Louis Proyect: The Unrepentant Marxist

July 29, 2016

The demonization of Jill Stein

Filed under: Green Party,third parties,two-party system — louisproyect @ 6:09 pm

After it became clear that the Sanders Political Revolution was history, the pro-Clinton propagandists redirected their fire at Jill Stein. The contrast between Sanders and Stein could hardly be greater but that made little difference to those who not only favored the two-party system but the hegemonic role of ruling class politicians like the Bushes, the Clintons and Barack Obama within it. Even though Sanders never had any intention of making a breach with corporatist Democrats, he was considered a trouble-maker for pointing out the obvious, namely that the system was rigged in favor of Wall Street.

As a standard-bearer of the anti-Sanders propaganda offensive, it was to be expected that the Washington Post would turn its attention to Stein once the relatively toothless Senator from Vermont was out of the way. On July 26th an article titled “As Green Party’s Stein woos Sanders backers, some see unhappy flashbacks to 2000” appeared. Like the last time a relatively successful Green Party campaign for President made an impact on American society, the Democrats worry that Stein might steal votes from Clinton just like Nader supposedly stole votes from Gore:

“I’m sure she’s a great person, but I can’t see how the effort can lead to anything but helping Trump,” said Rep. Keith Ellison (Minn.), who had been one of Sanders’s most high-profile supporters but is now urging the party to unify behind Clinton. “Trump is such a clear and present danger to the republic that we’ve got to get behind the candidate who gives us the best chance of defeating Trump.”

To make sure that people got the message, an op-ed piece titled “A vote for Jill Stein is a vote for Donald Trump, and that’s the point” appeared the very next day making the same point. Tom Toles, the Post’s cartoonist, warns: “This is one where there doesn’t need to be any confusion. Voting for Jill Stein (in a competitive state) is voting for Donald Trump to be president. There isn’t any room to quarrel on this.” The repetition of basically the same article in the Post and others referenced below remind me of Adolf Hitler’s observation: “The most brilliant propagandist technique will yield no success unless one fundamental principle is borne in mind constantly – it must confine itself to a few points and repeat them over and over.”

The same basic article appeared on the Huffington Post: “Think Really, Really Hard Before Voting For A Third Party Candidate. Really Not content with just one such article, Huffington ran another a day later: “The Progressive Case Against The Green Party’s Jill Stein”.

At one point Salon.com was relatively fair-minded about Stein’s campaign in keeping with its liberal pretensions but since the demise of Sanders’s Political Revolution, the gloves have come off. Amanda Marcotte, a typical “progressive” hack of the sort that Salon hires, crapped on both the disaffected Sanderistas and Jill Stein in an article titled “Hanging with “The Bernouts” and Jill Stein: The Bernie-or-bust crowd is loud at the DNC — but they’re powerless”:

Like the Cleveland rally, this one was composed mostly of white men who really, really hate Hillary Clinton and aren’t afraid to make wild accusations about the first woman to be a major party nominee for president. Or to carry signs that they probably did not realize communicate subconscious phallic fears of Clinton’s ascension to power.

“White men” and “phallic fears”? Very transparent use of racial and sexual demagogy, isn’t it.  Maybe the problem is that people don’t want to vote for a candidate who represents everything the left hates.

A day later Salon reporter Sean Illing conducted a hostile interview with Stein that included questions in the “When did you stop beating your wife” vein:

In 2000, people implored Ralph Nader to run only in “safe states.” (non-swing states). He refused to do so and we know what happened. The idea was to allow progressives to vote their conscience in greater numbers and send a message to the Democratic Party without empowering the GOP. Voters know the Green Party or the Libertarian Party candidates aren’t going to win. These are protest votes, and more people would cast them if they were confident they weren’t doing Donald Trump or George W. Bush a solid. This matters a great deal to people who detest the two-party system but care deeply about core liberal principles or the balance of the Supreme Court. Why won’t you do what many now wish Nader did?

Slate Magazine, which is much more in tune with Hillary Clinton’s political agenda than Salon, chimed in with “Jill Stein’s Ideas Are Terrible. She Is Not the Savior the Left Is Looking For”. The author is Jordan Weissman who also complained about Sanders’s attack on free trade. Since he believes that “The fact is, most of the world has seen its standard of living improve quite a bit in the era of free trade,” naturally he would have no use for Jill Stein.

