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government | political theory selection 2004

Why I'm Voting for Nader

My name is Kathleen Juergens, and this article consists of my response to an online "Nader Voter Survey" conducted by Greg Bates of Common Courage Press. I am posting it as a contribution to the public discourse around the election, not as an attack on anybody who is voting for Kerry, a decision which is their right to make. I request that anybody who is forwarding or republishing these remarks do so in their entirety, and not quote me out of context. Blessed be!
1. Do you live in a swing state? Which one?

I live in Oregon.

2. Are you still planning to vote Nader? Why?

Absolutely! For me, voting for Nader is not about
philosophical purity, making a statement of protest or
salving my conscience (although it's true that I
couldn't live with myself if I voted for Kerry). If I
were going to vote for the candidate who best
represented my positions on the issues, it would be
one of the smaller socialist candidates, not Nader.
For me, voting for Nader is first and foremost about
STRATEGY.

Voting for Nader is not just a symbolic gesture, it is
a concrete exercise of political power--in this case,
the power to withhold my vote, which is the only real
power the electoral system gives us lowly citizens.
Using this power is the only way I can impose real
consequences on the lily-livered, Republican-wannabe
jackass-party guys who have sold me down the river
far, far too many times. And as anybody who has ever
dealt with an alcoholic or parented a toddler knows,
the only way to get someone's negative behavior to
change is to make sure they experience negative
consequences for it. Not "punishment," but the
natural consequence that the misbehaver has brought
upon him or herself, as the Democrats will have
brought it upon themselves if they lose this election.

I have heard lots of arguments for voting against Bush
(no argument there--I don't plan to vote for Bush!)
but I have not yet heard anybody make the case for why
voting for Kerry makes sense strategically. "Anybody
but Bush" is not a strategy, it is an abject and
complete surrender, an unmistakeable message to the
Democratic party that there are now no limits to the
amount of abuse we will accept from them. The idea
that we should unite to elect Kerry now, and hold him
accountable once he's in office--this is not a
strategy either, but a ridiculous and dangerous
fantasy. I say this as a veteran of 8 years and 3
jail terms protesting Clinton, during which time he
did not once listen to us, ever.

Strategic withholding of one's vote can work with any
third-party candidate, but Nader's candidacy promises
to have the most impact. Sad to say, he continues to
be the only political figure who has both nation-wide
name recognition AND an unimpeachable reputation for
personal integrity, not to mention almost a half
century of real public policy experience. Plus he
scares the liberals to death, which means he must be
doing something right. Michael Moore didn't get down
on his knees to beg Roger Calero of the Socialist
Workers' Party not to run.

3. If Nader wasn't running, would you vote for Kerry?
Explain.

No I would not. I would write in Nader anyway, or
vote for one of the socialist candidates. I do not
think I could vote for David Cobb, although I agree
with him on most issues, because a vote for him would
be an endorsement of his capitulatory strategies,
which he doesn't even have the guts to admit outright.
(I'm already regretting my vote for Kucinich in the
primary, for just this reason.)

Forget holding your nose and voting for Kerry--there
aren't enough clothespins in the world. To vote for
Kerry I'd need strong tranquilizers and a barf bag.

4. Assuming you plan to vote Nader, do you think your
vote could help tip the election to Bush by taking a
vote from Kerry?

My vote belongs to me, not to John Kerry! The idea
that my vote is somehow Kerry's rightful property that
I am "taking away" from him is insulting and degrading
to me and to the idea of democracy. Plus it is
factually untrue. Kerry being who he is, my vote
would not go to him no matter who else was running.

That being said however, should Kerry lose to Bush by
a margin that is less than the votes Nader gets, this
will be PERCEIVED as "tipping the election," and this
perception is precisely what gives the
vote-withholding strategy its power. For crying out
loud, people, why are we so afraid to USE this power?!
Yes, we disaffected progressives have (potentially)
the power to grant or deny this election to Kerry.
Why are we not using this leverage to demand
concessions from him? A REAL exit strategy from Iraq.
REAL universal health care, not that warmed-over
HMO-fest from the Clinton years. Repudiation of
NAFTA, GATT and the WTO. Repeal the PATRIOT Act, and
an end to racist targeting of immigrants. These
should be the bottom-line conditions we are DEMANDING
from anybody who would claim to be the alternative to
George Bush, not pie-in-the sky pipe dreams that we
plan to ask for very politely after the election.

Using our power as potential spoilers is a strategy
that WORKS! We know it works, because the right wing
uses it to great effect. The religious right, in
particular, is not afraid to torpedo any conservative
politician who doesn't toe the line on their pet
issues (abortion, guns, prayer in schools, etc.)
allowing this constituency to exercise power greatly
out of proportion to their actual numbers. Do you
think George W. Bush really gives a rat's ass about
abortion or gay marriage, or anything except making
money for his corporate buddies? No, but he feels the
need to placate the religious right on these issues.
Why? Because they've made it a non-negotiable
condition of their support. Meanwhile, we give our
support away for free, settling for empty promises and
the shaft every time. As they say in AA, you keep
doing what you always did, you'll keep getting what
you always got.

Then we don't even have the good sense to be mad at
our sell-out politicians who put us in this position,
but we take it out on our fellow sheep who won't go
quite so meekly to the slaughter. Of the many bad
effects of the stolen election of 2000, one of the
worst (which has gone unremarked by any published
commentator, as far as I can tell) was the way the
massive electoral fraud worked to obscure the actual
effect of the Nader candidacy on Gore. We on the left
have spent the last four years having a pointless
argument amongst ourselves about whether Nader REALLY
cost Gore the election. No he didn't, all on his own,
unambiguously cost Gore the election. But by God I
wish he had! The last four years would have been
really different.

5. Are you aware of the costs of another Bush
presidency? If yes, what accounts for your
determination to vote Nader?

I find it very ironic that the current ABB crowd
accuses ME of not fully appreciating the costs of
another Bush presidency. Where were all these people
over the last four years when I was out in the streets
getting tear gassed? In January 2002, not 4 months
after the 9/11 attacks, I was one of the organizers of
a protest against a visit by the Commander in Thief to
my hometown of Portland. An ABBer I work with
attended the same event--except that he had a ticket
to Bush's speech, sat in the audience, and politely
applauded to show his support for Bush's "war on
terrorism." He told me afterwards that there were a
few points where he withheld his applause to make a
point. Yeah, some point! Three years later, he now
thinks voting for Kerry is a good way to make his
point.

There is a fundamental incoherence in the ABB mindset,
which is the proverbial elephant in the living room
that nobody wants to talk about during this election.
On the one hand, we're supposed to believe that George
W. Bush is the Worst President Ever, qualitatively and
quantitatively worse than anybody who has gone before,
and single-handedly responsible for everything from
global warming to the heartbreak of psoriasis. On the
other hand, we're supposed to accept that it's OK for
the Democrats to have supported 90% of the Bush agenda
over the past four years. Now, which is it going to
be, guys?! If Bush is as bad as the Democrats say, it
should be absolutely unacceptable for ANY politician
to have supported him or voted with him, EVER. Bush
collaborators should be ostracized from public life
like the plague carriers that they are. On the other
hand, if most of his agenda is something the Democrats
are comfortable supporting, then perhaps they should
go ahead and admit that the sky won't fall if we have
another four years of him.

The Kerry campaign tries to take advantage of this
incoherence by playing both sides of the issue. When
they aren't lying about his record, or engaging in
ridiculous hair-splitting, Kerry's supporters frame
his support for most of the Bush agenda as a GOOD
thing. He's "moderate." He's "electable." He can
appeal to those quasi-mythical "swing voters." At the
same time, I'm supposed to believe that not voting for
Kerry is tantamount to heresy, because Bush is poised
to become the next Hitler. Well, which is it?!

A realistic appraisal of the consequences of another
Bush term starts with an accurate understanding of the
last four years. The last four years have been VERY
frightening, no question about that. But these
frightening developments have all been logical
developments of late-stage imperial capitalism, and
have all followed on very specific foundations laid
during the Clinton years, with welfare reform, NAFTA,
his 1996 "anti-terrorism act," etc. (Not to mention
Clinton's Iraq policy, which killed 6,000 innocent
people per month for 8 straight years.) Bush is not a
historical aberration, nor is he a mad emperor. He
did not, and could not have, accomplished any of his
nefarious deeds without a huge degree of Democratic
collaboration. If we want to defeat Bush's AGENDA, it
will not suffice to replace him with another
carbon-based life form who supports that agenda. We
need to hold the Democrats accountable.

Should the progressive vote for Nader indeed prove to
be the decisive factor in this election (very unlikely
to happen, but I can dream) the next four years might
see some significant brakes being put on the Bush
agenda. Democrats in Congress would see the writing
on the wall, and realize that from now on, being a
real opposition party will be a condition of keeping
their jobs. Bush's next war resolution won't sail
through nearly so easily. His next violation of our
civil rights won't pass nearly-unanimously. His next
grossly inflated military budget won't be
rubber-stamped.

Compare this with the likely scenario if Kerry wins,
with no more of a mandate from us than to be a
"better" version of Bush. The former scenario might
actually be preferable.

6. Various organizations opposed to Nader's run have
been running ads and broadcasting petitions to
convince people such as yourself to vote for Kerry.
What impact, if any, have these efforts had on your
thinking?

These ads and petitions have made my anti-Kerry case
for me. Even the people who are working themselves
into the biggest lather trying to guilt-trip and
brow-beat and fear-monger me into voting for Kerry
cannot give me one good reason why I should vote FOR
him. Instead, they give me reasons to vote AGAINST
Bush, while admitting that Kerry's positions on the
issues are unacceptable. The phrase "damning with
faint praise" comes to mind.

7. Is there something those groups could tell you that
would sway your vote?

If they could tell me that Kerry had a real exit
strategy from Iraq, and make me believe it, I'd grab
that barf bag and vote for the guy. But this is about
as likely as pigs flying. Some of Kerry's supporters
are trying to claim that he DOES have an exit
strategy, although when you examine the details, it is
actually a strategy for continuing the war. They
don't seem to have convinced even themselves.

8. How have the efforts to keep Nader off the ballot
affected your decision?

If I weren't already going to vote for Nader, I would
vote for him for that reason alone. The Democrats'
anti-Nader efforts are despicable and beneath
contempt. They might as well just come out and admit
that their candidate can't compete in a fair fight
against Nader, because he offers no real alternative
to Bush.

9. Some of Nader's allies from 2000 have said his
candidacy this year is a strategic mistake. Do you
agree? Explain.

I have no good explanation for why so many good, smart
people have fallen victim to the incoherent logic of
"anybody but Bush." The best reason I can think of is
that these are indeed very, very scary times, and fear
makes people abandon reason. Plus, Kerry has some of
the most brilliant and highly-paid PR minds in the
world working around the clock to manipulate our fears
into a vote for him. It has already been exposed in
the pages of Counterpunch.com how groups like "United
Progressives for Victory" are creations of the
Washington corporate lawyers.

10. Let's suppose that you and others vote Nader in a
swing state, Kerry loses that state which he would
have won if the Nader voters had backed him and that
loss costs Kerry the election. What is your thinking
about this outcome?

First and foremost, I will continue all of my
anti-Bush organizing activities from the previous four
years, and I hope the "anybody but Bush" crowd will be
joining me. Second, I will not be afraid or ashamed
to claim the power that comes with being one of a
small handful of people who "cost Kerry the election."
I will not hesitate to use this power against any
other sellout Democrats who happen to cross my path,
particularly some especially gutless members of the
Oregon congressional delegation. If other
progressives are not afraid to join me, we could see
some really interesting changes around here....

