Pruning the Green Party

Their Own Worst Enemies

It may seem as if I have been unduly harsh to the Green Party in recent columns. However, my criticism is not with the majority of Green Party members, but with their leaders who are preventing the party from developing into a truly progressive alternative to the corporate duopoly.

The Vilest of Enemies

The Greens have kept in place the same wrecking cabal that was responsible for the party’s self implosion in 2004. Instead of ditching folks like Phil Huckelberry, they have promoted them. A few Green delegates tell me that back in 2005 during their annual convention in Tulsa, Huckelberry screamed at his fellow delegates, “I didn’t join the Green Party to fight the Democrats!”

In a recent message that Huckelberry sent to the National Delegates he cautioned the Greens for spending too much of their time “fighting with self-identifying progressive Democrats, one of the groupings on the political spectrum which is closest to us.”

He went on to advise, “[W]e should drop the pretense that they are somehow our vilest enemies, or worse, that people within our party are our vilest enemies.”

With friends like Huckelberry the Greens don’t need enemies.

Huckelberry is not only on the Green’s Steering Committee, their main governing body, he’s also in charge of the party’s ballot access committee. Here’s what is so ridiculous about Huckelberry’s call to unify with progressive Democrats: It is the Democratic Party that is removing Green Party candidates from the ballot, not the Republicans. It is the Democratic Party that wants to destroy the Green Party, not the Republican Party.

How can Democrats be seen as anything other than Green Party foes? How can those within the Green Party who continue suggesting that the Greens and the Democrats are ideologically aligned, not also be seen as the “vilest enemies” of the Greens?

Keep in mind that it was progressive Democrat Dennis Kucinich who helped sucker off 50,000 Greens supporters from their membership rolls in 2004. It is the Democratic Party, especially the progressives, who are the greatest threat to the Green Party.

Since Huckelberry does not realize that the progressive Democrats are their “vilest enemies” it is not surprising that he also does not recognize that an even more deadly enemy is the enemy within. The Greens like Huckelberry who refuse to recognize the danger the Democratic Party presents and the peril of not fiercely opposing their candidacies and policies every single election. Perhaps this was why Huckelberry, while running for election in Illinois, made certain he ran against a lone Republican with no Democratic opponent.

The Scourge of Mike Cavlan

Not all of the Green officers are unaware of the incompetence of some of their leaders. Members should salute Mike Cavlan, a delegate from Minnesota, who just published a letter detailing the history of someone he suggests is one of the most inept officers in the Green Party, Greg Gerritt.

It seems that Cavlan’s letter was initiated as a result of Gerritt’s losing a $25,000 donation for the Green’s Coordinated Campaign Committee (CCC). As it turns out, according to Mike Cavlan, there really is no CCC. There are only two members of the committee; Gerritt and a delegate from Georgia named Nan Garrett.

Gerritt counters Cavlan’s claim that the CCC is useless, “Saying that the CCC is small is less of a slap at me than it is at all of the state Green Parties that did not offer up a candidate for the CCC in 2006.”

Huckelberry should have realized that on the one hand the Democrats are indeed their “vilest enemy” but the enemy within may be even more monstrous. Certainly it is just as destructive.

As it turns out, according to Mike Cavlan, Gerritt, more than anyone else other than perhaps David Cobb, was responsible for the disaster of 2004 and that while serving as party secretary, personally disaffiliated the Utah Green Party which was recognized by the state of Utah. He had no power to do this, but his decision went unchallenged and consequently an artificial Green Party was set up — a paper party which would give Huckelberry and Gerritt two more votes.

Mind you Cavlin doesn’t have an axe to grind over the Green folly 2004, for he himself is a recovering Cobb supporter.

A Bad Moon Rising

It turns out that Greg Gerritt not only has a history of incompetence within the United States Green Party but he has virtually destroyed the Rhode Island Greens, which cannot even put together a gender balanced eight person coordinating committee.

According to Mike Cavlan “one of the two co-chair seats is vacant. Nobody is running for anything in RI in 2007. Nobody ran in RI in 2005. Nobody ran in 2003. Nobody ran in 2001. For even numbered years, 6 people ran in 2002. 6 people ran in 2004. But only one in 2006, a guy who’s run every two years for the same seat.”

Mike goes on to report, “There have been a total of 26 candidates in GPRI [Green Party of Rhode Island] history. Only one of those has run since 2004. The Rhode Island Green Party no longer exists. Greg Gerritt therefore should not hold any position in the GPUS.”

Gerritt has an incredible history with the Green Party of the United States as the head of its Coordinated Campaign Committee (CCC) as well as its Presidential Candidate Support Committee (PCSC). In 2003, before Gerritt took over, the Green Party ran 400 candidates nationwide. With Gerritt at the helm that number dropped off to 200 in 2005 and will be around 100 in 2007. At this rate by 2011 there will be virtually no Green candidates running anywhere.

Cavlan concludes, “Here we see the starkest display of the squandering of political capital gained during the Nader 2000 effort … We’re just scraping at the 1999 level now, and still in steady decline.”

Here’s how it adds up with Gerritt heading up the Green Party’s CCC in the aftermath of the 2004 debacle they helped engineer and for which Greg Gerritt recently took personal responsibility: A 48% total decline in candidates being run during the odd number years and a 32% decline since 2004 in the even numbered years.

Gerritt has never so much as offered a hint of accountability in any of this, or any of his many and even more spectacular failures. Gerritt seems to have a reputation, according to Mike Cavlan, for being “always handy with a list of other people and outside circumstances that get his blame, and the majority of the NC rallies in his support in every instance, and elevates him to positions of ever-increasing authority over the future of GPUS.”

Gerritt’s co-conspirator in the Coordinated Campaign Committee (CCC), Nan Garrett, co-chair of the Green’s women’s caucus, is currently a delegate from Georgia. But it is more likely to snow in the land of peaches than for something related to the Green Party to happen. Their latest action was to run African-American activist Elaine Brown for office, but due to their ineptitude the Georgia Greens didn’t bother to check whether she met residency requirements. She didn’t and was consequently removed from the ballot.

