Ron Paul vs. John Edwards

The Failures of Sectarianism

Election 2008 has officially kicked off and the only real excitement thus far is the explosion of grassroots support for the Republican antiwar candidate, Ron Paul. The 10-term Congressman’s anti-government, pro-market platform has rallied a-never-before-seen online mobilization, filling his campaign’s bank account with almost $20 million in the last quarter alone. That puts him on par with Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama’s fundraising prowess.

Many progressives, including myself, believe some of the libertarian fiscal ideas Paul espouses would be a disaster if they were ever implemented. Nevertheless, the policies of all the other leading candidates aren’t about to change the course of the economic apartheid that is already plaguing most people in this country. They’d simply continue it.

The upside of Paul’s campaign certainly outweighs the potential downsides. The critical issues now aren’t Paul’s plea to dismantle the welfare state (although cutting off all subsidies to corporate American would be fine by me), but his call to restore the Bill of Rights and drastically curb American Empire. I think most Iraqis living under US occupation would probably concur that ending the war ought to be priority number one for US voters this year. So why aren’t we listening? At this point Paul is the only candidate calling for a radical change in our Middle East foreign policy.

The Ron Paul rebellion, with the antiwar component at its core, represents a potential crisis for the Democratic Party. In the absence of a Ralph Nader type candidate and a coexisting movement, Paul’s crusade is the only major force in which to align with to stop the war in Iraq and, on a longer-term level, represents a politically activated and more mainstream segment of American society worth trying to reach out to.

Many left-leaning writers and respected activists have recently latched on to John Edwards’ anti-corporate campaign, claiming, as author Norman Solomon recently did, that if Edwards were nominated he “would be the most progressive Democrat to top the national ticket in more than half a century.”

It seems the litmus test for the lauded “progressive” label is pretty damn weak these days. Edwards may be touting populist rhetoric along the campaign trail, claiming he’ll clamp down on corporate crime, which garnered him Ralph Nader’s endorsement, but Edwards has utterly failed to challenge the US-Israel relationship and even President Bush’s lies regarding Iran.

During a speech broadcast at a security conference in January 2007 in Herzliya, Israel, Edwards echoed a dangerous neoconservative position. “Iran threatens the security of Israel and the entire world,” he claimed, “Let me be clear: Under no circumstances can Iran be allowed to have nuclear weapons.” Later in his speech Edwards went as far as to say that “all options” should be left on the table, hinting, if not admitting outright, that he believed military action may be necessary to contain America’s new arch nemesis.

Most antiwar activists have been quiet regarding Edwards’ I-won’t-promise-not-to-nuke-Iran pose, but have gone to great lengths to discredit Ron Paul, calling him a racist because of the support he’s received from the likes of David Duke and other bonafide nut jobs. Guilty-by-association politics are petty and naïve. How soon we forget the smearing of Ralph Nader in 2004 because Republicans were supporting his campaign. Some may call us hypocrites for slandering Paul in the same way.

The Left so often swallows its own head with overt secertarinism, it’s downright embarrassing. Here’s Ron Paul electrifying a new contingent of voters. Thousands of them. He’s raking in millions for his antiwar campaign, yet he’s completely written off as a whacko libertarian. Many, if not most, of his supporters are new the electoral game. Sure some may indeed be rednecks, but what the hell is so wrong with hard-working folks who oppose Empire? Disregarding or pooh-poohing Paul’s movement because he’s not a progressive and some of his followers have odd world views, makes us look like elitist snobs.

Plus it is just silly.

The Paul demographic is essentially the same group of people the Left was attempting to organize at its apex in the 1930s, before we became a mostly irrelevant group of detached naval gazers, and postmodern-bullshiters. If we want any kind of revolution, large or small, we better stop being diversity-mongers, claiming we embrace everyone, aside from those we disagree with. How the Left could be so out of touch with regular Americans is beyond me.

Ron Paul, unlike any other candidate in the hunt this year, including John Edwards, has tapped in to a true populist current. The people who don’t typically vote and are generally disgusted with big government. And that is exactly what the Left should try and understand, if not replicate, even if they don’t care for Paul or the majority of his positions.

Joshua Frank is co-editor of Dissident Voice and author of Left Out! How Liberals Helped Reelect George W. Bush (Common Courage Press, 2005), and along with Jeffrey St. Clair, the editor of Red State Rebels: Tales of Grassroots Resistance in the Heartland, published by AK Press in June 2008. Check out the Red State Rebels site. Read other articles by Joshua.

73 comments on this article so far ...

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  1. Pleefer Bunstostaazen said on January 4th, 2008 at 10:22am #

    Excellent article.

  2. Justin said on January 4th, 2008 at 10:23am #

    Great article. I also do not agree with everything Paul has to offer, but he has shown great enthusiasm among supporters and brings sincere integrity to the race. I wish real debates would start — where you dive into the realm of the candidates views. Each televised debate is so generic…

  3. Michael McDonnough said on January 4th, 2008 at 10:37am #

    Paul’s group is a pretty diverse one. The one thing they have in common is the war but that is only one of the core issues. The second is that this empire is going broke and we need physical conservatives to cut this government down to a size that we can even hope to pay for and he is going after the warfare state first not the welfare state.

    He wants to deconstruct the welfare state but by attrition and reallocation of our resources to the lowest common denominator in an economy, the individual.

    He wants to end the federal war on the people that some call the police state. War on Drugs, Spying on Americans. Cameras on every street corner. Both the left and the right are just 2 feet on the same political creature marching us further and further into a growing police state.

    Welfareism, Warfarism, Militarism, Corpratism,Socialism are all connected isms that Ron Paul wants to abandon and return to our more original intent, constitutional contract of the government, by and for the people.

  4. JE said on January 4th, 2008 at 10:46am #


    The way you frame the progressive’s view of Ron Paul is extremely narrow. It’s ironic you’re more than willing to point out Edwards failings but give Ron Paul a pass for his outrageous and unrealistic ideas. To my knowledge Ron Paul has never categorically state he is against zionism. Very poor article.

  5. Stephan said on January 4th, 2008 at 10:48am #

    You nailed it. The old lables just don’t fit anymore. It isn’t just about this war anymore. Its about all wars. The empire is going to fall because it is not sustainable. Ron Paul has a reasoned plan for making that fall a more gentle one for us and the rest of the world. We on the left had better listen to him. He is speaking the truth.

  6. DenisL said on January 4th, 2008 at 10:51am #

    Nice article.
    You know the part about Ron Paul’s Iraq war position that is so great, aside from stopping the killing of kids & our soldiers in Iraq, is that he wants to stand down from WW2 and actually continue Clinton’s policy of decreasing cold war military spending. Ron Paul goes Clinton one better by wanting to close foreign military bases and bring our troops home from around the world. This will save hundreds of billions of dollars. This will allow him to prevent US bankruptcy AND to save Social Security & Medicare, while stopping corporate welfare. I kind of like these ideas!

  7. DenisL said on January 4th, 2008 at 10:54am #

    Ron Paul is simply pointing out that Israel with 300 nuclear weapons can take care of herself. And that we give twice the foreign aid to Arabs than we do to Israel. And that frankly we have hindered Israel from doing what it needs to do to solve its security problems. Let Israel do what it needs to do!

