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Commentary :: Politics
Why Ron Paul makes most sense for the Left
05 Jan 2008
Usually people of conscience are forced to choose the least damaging candidate in US elections. Despite Ron Paul's regressive stances on some important issues, we can get serious wins from him, certainly more than from any other viable candidate: ending support for the WTO and Nafta, getting out of Iraq, ending the racist/classist War on Drugs. The anti-capitalist author and special forces veteran Stan Goff here advances his case for leftists to register as Republican as soon as possible and vote Ron Paul in their primaries.
(taken from counterpunch.org)
January 4, 2008

Monkeywrenching the System
Ron Paul's Revolution

By STAN GOFF

For starters, I have become a single-issue voter. The two-front war in Iraq-Afghanistan continues to drag on; and I am thoroughly convinced that no viable Democratic nominee will stop these occupations.

The recent analysis by Allan Nairn shows that even the putative anti-war Edwards (who the press is smothering because of his anti-corporate declarations) has a backroom full of defense contractors. Clinton is a ruthless war-monger, period. Obama is employing on the sorriest, pro-Zioinist, neoliberal trash on the market, i.e., Zbigniew Brzezinski, Richard Clarke, and Dennis Ross, on his core advisory staff.

No one listens to me much, but in some fantasy world where they might, I would suggest that others follow suit with me here. In open primary states, cross over to vote in the Republican primaries for Ron Paul. In closed primary states, switch fast to Republican (like in the next few days).

Vote in the Republican primary; and vote for Ron Paul. Turnout will be dismally low for Republicans this year, because they have been demoralized by the Bush loons' performances. Independents will vote Paul. The other Republicans are engaged in a fratricidal melee.

I already know what I am going to hear from all over the program-intoxicated, "I won't endorse this-n-that position" liberal-left. Ron Paul is backward on abortion, passively racist, anti-immigrant, and on and on. Sorry, but I said I'd vote a dead cat that was anti-war before I'd vote a resurrected Eugene Debs if he showed up and supported the war. I meant that from my heart.

Cynthia McKinney is running Green, though she hasn't got the nomination yet. Remember Cynthia McKinney? When she broke with the DLC diktat, her own party fronted another Black woman (Denise Majette) to run against her in an open primary, and Republicans crossed over massively to vote in the Democratic primary to unseat her in a foregone Democratic Congressional district.

Two can play that game. If Cynthia McKinney runs in 2008 for President, I'll write her in if I have to just to burn a vote for Clinton or Obama. But meanwhile, Ron Paul is on our primary ballot (North Carolina), because he is running as a Republican (we have draconian ballot access conditions here for thrid-parties, thanks to -- of course -- Democrats).

Ron Paul is running for President. Just what are the capabilities of a President, and what are his likely courses of action... in the unlikely event he wins?

Well, he is the Commander-in-Chief, so he can bring the troops home immediately, as well as order the military-industrial complex to radically scale back. In case anyone on the left has missed the implications of this, this would be a profoundly anti-imperial development that would take the US boot off the necks of hundreds of millions of people around the world.

He is a libertarian who dislikes corporate subsidies, so he would veto the mega-billion dollar subisidies for Big Agra, Big Pharma, nuclear power company insurance policies, Weapons-R-Us, the ADM/Cargill Great Ethanol Scam,et al. He could veto the federal highway spending that is promoting sprawl. He has also stated that he opposed so-called free trade agreements.

Hello?

Don't argue with libertarians when they are right. Many of them say that the leviathan-capitalists that dominate the world's economy could not get as big as they are in an unfettered and unsubsidized market. Newsflash: that is actually true.

Ron Paul is a Gold Bug. For the uninitiated, that means he believes dollar-value should be pegged to a gold-standard. The implications of a return to the gold standard by the Fed are grim... for Wall Street and the military, both of which depend on massive foreign loans convered by runaway printing presses. Putting a stop to this is a Good Thing. What is the net effect?

