|JUST TO ADD MY two cents to the Obama/Hillary issue. I'm not an American,
so I don't have a vote in the US elections anyway, but I would definitely
prefer Obama over Clinton. None of us, I'm sure, have any illusions about
Obama being even remotely radical, neither on economic or nor on so-called
"social" issues (he doesn't even have the guts to support gay marriage),
but nevertheless there are good leftist reasons to support him.
As was already pointed out, Obama's support comes mainly from a vast
amount of small individual donations, whereas Hillary is much more reliant
on large donors and companies. Secondly, Obama is much more vigorous, at
least in rhetoric, about wanting improvements in government ethics and
procedures. While every American candidate talks about "changing
Washington" of course, I deem it a lot more likely that Obama would limit
the influence of corporate lobbyists in DC relative to Clinton (though
he'll still be at least partially beholden to them). Thirdly, the Clintons
have perfected the act left, talk right trick before, and have betrayed
leftists on every issue, and there is no reason to think Hillary will be
better than Bill on this. Clinton's election, I am convinced, has enabled
the same tactics to be used by supposedly social-democratic parties in
Europe, leading to the dominance of Blairism there. Any leftist must
reject this, and at least Obama is an unknown factor in this regard.
Fourthly, and not unimportant either, I think Obama will have a way easier
time beating John McCain. Contrary to what Charles Brown thinks, I think
the Bradley effect will be quite minor - Harold Ford in the 2006 Senate
election performed more or less as polled, and he was a really rightist
Democratic candidate in Tennessee of all places. Obama has won such
bastions of ethnic diversity as Iowa, Utah and Idaho. The Bradley effect,
I think, is pretty much coming to an end (even if racism obviously is
not). And aside from this, Obama does massively better than Clinton among
independents (who tend to determine elections in the US), and has vastly
less negatives that could unite Republicans against the Democrats.
Which brings me to Perelman's point. Of course I'm no supporter of the
Democratic Party either, but I think the 'vote Hillary to break the Dems'
argument will not work. Not because the working class loves the Democrats,
but because of the US voting system. Maybe I'm cynical, but I believe that
it is simply impossible for any radical party, regardless of whether they
are well-organized or not, can be a serious competitor in the US today as
long as the first-past-the-post voting system is in place. This is no
reason not to vote for a leftist third party (I would choose the SPUSA) in
the generals, but it is something that the socialist movement will have to
face. McGovern as a candidate did not break the Democrats; Mondale did
not break the Democrats; Dukakis did not break the Democrats. Even when
times were vastly rougher and the leftist challenge vastly stronger than
they were now, like around WWI and the Great Depression, the two-party
system in the US stood as a rock amidst the storm. It's simply not
feasible to expect it to collapse as long as plurality voting exists.
So what I would do is vote Obama in the primary, and simply vote SPUSA, or
Green, or some other real leftist party in the generals.