Tuesday, July 17, 2012

What about the Green Party, U.S.A.?

Jill Stein is running for president of the United States on the Green Party ticket. The New York Times is writing about it here. It's a very friendly puff piece.

What should we make of the Green Party?

The Green Party aims to be a party of the minority only. The Green Party's appeal seems at first to be to all Americans who want single-payer health care, an end to unprovoked U.S. invasions of foreign countries, more regulation of corporations, a living family wage, racial and gender equality, an end to repression of our civil rights, and environmentally sound policies--in other words the great majority of Americans. But this is not quite true. The Green Party actually only directs its appeal to Americans who support same-sex marriage and Affirmative Action as well as these other things.

In all 31 state referenda on same-sex marriage a majority voted against making it legal. Fifty-five percent of American voters say Affirmative Action should be abolished (versus 38 percent who support it). Though the Green Party folks do not admit it, there are very reasonable and positive reasons that many Americans have for opposing same-sex marriage and Affirmative Action. Richard Nixon initiated Affirmative Action and pressured Civil Rights leaders into abandoning the goal of ending racial discrimination and replacing it with the goal of government-sponsored discrimination. The result was what the ruling class intended: after decades of white workers and students hearing "I'm sorry we couldn't give you the job (or school admission) because we had to give it to a less qualified minority" the solidarity between whites and blacks against racial discrimination that developed in the 1960s has been replaced by white resentment of blacks getting unfair favored treatment. By making support for same-sex marriage and Affirmative Action a condition for supporting the Green Party, the Party makes it clear that it has no intention of being a party of the majority of Americans.

The role of the Green Party, whether intended by its leaders and followers or not, is to persuade working class Americans that the NPR-listening "progressive" people in the United States who talk about equality and environmentalism and ending unjust wars and controlling corporations etc. are really elitists who have contempt for ordinary Americans--so much contempt that they don't even think people should be allowed to vote on the same-sex marriage question. (The Massachusetts Green Party opposed letting voters in Massachusetts vote on this; their slogan was, "It's wrong to vote on rights.") This same contempt for ordinary people leads Green Party folks to label people who object to "affirmative" racial discrimination in hiring and school admissions as "racists"!

The Green Party this way stigmatizes, as merely the phony rhetoric of elitists, values and aims (like racial and gender equality, ending unjust wars, environmental concerns, single payer health care, etc.) that would otherwise unite a majority of Americans. It is similar to how Communists have stigmatized the idea of revolution for an equal and democratic society: by creating Marxist regimes whose dictatorial nature they justifify with the elitist idea that ordinary people are not yet sufficiently class conscious to have the real say in society, Communists have persuaded millions of people that anybody talking about equality and ending exploitation is just using that rhetoric to manipulate people--that their real aim is to impose a Communist Party dictatorship.

The Green Party and the Democratic Party both link "making things better for working people" with elitist contempt for ordinary people. In doing so they drive working class Americans into the waiting arms of the Republican party who feign respect for the values of working class Americans and link that to an explicitly pro-capitalist ideology. This is how all of the political parties work in tandem to strengthen the dictatorship of the rich.

The Green Party will be used by the ruling class not only to stigmatize ideas that challenge the wealth and privilege and warmongering of the ruling class, but also to thoroughly demoralize those who embrace those ideas and who don't understand why most Americans don't vote for the Green Party's Jill Stein for president. The minuscule vote for the Green Party will do the job. It will tell people opposed to the ruling class, "Abandon hope, you are just a tiny minority and the majority of Americans reject you." This is why the New York Times is giving the Green Party publicity.

Instead of the Green Party's liberal and elitist program, we need to build a revolutionary movement that tells the truth--that we live under a dictatorship of the rich. We need a movement that says ordinary people are the source of the positive values in society and, no matter what they think about same-sex marriage and Affirmative Action, they are the ones who should rule. We need a movement that proposes an inspiring vision of society, not one that, like the Green Party, takes capitalism for granted. (For further discussion of this please see Thinking about Revolution.)

The Green Party is a pro-capitalist party. This is evident from the fact that its platform has not a single word critical of capitalism per se. While the Party criticizes "vast concentrations of wealth and power," it proposes merely that corporations be better regulated. Instead of declaring that all of the means of production belong to the public and not to individuals, the Party merely states that the public owns "public lands, pension funds and the public airwaves," implying that there is nothing wrong with all of the rest of the wealth that has been produced by working people and all of the rest of the earth's resources being claimed as the private property of wealthy people.