One of the more vitriolic attacks on Jill Stein came from a character named Dan Savage who writes for an alternative newspaper in Seattle called The Stranger and produces radio show podcasts at http://www.savagelovecast.com/. In May, after someone called in to express support for Jill Stein, Savage went postal:

Disaster will come. And the people who’ll suffer are not going to be the pasty white Green Party supporters — pasty white Jill Stein and her pasty white supporters. The people who’ll suffer are going to be people of color. People of minority faiths. Queer people. Women.

Don’t do it. Don’t throw your vote away on Jill Stein/vote for, bankshot-style, Donald Trump.

Since Savage is gay, the demagogy about “pasty white” Jill Stein and suffering gay people was to be expected. It is also worth mentioning that he was a big-time backer of George W. Bush’s invasion of Iraq, saying “Because we’re not just at war with al Qaeda, stupid. We’re at war with a large and growing Islamo-fascist movement that draws its troops and funds from all over the Islamic world. Islamo-fascism is a regional problem, not just an al Qaeda problem or an Afghanistan problem.” So naturally he might be motivated to support Hillary Clinton who voted for the war like him and also like him ultimately admitted that it was a “mistake” to back the war in 2002. You can bet your last dollar that if the war in Iraq had gone smoothly, neither Savage or Clinton would have decided it was a mistake.

This brings me to the matter of Jill Stein’s problematic position on Syria that shares most of the left’s tendency to see it terms of a potential repeat of 2002 as if the USA ever had any intention of “regime change”. In 2013, a year after her last campaign for president, Stein assembled a Shadow Cabinet that included David Swanson as “Secretary of Peace”. In brief, Swanson’s views on Syria are identical to those of most on the left. He has written nothing about the uprising and focuses exclusively on alleged American plans to remove Bashar al-Assad going back to 2006.

He has written: “In 2012, Russia proposed a peace-process that would have included President Bashar al-Assad stepping down, but the U.S. brushed the idea aside without any serious consideration, suffering under the delusion that Assad would be violently overthrown very soon, and preferring a violent solution as more likely to remove the Russian influence and military — and perhaps also due to the general U.S. preference for violence driven by its weapons industry corruption.” In fact no such proposal was ever made as I pointed out in a September 2015 article.

Furthermore, her statements on Syria have not been so much in the Swanson apologetics mode but more in the vein of wishful thinking:

The US and Russia should support diplomacy leading toward a peace settlement in Syria. A peace settlement should include provisions for civil society in Syria that has been working for democracy. The US and Russia should work cooperatively to help resettle refugees feeling the war and the drought.

There is about as much chance of this happening as Hillary Clinton breaking up Wall Street banks.

While I consider Syria to be a kind of litmus test for the left, I tend to apply it a little less forcibly when it comes to someone whose speeches are almost totally about Wall Street criminality, fracking, immigrant rights, single-payer health insurance, and police killings.

Unlike Swanson, I doubt that Stein has ever paid much attention to Syria, something backed up by a search of Nexis. From 01/01/2012 to 07/29/2016 there were 132 articles that turned up in a search on “Jill Stein” and “Green Party” but when you add Syria to the search, nothing comes up.

In fact, the candidacy of Jill Stein and Ralph Nader’s should be understood less as a smorgasbord  of positions than about the possibility of opening up a space on the left that can facilitate coordination and common struggle around burning questions facing American working people. When I attended a sold-out Madison Square Garden rally for Ralph Nader in 2000, I was less interested in what he had to say than I was at the sight of nearly 18,000 warm body in the seats. I said to myself that if only ten percent of these people could become serious activists in a nationally coordinated organization that could fight for clean air and water, jobs for all, civil rights, etc., Nader’s bid would be worth it even if much of what he said was beside the point. If I remember correctly, he went on for ten minutes about how bad Coca-Cola was for youngsters. While I don’t think that he was wrong to attack a drink that apocryphally has been used to clean car batteries, it might have been a better use of those ten minutes to explain why Al Gore was a fake on the question of climate change. I doubt that Nader had any ability to expound upon Marxist economics given his preference for Jeffersonian small businesses, but it would have also been great to hear something about the capitalist system’s contradictions.

