Liberal Party's Sanction
of Private Property
Between the Liberal Party of New York
I discovered your party while looking through a list of political parties at Wikipedia, and I thought there were some interesting insights to be gained by from your platform. There are six emboldened principles here: Reproductive Freedom, Health Care, Education, Crime, Civic Responsibility, The Environment, and Civil Rights. The words "work," "labor," and "wage" do not appear at all. This makes me suspect that you have few positive reforms to offer for the eight hours a day when every person is most stressed and pained. Or, at least, I ought to say, the eight hours a day when every worker is most stressed.
Looking through this list, though, of your main concerns, and it should be most apparent that each of them is intrinsically tied up with the right to work for every person. For example, under Health Care, "...access to affordable, decent health care for all is the mark of a civilized society and supports universal health insurance." Does it matter really if the people pay for their healthcare through a tax on their paychecks or through individualized healthcare plans? Isn't it still the common worker who must labor to produce that extra which maintains the healthcare system? Whether officialized governments or corporations, it is going to be the workers who produce enough to create this healthcare system. That part won't change, no matter how much the political rights of health care change.
And, when you look at Education, is it really going to be a different situation? You profess this as your ideal: "...a quality public school system is essential for equality of opportunity for all Americans, regardless of economic circumstances." Why do Americans pass on medical treatment today? Because they cannot afford it. Why, then, would we ever consider that a person could not afford the time, money, and energy to have a good education? It should be quite obvious: because their time, money, and energy are currently devoted elsewhere, like surviving within the Capitalist matrix. How can you expect someone with a family, living on minimum wage, to have all the resources necessary to become a physicist or a psychologist? The greatest minds are wasting away today, not from addiction to drugs, but from exploitation by Capitalists.
Take "Crime," next. Yes, every government must stop crime, but what causes crime? Take the book "Lords of Industry," published early last century and written by Henry D. Lloyd: "Dr. Farr shows that the death-rate of England decreases three per cent, when wheat declines two shillings a quarter. As food grows dear, typhus grows plenty. Scarcer bread means more crime. An increase of one larceny to every hundred thousand inhabitants comes with every rise of two farthings in the price of wheat in Bavaria." It is absence of the means that encourages people to give up healthcare and education. Likewise, when it comes to the criminal. It is simple economics to steal, when you compare risk to gain, for someone who has nothing and no hope of getting anything. That chapter of "The Wealth of Nations" must have been forgotten.
"The Environment," because "New York, the United States, and the world are in the grip of an environmental crisis." But why should the poor and the hungry pay taxes for the restoration of the environment? It seems like it was Capitalists who benefited from destroying the environment, by pouring toxins into rivers instead of disposing them -- by using machinery that polluted the air and the water.
Why is there mercury in every single fish pulled from the ocean? I'm sure you won't be able to find one homeless person who is responsible for literally dumping mercury into the waters. But, you certainly will find many Capitalists responsible. So everywhere bears the cost when Capitalists can't pay, like the environment or the bank bailout. But when it comes to distribution of the wealth, it is suddenly something that everyone must accomplish on their own.
"Civil Rights" -- "The Liberal Party supports comprehensive civil rights legislation to ensure that members of such groups are not discriminated against, either in or outside of the workplace." And why might someone allow themselves to be in a workplace where they might be discriminated against? Is it possible because it might be lack of opportunity to find employment elsewhere? And wouldn't it be the same reason for why someone would choose a social environment where they might find discrimination? Lack of choices? Lack of the material possession necessary to create choices for full, personal development?
Again and again, every issue you're fight for goes back to the abuses of Capitalism and private property. But you have made no intention to threaten private property whatsoever. You only wish for its problems to go away by legislating them away. So, in short, I can sum up the Liberal Party as "we want all the prosperity for everyone, without any of the desire to make the changes necessary for it." It is the political party that makes the most promises, but offers the fewest plans on achieving them.
Thank you for your time. I patiently await a response.
Dear Mr. Carloff:
Thank you so much for your scholarly response to what you have on Wikipedia. There's much of value in what you write.