  8. David G. said on January 4th, 2008 at 10:59am #

    One thing to ponder when considering whether Ron Paul deserves progressive support is that his stance against social welfare programs is based as much on his views of Federalism as his faith in free markets. In the past, increased federal power has come to benefit progressive causes (civil rights, social welfare at the federal level), but the pendulum is quickly swinging the other way. Conservatives are now using federal power for its purposes, like preemptive war, domestic surveillance, imperialism abroad, etc.

    Also consider that in addition to enacting the conservative agenda on the federal level, the feds restrict the states from being more progressive. For example most states would immediately enact the following reforms if not restrained by federal law:
    1. Legalize or decriminalize marijuana and perhaps other drugs ;
    2. Enact single-payer health care systems;
    3. Stronger environmental protections;
    4. Domestic partnership/same-sex marriage; etc.

    As a California resident, I can’t help but wonder if it wouldn’t be better to get the government I want here at the cost of shrinking the size and power of the federal government, even if it would do less to restrain the reactionary instincts of the fundies in Kansas. I am frustrated that we are still fighting a culture war about gay marriage and drugs with social conservatives. I want to be able to live in a society that meets my basic needs, and if it doesn’t be able to vote with my feet.

  9. JustMe said on January 4th, 2008 at 11:01am #

    This is a well written and concise article. As a Paul supporter I have to agree that his views on the foreign relations, corporate rule and the war hit deeply, and touched a part of my psyche that has until this point never been acknowledged. As far as being a redneck, well, ya got me there. I grew up in the swamps, and have made it to the big city, with a six figure income, but still at heart a country boy.

    The few problems I have with Edwards, is his ideas don’t fully satiate my appetite for change. He’s towing the same line, as every other candidate. I want change! A shake up. I don’t want tax reform, I want tax abolishment. I don’t want increased military presence on foreign soil, I want to take care of business at home. If we want to support Democracy in the middle east, support the democratic movement with American Dollars and aid. The new warfront isn’t being fought with guns and soldiers, it’s with money and information. Make democracy financially attractive. Simple no?

    If I could choose, it would be an Edwards/Paul duo. I think that would be just what this country needs.

  10. Joshua Frank said on January 4th, 2008 at 11:03am #

    Paul is the most critical of all the major candidates regarding Israel. Here’s a great piece by Paul on matter.

  11. Introspekt said on January 4th, 2008 at 11:18am #

    A great article about the elitism that plagues our political parties today.

    JE –
    Ron Paul hasn’t stated that he’s against zionism, therefore he is for zionism.
    Ron Paul’s ideas are ridiculous, therefore Ron Paul cannot be a good president.

    Ron Paul does have shortcomings, but you do not need to present invalid arguments to bring them out.

  12. Ben said on January 4th, 2008 at 11:37am #

    Josh — I do not support John Edwards either. But I think your caricature of a supposedly elitist and “navel-gazing” left vs. so-called Ron Paul “red-necks” is inaccurate on both counts and profoundly unhelpful. Why is it sectarian to oppose a candidate who has used racism against immigrants as a lynch-pin of his campaign? Vowing to overturn Roe v. Wade is not a “shortcoming” — it is an attack on women’s already too limited access to abortion. If you honestly think those things don’t matter, or if you are yourself for “physically securing our borders,” you should say so. But don’t try to defend the indefensible by setting up a staw-man “Leftist” to beat on.

  13. Chris Crass said on January 4th, 2008 at 11:48am #

    To hell with my face! Off with the nose!

  14. Kate said on January 4th, 2008 at 11:50am #

    Zionist supporter? Don’t be ridiculous, your watching too much tv media again…the true supporters of Zionism. What in the world would make the media censor Dr. Ron Paul? His proZionism? good grief and get a clue. The only reason some of his views are ridiculous to you is b/c you are a weak minded media absorbing clone. Education is the key to knowledge folks.

  15. Joshua Frank said on January 4th, 2008 at 12:20pm #


    To be honest, I don’t think abortion should be a major issue this election season, the war should. But for the sake of argument you aren’t representing Paul’s view on abortion correctly. He’s a pretty strict Constitutionalist and simply doesn’t think Roe v. Wade was a Constitutional issue. He, right or wrong, doesn’t think the Federal Government has the authority to “legalize” abortion. Nor do they have the authority to “ban” it either. Here’s Paul in his own words. His position is not all that different from Ralph Nader’s actually.

  16. Liz said on January 4th, 2008 at 12:33pm #

    Good article! The issues you mention are ones I have been dealing with, and it is very frustrating to find those with whom I have been working on peace and justice issues for the past seven years are so narrow in their focus that they won’t think outside of the box in order to implement real change. In order to move away from the morass of our foreign policy over the past 16 years (yes, both parties are guilty), we need to form a coalition to support a candidate that can effect real change. We will never change anything if all of the antiwar progressives vote for Kucinich, and all the antiwar Republicans vote for Paul. That’s been the losing strategy for all these years, and it’s guaranteed to keep the status quo. Yet when I bring this up to liberal friends, they won’t even consider supporting Ron Paul. Your description:
    “If we want any kind of revolution, large or small, we better stop being diversity-mongers, claiming we embrace everyone, aside from those we disagree with. ”

    is a thought that keeps recurring as I listen to progressives tout their “tolerance”, but only for those of similar viewpoints and acceptable credentials. Everyone outside of these acceptable groups are low-life rednecks who can’t be trusted to make the “correct” decision regarding anything.

  17. David Gaines said on January 4th, 2008 at 12:39pm #


    The only candidate so far who has actually brought “people who don’t typically vote” out to cast their vote, where it counts, instead of onto blogs and internet chat rooms, where it doesn’t, is Barack Obama, who got a gigantic number of people out to the caucuses last night who otherwise would have stayed home — 18-year-olds, first time caucusers…..hell, he even attacted REPUBLICANS according to caucus entrance polls.

    I have no interest in Obama but it’s important to look at who walks the walk in this regard. Ron Paul is simply a symbolic figurehead to whom disaffected people are feeling happy about attaching themselves, as many did with Ralph Nader in 2000 (and too few of them stuck around to help build the Green Party afterwards).

    Joshua’s piece is an interesting and even admirable explanation of why people on the left should support a Milton Friedman fanatic like Ron Paul. I, however, remain unconvinced. In terms of philosophy (and I was a Libertarian Party activist for many years in the 1970s & 1980s, by the way, before I began my recovery), nobody who advocates bringing back the gold standard and abolishing most of the federal government is getting MY vote. I don’t care HOW much he wants to end the war in Iraq – that is WAY too much to wink at & ignore. In terms of strategy, he is NOT going to win the Republican nomination, and then what are his leftist fans going to do in the general election if he’s, say, the Constitution Party nominee (as many are suggesting should happen) or even the Libertarian Party nominee? Is the radical left going to abandon the Green Party and/or the Socialist Party in order to follow their bliss wherever this Reagan-on-steroids leads them?

  18. JMS said on January 4th, 2008 at 1:01pm #

    We seem to forget the environment as an issue.

