Pete Seeger and the Tea Party

img_2137_2-photo-15Pete Seeger the famous folk singer and former member of the Communist Party is not the first person that come to your mind when you see a Tea Party rally unless you are a slovenian marxist philosopher like Slavoj Zizek who in an interview in Democracy Now! says:

I was sitting in a hotel room, jumping between two channels on TV. One was Fox News — you must know the enemy to fight it. The other one was PBS. On Fox News, it was a live transmission of a tea party in Texas where a singer, kind of a fake folk singer, was singing anti-Washington, anti-state-expenditure song. On PBS, there was a documentary on the great leftist icon Pete Seeger. I was shocked at how the words, although the political meanings of it, were almost the same. Both were singing about we small, ordinary people are exploited; big bad guys, bankers in Washington, and so on, Wall Street, and so on.

I was schocked by the brilliant analysis of sometimes rethorical Zizek. There was something true about the coincidence of two kinds of radicalism even if the goals of Pete Seeger and Tea Party activists could in some points be on opposite sides like on enviromental issues but the most libertarian wing of the Tea Party had been consistently antiwar like Seeger was all his life.  Seeger according to NYT was “so far left politically he has probably never been called a liberal.” He wasn’t progressive either. He says in NYT interview:

I’m more conservative than Goldwater. He just wanted to turn the clock back to when there was no income tax. I want to turn the clock back to when people lived in small villages and took care of each other.

Pete passed away these year and in marvelous piece by The American Conservative by Neil Clark was a tribute for the life of a singer never interested in the socially liberalism of the left rather in the cultural tradition and the dreams of a peaceful America. His enviromentalism was linked more with his back to the land ideals rather the eco-hipsterism of indie bands of today. Clark says:

He was a better socialist than the Trotskyite ideologues who accused him of being a Stalinist, and he was a better conservative than the McCarthyites who persecuted him. He understood, probably better than any other figure on the American Left, that in order for the human race to go forward we need to go back. Way, way, back.

Pete Seeger was a radical in the best sense of the word. His radicalism was beyond Left/Right divisions or partisan loyalties. Seeger was anti-impertalist, anti-fascist, anti-racist and pro-american. Going back to Zizek who used to talk the story of Victor Kravchenko a soviet defector who recieved political assylum in the USA. He became a best seller with his memoir I Choose Freedom in which he denounces the horrors of stanilism. But some years laters in the McCarthy years he published I Choose Justice a book in which he puts in question that in the name of anti-stalinism in America the politicians red-baiting their political enemies where fallen very short to commit the mistakes of supress political dissidence. Maybe if American Left don’t had embraced liberalism according to some paleoconservativess it wouldn’t be the social issues who were still driving the political debate and a radical alliance could had flourish. These Land is your Land is a radical song that would never become the anthem of the Tea Party but who knows if an alliance between grassroots conservatives and american radicals like Seeger still today could take back the country.

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The paleocon filmmaker

whitstillman

Whit Stillman is one of my favorite filmmakers. He’s four films Metropolitan, Barcelona, The Last Days of Disco and Damsel’s in Distress are real masterpieces of the 7th art. But unlike most movie directors of Hollywood or Sundance he is conservative. Don’t worry he’s not a neocon filmaker like those of The American Film Renaissance, he’s a paleocon. The son of John Sterling Stillman, a democratic politician who worked in Washington in JFK years was also in his youth a junior editor at the famous paleocon magazine The American Spectator. Steve Sailer had called him “the WASP Woody Allen”, he had made a career with particular style in depections of the urban upper-middle class. Stillman had get respect of not only paleoncons but more mainstream right-wingers as well. Even that according to a recent interview he don’t like conservative icon Reagan at all. Probably he wasn’t buchanite in the 90s probably he understands conservativism as a way of life more in the line of the good writers of The American Conservative.

What makes him a paleocon, well in Barcelona a movie depecting two counsins, a salesman and a naval officer,  living in the spanish city in 80s. Stillman was critic of conspiracy theories like that some in the post-Franco Spain believe. For example some of spanish characters were sure that one the sailor was an agent of AFL-CIA, the other cousin with thoughtful insight in the american labor movement explains that it was the AFL-CIO and that CIO was the most militant wing of the labor movement. He wasn’t defending the unions neither american imperalism just explaining how the things are. The sailor in other scene destroy an ant colony who upsets the spanishs in that house thar criticizing these action as example of american imperialialism. The salesman was more cautious and was more rational understading the fear of spanish of the american foreign interventions. The other 3 films are less political although had a kind of social conservativism strange for the independent cinema. In Metropolition one of the characters was a Fourier socialist, more than a militant radical he was quite a traditionalist. I still waiting for next film of the humble but brilliant Whit Stillman.