After Nader was blamed for Gore losing the election, the Green Party became demonized by the same sorts of people who are demonizing Jill Stein today. In 2004 the pressure exerted by people like Eric Alterman and Todd Gitlin resulted in the nomination of David Cobb, an obscure figure who the “Demogreens” felt would pose no threat to John Kerry. It turns out it was Kerry’s terrible campaign, just like Gore’s in 2000, that led to his defeat.

Jill Stein has the courage of her convictions. In an interview with Paste Magazine, she was emphatic: “The lesser evil thing is false. It’s not going to fix this problem. We’ve been using that strategy since Bush-Nader-Gore and where has it gotten us? The politics of fear has delivered everything we were afraid of. All the reasons you were told you had to vote for the lesser evil is exactly what we’ve gotten: expanding wars, the meltdown of our climate, the prison-industrial complex, more student debt, police violence, the off-shoring of our jobs, Wall Street.”

It is her stiff-necked determination to push forward that will help to build the Green Party. There is an enormous potential for the growth of the left that hasn’t been seen since I was in my 20s. On February 5, 2016 the Washington Post reported that in a poll on socialism versus capitalism, respondents younger than 30 rated socialism more favorably than capitalism (43 percent vs. 32 percent, respectively). Now, of course, these are likely people who understand socialism in terms of Sweden rather than Cuba but if you have the ear of someone who simply has little use for capitalism, you at least are dealing with someone who can be reached politically.

Furthermore, a WSJ/NBC poll revealed that there was a big opening for Third-Party candidates due to the unpopularity of Clinton and Trump. Reporting on the poll, the Washington Post noted:

Those whose views on the race haven’t hardened seem open to choosing Mr. Johnson or Ms. Stein. These “persuadable” voters comprised nearly three in 10 of those surveyed.

Of them, 28% leaned toward Mr. Trump and 25% toward Mrs. Clinton. Some 21% favored Mr. Johnson and 12% went for Ms. Stein.

To me those are jaw-dropping figures. Imagine that, Stein’s favorability was only half that of Hillary Clinton even though the media has been hostile to the Greens as indicated at the start of this article. Actually, that’s probably one of the reasons people are leaning in her direction.


  1. Supporters of a left alternative to the Democrats should bone up on exactly what happened in 2000 with Ralph Nader’s candidacy because the Democrats are going to use it to bludgeon people back into their grasp!


    Clinton’s strategy – If you don’t support her, you’re supporting the immediate Nazification of America and acting out of white privilege!


    Comment by Dennis Brasky — July 29, 2016 @ 6:30 pm

  2. Jill Stein is a bourgeois candidate from a bourgeois party. There’s absolutely nothing socialistic about her or her program. In fact the green party program explicitly rejects socialism as an “outdated dogma”. We can see what the green party program looks like in practice in Germany. It’s more of the same.

    Any opposition to Stein from the bourgeois press and Democrats is based on the chance that she’ll win over a disaffected section of the petty bourgeoisie that would otherwise vote for Clinton. It has nothing to do with them being afraid of her program.

    Communists don’t support bourgeois candidates or even participate in bourgeois elections. More than half of the working class already abstains from the vote in the US. It’s the middle and upper classes who have a steak in the election and can’t understand abstention.

    We have nothing to gain and nothing to lose. Our path to victory is through battles in the streets, the point of production and supply lines.

    Comment by Bruce Crafton — July 29, 2016 @ 7:29 pm

  3. So what makes you a Communist? Posting bullshit ultraleft comments on the Internet?

    Comment by louisproyect — July 29, 2016 @ 7:43 pm

  4. Political parties represent specific classes.

    Comment by Dave — July 29, 2016 @ 9:52 pm

  5. So what should the Green Party members do? Join the fucking SWP, get jobs at Walmarts, and walk around like Jehovah’s Witnesses selling Jack Barnes’s idiotic book door to door? So funny to see you pop up, Dave. What has it been? Ten years still having faith in a lunatic cult that has maybe 80 members, many of whom are as old as me? Pathetic.

