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The Two Party Delusion, Mass Movements And Real Progressive Change

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Message Michael Cavlan

It is all your fault.

How many times have third party activists, Nader supporters and others who do not support the two party duopoly heard this. Folk Singer Tom Neilson even did a song about this

Yes it is our fault, we are indeed guilty as charged. Of course how we look at this is slightly different than those legions of angry, liberal, comfortable middle class Democratic Party apologists who blame us. You see, those of us who do not buy into the two party system, hold that the Democratic Party is where progressive politics goes to die. We believe that the Democratic Party is and has been the greater evil, not the lesser evil as some say. Let me explain why I say this.

It has been argued that the way for progressive politics to move forward is by building a popular mass movement. On this point, I agree completely. However, it is at this point that myself and others who do not believe in working with the Democrats diverge from those who do work with and for the Democratic Party. It is a serious, critical point of divergence.

This country desperately needs an activated and aware mass movement. Yet history has taught us that virtually each and every time in recent history that one rises up, it is the Democratic Party and it's operatives who take the steam out of the growing movement. This can be pictured no better than the growing anti-war movement active in 2003 and 2004. Then, along came John Kerry's fateful presidential campaign and suddenly the rambunctious, determined anti-war movement changed focus, died down and filtered away into helping the Kerry campaign.

This experience has been mirrored by the Election Integrity, Impeachment, Single Payer Healthcare, Environmental and countless other movements. Each and every time a groundswell of support develops and starts to become active, suddenly the steam is gone into "trying to help or convince our elected official friends" in the Democrats. yet each and every time these very elected officials fail us and our nation.

The reason, of course is that "our" elected officials, be they in Congress or City Hall are not in fact our elected officials. They are more beholden to the well heeled corporate executives or developers who fund their campaigns. This reality is why they have not and do not respond to our attempts to push them. That had been the central message of Ralph Nader. Ralph was the one to point out the horrific reality of our so called democracy and the hard work needed to change that.

The response of the pro-war, corporate corrupted two party system and the media that they created has been predictable. Ralph Nader is an egoist or too authoritarian. Ironically these attacks come from the very corporate interests, via the politicians and media they own that Nader has fought his entire life.

Sadly, what has also been predictable is the response from so many "progressive" groups, media and others, who parrot the lies and smears spread by these corporate interests and the politicians and media that represent them so well. In an ultimate act of irony, supporting the very pro-war, corporate corrupted system which disenfranchises them and their views.

Getting back to the point, who then dissipate and stop the very mass movement needed to move a People's Agenda forward. It is this reality that makes people, such as myself look at the Democratic Party and the rotten pro-war, corporate corrupted system they protect, as being the greater evil, not the lesser. History shows us these truths.

Now, we have also heard the hyperbole, contradictions and inaccuracies that "third parties have had no significant role in American politics since the 30's." These sort of statements are based upon blatant denial of the facts. American history is filled with lessons on just how effective strong, viable third parties have been.

From the Abolishment of Slavery to Women's Rights, Civil Rights, Social Security, Peace, Election Integrity the list of issues that have been pushed forward by third parties has been long and noble. Strong and effective third parties have always been the voice of disaffected political activists and American dissidents and pushed forward real change.

In fact, in my own life, I have witnessed this reality more than once.


In 2004, stories started to come out of Ohio about Voter Fraud, Suppression and allegations of electronic tampering of machines. It is a fact that even with these allegations surfacing that Democratic Party presidential candidate John Kerry "conceded" the 2004 election. It is also an undeniable fact that if it were not for the Green Party and Libertarian Party challenging the election and legally pushing for a Re-Count in Ohio, that the issue of Voter Suppression, Voter Fraud and Diebold Vote Count tampering would not be in the public political conscience at all. That fact, that reality all by itself has proven just how third parties can and do affect politics in this country. This has always been the case and remains so to this day.

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Michael Cavlan , RN, was an Official Green Party Observer for the 2004 Ohio Re-Count. He was the Green Party Candidate for US Senate 2006. A long time dissident peace, justice and media activist, he is committed to creating a truly open and (more...)
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