After putting in several days with the thousands (yes thousands) of volunteers canvasing for Antonio Delgado in the hard fought NY19th congressional district, it occurred to some of us that the best use of our time time- that which was most likely to put the Democrat over the top- was to switch tactics.
The Green Party candidate in NY 19 was polling at over 3% in the week before the election. As has been the case for Greens for at least a decade, votes for him would accomplish few positive results if any-surely nothing in terms of building the infrastructure of a viable alternative third party.(1) They would have only one ultimate effect which would be to help “the most dangerous organization in human history” to maintain control of congress. Our convincing a few might make a small but possibly significant difference in the outcome, or so we hoped.
Continue reading In Praise of Vote Shaming
(Revised and extended version of a talk delivered to Staten Island Peace Action on Sept. 29, 2018. Many thanks to Dan Falcone, Delfina Vannucci, and Richard Singer for inviting Brittany de Barros and me to address the group, and to the members of Peace Action for an excellent discussion.)
As most of us know, the history of left politics has had its share of sharp, even profound disagreements.
Sometimes these have been about the kind of society we want to achieve. But often the arguments have been between allies who share the same goals but who are divided about strategy and tactics. What follows will be in the latter category and I will issue a warning that I’m going to take a side and try to show why I believe the other side is wrong. I anticipate some pushback. If I get it, that’s good thing in that people caring enough to argue is an indication (one of many) that the movement is reaching critical mass which I believe it is-something I’ll briefly discuss at the end. It’s also a good thing because, the glib one liner aside, we usually get into arguments not because the stakes are low but because they’re high as they surely are in this instance.
Continue reading On Activism, Voting and Responsibility