Look at the situation in which the Green Party finds itself: It has a person in charge of its PCSC (Presidential Campaign Support Committee) and its CCC (Coordinated Campaign Committee) — which means everything electoral in the Green Party of the United States — who has a four year history of complete failure.

How long will it take for Green Party members, the grassroots not the leadership, to call for dramatic changes to their party’s structure? How much failure will it take? How much more humiliation can they tolerate? How long before they hold people like Greg Gerritt, Nan Garrett and Phil Huckelberry responsible?

Tragically as George Santayana reminds us, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

Joshua Frank is co-editor of Dissident Voice and author of Left Out! How Liberals Helped Reelect George W. Bush (Common Courage Press, 2005), and along with Jeffrey St. Clair, the editor of Red State Rebels: Tales of Grassroots Resistance in the Heartland, published by AK Press in June 2008. Check out the Red State Rebels site. Read other articles by Joshua.

41 comments on this article so far ...

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  1. Michael Kenny said on September 27th, 2007 at 7:16am #

    Green parties worldwide have the problem of their relationship to the traditional Left. The Greens are the progressive ideology of the 21st century and there is thus a natural, and mutual, affinity with 20th century progressives, which in the US means the Democrats, or part of them. There is always a debate within Green parties as to whether they are of the Right, the Left or something new which rejects those distinctions, which date, after all from the French Revolution. There is also a tendency for people who are not really ecologists, extreme leftists, for example, to join up, particularly if there is a chance of being elected which would not be available under any other label.

    The traditional Left, the 1789 Left, if you will, tends to see Greens as votes they would get if the Greens weren’t there. In America’s antiquated relative majority electoral system, the Greens become a deadly threat to the Democrats and many voters who might agree with the Greens will vote Democrat for fear that voting Green will elect the Republican. That relative irrelevance of the Green Party inevitably brings out infighting and personal egos.

    Proportional representation would change everything, but American political thought is so outdated that not even the Greens seem to be proposing it.

  2. George Thompson said on September 27th, 2007 at 8:18am #

    I support the Greens but they obviously have some serious growing pains. The Democrats are basically right of center now since the midterm election success relied so heavily on moderates and Bluedogs. People still think the Democrats are the party of the left. They are not. They are the party of corporations and they share that designation with Republicans. The Greens need to frame themselves in that fashion. If you are a progressive then you need to be a Green. A progressive Democrat these days is like saying a moderate Hitler. It doesn’t fit. The Greens are horrible at getting their message out and at involving getting minorities involved at all levels. Most Black people haven’t even heard of the Greens and if they have, they think they’re a peacenik bunch of pot-smoking tree-huggers. That’s not just the media’s fault. All the Greens need to do to get the Black vote is put some commercials on tv and radio saying how they support slavery reparations. No one in the Democratic Party besides Kucinich supports that and we all know he has a snowman’s chance in hell of getting the nomination despite people’s preferences for this policies. Like Kucinich said last night, he’s just not tall enough.

  3. hp said on September 27th, 2007 at 9:48am #

    Phony baloneys. Proof positive the mind is a terrible thing.

  4. Blyden Potts said on September 27th, 2007 at 10:00am #

    What is the purpose of this piece? From his series of damning critiques of the Green Party, it would appear Joshua Frank is intent to destroy the Green Party, or at least purge it. I think that is a misguided tactic. Won’t the party grow bigger and stronger if the wound is allowed to heal, and each side embraces the other? Instead of framing the article as a critique of what is wrong with the Green Party, why not write it as a positive piece about what the Green Party needs to impove? Sensationalism? Deeply-seated personality issues? Contempt for things Green?

    Yes, the progressive Democrats probably are the biggest threat to the Green Party, but it is precisely because we and they are ideologically aligned, combined with the winner-take-all election systems under which we operate, that we are “enemies”. Change the rules of the election system and these two groups would be synergistic allies. That is how progressive Democrats and Greens might be seen as something other than “vilest enemies” of each other.

    As a bottom-up organization, people are not “promoted” to leadership positions in the Green Party. They are elected there. Relative to past election cycles there has been a decline in Green Party activism. In part this results from the changed political climate caused by the Bush administration, by the internal divisions of 2004, and frankly due to the Green Party’s own underachievement. The voter registration rolls grow, but in many places the number of activists has shrunk. In practice this means that positions are sometimes filled by whatever candidate is willing to fill them, rather than by someone elected competitive from among qualified candidates.

    That is a legitimate concern, as are several of the points raised in this article, underlining the need for the Green Party to shake things up, but the nothing good can come from the tone of this approach.

    What the Green Party needs more than anything is some candidates who can excite Greens and other voters and increase Green activity. The biggest and best possibility in that regard would seem to be having Ralph Nader as a Green Party nominee in 2008. Somehow, some of the Nader supporters still don’t seem to understand that their acerbic attacks on the “Cobbites” actually undermine the likelihood of a Nader candidacy. Pieces like this will make it harder for state Green Parties to collect the signatures they need to get Nader, or some other nominee if Nader doesn’t run, on the ballot. Which leads me right back to wondering just what really is the purpose of this article?

  5. Greg Gerritt said on September 27th, 2007 at 12:18pm #

    Joshua Frank has a very strange history with the Green Party, claiming he appreciates it, and then primarily acting as a hatchet man. He is not very good at fact checking, and when he gets handed facts that do not fit with his hatchet job, he ignores them. Yesterday he asked me for my reciton to Michael Cavlan’s piece about me, so I sent him what I sent to the GP national committee in response. Clearly he ignored it, so i am adding it in here so that everyone may see what the truth actually is. In addition to gettting facts about me wrong, he notes that Nan Garrett has x,y or z position in the GP, positions that Nan has never served in. You would think something so basic as was Nan Garret ever an officer of the GPUS would be something one could easily check, but Joshua Frank seems to thrive on hit pieces rather than teling the truth. The last article he wrote attacking me was bgased on information from someone who has been sending me death threats, john Murphy of Pnnsyslvania, As for Michael Cavlan, He has been unwilling to comment on what I replied to him and the GPUS National Committee. Repeating stories and lies does not go far when the target actually responds with the truth that does not fit the dystopian fantasy Frank, Murphy and others are trying to spread about the Green Party (Cavlan was simply parroting stories about me using the exact language of other hit pieces). So check out what I wrote and then you tell me which article you believe . Greg Gerritt

    I guess I am flattered that Michael Cavlan would spend all this time to
    research me. I guess I could also say it seems to be attribute magical
    powers to Greg week because Michael is the second person to accuse me of
    performing dastardly deeds within the context of this organization that wereimpossible for me to do unless I had magical powers. Quite an
    accomplishment for someone as incompetent as me.

