Ralph Nader's flawed strategy
Ralph Nader rails at the corporate elite without bothering to explain that its deeds are not the product of accidental evil-doers or flawed personalities but rather the workings of the system, a system that is as reformable as a cancer that threatens to devour the entire living organism. No corporate master in history has voluntarily acceded to the interests of its wage slaves. If he did, he would be compelled to give ground to others in the business-for-profit rat race who see scruples as an unaffordable luxury.
The Democratic Party primary circus has drawn to a close with Kerry the winner. The race started, if we are allowed some unsubstantiated conjecture, in the living room of a mighty corporate magnate who posed the question to 10 specially-invited guests, "How can we get some of those 100 million abstaining fools back into the fold so that our portion of the wealth created by our wage slaves is enhanced a bit more and our brothers in the Republican Party correspondingly reduced?
"How can we organize this contest so that we appear to be debating issues of substance while we prepare to take the reins of power from our friends across the isle and employ them for our common advantage, plus or minus a few billion dollars here or there?"
A deal was sealed. The multi-colored Democratic Party robe was once again drawn from the political closet. Each of the 10 was assigned the work of organizing their specialized constituencies.
A Southern Democratic Party populist was enlisted to register his "family values" constituency. His Northern counterparts agreed to the same in their neck of the woods, with a twist here and there. A few Blacks were thrown into the mix to fill in for Jesse Jackson, who had always proclaimed that "we Democrats are like a bird. We need two wings to fly, a left and a right."
Last election's old guard was included, along with a more youthful "pro-labor" day-to-day party hack who also had deep links to the corporate base. A few were picked to hold up a banner opposing overt U.S. control of Iraq. They were assigned to wave the UN flag to cover the U.S. occupation.
For some, like John Kerry, radical surgery was required, as in the times when the racist Jimmy Carter was transformed into a populist "human rights" advocate.
The deal was set. The kept media were informed as to the general rules of the game. The production was underway. The 10 players agreed to support the victor, for a price to be negotiated later, depending on the size of the prize delivered by each to the common effort. The game had begun! Behind the primary whoopla and the denunciations of Nader as evil spoiler stands the argument that George Bush is an historic aberration, a product of a calculating family elite surrounded by a handful of evil warlords that had usurped power for personal ends. They based themselves on the fanatical religious right, who liberals claim represent 40 percent of the nation's voting constituency.
Bush's list of crimes, the PATRIOT Act, war and more war, massive deficit spending and social cutbacks, "unfair trade," horrific globalization policies that ruin the lives of billions, homophobia, unprecedented military spending, and all the rest are employed to make the case that this man is the exception to the usual run-of-the-mill pro-corporate presidents. He must be replaced by whatever Democrat makes it to the finish line.
The liberal wish list began with Dennis Kucinich, progressed through Dr. Howard Dean, and perhaps a few even engaged with Michael Moore's choice, Wesley Clark. With the "demise of the candidates of the "left wing" of the Democratic Party, liberal eyes are today glued on the recast billionaire Boston Brahmin John Kerry, a man who would be the third richest president in U.S. history.
Liberals credit the ousted Dean with forcing Kerry and Edwards to the left. Nader claims to be accomplishing the same end but unlike the rest, he will continue to set the stage, that is, force Kerry to the "left" past the primaries and to the election itself, thereby creating a "mandate," says Nader, that will bind Kerry, the president, to the liberal agenda.
These ridiculous maneuvers, interpretations, rationalizations, and self-delusions have the effect of numbing the senses. Kerry's newfound liberal words fool no serious observer and he will not be held to them. His defense adviser, William Perry, is organically connected to the military-industrial complex as much as Bush's Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz. "All Kerry can offer is superior management of the imperial bandwagon at home and abroad," says Alexander Cockburn, who seriously researched Kerry's record of subservience to big capital. (The Nation, March 8, 2004). In truth, George Bush is not an aberration at all. He is the reflection of the current needs of the crisis-ridden U.S. capitalist class as a whole.