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Green Party anarchism

jello

The Green Party is celebrating it’s 30 anniversary of foundation in Minnesota. It’s quite interesting the fact that the most progressive political party in american spectrum was found in the Reagan years. In the 90s there was the Labor Party, the New Party and other projects on the left that never come to something quite clear as the greens.

I discovered the Green Party watching MTV when they show the music video Justify of Rage Against the Machine featuring their 2000 presidential candidate Ralph Nader. Since then when I think in the GP I think in an anti-system organization. More when I found out that Jello Biafra run in their presidential primaries who even said at their convention “I am an anarchist in my personal life. I try to live my life in a way that I don’t need cops or baby-sitters to keep me from infringing on others” what kinda political party does that not even the Libertarian Party who nominates a drug warrior like Bob  Barr over longtime libertarian activist Mary Ruwart just because she was an anarchist. That’s why even with a statist platform name like the Green New Deal I still find more in common with the greens than with the Libertarian Party that since the departure of my personal hero Karl Hess .

Nader surprise me today almost endorsing Jerry Brown for 2016. But wait what about California Über Alles yes I bet Jello and the greens would sing against that “über coporate liberal” if he decides to be again the “progressive” option of the Democratic Party, Brown would become the “hippie” LaRouche if he run for 4th time in the democratic primaries. Maybe in 2016 Nader, independents, libertarians and the greens made sense and unite to fight againt a phony libertarian like Governor Moonbean. Nobody wants a denim police in a Corporate State.

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Leon Trotsky, Ayn Rand and the bipartisan consensus

soren

In 2008 Ralph Nader’s independent presidential campaign there was real great moment in an interview (minute 40) with Tabitha Soren the former MTV News correspondent who was much cooler than the nixonian Kennedy of the same network. Nader tells that Michael Bloomberg told him that the reason he will not run for president as an indedependent is that according to the pollings that he made 15% of republicans would vote for Leon Trotsky if he is their nominee and 15% of democrats would vote for Ayn Rand if she is their nominee. According to the paleos that said that the neocons are esentially republican trotskysts that shouldn’t be a surprise but are 15% of the republicans really neocons and if so would they be ready to vote for the russian revolutionary. Democrats are they really consider voting for the Objectivist philosopher, I don’t believe that even libertarian democrats (if they were something real) will support her if they could but who knows they are hardcore party liners. In Bloomberg’s logic without the 30% of support it was imposible get elected so why run. The years had past and not so much had change the duopoly still seems to be powerful because of the media don’t dare to speak to the Green Party, Libetarian Party or Constitution Party. Sad is to say the only third party with national coverage was “Connecticut for Lieberman” it would be more precisely the Liberal Warmonger Party. But anyway as Jello Biafra says “Don’t hate the media, become the media” maybe the day that the corporate media would be defeated also the two party system would be over.

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Left-libertarian Populism

hess

The Ron Paul campaigns in 2008 and 2012 were probably for a lot of the population the first time that they listen about libertarianism. “Libertarian” still means a lot of different things for a lot of people. But after Ron Paul, libertarian means something more than a “Republican who smoke pot.” A campaign for anti-interventionism, anti-bailouts and pro-civil liberties made Paul the first Republican candidate to been able to reach across the ideological spectrum since Buchanan. The Ron Paul campaigns for good or for bad still associate the idea of libertarian with conservative.

