Socialist Worker

Democracy — the US way

by Virginia Rodino
Issue No. 1918

FOR LIBERALS in the US, the Anybody But Bush virus creates more hostility towards Ralph Nader than towards George Bush himself.

Organised manoeuvres by the Democratic Party to prevent Nader from even being listed as a candidate on the ballot are being challenged in court as unconstitutional and illegal.

Prominent figures and publications on the left have advised us to “hold our noses”, presumably because it stinks so much, and to vote for Democratic candidate John Kerry.

The Green Party, who backed Nader in the 2000 election, are arguing for a “safe states strategy”.

In states where the electoral college will unquestionably vote either Democrat or Republican, voters are encouraged to vote for Green Party candidates David Cobb and Pat LaMarche.

In “swing states” voters are urged to “vote smart” and vote Democrat. After being nominated by the Populist Party, vice-presidential candidate LaMarche said she could not even say if she would be voting for Cobb and herself.

This shows the true importance of Nader’s campaign. As anti-capitalists, backing either of the two imperialist political parties that are financed by the same multinational corporations dilutes the struggle for fundamental change.

Shunning electoral politics, as some on the left insist upon, does not broaden our base to include working people who not only believe in the integrity of their vote, but also could use their vote to create change if they are mobilised in radical ways.

When it comes to Nader’s efforts to get on the ballot paper in all 50 states and Washington DC, the Democratic Party has proven itself to be the “undemocratic party”.

In many states, Democrats are meeting Nader petitioners at the State Boards of Elections and challenging the petitions (on which thousands of voters have signed to signal their desire to see Nader on the ballot) because of the numbering of the petitions, or other trivial administrative details. Many heads of the Boards of Elections are members of the Democratic Party.

In other states, Boards of Elections officials were caught instructing their workers to file challenges against the Nader campaign—a glaring example of partisanship.

Investigations are also taking place in Pennsylvania. It has been alleged that subcontracted petitioners for Nader were paid three times as much by the Democrats to turn in forged signatures to the Nader campaign.

When the Nader campaign refused the obviously forged documents the Democrats sued the campaign, as well as libelling it in the press by claiming that the campaign was not paying its workers.

Ballot access is a mechanism created by the Republicans and Democrats to exclude independent voices outside of the corporate duopoly.

The presidential debates were recently found in court to be partisan, which hopefully will increase the likelihood that Nader and his running mate Camejo can participate in the debates.

Hearing these voices challenge the corrupt system is one step towards the alternative process we need.

Only by staying a hard course toward radical changes such as universal healthcare, a national living wage, a slashing of the militarised budget, and an end to permanent wars and occupations, can there be a space carved out for a world without despair.

By supporting the only anti-war candidates—Ralph Nader and Peter Miguel Camejo—the real issues of working class people and the revolutionary changes that are possible in this world can thrive and materialise.

Virginia Rodino coordinates the Nader-Camejo campaign in Maryland, Virginia and Washington DC. She is a socialist living in Baltimore, Maryland, and is running for Congress this year for the Maryland Green Party.

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Sat 11 Sep 2004, 00:00 BST
Issue No. 1918
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