    Comment by louisproyect — July 29, 2016 @ 10:03 pm

  6. AFL-CIO/Change to Win Labor Misleaders Ramping Up for the 2016 Wall Street Elections and the Democratic Party of the Bosses:

    No Support for Fake-Socialist Bernie Sanders, “Sheepdog” for Hillary and the Democrats!

    No Support to the Capitalist Green Party!

    Break with the Democratic and Republican Parties of Capital!
    Build a Class Struggle Workers/Labor Party!

    Click to access 2015-05-MAY-Class-War-Suppl-2016Elections.pdf

    Comment by Chris C — July 29, 2016 @ 10:08 pm

  7. And out come the Oehlerites — I mean “Trotskyists.”

    I’m voting for Stein but I do wish she’d stop putting her foot in her mouth.

    Comment by jschulman — July 29, 2016 @ 11:14 pm

  8. Donald Trump denies global warming, says he will use nuclear weapons, would end the US-Iran nuclear deal, praises the police for law and order, wants to ban Muslims from the US, and deport 11 million Mexicans. The most basic consequentialist line of reasoning will tell you that one should vote against Trump in a swing state to prevent the suffering of the most vulnerable.

    Comment by lawrencepd — July 29, 2016 @ 11:59 pm

  9. jschulman,

    Thanks for the reference to Oehlerites. I didn’t know who you were talking about at all, but thanks to Wikipedia, I found out quickly. I’ve known the *mentality* (the theoretical framework) represented there for some decades.

    I do have to say, though, at least the Oehlerites in the U.S. were having their debates in 1930s, when political class struggle was very sharp. At that point, I can understand why socialists would see the immediate need for a ‘vanguard professional party of the working class’. At a historical point when a consciously socialist orientation has a significant following among the working classes and their organizations (unions), OK, it’s a fair attempt. It didn’t mean it would succeed. But, you had to try.

    But, Chris C types forget that for a whole era before the Russian revolution, for example, Marx, Engels and all socialists including Lenin had advocated that, where and when possible, socialists MUST intervene in electoral cycles and processes, must participate with their own platforms; but, more importantly, and on a regular basis, they must push for reforms that benefit the conditions of the working classes, issues that during elections could be harnessed to raise class consciousness around central concerns of working people’s lives.

    Both Marx and Lenin understood that it is only through participation in those movements for reforms that socialists can help to elevate them, so that the really-existing social conditions of class struggle can be transformed in favor of a socialist solution that has *social hegemony*.

    Chris C and his ilk assume they can skip all the hard work, and create a revolutionary party in the privacy of their offices, work on their ‘theories’, and wait for the revolution to materialize, at which point they will step in to lead it.

    Their entire rhetoric reeks of laziness, self-importance, shirking of fundamental social duties, and full of fantasy land.

    Ironically, they represent well the mentality of the most *apolitical* people; in the sense that they have zero effect in the actually existing political conditions of the society. A 70-some year old Scandinavian type socialist, a United States Senator, running on the corporate-owned Democratic Party ticket, who openly and honestly announced that he would support the party’s nominee (everybody knew it was Hillary), can wake up tens of millions of American people in one year; of those, many millions of have now caught onto the Democrat’s tricks, and (at least) some hundreds of thousands of those will be looking for more radical alternatives.

    Meanwhile, the Oehlerites have been at it since the 1930s, and how many hundreds of thousands of people have they brought closer to the cause of socialism?

    Comment by Reza — July 30, 2016 @ 1:12 am

  10. Doesn’t Dr. Stein bend toward anti-GMO pseudo-science and quack homeopathy?

    Comment by Jay Rothermel — July 30, 2016 @ 1:10 pm

  11. “I think there’s no question that vaccines have been absolutely critical in ridding us of the scourge of many diseases — smallpox, polio, etc. So vaccines are an invaluable medication,” Stein said. “Like any medication, they also should be — what shall we say? — approved by a regulatory board that people can trust. And I think right now, that is the problem. That people do not trust a Food and Drug Administration, or even the CDC for that matter, where corporate influence and the pharmaceutical industry has a lot of influence.”


