18 October 2008

Election Recommendations

The general election is coming up quickly, with only a few more weeks to send in absentee ballots for out of state college voters like me, or to decided who to actually vote for like so many other people. For my part, I sent in my absentee ballot last week, marked with votes signifying an urge for radical change in American society that is sorely needed in this time of capitalist crisis. For other US voters that also have that urge, but aren't sure who to vote for yet, I offer to you somewhat of a voter's guide to this election. This guide is primarily focused on my home state of New Jersey, but I'll add some out of state races as I go on.

President and Vice-President: Brian Moore and Stewart Alexander (Socialist Party USA). There are three socialist parties running presidential tickets this year, the Socialist Party USA, the Socialist Workers Party, and the Party for Socialism and Liberation. All three of them present revolutionary socialist programs and are at least worth looking into. However, with the state of ballot access law as it is in the US, not all the presidential tickets will be on the ballot in every state; all three will be on in some states, while others will have only one or two of the three, and many will unfortunately have none.

Out of these three sets of candidates though, I recommend the Socialist Party USA's ticket of Brian Moore and Stewart Alexander the most. The SP's platform is the most well-rounded and complete of the three, and also outlines a strong commitment to radical democracy in all aspects of society. In addition, the multi-tendency nature of the Socialist Party allows it to be widely inclusive within a strong Statement of Principles, so that socialist regroupment sorely needed in the US today can best be done through the Socialist Party, compared to both the SWP and PSL. For example, when the SP began its presidential nomination process, it extended a call to any and all interested socialist organizations in the US to collaborate in the 2008 elections, to present a united socialist electoral front in as many races as possible. While only two organizations responded, some success came out of the effort in the nomination of Stewart Alexander, a long-time member of the Peace and Freedom Party (a socialist party only active in California) as the SP's vice-presidential nominee. Unfortunately, the Peace and Freedom Party made an aggregious tactical and opportunistic error in nominating Ralph Nader for president rather than any socialist candidates. Nevertheless, the PFP still remains a socialist party, and hopefully people in the PFP committed to independent socialist political action will realize that course on the presidential level once again.

Where Brian Moore and Stewart Alexander are not on the ballot, there are a couple options. If either the Socialist Workers or Socialism and Liberation candidates are on the ballot, then they are worth voting for. Alternatively, you can write in Brian Moore and Stewart Alexander (which is also recommended for states with no socialist candidates on the ballot.)

US Senate from New Jersey: Sara Lobman (Socialist Workers Party). Sara Lobman is the only socialist candidate running for US Senate in New Jersey. Because of this, and because her program is one worth supporting (at least critically), she is worth voting for.

US Congress, 2nd New Jersey District: Tino Rozzo (Independent/Socialist Party USA). Tino Rozzo is no longer a member of the Socialist Party, but is still listed on the ballot as such. While I wouldn't describe his platform as revolutionary socialist, the fact that he is running on a socialist platform means that he is worth voting for.

US Congress, 10th New Jersey District: Michael Taber (Socialist Workers Party). Like Sara Lobman, Michael Taber is worth supporting in this election. Interestingly, Taber's only opponent is the Democratic incumbent (as the district is in the urban era of North Jersey dominated by Democratic machine politics), so Taber will probably get a (somewhat artificially) high percentage of the vote in this district.

US Congress, 11th New Jersey District:
Skip it or write-in. There are no socialist or independent left candidates in this election, so my recommendation would be to either not vote, or to write in your favorite radical.

Something to note is that there is an independent candidate in this election; Chandler Tedholm is running under the slogan "For the People." While this may indicate at least a populist tilt, and indeed some aspects of his program are rather progressive. For example, he is opposed to the war in Iraq and supports a single payer healthcare system (then again, some Democrats also support these things.) However, looking into other positions indicate a rather disturbing and reactionary side to the Tedholm campaign. On immigration, Tedholm says:
"There is no mystery how to accomplish a border closure. The technology was perfected in 1914. A barrier of barbed wire in some depth, backed machine guns, backed by artillery or air support would do the trick. There are only two requirements– you have to be willing to commit enough manpower to man the line 24/7/365 (and to inspect all of the supposedly legitimate traffic that could be used for smuggling), and you have to be ready to shoot to kill."
While he does mention afterward that he would "like to think we are not the kind of people who would tolerate that kind of brutality for long," a willingness to stoop to such brutal measures in the first place against working class people of other countries who are looking for work means that Mr. Tedholm should not be supported by anyone who considers themselves socialist, internationalist, pro-worker/immigrant, etc. Furthermore, Tedholm vaccilates on taxes as a "neccessary evil" rather than giving a more detailed policy, and supports the war in Afghanistan.

Madison, NJ Borough Council:
Write-In Peter Moody (Socialist Party USA). I'm running a write-in campaign for Borough Council, on the SP-USA platform. Admittedly, I didn't do much for this campaign, though I tried to actually get on the ballot earlier in the year. Unfortunately, I didn't get enough signatures. Still, a write-in campaign continues, and if you live in Madison, I hope you vote for me.

1 comment:

Renegade Eye said...

I'm supporting Cynthia McKinney and Rosa Clemente, of the Power To The People campaign. It by no means says I agree with them on everything. They were involved in the New Orleans based Reconstruction Party, which may be an embryo labor party.

We desperately need a labor part here.

Really good blog.