============================================================================ From: "Brian Hill" <•••@••.•••> To: <•••@••.•••> Subject: Re: rn> The U.S. Presidential race Date: Wed, 25 Oct 2000 07:58:35 -0700 Has anyone said that a vote for Nader is a vote for Bush, and that both are good because (1) a vote for Nader will begin the third party process, and (2) by Bush getting in the contradictions of corruption will be heightened which will get liberals off their asses? Brian ============================================================================ From: "Jeff & Diana Jewell" <•••@••.•••> To: <•••@••.•••> Cc: [list suppressed] Subject: RE: rn> The U.S. Presidential race Date: Wed, 25 Oct 2000 09:40:02 -0700 Dear rn: Richard, I like your argument, especially about houses of straw and big bad wolf. Here in Canada, we now have the Amrican style two-horse race, with big money supporting both so it doesn't matter who wins--Big Money laughs, while the spin doctors create a big soap opera for the media and the bamboozled citizens to chew on. As for "strategic voting", if you vote for the lesser of two evils, you're still voting for evil. That's why my husband, Jeff, and I have declared our candidacy for the Canadian Action Party www.canadianactionparty.ca which has come out to abrogate the NAFTA and Free Trade treaties (the wolf!) and keep our laws strong to protect our citizens. Of course, we have no money (our message isn't what Big Money would back!) so we run a shoe-string campaign, urging people to vote for what they want, not for the "two evils". A large popular vote for CAP or Greens will send a message to Parliament/Congress for the "winners" that they don't have as much support as they'd like to believe, and that's a powerful message, until we get electoral/ballot reform that will make things more fair. Diana Jewell North Vancouver, BC Canada ============================================================================ Date: Wed, 25 Oct 2000 12:55:42 -0300 (ADT) From: Daniel Haran <•••@••.•••> To: •••@••.••• Subject: Re: rn> The U.S. Presidential race Dear Richard, 25 Oct 2000, rkm wrote: I haven't even considered voting for the past six years or so, but if I did Nader would be the only possible choice. But what we really need is a movement not a candidate. Seems to me Nader's one of the best things that's happened to American social movements in the last 20 years. He's built up a number of important institutions, including PIRGs, that were influential in radicalizing me. If I remember correctly, some of those same institutions were instrumental in the planning for Seattle's N30. Instead of a "but" could you rather critique Nader for the way he is trying to build a movement? Is he building up the Green Party into a viable vehicle for change or merely mouthing off? How can activists use his name-recognition to keep building? Your insights into these questions would be much appreciated. I'm not in the US, though if I were I too would have to vote for Nader. I've tried convincing Canadian anti-sanctions activists with relatives in the US to call them and ask them to vote for Nader... He's the only one who doesn't support their current genocide against Iraqis. Sincerely, Daniel ================= Dear Daniel, I certainly don't think Nader is 'merely mouthing off'. He is a sincere and dedicated activist who has accomplished more than any one person could ever hope for. And I think his political campaign is a very good thing. He's getting a radical perspective out to thousands of people, encouraging them to think in terms of real change outside the mainstream spectrum. He's providing a focus for radical energy, an opportunity for his supporters to collaborate toward an objective and gain experience that will be useful as the movement develops further. Nader is clearly 'part of the solution' and not 'part of the problem'. Now let's set Nader aside for a moment and consider the broader picture. We currently live under a very powerful, very centralized, and very well-organized global regime. In fact there are several regimes - economic, political, and ideological - which are intertwined and mutually reinforcing. The first thing we must recognize, in my view, is that the current regime cannot be reformed - it needs to be replaced by a fundamentally different system. You cannot have an economy based on capitalist principles and then expect it to behave other than it does. Nor can you have a competitive / factional political system and expect it to escape capture by elite interests. Nor can you turn public communications over to private corporations and expect to have an informed populace. The second thing to recognize is that replacing the current regime - regardless of what we seek to replace it with - will be a monumental political project. This regime is the result of 10,000 years' evolution of hierarchical systems, and overcoming it will be the most revolutionary event that has occurred since agriculture was invented. --- What kind of movment can succeed under these conditions? I think there are some definite things we can say in answer to this question. First, the movement needs to develop a mature vision of a new system, a new way of running the world. There's been good work in this area, particularly as regards a 'new economics' - sustainability, enviornmentally-friendly resource use, appropriate technologies, etc. Our collective understanding of a 'new politics', however, is far less developed. Most people are still thinking in terms of election reform and third parties, while from what I've been able to