[Marxism] The ILGP State Slate Campaign of 2006, Part 2

Alex Briscoe obeynow20001 at yahoo.com
Tue Dec 26 10:25:25 MST 2006


(Marxmailers: I've even sent this in plain text for
archive readers like me.  Meen bihaebak?  Who luvs
ya?)

I had to get work done on my computer in December,
which is one reason why part 2 is so late.  Here it
is:


The ILGP State Slate Campaign of 2006, Part 2

Rich Whitney ended up garnering 11% of the
gubernatorial vote.

Blagoevich, the Dem, got 49% of the vote and Topinka
the Repub got 39%.

The results were in part due to a conjuncture of
favorable circumstances for the Greens as both
candidates polled high negatives because of issues of
campaign finance and patronage corruption.

Also, because the Dems and Reps, like most states,
have not addressed crisis issues related to taxation
and funding, many voters were disgusted overall with
the corporate Party choices.  In Illinois we have a
budget crisis as well as a school funding and tax
equity crisis, linked to ever rising property tax
hikes in leiu of even minimal tax increases for the
rich and corporations in Illinois.

At the same time, higher gas prices have hit the core
working class in illinois particularly hard in the
last year.  This is only going to get worse as we hit
Peak Oil.  Also, there is a burgeoning awareness of
global climate catastrophe.

All of these factors came together this year to
provide us with an exceptionally favorable
conjuncture.  However, I expect that under late
capitalism with its ecological crises, its drive to
maximize profits through cutting wages, employment and
social welfare, its continual war to secure resources
and markets, this will not be the last chance for the
Greens to do well statewide or nationally.

In the rest of the country, the Greens fared very
poorly, generally polling around 2 percent in
gubernatorial and federal level Senate races.  These
results show us that the syphillis of ABB is still
circulating throgh the body politic, as voters wanted
to deal such a defeat to the Repubs that all but a few
wanted to bullet vote to show their will against the
Bush administration' s twist on war and repression
abroad and at home.

However, as the Dems now control both houses of
Congress, something that few expected before November
7th, they will have two years to show how they can
screw things up or how they will fail to provide a
real alternative to ecocide, war and repression.

To be sure there will be fierce and unrelenting
pressure on the Greens not to effectively oppose the
two capitalist parties, something which many Greens
will probably cave in to.

However, given the experience of 2004, with Kerry and
the Dem's weak politics losing the Dems the White
House, in spite of their unprecedentedly filthy
tactics against Nader/Camejo, Greens and other
supporters of independent political action may have a
marginally easier time running in 2008.  At least, we
can and should make the case for independent political
action for the next two years.  We may be repressed by
the Dems and their NGO/liberal allies again, but at
the very least we can carry on a stubborn campaign of
education for future elections.  If not in 2008, 2010
and 2012 should be easier for Greens.

Towards the end of the campaign Whitney was polling at
about 16% with less than 30% of the media coverage of
the corporate candidates.  Much of the coverage we did
get was subtly negative, emphasizing Rich's positions
on the right to carry firearms, in an attempt to paint
him as a "gun nut".  However, Rich was endorsed by six
newspapers including  The Southern in Carbondale, The
Rockford Register and the Southwest Daily Herald  in
the suburbs southwest of Chicago.   The last three
endorsements were from newspapers in predominantly
working class areas and had a significant impact on
the level of support we received as well as showing an
alternative to working-class voters in those regions.


Public sector labor was generally supportive of the
campaign, with the Illinois Educational Association
and the American Federation of State, County and
Municipal Workers District 30 giving backhanded
endorsements of the campaign.  With other unions not
really giving sustained support of Blagoevich the Dem
incumbent, activists and members were generally free
to support the state slate.

Whitney had a position supporting the right to carry
handguns openly as a crime deterrent.  He also
supported the Second Amendment as a civil liberties
issue, as a way of providing subsistence through
hunting for lower income people, and also, notably as
a final check on government and corporate tyranny.