    Somehow I guess if you actually can get anything done in this organization
    in spite of the factional warfare we seem to have on the NC then they assume you must be some sort of powerful wizard.

    Yesterday someone accused me of kicking someone out of the Women’s Caucus.That I have never attended a Women’s Caucus meeting (for obvious reasons), never had a formal communication with the Women’s Caucus, and that I didnothing of the sort, nor could have done such a thing, seems to have noeffect on the person’s thinking. Greg must have done it because only he is so powerful (and incompetent) as to do such a thing.

    Today I read that Michael accuses me of kicking out one faction of the
    greens in Utah. Me, I was responsible for the whole thing. The fact that
    the NC voted two years in a row at its annual meeting about which part of
    the UT green movement to seat, and that I did not even vote at one of those
    meetings, seems to play no factor in Michael’s analysis.

    Michael seems to also spend a great deal of time going over the fact that
    the GPRI is pretty small. Yes the GPRI is pretty small, and anyone who has
    ever had a conversation with me about it would also know that I have never
    denied it, and tend to be very upfront about our small size.

    But you know, RI is one of the smallest states, with a population just
    barely over a million. And for a small state we do not do all that bad. We
    have about 35 people who carry the load of keeping the party together.

    So I did a little research. There are 11 states with a population of less
    than 1.5 million people. Of those states, only one, Maine, has a Green
    Party significantly larger than RI’s. There also a number of states with
    populations in the 1.7 to 4 million range with Green Parties as small as
    Rhode Island’s. Overall, we are small, but we are within the normal range
    of Green Parties. So yes, we have a bit of trouble filling slots on our
    Coordinating Committee, but I hear we are not the only small state that has
    such problems. If we were to be sanctioned for that, my guess is that 15
    other states would have similar problems.

    Michael also seems to complain about how few candidates we run. In 2006 we ran only one candidate. I believe in CA the Greens ran 76 candidates.
    California has more than 35 times as many people as RI. They ran twice as
    many candidates per capita. A two to one ratio is not particularly
    disparate in a situation like this. MN ran 14 candidates. With a
    population 5 times that of RI it is a ratio of 3 to 1 per capita. Not
    orders of magnitude. Would we like to do better, of course, but it should
    be noted that the one candidate we ran received the highest percentage of
    the vote of any Green candidate running for state senate in 2006.

    It is true that in 2007 the GPRI has no candidates. But in 2007 most Rhode
    Island communities will not even open the polls. Of the 39 municipalities
    in RI only 4 will hold elections in 2007. So we are actively recruiting for
    2008. And guess what, MN also has zero candidates in 2007.

    Saying that the CCC is small is less of a slap at me than it is at all of
    the state Green Parties that did not offer up a candidate for the CCC in
    2006. I have done some recruiting and we have added a few new members. I have no web skills, so I can not update the web page. It is likely out of
    date. As I pointed out to this body the other day when someone asked, we nowhave 4 active members. They come from NM, GA, NC, and RI. I would really like it if there were 15 or 20 candidates for the 10 seats this December.
    But give me 4 people who show up and actually work over 10 no shows any
    time.

    I have been called incompetent twice recently. Judge for yourselves.

    Here are a few of the things on my resume. I was the first Green candidate
    for State Rep in the US in 1986. I wrote the original documents that helped
    start the ASGP, I lead the RI presidential efforts in 2000 and 2004 that
    gave Green candidates for president some of their highest vote percentages
    in the country. The PCSC put on as very well run forum in Reading this past
    summer (we are not responsible for the quality of the candidates as much as
    people would like to pin that on us). Two weeks ago I lead organizing or
    one of the best Green 9/11 events. I am proud that whenever the GP finds a
    tough problem and needs some leadership to help develop a better way that I
    have been called to pick up the burden, and more often than not delivered
    such as helping create the new apportionment system that was implementedthis year or getting good work out of a committee that was floundering when I was called to leadership. I ended up as chair of the CCC when no one else was willing to take it on, and you can ask the PCSC about my leadership on that committee.

    As for the Earl Gray fund, I was handed the project because no one else
    could figure out what to do. We did the best we could, and it was better
    than what anyone else could do. Maybe the real question should be first
    directed to the GPNJ as to why they dropped the ball and needed to ask me to pick it up for them, and then why they proceeded to complain about the waythe CCC was operating while we quietly tried to keep plugging away.
    Eventually we got tired of how the GPNJ was treating us and wrote them out
    of the equation. So they got their project back. I hope they do well.

    So I am visible, take on hard projects, often deliver good results in a
    highly charged atmosphere, and am willing to move projects forward by
    working on them rather than waiting for someone else to do the heavy
    lifting. 2004 is a prime example. I talked to candidates, encouraged people
    to actually do work, and saw one side fail because it failed to actually do
    any organizing. I guess that makes me a target and I guess it also means
    that some people are going to attribute nefarious magical powers to me. I
    am a big boy, I can live with the critics. I can also dish it out when I
    need to. So Michael, tell us your record of accomplishment in the Green
    Party. What tough problems have you taken on, what committees have you
    lead, what controversy have you stood in the middle of and lead us to a
    better way?

    Greg Gerritt GPRI

  6. Max Shields said on September 27th, 2007 at 12:45pm #

    Michael,

    I agree with your point about Greens – in general – transcending left and right.