With the eyes in the 2016 election there had been a discussion about the possibilities of libertarian populism.  The two most known proponents of the strategy are Ben Domenech and Tim Carney both are conservative libertarians and their proposals although a very interesting strategy for republicans don’t challenge the limits of partisan politics. The fact is that even is very possible a victory of Rand Paul in the primaries according to the latest polls. The problem is that even his victory don’t mean at least necessarily a victory for libertarianism. Rand Paul has try been seen as a more mainstream Republican but the success of his father campaign was an unapologetic anti-Beltway libertarianism. People saw Ron Paul as a man of principle that serve in Congress for a long time that’s why a lot of his supporters where not only regular conservative activists, he surprise with support from strippers, pimps and indie rock bands. He was seen as an honest antiwar candidate even if some of his supporters probably don’t agree with the entirely platform. The question is whether his son Rand could be able to get the same support of his father in coalition of the Tea Party, paleoconservatives, libertarians, antiwar liberals, anti-system radicals and a bunch of people that during most time of their lives were disaffected from the political process. The Kentucky senator has said “I’m more reasonable than my father” however some his actions generate some doubts. His foreign policy and the War on Drugs positions are walking in a thin line in the search to be a more mainstream candidate he could lost some his initial supporters but he is surprising with his positions about prison reform. The filibustering against drones get supported both left and right even if there is possible that a lot of the supporters of that stance of Rand are not going to vote in the republican primaries an event like that make conscious conservatives getting serious about the only possibility to re-take the White House is by nominating a conservative libertarian. His positions on civil liberties are still popular and could get him support despite in what it looks like the most crowded field in republican primaries in years. The results of 2016 are almost impossible to predict.

Libertarian Populism isn’t a predetermined ideology but it combined free market economics with a resentment of the Washington status-quo or in other words “crony capitalism”. It have the rhetoric of limited government that conservatives had been saying for years but when it comes to the military spending there a real difference between Rand Paul, Justin Amash, Walter Jones and “big government libertarians.” I understand this populism in the tradition of the post-Cold War populism. There was in the 90s the campaigns of Jerry Brown on the left,  Pat Buchanan on right and Ross Perot as an independent that were able to get support with a criticism of the elites and foreign policy interventionism. In 2000 Ralph Nader criticism to two party duopoly was able to made him one successful third party candidates with the platform of the Green Party that is grassroots democracy (electoral reform and cooperative organizing), social justice (end to the War on Drugs and prison reform), ecology (invest in solar and wind technology) and peace (anti-interventionism). In 2004 and 2008 he was able of get support both from paleos like radical decentralist Bill Kauffman and libertarians like rothbardian/randian Justin Raimondo. Both of them endorsed Ron Paul in his campaigns. Something worth of mention is that Ron Paul is not a post-Cold War populist in the exact sense because his anti-interventionism was part of his 1988 presidential campaign with the Libertarian Party however it was difficult until the fall of the Soviet Union to predict to insurgence of a proudly anti-imperialist candidate. I agree with Jesse Walker that libertarian populists or “LibPop” as the term he coined don’t have necessarily to win elections to influence the politics but my position is that the probably most interesting factor of the “LibPop” phenomenon is that a new generations of politicians and activists could be far more interesting if there is a discussion of libertarianism and populism rather than if the cultural war is over. I said that thinking in what happen to other populists while Perot disappear of the map now Jerry Brown is back again governor of California but both messages are pretty much lost. When people use to think in Buchanan they seem him as a cultural warrior but forget the importance of his paleoconservative foreign policy was central to his campaigns of the 90s even then when in 2000 ran as a third party candidate it was his anti-interventionism an important part of the campaign. But besides of helping found The American Conservative probably the most thoughtful conservative magazine of this time there is few influence at large when he decides to return to the Republican Party. Nader decided to remain independent but still was dismiss by most of the media maybe some of the greens in alliance with other radicals union members are following their advice to fight in the unions against liberal leadership that wants to endorse and finance the Democratic Party there is difficult to break entirely with the democrats although at least some unions are refusing to endorse democrat candidates. But with Ron Paul was different there are people proudly referring to themselves as “Ron Paul republicans”, embracing libertarianism especially the anti-interventionist position.

Brian Doherty refer to the campaign of 2012 as Paul being a real maverick at the same time being the most conservative in the republican primaries and more progressive than Obama. Paul even had some kind words to the Occupy Movement as back in the day Goldwater in his campaign to re-take his senate seat speaking at the University of Arizona he said that he had “much in common with the anarchist wing of SDS.” But is precisely the analogy SDS-Occupy that today could resonate. Karl Hess who was the Goldwater’s speechwriter was responsible for the lines of Barry at his nomination in the Republican convention in 1964 when he said “Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice and moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue.” In the Libertarian Forum the newsletter edited by Murray Rothbard when Hess was explaining his new condition as tax-resister in opposition to the Vietnam War he told than in letter to the IRS he explains his position using the same famous phrase that he put in the Goldwater speech. After being a member of the Republican National Committee and writer of the great part of republican platform in 1964 he was force to resign when Goldwater lost, later he found home in the SDS. Carl Oglesby a former president of the SDS who coined the term “corporate liberalism” in a famous speech in 1965 to blame the system responsible for the Vietnam War. Oglesby ideals for the New Left was to join forces with the Old Right in their anti-imperialist vision of America and the permanent call for antiwar populism. They were symbols of an American Left that rejects statism and authoritarianism as the form to solve the problems neither to achieve their social justice ideals.

