A Short Road to Nowhere for the Left

on the long road to my education by iDanSimpson.

A Short Road to Nowhere for the Left

  Speaking of the old new left- “The Bumpy Road Ahead: New Tasks of the Left Following Obama’s Victory” is a strategy and analysis piece circulated by folks who do believe the state/electoral alliances/politics can be a vehicle for change leading to revolution. The piece is by ex-SDS leader Carl Davidson, who is now a figure in the anti-war group, United for Peace and Justice, and an alliance of pro-Obama progressives and radicals aptly named Progressives for Obama.  The analysis is well worth the read, but the strategy is something completely different. A few points I would agree with, but it is by and large a trip down a well beaten path I think many would be wise not to repeat.  

  Problematic is the idea of the left supporting the “green industrial-education policy sector” of capitalism, represented by Obama, against its rival “old hydrocarbon-military-industrial sector,” represented by the McCain and Bush camp. I don’t think the left has a dog in this race any more than the left should support Apple computers versus Microsoft in the antitrust lawsuit brought against the later. It smells too much like the Marxist parties of Latin America who backed capitalist governments pushing industrialization (to the ruin of peasant farmers) against the ‘feudal’ land holders. Shameful though are the attacks on anti-electoral left and those justifiably skeptical of involvement in electoral politics and coalitions as “adding fuel to the fascist fires”- not too far off from the US Communist Party attacking those further to the left as “social fascists.” Worthy of a longer response.

Elections, illusions and movements

So sorry that I haven’t been posting up anything of my own lately. I guess I’ve been too caught up and without the same amount of time in front of a computer to kill as I had before. This is a great piece with a fairly sophisticated analysis of how anarchists relate (or do not) to elections. What makes this piece more worthwhile though is the discussion on relating to mass movements and from what perspectives should anarchist-communists approach representative structures within social movements. The author outlines four basic princibles. I need to give it another read before giving comments. 

I recently heard a great little slogan that a friend posted up on my myspace page. I modified it a bit but I think it gets to the heart of the matter in a funny, almost poetic way:

“Capitalism is the poop,

Obama is the air freshener

and revolution is the shovel.”

-A. Weaver


Anarchist-Communism and Elections

by José Antonio Gutiérrez D.

This article was written back in 2003 and was part of the Chilean discussion on the coming local elections at the time and the way many comrades wanted to dedicate the bulk of our resources (both financial and human) to anti-electoralism. As well, there was a debate as we were starting to run into elections in universities, schools, trade unions and community organisations and some said that anarchists were against voting in any form. Some of the issues involved in these debates appear again and again, and they reflect deeper political questions. This article was originally published in the Chilean anarchist-communist magazine “Hombre y Sociedad”, No.18-19, second term of 2004.


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