    The fundamental shift is not leaning side to side but beyond. Culturally, economically, and politically we have been stuck in Newtonian mechanics, and so the worldview has been transfixed on that limiting science.

    Science struggled with this in the early part of the last century as physics attempted to understand atoms and found Newton’s laws incapable of explaining that dynamic – and so quantum mechanics and relativity were “born”. From that has emerged compexity theory which understands the environment and all of life as non-linear. This is not comfortable for many of us and particularly the old left and right (putting new or neo doesn’t change the fundamental mindset).

    The struggle is in building a sustainable world which means letting in all aspects of life into what really matters. Classical economics is a dead end as is the culture and politics it sustains.

    I do agree that a progressive (Green) set of values and worldview has more in common with the left than most of the right, it nevertheless transcends both. Our Newtonian mindsets just don’t let go of the old notions of business as usual politics and so, Joshua seems bound and determine to make the Greens into an old paradigm to diminish his personal struggle (cognitive dissonance).

    That’s not to say that there is not plenty of constructive criticism that can and should be leveled at the process of forming a viable party. Or grappling with the notion of power without succuming to the vices we all know all too well.

  7. Joshua Frank said on September 27th, 2007 at 1:11pm #

    Mr. Gerritt, I think it is you who has your facts wrong.

    Here’s Nan Garrett’s bio, which can be found here.

    Nan Garrett is co-chair of the Green Party National Women’s Caucus. She delivered a portion of the Green Party’s rebuttal to President Bush’s State of the Union speech in 2007. Previously associated with the Democratic Party of Georgia, Garrett was a member of the first coordinating council of the Georgia Green Party 1996-98. She has served on the coordinating council numerous times since then, has represented the Georgia Green Party in the National Committee of the Green Party of the United States, and is a member of the Green Party Lavender Caucus. Garrett was the Georgia Green Party’s candidate for Governor in 2002.”

  8. Norma J F Harrison said on September 27th, 2007 at 3:43pm #

    see if we can grab some of our language.
    The Owners ‘run’ for office, ‘run races’, fight, lose, win, are victorious, take or give beatings, conquer, are defeated, etc., the language of what we’re told are sports; certainly is the language of ‘the market'; and is the language of imperialist invasion – into nation’s banks as well as our/their lands.
    These campaigns, regardless of protestations are about the individual candidate; not about any of the ideas of what a public servant is.
    However, picture yourself offering service. Then you are a candidate for office, you are campaigning – especially you are campaigning in order to serve a platform – especially one based on a democratically evolved intention of people who would help and would benefit from institution of the platform’s directives.
    If elected, you take office. If not, you continue y/our work.
    Etc.

  9. John Murphy said on September 27th, 2007 at 4:49pm #

    Greg’s comment about my sending him a death threat tells us a good deal about the kind of a person he is! Essentially I told him to go jump in a lake — that’s what he calls a death threat. In point of fact if Greg were to call the Suicide Hotline, they’d say “go ahead, do it”.

    As Mike said in his letter, Greg comes up with an excuse for every failure for which he has been responsible. He just lost the CCC (Coordinated Campaign Committee) a $25,000 contribution. When the delegate from New Jersey who was responsible for channeling the donation to the CCC told him that NINE MONTHS was a pretty long time to figure out how to invest the money he told her “fuck yourself.
    It is not me leaving you hanging, it is that we have an understaffed
    committee”.

    That ain’t no way to treat a lady, Greg! He loses NINE months of interest on $25,000 but blames it understaffing – do you know where that excuse would get you in any business organization? And then curses out the person responsible for getting us the donation.

    Now the donation is gone. Greg Gerritt should be gone. He comes from a state where there is no Green Party. He destroyed that too. We have more Greens in my one county than Greg ever had in RI – now they’re all gone! We call Green Parties like that paper states.

    Greg is a pathological liar as well as completely incompetent. I once said that Greg was semi literate. I was wrong; illiterate would have been more precise.

    The fact of the matter is, no matter which people or circumstances he blames, he supervised the single largest national electoral collapse within one election cycle by any political party in American history, as totals fell an unimaginable 96%, and ballot lines built for the race fell 50% (event though not a single state ballot line was challenged by Democrats in 2004).

    Once again I call for your immediate resignation Greg and a public apology to the members of the Green Party of the United States for your disgraceful behavior. Your continued existence as an officer in the Green Party is unconscionable and is demonstrative of either the lack of courage or intellect our delegates have in not seeing to your immediate removal along with the removal of Huckelberry, Garrett, and Jody Haug, who managed to extend her SC term limit by being switched to Treasurer, a position for which she had no qualifications, and in the course of which narrowly avoided a significant ethics violation only due to last-minute intervention by a concerned person outside the party. Jody Haug! This is her third time as chair of “Fundraising”, and no major changes or innovations are coming from there to create any faith that GPUS will ever emerge from bankruptcy. This is another example of the organization-wide death whish which we seem to have for our party. Why hasn’t this dangerous, incompetent woman been sent to Coventry along with Huckelberry, Gerritt and Garrett? Do we lack the courage or the brains to get rid of people like this?

    John Murphy

  10. Lisa Taylor said on September 27th, 2007 at 6:44pm #

    This is ludicrous. These calls to purge our party of certain people. As if there was a known “winning strategy” in 2004 and if only we had followed it we would sitting in the White House, and dozens of folks in Congress–yeah, right, with our nascent party that is up against practically everything in the U.S’s pitiful, winner take all system, where third parties hardly exist to the mainstream. Sorry folks, politics is not a science.

    Organize, organize, organize and onward,
    Lisa Taylor
    GP-US delegate from CA
    Los Angeles City Greens Volunteer Coordinator
    http://losangelesgreens.org/

  11. Liz Arnone said on September 27th, 2007 at 8:46pm #

    One thing about Greg, if you see his mouth moving, you’ll know he’s lying. He’s tried to flip things around a number of times and so has Nan, but there’s only so far you can distort the facts. John Murphy never threatened, though Greg would like people to believe that. And what’s so ridiculous is that you can be censored on a list for words but deeds go unpunished. If you wish to filed a complaint with our Dispute Resolution Committee, they can mediate, but have no power to arbitrate. So what go is that?

