|The Lesser of the Evils by Steve Jonas|
October 10, 2016
Presidential elections and “what is to be done.” (Well, hardly in the Leninist sense, for there hardly is a revolutionary party afoot nor is there a revolutionary situation [yet].) But left-wingers (and I presume that the bulk of the readers of the columns on The Greanville Post find themselves in that political category) have been, rightly in my view, spending a good deal of time pondering that question. In fact, a good deal of electronic ink has been spilt considering it, some of the writing not in the politest of language. I am on a variety of threads where the language is heated. Trump is a fascist (obviously I agree with that and said so in an earlier TGP column). Thus one cannot possibly vote for him — except that maybe that wouldn’t be such a bad idea because a Trump Presidency could stir up the kind of political organization and action that this country desperately needs. This might be called the “Susan Sarandon” strategy. For the famous actress actually hinted at this position when she was interviewed on MSNBC some months ago, as a Bernie Supporter, and said that she would have a very tough time voting for Hillary.
In supporting this type of position, on one thread one leftist actually described Trump as a “harmless [I don’t know what he was smoking] buffoon,” while at the same time JEB Bush described him just as a buffoon (and an “asshole” and a “clown.” But JEB just doesn’t like the Repubs. hood torn off.) One could note that before Adolf Hitler became Chancellor on January 30, 1933, many in Germany, particularly in the Left, regarded him as an incompetent joke. In fact, the head of the Communist Party of Germany, Ernst Thaelmann, has been quoted as saying words to the effect of: “Give him three months, and then it will be our turn.”
Germany’s Communist Party leader Ernst Thaelmann. Brave but wrong about Hitler’s ascendancy. On the afternoon of March 3, 1933 Thälmann was arrested by the police. Thälmann spent over eleven years in solitary confinement. In August 1944, he was transferred from Bautzen prison to Buchenwald concentration camp, where he was shot on 18 August. His body was immediately cremated. Shortly after, the Nazis claimed in an announcement that, together with Rudolf Breitscheid, Thälmann had died in an Allied bombing attack on 23 August. “…All my life, all my strength were given to the finest cause in all the world – the fight for the liberation of mankind.”
(And here’s a footnote on Trump. On MSNBC on September 27, [Dr.] Howard Dean commented on the very noticeable sniffling that Trump engaged in for the whole 1 ½ hours. Stating several times that he would not engage in diagnosis-over-television, he did just that, coming to a diagnosis of cocaine use. If that’s true, and if it were to get out somehow, one would think that the election would be over — except that it’s Donald Trump.)
On the other hand, there are lots of reasons not to want a Trump Administration. From the left, Arun Gupta of The Anarres Project has summarized them well. Here’s just a partial list: Black Lives Matter will be declared a domestic terrorist outfit, just like the Earth Liberation Front was under Bush; the National Guard could be employed to crush all kinds of protest; any action to deal with climate change/global warming would be dead; despite the screaming of major U.S. firms like Boeing, the Iran deal would be canceled; the recognition of Cuba would be withdrawn; once the Supreme Court was “adjusted,” abortion and gay rights would become things of the past; national parks, forests and wilderness areas would be turned over to above- and below-ground developers; as limited as it is, Obamacare would be abolished and millions would once again be without health insurance of any kind; and massive voter suppression would become the norm. To say nothing of the institution of Reaganite economics on steroids and of course a variety of attacks on Muslims and Hispanic immigrants (documented and undocumented).
So what about Clinton, then? Well, she seems to have adopted — rhetorically, that is —major chunks of Bernie’s domestic programs, what I have described as the New Deal on steroids. Whether, once in office, she would begin to try to carry out these plans, and how she could actually get with them facing a Repub. Congress as implacably opposed to her as they have been to Obama, is another question. But she might resort to the old “reaching across the aisle/triangulation” trick of which her husband was so fond and that would be the end of any modest attempts to deal with the real problems facing the country, like climate change/global warming, infrastructure rebuilding, and the ever-increasing income and wealth gap between the rich and everyone else.
Where the Left has a real problem with Clinton is on foreign policy. Just consider this series of columns that have appeared recently on the webpages of The Greanville Post. Scary stuff indeed!
So then we come to the Libertarian candidate, Gary Johnson. Cannot win, of course, but how about for a protest vote? Well, Johnson, like Libertarians have always been since I first got to know some of them a bit in the early days of the drug policy reform movement, is nothing more than a Repub. on steroids, except for a few odd, nice sounding bits, like legalizing marijuana (which he likes to smoke) and keeping abortion legal, at least to some extent. That he didn’t know that “Aleppo” is a city at the center of the Syrian multi-sided civil war (or did he think that he was being asked what “a leppo” is [?]) is to me a minor problem compared to the others this candidate brings to the table. He would virtually destroy the Federal government, would raise the retirement age to 75, would vastly reduce Federal regulation leaving every citizen at the mercy of the courts if they are harmed by, say, corporate pollution, and as for climate change, well, not much.
I have a natural affinity for Jill Stein, if for no other reason than that we graduated from the same medical school. Dr. Stein’s platform can be described as Bernie Sanders’ New Deal on Steroids, on steroids. It has much to admire, on both foreign and domestic policy. However, if one looks at it at all closely, one is not going to get close to it as long as the present U.S. ruling class stays in control of the nation and the State. And Dr. Stein hardly talks about class struggle.
And aye, there’s the rub. In the first two columns in this series I stated the case that A) capitalism is coming to its end game, and B) that fascism will thus be coming to the U.S. sooner or later. The only long-term solution to the problems of this country, and indeed of every other capitalist country around the world, is the replacement of capitalism with some sort of socialist system — if that can be done before global warming effectively wipes out what we know as civilization and/or nuclear winter arrives. Readers of mine also know that for quite some time I have thought that a Second Civil War is coming to the U.S., and most recently I have come the conclusion that actually the original Civil War has never ended.
For me, this all provides a framework as to how I am going to cast my vote in the November election. We have to look long-term and we have to look towards an eventual socialist revolution. Indeed, for me, the choice of the “lesser of the evils” in this election is which candidate provides the best opportunity for beginning to organize the mass movement, which of course none of them with the possible exception of Dr. Stein, would support, that will be necessary if that objective is to be achieved. And for now, I am going to leave it there.
Addendum: At the Oct. 9 “debate” Trump confirmed his nature as a fascist, who, as I said above, would bring fascism to the U.S. sooner rather than later. He actually publicly informed Hilary Clinton that if he were elected he would have a special prosecutor appointed to investigate the “missing emails” and that he expected the outcome of the investigation would be indictment, trial, conviction (well he doesn’t understand the U.S Constitution well enough to mention those three elements before he got to) jail. A truly remarkable statement from a candidate for the Presidency of one of the two major parties. It says even more about the Repubs. than it does about Trump: they chose this man. Of course, Hillary Clinton did not have to respond in kind, for Trump is already facing a criminal investigation as part of the Trump “University” matter and who knows what else may be lurking in his income tax returns.