In the civil war in El Salvador during the 1980s, right wing psychopath Roberto D’Aubuisson once compared his comparatively moderate political opponent JosÃ© Duarte to a watermelon – green on the outside, red on the inside. This was of course a derisive comment about alleged dupliciousness. So it was with a certain irony that perennial Grubernatorial candidate Peter Camejo invoked the same metaphor to describe his own candidacy a few years back. Camejo is of course a recovering Trotskyist, and a former leader of the defunct Socialist Workers Party. But he still considers himself a socialist (despite his successes as an investment broker), and he wanted to make that clear. He has however abandoned to some degree the sectarianism so brilliantly satirized in Monty Python’s The Life of Brian.
Not so Todd Chretien who remains a member of the International Socialist Organization, a Trotskyist sect which has decided to engage in its own version of popular front politics (Trots used to slam the CPUSA for the same game) within the Green Party. While the writings associated with the ISO aren’t quite as moronic as some of the older parties that have either died or linger on life-support provided by some clueless beneficiary of inheritancence that might otherwise be dedicated to Jimmy Swaggert, it is traditional straight-jacket “Marxist-Leninism” complete with all the trimmings of the ironically phrased “democratic centralism” and the vanguard party. I’ve already discussed my own history with what I consider to be more of a religious tradition than a political philosophy, and quite literally some of my best friends (and family members) are Marxist Leninists and even members of sectarian parties. They’re mostly good people who live in denial of the full implications of what they believe.
Chretien may very well be a decent person and an effective leader. But he’s a religious fanatic. To him Stalin’s greatest crime wasn’t tmassacrecer and starvation of millions, but rather that he attempted to create socialism within one state thereby abandoning Trotsky’s anemic “permanent revolution.” Chretien’s hero himself was responsible for massacre of the Kronstadt sailors in 1921. Tariq Ali‘s Trotsky for Beginners contains an assertion that Trotsky was later remorseful about the action, but I’ve never found any statement attributed Trotsky to that effect, though he certainly chose the wrong time to embrace peaceful means as he was attempting to face down the man who would later become the grandest mass murderer in history, Hitler included. Perhaps he was remorseful, but few of his followers shared in the sentiment. Somebody ought to question Chretien about it.
Anyway, I can’t vote for Chretien, not even as a throwaway vote which would enable the denial among the Greens that allowed him to win the nomination in the first place. I can’t vote for Diane Feinstein. Her war votes. Her ridiculous ads paid for with money that ought to have been spent helping the Democrats retake Congress. Her history of compromise with power and sleeze dating back to her years as mayor of San Francisco never meeting a highrise proposal she didn’t like and almost succeeded in the Manhattanization of the SF skyline. She’s going to win hands down anyway, so there’s no compelling reason for a progressive to give her a vote.
So by default, the Peace and Freedom Party (also on life support) candidate gets my vote by default. Her name is Marsha Feinland. She’s run before. She’ll run again. Seems like a nice woman with a cookie cutter new left platform. And unlike the other perennial third party run folk, she’s actually held office with Berkeley’s Rent Stabilization Board. Hey, it’s something!