11. Any other relevant thoughts?

Yes, on a more personal note. This election has been
emotionally much more draining for me than the 2000
election. And it's not the fact that the Democrats
have taken the gloves off and made their real
anti-democratic agenda quite clear. It's seeing so
many good, smart people around me give into the
fear-mongering and turn into Stepford voters. It's
trying to debate Kerry voters, and hearing them
acknowledge every single point I'm making, hearing
them ADMIT that their candidate doesn't have anything
to offer me, but then they still denounce me with the
kind of fervor the Inquisition used to reserve for
heretics. It's having it made very clear to me that,
for mainstream Democrats, I am more "the enemy" than
an actual Bush voter would be, and seeing supposed
"friends" of mine buy into this scapegoating rather
than question the system.

Yes, it's been a long, lonely, scary, confusing
election year. All you other Nader voters out there
(and the socialist comrades too), you're not alone,
and you're not wrong to insist on your sacred right to
vote your conscience. Hang in there, keep the faith,
and above all, KEEP THINKING FOR YOURSELVES! From
here in the lovely Pacific Northwest, I salute you
all.

Great article! 20.Oct.2004 18:48

indy

Red Emma, this is a wonderful explanation of your vote. I share your sentiments and I love your term "stepford voters". This describes perfectly the zombie like behavior of the ABBers and the Kerry campaign with its "A Stronger America" theme. What the heck does that mean? I hate to even speculate. And Bush by the way has almost the exact same slogan. That pretty much sums it up. The dimes worth of difference is shrinking down to a nickle.

Why I Will Be Voting for Ralph Nader, Again 20.Oct.2004 18:55

by Paul Donahue

Since the current presidential campaign has heated up, many of my friends have, with good reason, joined the Anybody But Bush club. When they hear how I intend to vote, they basically tell me that I must be crazy for voting for Ralph Nader, again. "Didn't Nader cost Al Gore the election in 2000?" "How can you possibly want to help Bush win again?". Of course, it is with plenty of justification that my friends are so focused on the necessity of removing the Bush administration from office. In almost every measure imaginable, George W. Bush has clearly been the worst president in my lifetime, and that distinction is compounded by the fact that he was not even elected to the office.

However, as much as I am opposed to the Bush administration and their horrendous policies, foreign and domestic, removing Bush from office is not my top priority. It is undoubtedly a fool's errand to try to convince someone from the Anybody But Bush club to vote instead for Ralph Nader. Just the same, for the sake of defending my claim to sanity, I feel the need to explain why I will be voting for Ralph Nader on November 2nd

First and foremost, I am of the belief that our democratic system of government is in serious jeopardy, having been largely brought under the control of corporate interests. As every day passes, the large multinational corporations grow stronger and more powerful, and their grasp over so many aspects of our everyday lives grows firmer and more difficult to break. An edition of the American Heritage Dictionary, gave us this definition of fascism, " A system of government that exercises a dictatorship of the extreme right, typically through the merging of state and business leadership, together with belligerent nationalism." What does that say about our country today? Our democracy itself is at stake.

The two-party system has a stranglehold on this country, and large corporations have a stranglehold on the two parties. Through their financing of our very, very costly election campaigns, corporations have gained a phenomenal amount of control and influence over all levels of our government. It is very simple. Politicians want to remain in office. To remain in office they need to run expensive re-election campaigns. To run those campaigns they need the corporate donations, and to keep the corporate donations flowing, they need to do the bidding of the corporations during their time in office. It is a basic flaw of our electoral system. As the Democratic party has sold out to corporate interests, it is a flaw for which the Democratic party must accept half the blame.

It is like the two parties are running an exaggerated game of good cop-bad cop on us. In good cop-bad cop, the bad cop knocks you around and denigrates your mother while the good cop is sympathetic and understanding and offers you a cup of coffee. But they are both working together for the same goal and for the same master. In this case, the Democrats are the good cops, the Republicans are the bad cops, and the master is free-market capitalism.

In so many policy areas we are in need of fundamental change - in our foreign policy, in our environmental policy, in our domestic social policy. However, until the juggernaut of corporate control over our government is broken we are not going to get the fundamental change we need, and it is certainly not going to happen under a Democratic president. Yes, of course, we will get changes with Kerry, but they will be small scale, mostly cosmetic changes, not fundamental changes. Nader represents the fundamental change I believe we need.

In this election cycle, of the top ten corporate donors, all of whom are financial corporations, (such as CitiGroup) Bush and Kerry share four of them. During his years in the Senate, John Kerry was among Congress' top recipients of special interest money, and in this election cycle alone he has received large donations from pharmaceutical companies, HMOs, the communications and electronics industry, the oil and gas industry, investment firms, insurance firms, real estate interests, transportation interests, and contractors, among others. What do these corporate interests want from Kerry? It is easy to guess, but one sure way to find out is to elect him president.

Ralph Nader stands apart from both Bush and Kerry in not being controlled by corporate interests. His campaign has not accepted corporate donations, and were he to be elected, he would be working for the people who voted him into office, not for the corporations who funded the campaign.

Second, as if it is not bad enough that the Democratic party has sold out to corporate interests, now, belying their name, they are acting in a profoundly undemocratic fashion. Democrats have decried Republican attempts to rig the coming election, as they did in the 2000 presidential race, but the Democratic party is equally guilty of attempting to thwart democracy.

In an attempt to keep Ralph Nader off the ballot in as many states as possible, the Democratic party has orchestrated an unprecedented campaign of dirty tricks against him. They have initiated dozens of phony lawsuits, intimidated signature collectors, and even called up petition signers. After getting hold of the petitions, they have looked over the names on the petitions to identify any registered Democrats in the various municipalities. They have then called those people up to ask whether or not they had been badgered into signing the petition, and even dragged some of them into court to question them further on the witness stand. In the states where they were able to get hold of the lists of signature collectors, they made house calls and threatened the collectors, telling them that if even one signature they collected was fraudulent, then they could face jail time. In Portland, Oregon alone they managed to scare off 30 signature collectors.

Here in Maine the Democratic party hired two of the largest law firms in the state to work on keeping Nader off the ballot. Not content with the judge's ruling in the lawsuit they brought, they appealed the decision all the way to the state supreme court before letting it go. Nader is now safely on the ballot in Maine, but what if they had succeeded in expunging his name from the ballot? Would the Democratic party expect me to reward their deeply undemocratic actions by voting for their candidate?

Third, I believe it is important to vote one's hopes rather than one's fears. I view my vote not as some tool to be used strategically to win an election, but rather as one of the few official opportunities given by our government to really express my hopes and beliefs. For that reason I cannot bring myself to waste it on a candidate whose views are so fundamentally different from my own.

Arguments against voting for third party candidates have been used very effectively since at least 1868. The arguments used back then are basically the same ones being used today... .this is the most important election in our history... ..voting for the third party candidate is a waste of one's vote ... Kerry is the lesser of two evils, a vote for Nader is a vote for Bush, etc., etc., etc.

How different would our country be today if people had not been scared into voting for the lesser of two evils for all that time? Four years ago, to keep George W. Bush out of the White House I was supposed to vote for Al Gore instead of Ralph Nader. Now I'm supposed to vote for John Kerry to keep Bush from winning a second term. And what about four years from now? If John Kerry wins the race this time around, what will I be expected to do four years from now when the Republicans run another extreme right wing neo-con against him? What arguments will be thrown up against the third party candidate in 2008? In 2012? In 2016? When do we say enough is enough, stop voting for a lesser evil and start voting for a candidate in whom we really believe. Nader is a candidate in whom I believe.

Fourth, there is the candidate himself. While I know lots of people who will be voting for John Kerry on November 2nd, I do not know anybody who really likes him. How sad is that? In a country of 260 million people the Democratic party seems incapable of producing a presidential candidate who arouses enthusiasm in the population. With everyone I know who will be voting for Kerry, the response is the same, "Well, Kerry's better than Bush." Of course Kerry is better than Bush, no argument. But given Bush's record, how hard is that?

While he may be better than Bush, John Kerry is still a militarist who, as a member of the U.S. Senate, voted to wage war on Afghanistan, an action he still supports despite the death and destruction wreaked on the country's innocent citizenry. He voted for the Patriot Act, and has very recently stated his continued support for it. In what amounts to an endorsement of genocide, in an attempt to win the Jewish vote Kerry has also publicly expressed support for all of Israel's illegal and immoral actions against the Palestinian people. Most importantly, he voted to authorize President Bush to wage war on Iraq. The single issue concerning me most at present is our illegal invasion and occupation of Iraq. However, as a presidential candidate Kerry has said he would increase the number of troops in the military, and send even more troops to Iraq. He has told us that U.S. troops would probably be in Iraq until the end of his first term. So, if Bush is re-elected we can expect another four years of U.S. involvement in Iraq, but if Kerry should win, well, then we'll only have another four years of U.S. involvement in Iraq. Some choice.

As an anti-war activist, I would have voted for John Kerry in April 1971, back when he testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on the disastrous Vietnam War. At an anti-war rally at the U.S. Capitol that month he said, "This is a government that cares more about the legality of where men sleep than the legality of where we drop bombs and why men die." Believe it or not, at the time White House Special Counsel Charles Colson wrote in a memo to President Nixon, "Let's destroy this demagogue before he becomes another Ralph Nader." What happened to him? How can I possibly vote for the militarist John Kerry has now become?

America's policies regarding international trade and investment, implemented through institutions such as the World Trade Organization, International Monetary Fund and World Bank and trade agreements such as NAFTA, have a major impact on the rest of the world. As well as being a militarist, John Kerry is also a corporatist who embraces the corporate economic agenda for the world and I fear the policies that he would sponsor in the area of international trade and investment. The corporate globalization of the planet is a tremendous threat to the environment, as well as to indigenous and impoverished people everywhere. However, Kerry voted for NAFTA and every disastrous piece of trade legislation to come before the Senate and as president he will undoubtedly continue to promote corporate globalization and the extension of the American empire.

These are not trivial differences of opinion I have with John Kerry, they are fundamental. This is a man I do not want in the White House. I do not simply want a kinder, gentler version of the same policies George W. Bush has given us for the past four years. From what I know of Kerry's history in the Senate and from what he has said during the presidential campaign, it is an absolute certainty that if he is elected president he will put into action policies with which I strongly disagree. If he wins the election and I have helped him to do so, how can I justifiably complain about the horrific policies he will surely implement?

Fifth, I am in complete agreement with almost every one of Nader's positions, positions he has stood firmly behind for years, including. ..

• meaningful campaign finance reform and public financing of election campaigns
• strengthening of our environmental laws, including support for the Kyoto treaty process to limit global warming
• a new clean energy policy that no longer subsidizes entrenched oil, nuclear, electric and coal mining interests
• opposition to NAFTA, the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) and continued U.S. membership in the World Trade Organization (WTO), and instead, support for trade policies that are open and democratic with high environmental, social and labor standards
• an end to nuclear weapons
• an end to the Star Wars missile defense system
• repeal of the Patriot Act
• democratization of the media
• an end to corporate welfare
• tougher action against corporate crime
• universal health care
• support for a Patient's Bill of Rights
• increased federal support for education
• an end to the trade embargo against Cuba

These are policies that would be to the benefit of the vast majority of Americans. And very high on the Nader agenda would be the immediate withdrawal of U.S. military and corporate forces from Iraq, a position I strongly support.

