 2004


The short run is over; now it's the long run.

Are you planning to leave the country? I hope not.

You put everything on the throw of the dice with Kerry, who didn't stand up for your principles. His social program promises were nothing but minor tax cuts; his foreign policy was to the right of Bush's. His record was largely one of not showing up for Senate votes. Even in defeat, he gave us his "we will win the war in Iraq" speech. And you lost the throw. Next time, please lose an election over something that's really at stake politically, rather than in a contest between Bad and Maybe Better, Maybe Worse.

You may spend the next few days in sorrow over Kerry's defeat. In reality, you didn't lose much you wouldn't have lost anyway. Go back and look at what Kerry was really promising the public. Do a CRITICAL reading of what he said. That medical health program that promised every American family "up to $1,000" -- think about it. "Up to $1,000" could mean $1,000, or it could mean $0. ( http://www.johnkerry.com/issues/health_care/ )

And you've already lost a few months of the peace movement; can't get that back. What's worse is that now the Bushies can sneer; "Look at those peacenik liberals -- next thing you know, they'll be threatening us with another Democrat prowar candidate!" And what will you have to say in return? So there's a lesson you should learn from this -- sticking with your principles gives you credibility. If you give that up, what have you got?

This election was advertised as a referendum on Bush. It wasn't; the opposition to Bush actually had to run a candidate that stood for something strongly enough to defeat Karl Rove and his tactics. Rove will still be in politics when '08 is over. So this dilemma isn't going away.

The Democrats have been doing the Kerry dance for the past twenty years: sold-out Democrat runs against thuggish Republican, third parties with no hope or organization, Democrats lose. The '92 and '96 elections were anomalous in appearance only -- Republicanism won even when it looked like the Democrats were gaining the top office. 24 years of continuity -- so much for the promise of anything new. Oh sure, everyone ran a campaign, demonstrating once again the vitality of democratic vigor -- the demographic picture of manufactured consent looks the same as it ever did. Democrats in the upper Midwest, northeast, and West Coast, Republicans everywhere else.

American voting patterns don't change because Americans don't change. American politics is about manipulation, and the result is that, for most Americans, politics doesn't matter. (This has been observed about American politics since 1964: see Murray Edelman's book "The Symbolic Uses of Politics" for more.) What matters to
Americans is finance, and their entrapment in a world of money. Things like gay marriage matter to Americans, too -- but let's keep in mind that the culture industry/ religious complex that incorporates American culture today is America's consolation-prize for its entrapment in lifetimes spent worrying about finance. Hope
for change appears as an illusion under bourgeois democracy. Electing new people to the offices of the Guardianship of Capital doesn't matter.

If we can't offer any concrete escape from that, we can't offer anything. You'd like to poo-pooh me with my socialism; you think it's impossible to have socialism, you think I live in a dream world. But I'm promoting the ideal of a global sustainable society. We need a society that won't suffer ecological collapse. No form of capitalism can really that, so the alternative is an ecological socialism. That's what I'm suggesting. Besides, my socialism offers a real escape from the debt trap so many Americans are now stuck within.

American society is headed toward some kind of economic or ecological disaster. Either the oncoming crisis of deficit spending will result in a collapse in the value of the dollar, and thus of the government's ability to finance ever-growing numbers of wars, or we're headed for some sort of climactic catastrophe brought on by the greenhouse effect. If we escape those, we'll experience a crisis in the economy and politics of oil. We should be prepared to offer the right political response to this oncoming situation. Do you think you are?

Here's the real dilemma, for you. Liberal Democrat politics hasn't been able to offer anything to the public for at least twenty years. Why? Liberal Democrats continue to hold up their end of a class compromise that hasn't been respected by the rich since 1973.

Stop offering half-measures; demand what you want. Use your open-mindedness to develop some principles that will help us all to survive. At least think of something new.


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