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What about the Green Party, U.S.A.?

by John Spritzler

July 12, 2012

Jill Stein is running for president of the United States on the Green Party ticket. The New York Times is writing about it here. It's a very friendly puff piece.

What should we make of the Green Party?

The Green Party aims to be a party of the minority only. The Green Party's appeal seems at first to be to all Americans who want single-payer health care, an end to unprovoked U.S. invasions of foreign countries, more regulation of corporations, a living family wage, racial and gender equality, an end to repression of our civil rights, and environmentally sound policies--in other words the great majority of Americans. But this is not quite true. The Green Party actually only directs its appeal to Americans who support same-sex marriage and Affirmative Action as well as these other things.

In all 31 state referenda on same-sex marriage a majority voted against making it legal. Fifty-five percent of American voters say Affirmative Action should be abolished (versus 38 percent who support it). Though the Green Party folks do not admit it, there are very reasonable and positive reasons that many Americans have for opposing same-sex marriage and Affirmative Action (also see this video.) Richard Nixon initiated Affirmative Action and pressured Civil Rights leaders into abandoning the goal of ending racial discrimination and replacing it with the goal of government-sponsored discrimination. The result was what the ruling class intended: after decades of white workers and students hearing "I'm sorry we couldn't give you the job (or school admission) because we had to give it to a less qualified minority" the solidarity between whites and blacks against racial discrimination that developed in the 1960s has been replaced by white resentment of blacks getting unfair favored treatment. By making support for same-sex marriage and Affirmative Action a condition for supporting the Green Party, the Party makes it clear that it has no intention of being a party of the majority of Americans.

The role of the Green Party, whether intended by its leaders and followers or not, is to persuade working class Americans that the NPR-listening "progressive" people in the United States who talk about equality and environmentalism and ending unjust wars and controlling corporations etc. are really elitists who have contempt for ordinary Americans--so much contempt that they don't even think people should be allowed to vote on the same-sex marriage question. (The main organization supporting same-sex marriage in Massachusetts--MassEquity--opposed letting voters in Massachusetts vote on this question; their slogan was, "It's wrong to vote on rights." And the Green Party in Massachusetts did not oppose this blatantly anti-democratic position.) This same contempt for ordinary people leads Green Party folks to label people who object to "affirmative" racial discrimination in hiring and school admissions as "racists"!

The Green Party this way stigmatizes, as merely the phony rhetoric of elitists, values and aims (like racial and gender equality, ending unjust wars, environmental concerns, single payer health care, etc.) that would otherwise unite a majority of Americans. It is similar to how Communists have stigmatized the idea of revolution for an equal and democratic society: by creating Marxist regimes whose dictatorial nature they justifify with the elitist idea that ordinary people are not yet sufficiently class conscious to have the real say in society, Communists have persuaded millions of people that anybody talking about equality and ending exploitation is just using that rhetoric to manipulate people--that their real aim is to impose a Communist Party dictatorship.

The Green Party and the Democratic Party both link "making things better for working people" with elitist contempt for ordinary people. In doing so they drive working class Americans into the waiting arms of the Republican party who feign respect for the values of working class Americans and link that to an explicitly pro-capitalist ideology. This is how all of the political parties work in tandem to strengthen the dictatorship of the rich.

The Green Party will be used by the ruling class not only to stigmatize ideas that challenge the wealth and privilege and warmongering of the ruling class, but also to thoroughly demoralize those who embrace those ideas and who don't understand why most Americans don't vote for the Green Party's Jill Stein for president. The minuscule vote for the Green Party will do the job. It will tell people opposed to the ruling class, "Abandon hope, you are just a tiny minority and the majority of Americans reject you." This is why the New York Times is giving the Green Party publicity.

Instead of the Green Party's liberal and elitist program, we need to build a revolutionary movement that tells the truth--that we live under a dictatorship of the rich. We need a movement that says ordinary people are the source of the positive values in society and, no matter what they think about same-sex marriage and Affirmative Action, they are the ones who should rule. We need a movement that proposes an inspiring vision of society, not one that, like the Green Party, takes capitalism for granted. (For further discussion of this please see Thinking about Revolution.)

The Green Party is a pro-capitalist party. This is evident from the fact that its platform has not a single word critical of capitalism per se. While the Party criticizes "vast concentrations of wealth and power," it proposes merely that corporations be better regulated. Instead of declaring that all of the means of production belong to the public and not to individuals, the Party merely states that the public owns "public lands, pension funds and the public airwaves," implying that there is nothing wrong with all of the rest of the wealth that has been produced by working people and all of the rest of the earth's resources being claimed as the private property of wealthy people.

The Green Party is opposed to revolution. The Party does not say we need a revolution. It does not say that we have a dictatorship of the rich that controls the outcome of elections and will continue to do so as long as they are in power no matter how many reforms we make to the election system. Instead, the Party says that we merely need to reform the election process to make it work "better." The Greens focus on reforms such as campaign finance reform, Instant Runoff Voting and direct election of the president, as if the dictatorship of the rich did not exist, and the only reason the government doesn't do what most Americans want is because our electoral system isn't quite perfect yet.

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DIVIDE AND RULE:The "Left vs. Right" Trap