By Matthew Rothschild on August 17, 2012

Dr. Jill Stein is the Green Party candidate for President this year. Her candidacy has won the endorsement of several prominent progressives, such as Medea Benjamin of CodePink and author Chris Hedges. But others question the wisdom and the utility of Stein’s run.

Stein, sixty-two, a graduate of Harvard Medical School, is an internist by training. She specialized in studying the environmental threats to children and to the elderly. In 2002, she ran for governor in Massachusetts against Mitt Romney on the Massachusetts Green-Rainbow Party ticket.

One day in June, Stein dropped by The Progressive’s office to talk with me about her candidacy. She offered a withering critique of President Obama from the left, which I largely share.

The problem, though, is not so much with the accuracy of the critiques of the Democrats as with the efficacy of the third-party strategy at the Presidential level.

Do you—do I?—say no to Obama and no to the Democrats, and no to the two-party system, understanding full well that defiance is likely to be a lonely and ineffectual one?

Or do you—do I?— swallow hard and vote for the man we’ve been criticizing so loudly for three and a half years because the guy he’s running against, and the rightist movement behind that guy, is so hideous, knowing full well that by so doing, we’ll be giving our vote to a man who hasn’t earned it and to a party that is in hock to the corporate powers that be?

Do you—do I?—vote for Obama because in some areas he might make people’s lives less miserable than Romney would?

Or do you—do I?—vote for Jill Stein or Rocky Anderson (or choose not to vote for President at all, as my predecessor, Erwin Knoll opted to do, not wanting to give his consent to the entire system), believing that only by staking out a real leftwing alternative are we ever going to move people toward the humane, peaceful, green, and egalitarian society we seek?

There is no easy way out of this trap, and I’m not going to spring you from it.

This is but a short excerpt of Rothschild's cover story of the September issue. To read the article in its entirety, as well as the whole September issue, please subscribe to The Progressive today for only $14.97--that's 75% off the newsstand price—for a year's worth of this great monthly magazine.

Add new comment

By submitting this form, you accept the Mollom privacy policy.

More

Subscribe to The Progressive and Get A Free 2015 Calendar

Editor's note: This contribution by the late journalist I.F. Stone first appeared in our January 1975 magazine.

On November 20 every year for the last fifteen years, transgender people gather for vigil ceremonies to acknowledge...

Yesterday the U.S. Senate narrowly defeated a bill that would approve construction on the Keystone XL pipeline.

By Wendell Berry

Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more 
of everything ready made. Be afraid 
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery 
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card 
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something 
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know. 
So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord. 
Love the world. Work for nothing. 
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it. 
Denounce the government and embrace 
the flag. Hope to live in that free 
republic for which it stands. 
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man 
has not encountered he has not destroyed.
Ask the questions that have no answers. 
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.


Say that the leaves are harvested 
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus 
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion—put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come. 
Expect the end of the world. Laugh. 
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts. 
So long as women do not go cheap 
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy 
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep 
of a woman near to giving birth? 
Go with your love to the fields.
Lie easy in the shade. Rest your head 
in her lap. Swear allegiance 
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos 
can predict the motions of your mind, 
lose it. Leave it as a sign 
to mark the false trail, the way 
you didn’t go. Be like the fox 
who makes more tracks than necessary, 
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

Wendell Berry is a poet, farmer, and environmentalist in Kentucky. This poem, first published in 1973, is reprinted by permission of the author and appears in his “New Collected Poems” (Counterpoint).

Public School Shakedown

Progressive Media Project

Newsletter