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Cover Letter
from Eric Mann and Lian Hurst Mann
summarizing the main themes of the article
and ways you can help

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Dear Friends of the Strategy Center,

We are happy to make available to you our just published article, The 2000 U.S. Presidential Elections and the Anti-Imperialist Left—Dilemmas, Hard Choices and Opportunities. The article is presented in AhoraNow, a publication of the Labor/Community Strategy Center. We have focused this article towards what we believe is a significant national and international audience of scholars, activists, and organizers who self-identify their politics as "anti-racist, anti-imperialist" and who share with us the goal of defining and building an anti-imperialist united front in the U.S.

Obviously you will draw your own conclusions, but we do want to emphasize some key points we tried to make in the realm of theory that we think are important and consciously controversial--with the goal of sharpening strategic debate.

1) The entire concept of a U.S. empire--U.S. Imperialism--even among the few on the Left who agree "in general," rarely shapes the strategic discussions about what is to be done, and in particular the profound strategic dilemma of the rights of oppressed nationality peoples inside the U.S. For example, we argue that in a racist empire based on the subjugation of whole peoples both inside and outside the U.S. borders, the entire concept of "voting" and "elections" and especially "majority vote" needs to be challenged. We argue for a series of inviolable minority rights--individual rights, human rights, civil rights, and self-determination for black, Latino, Asian/Pacific Islander,and indigenous peoples that are not subject to electoral majorities.

2) We feel the article both posits a more structural critique of Clinton and Gore and their "Center-right" strategy than most disillusioned liberals, but also we strongly reject the efforts by Nader and his supporters to try to minimize the differences between the two pro-imperialist candidates in order to justify a 5% or more vote for Nader which, given the closeness of this election, would most likely lead to the election of George W. Bush. We see a qualitative difference between Gore and Bush, but in ways that are very different from Gore's liberal apologists. In short, we see the society as a whole so inherently and structurally racist and colonialist that we try to explain Clinton/Gore as both contributing to but also contrained by the "electoral realities" shaped by angry white middle class and working class men whose consciousness has, historically, been shaped by the ruling class. It is this complex struggle between the elites and the active white racist masses that makes our strategic challenge to build a mass anti-racist,anti-imperialist movement so difficult. We argue that if we understand the Democrats as a racist, imperialist party it makes no sense for the Left to also critique it as "selling out" liberal let alone left principles to which it never subscribed. We think the effort to theorize the Democratic Leadership Council as a ruling class strategy is an important contribution.

3) We argue that the Left needs to focus a lot more on program--long-term, structural, but also winnable, at least in theory, demands--that can unite disparate forces. Such programmatic demands are far more important subjects of struggle than "who to vote for." The Strategy Center's Program Demand group has just produced a strategic document--Towards a Program of Resistance--also available at this web site, that sets the parameters for this article.

4) We put forth a stinging criticism, essentially a rejection, of the "progressive" nature of the Nader campaign, and argue that white chauvinism so profoundly characterizes him and the Greens that the facile debate about "voting your conscience," in itself based in bourgeois moralism rather than strategy and tactics, is compounded by the problem that many white "progressives" do not even notice Nader's chauvinism-bordering-on-racism because they share those same colorblind white politics.

5) With regard to the theory/practice dialectic, we try to as always use our own mass work in a contradictory manner. On the one hand, it is very advanced. We have had significant practice the last few months to frame the discussion of how a radical social movement confronts the elections and the parties. On the other hand, of course our practice is not sufficient for the theory we develop, it hints at it but the theory is fundamentally based on our specific and controversial view of U.S. history.

In all of this the experiment in self-publishing needs some help.

1) We are trying to use the web and email and electronic publishing as a way to get out long, complex, and theoretically driven work to a targeted but still "mass" audience that can better respond to events.

2) We hope that you will do some type of broadcast email, personal notes to key people. etc. Could you help?

3) The article is available here on our website, but we want people to order the hard copies with the new cover we have printed, use them in classes, union, community education, circulate them, any other ideas? The first copy is $3, each additional copy is $2, we pay postage and handling.

Finally, we welcome your responses to the article and any suggestions for distribution. Please email us at lianhurstmann@mindspring.com

Best regards,

Lian Hurst Mann, editor of AhoraNow
Eric Mann, director of the Strategy Center



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