    One comment John made about the seriousness of Gerritt’s offense was that in some places people who have brought shame to their families and employers often commit suicide or are killed. Some Gerritt supporters were upset by this strong reference, and then we come to see in recent news from China that two CEOs just died as a result of the scandal over deadly imports coming into this country. One committed suicide and the other was killed. So, John was not just fabricating.

    I offer further analysis below to Mike Cavlan’s post. It’s time for Greens to get serious about our party or go play with the Democrats.

    Thanks Mike, your story pretty much corroborates what
    I’ve been saying. Now the facts are out and people
    can judge for themselves. From here on, Greg will
    know we’ll be watching. But, I’m seeing this goes
    much deeper than just what Greg did to me and a few
    other people.

    I believe our problem is deep rooted because it is a
    systemic one. In order to understand it you have to
    look at the big picture, and now that I’ve been with
    the NC, and the SC, I’ve gotten a birds eye view of
    the workings of this party and I see a lot that’s not
    right. We have been complacent for much too long and
    we’ve been stagnant for much too long. Nader grew the
    party in 2000, we rode the crest and imploded in 2004.

    One of the greatest problems facing this party is the
    lack of participation and leadership. If you look,
    you will find most committees are shamefully
    understaffed, and under-funded. How can we ever
    expect to become a viable party when there aren’t
    enough people to do the work? Given circumstances such
    as these, it leaves fertile ground for opportunists
    and trouble.

    Because the committees are understaffed, you’ll find
    the same people everywhere, they’re at the core of
    what’s happening, and if no one’s watching, the most
    capable of manipulating and doing harm. Some of
    these people are people who have been with the party
    since it’s inception, so they have a long history with
    the party and a good grasp at how things operate.
    Greg is one. They may have begun with good intentions
    and hopes of taking the “high road”, but somewhere
    along the way went off course and forgot what we are
    about, and forgot to practice what they preach.

    They began to assume, just as our imperialist
    government, that the little people who aren’t paying
    enough attention, don’t understand what’s good for
    the party and can’t be trusted to make the right
    decisions, so they need a little help. And so they
    start their gyrations. They form little insider
    cliques, talk to each other and lobby behind the
    scenes and shut down anyone who gets in their way.
    Just like the big boys. And so the debacle of 2004,
    the recent plenary in CA. and all the other nonsense
    in between. This is what happens. They may start out
    with good intentions and then become corrupted. If
    you look closely, you’ll know what I mean.

    I blame Greg for not having the strength of character
    and integrity we expect from our leadership. And
    because I’m a woman, I especially find his behavior
    reprehensible. If this was a company, I would have
    grounds to file a complaint against him. But in the
    GP, all I can do is create another resolution.

    I also blame the party for being more a club than a
    serious party. If our folk were serious leaders, we
    would have a mission statement and strategy and
    papers, not a bunch of useless resolutions. The party
    would be well organized. We have none of that. And
    people like Greg are not real leaders. For all the
    years they’ve been here, they haven’t moved us
    forward, they’ve taken us backward.

    We need people to step up to the plate and work to
    move the party forward. We need fresh ideas and
    people to come to the table. There’s so much to be
    done. If you’re serious about our party, find a place
    where you can do your best work, or, if there isn’t
    one create one, but don’t do nothing. If you do
    nothing, nothing will change and we’ll have more of
    the same.

  12. Tom Yager said on September 27th, 2007 at 8:54pm #

    “The Greens like Huckelberry who refuse to recognize the danger the Democratic Party presents and the peril of not fiercely opposing their candidacies and policies every single election.”

    Here’s what I wrote word for word about Phil Huckleberry in response to your first piece. For what it’s worth, I’ll repeat it, but it’s probably going into one ear and flying right out the other:

    Guess who headed the petition drive that got us a ballot line in Illinois last year? Phil Huckleberry. Yes, THAT Phil Huckleberry. The Illinois Greens collected more than 39,000 signatures and fought off a frivolous challenge by the Democrats to keep us off the ballot. Rich Whitney, who was our candidate for Governor, got more than 10% of the vote.

    Phil is a bulldog for our party’s ballot access efforts, and that is one of the reasons why he was the candidates who received the most votes in the Steering Committee election. Watch the Youtube video. Oh, I almost forget. He was a Cobb supporter (sorry, a “Demogreen”), but never supported a safe states strategy.

    “Keep in mind that it was progressive Democrat Dennis Kucinich who helped sucker off 50,000 Greens supporters from their membership rolls in 2004.”

    Our registration declined in early 2004, but within a few months, we had offset our losses. Registration continued to INCREASE after Cobb was nominated, and only started declining again in 2005. Hardly something that you can say Cobb was singlehandedly responsible for.

    “Perhaps this was why Huckelberry, while running for election in Illinois, made certain he ran against a lone Republican with no Democratic opponent.”

    Oh, please. Making ourselves the opposition party in gerrymandered districts that the Democrats have ceded to the Republicans is a sign of weakness?

  13. Marq Goldberg said on September 27th, 2007 at 11:48pm #

    Good Lord. You know usually I have to talk to conservatives like they are idiots. I really resent having to talk to liberals like that.

    Let me make this very clear: the Green Party is NEVER going to amount to a hill of beans. Would you like to know why? No? I’ll tell you anyway.

    Your political strategy is pathetic and you can’t even do basic math.

    Let me drop a bomb shell on you: We don’t live in England. This is the United States of America. Now pay attention because this is VERY important. In the USA we have a winner-take-all electoral system. That means that if 51% of the public votes for the conservative candidate in each election they get ALL of the seats. That means the liberals have ZERO voice. But when you add a third party like the Greens the conservatives can actually win ALL of the seats with as little as 34% of the votes. That’s right. With a third party 66% of the voters can choose a liberal (or progressive if you prefer) and the conservatives will still walk away with ALL of the power. Because if the Dems and Greens each have 33% (total 66%) the candidate with 34% is declared the winner.