    Comment by louisproyect — July 30, 2016 @ 1:26 pm

  12. Comment by Dennis Brasky — July 30, 2016 @ 2:57 pm

  13. If Syria is a ‘litmus test’ , and I think it is , is there nothing to be said at all for Clinton? I read a Ruth Sherlock article that begins ‘Hillary Clinton will order a “full review” of the United States’ strategy on Syria as a “first key task” of her presidency, resetting the policy to emphasise the “murderous” nature of the Assad regime, foreign policy adviser with her campaign has said. ‘ As the situation in Aleppo becomes even worse I think it is good that Hillary Clinton might bring some much needed new emphases to bear. If its not too little way too late by then.

    Comment by Matthew Jackson — July 30, 2016 @ 5:09 pm

  14. Clinton’s position on Syria is outweighed by her position on the Palestinians. In any case, my main interest is in breaking with the two-party system and not trying to accommodate myself to it. Here is Steven Salaita on “lesser evil” politics, btw:


    Comment by louisproyect — July 30, 2016 @ 5:13 pm

  15. I read the article but If I were an American I could still imagine myself voting Clinton, knowing she is better on the Syria war, still being opposed to both major parties as agents of the elites fundamentally, and not feeling I had accommodated myself to the two-party system, as that vote would not make all other actions impossible and could still argue a break with the two-party system is necessary. I read ‘Children of the Siege’ by Pauline Cutting about her experience as a volunteer doctor and witnessing the Palestinian struggle in Beirut, Bourj al Barajneh , in the mid 1980s, made me hate the regime of Hafez Assad actually, and it is a terrible situation the Palestinians were placed in by the decisions of the post war years, at the mercy of cynical and murderous operators. Is there one single book you would recommend to understand the best policies to argue for with respect righting the betrayal of the Palestinians?

    Comment by Matthew Jackson — July 30, 2016 @ 5:47 pm

  16. Yes, Edward Said’s “The Question of Palestine”.

    Comment by louisproyect — July 30, 2016 @ 5:51 pm

  17. Thank you Louis. I will get it.

    Comment by Matthew Jackson — July 30, 2016 @ 6:12 pm

  18. Re Vaccines

    Per the WP, Dr. Stein says’People have real questions.’ So?

    The responsible thing to do is to answer them, not pander to them. This crap is all the more shameful when it comes from a doctor.

    Q: What do you call the last-place student in a med school class?

    A: A doctor.

    Comment by Jay Rothermel — July 30, 2016 @ 7:35 pm

  19. “I think there’s no question that vaccines have been absolutely critical in ridding us of the scourge of many diseases — smallpox, polio, etc. So vaccines are an invaluable medication,” Stein said.

    Clear to me as well as the widespread distrust of a Big Pharma-dominated FDA. They’ve earned it!

    Did Stein finish last in her medical school, or do you require a little ad hominem to bolster your argument?

    Comment by Dennis Brasky — July 30, 2016 @ 7:45 pm

  20. Weird to see Jay Rothemel calling Jill Stein’s judgement into question when his blog is devoted to the Jack Barnes cult. What a pair, him and Dave.

    Comment by louisproyect — July 30, 2016 @ 8:17 pm

  21. Stein in specific still has “woo” problem, and worse, pandering like a Dem or Repub to the woo in the Green Party. http://socraticgadfly.blogspot.com/2016/07/jill-stein-closet-antivaxxer-versus.html

    Comment by SocraticGadfly — July 31, 2016 @ 12:21 am

  22. Another Green-friendly blogger who agrees with me. We’re getting near the end of our rope. http://www.patheos.com/blogs/danthropology/2016/07/jill-stein-may-not-be-anti-vaccine-but-i-am-furious-about-her-position-and-comments/

    Comment by SocraticGadfly — July 31, 2016 @ 12:23 am

  23. Chris, first, i reject communism. I’m a socialist of some sort but never a communist. B. how many states are communists on the ballot?

