[Marxism] Who is David Cobb?

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Wed Jul 14 11:23:07 MDT 2004

Counterpunch, July 14, 2004

Chronicle of a Nomination Foretold
The Green Deceivers


So who is this new champion of the Greens, David Cobb? In the 1990s, 
Cobb, who markets himself as a working class hero, lived in Houston, 
where he worked as a lawyer for an insurance company, the bane of Nader 
and most poor people. There, according to a former colleague, Cobb's 
duties included finding ways to deny claims to injured parties and sick 

Cobb ran the local Green Party as a tiny autocracy, unilaterally 
deciding which issues to take a stand on. According to several Houston 
Greens, Cobb proved to be both politically timid, extremely calculating 
and heavy-handed. In 1996, Cobb refused to oppose a local referendum on 
a taxpayer-financed stadium, which ended up only being opposed by 
libertarians. Cobb told a local Green organizer: "That vote was doomed 
to lose so we didn't waste our time on it." Grassroots organizing? 
Hardly. This is top-down organizing at its most petty and self-destructive.

Another example from Texas. In 2000 during the peak of Bush's killing 
spree, a group of anti-death penalty activists got arrested during a 
protest outside the killing chamber in Huntsville before the execution 
of Gary Graham. They soon circulated a letter of support through the 
progressive community. Noam Chomsky and Howard Zinn signed on, as did 
many local groups and churches. But not the Houston Greens. Not at 
first, anyway. Cobb objected. According to an anti-death penalty 
activist, Cobb said he didn't want the Greens associated with the 
campaign to save Graham from the lethal needle because "he might be 
guilty." What does guilt have to do with moral opposition to the death 
penalty? What kind of courage does it take to oppose the execution of 
the innocent?

Eventually, more humane hearts in the local Green community over-ruled 
Cobb and the party finally signed on. But too late to do Gary Graham any 

Bob Buzzanco, a history professor and radical activist at the University 
of Houston, has watched Cobb's political peregrinations for many years. 
"When the war broke out, in 2003, a group of Students at the University 
of Houston, where I'm a professor, began to organized a peace group, and 
I was an advisor to them," recalls Bob Buzzanco. "Cobb and the Greens 
came to one of their meetings and acted in a most aggressive way and I 
had to publicly tell them that it was inappropriate to try to hijack a 
student peace group for the Greens."

What about Palestine? Nader recently denounced both Kerry and Bush as 
being owned by the Israeli lobby in DC. But don't expect David Cobb to 
stand up against the rampages of the Sharon government. Buzzanco had a 
radio show on the local Pacifica station in Houston, KPFT. In 2002, he 
came under attack from local liberals for his commentaries on the 
rampages of the Sharon regime, a campaign that finally resulted in 
Buzzanco being placed under an internal investigation by Pacifica's 
thought police.

"The local Greens were a major player in the Zionist slander campaign 
here," Buzzanco told me. "Two of Cobb's friends, George Reiter and Deb 
Shafto, were using KPFT as a campaign vehicle, to the detriment of other 
Left parties. They were front and center in the campaign calling me and 
others anti-semitic. When I talked to Cobb about it, he did nothing, far 
more concerned about getting that 0.001 percent of the vote than in 
being accountable for their candidates. The Houston Greens were a mess 
and Cobb was, in my estimation, an ego-driven charlatan."

But take comfort. At least he's not a millionaire ... not yet anyway.

full: http://www.counterpunch.org/stclair07142004.html


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