by Jim Bywater
If the discussion at the Chicago Social Forum (30 January) about who the left should vote for in the US presidential elections is anything to go by, there is only one thing certain - it won't be Bush.
For some the elections aren't important - we need to concentrate solely on direct action - but for most, they'll vote either Democrat or Green.
Soon, hopefully, the media merry-go-round primaries will be over and the Democrats will have their challenger to Bush decided. At the moment, Howard Dean and John Kerry are the most popular candidates. Dean has the backing of the SEIU, and by standing against the Iraq war he gained a following amongst activists eager to see someone stand up to the Republicans. Yet, on most other issues Dean, along with Kerry, is far from left-wing.
The Greens don't decide their candidate until their national convention at the end of June 2004, late for an election in November. Citing this and a hesitation by the party over whether to run a candidate at all (which the party denies), Ralph Nader has decided not to put his name forward as a possible candidate. This leaves Peter Camejo, the Green candidate for Governor of California, as the current front runner. But with groups emerging such as "Greens for Dean", as Nader himself says, "the reaction to George W Bush, has fractured - more than galvanized - the Greens as a Party".
"Lesser evil" arguments are central to discussions about which party to vote for, except they rarely involve a class analysis. The Green Party alternative exists because of its many differences with the two main parties - rather than because it may be working class. And, perhaps as a consequence, with the Afghanistan and Iraq wars, pre-emptive strike foreign policy, the patriot act, the partial-birth abortion ban, environmental legislation and tax-cuts for the rich all putting pressure on the left, many - including individuals in some far left groups such as Solidarity - have begun to call for a Democrat vote.