A conversation between progressives on voting for Obama

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A member of the NW Greens who went by the name Astrique posted an extensive list of reasons as to why a vote for Obama was a good idea. The list comes out to around five pages in my word processor, so I posted it at http://www.prawnworks.net/Why-Im-Voting-Obama-by-Astrique.html. Robert Small objected to it and posted an extensive reply.
Also, we found this piece to interesting and relevant/


To Astrique;

Glen Ford of BlackAgendaReport.com
spoke of all the negatives of Barack Obama
but ended with something akin
to the lesser of two evils speech

As I said when my choice of Mayors was
Goode or Rizzo, you still were electing evil
and, in all good conscience, I can no longer
do that.
The lesser of the the two evils
still remains evil.

I would add that if we had had a
President McCain doing some of the
same things that Obama has done
the outcry would of been tremendous.
And  "honest John" , as I sarcastically
call him, would not of put in the
Healthcare Mandate or taken some of the other
problematic decisions.

Similarly, I do not tremble at a
President Romney, but I tremble a the
lack of possibility of a
President Stein, or President Gary Johnson,
or President Virgil Goode..
Will we ever...

2) The Russian Revolution really began
in 1825, with the Decembrist movement,
 and was 75 years in the making.
What it could of become if not for Stalin,
is one of the great unknowns of history.

Ours may take longer but it's worth
the fight, however long.

3) More recently, Fidel and Hugo, among others
have created revolutionary movements
in their countries.
Revolutions can still happen
though each situation is different
and different solutions require
different problems.

4) I've been primarily involved with the
Constitution and Libertarian Parties
fighting to stay on the Pa. Ballot,
not because I agree with most of their
policies but because, to quote the IWW,
"an injury to one is an injury to all".

Scant members of the Duopoly have
had the political courage to help with this. 
My political family members
are Greens, Independents, Naderites,
the Libertarians, the Socialists,
and the Constitutionalists, among others.

The Duopoly are ex husbands and wives for the
most part, the kind rarely spoken of.
(I admit to some who are friends
but only a few.)

5) Ever since 2006, the Dems
evisceration of Carl, I have not
been able to bring myself to vote
for either of the Duopoly  Parties.

Crimes were committed against our
Party, against Nader, against alternative
Politics, yet one is still encouraged
to vote for them.
This support of  criminals only
 supports criminality and
that only encourages them
to continue in their criminal
behavior, as they are currently
doing in Pennsylvania, and many
other states.

6)  I am expressing my opinion only
and not that of anyone connected with me
or affiliated with me.
I am not trying to start nor will I
participate in a flame war.

My name is Robert Small
and I approve this message.
Robert Small


I would add that Stephen Lendman, who posts quite frequently at http://www.PhillyIMC.org also wrote a piece that similarly objected to voting for Obama.

That's at http://www.phillyimc.org/en/obama-v-romney-issues-mattering-most.


The following is a piece from John Braxton, who takes the pro-Obama view:


Well said, Astrique. 

Not voting for Obama in a swing state (and we have to assume that PA is still a swing state with crucial electoral votes) is tantamount to voting for Romney.  That may help someone feel less tainted by voting for a far-less-than-perfect candidate, but it could elect someone with policies that will be far harder on the middle class, the poor, the women, immigrants, the climate, education and social services, and the rest of the world that will bear the brunt of a re-invigorated neo-con administration. We can't afford that luxury.

I agree with Bob Small that we need a revolutionary change, and Obama will not bring that.  But Romney will make it far harder for us to work in other ways--other than elections--to organize for fundamental change.  National elections are not the time to make a moral statement by voting for the politically most correct candidate who has no chance to win.  They are a time to shore up support against a right-wing reactionary tendency.  After we prevent that tendency from winning, we can talk about and organize for more fundamental change.

John Braxton
(for identification only: Co-President, AFT Local 2026, Community College of Philadelphia; delegate to US Labor Against the War; Treasurer, Philly Jobs with Justice)


My own view is that we're forced to choose between the Democratic and Republican Parties, both of which are far short of ideal parties that we'd be happy to vote for.


Are we “centrists,” people caught between the two parties? Hardly. A video produced by the Republicans had a “disillusioned supporter” of Obama trying to use what we can see are obvious Republican talking points. The “former supporter” lists such reasons as “out-of-control spending and Obama’s penchant for hanging out with Hollywood celebrities,” neither of which are reasons that any progressive would take seriously. As a blogger points out:


We’ve given up on him because he’s done nothing to roll back Bush’s authoritarian, pro-corporate, pro-wealth policies.  If anything, he’s even expanded some of them.

But obviously those reasons wouldn’t really play well in an ad for Mitt Romney.

No, we on the Left want a party that opposes such things as the drone attacks that are being used all over Afghanistan. Also, the idea of Obama and the Republicans reaching a Grand Bargain fills me with dread, but I seriously can't see the Republican Party as the better option. If absolutely nothing else, the state legislatures are positively full of representatives like Todd Akin and Obama at least takes Global Warming seriously enough to at least mention it as a real threat.


Is there any realistic option of getting a party that truly accords with our ideals? The problem with that is that America's current two-party system makes any challenging party pretty much out of the question. We'd have to go over to a parliamentary system and I just don't see that happening. Any possibility of an all-out revolution that will liberalize the situation as opposed to turning into a French Revolutionary-style Reign of Terror? I've always been very skeptical of that. I've always thought it far more likely that a revolution is far more likely to go off in a tyrannical direction than in a better one.


