In an article published earlier this month in Workers Vanguard, the newsletter of the International Communist League, a who’s who of the American Left is chastised for it’s role in the 2008 presidential campaign. The article can be read in its entirety here, and includes blanket renunciations of “all capitalist parties,” appeals to fundamental marxist theory by Marx, Lenin and Trotsky, and a lengthy discussion of black liberation. However, what might be more interesting to general third party observers would be the sheer bulk of opposing candidates, parties and campaigns are taken to task in one article. A brief summary follows:
Barack Obama, “a mainstream capitalist politician, linked to the Illinois Democratic machine, who has put himself forward as the best candidate to run U.S. imperialism and keep working people, blacks, immigrants and all the oppressed down.”
Cynthia McKinney, who “is as progressive a capitalist politician as one will find today in the U.S., but she is a capitalist politician nonetheless, and as such a defender of the bourgeois order who merely seeks to ameliorate its worst ‘excesses.’ She is an opponent of the class victory of the working class – i.e., the destruction of this order through socialist revolution.” However, McKinney is also given credit for standing “to the left of just about any bourgeois politician in the U.S. today.”
Hillary Clinton, for playing the race card against Obama.
Gloria La Riva and Eugene Puryear, for an statement made in “Why the ruling class chose Obama” (covered by IPR here) that read the campaign had “no quarrel” with those supporting Obama towards the end of electing a black president.
The Green Party, which is “small-time capitalist,” and provides “disgruntled liberals with a way station on the road back into the Democratic Party.”
The International Socialist Organization, for claiming “that Obamaâ€™s campaign is some form of a referendum on racism because he is the first viable black candidate for U.S. president,” while simultaneously kowtowing to an “‘Anybody but Bush’ (now McCain) refrain of the fake left” and “cheering the Democrats from the sidelines.” The ISO is also criticized for running Todd Chretien as a Green in 2006, and for being “anti-communist” in lauding the fall of the Soviet Union.
The Workers World Party, included in the “referendum on racism”/”fake left” criticism, but also for unspecified support of the Peace and Freedom Party in 2003 and “coyly” offering support to Cynthia McKinney (IPR took note of the WWP’s attitude towards McKinney in an earlier post here.)
The Party for Socialism and Liberation, for being “opportunist” in running candidates as Greens in Illinois and Peace and Freedom Partisans in California.
The Peace and Freedom Party, which “does not stand for a break with the capitalist parties and a fight for a workers government; it is a sandbox for homeless leftists who have long since made their peace with bourgeois society.”
Perhaps most boldly, a blanket condemnation is made of anyone seeking executive office at any level:
Nor would we run for executive office-such as mayor, governor or president-ourselves, although Marxists have and can run for parliamentary office as a tactic to propagate our revolutionary program and as part of the struggle to imbue the working class with the understanding that the capitalist order, including its parliamentary facade, must be overthrown through socialist revolution. As Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels taught long ago, the capitalist government is the executive committee that manages the common affairs of the capitalist class as a whole. In the U.S., the president is the chief executive responsible for the most massive military power in history and for the domestic machinery of repression that maintains social oppression and exploitation. To run for executive office means to aspire to be the next Commander-in-Chief who decides who gets tortured, who gets bombed, who gets invaded (see Spartacist [English-language edition] No. 60, Autumn 2007).