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960Re: An email I sent to DailyKos.com

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  • Ram Lau
    Aug 13, 2005
      I'm quite sure I posted the 1904 Socialist Party Platform last year. I
      will re-post if you can't search it and want to take a look at it.
      Also, Debs ran as the Socialist candidate in the presidential election
      of 1904 for the first time. From Wikipedia:

      "He was a candidate for President of the United States in 1900 as a
      member of the Social Democratic Party. He was later the Socialist
      Party of America candidate for President in 1904, 1908, 1912, and
      1920, the final time from prison.

      Debs was, however, largely dismissive of the electoral process: he
      distrusted the political bargains that Victor Berger and other "sewer
      socialists" had made in winning local offices and put much more value
      on the organization of workers, particularly on industrial lines. Yet
      Debs was equally uncomfortable with the apolitical syndicalism of some
      within the Industrial Workers of the World. While he was an early
      supporter of the IWW, he was later appalled by what he considered the
      IWW's irresponsible advocacy of direct action, especially sabotage.

      Although Debs criticized the apolitical "pure and simple unionism" of
      the railroad brotherhoods and the craft unions within the American
      Federation of Labor, he practiced a form of pure and simple socialism
      that underestimated the lasting power of racism, which he viewed as an
      aspect of capitalist exploitation. As Debs wrote in 1903, the party
      had "nothing specific to offer the negro, and we cannot make special
      appeals to all the races. The Socialist party is the party of the
      working class, regardless of color—the whole working class of the
      whole world". Yet Debs was more advanced on this issue than many
      others in the Socialist Party: he denounced racism throughout his
      years as a socialist, refusing to address segregated audiences in the
      South and condemning D.W. Griffith's "Birth of a Nation".

      Debs was a charismatic speaker who called on the vocabulary of
      Christianity and much of the oratorical style of evangelism—even
      though he was generally disdainful of organized religion. As Heywood
      Broun noted in his eulogy for Debs, quoting a fellow Socialist: "That
      old man with the burning eyes actually believes that there can be such
      a thing as the brotherhood of man. And that's not the funniest part of
      it. As long as he's around I believe it myself."

      Debs himself was not wholly comfortable with his prowess as a speaker.
      As he told an audience in Utah in 1910:

      I am not a Labor Leader; I do not want you to follow me or anyone
      else; if you are looking for a Moses to lead you out of this
      capitalist wilderness, you will stay right where you are. I would not
      lead you into the promised land if I could, because if I lead you in,
      some one else would lead you out. YOU MUST USE YOUR HEADS AS WELL AS
      YOUR HANDS, and get yourself out of your present condition."

      Ram


      --- In prezveepsenator@yahoogroups.com, Greg Cannon <gregcannon1@y...>
      wrote:
      > I agree with you, but I fear that if taken too far
      > then the party's message might become only marketing
      > and packaging, with a great lack of substance. At the
      > moment though the Democrats seem to be lacking on both
      > accounts. They never fully committed to either
      > opposing or supporting Bush's foreign policy and his
      > policies on civil rights, and they failed miserably
      > when they attempted to explain their ambivalence to
      > the voters.
      >
      > What did the Socialists say in 1904? I've been reading
      > a Teddy Roosevelt biography and recently finished the
      > part on the 1904 election and didn't hear the
      > Socialists mentioned. The Democrats sure seem to have
      > picked an unfortunate candidate that year, a judge
      > named Alton Parker who was apparently picked because
      > he seemed very very nonpartisan, uncontroversial, and
      > boring in contrast to Roosevelt who was very
      > flamboyant and nearly always controversial.
      >
      > --- Ram Lau <ramlau@y...> wrote:
      >
      > > In politics and in my years of studying politics,
      > > I've come to the
      > > conclusion that marketing and packaging matter more
      > > than anything
      > > else. The GOP has a much better marketing team and
      > > are willing to go
      > > for the nasties, that's why they keep winning. The
      > > Dems are simply
      > > whiney losers who keep picking the wrong (and less
      > > than bright)
      > > candidates. Moral high ground is not the way to go,
      > > the elitist
      > > liberals should understand. And, honestly, most
      > > people don't vote on
      > > the issues.
      > >
      > > LBJ's prophecy upon signing the Civil Rights Act in
      > > 1964: "We have
      > > just lost the South for a generation." He's dead
      > > WRONG. They had
      > > lost the South for generations. The only times when
      > > the Democratic
      > > candidate could win the South and thus the election
      > > were all
      > > accidental (when the GOP screwed up very badly) -
      > > namely, the
      > > Watergate referendum year (1976) and the Perot year
      > > (1992). Then it
      > > took a Clinton miracle to get re-elcted in 1996.
      > > Even worse, both
      > > Carter and Clinton had to be a Southerner to
      > > attractive the Southern
      > > moderates who don't usually vote to garner enough
      > > support to win.
      > >
      > > The only issues that matter to most - abortion,
      > > civil rights (from
      > > affirmative action to gay rights), and religious
      > > freedom - are what
      > > the Southerners care about (to deprive them) and the
      > > liberals have
      > > never been on their side. That's why the
      > > pro-slavery, anti-women
      > > rights, xenophobic South was the Democratic bastion
      > > in the pre-FDR
      > > days when the Yankee Republicans were controlled by
      > > the liberals.
      > >
      > > Liberalism doesn't sell well in the South in the
      > > past 200 years, and
      > > I doubt ever will. Ironically enough, these liberals
      > > always get what
      > > they want a generation later or two. Read the
      > > platform of the
      > > Socialist Party in 1904. What was perceived as the
      > > far left agenda,
      > > we have adopted most of it. That's why I'm still
      > > hopeful in a longer
      > > term perspective even very disturbed in these days.
      > >
      > > Ram
      > >
      > >
      > >
      > >
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