Unfortunately we have paid absolutely no attention to Wikipedia and what it says about the Liberal Party because we don't consider it to be a scholarly or even accurate record of information about much of anything. That's a mistake on our part which we shall rectify.
What you are quoting from is ancient history and very insubstantial both in its language, philosophy and policy roots.
We have been very much more specific about all of the points...and you'll find those views on our website liberalparty of new york state.org. Why not run through the material on the website and see whether your own views of the Liberal Party are altered accordingly - then let me know what difference you find and we can discuss them. We appreciate when people have the intellectual interest to get inside points of view and policies and and enjoy the discourse accordingly.
Martin I. Hassner
While the Liberal Party of NY State was founded in 1944 by leaders of several unions, it was essentially established by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who wanted a political entity in NY to the right of Henry Wallace in that presidential race.
The Liberal Party was never as 'left' as it might have been for that simple reason.
The labor leaders who responded to FDR were all part of the American Labor Party. If you know the history of the ALP than I need say no more. Certainly the forces of capitalism are what they are and now the world is capitalist...without exception...at least those who are able to be anything at all.
What you suggest is an obvious truth but a political party which has an extraordinary history of helping people rise beyond their expectations (or the system, for that matter) and has worked tirelessly to level the playing field of opportunity to make America what it once was (but certainly is no more) needed to work within the system it wanted to change - or it would have been thrown to the side of the road.
Just take the word "liberal" and what has happened to it in the national media and consciousness and you know what I mean.
Greetings, Martin Hassner,
You pointed out that "Thank you so much for your scholarly response to what you have on Wikipedia....What you are quoting from is ancient history and very insubstantial both in its language." That is to say, you think that I am quoting the wikipedia page when I quote your platform. For example, I quoted you where you said, "New York, the United States, and the world are in the grip of an environmental crisis." Actually, none of these quotes are from the Wikipedia page, which doesn't discuss the platform at that great a depth. (Wikipedia.org) These quotes I'm actually pulling from http://www.liberalparty.org/platform.shtml.
"We have been very much more specific about all of the points...and you'll find those views on our website liberalparty of new york state.org." I tried loading up "state.org" and that doesn't seem to be correct. If you mean "liberalparty.org," then yes, that's where the quotes are from, specifically the above-noted "platform.shtml." (LiberalParty.Org
But the men and women who were gunned down at the 1968 National Democratic Convention, at the orders of Democratic politicians -- did they have a choice? What about the rounding up and mass arrests of the young, the black, and the homeless in 2004 at Boston's DNC? I have lived in New England almost all my life, and I even went to protest the DNC. Why? Because they had passed laws prohibiting its protest. How noble. Al Sharpton gave an hours-long speech, about how any black man can run for president, while cops are beating and arresting protesters in the streets. I might not have believed it unless I saw it happen a few feet in front of me. But maybe that's the point: politicians are hoarded up in buildings, tending to the interests of people who they don't even know, and will never be able to understand.
Yes, we are all Capitalist today, even in "Communist" China, businesses are owned and operated by a very few, and operated with the point of view of profit. This was always the case in so-called "Communist" nations, though, so it's hardly fair to say that we are all Capitalist now -- when all governments, everywhere, have propped up some elite class to dominate and rule over society. That's the truth, whether it's Capitalists using sweatshops in foreign lands, repressing unions locally here, or hiring terrorists in today's world, or whether it's the robber barons called vassals from ancient Feudalism.
And what has the party done about police brutality, in perhaps the world's worst region to be affected by it? Have you nominated judges who have actively forced the prosecution for murder for police officers who kill the innocent? Even the BART shooting, which was video-taped, was never prosecuted for murder. "Accidental homicide," or some other nonsense, for what was -- according to the video -- little more than an execution-style killing. There aren't even statistics for it, because the US department of justice refuses to take account of it. Are you working to make this change? How can you help people "rise beyond their expectations" when they have courts that order injunctions against their unions, even today? How can you help them when you prop up businesses with subsidized spending that exploit, abuse, and even murder people?