  19. Joshua Frank said on January 4th, 2008 at 1:04pm #


    I certainly don’t agree with all of Paul’s positions on the environemnt. But as a radical green, I have to admit that his call to end all subsidies to oil/gas/coal companies and to end the polluting, oil-consuming war in Iraq would be a great start in addressing a lot of the problems our world faces. He’d slash the DoD, which is the world’s number one polluter. Could you imagine Al “Occidental Petroleum” Gore calling for such drastic measures?

    This really isn’t about Paul though, as I’ve written before, it’s about his following. The antiwar movement is on the skids, but Paul’s camp seems to be mobilizing new folks and they seem ready for a fight. That’s a good thing. The Left has been on the sidelines so long one has to wonder if it even exists.

    And let’s be realistic. Paul, even if elected, could never possibly dismantle the Federal Government as the lefty fear-mongers would have us believe. That’s insane. As for a bid in the General Election, I hope he runs.

  20. Binh said on January 4th, 2008 at 1:23pm #

    Mr. Frank I have to say I’m disappointed that you’ve taken to Ron Paul. You say that “he’s a pretty strict Constitutionalist” but his voting record indicates that he missed the part about the separation of church and state.

    Talking about Ron Paul’s supporters misses the point: he’s an anti-war reactionary who stands against everything progressives stand for with the exception of Iraq and government spying. Again, I will refer you to his voting record since Sherry Wolf took apart the contradictions of his ideology.

    Refusing to endorse Paul doesn’t mean we can’t engage his supporters who are doing the wrong thing for the right reason any more than refusing to support Hillary Clinton (or Kerry back in ’04) would prevent us from engaging with their supporters.

  21. Bl4ckP0pe said on January 4th, 2008 at 1:43pm #

    Paul at least makes some effort towards political honesty when he articulates the reality that the US-Loser Empire is morally and financially bankrupt, and, if it does not engineer a soft landing, is doomed to a very hard fall as it is simply physically impossible for a population of 300 million, no matter how hyper-violent, to dominate and enslave 7 billion recalcitrant beings whose spirit of resistance is only just awakening.

    This is a sign of some wisdom and intelligence, and also of a healthy respect for foreigners usually notably absent from USL politicoes.

    As such, he is the viable candidate least dangerous to the world, as all the others are proposing beefing up the US military for unremitting genocide in endless bouts of global TWATism (The War Against Terra).

    Of course, he is still heavily bound into the nationalistic premises of USA #1 jingoism, and has not as yet promised to deliver any of your major recent war-criminals to the ICC for trial. But that could forseeably change once he gets into office.

    Obviously, his message has wide appeal to the more sane, uncynical and anti-genocidal sector of USL populace. How large that sector is remains to be seen, but I think that once this heats up he will give Obama a very stiff competition “;0))

  22. JMS said on January 4th, 2008 at 1:45pm #

    Paul’s following is refreshing, but what about Obama? For the record, I am not an Obama supporter. 40% of Obama’s caucus goers were new to the caucus, and quite possibly, new to voting. That’s remarkable. Did anyone think in 2004 that this man could get the support of white Iowans?

    The idea that this man can wake up the country, bring new and young voters to the polls is exciting. For the sake of civic engagement, this is a good thing. We need more people to become involved. There’s a world of progressive and leftist issues that they are not yet aware of, but this is a start. It gets them one step closer. Obama has an incredible amount of influence. Imagine if he, as president, adopted stances similar to that of Ralph Nader? Just a naive fantasy of mine. Nevertheless, I think Obama’s influence in engaging young voters is important. It is a shame that they’d just be lining up with the establishment, but do the positives outweigh the negatives here? Could this man re-claim the U.S. black youth population from the grasp of indifference and the corporate hip hop/BET/thug chokehold? He could be such a positive role model. Could a democrat do this? I hope so. Back in 2003, I was a Dean supporter. He drew me into politics. Once I was in, I read more. I learned. Years later, I found myself to be an independent progressive – having voted for Nader in 04 and the Greens in local elections up till 2006. Funny that a democrat was my vehicle to enlightenment more or less.

    Could Obama bring African Americans and minorities back into the picture and out of the shadows? Can he bring issues that are hush-hush back to the table for an open and fair discussion where we can listen to one another and debate. Re-introducing issues once deemed taboo and bring them back into rational discussion would be great for this country.

    Again, I am not an Obama supporter. I can’t even find myself to support Edwards or any democrat for that matter. But Obama does intrigue me, I won’t deny it. The potential this man possesses makes me dream of a new generation that dreams of a better tomorrow. He has that RFK appeal. However, my nightmare (and the most likely scenario) is that he’s just breeding a new generation of self-satisfying do-nothing democrats.

    Don’t tell me this fantasy hasn’t crossed your mind. Just look at the faces at these Obama rallies. There’s something there that we haven’t seen in a long long time. Well, that’s all for now. As November draws closer, I can only hope that Obama becomes the populist candidate with a progressive platform. That would be the beginning of a new America. I can dream can’t I?

    -JMS, waiting for Nader to re-enter the ring.

  23. Joshua Frank said on January 4th, 2008 at 2:00pm #

    I think Obama’s following is impressive. But it’s certainly not an antiwar following. Obama is not antiwar, just check his position on Iran.

  24. JMS said on January 4th, 2008 at 2:12pm #

    Kinda funny – just ventured on over to Sam Smith’s Progressive Review. Immediately saw his latest post titled “Obama Reality Check.” In his “Idols and Presidents” post, he says:

    “Obama might turn out to be a decent president. ‘He certainly would be better than Huckabee,’ but at the moment the evidence provides little support beyond factors that matter inordinately these days, such as that he is young, good looking and half black. This is the sort of thing music producers look for in boy bands. Choosing a president is supposed to involve some deeper concerns.

    Besides, there is nothing about Obama that gives him a copyright on hope and, if you really want change, then logic would point you to John Edwards. But our politics have been subsumed by the values of television and so we continue to look for an American Idol instead of an American President.”

    Thanks Sam.

  25. mketcher said on January 4th, 2008 at 3:14pm #

    Ron Paul’s ideas are quite compatible with the “Small is Beautiful” ideals espoused by many liberals and radicals. His Constitutionalist approach would insure the decentralization of power — and go a long ways towards eliminating the military-industrial complex, the federal government’s increasing stranglehold on education, and the war on drugs.

    People are disgusted with politics as usual and want someone with honesty, integrity, and authenticity. For a great satire on the president, the mainstream media, and the war on terror, see this YouTube music video from the international award-winning zombie musical feature film, “Song of the Dead.” It’ stars horror movie veteran Reggie Bannister (Phantasm, Wishmaster, Bubba Ho-tep) as the president of the U.S. The filmmaker, Chip Gubera, is giving a share of his profits from DVD sales to the Ron Paul campaign. Go to:

  26. joed said on January 4th, 2008 at 3:22pm #

    what are you people talking about! your vote hasn’t counted for 7+ years. why would anyone think their vote will count this year. don’t you know the fix is in. you guys are just sayin’ shit so you don’t have to see reality. reality being; no one is going to be prez that could or would change important things. no, you lost your habeus corpus and your bill of right and you will now have to take them back. someone will have to go to jail before bush/cheney do but you can’t just have your stuff back. habeus and bill of rights are no longer yours and really what else matters. too bad for you guys.