learn, competing political parties themselves are part of the problem, not part of the solution. In any case, we are a long way from having a comprehensive, collective vision of what we would replace the current system with, and how that new system could be sustained politically and avoid eventual usurpation by some self-interested faction. Second, the movement needs to be very broad indeed. You don't overcome this kind of regime with some minority splinter movement. We need the kind of society-wide consensus and commitment they had in Eastern Europe, when they ousted the Soviet-era regimes - but we need a much better vision of where we are heading than they had. Third, the movement needs to strategically canny. The current regime has long experience in dealing with movements - suppressing them, co-opting them, absorbing them, and yielding temporarily to them when necessary - yet underminging them in the end. So far we have lots of beginings - smoldering movement kindling - but we don't yet have a viable fire going. When we get to the energy level of the sixties, or the thirties labor movment, or the turn-of-century Populists, then we'll be on our way - but we'll need go still further than any of those movements did, and avoid the various traps they all eventually fell into. If we interpret Nader's campaign as an attempt to stir up movement energy - one more piece of kindling helping to get a fire going - then it is a very positive thing. If however we seriously seek change through electoral politics, then we are falling into the oldest trap in the book. That path has brought the final demise of every 'successful' Western movement in the past - the others having succumbed long before reaching that point. And making too much of any particular leader can also be a trap, and I'm sure Nader would agree with me here. When a leader inspires the action and creativity of the movement, that is a great service. But if the movement looks too much to a few leaders for direction, then we won't be building the kind of civil-society processes that will be the basis of a 'new politics'. As regards 'new politics', I'm especially impressed by David Korten's recent work, with his characterization of 'Capitalist Society' vs 'Civil Society'. (See his article on our website, and his latest book, "The Post Corporate World, Live After Capitalism"). Below is an interesting proposal from Michael Albert of ZNet fame, entitiled "Why Not Create A Shadow Government?". His particular proposal may or may not be sound, but there are some good ideas there in any case. A 'shadow cabinet' and 'shadow policy platform' of some kind could provide a focus to help develop the vision we need. If Nader does not get elected, then Michael suggests what seems to be a rather natural direction for Nader to consider for his next move. rkm ============================================================================ Delivered-To: moderator for •••@••.••• X-Sender: •••@••.••• Date: Thu, 26 Oct 2000 19:03:20 -0700 To: •••@••.•••,•••@••.••• From: CyberBrook <•••@••.•••> Subject: Why Not Create A Shadow Government? Mime-Version: 1.0 Why Not Create A Shadow Government? By Michael Albert <www.zmag.org> Soon, the presidential elections will be over. Without doubt the new president, minutely different from the old president, will be gearing to commit domestic and international mayhem on behalf of his favored elite constituencies. The unanswered question is what will Nader, LaDuke, and the Greens do once the campaign is over? Having rinspired large audiences all across the U.S., what's next? Having built apparatuses in many states, what is to be done with them? I have a suggestion. What if Nader and LaDuke were to announce that they were establishing a shadow government? They announce a set of cabinet members (secretary of state, labor, etc.), a staff (press secretary, etc.), and a list of senators across the country. They announce a web site that includes not only the biographies of the shadow officials and a statement by each regarding his or her aims and priorities, but also forums for on-going discussion, a sign-up mechanism to receive future communications, and an extensive, compelling display of on-going shadow government policy priorities and positions contrasted to those of the actual government. Every week, starting with the inauguration in January, the shadow government site could be augmented with at least three types of material: 1. Commentary on the shadow government's view of major U.S. government undertakings for the week, and what the shadow government would have done differently, and the estimated difference in impact between the shadow choices and those of Washington. 2. Presentation of what the shadow government would have undertaken/initiated during the week, explaining why the Washington government is unlikely to embark on similar actions, and what the public gains would have been had the shadow government been able to pursue its aims. 3. A summary contrasting the overall impact of the two governments for the week- plus a cumulative summary of major differences for the year to date. The site could also have sections relating to various spheres of social life-the economy, politics, cultural issues, family matters, foreign policy, and the ecology, for example. There could be sections for each person in the cabinet, for the president's staff and the senate. We could also have new appointments for the Food and Drug Administration and other regulatory agencies, as well as for financial institutions, courts, and so on. We could have a section for a state