    Now the next thing you need to learn is this: ANY Democrat is vastly better than ANY Republican. Well almost. Lieberman and Zell Miller are an embarrassment. But for all practical purposes its true. Do you doubt this? You think they’re both in the hands of big business? Yeah they are. But that doesn’t mean they’re equal. If you don’t believe me I have a simple task for you that will change your mind. You see, unlike conservatives, I think you do have minds. And souls. Souls are good. Basic humanity. That’s more than conservatives have. I mean what kind of psychotic freak actually believes that bombing the hell out of a nation will somehow make the lives of its citizens better? So if you don’t think Dems are vastly superior to Reps just google “Republican child molestors” and see what you get. The list of highly placed Republican child molestors goes on for about a city block. Its systemic. Now google “Democratic child molestors”. You may find a few but its just a few. Conservatives are vile and horrible creatures. And stupid. Dumber than a box of nails. Haven’t you figured that out yet?

    Lets review: Splitting the vote can put a conservative candidate in office with a paltry 34% of the vote. And any Democrat is better than any Republican.

    OK I know what you’re thinking. Its the lesser of two evils but both still suck. But ya know what? It doesn’t have to be like that.

    Here’s the plan. Instead of running the progressive candidates as Greens run them as Democrats. If your candidate gets in do you really care if he has a (D) or a (G) behind his name? Its the same guy with the same progressive goals. He’s YOUR guy.

    Now here’s where the math comes back in. What you have to do is take out the Democratic candidate that you don’t like at the PRIMARY stage. Because guess what? If you can’t beat him in a two way race there is no way in hell your candidate is going to win in a three party race. Which means the conservative will win. And as we’ve already learned conservatives are horrible horrible people. Don’t put them in charge. Help the progressives/liberals take back the Democratic Party.

    Take back the Democratic Party.

    And once we’ve done that we can change the electoral process so that we have instant run off voting. That means instead of choosing one candidate you choose two. The candidate you really want and the fall back guy in case your first guy doesn’t win. Then you can have all the political parties you want because Congress will actually look like the American people. It will be representative. And that’s something it hasn’t been in a long time.

    Now quit being stupid. There are plenty of stupid people in the GOP. And we damned sure don’t want them in Congress. So run your candidates as progressive Democrats and take out the Democratic contender at that stage. Then you can run head to head against the conservative. That way you get ALL of the progressive votes not just a portion of them. Then all the liberals need to win is 51% rather than 67%.

  14. Scruggs said on September 28th, 2007 at 5:32am #

    Marq Goldberg, please calm down and, please, please ease off the gaseous self-righteousness. People have been trying to “take back the Democratic Party” for decades. Did you think it never occurred to anyone? Are you aware of all the energy that’s been put into trying? Your instructions are fatuous and useless.

  15. Binh said on September 28th, 2007 at 7:42am #

    Blyden writes: From his series of damning critiques of the Green Party, it would appear Joshua Frank is intent to destroy the Green Party, or at least purge it. I think that is a misguided tactic.

    The GP would be much better off if it got rid of its Benedict Arnolds, whether by un-electing them or just splitting off and starting over as painful as that would be. As it stands now the party is strangling itself in never-ending factional disputes where nothing is ever resolved.

    And to the guy saying that ANY Democrat is better than ANY Republican – there are things a Democrat can do that a Republican could never think of. Ending welfare for one. Or bringing back the draft. Bubba accomplished #1 (Reagan and Bush knew how much opposition there would be if they even tried), maybe Hillary will be able to do #2?

  16. AlanSmithee said on September 28th, 2007 at 8:53am #

    How many times has Frank pronounced from on high that the Green Party is dead? This is getting repetitive.

  17. Scott McLarty said on September 28th, 2007 at 10:13am #

    Readers beware. I advise readers of Dissident Voice and other publications to which Joshua Frank contributes to take anything he writes about the Green Party with a heap of salt. Mr. Frank’s coverage of the GP relies on a small group of informants with a particular point of view, and Mr. Frank apparently never checks his facts against other sources. It’s like covering the Democratic Party and using Lyndon LaRouche as one’s sole source. “Pruning the Green Party” is typical, especially in its baseless and uncorroborated personal smears of Green leaders against whom Mr. Frank’s informants hold obvious vendettas.

    Mr. Frank has claimed that he supports the GP and its political goals, and he has made clear his disappointment in the GP for not supporting Mr. Nader’s independent presidential run in 2004 and his wish that Mr. Nader will be the party’s 2008 choice. But his latest reporting, in a recent article blasting a resolution passed by the GP’s National Committee in preparation for the 2008 race that was in part motivated by Mr. Nader’s own advice to the party, seems designed to drive a wedge between Ralph Nader and the GP. On this and other evidence, many of us suspect that Joshua Frank, for whatever ideological or sectarian reasons, has no interest in seeing the GP succeed in any way.

    Green activists around the US are well informed about the actions of party officials, and the Green leaders maligned by Mr. Frank actually enjoy a great amount of respect among Greens nationally. My advice to Greg Gerrit, Phil Huckelberry, Nan Garrett, and other targets of Joshua Frank’s poison pen is to remember his hatchet jobs on the GP and Green campaigns in the 2004 election, and to take his calumnies as a badge of honor as much as if they were penned by Bill O’Reilly or Todd Gitlin. My advice to readers is, if you take Mr. Frank even slightly seriously, that you balance his articles with other, more reliable sources of information about the GP.

    Scott McLarty, Media Coordinator, Green Party of the United States (www.gp.org)

  18. Joshua Frank said on September 28th, 2007 at 11:00am #

    Scott,

    When you accuse someone of being inaccurate it isn’t a bad idea to back your claims up with facts of your own. Greg Garrett tried to do just that, but couldn’t. It’ll make your case a little more believable.

