Vote Smart and then Prepare for the Next Stage

Left Margin

Vote Smart and then Prepare for the Next Stage

By Carl Bloice – Black Commentator Editorial Board
BC
October 26, 2012

http://www.blackcommentator.com/491/491_lm_vote_share.html

By the time these words go out into the
internet there will be about 10 days left before the
election. So, it doesn’t seem worthwhile taking the
time to address the proverbial question on the Left:
who to vote for or whether to vote at all? Some
readers will be out actually working to re-elect
President Obama. I assume others are beating the
bushes for either Jill Stein of the Green Party, Rocky
Anderson of the Justice Party. James Harris of the
Socialist Workers Party, Stewart Alexander of the
Socialist Party, Libertarian Party presidential
candidate, Gary Johnson, or Constitution Party
nominee Virgil Goode. I suspect few are pushing
Mitt Romney.

Most people reading this column regularly can have
little doubt about who I’m voting for. But, hey, this
is California; the Obama-Biden ticket can assume it
has our electoral votes sewed up. I’ll be rushing off
to the polls with urgency because we’ve got some
critical state measures before us (don’t we always?).
The big money, buy-elections people are trying to
strangle union and progressive expression with one
measure (Prop. 32). Insurance moguls are spending
millions of dollars on a proposal to sock it to
working class drivers (Prop. 33). Liberals and
progressives are trying to insure that any genetically
engineered frankenfoods sold at the supermarket
are labeled as such (Prop. 37). And, while it doesn’t
go as far as most of us on the Left would like, there’s
a proposal that would mean more resources for our
state’s underfunded schools (Prop. 30). Also, I think
affordable housing activist, Christina Olague, is the
best choice to represent our inner-city district on
the San Francisco City – County Board of
Supervisors.

I don’t vote absentee unless I have to; I like going to
the polls and seeing my neighbors there and having
them see me and wearing the little badge reading “I
voted” on my lapel as I shop or enter the
neighborhood bar.

Carrying the fight to the mat would have been the
correct response to the opposition’s
intransigence.The fundamental question in this
campaign, I believe, is the country’s future economic
policy. As begrudging and inconsistent as it is, the
Obama policy is generally in favor of a neo-
Keynesian direction of further investment in the
economy to increase consumer demand, while the
Romney-Ryan approach is tax cuts for the rich and
regulatory deregulation. The difference between
these two policies is not inconsequential.
Tenaciously high unemployment and growing
poverty is a reality. For millions of working people,
decisions made over the next four years will have a
direct impact on their daily lives. The same, I think,
can be said about immigration policy, reproductive
rights, and LGBT equal rights.

Yea, I’ve heard the argument. For every negative
thing that can be said about the GOP there’s
something awful to cite about the other party; for
every positive thing the Obama Administration may
have accomplished there is something it did that is
grossly offensive. One Left commentator wrote last
week that he hoped Obama is reelected because his
future failures will further radicalize us. That’s just
another version of the tired old, and morally
dubious, worse-the-better argument.

Not that the Administration hasn’t done some
outrageous and indefensible things. For instance,
supposedly “leading from behind,” the Obama
Administration has joined the European former
colonial powers in creating another Somalia in
Libya. That’s the real scandal. Of course, the
Republicans won’t say so because, having embraced
the neo-conservative warhawks from the Bush
Administration, they are now agitating to create
another one in Syria. And U.S. policy toward Latin
America sucks big time. One thing I find particularly
galling is that having put forward a rather modest
proposal to alleviate the jobless crisis, which
continues to hit the African American community
particularly hard, the President dropped the ball,
when carrying the fight to the mat would have been
the correct response to the opposition’s
intransigence.

There can be no question of the meaning of the
election for labor. The anti-labor intent of the
Republican Party is spelled out clearly in the party
platform and is underscored by the action of the
party in state after state over the past few years.

