Popeye the sailor man

john_mccain.jpg

And to return to the US elections, a couple of links that readers may find interesting. I’ve long found CounterPunch to be invaluable for following American politics, so that was the first place I turned when looking to find out about the Ron Paul candidacy, and how a slice of the American left finds itself supporting a Republican, and an anti-abortion, anti-gay, evolution-denying Texas Republican at that. Of course Ron may be bonkers, but he does have his principles. This article from Sherry Wolf is as good a leftist analysis as I’ve come across.

Meanwhile, over at the compulsively readable antiwar.com, the always trenchant Justin Raimondo tells it like it is about John McCain and the War Party. Enjoy!

32 Comments

  1. January 21, 2008 at 2:44 pm

    McCain is interested in Trots voting for him: http://www.cbsnews.com/blogs/2008/01/15/politics/fromtheroad/entry3718096.shtml … 🙂

  2. splinteredsunrise said,

    January 21, 2008 at 3:15 pm

    I’m sure if we look hard enough, there are some Trots voting for him. Maybe the Barnesites.

  3. dave said,

    January 21, 2008 at 9:36 pm

    ALL of the candidates are pro-war candidates, with the exeption, of course, of the candidates of the only revolutionary party still standing. You know them, you love them, they’re everything you could never be — the SWP.

  4. andy newman said,

    January 22, 2008 at 12:12 am

    Well none of the Green party candidates are pro war, so that simply isn’t true.

    And as a question of record, is the SWP bigger than the ISO?

  5. dave said,

    January 22, 2008 at 1:01 am

    The ISO isn’t a revolutionary party. As for the Greens, they are a capitalist formation with a capitalist program, and if elected to office they would do the same thing that all liberals do — vote to fund the war.

  6. Wednesday said,

    January 22, 2008 at 8:19 am

    The Green Party is not a socialist party, but the allegation that any of its candidates elected would vote to fund the war is completely unfounded and really pretty stupid.

    Also, you’re ignoring the Socialist Party USA, Peace and Freedom Party and there are probably other genuinely socialist groups running candidates in the election. Not only the SWP.

  7. Renegade Eye said,

    January 22, 2008 at 8:47 am

    The SWP in the US renounced Trotskyism, for Castroism. In order to be a member, you must work in basic industry as meatpacking, auto etc. They have sympathizers, who have reactionry jobs as academic etc.

    Ron Paul is the most reactionary doctrinally candidate. He is the capitalism in one country candidate. It is disgraceful for anyone progressive to support him.

  8. dave said,

    January 22, 2008 at 1:36 pm

    Ralph Nader, in my opinion, would vote for war credits in the time it would take a Hummingbird to flap his wings, and I actually heard — with my own two ears — Peter Camejo use the word “illegal immigrant” in an interview when he was running for Vice-Prez. To quote Rosanna Dana Dana, “I thought I was gonna die.” They are what they are: left-leaning Democrats and loyal servants of imperialism. Ron Paul is not only a loyal servant, but an unusually racist one at that.
    The debate in the SWP over “Castroism” took place some 25 years ago, which means that 80% of the people attending a modern day picket line protesting, say, the embargo on Cuba or the war in Iraq, wouldn’t know what the hell Renegade Eye is talking about. The Eye needs to get out more and enjoy life instead of reliving past fights. Call it what you like, but the socialist revolution in Cuba is still alive, and the working-class has state power. And they use that power to advance the cause worldwide.
    It’s true that the SWP is rooted in basic industry. That’s one of the things I was referring to when I described them as the last revolutionary party standing. I don’t know what Renegade Eye is talking about when he/she refers to the sympathizers, which number many thousands, as having “reactionary jobs as academic.” I know dozens in the area where I live, and not one of them is a college professor (not that there’s anything wrong with that).