It is difficult to understand how social justice and free markets can be achieved. The left-libertarianism is an “unknown ideal” as Sheldon Richman says. Left-libertarians could be people like CounterPunch former editor the late Alexander Cockburn with his defense of the militias and Zapatistas was a unique position in the American Left who was worshipping their leader of the time Clinton’s balkanization of the Balkans and his police state displayed at Waco. At the same time Occidental College historian Thaddeus Russell with his provocative A Renegade History of the United States seems to be hailing a libertarian-radical alliance with his defense of prostitutes, gangsters, slackers and other rebels portrayed for him as heroic figures in the achievement of some of most important liberties of today. Kevin Carson had write about Alliance of the Libertarian Left (ALL) and Center for a Stateless Society (C4SS) as institutions of free market libertarian criticism of corporate capitalism. There is difference with them and liberalterians a libertarian/liberal fusionist ideal like the thoughtful Bleeding Heart Libertarians and the less serious Daily Kos a blog basically converted in part of the liberal apparatchik of the democrats. Left-libertarianism is usually associated with anarchism and even a great part of its members refuse to join the electoral process. But not all and the example of Karl Hess could be relevant. More known for being Goldwater chief speechwriter Hess was a former member of the Socialist Party but unlike many former radicals turned into conservative warmongers or neocons more precisely he was still a radical and the reason for him to leave the SP was that they weren’t clear about their political approach to elections. In fact his discourse resemble to the courage of socialists like Eugene Debs and Norman Thomas who oppose imperialism. In his biography Mostly on the edge he refuses to call himself a capitalist rather he defines himself as a free-market pluralist. He even goes beyond in a documentary Anarchism in America he stated that the anarcho-communist writer Emma Goldmann stood for all he originally thought the Republican Party ideals were like isolatianism and anti-authoritarianism. In another documentary Toward Liberty he narrate his move from the far-right to the far-left. His beggining as a conservative columnist to a Washington insider to after the beggining of the Vietnam War a member of the anarchist wing of SDS and a supporter of the Black Panthers to his later move to West Virginia where he don’t only embraced libertarianism but also environmentalism with his interest in the power of the neighborhoods and the energetic independence in the form of solar and wind power. His criticism to liberalism was that since Woodrow Wilson is synonymous of American Imperialism at home and abroad. Wars abroad had become an excuse to cut civil liberties and the opportunity for politicians to attack their enemies like it happens to the Black Panthers in the 60s. Hess was a critic of the liberal approach to climate change because the liberals in his opinion only want to raise taxes to polluters and don’t see what honest ecologists who understand themselves as part of a system perceive that the real problem is the political pollution of Washington. A longtime member of the Libertarian Party Hess was enthusiast of third party politics but recognize the possibilities of an alliance between them and other organizations including democrats and republicans.