Unfortunately, however, the combination of ballot access laws written by the Democratic and Republican parties to maintain their control, the dirty tricks of the Democratic party, the refusal of the Commission on Presidential Debates (controlled since 1987 by the Democratic and Republican parties) to allow Ralph Nader to participate in the presidential debates, the failure of the mainstream media to give Nader's campaign the same level of coverage it does the two main candidates, campaign finance laws that allow large corporate interests to buy the election, and the mistaken belief of a majority of Americans that they must vote for either a Democrat or a Republican, my chosen candidate has no chance whatsoever of prevailing in this election.

So, from my point of view, this election is a no-win proposition that will bring us more of the same. Whoever triumphs on November 2nd, Bush or Kerry, I am going to be extremely disappointed with the outcome. By voting for Ralph Nader at least I can express my disappointment in this outcome and send a message to the Democrats and Republicans. At the same time I can express my hope for a future in which citizens, not corporations, make the important decisions that affect our lives.


South Harpswell, Maine
15 October 2004


very astute, excellent analysis 20.Oct.2004 18:56

ex-democrat voter

I may add some thoughts later but for now, well done.

slide 20.Oct.2004 19:37

Shakey

Libertarians are more feared by Republicans in many swing states. The Republicans too have lost what ever blind loyalty they had to many of thier voters.

Great article Red Emma! 20.Oct.2004 19:42

Tony Blair's dog

Sharp and to the point.

Interesting repost of Paul Donahue's article too.

Thank you.

Don’t waste your vote; Vote Cobb! 20.Oct.2004 19:44

Red neck

Save Green party's ballot access. That took a lot of time, energy and money, don't throw it away! You saw what they did to Nader in Oregon this year, don't let them repeat that in 2008! The Green party is your party don't let them destroy it!
Loved the rant, from Dixie I salute ya'll.

Re: "Vote Cobb! Save Green party's ballot access" 20.Oct.2004 20:21

nader04

Haven't you been following Green "news"?

Although GP ballot status will shrink from 28 to around a dozen states following the elections, Cobb's candidacy is somehow going to "grow " the Green Party.

And I Salute You! 20.Oct.2004 21:38

peace rebel girl

Thank you for this very thoughtful and insightful interview. It just serves to strengthen my resolve and helps me know that I am not the only thinking person out there operating from a premise of fearlessness!

I was implying, in Oregon 20.Oct.2004 21:45

Red neck

We need to keep as much access as possible so volunteers don't have to duplicate their work. So you can vote for Nader in Oregon in 2008. You people are activist, you understand the work that went it that. Right? If you want to get back your vote and help the Green party heal. Checkout this site some good discussion going on
 http://www.greensfornader.net/

no vote cast is a wasted vote 20.Oct.2004 22:08

independent

Let's dispense with such undemocratic language. Anyone who votes has not wasted their vote. They've made a choice to participate and support their ideals whatever those ideals may be. In Oregon the greens might be best to campaign for Keane as I suspect she offers the best chance for the greens to maintain their ballot access. I would think Keane will get the votes of both Cobb and Nader supporters so her candidacy is the best hope for the greens and I wish them luck in maintaining their ballot access.

Red Emma, though I don't think I'll be voting for Nader (my strategy is to support the libertarian party for running a candidate with a strong corporate critique instead of a corporate apologist) I would say this is one of the best writings I've seen in this election. Extremely clear, concise, and thoughtful. It's good to see those whose hearts and minds are still free from the fear-mongering of the corporate parties. I know that I myself have been pointing to that elephant for the past several months only to be met with blank stares.

I find that refusing to live in fear is the only way to stay sane and rational these days. I can only hope that others can find their way out of their prison of fear because neither Kerry nor Bush will lead people there.

practical 21.Oct.2004 02:52

citizen unbound

vote for Kerry, get Bush out. Then work to institute run-off voting.

IRV 21.Oct.2004 04:58

marty

I think that Kerry is throwing the election to his buddy Bush because the illuminati like that puppet idiot. The media is lying, the polls etc everything is a lie so that when W steals it, it will be more believable. Kerry will just walk away and say sorry folks, I did my best, W was just too hard to beat. So if you want to irritate the elite, vote for Kerry. And then the democratic party can just ignore Kerry and his stances, and push for what the democratic party use to stand for.

I also agree with above poster. We need to help Dennis Kucinich take back the democratic party and push for instant runoff voting. Why do they keep blaming Nader for running, when all we have to do is have instant runoff voting like other civilized nations? In the recent election in Afghanistan. they had instant runoff voting so it is not as if it is unheard of in the US....they just like pretending that no one has thought of it.

Hey, where's that "Safe State" strategy? 21.Oct.2004 05:49

Minnesota Phats

Has anyone seen the Green Party this year? Are they running a candidate? ;-)

Being from Minnesota, let me point out that a 3rd party example was made recently with Jesse Ventura. Funny things happen when it's not a "winner take all" rigged arrangement.

good science? 21.Oct.2004 07:43

not persuaded

The other day, I attempted to post Winona LaDuke's endorsement of kerry on pdx indymedia, but it was composted, just like 80% of the posts I write suggesting that we can't allow bushco to put people on the supreme court or continue with the oil industry's plans to muck up the climate for a greasy buck.

Indymedia staff!
You are clearly very pro nader. How about some good science? Show us statistics about how many anti-nader posts you trash for every pro-nader post you publish.
I really loved Indymedia when the war started and it was a great source of relevant information. Indymedia has been so surreally pro-nader the last couple of months that I now regard it to be as biased and untrustworhy as NPR.

As portland indymedia has fallen off the lunatic edge, I suggest readers with critical thinking skills get their news from Common Dreams and What Really happened.

Funny. When I saw nader at his coliseum rallies, he urged the crowd that we need an education system which teaches people how to think, not what to believe. Ironic that the only people who still cling to nader's cult of personality are the minority who believe, rather than the majority who think.

At this point, I don't consider indymedia's veracity that much higher than "the Onion's," so you may wish to visit the onion and read the article about nader polling at 8% amongst his former voters.

Nader people: If you can't get a life otherwise, why not join scientology? Their cult is much more successful than nader's, and they might get you off whatever weird drugs are making you pursue such a futile and counter-productive objective.

Trolls: Sorry, Uncle Rupert's not getting a good return on his investment in nader. Go back to worshipping Il Duce.

voting Nader is strategically wrong 21.Oct.2004 08:37

oldster in the street

I greatly appreciate Kathleen Juergens' article, because of two things. First of all, it raises the level of discussion around this election by addressing strategy and the real results of voting, and only occasionally slips into the shallow name-calling (from all sides) that has so characterized the split in the left represented by the Nader question. Secondly, by articulating some specific reasons she plans to vote for Nader, she also reveals some of the false premises that I believe help to deconstruct the supposed strategy she articulates.

I have only a few minutes now, so I'll only look at a single point in her discussion. I'll try to get back for a little more later.

Juergens writes: "Using this power is the only way I can impose real consequences on the lily-livered, Republican-wannabe jackass-party guys who have sold me down the river far, far too many times. And as anybody who has ever
dealt with an alcoholic or parented a toddler knows, the only way to get someone's negative behavior to change is to make sure they experience negative consequences for it."

The cornerstone of her logic, and of the Nader campaign, is the goal she states for her vote here, imposing real consequences on the Democratic party. She makes it clear that she wants her vote to change the "negative behavior" of the Democrats. I would suggest that seeing one's vote as a way to "impose consequences" on the out-of-power party is a somewhat narrow goal in voting.

Once cemented to this shaky foundation stone, Juergens then attaches an even shakier wall to the structure of her thought in the form of a highly questionable assertion. "The only way to get someone's negative behavior to change is to make sure they experience negative consequences for it." Actually, as a parent, a teacher, and a student of psychology, I'd suggest that this claim is exactly opposite the real truth. Positive reinforcement, modeling of good behaviors, and leading by example are far more effective ways to get negative behaviors to change than negative consequences. A quick look at the recidivism rates in the jail system will prove that negative consequences seldom change behavior. Punishment -- and despite her disclaimers, I think she is describing a philosophy of punishment by voting-- is a remarkably ineffective way to change behaviors, and even more so in the political realms of public debate than the family situations she uses in her analogy.

There is in my reading an authoritarian tone to this so-called strategy, not to mention a divisive, past-focused tone, as opposed to a coalition-building, forward-looking strategy. Based on false premises and demonstrably negative results (as in the last four years, two wars, loss of civil liberties, environmental quality, and international alliances), the "vote Nader to punish the Democrats" logic fails to persuade me.

I'm sorry I don't have more time right now to dig into some other specific points in Juergen's article. I'll try to check back later to respond to the flames this comment will doubtless provoke. By the way, Utah Phillips makes some awesome points in his interview. Don't miss it!

I hope the Indymedia censors will allow this post to remain as a prompt for discussion and thought.

"thinker' tactics 21.Oct.2004 08:49

Sam

Wow, I never would have thought being rudely insulted for voting Nader would make me want to vote for Kerry, but 'not persuaded' has made me see the errors of my stupid ways.

Or not.

well put, redemma

to "not persuaded" - no, we're NOT (by you at least) 21.Oct.2004 08:56

indy

" . . . I attempted to post Winona LaDuke's endorsement of kerry on pdx indymedia, but it was composted, just like 80% of the posts I write . . . "

--WRONG. the LaDuke article appeared two (2) separate times on the Selection 2004 page--with commentary by readers--first here:

14.Oct.2004 10:48
 http://portland.indymedia.org/en/2004/10/299895.shtml

and second here:

15.Oct.2004 12:48
 http://portland.indymedia.org/en/2004/10/300002.shtml

Reality NOW - it's a two party system 21.Oct.2004 09:03

Liz

The facts are the race for the President & the administration for the NEXT FOUR YEARS is between Bush & Kerry. Nader does not have a chance in winning - voting for Nader is not going to prove anything & perhaps only give Bush & his cronies another 4 years.

Nader has accepted funds from right-wing anti-gay Republican groups who are obviously using Nader as a tool. Nader has defended his acceptance of contributions from these groups... saying "He's an American citizen who might be -- is a Republican, just happens to believe in civil liberties maybe. I don't even know the man." Geeze - you still take his $$$ - how ethical of you Mr Nader.

 http://www.factcheck.org/article216.html

Reality now - it's a ONE party system. 21.Oct.2004 09:17

Taylor

sorry Liz,

but Kerry and Bush get their funding (quantity can't compare to Nader, Greens, Socialists) from the same sources. follow the money:

-----------------------------------

 http://portland.indymedia.org/en/2004/03/283320.shtml

In all, nine of Kerry's top 20 donors favor Bush with their contributions. Kerry's top contributor, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, has given nearly $106,000 to his campaign. But the nation's largest law firm has contributed an additional $65,000 to the Bush campaign.

-----

GEORGE W. BUSH (R)
Top Contributors
 http://www.opensecrets.org/presidential/contrib.asp?id=N00008072&cycle=2004

Top Industries
 http://www.opensecrets.org/presidential/indus.asp?id=N00008072&cycle=2004

-----

JOHN KERRY (D)
Top Contributors
 http://www.opensecrets.org/presidential/contrib.asp?id=N00000245&cycle=2004

Top Industries
 http://www.opensecrets.org/presidential/indus.asp?id=N00000245&cycle=2004

GET A BONER
GET A BONER
FOR CORPORATE PLUTOCRACY
FOR CORPORATE PLUTOCRACY

So you voting for Nader will do what??? 21.Oct.2004 09:26

liz

Besides perhaps putting Bushit in the white house another 4 years?

If you really think that you are sending a message or reforming our political system you are dillusional.

please everyone vote.