Ron Paul may have the most outrageous personal account of race you might imagine; but what is the most horrific social catastrophe in the United States for Black and Brown folk? You guessed it: the criminal (in)justice system. The malignant growth of the American Gulag has been fueled -- more than by any other cause -- by the ever-more-punative criminalization of drug use and drug addiction, and the ability fo the criminal justice system to apply this criminalization with special force against African America and Hispano-Latinas. Here's the thing. Paul opposes the criminalization of drugs. What is the net effect?

When we are at the point in history where we cannot change the electoral system, then we need to think tactically about what we can do right now. What will a Paul victory in the primaries do? Not whether a vote for Paul in the Republican primaries endorses his decentralizing philosophy on reproductive choice. President Paul will not be writing legislation. The Executive Branch decides how strongly to <i>enforce</i> legislation... like domestic spying fer-instance.

President Paul would close Guantanamo, halt CIA kidnappings, and gut the enforcement capacity for the PATRIOT Act.

Nominee Paul would give 2008 voters a choice between a real anti-war candidate and a phony Democratic equivocator. The intensity of anti-war sentiment in the country already forced ex-war-hawk Edwards to adopt an out-in-nine-months position to left flank his Democratic opponents.

Don't ask yourself "what are the ideas?" If your toilet backs up, you can come up with a thousand ideas while shit-water cascades onto the floor. The question is not about ideas; it is, "What will be the net effect?"

Wanna throw a monkey wrench into a fixed electoral system? Here's a chance.


Stan Goff is the author of "Hideous Dream: A Soldier's Memoir of the US Invasion of Haiti" (Soft Skull Press, 2000), "Full Spectrum Disorder" (Soft Skull Press, 2003) and "Sex & War" which will be released approximately December, 2005. He is retired from the United States Army. His blog is at http://www.stangoff.com.
See also:
http://www.stangoff.com
http://www.counterpunch.org/goff01042008.html

This work is in the public domain
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No, What Makes Sense for The Left...
07 Jan 2008
Modified: 08:49:47 PM
Is to quit trying to play the electoral politics game. To quit spending so much time and so many resources trying to figure out which set of politicians will solve our problems. Vote or don't vote, that doesn't matter it takes 20 minutes of your time, and doesn't matter either way. But what does matter is that we channel and utilize all of our energy to build the kind of social movements, popular power and connections necessary to create change now and on our way towards creating fundamental change in our society. Seriously, it'd be amazing to see all the electioneering, campaign watching, political canidate discussions, attention, etc. going instead into building the popular social struggle against capitalism, the state and all forms of oppression. Social change isn't a quick fix, tactical vote, it's a long process of building and developing the relationships, power and capabilities of our movements to create the changes ourselves through our own struggles.
what's wrong with...
08 Jan 2008
Modified: 01:29:20 AM
...getting a potential ally on some crucial issues into a powerful office, instead of a powerful enemy on all issues into the same office?

we have to live with this person for at least the next 4 years anyway. of course ron paul (or any of the candidates) is not our savior. of course our daily social change work will have to continue.

but instead of spending most of our time fighting the fires that a president has the power to set in our path toward social justice, why not at least get someone into the white house who will (given his record and stated goals) give us an END to the following problems which many of us have spent years fighting:

WTO/NAFTA
Iraq War
War on Drugs (and the racist/classist imprisonment) that goes with it
Patriot Act
$Billions in Aid to Israel (and Egypt, and Colombia...)
National ID Card
Corporate Welfare

Yes, it would be nice if people would all just give up on electoral politics and join hands to overthrow the capitalist regime... BUT not gonna happen, at least not soon. so in the meantime, i can think of only one candidate who has any shot at getting us at some goods which we won't get from any other candidate.

on the ron paul hates immigrants thing... well, how is it going to get any better without taking down NAFTA anyway? and as far as women's rights, do you think any president can get rid of abortion rights without massive support in congress? just look at bush's years of trying...

all in all, given the likely choices for president, and given that we will have one regardless of our interest in politics...
Paul makes the most sense for the Left.
See also:
http://www.counterpunch.org/goff01042008.html