The history of the American Left is the history of permanent submission to liberalism. In the early twenty century the Socialist Party was a large organization with real possibilities of challenge the two party duopoly with union leader Eugene Debs as an iconic figure who was able to get support from the diverse factions of the organization and his message reach to more people than his voters when he ran in 1920 he was in prison for his opposition to World War I but he manage to get almost a million of votes. He was succeeded by a Presbyterian minister Norman Thomas who also oppose imperialism. The Socialist Party born of the support from labor unions but when FDR was in power, in search of better deals with the government the unions abandoned the socialists. The Communist Party was never a large organization but gain a particular reputation when in the Cold War legislations of some states forbidden to give jobs to the communists even they eternal enemies the trotskyists recognize some courage in the part of the members of the CPUSA. But politically speaking their courage was questionable after the Henry Wallace campaign in 1948, the thesis of the CPUSA was the same of people of The Nation that’s “lesser-evilism” under the threat of fascism and by fascist they mean conservatives. The decline of the radical left in the 40s gave space to liberalism to expand itself with the state power as their main tool. It was only in the 60s that the New Left was born out of opposition of American Imperialism in the form of the Vietnam War. But that time both the Socialist and Communist parties were no longer able to connect with a large student movement center in the Studens for a Democratic Sociaty (SDS). Even while the trotskyists were able to get some kind of larger support their sectarian characteristics prevent them to be larger. The maoists at some point take the SDS and transformed that in the Weather Underground but their ultra-leftism and support for violence divested them from a heterodox youth that opposed the Vietnam War that includes from the countercultural yippies to the southern radicals who marched with Confederate Flag of the Young Patriots Organization, the Black Panthers and puerto rican lefties of the Young Lords. The anarchist wings of the SDS are part of long history of anarchists that radically opposed imperialism but had an interesting new factor the presence of libertarians. Carl Oglesby was not an anarchist neither a socialist in the way socialism was understood in the Cold War, he even as president of SDS denounced state socialism but he was closer to kind of socialism of Debs, Thomas and the early Socialist Party message of patriotic radicalism that recognizes the American history as their main inspiration. They believe them to be part of the American revolutionary tradition and that the third American Revolution would be the revolution against corporate capitalism oppression but Oglesby added the Old Right tradition with figures like antiwar Senator Robert Taft. Murray Rothbard argued that if in 1972 the conservative antiwar republican Senator Mark Hatfield runs for president he  would be the most closely to libertarian president even if probably he was most near to been a radical decentralist. Rothbard predicts that someone like Hatfield could get the support of the New Left. The McGovern campaign in 1972 change the possibilities of libertarian-radical alliance when the disorganize New Left finally organized them but as a part of Democratic Party was a critical point in the dead of New Left. Even if George McGovern was an honest antiwar liberal most of the democrat politicians were still dishonest warmongers. The democrats for years leave for granted the New Left radicals as their supporters. But something happen in the 90s the Green Party decided to draft Ralph Nader in 1996 and got more than half million votes with no campaign. Nader for a lot of people was seem like a liberal hero but he never identified himself as a liberal. Nader whose icons were socialists like Debs and Thomas but also conservative Senator Robert Taft. He also talked about the liberal intelligentsia in reference to academics and journalists than basically are in they support for the democrats are betraying their social justice commitments. In the 2000 campaign that year he almost got three million votes. His campaigns in 2004 and 2008 had less success and many liberals are still blaming Nader for the Al Gore defeat. But the media notices that an antiwar populist candidate was getting support both left and right with buchanites jumping in support of Nader. While Nader is not a libertarian of any sort he is probably the most lucid critic of the bipartisan consensus on Washington about war and corporate welfare. His recent book Unstoppable: The Emerging Left-Right Alliance to Dismantle the Corporate State is an effort not make strange bedfellows rather than a message for natural alliance between those who oppose crony capitalism, the Military Industrial Complex and the surveillance state. In his book tour he even presented at Cato Institute a metaphor for willingness that very few people on the left seem to agree in reaching out besides their safe base.

There is in the “progressive” left some signals of defeat for 2016. Even in 2013 the victory of the socialist Kshama Sawant in the City Council election in Seattle had develop some hope and there is some space in 2014 for the real challenge of the independent left at least in mayoral and city council elections. However speaking about the possible presidential contenders to left of neocon Hillary Clinton there are few and not so convincing. Bernie Sanders is not as antiwar as usually people thinks of a socialist. Elizabeth Warren is not an antiwar candidate of any sort. Brian Schweitzer is neither as libertarian as Daily Kos wants you to believe neither a populist as MSNBC wants you to believe rather a demagogue. Dennis Kucinich and Russ Feingold are real antiwar and pro-civil liberties candidates but their possibilities are few they even lost their seats in the house and the senate. While democrats were saying that greens shouldn’t dare challenge their “progressives” members. Without support of the democratic leadership Feingold lost a race in 2010 and Kucinich lost the democratic primaries after redistricting in 2012. Kucinich ran for president twice in 2004 and 2008 with little support even while he embrace great part of Nader platform. In 2012 after the Obama re-election he spoke at Democracy Now! about his possible 2016 campaign bid running as a democrat but also not ruled out running as green something that is very possible since in 2003 some greens try to draft Kucinich to the Green Party primaries, his move to Washington probably would reduce the chances for him as third party candidate of being label as an spoiler. Feingold spoke at early 2005 about a possibly of a 2008 run but in 2006 he decided not to run. Feingold probably if he run would do better than Kucinich although is difficult to predict how much he could get even him has not spoken openly to run but some journalists are suggesting that because he could get some grassroots support. Both Kucinich and Feingold are capable of getting support across the political spectrum besides the antiwar paleoconservatives. Kucinich opposition to the War on Drugs make him popular with libertarians and his presence as Fox News contributor make him also someone who could  attract conservative support. Feingold as former senator of Wisconsin a swing state with a progressive tradition was the only senator that opposed the Patriot ACT which was praised both by conservatives and libertarians.