Vote The Way Liz Wants... 21.Oct.2004 09:40

alsis38 alsis35@yahoo.com

...otherwise it duzn't cownt an yer dillusional.

[Yawn.]

voting for Nader 21.Oct.2004 09:49

oregon voter

"Besides perhaps putting Bushit in the white house another 4 years?"

--just like the 8 million Registered Democrats nationwide who voted Bush/Cheney in 2000. or the Senate Democrats who refused to sign on a filibuster against the SCOTUS decision of Dec. 2000, ignoring repeated appeals by the Congressional Black Caucus to do so [see the first 10 minutes of the movie "Fahrenheit 9/11" for details]. Democrats, not Greens, gave the presidency to Bush in 2000. here are a few more statistics for you, "Liz":

13% of Florida's Democrats voted for Bush.
8% of Florida's Republicans voted for Gore.
Of those who voted for Clinton in 1996, 16% voted for Bush in 2000.
Of those who voted for Clinton in 1996, only 1% voted for Nader in 2000.
Of those who voted for Dole in 1996, only 4% voted for Gore in 2000.
Of those who voted for Dole in 1996, only 1% voted for Nader in 2000.
Of those who voted for Perot in 1996, 10% voted for Nader in 2000.

 http://www.msnbc.com/m/d2k/g/polls.asp?office=P&state=FL
 http://portland.indymedia.org/en/2004/02/281121.shtml

"If you really think that you are sending a message or reforming our political system you are dillusional [sic]."

--what message is it that you are sending, "Liz"? why not just admit that a vote for your espoused candidacy has absolutely no logical reason or purpose besides 'eject Bush'? combined with profoundly un-democratic, corporate-lawyer-sponsored nationwide efforts by the 'Democratic' Party this year to 'reform' Ralph Nader by keeping him off state ballots (couldn't they have spent that money and time simply endorsing their own candidacy - isn't Bush enough of a threat all by himself?)

"please everyone vote."

thanks, I already did - Nader/Camejo for President/Vice President.

P.S.-- 21.Oct.2004 09:50

alsis38 alsis35@yahoo.com

You "dillusional" Naderheads better get a clue. Kerry doesn't have to be ethical. Ethics are for the little people. :p Surrender now, and perhaps he will as merciful, kind, and receptive to your needs as he as been to those of the other Progressives. [snicker]

thanks red emma 21.Oct.2004 09:52

.

good analysis, and it's nice to know there are (actually lots of) other folks who are not giving in to the ABB fake-out.

if bush wins, the dems will blame everyone but themselves--but they'll have no one but themselves to blame. don't be guilt-tripped, people. gore didn't lose the last election because of nader voters, he lost because he was a center-right sellout that could not be differentiated from his opponent. nothin' new this time around.

i agree that everyone should vote, though. if the 50% of us voters who support neither bush nor kerry vote for anyone else (nader, cobb, write-in kucinich, mickey mouse, jesus...), it will be impossible for the republicrat machinery to continue to make the argument that non-voters are happy with whatever the outcome is.

also, it's really important to vote on several of our local ballot measures. tops on my list: NO ON 37! NO ON 36!

YAY 21.Oct.2004 10:56

Phill

Red Emma what a great response!

Thanks for shedding light to what many of us are feeling with our vote for Nader. You hit the nail right on the head with so many issues surrounding this election.

I was discussing this with a few Kerry voters at the Michael Moore event, and while they admit changes under Kerry won't be great, at least it will bring us back to where we were before the 2000 election. One even said, "we'll be able to buy perscription drugs from Canada"

It's this thought process is what has been killing us for the past 30 years. Pensions used to be supplemented with 401K's, now all we have is 401k's. Temp work, reduction in health benefits, longer periods of working without benefits (it takes 3 years to get health coverage working at Fred Myers), and each year they skim more and more off the top. We compromise our standards for short term security.

When workers in the 1800's were tired of working 60-80 hours a week, they didn't push for 59 hours. They wanted 40! And they got it! We are rolling over accepting what ever scraps they throw to us.

If this election has tought me anything, is that we as a nation are very divided, and we don't know how to overcome the differences we may have politically. Neighbors don't talk about this in fear of offending someone. Democrats and liberals decry my vote for Nader, but won't speak with the bush supporter.

Conservatives or anyone who doesn't vote kerry? delusional, doesn't grasp reality, are idiots, uninformed, the litiny of demeaning phrases go on and on. I wonder is this a successful way to win votes? Is this a way to come to an understanding as to why people may vote for Bush? Or why they wouldn't vote for Kerry? I had one conservative co-worker tell me that if it looks like Kerry is going to win in Oregon, he's going to vote for Bush. He's not a bad person, he is trying his best to raise his kids, he helps out co-workers when he can, and we agree on a few issues that are facing our country. Yet if I'm to believe Kerry voters, he's the devil incarnate.

This type of slanderous attacks will not build a movement. For a true social justice movement to take place in this country, it HAS to transend parties. Greens can't do it alone, Nader, Dems or repubs can't do it alone. WE need to abandon these labels that divide us and see how we can make the world more equitable for all. Not just the wealthy elites.

"ABB" IS A Strategy 21.Oct.2004 11:24

Mistletoe Angel

First of all, Kathleen, you have every right to vote as you choose and I respect that. We are a democracy and therefore every vote is a voice that should be treated wholeheartedly, whether it's for Kerry, Nader, Cobb, Badnarik or Mickey Mouse.

I have already voted. I voted Kerry, and below that supported the Green Keane for Senate, as I believe though Kerry is our only option for a beginning of reformation, we also need to endorse alternative candidates in lower positions and see to it the progressive parties continue to be nurtured. I also voted for a Freedom Socialist.

I have no problem that you voted Nader. What I criticize though is your argument to why its "strategy".

What do you mean you couldn't "live with yourself" if you had voted Kerry? It sounds weak to me. What many fail to realize here is I'm voting for Kerry in the way like Michael Moore explained Tuesday at Urban Plaza. He is an option, the option to drive Bush out. We already know what Bush is capable of, but the fact is, we don't know what Kerry is capable of. Some progressives here think his word to pull out our young men and women from Iraq by the end of his first term is just a stage-up for getting elected his second term, though he also has said he'll begin pulling our men and women out six months into his term, and is a lie. Meanwhile, security moms think Kerry will just immediately pull us all away and end this war.

Regarding Kerry's history on issues like the environment, where he got the first-ever endorsement from the Sierra Club for any presidency since political conventions began, and a 93% grade from the League of Conservation Voters, that alone gives me reason why Kerry is better than Bush.

Kerry also has the moral conscience to say that this war was the wrong war at the wrong place at the wrong time and acknowledge it wasn't necessary, while Bush refuses to shake his stubborn stance and believes the war is the right thing. On a moral level, Kerry is better also.

"Anybody but Bush" IS a strategy. Look at where Howard Zinn, Noam Chomsky, even Winona LaDuke, Nader's VP running mate in 96 and 00, have went. They understand Kerry is the only logical choice. The only strategy in defeating Bush in two weeks. Perhaps, the truth is, those like yourself are the ones who have surrendered or abandoned the democratic process.

Think about it. If Nader truly does nation-wide name recognition, then why does he only have 1% of the national poll? I heard an earlier argument from someone saying that a third of Americans are below the average income. I sympathize with them very much and believe no one deserves that. All at once, however, you have to understand these 33% are not rushing to support Nader this election.

In states with large progressive ideals like Vermont and Wisconsin, Nader doesn't even pull in 5% of the state vote there. Face the facts.

And what does scaring liberals amount to in the end, huh? This only proves that the game Nader is playing is no different than from the Bush or Kerry camps, or Tom Ridge of Homeland Security, who can shake up a psychological earthquake just by changing a terror alert color.

When we take into consideration 2000, a vote for Nader will inevitably benefit Bush. Had it not been for Nader's 90,000+ votes in Florida last time around, there wouldn't even be an election dispute and Gore would have won, plus the fear generating about 2004 repating 2000 wouldn't occur this moment.

Here's one quotation I find laughable:

"Bush is not a historical aberration, nor is he a mad emperor. He did not, and could not have, accomplished any of his nefarious deeds without a huge degree of Democratic collaboration."

In case you have not noticed, 95% of Democratic delegates oppose the war. Even Kerry at least has the conscience to say this is the wrong war and, unlike Bush, has revealed a plan to pull us out in the next few years. And I don't know where that 90% figure came from, though that's certainly not true.

"Should the progressive vote for Nader indeed prove to be the decisive factor in this election (very unlikely to happen, but I can dream) the next four years might see some significant brakes being put on the Bush agenda. Democrats in Congress would see the writing on the wall, and realize that from now on, being a real opposition party will be a condition of keeping their jobs. Bush's next war resolution won't sail through nearly so easily. His next violation of our civil rights won't pass nearly-unanimously. His next grossly inflated military budget won't be rubber-stamped.

Compare this with the likely scenario if Kerry wins, with no more of a mandate from us than to be a
"better" version of Bush. The former scenario might actually be preferable."

So, in other words, you'd prefer another four years under Bush than under Kerry, when EVEN admitting Kerry may be a "better mandate"? Is that it?

"If they could tell me that Kerry had a real exit strategy from Iraq, and make me believe it, I'd grab that barf bag and vote for the guy."

He DOES have a strategy. And I've said it already twice before in this response.

"I have no good explanation for why so many good, smart people have fallen victim to the incoherent logic of "anybody but Bush." The best reason I can think of is that these are indeed very, very scary times, and fear makes people abandon reason."

But Nader gets the benefit of the doubt and has the right to "scare liberals"?

Sorry, this type of argument won't win liberals and progressives leaning Kerry over.

Nader has conceded himself he can't win this election. He's only going to get about 1% of the entire vote, well below his 2000 total, in an election year with much more participation and excitement than in 2000.

However, I do respect your voice and respect you for taking part in this endeavor of public discourse! :) Blessed be.

Sincerely,
Noah Eaton

Umm, 21.Oct.2004 11:37

some dumb kid

So you know, liz, voting for nader isn't going to put bush into office. Those voting bush are the only ones that can put bush into office. Those voting kerry can put kerry into office. Those voting Nader or Cobb can only put democracy in office. She isn't stealing a vote from Kerry, because she's using a vote that Kerry never had in the first place and never will have.

just cause 21.Oct.2004 11:38

tim

ralph nader is allowed to run and independence is an issue worth supporting but id like to explore another question with you. revolution. red emma might remind herself that the women need to take over the government. the need in america is to double the democracy and by electing woman and man equally politically and judicially. the supreme court in america is a vestige of the british-roman conquest as empire. it needs to become elected by the people and doubling democracy with woman elected equally into it, with daycare in all government buildings so woman can be materially elected equally with no gender punishment. electing one man and one woman per constituency was the british tribes practice before the roman slaveholders conquored the people. this is the functioning matriarchy and is natural to the living ecological green world. it is natures heredity and chromasomal law that woman make fifty-fity of the laws in a calendar year. it is not working that man the hunter rules the world as you well know. the denighal of woman her nurturing laws is litterally killing the species globally and america is not equipped with six-overkill hi-tech finger control of all life on earth. it is scary to think of that functioning america as the first trime on earth any government could destroy the earths livability six times over. if the women had it together they could walk into the government buildings and handcuff themseves to the speakers podium thusly refusing to leave and dewomaned their natural heredity rights to live as equals and bring back a beleivable natural world. even a mck parliament--woment. etc. in a word bring back matriarchy it is the harmony and balance ecologically to the species well-beingness

incorrect facts 21.Oct.2004 11:44

suffers fools

Regarding Kerry's history on issues like the environment, where he got the first-ever endorsement from the Sierra Club for any presidency since political conventions began, and a 93% grade from the League of Conservation Voters, that alone gives me reason why Kerry is better than Bush."

