‘The Left has nowhere to go’

Chris Hedges writes:

Ralph Nader in a CNN poll a few days before the 2008 presidential election had an estimated 3 percent of the electorate, or about 4 million people, behind his candidacy. But once the votes were counted, his support dwindled to a little over 700,000. Nader believes that many of his supporters entered the polling booth and could not bring themselves to challenge the Democrats and Barack Obama. I suspect Nader is right. And this retreat is another example of the lack of nerve we must overcome if we are going to battle back against the corporate state. A vote for Nader or Green Party candidate Cynthia McKinney in 2008 was an act of defiance. A vote for Obama and the Democrats was an act of submission. We cannot afford to be submissive anymore.

“The more outrageous the Republicans become, the weaker the left becomes,” Nader said when I reached him at his home in Connecticut on Sunday. “The more outrageous they become, the more the left has to accept the slightly less outrageous corporate Democrats.”

Nader fears a repeat of the left’s cowardice in the next election, a cowardice that has further empowered the lunatic fringe of the Republican Party, maintained the role of the Democratic Party as a lackey for corporations, and accelerated the reconfiguration of the country into a neo-feudalist state. Either we begin to practice a fierce moral autonomy and rise up in multiple acts of physical defiance that have no discernable short-term benefit, or we accept the inevitability of corporate slavery. The choice is that grim. The age of the practical is over. It is the impractical, those who stand fast around core moral imperatives, figures like Nader or groups such as Veterans for Peace, which organized the recent anti-war rally in Lafayette Park in Washington, which give us hope. If you were one of the millions who backed down in the voting booth in 2008, don’t do it again. If you were one of those who thought about joining the Washington protests against the war where 131 of us were arrested and did not, don’t fail us next time. The closure of the mechanisms within the power system that once made democratic reform possible means we stand together as the last thin line of defense between a civil society and its disintegration. If we do not engage in open acts of defiance, we will empower a radical right-wing opposition that will replicate the violence and paranoia of the state. To refuse to defy in every way possible the corporate state is to be complicit in our strangulation.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

4 thoughts on “‘The Left has nowhere to go’

  1. Renfro

    Yes, yes and yes.
    I am still glad I wrote in Nader’s name in 2008.
    I’m gonna keep on writing in a name of neither a dem or repub.

  2. Norman

    Well, unless I’m reading things wrong, the Achilles heal is the “Infrastructure of the U.S.A.” All the money that the very top have looted, causes to “Q” to be asked, just where do you think you’re going to go as all this is crumbling around you? True, you can go live on your Island, but then, someone else will come & take over the country, rebuild it, thereby putting all who want to & can work, doing the jobs that will make this Country great again. I might add also, how long do they think the money will buy them their freedom from going to jail?

    The present political parties are too corrupt, to even believe that they will turn over a new leaf. This may sound like myopia, which it is. But,” out of the ashes will rise the Phoenix”, but the looters won’t get another chance.

  3. hquain

    There’s a reason why so few vote for Nader these days, and a good one: the year 2000. In addition to refusing to urge his backers to vote for Gore when it was apparent that he could only play a spoiler role, Nader actually *campaigned* in, yes, the well-known-to-be-crucial state of Florida during the waning weeks of the contest. Nader stands beside Antonin “Justice” Scalia, James “The Fixer” Baker, and a few select others as one of the sufficient causes of the Bush era. For this, he cannot be forgiven.

    An alternate history is often no more than wishful thinking, but in this case we have it staring us tangibly in the face. Nader is not “The Left,” nor does he provide a model of meaningful political action. It’s fine for self-admiring moralists to blare their perpetual indignation, but actions (as moralists remind us incessantly) have consequences, and when these consequences are wholly predictable, it is right to assess blame — and right to do otherwise, when the opportunity comes around.

    The electoral process in the US is truly in a parlous state, but voting for one its initiators seems like just another species of folly.

  4. RedPhillip

    Assigning any part of the blame to Nader for the electoral fraud of 2000 that brought the Warlord to power is ridiculous on its face. The number of votes by which Bush ‘won’ Florida was small enough that had those who voted for even one of the socialist parties in that election voted instead for Gore the outcome would have been without dispute in Gore’s favor. Far greater blame rests in Gore and his apparatchiks, when they cravenly surrendered the state-wide recount, and failed to challenge the blatant racist disenfranchisement of thousands of people who tried, but were denied, their right to vote.

    No, Nader is not a Leftist in the sense that he stands in opposition to capitalism, but he is anti-corporate, which is more than can be said for Gore. Those who believe that a Gore administration would have been significantly less destructive of individual civil rights or less militarist that the Bush gang simply ignore the history of the ruling factions of the empire.

Comments are closed.