of the week speech, given by Nader/LaDuke, with a press conference, and broadcast on diverse independent radio stations as well as on the site. There is really no limit to the creative things that could be done. The point of the project would be to demonstrate as accessibly as we can the philosophical and policy differences and their implications between the actual administration and a Green-Nader-LaDuke administration. Special events could also occur, such as a shadow inauguration, shadow state of the nation address, shadow press conferences broadcast over the site and to the press directly, shadow Senate votes, shadow Supreme Court appointments, shadow budget presentations and hearings, and even shadow White House cultural events, etc. The shadow government site could include audio speeches and texts as well as on-going dialogue between shadow government officials and the public in cumulative forum systems and live chat sessions. This would educate the public on what the U.S. government actually does, on what its impact is, and especially on what an alternative progressive government would have done were it in office. It would provide a record on which Greens could run next time around. The site, press conferences and public campaigns, demonstrations, teach-ins, and other events would be a thorn in the side of elite government and, more important, an educational resource and organizing tool in the U.S. and probably around the world as well. Does all this replace getting out and organizing? Of course not. But the idea of a shadow government with shadow events, policies, statements, and results so people can judge if they want something far more radical than Washington offers, has a democratic, participatory, and engaging aura about it. The potential for developing in diverse directions is obvious including public debates and teach-ins around the shadow government material, and related challenges to the real government, to media, and to other institutions. What is the obstacle to doing this? Well, the technology is easy enough. There is effort and creativity required, a lot of energy and ingenuity, but the project wouldn't cost much in dollars. Since there is no dearth of good people to fill the cabinet posts, presidential staff, courts, joint chiefs, even the whole Senate -the only real difficulty in the way is (a) will Nader and LaDuke do it, or, if not, can others do it in their place?; and (b) getting along, coming to agreements, and being okay about going with "x" when some people prefer "y" or even "z." Well, regarding these issues, isn't it about time the left managed to generate enough coherence, at least about short-term critique of events and immediate positive program, to present a united face? Wouldn't this be an invigorating and productive way to do it? There are lots of procedures that could be used. Even the worst option would probably be better than nothing: Nader appointing "from the top" all the officials and having the kind of overarching influence on choices that a real president does. It would be much better still, of course, for various parts of the undertaking to be overseen by appropriate grass-roots organizations and projects interacting together democratically and with relative autonomy in their own domains. In any event, the first step would be for Nader and LaDuke to decide they want to do it, for them and various Greens to choose a cabinet and other central appointments, and for the new shadow cabinet and as many other appointed officials as possible to together decide how to deal with each week's critical postings and policy and other determinations. Here are just a few appointment possibilities to give an idea of what this shadow government might look like, though there are thousands of combinations that anyone on the left ought to be happy with. Imagine, for example, Noam Chomsky as shadow Secretary of State with Howard Zinn next-door heading up the shadow Department of Defense. How about Elaine Bernard organizing the shadow Department of Labor, along with Manning Marable for the shadow Department of Housing and Urban Development? What about Barbara Ehrenreich for the shadow Department of Health and Human Services? How about putting Jim Hightower back in the saddle in the shadow Department of Agriculture, while having Juliet Shor chair the Federal Reserve, and Robin Hahnel worker self-manage the Department of the Treasury. How about FAIR's Jannine Jackson as Press Secretary, and ex-presidential Candidate and Head of the Center of Constitutional Rights Ron Daniels revamping the Department of Justice? Just think of the shadow cultural events we could sponsor when the White House hosts a staid hypocritical evening of operatic-scale elitism with the president pontificating stage right of the piano-and the shadow White House hosts at the same time the most incredible of all parties. ============================================================================ Richard K Moore Wexford, Ireland Citizens for a Democratic Renaissance email: •••@••.••• CDR website & list archives: http://cyberjournal.org content-searchable archive: http://members.xoom.com/centrexnews/ featured article: http://cyberjournal.org/cj/rkm/Whole_Earth_Review/Escaping_the_Matrix.shtml A community will evolve only when the people control their means of communication. -- Frantz Fanon Permission for non-commercial republishing hereby granted - BUT include and observe all restrictions, copyrights, credits, and notices - including this one. ============================================================================ .