    Comment by SocraticGadfly — July 31, 2016 @ 12:26 am

  24. jay: Don’t communists bend toward a pseudo-scientific, deterministic non-theory whose determinism and Hegelian roots have been undermined by quantum theory and many other things? YES

    Comment by SocraticGadfly — July 31, 2016 @ 12:29 am

  25. Bruce,
    Stein spoke at my university right after Bernie lost the California vote and was vocally saying the green party is for “real socialists and feminists”, so even if the platform rejects it, Stein is vocally inviting socialists in.

    Comment by CB — July 31, 2016 @ 1:10 am

  26. Calling to vote for the greens is like calling to cross a picket line. Have some principle. We analyze class character not “position of vaccines”. Only in America could such an insane thing even be a question.

    Comment by Gob Art — July 31, 2016 @ 1:31 am

  27. Lol of course Stein invites socialists in to build her campaign, the same way John L Lewis brought communists in to build the umwa. But John L Lewis and the organisation he led remained committed to capitalism, just like old Jill.

    Comment by Gob Art — July 31, 2016 @ 1:34 am

  28. “We analyze class character not “position of vaccines”. Only in America could such an insane thing even be a question.”

    Love the royal we. That’s probably coming from someone who has been reading the Spartacist League newspaper since 1965 and looks like someone Diane Arbus photographed.

    Comment by louisproyect — July 31, 2016 @ 2:14 am

  29. “But John L Lewis and the organisation he led remained committed to capitalism, just like old Jill.”

    And you need to be committed to a mental hospital where you can play Leon Trotsky and argue with the patient who plays Napoleon Bonaparte.

    Comment by louisproyect — July 31, 2016 @ 2:16 am

  30. “…there are no moderate rebels in Syria. If we aid Syrian rebels against Assad, we are going to topple Syria and create the same type of geopolitical power vacuum that we created for the Khmer Rouge and Pol Pot to occupy Cambodia but for ISIS.”

    I stopped reading as soon as he got to this obscene defense of Assad.

    Comment by Dennis Brasky — July 31, 2016 @ 2:24 pm

  31. As attested here, Stein clearly supports vaccination even though–quite properly in my view–she favors cleaning up the FDA approval process, which is infested with big Pharma influence.

    I gather that the Green Party platform once had a pro-homeophathy plank that has been voted out and thus should no longer be an issue, even though it is fair to assume that an awful lot of Greens still believe in this–if you ask me–contemptible nonsense.

    The Green Party supports GMO labeling and is resolutely anti-nuclear. These seem to me to be reasonable positions that a scientific-minded socialist could accept or at least regard as subject to serious and respectful discussion.

    The fact is that the environmental movement is infested with superstitious nonsense–the problem with GMOs, for example, is not that Man is trifling sinfully with Mother Nature’s Plan, but the way in which GMO patenting plays with other business practices of organizations like Monsanto to damage the interests of working people worldwide. Etc., etc.

    This however, given the above, presents no real bar to supporting Stein if you are inclined that way. She is neither anti-vax nor pro-homeopathy, and it is a slander to suggest otherwise.

    As far as antinukism goes, there is an excellent case for this, and many socialists I am sure share this view. I myself have an intense but very cautious interest in liguid-salt-based reactors using thorium as fuel–but here I would go much farther than Stein does on vaccinations, in that I think it all but inconceivable that such a thing could be implemented safely or effectively by the current nuclear industry under the current regulatory regime (NRC, etc). Leaving this up to The Entrepreneur, in my view, all but guarantees a bad if not calamitous outcome. And of course, this technology–while very far from being an untested fine idea (the basic concept was proved out at Oak Ridge decades ago)–faces a number of as-yet-unresolved and potentially fatal engineering challenges before it can be implemented.

    The so-called debate on this is full of the unreliable voices of money talking (i.e., of investors with something to sell). If you want to know just how dangerously mendacious and unreliable pro-nuke “information” gets, take a good look at the heap of deliberate falsehoods known as the film Pandora’s Promise and then look up just about any informed critique of it. Scary.

    So this, in my view, is not a legitimate hit on Stein.

    Comment by Pete Glosser — August 1, 2016 @ 12:05 pm

  32. Ajamu Baraka , her choice of running mate, on Syria , ‘After three years of unimaginable atrocities fomented by a demented and dying U.S. empire”’ etc . I don’t think if Syria is a litmus test I could vote for her if I were an American.