The Green Party is opposed to revolution. The Party does not say we need a revolution. It does not say that we have a dictatorship of the rich that controls the outcome of elections and will continue to do so as long as they are in power no matter how many reforms we make to the election system. Instead, the Party says that we merely need to reform the election process to make it work "better." The Greens focus on reforms such as campaign finance reform, Instant Runoff Voting and direct election of the president, as if the dictatorship of the rich did not exist, and the only reason the government doesn't do what most Americans want is because our electoral system isn't quite perfect yet.

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Listen, Right Wing Talk Radio Host!

Listen, right wing talk radio host! I'm going to tell you why your pro-capitalist views are wrong. I am not a liberal. You can rant and rave against liberals and their elitist attitude all you want, but it has nothing to do with where I am coming from. Go ahead: bad mouth Obama if you want; I'm not defending him.

And don't think that I am advocating more government spending. All of your talking points about the inefficiency and wastefulness of government have nothing to do with what I advocate.

You love it when liberal callers to your show object to something that capitalists do and propose fettering capitalism, because then you can make all of your polished arguments about how fettering capitalism only makes things worse. But I'm not talking about fettering capitalism; I'm for abolishing it.

Now don't get all excited thinking that you can clobber me with your old and reliable anti-Communist arguments. I am not a Communist, not even a Marxist; I don't believe in a centrally planned economy or even a central government, never mind a Communist Party dictatorship.

I'm afraid that if you're going to try to refute my point of view you're going to have to do some original thinking, because the script you guys use, the one that works so well against liberals and Marxists, will be like water off a duck's back if you try to use it against me.

 So, What Do I Believe? 

I think society should be based on a genuine application of the Golden Rule principle. Do you disagree with that? This means shaping society on the basis of equality and mutual aid and democracy. If you disagree with this, then be my guest and reveal to the world that you are an anti-social nut. I think the economy should be a "sharing economy" based on the following principles: 1) People, up until some reasonable age of retirement, ought to contribute to the economy a reasonable amount, given their ability. 2) Among these people economic products and services should be freely shared (not bought and sold) according to need when sufficiently plentiful, and otherwise rationed in an equitable manner taking into account need. Everybody should have the same status economically: nobody is rich and nobody is poor. The decisions required to do this (i.e. deciding what is a reasonable contribution to the economy, a reasonable retirement age, etc.) should be made democratically, as discussed below.

We should make social decisions about the economy and other things democratically. This does NOT mean having a central government that makes laws everybody must follow. (You and the Marxists can join together to argue the need for a central government that we all must obey, if you wish.) It means having social order be based on voluntary federation. "Voluntary" is one of your favorite words. You always praise capitalism because it is based on workers voluntarily agreeing to work for a boss, right? So you should be right on board with basing all of society on voluntary agreements, no?

Specifically this means that laws are made only by local community and workplace assemblies that every adult who supports equality and mutual aid can attend and have an equal say at. No "higher" authority can tell these local assemblies what they must do. People are free. You're not against freedom, are you?

Of course if people in some local assembly or assemblies decide to do something that is so wrong that others think it must be stopped (like enslaving people or institutionalizing child abuse) then people in other regions have every right to stop it, violently if necesssary. You never seemed to have a problem with sending U.S. troops into other nations to stop Communists from enslaving people, so I assume you have no objection to this principle, right?

Whatever a local workplace assembly needs in the way of resources (raw materials, machinery, land, as well as the economic needs of the workers) is made freely (no buying and selling, remember?) available to them if the local community assembly agrees. An entrepreneur with an idea about how to build a better mouse trap, or a more exciting video game, only needs to persuade his or her fellow citizens to let him produce it, and he's off and running. No federal red tape, no onerous taxes. You don't object to entrepreneurship do you?

Everything that requires coordination by many local assemblies is handled this way. Local assemblies send delegates to "higher level" assemblies representing assemblies from a larger region than one locality. And these assemblies in turn send delegates to yet higher level assemblies representing an even larger region. Higher level assemblies do not make laws; they craft proposals that the local assemblies carry out or not as they see fit. Negotiations take place to develop proposals that are agreed upon by a sufficient number of assemblies to carry out the proposal. Different kinds of higher level assemblies can be created for different kinds of purposes, ranging from organizing a sports event to a complex economic enterprise or university system.

Local assemblies, by this system of voluntary federation, can adopt proposals encompassing millions or even billions of people. They can, for example, agree to enter into a single "sharing economy" based on the principles described above, producing for each other and sharing among each other without buying and selling and without some people being rich and others poor. Each local assembly decides questions such as what is a reasonable retirement age or a reasonable contribution to the economy given all relevant circumstances. If a local assembly's decisions seem reasonable to the other assemblies then all of the people in that assembly will be accepted into the large sharing economy.

