A listener from Occupy Seattle takes West to task about his openness to voting for Barack Obama in this year’s election.

Read Mark Taylor-Canfield’s Open Letter to Dr. Cornel West, originally published on dailykos.com.

Occupy Seattle website


Views: 3809

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

Sticking with the 2party system is like being an abused victim who keeps going back to the abuser becuase of not knowing better options or being too afraid to move on to the better options. 

I am a fan of Smiley & West however I gotta respectfully call you guys out. A week or so ago you guys downed Obama for not being principled for taking unlimited corporate donations as it relates to citizens united.

If we're going to be principled we have to leave the 2party system when it is unworthy of supporting. There are alternative parties: Green Party, Peace & Freedom Party, Justice Party, and Libertarian Party.

People like Smiley, West, Michael Moore, and Bill Maher complain about Obama and the Democrats so much but they seem to never discuss alternative parties.

Media blackout, media bias, unfair election laws, not having instant runoff voting, and unfair election laws hinder the ability for alternative parties to breakthrough.

However, there's something really insane about doing the same thing over and over (voting for the 2party system) and expecting different results. Congress has the lowest approval rating ever, more and more people are registering as decline to state/independent, and both the Tea Party and Occupy movements show overwhelming disgust of the 2party system yet for some reason people are not talking about alternative parties?Makes no sense.

At least Roseann Barr is running for President as a Green and Survivor winner Rupert Boneham is running as the Libertarian candidate for Governor of Indiana.

Un-occupy the 2party system.


Dump the two-party system


Why should we support Barack Obama?  Is there another viable candidate who you think will support the issues you care about?  If so, you didn't name him/her.  For people with "liberal" values, there simply is no viable alternative candidate to Barack Obama.  I think your question should be, "How can I/we work within the political process to put pressure on President Obama to address the issues I/we care about?"

@ Jeff

Jeff writes, "If we're going to be principled we have to leave the 2party system when it is unworthy of supporting."  What makes you think your third party politicians would be any different from the existing politicians?  Once in office, your third party politicians will find they have to work within the same political system as member of the other two parties.  If you want to change the system, great, but don't suppose that adding another party will change it.  ("Meet the new boss.  Same as the old boss." - Pete Townsend).  Also, I would caution you to remember what happened when Ralph Nader ran for President as a Green Party candidate in 2004.  We ended up with George W. Bush - again.

Excellent discussion and I agree with both men. However, when we resolve to elect a president based on the fact he is the lesser of two evils, we marginalize the democratic process and it becomes of low importance and low priority. Not that it hasn't been just that for decades.

The two party system is good cop and bad cop against the people of America, held as suspects of the one percent. Occupy has proven to have the ability to create working organized anarchies. Plural because civilization by consent and autonomy has no leader, no command nor control. I believe that is natural and that time has now run out for failed capitalistic democracy. 

It is time that we find new ways of life as occupy has done. Time to live outside the system, to find new standards of exchange other than government issued currency. People are controlled because they choose to be. Voting is a referendum on the plutarchy. If truly all the 99 percent put themselves up against the one percent we wouldn't need elections, government, nor money. But it will take a critical mass mutiny against our wage slave owners. May Day every day.

There are those who use the system to live outside of it. False IDs on the black market. False SSNs and credit identity allow them to live lucratively, though on the run. But they prove it can be done. If Wall Street can commit financial crimes against us, should we not do the same against them? The law is by and for the rich and continues to warp in that direction. It's only a matter of time before we are all lost to this  corrupt system. Is it really unethical or wrongful to commit fraud against this twisted financial system? Does anyone really care if banks are defrauded? It takes guts to say no.

Chuck, why I think alternative party politicians would be any different from the existing politicians depends on whether they accept corporate donations or not. The Green Party makes clear they do not accept corporate or foundation donations. Next, most candidates in alternative parties are grassroots community organizers or activist or everyday people who have no corporate backing.


If you are so cynical about alternative parties being different then why even bother to vote at all? And certainly why bother to keep voting for the same 2party stem and reward them with another term?


Next, Regarding Ralph Nader, we are not supposed to live in a 2party tyranny. We are supposed to live in a democratic republic with multiple options. Democrats and Republicans rotate in cycles anyway so you’re implication that we help elect the eviler or evil by supporting an alternative party is nonsense.


