Jul 30 2011

Independent Voting’s President Jacqueline Salit’s Past Views on Political Parties

Source: Ballot Access News

Between January 1984 and December 1994, the New Alliance Party published a weekly newspaper, “The National Alliance.” During the entire period of the newspaper’s existence, the masthead listed Jacqueline Salit at the top of the roster as “Executive Editor.” Today, Salit is President of Independent Voting, which holds itself out as the leader of independent voters in the United States, and which teaches that political parties are harmful to society.

In the January 26, 1989 issue of “The National Alliance”, there is a letter to the editor which criticizes the Soviet Union for holding elections in which only one party, the Communist Party, was allowed to compete, although the 1989 elections were giving voters a choice of Communist Party candidates to vote for. Following the letter there is this response:

“The Alliance replies: You raise an important question, especially since we consider democracy the cutting edge issue in America today. Our response requires looking at just what a political party is.

If you asked most people, they would probably answer that it is a group of people who share certain political beliefs and meet certain organizational requirements so they can try to run candidates for elected office. But we get a much deeper understanding by looking at how political parties came into being historically. For parties as we know them in fact only came into existence with the growth of capitalism.

They were first created to represent the interests of emerging classes. In Europe, there were parties of the landed gentry, parties of the capitalists, parties of the peasants, and finally parties of the working class. Small splinter parties have come into existence and sometimes won parliamentary representation, but all parties have a class character.

In the US, the Democrats were the party of the southern slaveholders straight out. The Republicans were the party of the northern industrialists. The working class had no party of its own to operate on a national scale, and most working people backed the Republicans during the Civil War and long after on the grounds that wage slavery was better than chattel slavery. After the war, the Democrats joined the ranks of the capitalists.

The working class made a great effort to create its own party – the Socialist Party – but it was repressed during World War I for its opposition to that war and faded away thereafter. The next attempt – by the Communist Party – was bought out by Roosevelt in the New Deal. Thereafter, the US has functioned under a one party – capitalist party – system. That one party has two major factions – the Democrats and Republicans – to be sure, and individuals have the formal right to form as many parties as they want.

But the sad fact is that – as a result of lack of access to the ballot, the media and big money the capitalist parties control – the vast majority of the American people are excluded from the political process except as extras in a Miller beer commercial: “Less filling! Tastes great! Less Filling! Tastes great!”

Thus the fight for democracy which Lenora Fulani and the New Alliance Party are leading is the fight for the working class majority in this country to have its own party.

As for the recent developments in the Soviet Union, we find them very exciting. It is true that the Soviet Union is a one party state, but that one party is the party of the working class. The Soviet Union no longer has a capitalist class and thus there is no basis for having a second party – unless it is a party committed to restoring capitalism. Let there be no doubt, the restoration of capitalism is unacceptable to the Soviet people.

The serious issue facing the Soviets is the expansion of mass participation within the Communist Party. That they are now to hold national multi-candidate elections is a dramatic development, the result of Gorbachev’s decision to mobilize the people to energize the Soviet economy.

There is absolutely no reason to revive the Cadets or the Mensheviks, either in spirit or in fact. Those parties lost their right to exist during World War I, when they supported the tsar sending hundreds of thousands of Russian soldiers to the slaughterhouse to influence who would play the leading role in carving up Africa – Germany or England and France.

You do note that parties which advocate the murder of ‘sections of the population who are different due to race, sex, religion, national origin, disability or sexual orientation’ should not be allowed. Agreed.

But how about parties which support policies they know will lead to mass starvation in the Third World, the random murder of civilians by contra bandits, and the mushrooming of homelessness, poverty and racism here in the U.S.?

This is not to say that we advocate a one party system dogmatically. Obviously a multiplicity of parties can only advance democracy in America today. And even in a society organized by the working class, there are pushes and pulls within the class over race, sex, strata, sexual orientation, etc., and it is not inconceivable that there could be more than one working class party. History will tell.

We would like to go a step further, however. NAP has constituted itself as a political party out of necessity – to engage the capitalist parties on their own terrain. But why not have a non-party system? Just for the record, the US Constitution makes no mention whatsoever of parties.

Under a no-party system, candidates would run with public funding, and put out their positions through free and equal time on the major networks. The voters would elect those candidates who most clearly articulated their own social vision. That is exactly now Nicaragua ran its 1984 presidential election.

And that – due to having an explicitly one-party system in which elections are candidate vs. candidate rather than party vs. party – is what the Soviet Union is moving towards.”

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