  27. Alex Bannwart said on January 4th, 2008 at 3:38pm #

    I despise Paul’s ideology, but I fully welcome his supporters participating in the antiwar movement. Paul’s not going to be nominated- so the relevant question, I think, is what will happen to his movement after primary season is over? We need to find a way to maintain the movement’s momentum in a way that doesn’t revolve around Presidential candidates. And the ideological differences can’t be smoothed over forever- eventually the Left’s goal of building socialism is going to conflict with Paul-ites.
    And I know this is kind of a cheap shot, but I can’t resist: Frank’s charge of sectarianism is hypocritical, in light of his vicious attacks against David Cobb back in ’04.

  28. JMS said on January 4th, 2008 at 3:52pm #

    Are you playing “keep away” with us?

  29. joed said on January 4th, 2008 at 4:13pm #

    “Are you playing “keep away” with us?”

    Well, someone is playing keep away but it ain’t me. If it was up to me i would give you back what has been taken.

  30. Ben said on January 4th, 2008 at 4:27pm #

    Josh — Thanks for your response, but I don’t agree that Ron Paul’s opposition to abortion is okay because he’s a “strict Constitutionalist.” “States Rights” has hardly been a rallying cry of American progressivism. According to his own website, Ron Paul wants to overturn Roe v. Wade either federally or state-by-state. He seems to think it’s a pretty important issue.


    “Abortion on demand is no doubt the most serious sociopolitical problem of our age. The lack of respect for life that permits abortion significantly contributes to our violent culture and our careless attitude toward liberty. As an obstetrician, I know that partial birth abortion is never a necessary medical procedure. ”

    “Legislatively, we should focus our efforts on building support to overturn Roe v. Wade. Ideally this would be done in a fashion that allows states to again ban or regulate abortion. State legislatures have always had proper jurisdiction over issues like abortion and cloning; the pro-life movement should recognize that jurisdiction and not encroach upon it. The alternative is an outright federal ban on abortion, done properly via a constitutional amendment that does no violence to our way of government.”

  31. joed said on January 4th, 2008 at 4:31pm #

    …and i might add something else that is missing is the reasonable expectation that your vote will be counted and attributed to the candidate that you chose on the ballot. If, no matter which state you live in, if you assume that your vote will be counted then you don’t deserve to have your vote counted.

  32. Atexan said on January 4th, 2008 at 4:37pm #

    I am very disappointed in this article .
    Ron Paul is against any regulations of any type gainst business and he is for abolishing income taxes even on the very rich. That mean we will
    get corporations that are running amok without any restrictions on their greed and damage to the evironment and the average Joe with the
    eventual elimination of Social Security , Medicare, unemployment
    insurance and anyhelp from the goverenment for the average working Joe and Jane.

  33. Joshua Frank said on January 4th, 2008 at 4:40pm #


    What kind of “movement” did David Cobb represent? The safe-state strategy? I’ll happily be called a sectarian for opposing Cobb’s miserable campaign. I do, however, totally agree with you about keeping Paul’s movement alive after the primaries. That’s a must.

    Ben, I never said Paul’s position on abortion was “okay”, just that he didn’t want to criminalize the procedure. He wants to revert it to state jurisdiction, like many other issues.

    But come on, how many kids are we killing in Iraq right now? How many millions of people have we displaced? What’s the bigger issue at the moment? A woman’s right to choose, or Empire? I wonder what the Iraqis living under our guns think about our abortion debates while they watch their families be torn apart.

    I think reproductive freedom is a big issue, of course, but the turmoil and death in Iraq, to me, is a much bigger one.

  34. Michael Dawson said on January 4th, 2008 at 5:01pm #

    What do you have to say about Paul’s state-fascist immigration proposals?

    More generally, it is most certainly NOT certain that this kook’s upsides outweigh his downsides, a.k.a. everything he says other than end the war.

    And he’s not going to win anyhow, so what is the end you have in mind? Demonstrating to the weird right that the sane left cares about it?

    And encouraging people to reject big government is ass-backwards in the extreme. If we are going to survive Peak Oil, solve poverty, and strengthen global democracy, Americans will have to learn to stop bashing the very idea of government. Libertarianism is as addlepated as it is dangerous.

    Ron Paul stinks.

  35. Joshua Frank said on January 4th, 2008 at 5:18pm #


    I don’t agree completely with Paul’s immigration proposals. But he’s pretty in line with Nader’s view on the subject, which didn’t bring nearly the outcry in 2004.

    It’s about his movement, as I’ve said time and again, and not about Paul winning. It’s about making the war a central issue in the campaign so the big candidates cannot ignore it. Does anyone honestly believe Cynthia McKinney or even ol’ Ralph could raise $20 mill in three months time? That’s why his movement must stay alive during the general election. They are motivated and passionate. And for Big Gov solving all of our ills, I think the Fed’s alignment with big business is largely to blame for the mass poverty and militarism that plauges the world today. Paul would agree.

  36. JMS said on January 4th, 2008 at 5:29pm #

    I’ll play the devil’s advocate here. Supporting Ron Paul (even though he won’t get the nomination) over pro-war republicans may help change the debate within the right on foreign policy. It’s about shifting the party and its stance. The GOP could learn a thing or two about the drug war, civil liberties, and foreign policy from Mr. Paul.

    It’s similar to what some of us were seeking in supporting Nader. With our votes and support, we were in essence telling the Democratic Party – “Hey! You want our votes? Well learn from our candidate – adopt some of his policies – and you’ll earn them.”

  37. Michael Donnelly said on January 4th, 2008 at 5:39pm #

    Speaking of Litmus Tests: how can anyone continue to slam Ron Paul for his stand on Reproductive Rights when his stand is actually far more progressive than that of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s? Reid was put in that role by a unanimous vote of the rest of the Democrat Senators. If that “litmus test” means absolutely nothing to already elected Democrats, how can it be used to discredit anyone else?

    And, anyone who hasn’t figured out by now how disastrous the entire Cobb campaign (and the ABB fiasco) was is certainly not paying attention – kind of a hallmark of sectarianism, if you ask me. The Green Party went from almost 3,000,000 voters for its Presidential ticket in 2000 to just over 100,000 in 2004, losing hard-won ballot spots across the board. And, Cobbites still have the audacity to call that “Party Building.”

  38. joed said on January 4th, 2008 at 5:43pm #

    Where is the dissent? I don’t hear any dissent. all I hear is the same ol’ crap about who can win blah blah blah. the lesser of two evils etc.
    I hope you guys are enjoying yourselves ’cause this is a shitty country now and it is this sort of dissent that helped us give up our rights. Gee, did I interrupt your serious and real and meaningful discussion? It’s over kids, the bush/cheney gang won. don’t you get it. the comming election is not a real election. ron paul, you guys are really sick. would you really want him for prez? oh yeah, the lesser of two evils–which is what helped get us in to this mess in the first place. you cant vote your way out of this folks.

