The Socialist 16 October 2004 |
Join the Socialist
US Elections: Putting An Alternative
SOCIALIST ALTERNATIVE (the Socialist Party's counterpart in the US) were
recently invited to participate in a "Presidential debate watch" event at
Kennedy High, Minneapolis.
Nearly 1,000 students had packed into a huge lecture hall to watch the
official Kerry/Bush debate, and then to a panel discussion afterwards with
student reps from the Kerry, Bush, Ralph Nader (independent and anti-corporate
radical), and David Cobb (Green Party) campaigns. I spoke on behalf of
Socialist Alternative and Students for Nader.
We passed out several dozen "Let Ralph debate" signs that could be seen
here and there throughout the audience, and prominently in the section where
our branch and supporters sat.
Each campaign rep spoke before the debate started for two minutes. The
Kerry and Bush reps went first and gave drab, personalised little talks on why
they liked their candidates.
My speech began with the lines: "We already know who the winner of the 2004
election is - the winner supports the occupation of Iraq, the winner opposes
gay marriage, the winner..." etc.
This initially was received with dead silence, then muted booing, then,
responding to the boos, even louder cheers from wide sections of the
overwhelmingly pro-Kerry audience.
I got the biggest applause of any speaker when I said: "These debates we
are about to watch are a total farce. They are a theatrical gimmick,
stage-managed by corporate America to provide the illusion of genuine
After the debate, a moderator asked us on the panel various questions and
again the stark contrast between the answers I and the Cobb rep (who was
actually quite a radical student Green) gave, compared to the hum-drum crap
from the Kerry and Bush reps, created a very electric and polarised mood in
the vocal room.
After the event our table was mobbed as the location for heated discussions
and debates, lasting nearly an hour after the event.
Minneapolis Socialist Alternative branch has recruited eleven new members
in the last few weeks - four of the new members are students from Kennedy High
and six out of the eleven are women.