    From the amount of email I’ve received from Green Party members, the grassroots mind you, not your friends in DC, I can assure you that not all are happy with the current leadership structure. Cavlan, Murphy, Arnon, LaVenia, are just a few. The GP is in rapid decline. That’s a fact. Money is short, leadership is nonexistant and there aren’t any signs that things are about to change for the better, even if Nader decides to run on your ticket.

    If it weren’t for DissidentVoice and CounterPunch, I’m doubtful the Green Party would even get any coverage. So you should be thankful Scott. People think you still exist.

    Best,
    Joshua Frank

  19. Wes Rolley said on September 28th, 2007 at 11:36am #

    This is so tiresome. There is so much work to be done and yet so much energy is wasted on matters over which there is little or not control, such as whether or not Joshua Frank wants the Green Party to succeed.

    Things are pretty clear to me. The Green Party will succeed when we start electing people at the local and state level. It can be done. You might think that Western Colorado is a Red State hotbed of Conservatism, yet the citizens of San Miguel County elected Green Art Goodtimes as commissioner, and the have since re-elected him twice. We need more Art Goodtimes to make it a Green Goodtime for this country.

    We should never for a minute substitute agreeing with Democrats on an issue for working to get them elected. In fact, there are issues on which we should find common cause with Republican: e.g. in some of the fights against eminent domain abuse.

    It has been proven that we can find common cause with Libertarians, for example in contesting the Ohio Presidential Election in 2004 (Where were you, John Kerry?).

    As for Any Democrat being better than Any Republican, maybe we should start with Wm. Jefferson. Or, let’s take enlightened, people oriented leadership from the Democrats, like Dan Rostenkowski whose leadership of the house gave the big opening to Newt Gingrich and landed Rostenkowski in jail.

    One of these times, even the Kos himself will have to admit that there are Democratic crooks.

  20. Howard Switzer said on September 28th, 2007 at 4:07pm #

    I didn’t even read the whole article because when he started in with the crap about Phil Huckleberry it was clear this was going to be a pack of lies, another hit piece on the GP. Mr. Frank seems to have buddies he imagines to be exemplary greens who know the whole truth so he buys their tale without bothering to check the facts thus this is just opinion not journalism. Had he checked out, for instance, who did the work in the fight in Illinois with the Democrats to get a Green ballot line he would have known Phil was not a Democrat and that it is slanderous to say so. This was just name-calling by people who either don’t want the party to succeed or are somehow habitually contrary. So you can see we are having some internal trouble with people who want to tear down instead of build. I think it is true that we are somewhat strapped by old paradigm leftist thinking.

    Leadership is evolving in the GP and we *are* getting more and more local office holders elected. If there is not one in your area join a local or start a local and get started electing one. We who understand the need for a Green Party, a second party, in this country need to walk our talk. This party has to be built from the bottom up and if its not exciting for you then get busy and make it exciting. Laugh at the clowns and get on with the work. If the future is not Green there won’t be a future.

  21. Tom Yager said on September 28th, 2007 at 5:33pm #

    “How can Democrats be seen as anything other than Green Party foes? How can those within the Green Party who continue suggesting that the Greens and the Democrats are ideologically aligned, not also be seen as the “vilest enemies” of the Greens?”

    I’ve yet to see anything positive come from Greens labelling other Greens as enemies. As for the Democrats, I’m much more critical of the Beltway party leadership than the grassroots progressives. They’re almost as fed up with their party enabling Bush as Greens are. I want them to join our party.

    Phil Huckleberry knows perfectly well that the Democratic Party machine tries to keep Greens off the ballot, and he has done an exemplary job of fighting them. He has never suggested that we are ideologically aligned with the Democratic Partry leadership. I really think that you’re throwing spaghetti at the wall on this one.

    “As it turns out, according to Mike Cavlan, Gerritt, more than anyone else other than perhaps David Cobb, was responsible for the disaster of 2004 and that while serving as party secretary, personally disaffiliated the Utah Green Party which was recognized by the state of Utah. He had no power to do this, but his decision went unchallenged and consequently an artificial Green Party was set up — a paper party which would give Huckelberry and Gerritt two more votes.”

    Greg did not disaffiliate the Green Party of Utah. A few of its members were suspended by the party in 2004, and decided to start their own Green Party of Utah. The national party simply refused to intervene in a matter of state party discipline. They did not set up a “paper party” to benefit Greg and Phil. They simply mainained the affiliation of the existing party. This so-called “paper party” ran candidates in 2006 and is petitioning to get on the ballot for 2008.

    It really couldn’t hurt to talk to the Green Party of Utah; they could give you the full story.

    “If it weren’t for DissidentVoice and CounterPunch, I’m doubtful the Green Party would even get any coverage. So you should be thankful Scott. People think you still exist.”

    Actually, Rich Whitney got substantial coverage by the mainstream media in Illinois during his campaign for Governor last year. The Greens did not have reporters trying to portray everything that they said or did in the most negative way possible. I wish that I could say the same for you, Josh.

  22. John Murphy said on September 28th, 2007 at 5:38pm #

    I find it upsetting and troubling that Scott McLarty , the Media Coordinator for the GPUS , would reply in such a fashion to the article written by Josh Frank. Instead of offering constructive criticism or specifying some mistake that Josh made in his article, Scott simply engages in the rhetoric of the ad hominem argument. Since he has no basis to attack what Josh wrote, he attacks the author of the article and refers to his sources using the charged language of propagandists calling them a “small group of informants”.

    Scott accuses Josh of making “baseless and uncorroborated personal smears of Green leaders against whom Mr. Frank’s informants hold obvious vendettas”.

    I saw no “obvious vendettas”. I saw no “uncorroborated personal smears of Green Party leaders”. What I saw, and I am National Delegate and member of the Steering Committee of the Green Party of Pennsylvania as well as a Green Party candidate for House of Representatives, was an objective presentation of the facts. But then, I’m NOT a fusionist, I actually oppose the duopoly.