  39. Myles Hoenig said on January 4th, 2008 at 6:06pm #

    How is his appeal that much different from National Socialism in the 30’s?
    He’s waking up and invigorating an electorate (mostly young) who wouldn’t be involved otherwise. Yet if one is a leftist or leans that way, one should run as far from him as possible. He’s good on foreign policy and issues of corporate welfare but is able to couch overt racist domestic policy in Constitutional terms.
    Anyone running for election that feels it’s the courts, not governmental agencies’ responsibilities to curb and check excesses is a threat to thousands of communities all over the country, and millions of individual Americans, who cannot take on the Big Corporations in court. That’s why we’re suppose to have a Consumer Protection Agency, FDA, EPA, Interstate Commerce Commission, etc. (when they work as they’re designed to do).
    Definitely keep the Feds out of our bedrooms. But they damn well better be there when public schools only rely on property tax to fund them. That’s a guarantee for inequality of education.
    Going back to National Socialism, one can easily see the Paulites going after immigrants and the working poor (when it’s mostly people of color) as a way to scapegoat America’s problems. I see too many parallels here and it’s frightening.

  40. Michael Dawson said on January 4th, 2008 at 6:08pm #

    The fact that the government favors big business is not an argument against government. It is an argument against corruption in government.

    And if you think government causes poverty, you are simply uneducated on that topic, if not brainwashed.

    Capitalism causes poverty, as a logical by-product of serving its central purpose, which is further enriching the alreadt rich. Government lessens (and potentially) solves it.

    Nader has never advocated military policing of a Great Wall of the Rio Grande. But even if he did, at least it would be consistent with his overall philosophy.

    Noam Chomsky, anarchist extraordinaire, says that a long period of bigger and much more democratic government is humanity’s only hope for progressive survival.

    He is right.

    You are woefully wrong about the Paul phenomenon.

  41. HR said on January 4th, 2008 at 6:10pm #

    I feel transported back about 40 years in time, to my late teens and early twenties, by this article and others of its ilk that call for support of an ultra right candidate. Apparently the peace movement of today is led by scions of the upper middle class similar to those that led it during the Vietnam years (does the name Tom Hayden ring a bell?). This new batch certainly shares its predecessor’s petulance. And, they outdo them in one respect: instead of supporting wishy-washy politicians like McCarthy and McGovern (and R.F. Kennedy), politicians who actually possessed at least a shred of progressivism, they actually would have us vote for someone whose party promotes notions that would lead to complete privatization and complete serfdom for working people, people whose only freedom would be to serve their “betters”.

    There were reasons why working-class folks rejected the peace movement then, along with the elitists who ran it for their own aggrandizement, even though we opposed the war. Wake up, people, you’re being sold a complete bill of goods by a bunch of snot-nosed yuppies who don’t care one little bit about your well-being.

  42. C Villarreal said on January 4th, 2008 at 6:46pm #

    On the one hand you say it is not about Paul, it is about his supporters. And on the other hand whenever people point out that some Democratic candidates have their own groundswell of progressive grassroots, you complain about those Democratic candidates’ bad ideas.

    The truth is that, as much as I’d like to see the war in Iraq end, I think Paul’s faults far outweigh the benefits we might see from his isolationist foreign policy. From abortion to immigration to cuts in public benefits to tax cuts for the rich – there are far too many people I care about that will be negatively affected by a Ron Paul president.

    As for his supporters; I don’t think you realize how much like Paul his supporters really are. They don’t just care about the war. Many of them grew to dislike the war over time and now connect it to all of the other things they dislike about the government – from civil rights to environmental regulations. My impression has been that a lot of his supporters rank his stand on immigration about where they rank his stand on the war (if not higher) as a reason to slap a Ron Paul bumper sticker on their car.

    I don’t love any of the 3 front-running Democrats either, but I certainly find it much easier to engage with their supporters than with Paul’s.

  43. Joshua Frank said on January 4th, 2008 at 6:48pm #


    I tend to agree with Ed Abbey when he wrote,

    “In the Soviet Union, government controls industry. In the United States, industry controls government. That is the principal structural difference between the two great oligarchies of our time.”

    Government is inherently corrupt. Our Fed is set up to protect (regulate) the big guys, while the small guys get squeezed out. Our jobs get exported and we all suffer. Subsidies for big oil, Enron, and the rest. The EPA is a political body, unable to regulate anything worthwhile. The Forest Service is a pawn to the timber barons and the FDA is one with the food giants while the Dept. of Ag serves as a revolving door for Monsanto execs. They get richer and we get nothing.

    If you think this marriage between big government and industry doesn’t cause poverty, I’m not going to waste time trying to convince you.

  44. joed said on January 4th, 2008 at 6:49pm #

    you can’t vote your way out of the situation this country is in. the only solution is to storm the whitehouse and arrest the murderous thugs, arrest the congress and scotus. your vote hasn’t counted in 7+ years why would you think it will count this year?
    Your cvomments here may be pleasing to you but they are absolutly worthless if you want habeus corpus back. most of you probably don’t even know what habeus corpus is and you don’t even know it is gone. well, keep up the cute talk girls.

  45. JMS said on January 4th, 2008 at 6:57pm #

    I know enough about habeas corpus to know that you mispelled it. We’re having a bit of a debate here. There’s really no need to call anyone names. Relax.

  46. John Smith said on January 4th, 2008 at 7:07pm #

    Josh – the people you are talking support Huckabee, not Paul.

    They aren’t Libertarians; they want restrictions on the “race to the bottom”. (such as protectionism).

    Without stating, “we want to stop the race to bottom as well – not by bashing foreigners, but by fighting back”, we don’t have a chance.

    You remind me of Chris Hitchens in the early days after 9/11, convincing himself he had found a new paradigm; burning new bridges every day.

    You are trapping yourself in a bad argument. You are supporting someone who will be a non-entity in a few weeks.

    Dude – just stop writing about him; write about other things. We all make mistakes. We’ll move on and fight once again.

  47. Tom Yager said on January 4th, 2008 at 7:17pm #

    “And, anyone who hasn’t figured out by now how disastrous the entire Cobb campaign (and the ABB fiasco) was is certainly not paying attention – kind of a hallmark of sectarianism, if you ask me. The Green Party went from almost 3,000,000 voters for its Presidential ticket in 2000 to just over 100,000 in 2004, losing hard-won ballot spots across the board. And, Cobbites still have the audacity to call that “Party Building.”

    And Nader lost most of his support in 2004 as well. Both Cobb and Nader suffered from the Anybody But Bush mentality among progressives, which was out of their control. Nader and Cobb combined got far fewer votes than we needed to maintain our ballot lines in Nebraska, Rhode Island, and Minnesota.

  48. joed said on January 4th, 2008 at 7:26pm #

    JMS; “We’re having a bit of a debate here”

    sorry JMS, i didn’t mean to call you a “girl” It’s just that your “debate”
    is about the silly stuff. the time for talk is way past. the murderous thugs are yukkin’ it up over these kinds of “debate” I’ve always been a poor speller but I am glad someone out there knows how to spell Habeas Corpus. but am I the only one that knows it’s missing. And you are gonna’ hafta’ fight ta’ get it back.

  49. Tom Yager said on January 4th, 2008 at 7:33pm #


    What kind of “movement” did David Cobb represent? The safe-state strategy? I’ll happily be called a sectarian for opposing Cobb’s miserable campaign. ”


    What kind of “movement” have you been building by trashing the Greens for more than three years ?

