[Marxism] Green party challenge to Dianne Feinstein

Amaral1871 at aol.com Amaral1871 at aol.com
Wed Dec 14 21:23:20 MST 2005

Fwd from Socialist Worker: 

TODD CHRETIEN was Northern California field coordinator for the Ralph 
Nader-Peter Camejo campaign in 2004 and is a member of the International Socialist 
Organization. Earlier this year, he was a co-author of Proposition I in San 
Francisco--the College Not Combat referendum that passed by a wide margin. This 
week, he will announce that he is running for the U.S. Senate from California on 
the Green Party ticket, challenging Democrat Sen. Dianne Feinstein. Here, 
Todd explains why.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
A PERFECT storm of opposition to California Democratic Senator Dianne 
Feinstein is brewing.
Take the issue of Iraq. Over 2,200 U.S. soldiers will have died in Iraq by 
Christmas, and that will figure will surely rise to over 3,000 by the 2006 
elections. The Iraqi death toll is already over 100,000 and will continue to rise 
even faster.
Sixty percent of the American people now oppose the occupation and want the 
troops brought home, a figure that is growing even higher in California. Sen. 
Feinstein voted to support President Bush’s invasion of Iraq and continues to 
support the occupation.
But that’s not the only important issue where she has more in common with 
George Bush than with the people of California.
-- She voted for Bush’s USA PATRIOT Act.
-- She voted for Bush’s No Child Left Behind attack on public education.
-- She called on Bush to invoke the anti-union Taft-Hartley Act against the 
International Longshore and Warehouse Union.
-- She opposes gay marriage and can’t even bring herself to speak the word “
filibuster” against Samuel Alito, who, if confirmed, will no doubt cast the 
deciding vote against Roe v. Wade in the U.S. Supreme Court.
-- She opposes immigrant rights and supports the racist death penalty. While 
millions of Californians supported Stan Tookie Williams’ request for clemency 
from Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sen. Feinstein couldn’t even be bothered to 
issue a press release.
There is so little difference between her and the California Republican Party 
that the Republicans have not even decided if they are going to field a 
candidate to oppose her. Millions of Californians disagree with her about 
fundamental issues.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
ON DECEMBER 15, I will announce my decision to seek the Green Party 
nomination to challenge Sen. Feinstein in the November 2006 elections.
My campaign will seek to turn this election into a referendum on the war in 
Iraq and pose a very simple question: If you are against the occupation of 
Iraq, why would you vote for Sen. Feinstein?
Despite the mainstream media’s support, her multimillion-dollar campaign 
treasury and backing from the political establishment, my campaign will aim to win 
“A Million Votes for Peace” in California. This would represent more than 
double the best statewide Green Party vote in California and announce the 
arrival of the antiwar movement at the ballot box in this state.
I believe this is possible for several reasons. First, as I outlined above, 
millions of Californians strongly disagree with Sen. Feinstein’s enthusiasm for 
the occupation of Iraq and her many other Bush-Lite positions.
The second reason is that she faces no real threat from the Republican Party. 
Therefore she can’t hide behind the “lesser-evil” shield that so often 
protects Democratic Party politicians from the sins they have committed against 
their own supporters.
Either the Republicans will field a little-known candidate who is in even 
more violent opposition to the people of California than Sen. Feinstein herself, 
or, if no real Republican challenger emerges, we have the chance to make this 
a two-way race. If that happens, then the sky’s the limit.
The third and most important reason I believe we can develop a real challenge 
to Sen. Feinstein is that the widespread opposition to her policies has begun 
to turn into active movements.
Antiwar: Students across California are challenging military recruiters on 
their campuses, and on November 8 of this year, the people of San Francisco 
voted by 60 percent to oppose the recruiters’ access to public schools and 
campuses. The September 24 antiwar demonstrations in San Francisco and Los Angeles 
were the biggest since before the invasion of Iraq, and we expect the March 18 
protests marking the third anniversary of the invasion to be huge.
Muslim and Arab communities have never passively accepted the racial 
profiling embedded in the USA PATRIOT Act and have led the fight to defy it on a 
municipal level. Finally, Californian Cindy Sheehan’s actions have helped galvanize 
soldiers and military families against this war.
Death penalty and prison system: The mass movement struggling to stop the 
execution of Stan Tookie Williams has forged new coalitions and brought in 
thousands of young people who will continue on to fight for an end to the racist 
death penalty and challenge the incarceration of a generation of Black and Latino 
and poor youth.
In 1970, there were about 25,000 prisoners in California. Today, there are 
almost 200,000. The prison system is out of control. Prison guards are the 
largest political lobby in Sacramento.
Millions of Californians have a close relative in prison, most often for 
nonviolent and relatively minor drug offenses. Tookie’s movement has put in motion 
what I believe will be a sustained resistance to this insanity.
Immigrant rights: Anti-immigrant bigotry breaks like waves across California’
s political history.
The latest round of racism is being fueled by James Gilchrest and his 
so-called “Minutemen.” Really, they are just vigilantes who bring shame to the name 
they appropriated.
Gov. Schwarzenegger went so far as to “welcome” them to California, and 
encourage them to terrorize Mexican immigrants trying to cross the border and 
harass immigrant day laborers up and down the state who are merely looking for 
work to feed their families.
Sen. Feinstein hasn’t gone as far as Arnold, but she is the principle sponsor 
of a federal law barring states from issuing driver’s licenses to 
undocumented workers. It is important to understand that this issue has become a major 
focus of civil rights actions for immigrants. In fact, the first thing that 
Arnold did when he took office was to overturn a California law granting 
undocumented workers access to a California driver’s license.
Sen. Feinstein took Arnold’s initiative to the federal level. The 
anti-immigrant climate that she helps stoke led to James Gilchrest winning almost 25 
percent of the vote in a special election for Congress this month. Thankfully, 
immigrant workers, U.S.-born Latinos and other activists have confronted the 
Minutemen wherever they go, and are bringing to life a small, but potentially 
massive, movement.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
MY CAMPAIGN will work to highlight the demands of the civil rights and 
antiwar movements in California.
We will tour state and community colleges, and invite antiwar, prison system 
and immigrant rights activists to speak at all events. We will go to the 
unions and ask for a hearing. We will ask 25 student governments and dozens of 
community groups up and down the state to invite Sen. Feinstein to debate me. We 
will have a massive presence at the March 18 protests against the war. We will 
use the Internet to distribute free video campaign commercials. We will enlist 
artists and poets to help spread the word. And we aim to be serious about 
raising money.
Just as “College Not Combat” has become a slogan that has taken on a life of 
its own in the media, we will make “A Million Votes for Peace” a phrase that 
people remember in November 2006, through buttons, stickers, banners and 
e-mails. We will demand coverage in the mainstream media, and use Pacifica Radio’s 
California network, Indymedia and the alternative press to bypass them if 
they refuse.
My campaign will not be counterposed to activism--exactly the opposite. It 
will say, “Instead of voting against the things you are fighting for in the 
streets, isn’t it time you take your movement to the ballot box?”
I think the number of people who want to answer that question in the 
affirmative may frighten Sen. Feinstein.

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