That alone makes me disregard your post, since I'm 100% sure Al Gore accepted the Sierra Club's endorsement in 2000.


"When we take into consideration 2000, a vote for Nader will inevitably benefit Bush. Had it not been for Nader's 90,000+ votes in Florida last time around, there wouldn't even be an election dispute and Gore would have won"

buh bye, Incorrecto Man

correction, we know exactly what Kerry is capable of 21.Oct.2004 11:45

independent

He's capable of whole-heartedly supporting Bush and the necon agenda.

Oh look, it's that elephant again.

"Perhaps, the truth is, those like yourself are the ones who have surrendered or abandoned the democratic process."

No, those who vote are participants. Those who attack others for their votes are undemocratic and have abandoned the democratic process.

"And what does scaring liberals amount to in the end"

It's not about scaring them, it's about not-cooperating with an undemocratic war party. Emma had it right, the Christian right knows how to do this. That's why they are effective. They don't choose the lesser of 2 evils.

"When we take into consideration 2000, a vote for Nader will inevitably benefit Bush."

Wrong again. When we take into account the 2000 election we know that Bush will steal the election, and do so quite easily because the democrats have spent 4 years legitimizing Bush's selection in 2000 and misdirecting their anger and refusing to learn the facts. If you wanted to see 2000 repeated, congratulations, democrats, you've succeeded. The election will be stolen and you'll happily blame Nader over Bush, just as you have the past 4 years. The republicans will be so pleased.

"In case you have not noticed, 95% of Democratic delegates oppose the war"

Yes, and yet they supported a pro-war candidate. The democrats in congress could have stopped any of Bush's policies but have gone along every single time. Do you Kerryheads deny this? Or is it just that you can't see it? Is it so damaging to you to admit that the democrats have supported every single 1 of Bush's policies. That Bush could have accomplished nothing without their support.

"He DOES have a strategy"

Yes, his strategy is a multilateral war to pacify the democrats. Sorry, I would rather work to stop a rape than a gang rape.

"Sorry, this type of argument won't win liberals and progressives leaning Kerry over."

It's not intended to. The Kerryites are beyond reason.

I'm sorry that you all will have to learn your lessons the hard way. You should have learned in 2000, or perhaps 1992 or during the Clinton years. Winning an election isn't difficult if you just pay attention. And the democrats are going to be only to happy to screw each of your ideals over. If Kerry wins, more people will die under his presidency than under Bush's. You may not mind that blood on your hands, but there are those of us who do.

Spot the spin... 21.Oct.2004 11:50

Tony Blair's dog

"Nader has conceded himself he can't win this election. He's only going to get about 1% of the entire vote, well below his 2000 total..."

Really...and you base that on what?

when will Kerry give back his republican money!!! 21.Oct.2004 11:51

ethical Kerry

Kerry has raised $535,000 from 4 of Bush's top 10 contributers. Clearly it would be unethical, dishonest, and immoral for Kerry to accept this money from Bush supporters. Where are Kerry's ethics!!!

4 years to learn from mistakes 21.Oct.2004 12:07

observer

And not a lesson has been learned nor an effective actions taken.

Last chance folks, if it's not already too late.

Gore's -16,000 votes in a county of 600 people will be nothing compared to what's coming this time around.

 http://www.gregpalast.com/bestdemocracymoneycanbuychapter1.pdf
 http://verifiedvoting.org/

Blaming Nader has always played into the hands of the republicans from election day 2000 until who knows when. Frankly, as a Kerry voter I'm starting to feel like the democrats deserve to lose for being so willfully ignorant and working to help the republicans both in their elections and their policies. The republicans would never make these kind of mistakes, they didn't go around blaming Perot in 1992 and look where they are today. Well, at the very least I can say that the republicans also deserve to lose for their harm they've brought to this country.

once again, the fundamental arrogance 21.Oct.2004 12:23

ex-democrat voter

The reason I've stopped voting for democrats besides their supporting policies I oppose and opposing policies I support is their fundamental arrogance in assuming they are entitled to people's votes. My voting regrets have all been voting for democrats, so now I will no longer do so. I will continue to assert that in a democracy, which I realize is dubious term for our country, a person owns their vote and no one is entitled to that vote. And I will continue to be attracted to those who actually want my vote rather than those who claim ownership or entitlement to my vote.

From Derrick Jensen (voting in a culture of occupation):

One of the things the Nazis did that was really brilliant is they would give the Jews what some of the Jews would call "brain busters." They would give them the choice "Are you going to have a red identity card or a blue identity card?" A lot of the Jews then spent a lot of time going "Oh, my gosh, um, am I going to have a better chance at surviving if I get the red one or the blue one?" Of course it didn't make any difference at all. But they didn't know that so they would spend all this time figuring out if they should register as a tinker or a shoe-maker. Once again it didn't matter in the slightest but they are spending all their energy doing that instead of spending their energy trying to bring down the whole system. That's sort of what our choices are reduced to. It's a brilliant strategy on the part of any oppressor. It's a classic tool of abusers - false choices. If you can get the abuse victim to participate in her or his own degradation then you've got them, and then you barely need to do anything.


ex-democrat voter 21.Oct.2004 12:59

Tony Blair's dog

You get +5 points for being insightful :-)

contrary to what the Kerry supporters assert 21.Oct.2004 13:37

paying attention

The 2000 election was in fact stolen using a wide variety of techniques, many of which have been revealed. Was it too much to ask for our representatives to address this? Will it be too much to ask again this year?

false dichotomies 21.Oct.2004 13:52

indy reader

People are always creating false dichotomies and then linking those dichotomies in ways that lead to a very inaccurate view of the world. Those who think that because people are anti-Bush they must be pro-Kerry; those who think because people show up at anti-war rallies that they are in fact anti-war.

An indymedia is not a site intended for democrats who protect imperialism. Indymedia was formed as a resistance to corporate dominance of media outlets and has its ideals in anti-corporatism, anti-imperialism, and anti-militarism which are in direct opposition to the ideals of the democrat and republican parties.

I'm sorry for those of you who were confused and thought that because their was anti-Bush sentiments here that the people utilizing this site would be welcoming of the imperialism and war ushered in under democratic administrations. You were wrong, and if you are looking for that sort of environment there are many places in which it can be found.

But if you stay I hope you wake-up to realize that Bush and Kerry are symptoms of the same disease. Do you want the sickness on the "right" or the sickness on the "left", to appropriate one more useless dichotomy.

Soros! Soros! Soros! 21.Oct.2004 14:03

Red neck

Why am I voting for Nader? Because Soros doesn't want me to.
How dare you MoveOn.com hacks spam a radical/progressive site, then claim you're being persecuted!
You pawns have totally co-opted this movement this year. Directed all its energy to 'your' goal.
I hate conspiracy theories and you don't need one for this conspiracy, it waltzed right in our front door.
Drop dead! You're our worse fucking enemy.

Theres always one...or a few 21.Oct.2004 14:33

Forge on for John

Ralph Nader has got some great ideas about what he thinks is good for our country. The big but here is that it is still a two party system on the hill and at the presidential level and if you're going to (realistically) work to better our situation in the worlds eye and at home, you want a candidate like John Kerry for president. Go ahead and vote your conscience, but if you want to help us right now, vote for a war hero who came home to tell the truth, a hard working Senator and a candidate with a plan, John Kerry.

Is a Nader vote counted for Nader? 21.Oct.2004 14:33

Independent voter

I haven't had time to read all the comments so if this info has already been posted I apologize. I was told by Secretary of State Bill Bradley that a write in vote is not counted as a vote for the name you write in. It is only counted as a vote for "other" unless there are as many votes for that name as there are for a candidate who's name is on the ballot. At that point the write in votes are counted for that individual. You can call Salem 503-986-1518 to verify this info.

oldster's bad metaphor 21.Oct.2004 14:33

alsis38 alsis35@yahoo.com

"...'The only way to get someone's negative behavior to change is to make sure they experience negative consequences for it.' Actually, as a parent, a teacher, and a student of psychology, I'd suggest that this claim is exactly opposite the real truth. Positive reinforcement, modeling of good behaviors, and leading by example are far more effective ways to get negative behaviors to change than negative consequences..."

Well, following this theory, I invite the Democratic Party to spend the next four years treating my issues like they're worth being addressed. With such "positive behavior," rather than the shit Kerry and his friends are ladling out right now, I'm sure I could be inspired to return to the fold. Yeah, like any of those DLC shits would turn his or her head to spit on me if I were on fire. [rolleyes] I think it would also be nice if they spent less time trotting out medals they got killing innocent people and less time screwing interns. That would be some "good behavior modelling" for sure.

"...A quick look at the recidivism rates in the jail system will prove that negative consequences seldom change behavior. Punishment -- and despite her disclaimers, I think she is describing a philosophy of punishment by voting-- is a remarkably ineffective way to change behaviors, and even more so in the political realms of public debate than the family situations she uses in her analogy..."

I wasn't aware that my sole motivation for voting neither Kerry nor Bush needed to be "a form of punishment." That certainly wasn't Emma's sole point, was it ? Regardless, you're treading into dangerous metaphorical ground bringing up the prison system. It's one of the major arenas in which Kerry and his ilk eagerly ape the Repugs, for starters. Furthermore, it's a failed metaphor because you seem to imply that Emma has some kind of power-over relationship with the two major parties. That is, she is the jailer and they are the prisoners, which is absurd. So, no. It's a lousy metaphor and I'm not gonna' legitimize it by attempting to discuss it further.

"...There is in my reading an authoritarian tone to this so-called strategy, not to mention a divisive, past-focused tone, as opposed to a coalition-building, forward-looking strategy. Based on false premises and demonstrably negative results (as in the last four years, two wars, loss of civil liberties, environmental quality, and international alliances), the "vote Nader to punish the Democrats" logic fails to persuade me..."

Again, you seem to imply that it is Nader voters who had all of (or most of) the power in the stolen election and the subsequent four years, and thus it is our fault because we failed to reach out, to build a bridge, to reconcile, etc etc. That's a rather arrogant assumption on your part. I, for one, was a loyal Democrat for almost 20 years. I even re-registered as a Democrat this year to vote for Kucinich in some kind of dumbshit hope that he'd be able to exert some influence on Kerry. I even stupidly gave that fuckhead Bradbury some money for his last campaign in 2002, egged on by MoveOn and The Nation's moronic attempt to build him into some Great White Lefty Hope. He repaid my "conciliation" by manipulating the court system to throw my chosen Presidential candidate off the ballot.

Fuck. Yeah, I'M the "authoritarian" here. Get a fucking clue, oldster.

Know what, Oldster ? I'm sick of always being the one who has to reach out to and reconcile with some bunch of overprivileged shitheads who could barely disguise their unbridled contempt for me even when I was rubber-stamping every one of their fucking candidates. Furthermore, I don't understand what, apart from the empty promise that "he's not [literally] Bush" people like Benjamin, Solomon, Moore, etc have gotten for their "conciliation" efforts... such as they are. Hell, they didn't even meet with Kerry. They didn't even ask Kerry for a fucking thing, and if they had, he doubtless would have shown them the same thinly-veiled contempt he'd show me if I were stupid/lucky enough to burst in on one of those fucking minuets disguised as "televised debates" and get a question through that his handlers hadn't chewed over and predigested for him first.