Also, for the record, there is also a lot of evidence that Nader did not cost Gore the election. See:


Ralph Nader Documentary, An Unreasonable Man



DEBUNKING THE MYTH: Ralph Nader didn't cost Al Gore the presidency in 2000



Dispelling the Myth of Election 2000:

Did Nader Cost Gore the Election?



Did Ralph Nader Spoil a Gore Presidency?

A Ballot-Level Study of Green and Reform Party Voters

in the 2000 Presidential Election



Too bad Gore and liberals stuck in the 2party system keep costing alternative parties the election.

Amen Jon Raymond.

Dr. West argues that he fears a right wing takeover will create a terrible assault on the poor and working people. Perhaps a right wing takeover is exactly what we need. People will not get up off their ass and take action until a young innocent man is killed in the street. Where is the public outrage against Wall Street? The occupy movement is small part of the 99%. We need to mobilize everyone and to that end we need them to fear a real enemy. So bring on the right wing takeover. BRING IT ON!

Jon Raymond, amen but that assault is already here and it comes form Democrats too. The 2party system uses there WWF charade of division to oppress us all.

Although this subject is sometimes controversial, especially amongst hard-line Democrats, I feel it is our right and obligation as the people to speak truth to power, no matter who may be in the White House!

My point is that mainstream Dems often don't seem to understand that they are also being singled out as part of the problem in terms of political corruption and issues pertaining to the abuse of power. I don't think the majority of my friends in the Democratic Party realize that they are also the subject of much criticism and organized opposition from independent populist activists, especially the dedicated folks involved with the Occupy Wall Street movement.

The occupiers are not bridled to any particular political philosophy or party. They will not be bought, sold or compromised! This is a grassroots populist movement which is not really even very political at its  core. These people just want freedom, peace and justice like everyone else.

They are very aware that the US election system doesn't allow for dissenting voices or small grassroots citizens parties to flourish. It's all controlled by Big Money.

Let's be honest - the American political system is broken! Our political leaders do not represent the ninety nine percent. After two stolen elections, two illegal military occupations and no criminal charges for those who have already abused executive power, the public trust has been shaken to its very foundations. Meanwhile, corrupt banksters and oil barons continue to fleece the country and waste our national resources regardless of who's sitting in the Oval Office.

These are the challenges that we all must face together as a nation. The political campaigns are largely artifice created expressly for entertainment's sake - i.e. the Republican presidential campaign debates.

I'm not denying that there may be a significant qualitative difference between Romney and Obama. Personally, I'd much rather have Barack Obama as a co-worker or as a family member than have to deal with Rick Santorum or Newt Gingrich everyday!

But even after the re-election of President Obama, there will remain some basic, fundamental issues we'll have to deal with as a people dedicated to democratic principals and diversity. Racism is still trying to raise its ugly head in America despite the dedicated efforts of many brave souls. Poverty, crime and official corruption must still be addressed despite the many grand campaign promises given to us by self-interested candidates for political office.

Let's face it - environmental degradation, the increased influence of the military/prison industrial complex, and the destruction of our education system will still be with us even if Democrats control both houses of Congress and the White House!

I'm just trying to be realistic! There's a larger picture here to be considered. We have a lot of hard work ahead of us if we truly want a better world for our children. It may take several generations before our nation can finally live up to its potential as a tolerant progressive society. And I expect that most of those changes to the system will have to come from the grassroots, not from within the political machines.

I still maintain that when the people lead, their leaders will follow. They have left us no other choice...

We must march, we must protest and we must at all costs speak out! If our collective voices are to be heard, we must speak out peacefully, but we will have to speak with volume and conviction!

3rd Parties Hindered By Media & Election Law Bias

Cindy Sheehan On Alternative / 3rd Political Parties

Good links. Thanks!

I have witnessed how the "winner take all" electoral system has de-legitimized and alienated folks involved in organizing alternative political parties in the US. I wish the system were more democratic...

Maybe some day our election system itself will actually be "re-legitimized"?

By the way - not sure if URLS are acceptable on this site, and it might be a bit off topic for this forum but here's what happened in Seattle at the march for Trayvon Martin: My article @ Huffington Post

At least three thousand marched together!


Reply to Discussion




© 2014   Created by Smiley and West.

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service