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On 2016-11-07 22:39, Louis Proyect via Marxism wrote:

Jeff, I have no idea of what your connection to Marxism is but when
you speak of principles, there is none more sacrosanct that refusing
to vote for bourgeois parties.

I'm glad you used the word "sacrosanct" rather than "well thought through in relation to the immediate context." Indeed, if you had asked me in previous years I would have used your exact formulation. Now I would change the "sacrosanct" principle to refusing to SUPPORT bourgeois parties. People should vote against Trump in order to stop what could be a fascist take-over (a danger that also exists if he loses the vote), and Clinton should absolutely NOT be supported. Marxists should tell the truth about her, and also the truth about Trump, neither of which deserves support, and then choose the best voting TACTIC. Just saying that they are both pro-capitalist could be a repeat of the ultraleft Stalinist tact in 1933 where Hitler was just another bourgeois politician, in fact one that would be easier to defeat subsequently. Right.

Also, I don't believe anything is so "sacrosanct" even in your own judgement. On Marxmail I read one after another glowing accounts (and some less glowing) of Bernie Sanders' campaign. Indeed it would have been possible for him to have won the nomination (especially if the Democratic party had been more democratic!). I have no doubt whatsoever that in that case a number of comrades on this list would have made an exception to that sacrosanct principle and urged a vote for him -- that is, a vote for the Democratic party ticket! -- in the general election. And you know it.

The difference is that I'm not talking about giving the party any political support, just checking a box on the ballot as part of a (hopefully) well-thought out strategy in the case where a vote for only one of two parties has an effect on the outcome. When a fascist is running for power, as they are in a number of European countries (including here in Holland next March), defeating the fascist is a priority that goes beyond the propaganda that a socialist campaign can effect. But in most countries there is a parliament which decides the head of state so you can vote for any party that will gain seats, for the same effect. But in cases like France, or the U.S., you get an election where the best you can do is place a check-mark where it will count against the fascist, effectively voting for the status-quo as a lesser danger.

Same goes for Brexit, come to think of it, where most on this list recognized the reason to vote "no". I know people who would say "What? So you are supporting the power of the EU, all 28 states??" Well yes, the UK staying in the EU (the status quo) doesn't represent the danger that the Brexit initiative does. So in that particular case, you vote for 28 capitalist states and against the increased independence of 1 capitalist state. All of these examples involve THINKING about the exact circumstances you face, rather than just holding ideas formulated decades ago as "sacrosanct" with no further thought allowed.

- Jeff
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