For people to be in this sharing economy they must contribute to it reasonably. Anybody willing to do so will be able to. They only have to go to a workplace and say, "Can I help?" They will either be told yes, or directed to get some prior required training or education, which will also count as making a reasonable contribution. If a lot of people are looking for a place to work, then the number of hours of work considered reasonable can be reduced so as to get the desired amount of work done with less work required per worker. This is easy when production is for use rather than for profit. This way there is no involuntary unemployment, unlike in the capitalist sytem you love so much. You always say that everybody who can work should work. Well this is how to make it so. Do you have a problem with that?

Before you shout, "This will never work!" I should tell you that it already has worked. In fact it worked very well. Indeed when it was implemented, economic production actually increased compared to the former capitalist system. I'm referring to Spain, in the provinces where a social revolution involving more than three million people along just these lines took place from 1937 to 1939. It ended, not because it didn't work, but because the fascist General Franco, with lots of help from the Communist Joeseph Stalin and the pro-capitalist Franklin D. Roosevelt, violently attacked and eventually defeated this revolution.

What Would You Do Without Liberals to Make You Look Smart? 

So, Mr. or Ms. right wing radio talk show host, what are you going to do without liberals to make you look smart? Are you going to let callers with my revolutionary view speak their mind on your show? I dare you.

I bet you'll limit your critical callers to liberals who say things like, "Outsourcing jobs is bad and should be made illegal"? You love those kinds of callers, don't you? You can then give them the standard argument that outsourcing jobs is actually a good thing because it is the way that products are made most efficiently, which is good for everybody. As my local talk show host put it, "being against outsourcing is like being against progress, like being against railroads because they "put people out of work" compared to having people haul freight on their backs.

Your arguments always assume--without ever allowing this assumption, itself, to be questioned--that the only way people can be economically efficiently productive is if they work in a capitalist society, based on greed instead of mutual aid, based on buying and selling instead of sharing, based on inequality with some people rich and others poor instead of based on equality. Your whole right wing shtick is simply to argue that if our society is going to be a capitalist one, then the conservative way to do it is better than the liberal way. But who cares? The problem with our world today is capitalism. In order to maintain the inequality it is based on, the rulers of a capitalist society have to do terrible things to make people controllable, because most people want a more equal and democratic world.

Capitalist rulers subject children in public schools to high stakes standardized testing that is designed to make working class children feel undeserving of a decent job. They foment Orwellian wars based on lies. They pit people against each other by causing one group to appear nasty or fearful to others. So they use racial discrimination to make blacks look like criminals. They give economic, military and diplomatic support to Israel to enable it to ethnically cleanse non-Jews from their homeland of Palestine. They do this in order to make Americans fear Muslims and Arabs. The U.S. mass media accomplish this by never explaining the real reasons for Muslim and Arab anger, and telling Americans it's because they are anti-semitic terrorists who "hate our freedom."

The liberals are "useful idiots" employed by the rulers of our capitalist society to make it easy for you right wing talk radio hosts to come off appearing like you, with your pro-capitalist mantra, represent the average Joe who has decent values and common sense. Liberals enact Affirmative Action and tell whites, "We're sorry we couldn't give you the job (or school admission); we had to give it to a less qualified minority," in order to make whites resentful of blacks. And they tell blacks that the reason whites don't like Affirmative Action's government-approved racial discrimination is--get this!---because whites who aren't liberals are "racists."

What would you do without these liberals? The liberals not only preach that your white working class followers are racists for being against racial discrimination. They also lie about and insult your followers who oppose same-sex marriage because of their perfectly reasonable concerns for the children produced by such marriages with third party sperm or egg donation. The liberals say people who oppose same-sex marriage shouldn't really be allowed to have a say in society because their opinion on this question proves they are ignorant bigots who believe everything in the Bible no matter what, and who hate gays.

And the list goes on. Sure, you can make mince meat of the liberals. As long as the only criticism of your pro-capitalist ideology comes from liberals, you'll win a big following. That's precisely why the Big Money people promote liberalism; it's why they fund liberal magazines (such as The Nation) and liberal organizations such as the Democratic Party.

Listen, right wing radio talk show host! The days are numbered when the only critics you have to deal with are liberals, whose views might as well have been designed to make it easy for you to ridicule them. Your job as a cheerleader for capitalism won't be quite so easy when revolutionaries dial in.

Mr. or Ms. right wing radio talk show host, I'll do you a little favor. I'll show you where you can read what a revolutionary thinks, in more detail than I've spelled out here, so you can bone up on this view and prepare your rebuttal. The thirty page version is Thinking about Revolution.


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