[Marxism] Re: Green/Nader relationship

Howie Hawkins hhawkins at igc.org
Tue Feb 24 03:45:14 MST 2004

The press release from the national Green Party discussed below caused an
uproar in the Green ranks. Whether by intention or by sloppiness, the
release did imply the Greens would not nominate Nader. The corporate media
took it that way, as did Tony Abdo. The authors claimed to have been trying
to be neutral among the candidates for the Green Party nomination and among
the advocates of different strategies for a presidential run. Whatever. The
Green Party Media Committee has been instructed top make corrections in
subsequent releases.

The reality in the Greens is not what Abdo supposes based on this press
release. There is a minority for a "safe states" strategy of not competing
in the battleground states, which is nothing but a backhanded way of
supporting the Democrats. It had at best 20% support in a straw poll at the
last national committee meeting last July. The majority of Greens want an
all-out race and I believe the majority of Greens want to nominate Nader at
the Green national convention in June.

For example, the Green state committee in NY adopted resolutions a few
weeks ago to run an all-out campaign by a 120-22 vote and to support Nader
as the national Green Party nominee by a 117-14 vote.

I think in a couple months, when the delegates to the Green convention have
been selected, it will be clear that the Greens will nominate Nader. Nader
was always an independent, i.e., not registered in a party, and the Greens
nominated him in 1996 and 2000 under that condition. It will probably be
the same this year.

I will say from talking to Nader, he has nothing but contempt for "safe
states" strategists. After studiously refusing to take sides in internal
Green Party politics for years, he is not speaking out to local newspapers
in Green Party strongholds against the Green Party going soft on the
Democrats. He is very concerned it will "wreck the Green Party" as he
phrased it to me. He told a reporter here in Syracuse a couple of weeks ago
that he was concerned that a small clique (perhaps including one of the
press releases authors?) was trying to hijack the Green Party's
independence through the safe states strategy.

But here is a pithier quote to illustrate this point from the Maine Times
Record criticizing one of the leaders of the "safe states" wing of the
Green Party:

"You don't build the party by losing nerve," Nader said, referring to
[John] Rensenbrink. "So he has to decide, does he want to build the Green
Party or does he want basically to become a tactical acolyte of the
Democratic Party. You can't really say to people, 'Support us, support us,'
and then drop out. I mean, how can you look them in eye?"

Now this may seem to contradict the public statements he was making
yesterday all over the corporate media about how he would aim his main
blows at Bush, how he hopes his vote will spill over to help Democrats
retake Congress, and even how his campaign was some kind of indirect
"liberation movement for the Democratic Party." From talking to him when he
was here a couple of weeks ago, he feels he has to make such statements to
deflect the ire of the "liberal intelligentsia" so he has some channels to
speak out without so much static. 

In responding to the Anybody But Bush argument at a talk at Hamilton
College, he went through his "second front against Bush" routine, but then
shrugged and said, "What are we going to do, throw up the white flag of
surrender?" and proceeded to tear apart the Democrats and conclude that if
they win, "the military/industrial complex will still determine foreign
policy, the drug companies will still run the FDA," and so forth. His heart
really seemed more into the second line of argument. I told him so
afterwards and that he sounded defensive in the first line of argument. He
said, "I think you may be right" and mentioned some people in his DC
campaign office who are urging the same approach to him. But he hasn't
changed his tack so far. I guess we'll see as the campaign goes on.

But as someone else put it in another post I read today, for radicals who
have no more use for Democrats than Republicans, the choice in this
elections is not the Democrat or Nader, it's Nader or nobody.

-- Howie Hawkins, Syracuse NY

>Message: 10
>Date: Mon, 23 Feb 2004 23:21:39 -0600
>From: "Tony Abdo" <gojack10 at hotmail.com>
>Subject: [Marxism] RE: Anti-Nader Shock Troops
>To: marxism at lists.econ.utah.edu
>Message-ID: <Sea2-F26V5g2oHzGkzM0000d531 at hotmail.com>
>Content-Type: text/plain; format=flowed
>I think it fair to also add the Green Party to the category of being 
>"anti-Nader shock troops".    But here it was necessary to try to kill his 
>campaign with supposed kindness.    What is interesting with this press 
>release below, is that it has already decided in advance that there will be 
>no reapproachment with Nader.    There will be no effort to reunite in 2004. 
>    All which raises the question as to why did the split occur, and who 
>bears responsibility for it?    And now, who has made the decision before 

