A) Spoiling the Election? The System needs a little Spoiling.
If my liberal friends were honest, they’d admit they don’t like the current system or the Democrats much more than I do. They wanted single-payer healthcare, immigration reform, an end to the Iraq & Afghanistan invasions, and many other things that the Obama administration and current Democratic congressional majority have failed to provide. I know that voting Green may spoil the elections of some of the Democrats in the race, though the election polls cast doubt on that.
However, my motivation for supporting the Green Party is not based on a calculus of how progressive a given candidate can be. I am voting to end the two-party monopoly. Until there is an organized alternative to the two major parties, there will be no effective organization of progressive political power in this country.
Any progressive person curious to test my point can take the voteeasy.org quiz for themselves. With the exception of Jan Schakowsky, all the Democrats in the race are more conservative than their Green Party rivals. Why? One simple reason is that the Greens take zero corporate contributions.
Call me a spoiler, but until the Democrats decide to return to progressive politics, there is nothing that can convince me that we are better off voting for them. Yes, George Bush was a monster, arguably the worst president ever. And look what happened in his aftermath. The Democrats had to find a way to convince large numbers of progressives who’d been alienated by Clinton and Gore back into the party. Fronting a black candidate was the perfect vehicle.
And, even if the the Obama healthcare plan was a miserable compromise, we actually got a bill after decades of complete stonewalling. Why? Because the Democrats fear another “Nader for President!” Trying to play to the Right with John Kerry blew up in their faces.
I believe in keeping the fear of progressive rebellion front and center in US politics. The Democrats don’t own progressive votes, anymore than the Republicans own conservative votes. The Tea Party is the perfect example of conservative rebellion. Establishment Republicans actually fear the Tea Party for the same reason Democrats fear the Greens.
The Green Party isn’t perfect. But, that’s the fault of American politics in general. Our country is dominated by a EuroAmerican Industrial Capitalist Male Supremacist Oligarchy The future of our planet requires that we build a Multiracial Ecological Egalitarian Democracy. The Democratic Party has almost no interest in such a revolution. Too bad for them.
B) Do Elections Really Accomplish Anything?
I have been a Libertarian Anti-Capitalist most of my adult life. I am dedicated to synthesizing Anarchism and Marxism (Also, environmentalism, feminism, anti-racism, and pacifism), as readers of my blog should know. I am not exactly anti-statist, but I am decidedly suspicious of over-centralized government.
I know that centralized government seemed necessary to end slavery in the US. Confederate traditions provided shelter for racist economic practices for over a century before the Civil War. In Sweden, the highest average standard of living is obtained from robust central programs of social spending.
However, Sweden is a nation of 9.4 million, which is much smaller than several US states. In 1860, the US was only 31 million. By 1890, territorial expansion and immigration had doubled that figure. Maybe there’s a happy medium between Big Government and Small Government.
Why can’t a regionally organized socialism work here? In fact, as Europe has begun to merge its national economies into the EU, enormous pressure is being brought to bear to abolish social spending. So much for socialism being matter of Big Government!!
C) In Conclusion
I believe that elections are only a small part of radical progress. I don’t believe in organizing armed revolutions, so I reject both Marxist/Leninist (USSR/China) and anarchist (Spanish Revolution) models of people’s military. Furthermore, a mobilized left-wing nonviolent revolution has distinct advantages. We’ve seen successes in India, the Philippines, South Africa, and the US Civil Rights movements.
The proper vehicle for a nonviolent revolution is a mass progressive party that encourages participation at the grass-roots. Today’s Green Party has compromised with its original vision, but in many ways that vision is more intact than within any other political formation on the left. Maybe it doesn’t satisfy my radical left friends, but I continue to believe that in this moment, this is where the leading current of progress is embodied.
I haven’t given up on a popular progressive uprising in the United States. I refuse to accept that Barack Obama’s administration and this Democratic Majority Congress are owed my vote. They have to get it the old-fashioned way, EARN IT!