You know, a question like,

"Gee, Senator Kerry. You've been swimming in money for longer than I've been alive, yet I'm still paying for your gold-star healthcare out of my own pocket. You and your supposed bad-assed terrorist-stompin' buddies all wilt like broiled violets at the dreaded phrase 'socialized medicine.' Yet *I* socialize *YOUR* medicine. If I got tossed off my job tomorrow, I'd be struggling to pay $400 a month for COBRA just to keep my chronic conditions "not-pre-existing" --such an onerous bit of free-market doublespeak there-- and I'd STILL be paying Unemployment taxes to fund *YOUR* healthcare. If you want my vote, why don't you give me the single-payer healthcare outlined in Nader's platform ? Or at least volunteer to pay for your entire fucking healthcare out of your own pocket, you selfish, spoiled Yuppie prick !! I've got enough shit to deal with without carrying YOUR healthcare on MY fucking back, Asshole !"

I don't for the life of me understand why people like Moore, et al have caved and sold themselves out for basically nothing. Without even asking for anything. Hell, even Kucinich asked, for all the good it did him. Are they afraid that if Bush wins, he'll scoop them all up and send them to Guantanamo ? Possibly it's a legitimate fear (though Kerry bragged about co-authoring the Patriot Act and voted for it too, so how broad-minded about their views would he be in the Oval Office, anyway), but if that's what's really frightening them, they ought to cop to it. A little honesty in this siutation would be a breath of fresh air, that's for damn sure. Besides, I think us anonymous folk at the street level would be "disappeared" a lot more easily than the bigwigs would be. Nobody would notice that we were gone. Plus, we can't afford rich lawyers. :p

hilarious 21.Oct.2004 14:57

cynic

So, the democrats are spending their time pleading with people to vote for Kerry, or perhaps more accurately, trying to insult people into voting for Kerry (there's an effective tactic, lol). Meanwhile, the republicans are busy making sure votes for Kerry aren't being counted. Gee, I wonder which strategy is going to be most effective. lmao.

quick note to Alsis 21.Oct.2004 15:20

oldster in the street

I guess I should try to use the word fuck a lot to respond in kind to your message, but it's fuckin' out of character for me. A couple points.

You write "Yeah, I'M the "authoritarian" here. Get a fucking clue, oldster." My point was that the entire "punish to change behavior" philosophy that seems to lie at the heart of Juergens' argument is authoritarian. It is, in fact (a little Foucault for light reading here) the basis of the entire authoritarian philosophy at the heart of our discipline and punish system. If you believe that the best way to get other people to do what you want is to punish them, as Juergens states in her article, then, yep, you're authoritarian in my book. In my conversations with Dave DeRosa from Nader's staff in the 2000 campaign, it became clear to me then, as it is now, that "punishing the Democrats" was in fact the primary goal of Nader's efforts. Yep, that's authoritarian and, I'm suggesting, ineffective.


Then you say, "I don't for the life of me understand why people like Moore, et al have caved and sold themselves out for basically nothing." I'd encourage you to think a little more about the reasons Michael Moore, Noam Chomsky, Utah Phillips, Winona laDuke, and innumerable others are coming out for Kerry this time. Perhaps, as you suggest, all those previously brilliant minds have "caved and sold out" where you, in your greater powers of reasoning, remain able to see the truth and stay strong to your principles. Or maybe, just maybe, they have all seen in George Bush a greater danger to our way of life, and our efforts to make a better world than any we have confronted in my lifetime, or, as Howard Zinn has said, in his, which is even longer than mine. If you can't understand their reasons, maybe you shouldn't reject them so quickly. For me, it's pretty easy to understand their reasoning, and I also agree with it.

Thanks for the response.

uh, read the constitution in context yo . . . 21.Oct.2004 15:31

notquick

the context is wealthy aristocrats and every event you ever had as it was before you applied a story to it.
havent read everything here yet, wanted to point out:

one party, good cop bad cop system where the people depend on the existence of corporations for their basic survival. this is the reality. for everyone. the inability of some other political party to offer people survival is at the root of why the demreps have power and the other, and potential second parties have very little.

democracy comes from action, not from voting by itself. voting is a mechanism for polling the people about what form of control they will stomach. it is an aristocratic guidepost. there are only two (very shitty) options here: Kerry, or Bush. Now which one offers more space to make the changes that need to be made? No government will ever end its own existence, the dems nor the reps will ever free us from corporate bondage.

voting is powerful in one way and isnt in others: it is a whip to keep the tiger at bay while you work to break down the wall that traps you with the tiger, and traps the tiger with you as its only food. the whip is not a tool to break down the wall however, in fact trying to use the whip on the wall is less productive than some not-using the whip activity. failing to use the whip at all means preoccupation with the tiger and distraction from the walls. vote to affect the relative ease of your real work.

a viable alternative to corporate powered, starvation driven politics? second party needs to nurture a new food system: farm the cities, give the people free food and control over its production. until then they will not be free to choose anything but corporatism. There are other steps too, but none are relevant while the people are still enslaved and depend on their continued enslavement for their survival.

So long as you choose a reality in which there is not a one party, corporate-survival system, you are unable to choose escaping the one party corporate-survival system that is your reality. Lame choice, but as long as you refuse it you cant move on to make any active choices.

hope peace

Then Get A Dictionary... 21.Oct.2004 15:39

alsis38 alsis35@yahoo.com

...and look up the meaning of the word, oldster. Because I have no trouble figuring out who's the "authoritarian" in this discussion: Kerry or Red Emma. It's pretty obvious to me that it's the former. You might just as well state that when a beaten animal backed into a corner bites its attacker in a desperate attempt to escape, that it's behaving in an "authoritarian" manner. Absurd.

PoMo makes me break out in a rash.

And saying "fuck" when I'm mad has proven to be much healthier for me than taking a slug of bourbon every time I'm mad. Plus, it's a lot easier to find the keyboard this way. If that offends you, too bad.

I've read the explanations of people like Moore, thanks. I've had them coming out my ears now for what is probably about six months but feels more like six years. Nice of you to follow in the footsteps of others supporting Kerry though and to ASSume that I simply make statements about people without reading up on them.

"...If you can't understand their reasons, maybe you shouldn't reject them so quickly..."

Thanks for the put-down. Positively Orwellian in its simple beauty. I give it a 5.9.

relative ease 21.Oct.2004 15:49

reader

>> vote to affect the relative ease of your real work.

If I were going to do that I'd vote for Bush, but morally I cannot do that anymore than I could vote for Kerry. But it is true that it has been easier to educate people and get them mobilized under the Bush administration than under the Clinton administration. Of that there can be no doubt.

>> Lame choice, but as long as you refuse it you cant move on to make any active choices.

No, that is a false choice, and if you embrace it you rob yourself from the very real choices that are present. From above:

"It's a brilliant strategy on the part of any oppressor. It's a classic tool of abusers - false choices. If you can get the abuse victim to participate in her or his own degradation then you've got them, and then you barely need to do anything."

I make plenty of active choices. I make sure that each day the world has been made better by my actions. I have nothing to "move on" from. It is all a continuous process. Don't waste your time, do something positive today.

Michael Moore 21.Oct.2004 16:32

Paul

I like how Michael Moore put it in his speech at PSU Tues. He said he voted for Nader in 2000 too.
"I went into the voting booth and drew the curtains and it was just Ralph and me. I checked Ralph and it felt SOOO GOOOOOOOD AHHHHH. It felt so pure. 5 minutes of pure bliss. AHHHH! I felt soo god. .But thats all about ME ME ME ME. Meanwhile people like Eric's brother are DYING in Iraq. Single mothers are going hungry here in the US.So its not just about YOU. ............"

one thing to remember 21.Oct.2004 16:38

pay attention

About the celebrities endorsing Kerry is that none of them are going to suffer under Kerry's administration. It will be the poor and working class who suffer, and the people of other countries, just as they will under Bush. Either way we'll see the defense of these attacks from the corporate party partisans. Remember the democrats lining up to support "welfare reform" and Clinton's dozens of military "interventions". It's no different than the republicans supporting Bush's tax cuts and the wars on "terrorism". Partisan politics makes fools and hypocrites of all its participants.

Moore should know better 21.Oct.2004 16:46

reader

I can forgive him but he forgets that single mothers (who were particularly targeted by welfare reform) are starving in this country because of the democrats. Nor would any human being find it preferable for the US to have continued killing 7500 Iraqi's every month as it did during the Clinton years. Frankly, I prefer the war; at least now the Iraqi's can fight back. When they were just being killed by a trade embargo they had no recourse; now they do, and they're going to keep using it until the US is forced to withdraw.

Maybe Moore, being a spiritual person, should consider that he felt good voting for Nader because his soul knew it was the right thing to do. Will he feel as good voting for Kerry? Well, let's hope he can be honest with himself. It's funny how Moore was so anti-Kerry during the primaries; when he spoke in Portland he promised he would never support Kerry, Edwards, Gephardt, or Lieberman because they supported the war. Well, people are free to change their minds; but they might find their minds change back on them again when they gain some perspective on the issues.

I was there too, "Paul" 21.Oct.2004 16:53

oregon voter

and had already cast my vote for Nader/Camejo at the time of Moore's rally speech.

I also don't have a problem with advocating an en-masse, 'eject Bush' vote, which is a good strategy for someone with Mike's position in the media establishment / grid. (the slippery slope of how relatively 'bad' or 'good' Kerry/Edwards is, is totally hypothetical at this point and another thing altogether . . . unknowable until they were to be in office a few years)

but two flaws in Mike's reasoning are:

1. were Nader votes the actual cause of Bush's appointment by SCOTUS to the White House in Dec. 2000?

2. would, hypothetically, Nader votes 'diverted from' [hypothetically progressive - or not] likely Kerry voters cause Kerry/Edwards to lose the electoral vote to Bush/Cheney this coming Nov. 2, 2004?

3. what about anti-Bush Republicans who are voting Badnarik [Libertarian] or Nader?

see my above-posted comment for the hard numbers of 2000 -

 http://portland.indymedia.org/en/2004/10/300460.shtml#147518

http://www.electoral-vote.com/
Electoral Vote Predictor 2004: Kerry 271 Bush 257

re Michael Moore 21.Oct.2004 17:00

nader fan

and kerry is going to liberate Eric's dying brother in Iraq and properly care for single moms and their kids in the U.S. Damn, I need to change my vote if that's the case.

Write In Nader ... The W.I.N. Campaign 21.Oct.2004 17:31

Rosemarie Jackowski

Write In Nader ... The W.I.N. Campaign
By Rosemarie Jackowski

In spite of rumors to the contrary, Democracy is not dead yet. There is still a glimmer of hope. Spread the word, make yard signs, write letters to the editor, tell all your friends. Get the message on every blog site. We are taking our country back. Who are we? We are the vast majority of voters. We are the ones who say, "None of the above," on Election Day. We are the ones who will write in "NADER".

Even after a campaign of dirty tricks by the Democrats, a series of almost fatal blows to democracy by the Republicans, the disappearance of the last investigative journalist in the mainstream media, and a conspiracy to silence Third Parties and Independents by the Commission on Presidential Debates, guess what. We are still here. We are not only still here, but on November 2nd we will prove that the pen is mightier than the sword.

This time Nader will get enough votes to affect the outcome of the election. The WIN CAMPAIGN will change the course of history. In states where "NADER" does not appear on the ballot, there will be a campaign to write him in. This is strictly a grassroots movement. The official Nader campaign has not yet endorsed it.

