04 June 2004


see Howard Ryan's My Trek to Lesser-Evil Electoral Politics:

"Consider these facts:
* Bush took Florida, and hence the election, by 537 votes.
* Nader drew 97,000 Florida votes."

SDF: The massive voter fraud of Florida's election, Gore's failure to demand a full recount (which would have netted him the election had it taken place), and the Dems' role in quashing an African-American protest of the whole affair mean nothing to Ryan as explanations of this "state of affairs." Ryan's suggestion that "we had no control" over these things is just as meaningless as his suggestion that "we" could have chosen not to run Nader. If you're going to start from a position of "we have no control," you might as well drop out of politics altogether, or declare yourself as a neoliberal. If you are powerless and want power, you (like Nader) must start looking for ways to attain power. Voting for neoliberals again and again and again (and supporting them throughout their tenures under the pretext that they're the "lesser of two evils") is NOT a way of attaining power -- in fact, it's a confirmation of your will to powerlessness. I can only conclude, then, that Ryan wants to be powerless. So ask yourself: what kind of people follow those who want to be powerless?

"It is more than obvious that Gore would have taken Florida and the election had Nader not run."

SDF: But how many Gore voters would have showed up at all to vote against Nader had Nader not chosen to run? Ryan has no sense of the idea that candidates would have negative appeal, the notion that people show up to vote in order to vote against a candidate.

"It is regrettable that many good socialists who should know better have joined the Greens in this grand denial. Worse, they may commit the same error this year."

SDF: What should be alarming is the fact that this sort of back-biting is the ONLY viable appeal ABBers have to support their candidate. Ryan's "lesser of two evils" sell:

Sure, we know that Kerry sucks. He's a DLCer, pro-war, pro-corporate. Does he represent a significant lesser evil to Bush? I believe he does. I'll offer but one item of concern as a labor organizer: the prospect of the National Right to Work Act making it through Congress under a Bush second term. Bush's express support for a law that would make the entire country open shop-- undermining union power and weakening all future organizing efforts--was among the concerns of labor back in 2000. Although the law has substantial Republican backing in Congress, it has fortunately not moved forward under the Bush administration. In fact, Bush has refrained from launching an all-out attack on labor but instead struck where convenient, such as weakening collective bargaining rights for 170,000 federal workers as part of the Homeland Security Act. Some labor veterans speculate that Bush could become much more ambitious against labor--such as on national right-to- work--in a second term, when he need no longer worry about reelection. Kerry, by contrast, opposes national right-to-work and supports measures to strengthen the right to organize."

hardly matters. The fact that Bush failed to destroy the closed shop points to what, again? The closed shop will be a dead letter if there is no resistance to the international "race to the bottom" in wages and working conditions. No half-hearted promise of John Kerry will rehabilitate the closed shop, and no labor movement will contest it in any seriousness if the labor unions are wedded to the Democratic Party. And it's certain "we" have control over our power to resist the "race to the bottom."