[Marxism] Peter Camejo: Green Party Unity
MLause at cinci.rr.com
Mon Jun 14 13:10:12 MDT 2004
I actually do try not to cross post items from other lists, but this
piece by Peter Camejo from the camejoforpresident list may be of
interest to many on the Marxism list grappling with the problem of how
to deal with the phenomena of the Greens..
From: Steve Welzer [mailto:stevewelzer at aol.com]
Sent: Monday, June 14, 2004 12:56 PM
To: camejoforpresident at yahoogroups.com
Subject: [camejoforpresident] From Peter Camejo: Green Party Unity
The Challenge of 2004
GREEN PARTY UNITY
>From Peter Miguel Camejo
As we enter the last two weeks before our national
convention the Green Party is clearly divided. No
single position regarding how we should participate in
the 2004 presidential elections has a consensus.
The current political climate has forced us to deepen
our discussion around issues such as lesser evil voting
and long-term strategies for building the Green Party.
We are facing unprecedented, relentless attacks from
the Democrats (and some ex-Nader supporters) accusing
the Green Party and Nader of having "elected" Bush in 2000.
The fear that the Green Party might be perceived as
reelecting Bush in 2004 led a group of 17 Green
activists to sign a statement saying that voting for a
Democrat (i.e. the lesser of two evils) in some states
is the best strategy for building the Green Party this
year. The signers of this statement included well-known
Greens such as Medea Benjamin, Dean Myerson, John
Rensenbrink, Anita Rios, Steve Schmidt, Ted Glick and
many others. Their presentation is clear and to the point.
In response to their position, other Greens presented
an analysis in the Avocado Declaration stating that
lesser evil voting is misguided and will block the
development of the Green Party. The Avocado Declaration
was also signed by a large number of Greens, including
well-known activists such as Mayor Jason West, Donna
Warren, Matt Ahearn, Howie Hawkins, Marybeth Wuerthner,
Linda Schade, Forrest Hill, Jo Chamberlain, and Steve Welzer.
(Both of these resolutions and many other discussion
pieces are available on the Avocado Education Project
web site, http://www.AvocadoEducationProject.org).
Some Greens worked in the Democratic Party primary
campaigns of Dennis Kucinich and Howard Dean. Some are
calling for voting for Kerry and some favor our party
not running or endorsing any candidate.
GREENS ARE DEEPLY DIVIDED
We are approaching the national convention unusually
divided. I believe, however, that there is a way for us
to reach a substantial consensus and come out of the
I am calling for the national nominating convention to
endorse both Cobb and Nader equally - and to allow each
state to decide whether to put David Cobb, Ralph Nader
or "no candidate" on their ballot line.
Such an agreement will result in four candidates - two
presidential and two VPs - campaigning for peace, the
rule of law, abolishing the USA Patriot Act, defending
our liberties, supporting fair taxes, promoting free
elections (IRV and PR), fighting for alternative
energy, raising the minimum wage, protecting human
rights and those of immigrants, defending our planet.
Instead of Greens walking out of the convention divided
and fighting each other behind different candidates, we
could adopt a win-win solution, allowing us to close
ranks to oppose the two parties of money and defend the
This proposal - parity support for Cobb and Nader -
would allow each state to nominate whichever candidate
they feel would be most advantageous to have on their
ballot ("Free States"). The national Green Party would
agree to do whatever it could to ensure that the
relevant state authority recognized that candidate as
the standard-bearer of the Green Party in that state.
By uniting behind a dual endorsement agreement, we will
come out of the convention with a strategy that the
overwhelming majority of Greens can support. We will
move forward to build the party together, accepting that
we have differences and that these differences are normal
in a democratic organization. The key is how we handle
these differences to best protect and build our party.
SHOW RESPECT FOR EACH OTHER
After the 2004 elections we must continue in a unified
way to build our party on the local and state levels as
we continue our discussions, debates and forums on the
best way to deal with the complexity of our undemocratic
I dream of all the Greens who entered the presidential
primary standing together at our convention saying
"This, Too, Will Pass," we are united behind the Green
Party and someday we will overcome and have free
elections in America!
In proposing this unity concept, let me say we should
all congratulate David Cobb for the exceptional
personal effort he has made to fight for the
nomination; and also show respect for all the other
candidates who entered the race: Lorna Salzman, Kent
Mesplay, Paul Glover, Carol Miller and others whose
names are not yet listed on the GPUS website.
But we should also stand behind Ralph Nader, who has
been the target of unfounded, relentless and vicious
attacks for having been our nominee in 2000. Nader is
above 5% in many polls and has been as high as 12%
among younger voters. His instrumental work in helping
to create a new organization to fight for open debates,
the Citizens' Debate Commission, has been an important
contribution to the future of our party and democracy
It is of historical importance that we assist, rather
than block, Nader's chances of entering the
presidential debates. After I was allowed to
participate in the debates during the California recall
election, the Green Party gained new respect among a
wide range of voters. Similarly, the door may be
opening for Nader to enter the presidential debates
this election. Such an event would be unprecedented,
exposing millions of Americans to a truly progressive viewpoint.
I call on the pro-Nader delegates to help enable David
Cobb to run for President. He will be the first
registered Green in the history of the United States to
run for President. Let him go forward defending the Ten
Key Values and our party. Let us help him, not oppose
him or the Greens who have rallied around his campaign.
I also call on the Cobb delegates to respect the Greens
who support Nader's independent campaign and help us to
move that campaign forward as a voice for peace and
justice and Green values - as an example of our willingness,
in a nonsectarian manner, to join with other forces in
the struggle for democracy and open elections.
Let us unite behind an agreement to endorse both Cobb
and Nader. Such a conclusion to our convention,
although unusual, is by far the best way to build the
party, heal the wounds of our division, and unify our
members. In the same spirit, we should also accept that
some Greens will openly support Kerry. Let all Greens
be free to continue our debate on these issues, but let
us act in a manner that supports unity, while allowing
all voices to be heard - consistent with our
decentralized, grassroots party.
When the Green Party in California became divided over
the recall of Governor Gray Davis last year, we reacted
in a similar manner. We agreed that all Greens should
act according to their conscience, but also agreed we
should present our party's views in the recall
election. Many Greens across the nation hardly knew how
divided we were. Instead of fighting each other, we
closed ranks, worked together to build the party, and
continued to debate our political differences.
We need to act similarly in regard to the presidential
election this year. The mass media and the Democrats
are anxiously waiting to see us fighting each other.
They want headlines like: "Nader defeats Cobb" or
"Nader defeated." Instead, let's give them a big
surprise: Cobb wins, Nader wins, Greens unite and
launch a campaign for democracy, peace and social
justice in their battle to save our planet. There are
no losers, only winners, among all of us who support
the Ten Key Values!
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