We came under attack for this position, particularly
in Cook County and Chicago, where the corporate media
and so-called public television mentioned Rich's
pro-carry  at every opportunity to the exclusion of
other issues that Rich ran on.

Unsurprisingly, liberals whined a lot about this issue
and were worse in their support of the ILGP campaign
than religious anti-choice people.

One of the mistakes made by Rich on the right to carry
issue were allowing interviewers to question him on
the issue at length without emphasizing the greater
need for alleviation of poverty and general alienation
to decrease the need for carry, use and mis-use of
firearms.

Another mistake is that Rich stated that he would be
willing to compromise to exempt Chicago and Cook
County from carry laws.  This was a real violation of
principle which I pointed out to Rich and the campaign
to no avail.  If Whitney supported right to carry as
part of a final check on the abuse of corporate and
governmental authority,  not supporting the right in
the areas where people's rights were most likely to be
violated by these forces made no sense, except as an
abandonment of principle for opportunistic political
gain.

Also criticizing Rich for valid and invalid reasons
was the Illinois State Rifle Association which
rejected Rich's supported for gun rationing on the one
hand but red-baited him and the party as
"pacifist-socialist s" on the other hand.

However, in the end, Rich tried to straddle the
working class and liberal middle class positions on
the Second Amendment, and Judy Baar Topinka, his
Republican opponent ended up having a better position
on this issue.

In the final few days of the campaign Topinka's camp
grew desperate to close their double digit gap and
red-baited Rich.  A reporter from the Daily Herald, a
newspaper from Henry Hyde's former district, 
published an article stating that Rich had been the
editor of the Socialist Labor Party's newspaper up
until 1991.  Rich  left the organization in 1993.  The
Chicago Sun Times and the Tribune also picked up the
story.  Red baiting hurt us in conservative rural
areas, but we still polled at 25% in Peotone and a
number of areas in Will County, where Jesse Jackson Jr
has been pushing for an airport that would wipe out
many farmholdings and which has a large working class
population.

In other areas of the state, we might have lost as
much as two to five percent overall from our areas of
support outside of Cook County, but among liberals and
people of color, the red-baiting probably had little
to no impact.

Rich did distance himself from his socialist past,
also pointing out that he didn't hide it, he did tell
people when asked on the campaign trail, but he didn't
want to lead with his chin and that he had moved
beyond his previous beliefs.  Those of us who have
known Rich for six years find that he is a moderate
but principled reformist.  Some on the left in Chicago
were unhappy that Rich said that he had grown beyond
his earlier socialist beliefs, but those of us who
have known Rich as an ILGP member find that his views
are generally principled and consistent, even if we
have differences with him regarding the role of
capitalists in society.

As mentioned before, Rich  got 25% in a number of
areas of Will County which are the rural to working
class exurbs southwest of of Chicago.

In the greater Rockford area, Rich got 25% to 35%. 
The area is a major working class city, second in size
to Chicago.

In suburban Cook County, Rich received 10% to 15%.  In
contrast, in Chicago Rich got 8% because the Dem
machine is still strong here, because of general
alienation and lack of familiarity with and trust for
a white candidate from a Party that cannot yet deliver
directly.

In middle and southern Illinois, Rich got 15%.

In Carbondale, his home base, Rich got 25%.

In Champaign, a liberal university town, Rich got 15%.

One other gap in the sprint to election day was the
failure to emphasize alternative energy and mass
transit as solutions to the the massive problem of
global climate catastrophe.  This is one area where
the capitalists have even less room to maneuver in
reducing CO2 emissions.

Overall, the state slate campaign was an impressive
strategic victory.

Now, we need to consolidate our victory by recruiting
as many of the 400 committeemen in Illinois as we can
by September 2007.  Committeemen slate Green
candidates to run, where the signature requirements
would be too burdensome or where kooks and
opportunists might run.