  50. Deadbeat said on January 4th, 2008 at 7:58pm #

    Josh Frank didn’t “trash” the Greens. The Greens got trashed because Cobb and others took advantage of the disproportional representation structure of the Greens. The “safe-state/ABB” strategy and the demobilization of the anti-war “left” is the main reason for the vacuum that now exist and is being filled by the right. The main reason why the left “demobilized” is that the split on the anti-war left was due to adherence to the Democratic Party politics (Liberalism) and to stymie the anti-Zionist left.

    While I disagree with the embrace of Paul, I respect those who want to vote for him because primarily due to the disarray on the left. Look at the attacks Cynthia McKinney has endured by members of the Green who are worried by the possibility of the Green having to alter their “complexion” because McKinney will be a conduit for oppressed groups.

    I agree with Frank’s critique and identification of the “lefts” duplicity but Frank is not the problem here. The “left” unfortunately hasn’t been unwilling to identify the folks who have stymied and stunted the left. I think Josh Frank, with his book, and also the contribution of CounterPunch has been willing to identify those posers on the left.

    If their is going to be any real progressive movement, embracing oppressed groups is a must priority and also integrity and adherence to principles. The left has been if not silent, extremely ineffective, insensitive, and weak on core issues.

  51. Max Shields said on January 4th, 2008 at 8:28pm #

    Mr. Frank you’re a puzzle. You don’t know the difference between a progressive and a conservative liberaterian?

    Let me be clear, I don’t think either party is capable of providing the fundamental changes needed. But if you have two guys – Kucinich and Paul – with roughly the same chance of coming out of the primary process much as they started – and compare them each point by point, issue by issue – why would a self-declared progressive select Paul?

    Neither of these guys is going to be the candidates of their respective parties. So, Mr. Frank, what is your point in repeating this diatribe?

  52. JMS said on January 4th, 2008 at 8:50pm #

    Max, I believe Mr. Frank stated that one of the reasons behind his partial support for Paul is the fact that Paul is gaining popularity and numbers – something Kucinich isn’t doing. And with this Paul movement, increasing the anti-war voice in the country. I think that’s what he was getting at more or less. I’m sure if Kucinich had the type of money and support that Paul currently has, this post would be all about Kucinich.

  53. Sunil Sharma said on January 4th, 2008 at 9:11pm #

    JMS Wrote,
    “. . . I think that’s what he was getting at more or less. I’m sure if Kucinich had the type of money and support that Paul currently has, this post would be all about Kucinich.”

    True indeed.

    OTH. against our better judgment, DV bit the Kucinich bait back in 2004 and endorsed him until the end of the Dem primaries, and had to wipe egg of our face after Kucinich threw his support behind pro-war Kerry and urged his anti-war base to do the same. We then endorsed Nader, lot cause that his campaign was. One could say that supporting the Dems is an invitation to betrayal, but “betrayal” is a misleading term when, push comes to shove, the Democrats are wedded to the same imperialist, neoliberal policies as the Republicans. At least Ron Paul’s movement opens up a critical space/discourse on the foreign policy front that the left, such that it is, has failed to open.

    As for the Greens and McKinney . . . I have a great deal of respect for her, but I have little respect for the GP (which I’m a registered member of) given the self-destructive drift of the party in embracing the Cobb/Safe States/ABB bullshit, and apropros Deadbeat’s correct comments about some of the Greens’ reaction to McKinney, which is simply shameful. At this juncture, the Greens are utterly useless.

    — Sunil

  54. Max Shields said on January 4th, 2008 at 9:31pm #

    Sunil Sharma sounds like you’re having bad luck with politics. And Ron Paul? Just give him some time that space will probably disappear with a little reality.

  55. Tom Yager said on January 4th, 2008 at 9:52pm #

    “As for the Greens and McKinney . . . I have a great deal of respect for her, but I have little respect for the GP (which I’m a registered member of) given the self-destructive drift of the party in embracing the Cobb/Safe States/ABB bullshit, and apropros Deadbeat’s correct comments about some of the Greens’ reaction to McKinney, which is simply shameful. At this juncture, the Greens are utterly useless.”

    I’ve never heard of any Greens complaining about “having to alter their “complexion” because McKinney will be a conduit for oppressed groups.” Most Greens that I know are very happy to have her seeking our nomination. I hope to get her to come to my state’s Presidential candidate forum.

    If you plan to define the Green Party by the campaign strategy of one candidate in one election, that’s your choice (Cobb, BTW, ended up campaigning in swing states). I would encourage you and Josh to learn more about our party instead of simply repeating John Murphy’s attacks on us. J

  56. Hue Longer said on January 4th, 2008 at 10:00pm #

    Like his friend Kucinich, I doubt Paul will run against his Republibuddies or demand platform concessions when it comes time for him too to bend over.

    Regarding Kucinich getting Paul voter support… the fact remains that most of Paul’s supporters are racist Republicans that got tired of being called stupid for voting against their own interests or who never voted, have sense enough to see the party of their papa is lying to them, but sure couldn’t get behind one of them tree huggin queers on the left. Democrats are too attached to winnability and lesser evilism to get Kucinich going and the few who supported him last time got fucked pretty good

    Try presenting a Kucinich issues education to a Paul supporter, I’ve done so at least five times and only once did someone say he sounds like a good guy and that maybe they should run together

  57. Michael Dawson said on January 4th, 2008 at 10:15pm #

    Joshua, do you admit that there is any possible distinction between what present government does and what future government could do? It seems you don’t. If not, then why not stop wasting your time with democratic politics? If so, then stop yourself and think, man.

    Meanwhile, how has the present government caused poverty? Unless you’re saying that its corruption in favor of capitalist enterprise makes it somehow itself the same thing as capitalist enterprise, that is simply an irrational claim — not to mention a capitalist-excusing one.

    Capitalists certainly dominate the U.S. government. As such, they have used the U.S. government to worsen international (non-domestic) poverty. But capitalist domination is not the same thing as government itself. If it were, why would you or anybody bother with caring about elections?

    And the U.S. government has in fact lessened domestic poverty, albeit not nearly as much as it should. Business priorities (profits first) cause poverty and governmental corruption. Government itself is up for grabs, and needs to be grabbed and expanded and democratized.

    Meanwhile, you simply don’t know your horse from your cart here. Ron Paul is a cart, and an exceedingly crappy one at that.

  58. Mr. Concack said on January 4th, 2008 at 10:48pm #

    I won’t pretend to know much about political strategy and all that, but I have a legitimate concern. Joshua makes the point that it’s not about Ron Paul winning, it’s about his movement. That’s something that this country needs, a new kind of cross-sectional alliance. But what if Ron wins? What then? We know what people do once they get in power, and he’s a libertarian. With the current socioeconomic conditions and the bleak economic future, with all these police-state laws coming into place just at the right time, laws which Ron has spoken out about, what then? Is he going to rewrite the law in his first term? It’s going to take many years to undo what Bush has done. If the economy were to go down the toilet, would a libertarian in office be the best fit for this country? Your thoughts, Joshua?

