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News ::
An Anarchist, but I'll vote "for" Nader -- with my eyes open
26 Sep 2000
On Sep 17, 2000 David Barsamian of Alternative Radio posted on the Global Indymedia website, http://www.indymedia.org, his interview of Sep 10 with Ralph Nader. I posted two comments following the interview, the first on Sep 20, titled, 'An anarchist, but I'll vote "for"Nader', and the second on Sep 25, titled 'Vote the Nader/LaDuke ticket with open eyes'. I am posting the comments independently on this site because I think they may be of general interest.
See also:
http://omega.cc.umb.edu/~salzman
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Learn how the media will Spin this election
26 Sep 2000

Spin in an incredibly entertaining and more importantly, incredibly educational documentary detailing the events of 1992, especially the Presidential "Debates"

The movie is there on the page, and it's set up so that it is easy to spread the word about it. If more people were educated on the ways of the media/politicians, we wouldn't be in such a pickle. :)

See also:
http://www.phdepot.com/spin
Anarchists For Nader?
28 Sep 2000
As a revolutionary anarchist, I would never cast my vote to any representative of the State, no matter how progressive their politics may seem on the surface. I cannot in any way support George Salzman's decision to openly urge other anarchists to follow his lead and support Ralph Nader for president. However, since I consider George a dedicated anarchist and a good friend, I will confirm that he is indeed who he says he is, and not some Green Party activist exploiting anarchist influence within the anti-globalization movement in an effort to support Nader.

Unfortunately, we have been in a period of reaction for so long, even the liberals and opportunists look radical at this point... Regardless of the rhetoric, Nader is and always will be a capitalist who has no intention of rocking the boat of class relations. He is a millionaire and a union buster, and, much like Al Gore, he holds considerable stock within Fidelty Investments (Fidelity Magellan), the investment corporation targetted for it's investments within Occidental Petroleum.

As the age-old saying goes, "whoever you vote for, government wins". Something for any anarchist to remember before casting a ballot (even a protest ballot) this November.

To quote the once famous, but now long forgotten Italian anarchist Luigi Galleni (who lived in the Boston area for an extended period of his life):

"The anarchists' electoral abstentionism implies not only a conception that is opposed to the principle of representation (which is totally rejected by anarchism), it implies above all an absolute lack of confidence in the State. And this distrust, which is instinctive in the working masses, is for the anarchists the result of their historical experience with the State and its function, which has, at all times and in all places, resulted in a selfish and exclusive protection of the ruling classes and their privileges. [Anarchist abstentionism] strips the State of the constitutional fraud with which it presents itself to the gullible as the true representative of the whole nation, and, in so doing, exposes its essential character as representative, procurer, and protector of the ruling classes."

--MaRK (Sabate Anarchist Group)
Response to some comments
01 Oct 2000
This refers to a comments posted by Mark Lasky on Sept 21 and 26, and by Vindaloo Pete on Sept 21

Dear Mark,

I appreciate, but disagree with, your principled rejection of my decision to vote "for" Nader. Like you, I consider myself a revolutionary anarchist, specifically of the Kropotkin school. In my view, it will remain impossible to make a better world until hundreds of millions of the world's people understand in more than an intuitive way why the global social order that dominates all our lives is so terrifyingly destructive, and they become determined to replace global capitalism with a non-hierarchical social structure based not on coercive power but on love and mutual aid as a natural, healthy and humane way for humans to live with dignity and in peace.

My reason for voting "for" the Nader/LaDuke ticket is, as explained, unrelated to their "positions." I do not regard their politics "progressive", "liberal", or "opportunistic". They do not look "radical" to me. I did know that Nader is a millionaire and that in one instance, that of the staff of The Multinational Monitor, he was opposed to unionization. I did not know, but am not surprised to learn of his stock in Fidelity Investments.

As for your statement, "Nader is and always will be a capitalist who has no intention of rocking the boat of class relations", it is conceivable (though unlikely) that his views will change in the future, but I'm not hopeful, nor holding my breath. I stated explicitly, "Nader is an unregenerate, committed capitalist ideologue." And later, "Yes, he is very likely authoritarian, and perhaps arrogant to boot. And probably anti-union when a particular union challenges his power, as the article reported. And he's clearly not a radical thinkerů" And later, "Nader thinks power is the name of the game." So, I don't believe I'm under illusions of "what a 'great candidate' or potential 'great leader' he is!"

Only by comparison to the two schmucks the corporations are offering as "our" choices does the Nader/LaDuke ticket look so good, which is why so many liberals, progressives, and even the United Electrical, Radio, & Machine Workers of America (UE), a really good union, are supporting it. My reason is different: As I said, "Nader the person is not 'the issue'." I acknowledged my belief that "He is honest, smart, incisive, and principled. He truly believes it is possible to have a decent social order within the framework of global capitalism. He is wrong, but wants to try to move the U.S. in that direction." And, I credited him with being a "muddled honest liberal who really wants to make the world, or at least the U.S., better. His entire frame of reference, like that of so many of us, is in terms of power." Here we may disagree. Perhaps you would not credit him with any positive qualities. I am willing to do so, although it is not relevant to my decision.

I think it is more important for us to try to get our ideas into active consideration by millions of people in the U.S. than it is to stick to an unquestioned belief -- almost like a dogma -- in the futility of voting under any and all circumstances. We ought not be contemptuous of liberals, other radicals, or even of conservatives, many of whom are good, decent, honest people who really want to make the world better, but don't know how to go about it, and think voting is the about the only constructive thing they can do. "Greens" should be seen in that light too, I think, not as dupes of the system. Of course within their ranks are crass opportunists, I'm sure. But that ought not dissuade us from trying to open a dialogue.

Finally, you quote Luigi Galleani, who if I recall correctly, headed up the defense committee, largely centered in Boston's old North End, to try to prevent the murder, by the so-called Commonwealth (What a misnomer!) of Massachusetts, of those two great Italian people, Bartolomeo Vanizetti and Nicolo Sacco, immigrant anarchists deeply despised by the ruling "blue-bloods." I hate the state with all the passion imaginable. I understand the nation-state to be part and parcel of the "advanced" stage of what Emmanuel Wallerstein calls Historical Capitalism, the major instrument of international terror abroad in the world today. But that is not inconsistent with my voting against the growing corporate domination of the world, and encouraging the growth in the U.S. of a powerful movement of Civil Society. Galleani notwithstanding, I am in no way acting to legitimate the state. We disagree only on what is best to do, or not do, in this instance, and that is a matter of judgement. In solidarity,
--George

To: Vindaloo Pete 4:48am Thu Sep 21 '00. Posted comment "Give Us a Break."

I suggest you try reading what I wrote, not only the first comment, which was posted on Sept 20th, but also the second comment, which appeared (with the first) on Sept 26th. The site was having difficulty posting things at the earlier time. Your comment does not show any understanding of my position. Moreover, if there's any belief that I am a "Nader Staffer" or that there is someone "behind" what I wrote, I suggest you look at my website, http://omega.cc.umb.edu/~salzman . If you do so, you will see that your concluding remark, "To Nader Staffer behind this: Nice try, but it's not going to work!" is not worth a response.
Sincerely,
George


See also:
http://omega.cc.umb.edu/~salzman