>the Green Party national convention, to not reapproach Nader with a
>to merge the campaign together again?
>I buy Nader's explanation for it, especially since I have seen no answer to 
>his accusations that the Green Party was deliberately dilly-dallying around 
>and trying to minimize the strength of its campaign effort.    The attitude 
>and tone of this press release leads credibility to what he was saying.     
>What this press release says, is that we, the Green leadership, are not 
>concerned about this split... so what?     And one has to ask, then, why 
>such an attitude from top Greens?
>The simple answer is that the Green Party leaderrship has lost the stomach 
>for opposing the DP in this election.    And Nader running an identical 
>campaign alongside the official Green Party candidate will make the both 
>disappear that much faster before the media eye.    And the Green Party will 
>not have to defend itself against the crime of "losing the election" for the 
>DP once again, simply because the Green effort will be so much piddly squat.
>Tony Abdo
>Greens Welcome Ralph Nader to the Presidential Race, Look Forward to 
>Nominating a Green Candidate.
>Sunday, February 22, 2004
>Nancy Allen, Media Coordinator, 207-326-4576, nallen at acadia.net
>Scott McLarty, Media Coordinator, 202-518-5624, mclarty at greens.org
>WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Greens welcomed Ralph Nader's entry into the 
>presidential race today as an independent, saying that Mr. Nader will take 
>positions and raise issues of vital urgency in the 2004 race for the White 
>Greens noted that the Green Party of the United States and its 43 affiliate 
>state parties are preparing to back a Green nominee, not an independent or 
>another party's candidate.
>"In running a presidential ticket this year, we're keeping our eyes on the 
>prize.  Our mid-term goal is the creation of a multi-party political system, 
>and the participation of a strong Green Party in that system," said Ben 
>Manski, co-chair of the Green Party of the United States. "To move closer to 
>achieving our goal, we run and support Green candidates."
>The following candidates have confirmed their participation in the Green 
>primaries with the national party: Sheila Bilyeau, Peter Camejo, David Cobb, 
>Paul Glover, Kent Mesplay, Carol Miller, Lorna Salzman.  More information 
>about their campaigns, with links to their web sites, is posted at 
>Upcoming forums and debates featuring Green presidential candidates are 
>posted at <http://www.gp.org/greensweek/index.html>, the web page for 
>Greensweek, the party's national weekly bulletin.  (Scroll down to 'Upcoming 
>Some Greens have launched a 'Redraft Nader' campaign to persuade Mr. Nader 
>to to reverse his earlier decision to not seek the Green Party nomination 
>and instead accept a nomination at the party's national convention in 
>Milwaukee.  There is also a campaign among some Green Party members to urge 
>the party not to run a national candidate in 2004.

>"We wish Ralph well and thank him for working with us and supporting us all 
>these years," said Jo Chamberlain, also a co-chair of the national Green 
>Party.  "Our candidates -- and our eventual nominee -- are campaigning on a 
>platform similar to his, so we don't consider ourselves in any kind of 
>public competition with him."
>Greens stressed the importance of participation by the Green Party's 
>nominee, by Mr. Nader, and by other 'third party' candidates in the 
>presidential debates.  The Green Party, Mr. Nader, and other candidates and 
>parties from across the political spectrum have filed suit charging the 
>Federal Election Commission with failing to act on their complaint seeking 
>to decertify the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD) as sponsor of the 
>presidential debates in 2004 <http://www.gp.org/press/pr_02_11_04.html>. The 
>plaintiffs allege that the CPD must be decertified because it is a partisan 
>group that is controlled by the two major parties and acts to benefit them 
>"The debates are owned and run by the Democratic and Republican parties, 
>through the Commission on Presidential Debates [CPD]," said Jake Schneider, 
>treasurer of the Green Party of the United States.  "The CPD has an interest 
>in obstructing all candidates who are outside of these two parties, and in 
>narrowing the public debate in deference to the CPD's corporate sponsors.  
>This is profoundly antidemocratic, and limits the ability of voters to make 
>informed choices.  We need a nonpartisan debate commission that's free of 
>corporate influence, the kind of effort currently being organized by the 
>Citizens' Debate Commission."
>The Green Party of the United States formally announced its 2004 National 
>Nominating Convention, to take place in Milwaukee, Wisconsin from June 23 to 
>28, 2004.  The convention will take place at the Midwest Center, Milwaukee 
>Theater, and the Milwaukee Hyatt Regency.  The party has posted an online 

>registration page, with early registration encouraged 
><https://secure.gpus.org/convention/.  Media representatives may register at 
>this site; a media credentialing web page will be posted shortly.

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