For millions of working people, decisions made over
the next four years will have a direct impact on their
daily lives.There are, I believe, two other issues that
are forefront in this period. The first is racism, and
there can be no doubt that it is a major element in
the campaigns. Something akin to the “southern
strategy” is at play and I suspect it will intensify in
the coming two weeks. The other is the threat to
democracy. This is reflected in the conscious and
deliberate voter suppression drive and efforts to rig
the system to give financial advantage to capital
over labor in politics. For all the talk on the Left
about the need for electoral and campaign finance
reform, I don’t think there has been sufficient
acknowledgement of the fact that things are actually
moving in the opposite direction. While I don’t
endorse the notion of an imminent “fascist” threat, I
think the danger of the assault on democracy is real.

This latest well-financed and deceptive effort to
restrict labor’s ability to influence political decision-
making in California and the nation are not
unrelated to the coordinated efforts to smash public
sector unions, the Citizens United decision, and the
ongoing voter repression conspiracy. The plutocrats
and the Right-wingers have seen the handwriting on
the wall in terms of political and demographic
trends in the country and they are determined to
reshape politics in the interest of the one-percent by
curtailing democratic decision-making. As Leonard
McNeil, the vice mayor of San Pablo, Ca. put it,
these are efforts to “curtail and stifle the voices of
working people” and “a frontal assault on
democratic pluralism to advance the agenda of
corporations and the wealthy.”

Which brings me to the next question: what
happens after the election?

I like going to the polls and seeing my neighbors
there and having them see me and wearing the little
badge reading “I voted” on my lapel as I shop or
enter the neighborhood bar.If the Right-wingers win
the presidency, liberals, Leftists and progressives
will have their backs against the wall, especially if
the Right ends up in control of Congress. But
whatever the results are, a real danger lurks. While
we sleep, plotters are at work aiming to construct a
“grand bargain” that will have only negative
consequences for working people and the poor.
Behind the slogans of “shared sacrifices” and the
threat of a “fiscal cliff,” the economic and political
elite are working on a “bipartisan” deal that will
shift much of the burden of the current crisis of
capitalism onto the backs of working people. The
gains made in social welfare and economic security,
won through struggle over a century, will be put at
risk. Think of that every time you hear the words
“Simpson-Bowles.”

No matter who wins, when the election is over the
critical political struggle will continue in earnest.

Economist Jared Bernstein, has made the point
that this is not simply a Right-wing conspiracy.
Though conservatives have introduced recent things
like Social Security privatization, and private
accounts for health care and unemployment, this is
not a story of good Democrats and bad Republicans.
“It is the story of the ascendancy of a largely
bipartisan vision that promotes individualist
market-based solutions over solutions that
recognize there are big problems that markets
cannot effectively solve,” he wrote recently.

“We cannot, for example, constantly cut the federal
government’s revenue stream without undermining
its ability to meet pressing social needs,” Bernstein
wrote. “We know that more resources will be needed
to meet the challenges of prospering in a global
economy, keeping up with technological changes,
funding health care and pension systems, helping
individuals balance work and family life, improving
the skills of our workforce, and reducing social and
economic inequality. Yet discussion of this reality is
off the table.”

A critique of the Obama campaign on this matter is
still in order, though I doubt it will make much
difference at this late date. But progressives must be
resolute in defending such critical things as Social
Security, Medicare and Medicaid. Vice-President
Biden has made somewhat reassuring statements
about this matter, while Obama has continued to
indicate a readiness to strike a “deal.” Rev.
Sharpton is on to something when he says the
election is “not about Obama but about yo’ mama.”
But the economic security of your mama – and your
daddy – won’t be secure after Nov. 6. The struggle
continues. Take nothing for granted.
______________

BlackCommentator.com Editorial Board member
and Columnist, Carl Bloice, is a writer in San
Francisco, a member of the National Coordinating
Committee of the Committees of Correspondence for
Democracy and Socialism and formerly worked for a
healthcare union

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About leftmargin

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