- Capitalism and Alternatives -

To Be or not To Be

Posted by: Krasny ( Internationale, All Countries... ) on February 08, 19100 at 10:13:55:

In Reply to: More revolution by the Marlboro Man posted by Samuel Day Fassbinder on February 07, 19100 at 10:27:16:

: : Yes, Green campaigns may very well be 'only a chance to create a national complaint about capitalism,' but Green campaigns are not necessarily the only 'chance to create a national complaint about capitalism.'

: : A boycott alone does that---and more: a boycott adds to the complaint that not even a Green in the White House would make a difference. And that conclusion is a revolutionary conclusion: it means the White House (etc.) must go.

: SDF: Bullshit. Election boycotts will be ignored, as they are today. There is no difference between "boycotting" an election and being too busy to make it to the polls. No assumptions can be made about mass consciousness on the basis of failure to vote.

*MDG and I had a little better-natured stab at this one in a related thread. I think, perhaps, there is a false dichotomy at work here. The choices needn't come down to participation in the current corrupt system -or- revolutionary action designed to smash the system. We can do both and do both in such a way as to underscore the inherent corruptness of the present system while articulating a vision for a better future.

When the Bolsheviks were confronted with the prospect of a Duma after the uprisings of 1905, they made the point that it was designed as the wealthy voting for the wealthy. However, there were two essential qualities of this development worth noting:

  • The Duma was a result of the revolutionary activity of the Russian people

  • No matter how gerrymandered the districts were, there was nothing to stand in the way of any party, including the Bolsheviks, from legally sending delegates to the Duma which in turn would provide the Bolsheviks with a national platform in which to state their vision

The problem for Marxists in the US, as I see it, is deeper than 'The-system-is-corrupt-so-to-Hell-with-it!' With the exception of the American Socialist Party around the turn-of-the-century, workers have not succeeded in forming parties capable of attracting masses of workers to their cause. Under the circumstances, telling workers to become even *less* involved in the existing framework and shoot for the overthrow of the entire existing order is comparable to telling a cripple not to bother with physical therapy... instead, go scale Mt. Everest... it may sell alot of books for L. Ron Hubbard, but it ain't the way to organise the working class.

...of course, that's just my opinion, I could be wrong... --K

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