  9. MattS said,

    January 22, 2008 at 2:24 pm

    Of course the ISO is a revolutionary organization. There is no organization in the US claiming to be Marxist that could possibly describe itself as a “party” in any thing like mass terms. I am an activist in Detroit and I haven’t seen the SWP in years. They play no role in the American class struggle. They play no role in the creation of a revolutionary party. They think they are THE party. The Greens are in deep trouble this year and may not even be able to play the modest role of electoral vehicle for the left in the election. There are other left groups that may try to run national campaigns. The Socialist Party which is pretty lose and has all kinds of competing concepts of itself will run, Workers World Party will probably run someone again. The SWP will run someone. All of these groups will not even be a blip on the national vote count. Of course that’s not the only reason to run. While I agree that elections are an excellent time and place to put out propaganda and to talk to folks about socialism and the limits of capitalist “democracy” let’s not pretend that the American revolutionary left is in any position to run a national campaign around these elections. It is possible that Hillary may seek a win in the primaries on the basis of the white vote. That could, only could, cause enough discontent among the black working class base of the party that, if she wins on the bones of Obama, Cynthia Mckinney may be able to capture some of their sympathy in an independent run. The biggest “independent” challenge may come from New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg whose position is that we need only one party in the US and that the biggest problem in the country is that Democrats and Republicans are not enough alike. That is the state of US politics. I wish I could report better.

  10. dave said,

    January 22, 2008 at 4:40 pm

    The ISO is a part of the worker’s movement and therefore deserves to be approachd in a respectful manner, but the ISO is NOT a revolutionary party. It is a loose conglomorate whose mostly student membership holds a wide range of views in regards to the science of socialism — both in terms of what it is and what needs to be done to achieve it. After all, a leadership that cannot recognize the fact that a socialist revolution has occurred ninety miles off the coast of Florida is not going to be particularly helpful in making one here.
    The SWP, on the other hand, is focused, disciplined and a part of the only class that can rescue humanity from the predicament it is in. Last but not least, it has a program that can be traced back to the Russian Revolution
    and the Communist International; one of only a few parties worldwide that can claim such a lineage.
    It is true that the SWP is small, one might even say embryonic. But numerical size is not the defining characteristic of what constitutes a party, revolutionary or otherwise. Lenin famiously remarked (and Trotsky retold the story) that in the months leading up to the Russian Revolution you could’ve cramed ALL of the revolutionary minded cadre of Europe into ONE locomotive boxcare. But the SWP perserveres, and there are growing indications (large public meetings, increase in the circulation of the press) that the membership will soon begin to grow. Furthermore, it will provide the only socialist alternative in 2008 and it will do so in the only way it can — to the best of its ability. In this way, among other ways, it contributes to the building of a mass revolutionary worker’s party in the United States and participates in the class struggle.
    I suspect Matt, on the other hand, will dutifully trog to the pulls and happily pull the lever for the very same people who are wedded to the interest of the capitalist class and who continue to cast their votes to fund the war(s).

  11. MattS said,

    January 22, 2008 at 6:14 pm

    Dave,

    Sectarian craziness.

    Matt

  12. dave said,

    January 22, 2008 at 6:51 pm

    I do not know Matt, and I do not know how he plans to vote — or if he plans to vote at all. Thus, upon reflection, it was wrong to assume that he would vote in a way I implied. I regret the formulation.
    However, I do not feel it is sectarian to offer a sharp polemic with other socialist organizations or refuse to support the Democrats and Republicans (or other pro-capitalist formations like the Peace and Freedom Party or the Greens).

  13. andy newman said,

    January 22, 2008 at 7:13 pm

    Dave:

    The SWP, on the other hand, is focused, disciplined and a part of the only class that can rescue humanity from the predicament it is in. Last but not least, it has a program that can be traced back to the Russian Revolution
    and the Communist International; one of only a few parties worldwide that can claim such a lineage.
    It is true that the SWP is small, one might even say embryonic. But numerical size is not the defining characteristic of what constitutes a party, revolutionary or otherwise.

    Jesus wept.

  14. dave said,

    January 22, 2008 at 7:20 pm

    This is fun. I’ve never blogged before. I’m just an old middle-aged fart who mainly dealt with such mundane things as Larouchites attacking demonstrations, campus Zionists wanting to take your head off with a baseball bat, government guys wanting to put you in jail and South Boston racists wanting to send you to an early grave. Not much time for the fancy lingo. What does “Jesus wept” mean?

  15. Phil said,

    January 22, 2008 at 9:33 pm

    I think Andy may have taken exception to the bit about the authority conferred on you by the papal succession.

  16. dave said,

    January 22, 2008 at 9:45 pm

    Holy Moses, you guys are sensitive. I’m the one being ganged up on and you don’t see me losing my cool. Some things never change, particularly the cutie-pie character of middle-class radicals.

  17. dave said,

    January 22, 2008 at 10:07 pm

    But come to think of it, maybe I’m a cutie-pie, too.

