Lord Noam & Co. v Howie Hawkins: #Epic Hubris


A recent email from Howie to supporters:

‘Dear Wendy,

If you thought Bernie Sanders was the only one facing the wolves this election season, let us inform you that he’s not.  It’s become pretty obvious that there’s all-out war against Bernie Sanders, and the DNC’s picks for the committees that will oversee nomination convention business certainly underscores this reality. And now with Barack Obama threatening to “go public” on his opposition to Sanders, you know the fix is in.

Last week in an open letter, Noam Chomsky, Barbara Ehrenreich, and other progressive luminaries insisted that Howie Hawkins and the Green Party vote Democrat for president in battleground states.

They condescendingly describe Green votes as a self-indulgent “feel-good activity” as if Green votes are not votes for urgent climate action, real social and economic justice policies, and peace policies.

Don’t they see that the Democrats have joined the Republicans in supporting pro-corporate economic policies and pro-war foreign policies that have generated growing inequality at home and endless wars abroad?

As Howie said in his response to the open letter, “The left cannot outsource fighting the right to the Democrats.”’

An Open Letter to the Green Party for 2020’, Jan. 24, 2020, truthdig.com

Signatories: Noam Chomsky, Barbara Ehrenreich, Bill Fletcher, Leslie Cagan, Ron Daniels, Kathy Kelly, Norman Solomon, Cynthia Peters and Michael Albert

Some snippets from a overly-long letter that needed some serious editing, imo:

“As the 2020 presidential election approaches the Green Party faces the challenge of settling on a platform, choosing a candidate for president, and deciding its campaign strategy. In that context, Howie Hawkins, a contender for Green Party presidential candidate, recently published a clear and cogent essay titled “The Green Party Is Not the Democrats’ Problem.” It represents a precedent Green Party stance which may guide Green campaign policy. We agree with much, but find some ideas very troubling.”

“We agree that many factors led to Democratic Party losses and that the Supreme Court was a big one as was the Electoral College, and we too are furious at Democrats joining Republicans in so many violations of justice and peace. Likewise, we admire the Greens’ Green New Deal and economic justice commitments, and also support a grassroots, local office approach to winning electoral gains.”

“The stance also says “the Green Party is not why the Democrats lost to Bush and Trump,” but even if true, that wouldn’t demonstrate it won’t be why this time. In any case, let’s take Trump and Clinton, and see how Green Party policy mattered.”

“Similarly, if these Stein voters did indeed erroneously believe that no harm could come from casting a vote for Stein in a close state in a close election, that also to some degree was surely a result of Green campaigning insisting that Green voters bore no responsibility for the 2000 election result.

And finally, if these voters did indeed erroneously believe that it was immoral to contaminate themselves by voting for Clinton or for a Democrat, surely in part that too was encouraged by Green campaigning that treated voting as a feel-good activity (“vote your hopes, not your fears”) as if fear of climate disaster, for example, shouldn’t be a motivator for political action.”

“We have no way to assess the claim that Greens would find it dispiriting to remove themselves as a factor that might abet global catastrophe via a Trump re-election. But wouldn’t Trump out of office much less Sanders or Warren in office not only benefit all humanity and a good part of the biosphere to boot, but also the Green Party? For that matter, weren’t more potential Green Party members and voters driven off by the party’s dismissal of the dangers of Trump than were inspired by it? Which grew more in the last four years, DSA or the Greens?”

“We are told, “Greens want to get Trump out as much as anybody” but how can that be if Greens would vote for a Green candidate, and not for Sanders, Warren, or any Democrat in a contested state knowing that doing so could mean Trump’s victory?

“Greens tell Democrats “to stop worrying about the Green Party and focus on getting your own base out.” We agree on the importance of Democrats getting their base out, starting with nominating Sanders, or, at worst, Warren. But how does that warrant the Green Party risking contributing to Trump winning?”

“The stance says “Greens don’t spoil elections. We improve them. We advance solutions that otherwise won’t get raised. We are running out of time on the climate crisis, inequality, and nuclear weapons. Greens will be damned if we wait for the Democrats. Real solutions can’t wait.”

But real solutions require Trump out of office. Real solutions will become far more probable with Sanders or Warren in office. Real solutions will become somewhat more probable even with the likes of Biden in office.”

duopoly plus Wall Street

I can’t get the comments underneath to boot up, but yesterday there were 1279 when I’d looked in; some were fascinating, so I hope they’ll load for you.

From BAR, 29 Jan 2020, ‘Safe-States Strategy from Hell: Greens Respond to Progressive Left Dems

Here’s a response from Ajamu Baraka, the Green Party’s 2016 vice presidential candidate, Black Agenda Report Editor, and founder of the Black Alliance for Peace:

“Fully expected this from the “progressive left”, but it’s a little early for the perennial ‘elect the Democrat or the world ends’ that we have seen from Reagan forward.

“‘Oh, but Trump is a special case. The worst and most dangerous president in U.S. history.

“Well these progressives have a different reading of U.S. history than I do because I can think of at least 16 worse than Trump, including all of the slave-owning presidents of this settler state’s first few decades.

‘’But the conditions are different, Ajamu.’ [they say]

“Yes, we have a global capitalist/imperialist crisis and a struggle among the ruling class between competing visions and interests between the extreme right with a nationalist orientation and base and the transnational neoliberal right that is holding state power—even while Trump occupies the executive component of the state.

“In this struggle, the progressives argue that we have a moral responsibility to align with the neoliberal right. In other words, align with the right to defeat the right! That is why for many of these progressives, they don’t require any of the Democrat candidates to take definitive stances against U.S. imperialism and in fact a few of them have not found an imperialist intervention by the U.S. in the last decade and a half that they could oppose.

No, we are not buying it this time. Look, if the Democrat establishment shared the concerns of the progressives regarding Trump, perhaps they would be more open to fielding the best candidate they could against Trump, no matter their ideological orientation. But they are not interested in that because the establishment understands something that these progressives have never understood—power. They would rather lose than give up control of their Democratic Party instrument.

The protracted struggle to overthrow capitalist power which is the only solution that history and the current contradictions demand, are not bound by the bourgeois election cycles. We must understand that. We must understand that we have to build independent power not tied to electoralism. We will survive 2020 and Trump, if he wins again, which seems to be the course he is on primarily because of horrendous strategic blunders by the Democrats. It will be difficult, but at least there is resistance. And that resistance will only intensify because we have no other choice. Resistance and building power should be the progressive position, not tailing behind the Democrats and fear mongering.

p.s. I have a funny story to recount about signatory Bill Fletcher in comments.

(cross-posted at caucus99percent.com)

care to comment? (no registration required)

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s