Socialist Worker

Don’t let this debate divide us

MICHAEL ALBERT is editor of ZNet, the US-based radical website. He is a longstanding anti-capitalist activist and author of Parecon: Life After Capitalism.

Issue No. 1916

AT ZNet I see a stupendous volume of election commentary—most of it highly fractious and redundant. I suspect that all the time going into debating the election is reducing attention going to other pursuits.

Both Bush and Kerry represent corporate and other elite interests. Both agree on preserving inequity and corporate domination. Neither candidate is a friend to working people, women, minorities, or anyone poor or weak.

However, it is at least plausible that who wins will matter more than usual—perhaps even monumentally.

We leftists may reasonably disagree about the scale of the difference between class enemy Bush and class enemy Kerry. But we would be delusional to claim there is no difference.

My own view is that for Bush to lose would be a whole lot better than for Bush to win. Holding one’s nose and voting for Kerry in contested states is a good thing to do—though I can understand someone feeling differently.

Kerry will weakly defend past progressive domestic social gains and, under pressure, may plausibly expand some. Bush will wage unrelenting war on virtually every advance of the past 100 years.

Having said that, endorsements from serious leftists are not going to make any meaningful difference to Kerry’s chances. Instead of boosting Kerry, we need to provide visible signs that militant opposition is growing.

I shudder when our redundant efforts to beat Bush seem to crowd out attention to the war, globalisation, movement building, and so on.

Whatever each person believes about the election, there is undoubtedly more benefit in doing what they find most warranted, rather than berating other leftists for having a different viewpoint.

The arguments have been made. So let’s just give up the “left on left” electioneering. That way we can collectively save a lot of time and avoid a lot of needless arguing.

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