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Why Ron Paul makes most sense for the Left
Usually people of conscience are forced to choose the least damaging candidate in US elections. Despite Ron Paul's regressive stances on some important issues, we can get serious wins from him, certainly more than from any other viable candidate: ending support for the WTO and Nafta, getting out of Iraq, ending the racist/classist War on Drugs. The anti-capitalist author and special forces veteran Stan Goff here advances his case for leftists to register as Republican as soon as possible and vote Ron Paul in their primaries.
(taken from counterpunch.org)
January 4, 2008
Monkeywrenching the System
Ron Paul's Revolution
By STAN GOFF
For starters, I have become a single-issue voter. The two-front war in Iraq-Afghanistan continues to drag on; and I am thoroughly convinced that no viable Democratic nominee will stop these occupations.
The recent analysis by Allan Nairn shows that even the putative anti-war Edwards (who the press is smothering because of his anti-corporate declarations) has a backroom full of defense contractors. Clinton is a ruthless war-monger, period. Obama is employing on the sorriest, pro-Zioinist, neoliberal trash on the market, i.e., Zbigniew Brzezinski, Richard Clarke, and Dennis Ross, on his core advisory staff.
No one listens to me much, but in some fantasy world where they might, I would suggest that others follow suit with me here. In open primary states, cross over to vote in the Republican primaries for Ron Paul. In closed primary states, switch fast to Republican (like in the next few days).
Vote in the Republican primary; and vote for Ron Paul. Turnout will be dismally low for Republicans this year, because they have been demoralized by the Bush loons' performances. Independents will vote Paul. The other Republicans are engaged in a fratricidal melee.
I already know what I am going to hear from all over the program-intoxicated, "I won't endorse this-n-that position" liberal-left. Ron Paul is backward on abortion, passively racist, anti-immigrant, and on and on. Sorry, but I said I'd vote a dead cat that was anti-war before I'd vote a resurrected Eugene Debs if he showed up and supported the war. I meant that from my heart.
Cynthia McKinney is running Green, though she hasn't got the nomination yet. Remember Cynthia McKinney? When she broke with the DLC diktat, her own party fronted another Black woman (Denise Majette) to run against her in an open primary, and Republicans crossed over massively to vote in the Democratic primary to unseat her in a foregone Democratic Congressional district.
Two can play that game. If Cynthia McKinney runs in 2008 for President, I'll write her in if I have to just to burn a vote for Clinton or Obama. But meanwhile, Ron Paul is on our primary ballot (North Carolina), because he is running as a Republican (we have draconian ballot access conditions here for thrid-parties, thanks to -- of course -- Democrats).
Ron Paul is running for President. Just what are the capabilities of a President, and what are his likely courses of action... in the unlikely event he wins?
Well, he is the Commander-in-Chief, so he can bring the troops home immediately, as well as order the military-industrial complex to radically scale back. In case anyone on the left has missed the implications of this, this would be a profoundly anti-imperial development that would take the US boot off the necks of hundreds of millions of people around the world.
He is a libertarian who dislikes corporate subsidies, so he would veto the mega-billion dollar subisidies for Big Agra, Big Pharma, nuclear power company insurance policies, Weapons-R-Us, the ADM/Cargill Great Ethanol Scam,et al. He could veto the federal highway spending that is promoting sprawl. He has also stated that he opposed so-called free trade agreements.
Don't argue with libertarians when they are right. Many of them say that the leviathan-capitalists that dominate the world's economy could not get as big as they are in an unfettered and unsubsidized market. Newsflash: that is actually true.
Ron Paul is a Gold Bug. For the uninitiated, that means he believes dollar-value should be pegged to a gold-standard. The implications of a return to the gold standard by the Fed are grim... for Wall Street and the military, both of which depend on massive foreign loans convered by runaway printing presses. Putting a stop to this is a Good Thing. What is the net effect?
