Louis Proyect: The Unrepentant Marxist

July 1, 2004

Reply to a realo

Filed under: Uncategorized — louisproyect @ 1:59 pm

Reply to an American realo

posted to http://www.marxmail.org on June 30, 2004

In his ongoing capacity as chief ideologist of the Demogreen/Realo faction of the US Green Party, Ted Glick has an article on the Zmag website that talks about every aspect of the recently concluded Green Party convention except the politics. I will try to draw this out with bracketed comments on selected passages from his piece. You can read the entire article here:

Before donning my hip-boots and wading into this muck, I want to make a general observation about the discourse of the Demogreens. It has been a very long time since I have come across such disingenuous prose marked by fuzziness and Pecksniffian self-righteousness. I wonder if this is the heritage of the CPUSA in the USA. This kind of talking out of both sides of one’s mouth was perfected by the party. Have veterans of the 1960s generation who have followed a more cautious path after the “excesses” of their youth been studying the speeches of Gus Hall? I really wonder. Let’s take a look at what he has to say:

Green and Growing by Ted Glick June 28, 2004

The three main positions going into Milwaukee were to neither nominate nor endorse anyone, to nominate former GPUS general counsel David Cobb, or to nominate no one and then endorse Ralph Nader. A variant of the pro-Nader position, one pushed by California GP leader Peter Camejo, called for no nomination and then an endorsement of both Cobb and Nader.

[These were not the positions at all. The positions were over whether the Green Party would be an auxiliary to the Democratic Party or an independent and radical electoral formation opposed to both parties that Malcolm X called the wolf and the fox. The Cobb delegates were pro-fox.]

Convention week was begun on Monday with a huge announcement by Nader that he was choosing Camejo to be his Vice Presidential candidate. Score one for the pro-Nader forces.

[Score one for the pro-Nader forces? Politics as a horse race. I never thought I’d see the day that radicals would use formulations from Sunday morning television.]

Two days later Medea Benjamin, like Camejo a California Green Party leader, issued a statement headlined, “Want to Get Rid of Bush and Grow the Greens? Support David Cobb.” Touche.

[Grow the Greens? Why does this formulation disturb me so much? I guess it is because it comes out of the corporate/consulting world. I remember first hearing it on Wall Street in the 1980s. They used to say that they wanted to “grow the firm” or “grow the client base”. It was a term that was ubiquitous to board meetings and the business press. Eventually it seeped into the nonprofit world as on-the-go executive directors would make presentations about the need to “grow the base” or “grow the movement”. It is basically a marketing concept and particularly suited to the kind of hustle that Medea Benjamin is involved with, a tourist agency for the Birkenstock-wearing, NPR-listening well-heeled professional who wants to see what “it’s really like” in Haiti or Brazil. And while they’re there, they can pick up some tasteful trinkets.]

Significantly, there were no physical altercations or, as far as I am aware, even any nasty emotional outbursts between those on the respective sides, while there was a great deal of reasoned discussion, as well as robust, vigorous and competitive debate. [Don’t forget that Cobb charged Nader for taking money from white racists. Nader is too much of a gentleman to respond to that kind of gutter attack.]

Camejo and Cobb, as the two main protagonists, were both “on their game.” Both came across as articulate and passionate in support of their positions. Toward the end of the forum/debate, things got heated as Camejo accused Cobb of being a supporter of John Kerry and Cobb countered by articulating what he has been calling a “smart growth” strategy which prioritizes building the Green Party while also running a campaign which helps to get Bush out of office.

[Smart growth? Ugh. Puke. Retch. When I read this kind of Utne Reader pap, it makes me want to go running as fast as I can to read Rosa Luxemberg’s “The Junius Pamphlet”:

“Violated, dishonored, wading in blood, dripping filth – there stands bourgeois society. This is it [in reality]. Not all spic and span and moral, with pretense to culture, philosophy, ethics, order, peace, and the rule of law – but the ravening beast, the witches’ sabbath of anarchy, a plague to culture and humanity. Thus it reveals itself in its true, its naked form.”]

Friday morning began with the Cobb campaign distributing a statement they called, “The True Position of the Cobb/LaMarche Campaign on the Iraq War: End the Occupation, Bring the U.S. Troops Home Now.” The statement quoted from press releases issued in April and May and posted on the votecobb.org website, while also criticizing Camejo for “misrepresent(ing) the position of the Cobb/LaMarche Campaign on the Iraq war” at the Thursday evening debate.

[He must have changed his mind under pressure from Green Party members who were revolted by his statement to Amy Goodman that: “We can’t just cut and run and leave the mess for the Iraqi people to deal with. We have a responsibility in figuring out how to work with the Iraqi people is the first priority.” This is just what I’d expect from somebody who wants to kowtow to the Kerry campaign.]