There will be weeping and wailing about this campaign from the Republicrats. The Republican Party has the most to fear, because the Nader platform is a direct assault on most Republican policies. The Republicans should have foreseen this before they followed their leader into the quagmire. The Democrats should have foreseen this before they followed the Republicans into the quagmire.

And just for the record, the WIN CAMPAIGN was inspired by the Democratic platform committee. Remember, the DPC refused to include in the platform a statement that the invasion of Iraq was a "mistake". That is the moment when the Democratic Party lost its Base. For many, that was the last straw. No one who opposes war can, with a clear conscience, vote for Kerry. The ABB voters should examine their consciences before they go into the voting booth.

The strongest argument in support of Nader is his platform. The way to convince undecided voters is to show them all three platforms (Nader, Democratic, and Republican) with the names omitted. The Nader platform wins almost every time. If voters were voting on platform issues only, Nader would win in a landslide.

Think about it. What is the percentage of votes needed to make an impression in Washington? In this election, 3 or 4 percent might be the magic number. There is growing support from Independents, Greens, Libertarians, Reformers, and Socialists. They will join with disenfranchised Democrats and Republicans to create a perfect storm of dissent on Election Day.

If everyone, who is not satisfied with either Bush or Kerry, gets 10 or 12 voters to write in NADER, we will reach our goal. The goal is to "win" the election, but not necessarily in the usual sense of the word. The objective is to bring fundamental change to the political and economic systems. This goal is much more important than winning just one election. The goal is to change the course of history. This is the only way to stop pre-emptive wars, to bring a single-payer health care system to all, to bring a livable wage to all workers, and to protect the environment. This is the only way to end corporate rule. If there is another way, let's hear about it.

It is more important now, than at any other time in recent history, to show the Washington elite that the citizens have a voice. We will not allow our country to be controlled by corporations and unelected Washington think tanks any longer.

Don't throw your vote away. A vote for Nader is a vote for change. A vote for either Bush or Kerry is a vote "to stay the course." We might not get the president of our choice this time, but if our votes change the course of history, we will get the president of our choice next time, and then WE ALL WIN.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Rosemarie Jackowski is a free-lance advocacy journalist, living in Bennington, Vermont. She was arrested on March 20, 2003 in a peaceful protest against the U.S. invasion of Iraq. She is currently awaiting trial with the possibility of a prison sentence. She can be reached at  dissent@sover.net.

We are not alone! 21.Oct.2004 17:32

Paladin paladin@dmci.net

Thanks for the great essay, Red Emma!

I think it's critically important to let other Nader supporters know that they are not alone. You certainly wouldn't know it from the media coverage of his campaign. The voices of those who have abandoned the struggle are legion, and they saturate the so-called "progressive" media. And the mainstream television media either ignores Ralph Nader's candidacy altogether or simply regurgitates the DNC's propaganda pieces about Republican "financing."

But there are many of us who haven't yet succumbed to the fear-induced tunnel vision of the ABB crowd. You may not hear our voices or read or words, but it's not because we haven't tried to be heard. For example, I and others have sent a number of letters to both our major newspapers here in Michigan, the Detroit Free Press and the Detroit News, in response to their steady diet of opinion pieces from Kerry apologists and Nader-bashers. They choose not to print them, for whatever reason, though I have my suspicions.

There are many of us who still understand that the political reality, which ABB'ers are always demanding we recognize and accept, is what we choose to make it. Ralph Nader knows this and, thanks to him, it's now clearer than ever to me as well. His courageous and steadfast efforts, even in the face of constant villification by former friends and allies, have provided an inspiration to me. They've reaffirmed my belief in the power of one person to change the world, and have renewed my faith in democracy. For that, whatever else happens, I am forever in his debt.

I hope this isn't a breach of Indymedia protocol, but I'd like to list the url's of a few other locations on the web where voices of vision and reason can still be seen and heard:

Counterpunch:  http://www.counterpunch.org/

Press Action:  http://www.pressaction.com/news

Dissident Voice:  http://www.dissidentvoice.org/

And, last but not least, the fabulous

Mickey Z:  http://mickeyz.net/

In closing, I'd like to offer a few words of wisdom from Margaret Mead: "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has."

Keep up the good fight!

of course Kerry is going to help Eric's brother 21.Oct.2004 17:38

cynic

We all know that nothing discourages a resistance movement as much as sending more troops, just ask the British or the French or the Russians. Or, perhaps Kerry just figures with more troops (read: targets) in Iraq the odds of any particular indiviudal being maimed or killed will lessen.

I'm not sure about the feeding the single mother's thing though. Unless he's got some secret Soylent Green plan for the dead in Iraq... Now that's a platform I could support.

Michael Moore 21.Oct.2004 17:56

Paul

Another thing that Moore said Tuesday to Naderites at PSU. "They (GOP) say that Kerry is the most liberal Senator in Congrees. Well THAT'S BECAUSE HE IS! What more do you WANT???? In fact the entire Dem party has moved farther to the left. Lieberman and centrist Democrats like him are out of it this year."
In fact I think Kerry has little chance of winning now anyway. The Bush machine has successfully labelled him an evil liberal and apparently its working. So go ahead and vote for your Nader. But if its close like last time youy''l only havre your own but to kick for the next 4 years.

"In fact I think Kerry has little chance of winning now anyway." 21.Oct.2004 18:16

oregon voter

hey Paul,

lighten up a little now, willya?

it may not be the end of the world, bro.

check out these articles (the PDX IMC urls below also link to external references):

Election Rides on the 917 Vote [MUST READ]
 http://portland.indymedia.org/en/2004/10/300519.shtml

A Kerry Landslide?
Why the next election won't be close.
 http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/features/2004/0405.todd.html

Kerry/Edwards To Win In Landslide
 http://portland.indymedia.org/en/2004/10/300396.shtml

Voter dissatisfaction indicates it won't be close
Bogus polls mask landslide in the making
 http://portland.indymedia.org/en/2004/10/300120.shtml

http://www.electoral-vote.com/
Electoral Vote Predictor 2004: Kerry 271 Bush 257

oh come on paul 21.Oct.2004 18:17

beLIEve

there is a big Lie in the word believe and we musn't believe all that we hear as truth. have you been listenin man? bush never won the election in the first place, gore won. and nader had/has nothing to do with that anyway.

Oh, Puh-lease ! 21.Oct.2004 19:54

alsis38 alsis35@yahoo.com

If Kerry can be demonstrably shown by his voting record to be the most liberal member of Congress at the moment, perhaps it's time to chuck the term "liberal" in the trashcan once and for all. Clearly it has lost whatever meaning it might have had forty or fifty years ago.

Sounds to me like Moore is talking out his ass. Of course, I kind of gave up on him when he was drooling all over Wesley Clarke earlier this year. I think he's been infected with the post-911 "machismo-chic," and I think an alarming number of liberals and Lefties have as well. It's truly creepy to watch them all drooling over guys like Kerry, who --hello !-- did some pretty heinous stuff in Vietnam. Weren't we all supposed to learn something from Vietnam that would preclude us from creating it all over again ? Kerry sure as fuck hasn't learned jack-shit. He dines out on his activist past and the Moores of the world just melt like butter. But when you look at his subsequent record, it's obvious that his protest phase was just one more fashion statement, one more pose, one more chance to climb to noteriety on the bodies and backs of others. Blecch.

The poor third of America 21.Oct.2004 22:47

George Bender

"I heard an earlier argument from someone saying that a third of Americans are below the average income."

No, what Nader has been saying is that a third of American workers are poor, because they make less than a living wage, which Nader defines as $10 an hour. These are the people, and I'm one of them, who have no representation in American politics. Kerry and the Democrats are too busy pandering to the middle class.

Kathleen, excellent writing. Thanks for saying it all so well.

To answer the question above about write-in votes in Oregon, you got it right. Nader write-ins will not be counted as such. We'll just get a total, after the election, of all write-in votes for anyone. I think it will be obvious, though, that most of them are for Nader. In any case, for all the good reasons given above, I wrote-in Nader. And I didn't vote for any Democrats. They've burned their bridges behind them as far as the left is concerned.

I still appreciate Michael Moore's films, but he should stay out of electoral politics, because he just doesn't get it.


Stop calling it ABB when it aint. 22.Oct.2004 12:20

notquick

stop lumping arguments about how who is in power effects how easy it is to do the things needed to be done in with the liberal ABB arguments. the point im trying to make is that the only choice, the actual outcomes, are either Bush or Kerry. can i choose to disapear in a cloud of smoke? its questionable whether i can actually _choose_ that cause it seems a rather unlikely reality, while staying in the room or walking out the door are actual outcomes that i could expect to occur when i choose them. Im sorry, the constitution includes popular vote not so we decide the issues, but so our rulers have a guide so they can better avoid their popular overthrow. The document is written to systematically insulate the government from the "stupid masses" as much as possible, leaving most power with the aristocracy and giving just enough to the people to pacify them. (like racism, sexism, the bourgeoisie) Voting Nader is a wonderful happy delusion, and i plan to work to make a second party a more realistic choice in the future, but right now Nader becoming president in JAnuary 2005 is about as likely as me disappearing in a cloud of smoke.

Please, i absolutely support the idea of something besides aristocratic-corporate-hunger-slavery system we live in now. i want this society to be something different, but voting is an integral part of the maintenance of this system, so it wont ever be used to change the system fundamentally. Affect the system, yes, transform or change it, no. Now im sure many of you will and already have voted for Nader or whoever, but lets start talking about what needs to be done, on the street, you know, the other 2,100,000 minutes every four years when voting is irrelevant cause its not happening. I published an invitation to that discussion today.

in response to the comment that education was much more successful under bush than clinton may be true, but its not so simple as you make it, that somehow education is intrinsically easier under republicans. its easier cause theres more blatant stuff out there that does get talked about and then, THEN, linked to the older, important stuff we were talking about under clinton. a war is not a price i will ever advocate paying in order to get a podium for other issues. Make our battle more difficult in order to get more support? the cries of glory hungry would be martyrs irresponsibly embroiling others in the massage of their own ego.

More to the point however, there is inevitably more education over time, another four years of the stuff we were talking about under clinton, it is in much thanks to the communication under clinton that there are more people in 2000 than 1992 who were out there talking, education is not steady rate, it is exponential, cause each person you talk to becomes another you, talking to someone else. None of this to de emphasize the incredible negative impact of Fox news et al. But then, isnt Fox "news" an argument against the ease of education over the last four years? its easier to educate blind conservative fanatics than regular, less propagandaed conservatives? hmmmm.

also alot of shit has happened in the last four years, nothing to do with bush, the conclusion of bigger wheels. the collapse of argentinas economy, whats happening in Mandragon, Venezuela, India, the forests, hell everywhere this movement is alive and growing. The real events have done much to increase resistance to the status quo. Bush's actions, actions i think we can count on him to continue, have occupied this movements time and energy these last four years, a diversion away from other work, where would the movement be if we werent focussing so much energy on the wars overseas, and the reved up political repression at home? The movement would be smaller today than in 2000 if Gore had been in office? i dont see it, personally.

and yes, punishment is predicated on power over, ie hierarchy / authority, thus punishment is an authoritarian tool. please clearly explain how punishment can happen without using power over before denying your authoritarian characteristics. (theyre not bad, weve all got them weve been raised in and therefore mentally colonized by authoritarian society, and recognizing that doesnt automatically rid you of that colonization, indeed, thats why we call them blind spots.)

peace hope

Vote for ANY 3rd Party You Believe In 22.Oct.2004 15:08

@

On any given election, the 50% of registered voters who normally don't vote can show up and deliver a victory to ANY 3rd party candidate. Don't be bullied into thinking a vote cast for 3rd parties is a wasted one.

