[Marxism] Fwd: Whitney, ILGP Campaigns 2006

Alex Briscoe obeynow20001 at yahoo.com
Sun Nov 12 08:41:43 MST 2006

Alex Briscoe <obeynow20001 at yahoo.com> wrote: Date: Sun, 12 Nov 2006 07:38:20 -0800 (PST)
From: Alex Briscoe <obeynow20001 at yahoo.com>
Subject: Whitney, ILGP Campaigns 2006
To: solid3 at lists.riseup.net

   The IL Green Party has accomplished something significant by getting on the ballot and achieving 11% on election day.  We have done this despite attacks from the Dems and to a lesser extent, the Reps.  We got backhanded support from at least two unions, IEA  and AFSCME who refused to endorse either candidate.  Henry Bayer, the head of AFSCME in IL said that if electability wasn’t an issue, it would be a no-brainer: Rich Whitney.
  What follows are my notes from my presentation at the October Branch Meeting on the IL GP’s campaigns in 2006:
  Blagojevich (Dem)  and Topinka (Rep) are polling high negatives
  There is : budget crisis, school funding crisis, tax crisis, and a burgeoning awareness of global climate catastrophe.
  Plus, peak oil is affecting gas prices (but lower now for Nov elections).
  People are sick of corruption, crises, working too hard, taxation without representation.
  Most of us in the ILGP never thought a year ago that we would be on the state level ballot in November of  2006.
  April to June: signature drive.  25,000 valid needed.  39,000 collected.
  July to September: Ballot defense.   Day by day, line by line, had to defend signatures in front of Dem and referee.
  September to November: Campaign.
  Campaign was improvised due to the need to focus on the ballot access fight.
  Mid October, just got all of our Whitney lawn signs.  Still printing literature.
  Combined and uneven development in Illinois: while all other states with the exception of Maine, got around 2% of the electorate at the state level, the ILGP got 11%.  Why?  Most corrupt, no holds barred state, politicos around Dem and Rep cands under federal investigation.  No solution for budget, education crises.  IL ranks in the bottom three for educational funding for ex.  At the same time, historically politicized and organized (unions, community groups (block clubs)) populace.
  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.
  I’ll post more and try to include some links in my next email.  See links below for more info.





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