The Democratic Party didn't do anything when Carnegie personally ordered the mass killing of his own workers. And it didn't do anything when Coca Cola did the exact same thing a few years ago in Haiti. But that's true of every single corporation. Capitalism rules everywhere, today, but so does slavery, exploitation, and abuse. That you find it so commonly practiced in every single totalitarian country should tell you that State-Communism is nothing more than a variant of Capitalism.
It's possible to have Socialism without Statism. It simply means that the industries are managed by the workers themselves, directly, through participatory democracy, as opposed to the top-down management that state bureaucrats impose. Not merely "cooperatives" that are little more than a business venture by a few of the members who exploit the others, such as the Mondragon Corporation. Not simple "profit sharing" or "stock sharing" or "incentive programs for employees." Those are all scams of Capitalists, like selling unclean food at grocery markets for bargain prices. The action of the Capitalist never tends toward uplifting those around them, and it's only because of so many laws, like minimum wage and safe working conditions, that Capitalism is even tolerable.
This Capitalist system, perhaps except for its assistant the state, represents the greatest form of misery in every individual's life. Why? Because it is directly responsible for the greatest contributor to crime, misery, hunger, homelessness, and state oppression. I understand that Roosevelt "wanted a political entity in NY," but this is a technical explanation for why the party exists: because someone high up really wanted it. It's not a reason for why I should support the party, feel that it can uplift me personally, or can contribute in any way toward worker self-management.
Thank you for listening. I patiently await a response. If you have another "platform" page, show it to me so I can correct my interpretation of the party.
Dear Mr Carloff:
Thank you so much for getting to me to recognize that material which I thought had been removed from our website actually still exists. I'll make certain that it is removed and replaced with a more current view of those subjects better representing the views of the Liberal Party today.
There is no refuting your views and examples of capitalism at work. My point was that the Liberal Party was founded not to present a form of socialism that would work but to (a) help get rid of the crooks and thieves that called themselves Democrats and b) to present the other side of what Republicans stood for - total control by big business.
There was never any question that this third party in NY State would present a socialistic view even though what it stood for seemed a great deal closer to socialist views than capitalistic views. The American Labor Party was known to be run by communists and those labor leaders walking away from it (with Roosevelt's help) weren't focused on softening the communist view in a new party.
As you probably know, most states in America do not recognize the existence of an ongoing" third party" the way NY State does. As such the Liberal Party's platforms in the late forties and early fifties worked to change legislation regarding the rights of unions, fair housing and rent controls, academic freedom for teachers as well as a living wage for them, healthcare for the general public, the end of the death penalty, a non-controlled judiciary - and so forth.
In those days the LP seemed to be comfortably left of center - but never "left" because the Communist Party was still recognized and active.
The LP changed considerably in the 70's when the founders passed away and the new leadership became more interested in either influencing the two major parties or holding office itself. In the 80's and 90's that thinking became more pronounced. And then came the right's successful campaign to go beyond such phrases as commie-pinko, bleeding hearts etc. turning "liberal" into a dirty word...barely uttered by politicians who are liberal.
Karl Marx predicted that someday the entire world would be capitalist and that every human value would have a dollar sign attached to it As one of the three geniuses of the 20th century (Freud and Einstein) I personally believe that he is going to be proved correct. China and India already show signs of what capitalism does to the thinking, lives and expectations of people and will soon be struggling mightily against the tide they have let loose.
Your examples indicate the struggle that continues against the bounds of capitalism. Marx said that when all is capitalist, there will be a worldwide revolt which would then give the world the communist ideal he imagined.
The Liberal Party of NY State today is in disrepair because much of what it wanted in the 40s and 50's exists and because what it wants today - a healthcare and education system that works for the people - is part of an ongoing struggle that we can help if money exists to compete in the marketplace of ideas.
I don't know that anything in our current thinking can capture your support but I appreciate your interest.
Finally, an honest politician. Why don't they all just say that from the start? On that point, I felt the use of continuing debate would have no effect, so I left it at that.