Re: [sixties-l] Terrific Message from Michael Moore

From: Ted Morgan (
Date: Mon May 07 2001 - 10:18:41 EDT

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    I agree with Gretchen that of course it IS important to keep raising the
    issues. One of the 'benefits' of Bush's election, as Nader recently
    pointed out, is that it has generated a more intense level of critical
    activism and speaking-out on the part of progressives. Nonetheless, it
    is equally important, I would argue, to focus on the crucial issues and
    their rootedness in our globalizing capitalist economy (those many,
    though not all, issues that are so rooted) AND on the total inadequacy
    of a Democratic Party alternative that is itself grounded in the very
    same economy.

    I still hear the "Aha, you Naderites who claimed there was 'NO
    difference' between the candidates, see how wrong you were" argument
    that Marty unfortunately repeats in his posting. It's well past time to
    drop this one. No one I'm conversant with --and this includes Ralph
    Nader who spoke to the differences between Gore and Bush during his
    campaign-- argues or argued there are or were "no differences" between
    Gore & Bush or Democrats & Republicans. (A few may have utilized this
    rhetoric during a campaign to "exaggerate" the importance of voting for
    Nader, etc., and the mainstream media certainly played up this "claim"
    the better to refute it in the process of endorsing Gore). The key is
    what are the differences and how do those differences weigh when
    compared to the damage that both Gore/Bush and Dems/Reps will continue
    to perpetrate --at least in the absence of a mobilized electoral left
    that they (or the Dems) will have to answer to at election time. So
    when you consider the effort by the Bush administration to reverse the
    last-minute executive orders of the Clinton administration, or other
    policy initiatives that are reprehensible, it is also important to bear
    in mind the fact that a Gore administration would continue to carry out
    a murderous policy in Colombia and Iraq, would continue to push for
    FTAA, would continue to support the staggering mergers of the
    communications industry which is only going to make it harder and harder
    to get a left perspective through to the wider public, would continue to
    embrace the prison-industrial complex and the invisibility of the
    hopelessly poor, etc, etc. These --and the fact that Bush/Cheney
    rhetoric does not necessarily translate into a new wave of supply-side
    energy (including nukes), but might in fact generate a new round of
    intensified public awareness and opposition-- are still very persuasive
    to me. I voted for Nader, knowing that Pennsylvania was "too close to
    call" going in to the election, and I'd do it again, and again. The key
    question, to my mind, is: will the Democrats really learn from this loss
    --or, how many will it take before their finely-honed political
    instincts kick in and overcome their rancor at Nader (or, as in the case
    of the NYT's Thomas Friedman and others, their blatant arrogance in
    dismissing critics of capitalist globalization).

    Something to consider (I quote from the 2nd ed. preface of Bob
    McChesney's "Rich Media, Poor Democracy," pp. xxxiii-xxxiv):

    "Over the past year I have asked several political scientists and
    electoral campaign veterans what percentage of the vote Democrats and
    Republicans would get in five or ten years if there were proportional
    representation for party votes in Congress (as opposed to
    winner-take-all for each seat) and if there were publicly financed
    campaigns for all parties. In other words, how much support would the
    two parties get if their duopoly, protected by the electoral system and
    massive campaign contributions did not exist? The answers have ranged
    from 25 to 45 percent for both parties combined. It is worth noting
    that that is pretty much the range that the old communist parties of
    Eastern Europe have received in open elections since the collapse of
    communism. Although there are crucial differences, I think it is fair
    to say that our parties are about as responsive to the needs of the
    people as were the old communist partyes of the one-party state era."

    Ted Morgan

    Marty Jezer wrote:

    > But to describe Bush's assault on the environment as no different from
    > what Gore would have done is intellectually incredible.... <snip>
    > Given the hard-right tilt of Bush's Administration on every issue, the
    > argument that there is no difference between Dems and Reps is no
    > longer credible -- and indeed compromises the possibility that the
    > Green/third party movement can grow beyond the hard core.

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