  59. Ron Paul vs. John Edwards - The Failures of Sectarianism by Joshua Frank « Dandelion Salad said on January 5th, 2008 at 5:54am #

    […] Voice Ron Paul vs. John EdwardsEvidence of Israeli “Cowardly Blending” Comes to LightBringing the Gulf Coast to the […]

  60. Max Shields said on January 5th, 2008 at 6:30am #

    Michael Dawson
    Policy causes poverty. Capitalist are not some little cabal sucking up the wealth. Government greatly alters the conditions for poverty.

    Understand Manfred Max-Neef to get an understanding of what poverty is and than see what he and others have done to address the conditions.

    On the other hand, government is problematic (and always will be) but not because it exists but because power is not decentralized and DC is incapable of reflecting the needs and wants of 300,000,000 people and over a million square mile land mass. No system works at that scale for anyone.

    Libertarian ideology is framed around the individual. It is not about common wealth which is why such theorists will invoke conditions that create poverty not alleviate it.

  61. Shabnam said on January 5th, 2008 at 10:07am #

    Sunil Sharma:
    “One could say that supporting the Dems is an invitation to betrayal, but “betrayal” is a misleading term when, push comes to shove, the Democrats are wedded to the same imperialist, neoliberal policies as the Republicans. At least Ron Paul’s movement opens up a critical space/discourse on the foreign policy front that the left, such that it is, has failed to open.”
    Ron Paul who is against regulation of businesses and he thinks we have more choices today due to freedom of the cooperation from government abuses, DOES NOT open up a critical space/discourse on the foreign policy as Mr. Sharma has suggested. Ron Paul has said: “We give Israel about $3 billion each year, but we also give Egypt $2 billion. Most other Middle East countries get money too, some of which ends up in the hands of Palestinian terrorists.” So he is against aids since he believes it will end up in the hands of the “terrorist” which of course he means the Palestinian. He does not reveal the terrorist activities of neither US nor Israel. He thinks money is not going to help Israel because “ Muslims hates us regardless of our aids to them” which reminds us of those ignorant Americans who express their opinions on the air waves more or less the same that “we try to help Iraqi but look what they have done to us.”
    Ron Paul contrary to Mr. Sharma’s opinion that Ron Paul has opened up a discourse on the foreign policy at least the Zionist platform is misleading. Ron Paul has been already accused of being Anti-Semitic since he referred to AIPAC as the following:
    “By far the most powerful lobby in Washington of the bad sort is the Israeli government”
    In the Zionist view even “powerful lobby” adds to Anti-Semitic. Ron Paul in defense of him wrote:
    “I wouldn’t back away from saying that AIPAC is very influential in our political process. That’s a little bit different than saying the Israeli government, but I think that the Israeli position is very influential,… [Just] recently, there was an article out that studied which groups of people were most opposed to the Iraq War. And the assumption is that AIPAC is in control of things, and they control the votes, and they get everybody to vote against anything that would diminish the war. Yet the group that is most opposed to the Iraq War is the American Jews. Seventy-seven percent are now opposed to the war, which is a powerful message.”

    I don’t know who supports AIPAC? I hope Ron Paul does not think that ARABS and MUSLIMS are supporting AIPAC. The Jews are being against the Iraq war has greatly been exaggerated. The percentage of the Jews who voted for Bush in the second election for his presidency increased compare to the first election. On the contrary the percentage of youth votes were decreased.

    Ron Paul thinks the current foreign policy of the US is actually harmful to Israel. He repeats Chomsky’s nonsense that it is the US itself that prevents Israel in its peruse of her interest in talking to Syria since we ask Israel “don’t talk to Syria or we’ll cut off your money.” I hope Ron Paul is not that Naïve to believe that Israel is so desperate for 3 billion dollars to abandon its project “greater Israel” for this aid.
    Furthermore, Ron Paul as a doctor believes in free market medicine. Today even those doctors and specialist in Health care believe that Health Care should not be managed by free
    Market economy because it will produce harmful consequences, to make medicine less affordable and therefore decrease access to health care which is necessity and not luxury.
    Ron Paul’s view on Education, Social Security, government and other aspects of economy is closer to Milton Friedman. Please read
    “Capitalism and Freedom” to find out more about Ron Paul’s views on abandonment of government’s responsibility toward its citizen in name of “freedom.”

  62. Brandy Baker said on January 5th, 2008 at 10:47am #

    “Look at the attacks Cynthia McKinney has endured by members of the Green who are worried by the possibility of the Green having to alter their “complexion” because McKinney will be a conduit for oppressed groups.”

    This is true. But there is racism in every group, not just the GP. Eddie Boyd, our 2006 Green candidate for Governor here in Maryland was the first African-American to run for the office in a General Election from any party. He got some media, but not as much as the main 2, of course. But you would have expected the Greens in his state to back him 1000%, but the racist shit that some publicly said about him was absolutely appauling. In fact, a tiny group of registered Greens (some of these people even running for state and federal offices as Greens) went to another third Party and ran a candidate against him, talk about dysfunctional.

    You are going to see more of it, this type of racism against McKinney and Ball and other candidates of color, up to the Greens’ nominating convention.

    But many Greens are not like that, so it’s not fair to judge the whole party based on a small group of bigots.

  63. Myles Hoenig said on January 5th, 2008 at 10:51am #

    According to CNN exit polls, both Blacks and Jews increased their percentage support for Bush from 2000 to 2004. Are we to make any implications from this, considering how steady both groups have overwhelmingly supported the Democrats, regarding support for Bush and his agenda?
    I think marginal increases may say more for whom the Democrats nominated than these groups’ support for the other war mongerer Bush.

  64. Max Shields said on January 5th, 2008 at 11:46am #

    In many respects this discussion is not about Ron Paul. It’s about what conservative libertarianism is. Paul is a CL down the line. The only other notable aspect of this discussion has to do with what those who are supporting him THINK he’s all about.

    Libertarianism has shades which overlap a number of other ideologies and when no one is speaking to the shades than someone like Paul’s message becomes an attactor. But the only way to argue this from a ideological perspective is to go to the source – the ideology that he is preaching and guides his opinions (one good thing about a consistant ideologue is you know their decision making processes on each issue they’re confronted with; Obama would be the complete opposite end of the spectrum: “color me whatever you want” is his message.)

    Only a discussion around conservative libertarianism can clear the air of the confusion over such faux arguments like Paul vs Edwards.

  65. Deadbeat said on January 5th, 2008 at 11:47am #

    But many Greens are not like that, so it’s not fair to judge the whole party based on a small group of bigots.

    Ms. Baker, what I wrote you took entirely out of context but you didn’t address key problems that I’ve raised regarding the Green Party:

    The party’s internal disproportional representational structure allowed David Cobb to get the nomination in 2004 against the wishes of the majority of the Greens who preferred Camejo (Nader). The Green Party internally representation is not based on one-person/one vote representation. This organizational weakness is what allowed Demo-Greens like Medea Benjamin and other “ABBers” to disrupt the Green Party in 2004. This issue still hasn’t been remedied. Without remediation, it is likely that “a small group of bigots” or any “small group of Demo-Greens” will exercise control over the will of the majority in 2008 exactly like what occurred in 2004.

    The attacks level at Ms. McKinney is only the beginning of this process and it plays to the fears of the “Demo-Green” faction of the Green Party. Like the Democratic Party there are some nice people there to but the DLC controls the party apparatus. The Green Party is experiencing a similar internal dynamic and has not properly address this problem.

