Fwd: David McReynold's Acceptance Speech

KDean75206 at SPAMaol.com KDean75206 at SPAMaol.com
Fri Nov 5 17:58:06 MST 1999

We are engaged in a struggle in defining the future. Is the planet for sale
to the highest bidder? Is the profit motive to determine who lives in
squalor and who lives in wealth beyond the dreams of Solomon? What shall our
great great grandchildren inherit? Dust and sterile wind, slums dotted with
palaces owned by Donald Trump? We cannot win this election in terms  of
votes. As an African American woman said in one of the early meetings where
Jesse Jackson was being discussed and all the analysts were telling her that
Jesse could not win and gave her all the reasons and she kept on saying
"Jesse is going to win, Jesse is going to win" and finally in exasperation
they said "Could you tell us in the name of God, how Jesse Jackson is going
to win?" She said "you folks don't understand, every time a black man
appears on television without a basketball in his hand, we've won". Now, in
that sense, when we are able to speak the message of socialism we 've won,
we've won.

Foreign policy is briefly stated, but I'll just make these points because
they are not going to be heard from the major parties. And Eric Chester
yesterday called for immediate cuts of 50% in the military budget. And, you
know, the Center for Defense Information, which is not a radical
organization has the same figure as a starting point. And I think it's a
good starting point. An end, a total and unconditional end of all further
arms sales by this country.Immediate abolition of the Central Intelligence
Agency, which is one of the greatest mischief makers of our times, the
corrupter of our democracy. And as I noted earlier, it's an abolition even
Sen.Moynihan has called for, so it's not even a radical position, it's just
a long over due one that no one is prepared to speak to. An immediate end of
sanctions on Cuba, Libyia, North Korea, Iraq, and anywhere else we have
introduced the concept of sanctions as a weapon to force change.
Withdrawal,immediately from all foreign bases, beginning with the withdrawal
from Guatanamo, which is a sovereign territory of Cuba. Dissolution of all
military alliances, beginning with NATO. These alliances have subverted the
possible role of the United Nations in resolving disputes, they are a
subsitute for international cooperation. So abolition of all military
alliances. Find ways through the United Nations, not unilateral, to provide
economic aid, medical help and food to nations in need.

Domestically, the greatest problems is the racial divisions in this country.
And we cannot easily or quickly resolve a problem which in the case of those
Americans who were brought here as slaves had their languages and religious
beliefs destroyed. And they have a unique history. All those in this
country, all of us, who except Native Americans came from abroad, they alone
share that special problem. We know in a matter of three or four decades,
Caucasians are going to be a minority in this country. Now I can see and you
can see by looking at the convention, our own isolation from those great
movements of Latinos  Asians, and African-Americans, and Native Americans.
We know that problem. And I don't have a quick solution for it except as an
addition to trying to recruit and to build alliances and coalitions with
those communities of color and to do it as a high priority, we  must reach
out, not only through recruiting, but also through the
coalition work on the basic need of that which concerns me: the persistent
underclass, which is out of the economy. It's not even counted in the

I suggest not only full employment, but a maximum wage. And a maximum wage
instead of a minimum wage means that the maximum wage that you can earn is
going to be four times the lowest wage paid to anyone in the country. And I
know it may sound foolish, but why not? I'd be happy to work for four times
the lowest wage and I'm tired of watching people walk away with one million
dollar salaries. If the maximum wage was four times the lowest wage, boy
would they rush to raise the minimum wage. So I say let's have a four times
maximum wage. We need a decent low income housing program, so if there is a
single person in this country living in the streets it is because they have
a sense of adventure. We need a national health care program so that every
single person living in this country, and any tourist, has the right to full
and adequate medical are. One of the great things under the Labour Party
when it came to power in Britian, was that anyone who was in England and
fell ill was taken care of automatically. No one asked for their blue cross

Defend full civil liberties, and we know that and that's an old story.
And that includes the problems of defending the Klan and defending black
extremists such as Khalid, who are anti-semitic. But it also means a
persistent, forceful tarteging of those, whose under the guise of
anti-terrorist bills, are curbing our freedom. For our nation has truly
become a garrison state in ways it was not when I was young. You cannot get
access to the White House, it has been barricaded off from you. You cannot
even walk into city hall in Manhatten anymore because that crazy man,
Guiliani, has got that blocked off. We cannot travel in the air without
having everything in our bagagge checked through, because we are now living
in a state of fear, and our job is to oppose that effort to make this a
nation living in fear. Let it live without the fear we have created.