Ron Paul may have the most outrageous personal account of race you might imagine; but what is the most horrific social catastrophe in the United States for Black and Brown folk? You guessed it: the criminal (in)justice system. The malignant growth of the American Gulag has been fueled -- more than by any other cause -- by the ever-more-punative criminalization of drug use and drug addiction, and the ability fo the criminal justice system to apply this criminalization with special force against African America and Hispano-Latinas. Here's the thing. Paul opposes the criminalization of drugs. What is the net effect?
When we are at the point in history where we cannot change the electoral system, then we need to think tactically about what we can do right now. What will a Paul victory in the primaries do? Not whether a vote for Paul in the Republican primaries endorses his decentralizing philosophy on reproductive choice. President Paul will not be writing legislation. The Executive Branch decides how strongly to <i>enforce</i> legislation... like domestic spying fer-instance.
President Paul would close Guantanamo, halt CIA kidnappings, and gut the enforcement capacity for the PATRIOT Act.
Nominee Paul would give 2008 voters a choice between a real anti-war candidate and a phony Democratic equivocator. The intensity of anti-war sentiment in the country already forced ex-war-hawk Edwards to adopt an out-in-nine-months position to left flank his Democratic opponents.
Don't ask yourself "what are the ideas?" If your toilet backs up, you can come up with a thousand ideas while shit-water cascades onto the floor. The question is not about ideas; it is, "What will be the net effect?"
Wanna throw a monkey wrench into a fixed electoral system? Here's a chance.
Stan Goff is the author of "Hideous Dream: A Soldier's Memoir of the US Invasion of Haiti" (Soft Skull Press, 2000), "Full Spectrum Disorder" (Soft Skull Press, 2003) and "Sex & War" which will be released approximately December, 2005. He is retired from the United States Army. His blog is at http://www.stangoff.com.
"I already know what I am going to hear from all over the program-intoxicated, "I won't endorse this-n-that position" liberal-left. Ron Paul is backward on abortion, passively racist, anti-immigrant, and on and on. Sorry, but I said I'd vote a dead cat that was anti-war before I'd vote a resurrected Eugene Debs if he showed up and supported the war. I meant that from my heart."
There is no way in hell I would ever vote for Ron Paul, and I'm shocked that you (Stan Goff) would. You would sacrifice women's rights to choose whether or not to carry a child that they may not want to have (and they'd have to undergo a major, life-threatening medical procedure in order to give birth) in order to end the war? Women also get abortions because they have health conditions that make a pregnancy threatening to their health. Your position is disgusting.
S you would also sacrifice your food to end the war? I don't know if you ever drive around in California's farm country, but I do from time to time. You'll see lots of small-statured, brown-skinned folks out there- indigenas from all over Latin America (and Asia, too, I would assume). They are working out there in 100 degree heat, with no health care, little water, not enough breaks, too much pesticide exposure, etc. They are doing it is because under-the-table work in the fields here still pays more than what they would earn back where they came from, and there are more jobs here. If you deport those $10-15/hr workers, who do you think will till the fields and pick your strawberries? Many Americans of African descent remember slavery, a time when their ancestors were tortured in the fields, and then after slavery, their work was undervalued, and they want no part of it. Think about the US obesity epidemic- that comes from us not doing physical labor. Do you think a bunch of women are going to find that a farming schedule way out in the country somewhere with "mother's hours" will be worth living way out in the middle of racist nowhere? No! How much would Cargill or Dole have to pay you to work out in the fields, Stan Goff? $50/hour? Can you imagine what that would do to food prices? Are you ready to handle it? I don't think so. Think things through before you take such reactionary positions. The fact is that your cheap way of life, from cheap food on Safeway's shelves (prices currently going up due to fuel shortages and the loss of farmland to grow bad-for-the-environment fuels such as corn for ethanol and to build new suburbs and prisons) to cheap meals at restaurants whose dishes may be washed by your local dedicated, yet undocumented worker, all depend on the low cost of labor. And your neighbors-- who cuts their grass? Who cleans their house? Fixes their car? There are also social costs of deportation of immigrants - population decline, cultural stagnation, etc. Is that all worth it just to get one "electable" rightwinger to end the war?