Liz and Oldster are correct 23.Oct.2004 13:18

Anarchy-nonymous

First of all, I respect all the positions cited by Nader supporters. I personally think Nader's position are largely a ruse, but I'm not going to debate that here.

My response to Red Emma is to just look at the numbers. The "swing voters" of America are the political center. They don't want to read the newspaper, they just want to watch Headline News, believe it, and go shopping or skiing or take the kids to Disneyland. They want to think of themselves as American Good-Guys and feel that US troops are Peace Keepers and safe in foreign lands. For them, the debate is shaped by that 30 minutes of TV news and the front page of the local, corporate newspaper. Galbraith wrote an excellent book about how this kind of shaping of behavior occurs in 1989 called "The Politics of Contentment."

So Nader voters, Chomsky readers, Democracy Now viewers, etc. number a few million voters. The above described "swing voters" or "political middle" are tens of millions. They live between the Evangelical radicals and racists, and people like us. Do the math. The strategy of witholding what may amount to 1-5% of the vote isn't going to change that dynamic.

However, if Nader were to throw his support to Kerry in return for progressive cabinet positions and an influence on policy, that would shift the dynamic. Betrayal of those positions on the part of Kerry could lead to major criticism from within his own cabinet and weild the sword of progressive backlash much more influentially.

The other problem with Red Emma's strategy is that it assumes that by spoiling the election in 2004, if progressive abandonment of Kerry would do that, we could come back in relatively the same position we are in now politically, economically, internationally, militarily, etc., in 2008. However, if you look at how far the liberal cause has been eroded in the last four years of Bush and Nixonian ghouls, it would be highly unlikely that would be the case. What have we got in the last four years? The Help America Vote Act, the PATRIOT Act, a war which neocons like Paul Wolfowitz gleefully project may last for "decades", the worst intelligence "failure" in US history, another Vietnam situation with another brutal dictator (ala Pres Diem) installed as the bringer of "democracy." We also have a cabal of Cabinet officials who authored the Plan For a New American Century, which wishfully wrote of "another Pearl Harbor" to mobilize American public opinion to war.

Without debating who voted for what, because there's an awful that goes on behind the scenes and inside the line items of every bill that reaches the House or Senate, I don't think that an Al Gore cabinet would have been filled with the authors of the PNAC and conveniently ignored Presidential Daily Briefings that read "Bin Laden Determined To Attack In The US" to make their PNAC fairy tale come true. I don't think Gore would have started planning for a war in Iraq from his first days in office. I don't think he would have repealed the roadless rules for our National Forests. And, had Nader negotiated his support to Gore, our Attorney General or Director of HUD or the EPA might be named Ralph Nader.

Yeah, you guys have a great strategy. Tell me how you're going to get rid of all the young, radical right wing Supreme Court justices we might have after another four years of Bush?



For these people, the battle

You're A Broken Record, Arch 23.Oct.2004 13:31

alsis38 alsis35@yahoo.com

Sounds like someone pulled the plug on your endless revolvling in circles... and right in mid-sentence there. Tsk. Such a shame. Not.

I'm not going to waste any more time trying to respond to you in detail, as you never address people's responses. How many times now, for instance, have you chided Nader for not striking some kind of bargain with Kerry, while ignoring the fact that Kerry is not interested in bargaining with Nader or anyone else that might endanger the DLC's precious flow of corporate money. Furthermore, why should Nader trust the rest of Kerry's cabinet to somehow "police" Kerry if he broke his promises and tore out Nader's teeth (in the grand Clinton tradition re: Wright-Edelman and Reich). The people who would make up the rest of Kerry's cabinet are as intent on trashing Nader right now as you are. Yeah, why not ask a chicken to go live in a weasels' den for a week ? You know, just so the chicken could prove to you how broad-minded and "willing to bargain" it is.

Others here have provided links pointing out that there's far more nuance to the Supreme Court issue than people like you are willing to acknowledge. I would doubt seriously that you have read one of these links and that you ever will. After all, you know books and the New York Times, so the rest of us are just some bunch of ignoramouses.

Why not save everyone, including yourself, some time and energy and go huddle with your own ? You'll be happier, and so will the rest of us.

As Bender would say, see you in hell.

Dear 'alsis38' 23.Oct.2004 15:25

Kush/Berry in 2004!!!

Thank you for your heroic efforts in attempting to educate 'Anarchy-nonymous'. I am afraid that this person lacks the ability to reason, or to employ logic while attempting to examine our present predicament. The faith-based 'hoping' strategy of the Kerry apologists has demonstrated clearly that the Republicans are not the only party that can capitalize on fear, ignorance, and hatred. They clearly know better than we do that Kerry's future actions will be other than what he has promised, and other than what his previous actions have clearly shown.

The policies of Bush/Kerry are on course to hand the United States the most spectacular military defeat in our nation's history, as well as send our economy into a devastating collapse. 'Anarchy-nonymous' and their fellow ABB pudding heads will be able to claim a share of credit for that achievement.

To Kathleen, thank you for taking the time to compose that piece. That was exceptional!

P.S.-- Archy 23.Oct.2004 16:50

alsis38 alsis35@yahoo.com

Clinton's treatment of the most liberal members of his own cabinet-- and his deliberate undermining of their policies is a matter of record. You just need to dig around on sites like Counterpunch or read Robert Reich's own writings to find about it. Or just keep babbling about how I'm a conspiracy nut if that really makes you feel better. It's all the same to me. I was not referring to people like Palast and the others you've cited here. I was referring to the powerbrokers in the DLC. There is nothing theoretical about the DLC. They are a real-life organization with their own website and their determination of the last several Presidential candidates and of the DP's platform is also a matter of record. Oh, but I'm sorry, that's all just another blade on the grassy knoll to you. Whatever.

P.S-- T.Rex. You can trot out the names of celebrties until you're blue in the face. Regardless of which asshole's tax cuts are in effect, those people make more money in a year than I'm liable to see in my entire life. So kindly excuse me if I don't feel like throwing my own beliefs and opinions out the door just because they think I should. High School has been over for a long time now, TRex. I don't have to kiss the popular kids' asses if I don't want to. And I don't want to.

choose to see today that which you couldn't see yesterday 24.Oct.2004 03:13

quick

"The movement would be smaller today than in 2000 if Gore had been in office? i dont see it, personally."

Yes, the "movement" would have been much smaller. Perhaps you didn't have the experience of trying to fight Clinton's warmongering but let me assure you it was much more difficult to get people into the streets than it has been under Bush II. Perhaps it is wrong to say it has been easier to educate people because true education requires critical thinking. It might be more accurate to say it has been much easier to get people to listen to and parrot information under Bush II. Look at "The Patriot Act" and it's negative connotation; yet how many democrats will show up to oppose the PJTTF? How many oppose the Homeland Security Act, or the Anti-Terrorism Act? How many have just latched onto the rhetoric. But even that is better than what we had under Clinton. No one spoke out against the Anti-Terrorism act and yet it was no different than the Patriot Act; both were passed immediately following "attacks" on this country and could not have been passed under any other circumstances. Both gave unprecedented powers to the police and helped bring about the police state (surveillance and harassment) that we see today.

"the only choice, the actual outcomes, are either Bush or Kerry"

Outcomes do not determine choices; it is the other way around. We have many choices, do not be fooled into thinking otherwise.

"voting is an integral part of the maintenance of this system, so it wont ever be used to change the system fundamentally"

Indeed, so why waste so much time discussing it, as you do? If you want change, there are many more important and effective ways to spend your time.

For all those who accuse Emma of "punishing" here was her statement:
"Not "punishment," but the natural consequence that the misbehaver has brought upon him or herself, as the Democrats will have brought it upon themselves if they lose this election."

She is correct, the Christian Right knows not to vote for those who do not agree with them, and look how successful they're small numbers have been in the past decade. Is there not something to learn fro m those who are being effective? I think there is.

Yeah, but Quick 24.Oct.2004 09:23

Anarchy-nonymous

The Christian Right has been successful, but they first infiltrated the Republican Party and took control of it over a period of about 8-12 years. They didn't mind Bush's moderate, centrist talk in the 2000 election, because they knew it was all BS just to win power. Then once they got him in power, they made sure he adhered to their little Evangelical jihad. They didn't try to take control of policy as a third party.

And I totally agree with you about how hard it was to get people motivated under Clinton. Unfortunately, the Left (particularly the very young who didn't remember the Reagan/Bush war on the poor) just becomes complacent when Dems are in office, because you don't have the blatant assault on civil liberties that you do under modern Republicans. As people like Amy Goodman have suggested, once we get Bush out of office, that's just the first step. We need to keep up the pressure.

The Trouble Is.. 24.Oct.2004 12:43

alsis38 alsis35@yahoo.com

...the ideals of the Christian Right dovetail beautifully with the love of most Republicans and Democrats in power for warmed-over Social Darwinism. Leftist ideals do not. :( If you cannot persuade the people in power that Progressive ideals serve their interests, you will get nowhere. And it is impossible to demonstrate the Progressive ideals serve the interests of men like Kerry --beyond the boost they give him in an election, of course-- because men like this do not think of the common good at all. They think of their personal good first, and they cringe and cower the minute anyone mentions the word, "Socialism."

I'm afraid that movements like The Rainbow Coalition really have demonstrated already that the Democratic Party is not a compatible medium for growing a Leftist movement. You simply can't hope to grow anything of substance in an environment so openly hostile to its ideals. You have to start off with having someplace else to go when they betray you and break their promises. Otherwise it all amounts to them humoring you and reeling out the leash a pre-determined distance, as they did Dean and Kucinich, with the knowledge that they can do anything they want to you and you'll still cleave to them once crunch time comes around. The guy in the other party will always be more threatening, even if your guy is still pretty much an asshole and a user. Don't think this relationship has evolved by accident. It has evolved because it works beautifully for both Democrats and Republicans at the top of the heap.

strange reading of history 25.Oct.2004 13:34

quick

"you don't have the blatant assault on civil liberties that you do under modern Republicans"

Apparently you, like most democrats, don't remember the Anti-terrorism Act. That was the assault on civil liberties, unprecedented at that point. We lost more of our liberties then than we have since. It is a mistake to see the democrats as benign. They have been actively working against the poor and working class, progressives, and anyone else who wants to see positive change. Clinton set back health care in this country by decades and likewise for the welfare system. Removing Bush may not help matters; it may, in fact, make things worse. But just as many people, republican and democrat alike, had to vote in Bush to understand how bad he was, now many people, republican and democrat alike, may have to vote in Kerry to understand how bad he is. And maybe that's ok, the point at which we could have staved off some of the problems we will be facing in the next decade have already passed. Since it is too late to make changes through reform, I suppose we may as well let this slow educational process continue.

kathleen.... 30.Oct.2004 09:28

hold on

you said...

"He told me afterwards that there were a
few points where he withheld his applause [at a pro-bush rally] to make a
point. Yeah, some point!"

How is not voting any different? I am sure a lot of Republicans are hoping Nader supporters, Greens and Democrats will be taking that silent stand.

Also, you said...

"if I were going to vote for the candidate who best represented my positions on the issues, it would be one of the smaller socialist candidates, not Nader. For me, voting for Nader is first and foremost about STRATEGY."

That seems about as useful and logical as the "not voting stand".

You don't really have a "third choice" in this election. Believe me, things can and really will get a whole lot worse.

If you are in a cross walk and even though you have the right of way and you see a car that is obviously not going to stop, what do you do?

live to fight the battle another day.