The women’s caucus, youth caucus and black caucus all took steps forward. International visitors and speakers reminded us that we are part of an international movement worldwide and that we have major responsibilities to the world’s struggling peoples and threatened ecosystem.

[I am not sure what movement you are “part of”. You are accommodating yourself to a candidate that appears to be preferred by the CIA right now.

‘Embedded Patriots’ by William Greider:

The most intriguing story in Washington these days is a subterranean conflict that reporters cannot cover because some of them are involved. A potent guerrilla insurgency has formed in and around the Bush presidency–a revolt of old pros in government who strike from the shadows with devastating effect. . .

My own surmise–corroborated in conversations with several long-experienced Washington reporters–is that we are probably talking about career military officers and senior civil servants at the Pentagon, Justice Department lawyers and professionals at the CIA or State Department.


Maybe you should invite one of these guerrilla insurgents to join the Cobb faction of the Green Party. They’d fit right in.]

* * * *

Not an hour after comparing Ted Glick to Gus Hall, I discover that David Cobb’s running mate is open to voting for John Kerry:

LaMarche Says She’ll Vote for Whoever Can Beat Bush by Joshua L Weinstein

AUGUSTA — Pat LaMarche, the Green Party’s newly nominated candidate for vice president, said Tuesday that her top priority is not winning the White House for her party, but ensuring that President Bush is defeated. She is, in fact, so determined to see Bush lose that she would not commit to voting for herself and her running mate, Texas lawyer David Cobb. LaMarche, who won 7 percent of the vote when she was the Green Independent candidate for governor of Maine in 1998, said she’ll vote for whoever has the best chance of beating Bush.

But “if Bush has got 11 percent of the vote in Maine come November 2, I can vote for whoever I want,” she said in an interview with the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram.

And if the state is, as it is now, a toss-up between Bush and presumptive Democratic candidate Sen. John Kerry?

She could well vote for the Democrat.

“I love my country,” she said. “Maybe we should ask them that, because if (Vice President) Dick Cheney loved his country, he wouldn’t be voting for himself.”

A spokesman for the Bush-Cheney campaign said the vice president is certain to vote for his and Bush’s re-election.

Larry Sabato, a political scientist who directs the University of Virginia Center for Politics, said, “It’s a rare thing, even for a splinter party, to have a nominee for vice president indicate she is not sure for whom she is going to vote.”

Actually, there is a precedent for this sort of sleight-of-hand.

In his autobiography, CP leader Steve Nelson explained how the party perfected the tactic now being employed by the Demogreens:

“The fact that the Party [CP] continued to run its own candidates during the early New Deal may give the wrong impression of our attitude toward the Democratic Party. We supported pro-New Deal candidates and ran our own people largely for propaganda purposes….

“Earl Browder’s campaign that same year [1936] demonstrates how we ran our own candidates but still supported the New Deal. His motto and the whole tone of his campaign was ‘Defeat Landon [the Republican] at All Costs.’ In this way he sought to give critical support to FDR. We wanted to work with the liberal wing of the Democratic Party and to achieve a certain amount of legitimacy as a party of the Left. We held a rally for Browder in the Wilkes-Barre [Pennsylvania] armory, which held over three thousand people, and the place was jammed. Many in the audience were rank and file Democrats. We didn’t get their votes on election day, but that’s not what counted to us. They were coming to recognize us as friends.

“For years there had been essentially no difference between Democrats and Republicans: both had represented the interests of the coal companies. Now there was a feeling that Roosevelt was doing something to relieve the problem of unemployment, and that signified a real change. People identified with the government as basically pro-labor. We had no illusions. The Democrats were still a capitalist party, but they were an alternative to the Republicans and were delivering the Wagner Act, Social Security, unemployment insurance, public works, and other badly needed reforms.”

—Steve Nelson: American Radical


  1. A new Marxist blog on the block!!! I’m so happy to see you start blogging. I always thought that blogging is like a medium custom made for you.

    Comment by Yoshie — July 2, 2004 @ 7:17 am

  2. Hi Lou,
    I totally agree with Yoshie. This is a great format for you. I will keep track of things and add what I think on occasion about disability issues and the left.
    Doyle Saylor–>

    Comment by Anonymous — July 2, 2004 @ 11:36 am

  3. […] first post was titled Reply to a Realo and took up the betrayal of the […]

    Pingback by 5 millionth hit for the Unrepentant Marxist blog | Louis Proyect: The Unrepentant Marxist — August 2, 2017 @ 7:33 pm

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