23 June 2007


Nader isn't an ecosocialist. Walt Sheasby though that he had ecosocialist potential, but Walt's dead. So Nader is not really part of the "ecosocialist project."

Ralph Nader ran for President twice, attempting both times to uncover the darkness at the heart of bourgeois democracy. He did this without publicly recognizing the economic connection between the surplus of capital that characterizes the neoliberal era (thoroughly depicted in Harry Shutt's book The Trouble With Capitalism) and the generally "sold-out" nature of political elites throughout the First World, described in Kees van der Pijl's "The Aesthetics of Empire and the Defeat of the Left" (see other column). Nader may have been right in what he said about Gore, Kerry, and Bush, but I don't think he convinced very many people, as his main role today is to be the Emmanuel Goldstein of the Democratic Party.

(Someone on one of the DailyKos boards suggested this analogy; I don't remember whom.)

You remember Emmanuel Goldstein, don't you? *sigh* Nobody reads great literature anymore, so in the great classical tradition, I will spell out all of my literary references for the readership here. (It is perhaps apt that my monicker on DailyKos and elsewhere is "Cassiodorus," a third-rate litterateur who was the last literary Roman on record.) Emmanuel Goldstein was a pivotal character in George Orwell's novel 1984. In the novel, he was the object of hatred for the residents of Oceania during the Two-Minute Hate, an obligatory ceremony in which all Oceanians were required to express their hatred for Goldstein (as he symbolized all that was evil). Ralph Nader has acquired the same significance for the Democrats. He is the scapegoat they use to excuse their "losses" in '00 and '04 (ironically, Gore won his election, and Kerry probably won his, and both were cheated by Republican hijinks). But never mind reality; just repeat with the Democrats: "Nader sucks -- Nader sucks -- Nader sucks" until you get to a quadrillion repetitions...

So, in '08, I predict, we can expect the same pattern once again: Nader will run, the Republicans will "win" the same sort of empty, rigged victory we saw in Mexico with Calderon last year, and the Democrats will blame Nader for their losses (which may include the loss of Congress) while refusing to do any serious investigation of voter fraud. Voter turnout will reach record lows. The only thing barring this outcome, I foresee, is the possibility that the Republicans will implode first.

Now, frankly, I don't think Nader should run in '08, if only to disrupt this all-too-familiar pattern. It would be wise for Nader to avoid giving the Democrats, who are long past the point of rational discussion on this matter, a scapegoat. But I can't really expect that. For Ralph Nader, refusing to run for political reasons would give the appearance of backing down from an argument, and so I don't think he would do that, either. American Presidential politics is at best a soap opera. Come back next election cycle for another thrilling episode of "As The Stomach Turns."

Labels: ,


Post a Comment

<< Home