Saturday, July 30, 2016

Who Should Bernie Voters Support Now? Robert Reich vs. Chris Hedges on Tackling the Neoliberal Order

A superb debate between Robert Reich and Chris Hedges. Robert Reich makes a very good and passionate argument for voting for Hilary but in the end I agreed with Chris Hedges. Robert Reich say's that Trump is so bad you have to vote for Hilary, and this will progressives four years to build up an independent Green movement to take on both the main parties. Is he right? I like both Robert Reich and Chris hedges but when Democrats get voted in they always do pretty much the same as the Republicans would do, so what's the point? I would vote Green if I was an American.


Ryan Harris said...

Can we have a "transcendental party" or something instead?

peterc said...

This is the tricky electoral question for the left (and the right would face a similar question on its side). Establishment liberals will say it's irresponsible not to vote for the lesser of two evils because the greater of the two evils will do damage that sets us back decades, etc. The trouble with this is that voting for the lesser of two evils rewards the lesser evil and signals to the establishment liberals that when it comes down to it, they can always rely on our vote.

A rationale for refusing to vote for the lesser of two evils might be that it is a "long-run strategy" to put pressure on the notionally left-wing party to move to the left if they want the left vote. But it may well come at a cost.

I don't know the best answer to the conundrum. I tussle with it each election. Personally, I tend to base my decision on how the election of each of the two major candidates will affect the very poorest and most vulnerable in the immediate term - not so much the working and middle classes. For instance, if one party is clearly going to be more savage on the unemployed and poor (cut benefits, health care, etc.), I will hold my nose and vote for the lesser evil. We have preferential voting in Australia, so that means putting the lesser evil as low down on the ballot paper as possible without causing the preference to go to the greater evil.

For the left, though, nothing much can be gained unless we exert grassroots pressure more generally. It is not enough just to vote and expect anything much to change for the better. I'm not even sure it would be possible for a well-meaning government (not that there is one in the offing) to bring in significant changes opposed by the establishment unless large numbers of people are mounting massive (peaceful) democratic and industrial pressure from below. For instance, it took enormous grassroots pressure to win the concessions of the New Deal, and those were not even a threat to capitalism.

Tom Hickey said...

I have in the past been a nose-holder. But this election is different from my perspective as a vet that served during wartime and was radicalized by the experience, especially since Vietnam was a war of choice rather than necessity. The US has not fought a war of necessity, that is, is defensive war, since WWII. Subsequent conflict have been about perceived national interest, perceived by the US elite that is.

My view of the election is that it is now a moral choice rather than just a political one. As a matter of conscience I will not vote for a candidate that embraces torture or a candidate that is promising to pursue another war of choice and to project US power in a way that threaten the red lines of perceived adversaries in order to "contain" them. I view both positions as deeply flawed morally and their promoters as lacking a moral compass if not being psychopaths.

While one should always vote one's conscience, to me the conscientious choice is clear — neither of the above. I don't want blood on my hands.

Peter Pan said...

I have to agree with Chris Hedges on this one.

Ryan Harris said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kaivey said...

If we keep voting in the party of lesser evil it will never change. All the parties have moved to the right. Neoliberals, or new liberals, are neo-progressives who are relaxed about gays and transgender people, etc. So neoliberals are not traditional conservatives, but when it comes to finance and war they become right wing hawks. In fact, many conservative Republicans were probably hypocrites anyway and so were really neoliberals too. So much of right wing, with neoconservatives, and the neoliberals - the new liberals - became one. Now they preach the world about liberal values down the barrel of a gun, and steal all their resources through financialisation.