  18. Binh said,

    January 23, 2008 at 2:55 pm

    To answer the question, the ISO is (a lot) bigger than the SWP.

    Also, check out Paul’s voting record:
    http://prisonerofstarvation.blogspot.com/2007/12/dont-fall-for-ron-paul.html

  19. January 23, 2008 at 5:50 pm

    […] to Splintered Sunrise I discovered, to my dismay, that there are those on the American left who think that left wing […]

  20. julie said,

    January 23, 2008 at 11:28 pm

    But the membership norms of the ISO are a lot looser than those of the SWP

  21. dave said,

    January 23, 2008 at 11:50 pm

    Julie’s right. If the SWP were to count as members it’s sympathizers, as the ISO would do, then the SWP would be (a lot) larger than the ISO. But it’s really not size that matters; it’s the motion. By the way, more than once members of the ISO saved my ass from a very bad beating at the hands of more than one crazed rightist, so although my polenic may be sharp, my heart beats soft. There dedicated people and comrades all. I just don’t agree with their political perspectives.

  22. Wednesday said,

    January 24, 2008 at 6:50 am

    What exactly is pro-capitalist about the Peace and Freedom Party? Other than the fact they’re not the SWP, I mean.

  23. dave said,

    January 24, 2008 at 11:43 am

    To tell you the truth, I did not know that the Peace and Freedom party still existed, and I don’t mean that in a wise cracker way. But the P & F Party (at least in the past) would’ve been considered pro-capitalist because they were not in favor of replacing capitalism, but rather, in reforming it. Sort of like the Greens, but with more sixties lingo. As a matter of fact, I don’t recall them ever claiming anything different, and I knew a lot of them. The P and F Party simply does not have the goal of the establishment of a workers and farmers government that will then join the fight with others worldwide in the struggle for socialism.

  24. dave said,

    January 24, 2008 at 11:50 am

    Think of the P and F party (and the Greens) as a formation whose role it is to put pressure on the Democrats to make them sort of behave the way they want them to behave.

  25. Wednesday said,

    January 25, 2008 at 6:25 am

    I think maybe you need to read their platform.

  26. WorldbyStorm said,

    January 25, 2008 at 8:53 am

    The proven appeal of workers’ and farmers government beyond the borders of the US suggests its immediate appeal within those bord… er… no hold on, that’s not right…

  27. dave said,

    January 25, 2008 at 11:33 am

    ha, ha , ha — you guys are sooo funny. I bet the 30,000 people who starve to death every day really appreciate your witty — oh so clever — humour.

  28. Binh said,

    January 28, 2008 at 6:57 am

    Dave: If the SWP were to count as members it’s sympathizers, as the ISO would do, then the SWP would be (a lot) larger than the ISO.

    The ISO doesn’t count its members that way. You could cut the ISO’s membership in half and it’d still be greater than the SWP’s membership and its sympathizers. It is an organization that has one foot in the grave, for better or worse.

  29. dave said,

    January 28, 2008 at 7:02 pm

    How many members does the ISO have? Perhaps you’re right; I’d be curious to know. Larger or smaller, though, the norms of membership are vastly different.

  30. dave said,

    January 28, 2008 at 7:18 pm

    I went to the ISO website and counted 60 ISO branches. If accurate, and if all of these branches are functioning units, then it is true that the ISO has a significantly larger geographical spread than the SWP. In this sense, I stand corrected. However, it’s still true that there are many hundreds of SWP active supporters and sympathizers whose level of activity would qualify them for membership in most US socialist organizations. Overall, the number of CADRE in each organization is more or less the same. Despite my differences, I have always respected the ISO. In the old days, the ISO and the SWP would defend each others bookstores and public meetings from sundry rightist threats. We had to rely on each other — no one else would do it.

  31. dave said,

    February 1, 2008 at 11:36 pm

    I heard for the first time today that the ISO supported the Greens in recent US election. Could that be true?

  32. Pax said,

    February 19, 2008 at 1:06 am

    RE that ISO point (if its true). In fairness people like Robin Hahnel (co-creator of parecon – a libertarian socialist or anarchistic participatory planned economic model) are members of the Green Party in the US. It goes without saying they tend to be much further to the left than our ‘Greens’. Although how much of their membership would be as revolutionary ( as in reform and revolution) as Hahnel…I don’t know.


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