From The Avocado Declaration, by Peter Camejo, written in Spring 2004 as he was running for vice president on the Green Party ticket, with Nader as presidential candidate. Camejo explains how real change in the US invariably originates from third parties and independent movements, and how the historic role of the Democratic Party has been to co-opt such change and render it harmless.
Success of Democratic Party
The Democratic Party should be seen historically as the most successful political party in the history of the world in terms of maintaining stability for rule by the privileged few. There is no other example that comes near what the Democratic Party has achieved in maintaining the domination of money over people.
Through trickery, the Democratic Party co-opted the powerful and massive rise of the Populist movement at the end of the 19th century using precisely the same lesser evil arguments now presented against the Green Party.
They sure did. The Democratic Party quite deliberately sabotaged, co-oped, then effectively neutralized the Populist Party, which for a time had real political power. But some Populists thought they could form a useful alliance with the Democrats. Big mistake. Instead they got knifed in the back.
They blocked the formation of a mass Labor Party when the union movement rose in the 1930s. They derailed, co-opted and dismantled the powerful civil rights movement, anti-Vietnam war movement and women’s liberation movement. They have even succeeded in establishing popular myths that they were once for labor, for civil rights and for peace. Nothing could be further from the truth.
One quite popular myth is that Franklin Delano Roosevelt was pro labor. Continuing the policies of Woodrow Wilson who oversaw a reign of anti-union terror, including black listing and deporting immigrant labor organizers, FDR’s administration sabotaged union drives every step of the way. When workers overcame their bosses’ resistance and began winning strikes, FDR turned on them and gave the green light for repression after police killed ten striking steel workers in 1937. As FDR said himself, “I’m the best friend the profit system ever had.” After WWII Truman used the new Taft Hartley Anti-Labor Act to break national strikes more than a dozen times.
The Democrats have not abandoned “progressive” positions they once held, as some Democrats repeatedly claim but have simply shifted further to the right as world globalization has advanced leading to the lowering of democratic rights and the growth of wealth polarization within the United States.
Progressives who keep waiting for Obama to do the right thing are part of the problem. Like Clinton before him, Obama is a corporatist. That’s where his loyalties are. The Democratic Party has been this way for decades. It hasn’t and won’t change. Instead, those joining it in hopes of triggering genuine change end up getting changed, neutralized, or disillusioned.