The question is for the left could it also been libertarian and populist. The left since the days of Hess or Oglesby was unable to reach out to the broad libertarian movement not to mention that there were some serious tensions over the vision of corporations. The left by their association with liberalism is often associated with the elites. Terms like limousine liberals had do more harm to the left than the attacks from right-wing radio. There is resentment of the elites and people are in all they right to do so. With liberals like The Nation editor Katrina Vanden Heuvel organizing luxury cruises to La Habana while saying that democrats are for the people. What people? Millionaire Castro-supporters maybe. But both Hess and Oglesby were clear in their opposition to liberalism. Hess in a documentary stated that he was proud of never having been a liberal. Oglesby criticism to the liberalism of the Vietnam War was that from Truman to Johnson all the supporters of these imperial project were liberals. The question is whether the critic of liberalism could be a strategy campaign for years it was for conservatives even Bernie Sanders when he ran as an independent for congress he defined as a socialist to don’t have the burden of been call “too liberal.” But thinking of left-libertarianism it also could be a critic of Left/Right divisions when in 1969 the writer Norman Mailer ran for mayor in the democratic primaries of New York he ran on a radical decentralist platform and identifies himself as a left-conservative. Like another radical decentralist as conservative Senator Mark Hatfield he was praised by Rothbard as a part of a libertarian project to challenge the bipartisan statism. Left-libertarian populism could be understand as a fusion of social justice ideals, support for free markets, anti-interventionist foreign policy and critic of state and corporate power also is important to remain he long tradition of left-libertarians of oppose the police brutality and the surveillance state. Left-libertarianism could be populist if it focus on developing the power of the communities that would be better with self-government rather than subject to the burocracy of Washington.

It is worth remember that in 2008 Paul endorsed Ralph Nader (Independent), Cynthia McKinney (Green) and Chuck Baldwin (Constitution). Paul cited coincidence in foreign policy and civil liberties. Also the promise of no raising the National Debt and audit the Federal Reserve. I would go beyond and put ten points that could be used for left-libertarians but in general for libertarian populists:

  • Anti-interventionist foreign policy
  • End the War on Drugs
  • End corporate welfare
  • Fight corporate crime
  • No raise the National Debt
  • Revision of the Federal Reserve
  • Repeal the Patriot Act, the Military Commissions Act and FISA legislation
  • Stop the NSA spying
  • Stop police brutality
  • Prison reform

As I mention in the beginning “libertarian” still means a lot of things so “left-libertarian” more than a theoretical support of the vastly theories I would argue that the possibility of a left-libertarian critic of big business and the big state or more accurate as Ralph Nader like to said the Corporate State. Limited government is not Empire. Individual liberty is more than economic freedom. Hess was clear to remember libertarians than was not a libertarian position to oppose something just because the left was working for the same thing. Hess also support the idea of an alliance between libertarians and religious fundamentalist because their main compromise was with their God not the State. I think is dangerous to see the Republican Party as the only vehicle of restore freedom in America. The Libertarian Party is a central part in history of the libertarian movement with an interesting platform that in theory was supposed to welcome both Left and Right but failed in the 80s when there was options for attract the electoral left after Rainbow Coalition inside/outside strategy and in 2008 Barr/Root ticket don’t get enough conservative support as some party insiders initially were thinking. The Green Party had a role in the same-sex marriage that is often forgotten when in the mayoral election San Francisco it was the green Matt Gonzalez who put the topic on the campaign and only after that a democrat Bush supporter like Gavin Newsom change his mind on the subject. It was the green mayor of New Paltz Jason West who first celebrate same-sex marriages in the New York State. Both events ended pressing the democrats on the issue because they usually consider LGBT support for granted. Most of the cities that passed resolutions against the Patriot ACT and the Iraq War had green councilmembers but they still had problems to get higher offices than mayors in small cities. The Democratic Party has failed to the progressive community again and again. Even saying that there is space for people like antiwar Dennis Kucinich or a civil libertarian Russ Feingold on the Democratic side. Jesse Ventura as an independent libertarian-leaning could be an interesting choice over the others Bush and Clinton. Kevin Zeese of the Green Party, former president of NRMAL and longtime progressive activist was able to get the endorsement of the Libertarian Party for his principled antiwar positions in his campaign for the Senate in 2006 he also took some free market positions for the development of alternative technologies. In the Libertarian Party longtime activist Mary Ruwart could be an interesting nominee to challenge the Left/Right division of the political establishment. Of course in the Republican Party there are chances for the front-runner Rand Paul, the most libertarian member of congress Justin Amash and the Old Right antiwar Walter Jones.