  66. Mike said on January 5th, 2008 at 2:14pm #

    Excellent article. I have been on many the side that you mention. At the moment, I tend to think that we – all of us – need to get over the three or four “hot-button” issues that keep us apart, so that we might actually get something positive going. Thanks for the ideas,

  67. Brandy Baker said on January 5th, 2008 at 2:59pm #

    I don’t think that I took any of your post out of context. I was isolating and addressing the one specific point (among many) that you were making about McKinney’s run being a conduit for oppressed groups, and racism is a part of that. That is separate from the safe-states v. all out debate of ’04. Your assertion that the attacks on McKinney come from Demo-Greens or plays to them is off base. She has support (and opposition) from both camps.

    And I do not have to address the problems that you raise of the GP’s delegate structure as I have publicly criticized it many times before and I’m not going to harp on the same no-brainer stuff. A compromise was narrowly defeated in the GNC recently. As an individual, it is out of my hands. Talk to your delegates, they need to vote on it before the GP primaries, or, as Sunil says, the GP will be useless (or actually, he says it is useless now, too early to tell, I think). nevertheless, it will be useless if it cannot democratize its structures. You lecture about this like we have not heard it before when it is all that we have heard about. There are still some safe staters, but Cobb would not have won this year on a safe state approach, this is a different time. Most who were ABB are not now, and Benjamin is on PDA. Can we undo the damage of 04 that we are still feeling and still affects us even locally? I hope, but am not sure.

    Finally I have to ask (switching gears):
    is this getting us anywhere? Even those who support Paul: by writing about and arguing for us to support him, you cannot will a movement into existence. He will most likely be a flash in the pan, as Dean was.

    Also, the ABB/all out question: both Nader and Cobb got less than 1% is this argument doing anybody any good as far as growing, or is it more wheel spinning that keeps us apart from the rest of America? Independence from the Democrats is important, but if the Green Party continues to be loose and decentralized with no accountability and fear of taking a stand, co-optation from the Dems is inevitable. I believe in multi-tendency organization, but damn. Either our locals do endorse democrats or they don’t. Either we are anti-Zionist or we are not. Either we tolerate rule-breaking in our internal processes or we do not. Either we support full immigrants’ rights and insist that our candidates do or we do not. People are afraid to make a goddamned decision about anything in the GP. And even more afraid to enforce anything. Rules must be passed, enforced, then move on and stop being inward-looking. The delegate selection stuff should have been settled years ago!

    Also: these on-line internal debates the GP has have sadly, taken the place of productive grassroots work in the streets. While I like the technology, I think that the internet has hurt us. If people are doing the digital dance on their keyboards day in and day out, they are of no use to the movement because when events happen, those people blogging could be organizing. occasional blogging is one thign, but every day?

    I am beginning to think that we need more resources put into media. I do not think that most of us (I say most) are “elitist” or “bullshitters”, but I do think that we say the right stuff , but that no one but the choir hears. This site and others are good, but we are not being heard, so it’s not enough.

    From what I see, we need to invest in TV (get something like Free Speech. I love Free Speech, but it is too hooked on Identity Politics at times) radio and a newspaper. Wouldn’t it be great to have a radical daily? Until we pool our resources (a feat in itself considering the anarchistic/individualist nature of the US Left) and get more of a voice in the media which can be done in spite of the FCC/Murdoch, etc, we won’t be heard.

  68. Brandy Baker said on January 5th, 2008 at 3:11pm #

    PS I’m not going to be on here, so I won’t be able to read responses, so if anyone wants to drop me a line, (especially about what we can concretely do!)


  69. Max Shields said on January 5th, 2008 at 3:18pm #

    Brandy, thank you for doing what so few do, offer alternatives and a way to move off the dime.

    Whether the GP is imploding or exploding really depends on US. Yet, the talk here is as if the Dems (Edwards) and Repubs (Paul) offered an alternative – after all; we’ve got the progressive green Joshua Frank, here, eyeing a conservative libertarian republican and saying “looks pretty damn good to me. Think I’ll have some of that.”

    Building is hard work. And too many folks are just partying and shopping (consumers of the latest hub bub). Seriousness is just a moment away.

  70. tracy said on January 5th, 2008 at 4:03pm #

    Josh, I think you need to stop equating Nader’s politics with Paul’s. On immigration, Nader doesn’t take a consistent stance against immigrant bashing, but he is against criminalizing the border and immigrants. Paul is clearly FOR making it a crime to be “illegal.” He says on his 2008 site, “no hospital visits for illegals.” Similarly with abortion. Paul talks about a “culture of life,” which is the common refrain of the anti-abortion movement, which wants to criminalize abortion. Nader, for all his missteps on the question, and he has made many, does not share Paul’s far right stance on abortion. In Paul’s own words:
    “I am also the prime sponsor of HR 300, which would negate the effect of Roe v Wade by removing the ability of federal courts to interfere with state legislation to protect life. This is a practical, direct approach to ending federal court tyranny which threatens our constitutional republic and has caused the deaths of 45 million of the unborn.”
    Does this sound like someone who is “agnostic” on the abortion question? Ron Paul makes Ross Perot look like Che Guevara by comparison.

  71. jesus was a monkey said on January 5th, 2008 at 4:24pm #

    very very depressing. so, this is now the state of the so-called “left” in the united states that it argues amongst itself which reactionary candidate is going to be the best: ron paul or obama; based on such electoral considerations as which one’s raised the most money, looks best on tv or got the most number of supporters, irrespective of the reactionary nature of much of this support.

    as i see it the problem with much of the ron paul analysis you see here is that most people are unwilling (many because of their right wing bias or their general pro-capitalist conditioning and many on the left, christ knows why) to concede or even begin to understand that the main instrument through which the ruling oligarchies implement their economic and militaristic plans is called “global capitalism”.

    ron paul represents the very same capitalist system that has created this unholy mess. he is for more big business, not less. more deregulation, not less. more privitisation, not less. more global capitalism, not less.

    he says he stands for more personal freedom and more civil liberties but which is to be sacrificed, civil liberties or the rights of big business to make war profits, when the two things inevitably clash? the reason we see a police state now is because of the voracious demands of the military industrial complex to make even greater profits, through unpopular imperialism abroad, and the general looting and dismantling of the american industrial base at home which has further created impoverishment in the working and middle classes.

    this is global capitalism at work that has created this situation and ron paul promises us more.

    i understand people’s desire to grasp at anything that might represent hope, however faint and false, but the solution lies not in electing another washington politician to administer the fucked up system but rather through people organising themselves to create a new power base and a new movement that calls for an end to the system that creates the chaos and oppression: ie, socialism.

    not likely i hear you say. maybe. but that’s what it’s going to take if anything is to actually change.

  72. Lloyd Rowsey said on January 5th, 2008 at 11:52pm #

    Most excellent article.

  73. Lloyd Rowsey said on January 6th, 2008 at 9:07am #

    jusus was a monkey (he was an ape, actually). Somewhere Marcelle Cendrars posted recently in DVoice, something to the effect: Vote as you like, but don’t divert(?), decrease(?), detract from(?), or some similar word, your efforts to make meaningful change…