I personally like the idea of the website Daily Kos, where they have a whole section entitled “Better Democrats,” the idea being to not just see to it that Democrats win elections, but to try and influence the party from within and to push out the more-conservative Blue Dog Democrats and to try and place more and more liberals within the party.


And yeah, as far as “lesser evil-ism” goes, I though this was a pretty amusing entry:



Two definitions of "evil" copied below.  Surely there's more.

 Question is...who's for evil, and who's against?   The "ayes" seem to have it.

Then what about, say, 3/4s evil, or 7/16ths evil? or whatever?  Can one be partly evil?...to, you know, "acceptable" degrees?    Can we have a color code to wear on lapel pins and bumper-stickers to know how evil others are?   Maybe there needs to be a test, or a computer app, to codify this.     The pale orange people can, you know, organize and socialize and all, as can the warm greens, pinks and purples, etc.....thus setting up some new barriers between people...kinda like religions separate people.
Isn't there a lot of religious baggage to the term? ..."evil" being "Devil" without the "D".      Are some More Religious if they support Lesser Evil? ..kinda like most Catholics don't give a fig about their own religion's bans on contraception, etc?...and whoalso  think PRIDE in this and that (their high school team or their "honor student" say) is really good even though pride is the worst of the worst Seven Deadly Sins?
 Who says the Dark Ages are over?

EVIL     [ee-vuhl]    adjective

1.morally wrong or bad; immoral; wicked: evil deeds; an evil life.

2.harmful; injurious: evil laws.

3.characterized or accompanied by misfortune or suffering; unfortunate; disastrous: to be fallen on evil days.

4.due to actual or imputed bad conduct or character: an evil reputation.

5.marked by anger, irritability, irascibility, etc.: He is known for his evil disposition.

2-  (A lot of quotes about "evil" from notables in history.)

The thing in this campaign (and others before) is that people (even "religious" ones) are intentionally, consciously planning to vote for evil..."lesser" (their definition), or greater.


J. Jonik



What do religious (sic) people think?

OK....if you do evil, or vote for evil, forget Heaven....unless you go to confession or get some indulgence (with true regret in your heart) just before death. There's no special section in Heaven for the "partly evil"...unless someone redacted some relevant parts of The Good Book.

But, if you go to Hell, if you weaseled out on Satan and supported some Lesser Evil, you will be in Big Trouble for all eternity, worse by far than the evil-doers with more integrity. A drop of water or a bathroom break every million years or so? Good luck.

Don't worry about cigarettes though. Even the Devil himself isn't cruel enough to deny anyone a smoke.

Collaborating with evil

As a tween (Aged 11 to 14), I read a
lot of stuff on World War II and was particularly struck with the
situation that the citizens of Ukraine found themselves in. After
they suffered horribly under Joseph Stalin, losing somewhere
around 500,000 citizens
and many millions were transported to
Siberia, the German Nazis invaded the Soviet Union in 1941.
Ukrainians rallied to the Germans, figuring they had been liberated.
Well, it turned out that the Germans regarded them as untermenschen,
an inferior people, so when the Soviets returned in 1943 and 1944,
those same Ukrainians rallied to that flag and fought the Germans.
Did they have a lot of choice in the matter? I don't think so. Both
the Nazis and the Soviets were military “Great Powers” who were
waging “Total War,” so the citizens of Ukraine basically did
what they could
. The monastic option, of setting up an
independent area where they could carry on their lives in peace,
simply didn't exist for them.

Dealing with evil groups and people
exists in American popular culture, too. Stargate Atlantis (2004-2009) dealt with a group of good people making arrangements with evil groups all the time. In the late 1970s, the comic book hero Adam Warlock made an alliance with the villain Thanos in order to defeat the more dangerous Magus. About a year later, Warlock had to then call on the Avengers to help him defeat Thanos.

Can collaboration be taken too far?
Yes. After World War II concluded, American intelligence agents got
together with
former Nazis
to spy on the Soviet Union. There's no question that
the collaboration corrupted our intelligence agents to some extent,
making them more careless towards the civil rights of American

So, working with evil groups can
certainly corrupt good groups and should not be undertaken lightly,
but there are many situations where it's simply unavoidable. I'd very
much like to adopt the monastic option, remain pure and to not
collaborate with the Democrats, but I just don't see us, as a
practical matter, carrying out any such option.

Instead of trying to get

Instead of trying to get progressives into the PA Democratic Party, why not push progressives back into the Republican Party?

In Philly, the Republicans don't even have enough people running in elections to fill all their committee member and judge of election seats. A concerted push could return the Republican Party back to the party of civil rights, universal health care, shared prosperity, monopoly-busting, economic growth through high state and federal spending, progressive tax rates, shifting the burden from the poor to the rich, environmentalism, and support for arts & culture. And it can start in a place like Philly where the Republican Party is corrupt and weak.

Keep pushing the Greens and the Dems too. As long as the Republicans are a monolith bastion of repression of the powerless and spoils for the rich and the Dems a party of appeasement, progressive agendas will always fall to the idea of lesser evilism.

White Progressives Don't Swing

Politicians ever since Carter, appealed to swing voters. Being undecided between Jill and Obama makes one a powerful voter to appeal to.

The belief that Obama can do know wrong, suddenly replaced by he can never do anything right is messing up the political system.

Slightly different thoughts,


there's little to no evidence that swing, centrist, undecided voters are going to have any influence whatsoever. At this point, this election looks a lot more like a GOTV (Get Out The Vote) operation than it does like a "persuade the centrists" operation.

Alfred W. McCoy writes about the

Five Stages of Impunity for Torture, describing how President Obama has been and continues to be fully complicit in permitting torturers to gain immunity for their acts.