Monday, August 18, 2008

Follow-up to "The Colorado Green Party needs to do some housekeeping"

The situation with the Colorado Green Party and its handling of national party's nominees for Pres & VP is, to say the least, a cluster fuck. I had may take on it yesterday. Today, I merely wish to highlight a few items by bloggers who seem a bit closer to the whole mess.

First and foremost, I'll simply give Benjamin Whitmer props for sending some of his readers my way. His post on The Try-Works (Recreate 68 has been covered extensively at his blog, and provides some useful context) was picked up by AngryIndian over at La Reyna's Journal & of course at Intelgentaindigena Indigenism Novajoservo.

Steve Argue and Cynthia McKinney provide some context, which can be read here (see also The Largest Minority). The short version at Not My Tribe goes a bit like this:
For agreeing to speak at a rally organized by R-68: Resignation threatened. Fundraiser, place to stay, withdrawn. All scheduled engagements canceled. Assistance to get on Wyoming ballot, withdrawn. Every effort to remove her from Colorado ballot, threatened. McKinney was also informed she had been last choice candidate of Colorado delegation. So there.

Are we witnessing someone’s hissy-fit nervous self-immolation? Could be, but it packs the wallop of a suicide bomber. Local party gutted; bystanders, fellow Greens, burned; vital preparations annulled just months from the election. Third parties probably attract people who have difficulty with authority. In this case with irreparable consequence.

Over at Green Party Watch, some additional context and editorializing are offered:

This originated over a disagreement about “violence”, specifically that Recreate ’68’s statement on non-violence was not strong enough for others. That led to the division between the Colorado Greens and others from Recreate ‘68. But when McKinney and Clemente refused to recuse themselves of speaking at one of the two largest political demonstrations in America this year, apparently one member of the Colorado Greens decided to put some teeth into her demands that they pull out.

While I empathize with the predicament that the Colorado Greens are in, I also feel that McKinney and Clemente are doing the right thing by speaking in front of and standing with the tens of thousands of frustrated and angry protesters demanding action against the War in Iraq, the War on Civil Liberties, and the dissipation of Democracy in America. These are our votes - and McKinney and Clemente have to go out and earn those votes.

Whether it is one individual or a handful in the Colorado Green Party that are choosing to hold their ballot line hostage, they are potentially denying Democracy to the voters of Colorado by threatening to remove McKinney from their ballot. The voters of Colorado, be they Greens or Republican-Democrats or Socialists or Independents, deserve a choice at the ballot box. No one person or small group of individuals should have that power to deny an elective choice to over a million voters, and it is exactly that kind of power over our Democracy that the Green Party has been fighting against.

I hope that this situation is resolved in a way that allows all participants to save face, but in no way should the Green Party ballot line in Colorado be denied to McKinney and Clemente, and no one should have the right to make demands on a candidate from a position of this level of power.

For their part R-68 has done what they can to disabuse the public of some of the disinformation spread about them in the run-up to the DNC convention later this month, including the following:

We would like to reiterate the fact that, contrary to reports, all of the events coordinated by R-68 are permitted and legal events and are organized with our statement of non-violence and our statement of principles of solidarity in mind.

How well that works is hard to say - I suspect that those who've already closed their minds to R-68 won't exactly get the message. Dee Taylor perhaps sums things up best:

It appears that Cynthia McKinney and Rosa Clemente will be participating with both groups at the DNC the last week of August. They are scheduled to speak at the ARD event and to march with the R68 group.

Regardless of varying philosophies of protesting by both of these groups, this is the RIGHT thing for McKinney/Clemente to do. It is disingenuous of the Colorado Greens or anyone else to denounce any individual or group who choose to participate with one group or the other, or both groups.

This is a PEACE movement - HEL--LOOOOO!. The more folks involved to stand up against the injustices in our world the better. The more factionalism that occurs, the more the right-wingers (I include the Democrats in that) smile because the progressive movement will never move forward with all this controversy. Don't you see? It's exactly what they want!

So to all those attending the DNC protests - cut the crap and just do what you need to do to speak out! Just do it! Do it for those of us who cannot be there! Do it for all life that suffers on our planet!

As for the Colorado Green Party? They've got a problem on their hands, insofar as their leadership appears to be resistant to the changing face of their party on the national level. Previously I'd made mention of what had struck me as a rightward shift with regard to immigration policy in Colorado Green Party co-chair Dave Chandler's rhetoric on his blogs. The cats at RAIMD did a bit more digging around and their findings strongly suggest that there has been more than just a shift in Chandler's rhetoric - there's more history than I'd realized. Read his statements and judge for yourself. If his rhetoric on migrants isn't nativist, it sure is awfully damn close. From where I sit, I don't see much difference between his remarks and those used by some of the wingnuts who populate my state's legislature (or hate groups that have vandalized communities in my region within the past year). Heck, the sad fact of the matter is that our migrants from Mexico and Central America are as much war refugees as anything. Granted the war against them has been fought less with bullets and bombs and more from Wall Street board rooms and DC think-tanks, but the level of human suffering, of starvation, displacement, and environmental destruction have been no less devastating. We ignore the need to reach out and unite with our campesinos & campesinas who have become part of our communities not only at their peril but ours as well. A narrow focus on ecological footprints in our own back yards is short-sighted: the ecological footprint our society leaves across the globe is one that is not only unsustainable, but one that has proven lethal for those who just happened to be in the way. It doesn't matter how environmentally friendly the footwear alleges itself to be.

To the extent that partisan politics has any relevance left in the struggle to advance human rights and dignity, the Greens in Colorado risk being made irrelevant by those who are turned off by the rather reactionary "liberalism" of the Dems, and who are desperate for attractive alternatives. That, amigos y amigas, is the truth as I see it.

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