Sometime ago the energetic libertarian activist Starchild claimed “We need a libertarian Che Guevara”. I agree with that proposition even I’m not sure how left-winger can a left-libertarian could be and still be considered libertarian for the broad liberty movement. But with the difficulties of Rand Paul in trying to be a more mainstream candidate he is forgetting the radicalism of libertarian icons like Goldwater or his own father. If extremism in defense of liberty is no vice as Karl Hess used to say there is no danger on be on the other side fighting against the most reactionary neocons like the Clintons and Bushes. Maybe now is time the for a left-libertarian populist revolution.

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Too much parties and not much fun

hawkins

Yes the polls are telling than americans want more parties than the democrat and republican duopoly. New York is a particular case where third parties had exist for a long time with the Liberal Party and Conservative Party trying to put democrats and republicans more to the left and the right. But well after the Liberal Party give their ballot line to Rudy Giuliani the tragedy starts and now the party is no more than a website. The Conservative Party is social conservative what it’s a challenge in probably the most liberal state. So why if there are third parties in New York nobody at the national level is speaking about that. Well because of New York allows voting fusion that’s vote for the same candidate on different ballot lines. When the Liberal Party lost their ballot line after endorsing Andrew Cuomo who lost the democratic primaries in 2002, the media start looking for the Working Families Party (WFP). The WFP was a party supposed representative of a working class agenda like labor rights, higher wages, better health care system and quality of public education. But also liberal positions like inmigration reform, reproductive rights and enviromentalism. Things that in theory should sound good for liberals but the issue of they support of only the Democratic Party was part of the tragedy similar to the Liberal Party but in some cases worst. The Liberal Party had endorse usually democrats but they had also endorse republicans and third party candidates. The WFP had endorse democrats over real progressives but still is love by The Nation they even called their readers to vote on the WFP ballot line. In 2006 elections in their ballot line appear the neocon Hillary Clinton. And now they had endorse even more extreme “Rockefeller Republican” in the blue line like Andrew Cuomo for the gubernatorial election. Cuomo a union-basher and supporter of the survaillance state as well of the War on Drugs. Cuomo is the perfect definition of crony capitalist raising taxes to the poor and cutting taxes only to their millionaire buddies. He is also endorse by the Independence Party a weird combination of bussinessmans and a marxist cult lead by Lenora Fullani. But he now wants to create another ballot line the Women’s Equality Party (WEP) for getting women’s votes even if he didn’t pass the Women’s Equality Act. The republican nominee Rob Astorino is also trying create Stop Common Core ballot line even if he is a supporter of corporate takeover of education. But there is a real option in these election for New York independent minded voters the Green Party candidate Howie Hawkins is the Eugene Debs of XXI Century. As Eugene Debs, Howie has been a labor activist his entire life fighting for union rights for workers not for the burocracy that play lesser evil cards endorsing and financing democrats. For radicals, socialist and progressives people like Howie is an inspirations in the fight against corporate capitalism. I believe that suppport for him is not only come from the left but the working class who is tired of the two party duopoly and their destructive platforms for the workers and the ecology. Howie is proposing a common sense plan and has commited his life to fight for social justice and democracy. The Green Party is the only of the third parties in New York that doesn’t work as an alternative ballot line for the two party system. Well but you will say what about libertarians, the LP of the  New York had a lot of internal fights even more than the average LP state party does anybody remember when some party insiders try to nominate Howard Stern for governor. The Constitution Party well is too idiosyncratic quoting paleo Justin Raimondo, in theory they are paleoconservatives but some of them are also part of the christian right that so much harm had done to the Republican Party in trying to push a strong social agenda. They are non-interventionists but in gubernatorial election what are they gonna do. Howie is against the War on Drugs and the Survaillence State something that should get libertarians behind him. Howie is a working teamster, commited citizen and former marine, he is not too liberal he is in fact an eco-socialist but as conservative icon Russell Kirk who voted for the Socialist Party presidential candidate Norman Thomas in 1944 many Old Right conservatives would find in a candidate like Hawkins the continuation of a radical american tradition of anti-imperialism, an Empire trying to promote liberal democracy abroad and that in great part is funded by Wall Street corporate criminals like Cuomo’s buddies. Yes there are too much parties and not much fun but if Howie the anti-establishment candidate beat all these fake third parties them it would be fun to listen to the liberal intelligentsia calling for a fusion voting with Republican Party, there were some rumors of Cuomo running as Republican. Rob Astorino is so afraid of Hawkins that he would not go to the debates if the Green Party nominee is there. It would be a fun day with The Nation endorsing a Republican in New York, wouldn’t, wait they just do it.