Stupid and vicious as he may appear, his deeds, accomplished only with collaboration of Democrats and Republicans, are designed to mitigate problems inherent in the functioning of the barbaric system itself. Unprecedented and massive military expenditures are approved with bipartisan support to bolster flagging profit rates arising a crisis of overproduction triggered by intensified worldwide competition. The U.S. weapons of mass destruction are also employed to the disadvantage of America's imperialist competitors, as well as for the slaughter of innocent people to steal their lands and resources.
Jobs and industrial plants are increasingly exported, again to secure the same end—increased profit rates in the face of the opposite downward spiraling trend. Simply put, whatever temporary advantage a capitalist achieves by lowering labor costs is eventually offset as the competition is forced to make the same, if not superior move.
Wages, working conditions, taxes, health care, social security, the air we breathe and the water we drink are all subject to the same competitive forces and adjusted to the detriment of workers in the U.S. and worldwide to keep the failing profit-driven ship afloat.
The crimes of George Bush are committed against working people and the poor by "Labor Party" Tony Blair in England and by social democrats in Europe and their equivalent ruling elites in every nation. Indeed, there are no capitalist regimes on earth today where working people are not increasingly subordinated to capitalist necessity. Bush is merely the tool and fool employed to do the dirty deeds for the U.S. capitalist class as a whole.
Ralph Nader rails at the corporate elite without bothering to explain that its deeds are not the product of accidental evil-doers or flawed personalities but rather the workings of the system, a system that is as reformable as a cancer that threatens to devour the entire living organism.
No corporate master in history has voluntarily acceded to the interests of its wage slaves. If he did, he would be compelled to give ground to others in the business-for-profit rat race who see scruples as an unaffordable luxury. All players understand that there is but one principle involved—survival, by any means necessary.
Bush is a crude and ignorant man who daily reads a prepared script. He is encouraged to appeal to the base prejudices manufactured by a social order that requires hate and division among the exploited to achieve its ends as well as ever deeper economic and social exploitation and oppression.
Over the past several decades unprecedented competition has moved the remaining players to proceed increasingly from covert to overt war. When profits were more easily obtainable in a less competitive environment, gains could be achieved by stealth. Iran's president was removed via a secret CIA coup in 1958; Guatemala's president was similarly removed via CIA action; the same for the Congo's Lumumba in 1960, who was assassinated quietly by U.S. agents disguised as UN peacekeepers.
Today the game is played out in the open. Stealth has give way to brute force and open war, the requirements when the competing imperial powers struggle for a piece of the booty and are eager to take it. Iraq was "won" by brute force, the protests of France, Germany and others with interests in the region be damned.
Like Bush, President Clinton was the man of the capitalist hour. He cut more social services than the combined presidencies of Republicans Bush Sr., Ronald Reagan, and Richard Nixon. He did it with a smile while inviting a few liberal friends to toasts or dinner in the White House.
Bush doesn't smile as much at the liberals. He lacks Clinton's tact but he knows know to read the same prepared script. Kerry will do it even better, or Edwards, or whoever else gets the nod to inhabit the White House and keep order for American capital, by any means necessary.
There is no solution in Ralph Nader's version of lesser evilism—that is, posturing as the people's candidate while shilling for the Democrats. There are no progressive Democrats or progressive candidates of any capitalist party.
Only when labor's minions enter the political and economic arenas in their own name and fight, collectively and in solidarity with all the exploited, for their own interests and for all humanity's, will the corporate capitalist beast be effectively challenged and driven from power.
The independent mobilization of working people against imperialist war, intervention, and occupation and in defense of all social and economic struggles for a better life is the starting point for today's emerging activists. The coattails of the ruling rich and their twin parties are no place for those who seek a new world that will champion the interests of the vast majority.
add a comment on this article
add a comment on this article