We now have the largest prison population in the world.
There was much rage about the Soviet gulags. We have the gulag now. We
talked a bit about slave labor, which is in itself bad, but I want the
slaves released.We must release those men and women whose only crime was a
non-violent offense. The prisons are overflowing with people who ought not
to be there. Mothers are separated from their children. Fathers are
separated from their children. And I know that crime is a crime. But prison
is also a crime. And it is time for us, as socialists, to demand a
fundamental reform of the prison system
in this country. And if we don't do it, no one else will because they haveno
votes and no money. We are going to have to speak for them.
We need to recognize the complete failure of the War on Drugs. We have to
move to decriminalize marijuana, to use medical rather than legal approaches
to addictive drugs such as heroin. And to recognize that we have two highly
addictive drugs now legally available: alcohol and tobacco. And I don't
favor banning those, but I tell you I sure would the day after we took
office, I certainly would nationalize without a moments hesitation the
tobacco industry and maybe make it available on prescription.

We need to care for the environment. Socialists always have. I don't think
there is a single thing the Greens are going to say about the environment
that we're not going to
subscribe to

Let me close by saying what is specific about the Socialist Party because
the tragedy is, through all the points I've mentioned, there is not a single
point thus far that could not in fact be advocated by George Bush. That's
the tragedy in this country. Not a single position he couldn't advocate.
There is not a radical point in that bunch. Not a socialist position in the
list of points I have
named. What a shame that this country now is unwilling to speak about the
poor. We've become embarrased, there's no voice any longer for the poor.
There's only a voice about the middle class. Well, what about the working
poor and what about those who have no job? That's what we are for. To speak
for the working poor and those who have no voice. These are the things which
capitalism cannot deal with.
The reason we have a bad foreign policy is not because we have evil men in
the White House, in fact we have got to stop demonizing those people. They
are as trapped by our corporate system as anyone else is. There is nothing
else Bill Clinton could do. He wouldn't be allowed to do anything else. So,
let's stop demonizing our leadership and recognize, the burden is on us to
change the framework so that we can behave differently and in a decent way.
Our present foreign policy does not reflect evil, it reflects the nature of
capitalism to exploit the world.

  Finally, we believe and this is what makes us different from other groups,
we believe and favor the social ownership and democratic control of the
basic means of production. We believe in the inherent right of the people,
not the corporate structure to determine how our funds are invested, what
products are needed, how they should be distributed and to whom. In the
words of Kenneth Patchen, and forgive the sexism of this line, "No man can
own what belongs to all". This country belongs to us all. It does not belong
to the fortune 500. And it will never truly belong to us all unill we have
taken action to take ownership of the basic means of production. Our
society, as Eric pointed out so very well, is run by a handfull of the rich
and powerful while the multitudes are silenced. Who else has the money to
own a television network? Look at the slop we get on television, how it
silences us, and how many times have you heard in all this wonderful
democracy that we have, how many times have you heard Noam Chomsky
interviewed on a talkshow? We have a very limited democracy. Our job, as the
Socialist Party, is to expand that democracy. To bring the voice of radical
change to the people of this country and to give it a human face. Socialism
is not for limiting democracy. We will never see a society free and full and
humane if money is
consolidated at the hands of the fortune 500.

  Our task and our goal as socialists is to educate and to build for the
future for our great grand children, a future we won't live in but they
might live in so that the earth might be one of meadows and farmlands and
clean streets and safe cities and people who are safe in there concern about
medical care, people who are free and healthy. That is the society we are
working for. That the goal we have in mind.
Get me on your campus, get Mary Cal on your campus and now. And now that
speech is over, I want to say, I want to really thank those, aside from
blaming, this man here, Shaun whose responsible for the Draft McReynolds
committee. I want now to just say we all owe a vote of thanks to Greg Pason,
and we all owe a vote of thanks to Eric Shuster, but these two guys among
many many others, but they bore the frunt of sending the word out through
the magazine, getting the party organized, getting this convention together,
and they are young, they are the future, and I think we really owe them a
vote of thanks and confidence.

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