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Libertarian dictators and the pot-seller Republican

babar

In the 2012 elections LP nominated former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson who served as fiscally conservative and socially liberal republican. I recognized Johson as the most decent LP presidential candidate since Ron Paul. There is a consesus that Marrou was weird in 1992 and that in 2004 Badnarik was strange even by LP standards. But the real tragedy was in 2008 when they nominated for presidential candidate former Republican Congressman from Georgia, Bob Barr and as vice-presidential candidate the author of Millionaire Republican, Wayne Allen Root. With that credentials no wonder how some LPers were calling to re-name the party as The New Republican Party. The flip-flopping of Bob Barr about the War on Drugs, his refusal to Ron Paul endorsement and a lot intra-party fighting were a sad point just few time after Ron Paul Revolution was launched with potential from dissafected republicans to find home in supposed “small government” friendly Libertarian Party. Bob Barr surprised a lot of people when he endorsed Newt Gingrich over Ron Paul in 2012 Republican presidential primaries. Wayne Allen Root did the same for Rommey. Bob Barr was advisor of former dictator of Haiti, Jean-Claude “Baby Doc” Duvalier. Root or W.A.R. as the name of his show even defended Mubarak over the egyptian protestors which he called “anarchists”, there is no surprise thar a lot of the anarchists or at least anarchist friendly LP members were never happy about him. Both Barr and Root had return to GOP but they are everything except “libertarian” they are not individualistic but egocentric in the worst manner. There is no suprise how the libertarian icon is the humble Ron Paul. That is why I’m so happy with the defeat of Bob Barr. I just hope that in the 2016 Nevada Republican Primary for the US Senate a real libertarian enters the race and defeated that dictatorial supporter of Root. What about Gary Johnson some would say that he would become a Republican to get back to office that maybe be true but at least he is cool guy, he is pot-selling Republican. He is a no-drama libertarian able to reach out to radical LPers and regular voters. Jesse Walker writed some time ago in an article The Mad Dream of a Libertarian Dictatorship that there are in some corners of the libertarian universe still autocrat supporters. Rothbard once in Libertarian Forum tells the history of his dissapointment over an LP presidential candidate when he found out he was a Pinochet supporter then Murray express his profound disagreement over the civil liberties violations of the chilean dictator. Economic freedom without individual freedom it’s not liberty. And we are not talking about social conservatives supporters of the “cultural war”, we are talking about totalitarian regimes that had political prisioners. Neocons had the bad tradition of supporting dictators abroad in the name of that these autocrats are market friendly. Walker correctly points out that in many cases instutions like the Cato Institute and others had opposed these kind of regimes but some of his fellows like economist and professional copy-paste speechwriter Hernando de Soto was enthusiastically a supporter of dictators like Mubarak and Fujimori even worked with them. The result was not a only larger and more corrupt states but even with more political inestability. With classic liberals like these why need neocons. But the point that I haven’t taken here is does libertarism means something more than classic liberalism but if so what it means these subject should be a topic of another post. However I still smiling for the defeat of Bob Barr or should I say Babar, a GOP elephant has got down like the autocrats that neocons love so much. People like Ron Paul or Gary Johnson still are giving to the libertarianism a good name. Fighting totalitarian regimes is a libertarian cause and fighting “totalitarian” libertarians is a libertarian cause too.

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