Radio Sputnik’s Loud & Clear spoke with Jane Cutter, editor of Liberationnews.org; Dr. Anthony Monteiro, W.E.B. DuBois scholar and member of the Black Radical Organizing Collective; and Derek Ford, Assistant Professor of Education Studies at DePauw University, about lesser-evil politics and what impact the election could have on the future of progressive politics.
Cutter explained that, historically, "Who’s sitting in the White House is ultimately not the determining factor" of a movement’s vitality, and points to the presidency of Richard Nixon, considered to be one of America’s most conservative presidents. Cutter noted the many progressive measures passed under the Nixon Administration due to pressure from the Civil Rights, Black Power, feminist and LGBTQ movements.
"At that time, people were organized, people were mobilized, people were militant and in the streets and, as a result, the Nixon Administration and other elements of the ruling class were forced to give up numerous concessions that were in fact quite beneficial to the working class of this country," she said.
Ford quoted writer Steven Salait, who wrote recently, "Lesser evilism is possible only because we’re so accustomed to seeing certain people as lesser human beings."
"By that he was saying that to call Hillary Clinton the lesser evil is to call the people of Palestine, in Syria, Libya and Iraq, as lesser human beings, because her actions and her policies have been so steadfastly hawkish there. It also disarms the movement and any potential for popular uprising."
Dr. Monteiro believes that Republican support for Clinton could signal the beginning of a "new Mccarthyism."
"Now we’ve always known that the two-party system was essentially a one party system with two wings." he said, "But now, so many of the Republicans and the neocons and the liberals are gravitating to this big umbrella. But at the same time they’re saying to anyone who would oppose their policy in Russia, or towards Korea or Syria, that somehow you are unpatriotic, you are on the payroll of Russia or some external force. So I would suggest that there’s nothing more lethal than a Cold War liberal. They go beyond the conservatives."
He added, "I think Hillary represents something that we have to be very frightened of and we really have to mobilize and steel ourselves for a really intense struggle against what she represents."
Cutter agreed, saying, "That’s a real concern. When we look at Hillary Clinton, when we look at her support for surveillance, her lack of support for civil liberties…It’s very important that we’re not distracted by this issue of who people vote for, is it this party or that party."
"That’s not to say that elections aren’t important, they definitely are a gauge of where people are at, at any given point, but that’s not where social change comes from. And we need to stand strong, we need to stand united, we need to be prepared to get out into the streets to continue to struggle around the issues, including issues that are to the left of the articulated position of Bernie Sanders himself, which are issues of peace and social justice that the Bernie movement resonated with."