We plan to run candidates for U.S. Congress as well as
candidates for the State Legislature in 2008, a
candidate for Governor in 2010 and endorse or run
pro-Green candidates for aldermen in the Fall 2007
elections.

Of course, we will have a ballot line for the 2008
Presidential race as well

Overall, despited the exciting exception of Illinois,
this has been another bad election year for the Greens
on the national level.  However, hopefully by 2010 at
least, the Greens will start to revive to threaten the
corporate Parties and provide an alternative.



************ ********* ********* ********* ****

Appended from last report: press and the issues


Significant sympathy for ILGP campaign in sectors of
capitalist press, community groups, unions, general
populace.
 
Best press coverage for a third party in 60? 100? 150?
Years.
 
However, by the end of the campaign, only 40 to 50%
had heard of Whitney.  At a certain point, the editors
and rulers of IL decided Whitney had had enough
coverage.  With only 40 to 50% exposure, Whitney was
polling 16%.  If we had money of Ventura, could have
won a three-way race.
 
But then, the bastards on the north shore would have
had their taxes raised one to two percent: a horrible
fate.
 
Press we did get: interview on biggest drive time show
in Chicagoland; ABC7 News- five minute profile and
interview; endorsed by host of “Workingman’s Show” in
southern IL, on a Christian radio station.  When I was
putting in Whitney and Breuer signs on the southwest
side of Chicago, for ex, an African Amer intermodal
trucker started honking his air horn and going crazy
with excitement: one anecdotal sign of excitement for
a working class POC oriented alternative.

We were endorsed by the Rockford Register,  sixth?
largest paper in  the state, in a  historically
working class city,  and by the  Southwest  Herald 
Tribune, again  a  paper  from  the  Southwest 
suburbs  of   Chicago,   a   historically  working  
class area of  Illinois.  There  was  at least one
other  endorsement  from a  corporate  paper and  
three  major  student  newspaper  endorsements. 
Whitney’s emphasized postions were basically a mild
reformism: specifically support of House Bill 750
which would have raised income tax 1 to 2% for the top
40% of earners, decreased income taxes 1 to 2% for the
bottom 20% of earners.  Property taxes would have
decreased 20 to 25% for all.  This would have raised
the six? Billion needed to just start to fund IL
schools at the barest minimum equal level and would
have stopped the shortfalls on payment into public
employee pension funds.
 
His other positions were somewhat spicier: universal
health care, new deal for alt energy and mass transit
to combat global warming, full employment at a living
wage (defined in this instance as $8.30, again
extremely mild to the point of a joke).
 
He was pro-choice while recognizing the argument of
“consistent ethic of life” by the religious.  He was
also pro-Second Amendment, stating that he was for
open carry- I think that he thought  this would win
him votes from NRAers, hunters, farmers, workers and I
think it did but the way he handled the issue was
problematic.  Of course, the capitalist press tried to
use this issue as a wedge, which they had some success
in doing with liberals, some of whom were complete
babies about the issue, worse than the right to lifers
with abortion in many ways. 
 
Whitney did cut into the Reps white working class,
farmer, gun owner base to the extent that the Reps had
a regional paper red-bait him in the last two days of
the campaign.  The IL Rifle Association even had a
warning against supporting Whitney on the front page
of their web site because he didn’t really support the
Second Amendment like Topinka and besides, the IL GP
was a pacifist-socialist outfit.  Kind of funny.  I
have yet to email a letter to the head of the IL RA
pointing out that a number of chairs and members in
his organization have been socialists, Black Panthers,
etc.
 
Anyway, Rich probably lost up to 5% of his support
because of the red- and gun-baiting, but in the end,
we did remarkably well, for the reasons set forth above.

***************************
***************************


http://www.northsidegreenparty.org
http://www.greenallianceusa.org
http://www.labornotes.org
http://www.solidarity-us.org
http://www.internationalviewpoint.org

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