    Comment by Matthew Jackson — August 2, 2016 @ 3:02 pm

  33. Stein’s choice of Baraka the Assad apologist was a deal-breaker for me. Nobody to vote for this year. Since Trump is finally(!) self-destructing let’s just figure out how we can most effectively battle the HRC administration’s neoliberalism and war-mongering given the current balance of class forces in the U.S.

    Comment by jschulman — August 2, 2016 @ 7:47 pm

  34. He should go to Zaatari refugee camp and talk to Syrians. He is a disgrace.

    Comment by Matthew Jackson — August 3, 2016 @ 12:19 am

  35. jschulman, you say, “Stein’s choice of Baraka the Assad apologist was a deal-breaker for me.” I find her Syria stance pretty disgusting, too. As in Iranian socialist I find it disgusting doubly painfully so, since one of the main benefactors of Syrian genocide is our government, the mullahs’ theocracy.

    But, in the U.S. context, I agree with Louis, when he says that we can, “apply [the Syrian litmus test] a little less forcibly when it comes to someone whose speeches are almost totally about Wall Street criminality, fracking, immigrant rights, single-payer health insurance, and police killings.”

    If nothing else, the left in this country need to understand just how many people they can actually persuade to vote for a platform that talks about some major concerns of the working people in the U.S. If we can get the left in this country to actively support and organize people around the issues named above, that is a HUGE step forward. Part of that organization is for various political organizations to issue joint platforms and nominate people, and see just how many votes they can get. If they can make it past 5% mark, they can use federal funds (OUR tax money, in other words), so they can expand their activities and have larger platforms in the future electoral cycles. Leftists here need to understand that they need to take practical steps that expand their potentials.

    I personally don’t expect the general population in this country to really understand what’s happening in Syria when we can see how their ‘organic intellectuals’ are so ignorant about that issue. Just consider the typical professional leftists from Counterpunch to Dissident Voice, to Anti-War, to Common Dreams, to WSWS to Workers World, to numerous others writing for publications and/or members of various left organizations, who are so deeply confused and clueless when it comes to just about everything going on in our region. Most these people can’t bring themselves to opposing (in an unqualified manner) a *theocracy* (the one in Iran)!! In that regard, they are pre-Enlightenment.

    We don’t expect American left to understand our region. In fact, we have mostly given up on them. But they can do something positive in their own country. Thinking practical politics (not just sloganeering) is a necessary first step.

    Comment by Reza — August 3, 2016 @ 5:14 am

  36. This isn’t about the views of the general population though. It is about the views of leadership. And the Syrian war is not some arcane thing. Is it ‘sloganeering’ to want leaders who are capable of looking at evidence honestly? This is Baraka on the Ghouta sarin attacks, ‘the dubious claims made by an insurgency, that a chemical attack was launched by the al-Assad government.’ Dubious presumably not because he has looked with intelligence at the evidence, but because his pre-determined mindset tells him how to think. He is mentally corrupt in my opinion.

    Comment by Matthew Jackson — August 4, 2016 @ 2:31 am

  37. Reblogged this on The Lefty Gazette.

    Comment by Admin — August 5, 2016 @ 1:59 am

  38. I just plain am not willing to vote for Stein because she says thinks like wifi signals are bad for your brains, that vaccines cause autism (devonked a million times over), and just frankly when I see her ad on TV I find her irritating and self righteous. But beyond that, she has the same stance on Ukraine which Trump does. But regardless, as a Bernie supporter, I’m also a pragmatist and I can do math. I’m not going to risk Trump getting in the White House because of my belief that we need more than 2 parties.

    Comment by Cory Desormeaux — August 5, 2016 @ 9:00 pm

  39. When was it devonked? Or are you just being provonkative making such a statement?

    Comment by louisproyect — August 5, 2016 @ 9:46 pm

  40. […] effort to smear Jill Stein is concerted, from TV to social media. It’s a double speak approach. On the one hand, Stein is cast off as […]

    Pingback by Jill Stein and the Smear Campaign against Independents — August 18, 2016 @ 12:55 pm

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