    As I said above, no matter how you slice it, no matter how the fusionists like Scott (often called demogreens derisively but deservedly) try to spin it, no matter how they try to blame what happened on “outside circumstances”, Greg Gerrit and the current leadership supervised the single largest national electoral collapse within one election cycle by any political party in American history, as totals fell an unimaginable 96%, and ballot lines built for the race fell 50% (even though not a single state ballot line was challenged by Democrats in 2004).

    There were a bunch of third parties running in 2004. All of them performed better than in 2000. The Greens were the only one that fell. And we fell by an amount so huge as to defy any explanation beyond the near-complete abandonment of electoral activity, which is what occurred, by Greg Gerritt’s own admission.

    And what else exactly has been happening since 2004, for all the work the fusionists say they have been doing? Candidacies in all races fell another 30 to 50 percent annually. At the rate we’re going, by 2012 there will be hardly any GP candidacies at all.

    The treasury remains bankrupt, as old donors continue to decline to renew, undoubtedly due to their impression that we’ve become a very poor investment, and new donors prove elusive, primarily due to the state of near-invisibility that the fusionist’s efforts have generated.

    We have had the same person in charge of media and we get no media coverage at all; not in 2004, not in 2007; the same person in charge of fundraising and we are still bankrupt year after year. And if you criticize these people you get removed from the discussion listserv and are called “divisive”.

    Many of the people who supported David Cobb realized sooner or later that they were misled by the hard-core fusionists and now realize what the formulators of that strategy really have planned for the Green Party. Make no mistake about it: the fusionists, those who hung David Cobb around our neck, are seeking fusion with the Democrat Party. The fusionists are Democrats; if they are not registered that way, they are nevertheless philosophically joined at the cerebrum with the Democrats.

    When the 2008 election is over and we have realized tremendous gains thanks to the life-saving infusion from Ralph Nader we will nevertheless still have the following 2004 fusionists holding the following positions:

    Greg Gerritt, still chair of the PCSC, despite having admitted that in 2004 he allowed his belief that the Greens should pull dramatically back in 2004 to guide the recommendations he made to candidates. This man should be run out of town on a rail but I will settle for his immediate resignation. Do the Green Party delegates have the courage to do it? Do they have the brains to do it?

    Phil I-never-ran-against-a-Democrat Huckelberry, who recently submitted a phonied up resume in order to become one of the cochairs of the GPUS should have been hanged, drawn and quartered for his role in the strategy failure of 2004. Promoting a man who has shown himself to be completely incompetent has now placed the Green Party in the same category as the worst corporations who promote managers who have caused the loss of customers, closed plants and crashing revenues. Huckelberry is now a co-chair of GPUS instead of being with Greg in the “strategists-who-failed-spectacularly” retirement home.

    SCOTT MCLARTY, is still “Media Coordinator”, despite having been the Media Coordinator who attracted no media in 2004, and has still managed to attract absolutely no media attention to the Green Party. Why is this man still in place? Does the Green Party have a death wish? Do we have the smarts to get rid of this guy?

    Jody Haug, who managed to extend her SC term limit by being switched to Treasurer, a position for which she had no qualifications, and in the course of which narrowly avoided a significant ethics violation only due to last-minute intervention by a concerned person outside the party. Jody Haug, third time, for being chair of Fundraising, and no major changes or innovations are coming from there to create any faith that GPUS will ever emerge from bankruptcy. This is another example of the organization-wide death which we seem to have for our party. Do we lack the courage or the brains to get rid of people like this?

    Jody Grage, second time, for being co-chair of Fin Com, yet GPUS is still bankrupt, and no reorganization plan to emerge has been undertaken. Can you imagine this woman leading the campaign for Ralph Nader in the state of Washington? She must go. How do we make it happen?

    Greg Gerritt (failings already described) and Nan Garrett (Good God) chairing the Coordinated Campaign Committee. We have seeded our political pond with piranha! Does anyone seriously think we can stay afloat very long? Let’s get the net!

    Julia Willebrand, still co-chair of the International Committee, despite having failed to follow her own bylaws and seek the input of international Green Parties when GPUS proposals could have an impact on them. Are you starting to get the message folks? We have booked passage on the Titanic. Is anyone going to tell the captain to change course or are we going to continue heading for what we know lies ahead?

    Howard Switzer the fellow who just gave us a breathtaking banking proposal based on the thinking of the racist Franklin Sanders who chairs the Tennessee chapter of “the League of the South” (which was approved by the majority of delegates) heads the Platform Committee! Get serious! Here’s a guy who wants to arrange our financial matters using the thinking of a libertarian and a racist and he’s in charge of our platform committee! We are playing Russian roulette with all chambers fully loaded. How long are we to put up with people like Howard? Let’s send him back to Tiny Town, Tennessee with his barefooted buddy Katey Culver where his damage will be minimalized.

    Jim Coplen, the hero of Indiana! There are approximately 12 Greens in Indiana after all of Jim’s hard work and we have promoted him to the Steering Committee. Talk about drinking the Kool-Aid; we gotta being freakin nuts to have this guy on our Steering Committee!

    Holly Hart: do I really have to say anything; apparently not because she was overwhelmingly reelected? I think the reason she was reelected is not just because of the fusionists. There is a third faction that goes by various names. Sometimes they’re called the “kum by yah” Greens. These are the Greens that would actually like to do the right thing but haven’t got a clue as to what it is. They think since these people are in charge, they must be okay. These are the Greens that need to be hugged twice a day in order to function; these folks think we can deal with Dick Cheney by loving him to death.

    Scott, generally, there is nothing wrong with having nothing worthwhile to say – unless you insist on saying it.

    John Murphy

  23. AlanSmithee said on September 28th, 2007 at 5:45pm #

    I don’t know anyone locally who takes Frank seriously and the only time we hear from the national party is when they want money. Still we elect city concilmen, get municipal ordinances passed and so forth (we’ll probably get IRV passed at the state level if we can sneak it past the DFL). The future of the Green Party is local and Dissident Voice can go fuck itself if it thinks it can dictate to us. We’ll look after our own house, thankyouverymuch.

  24. Marq Goldberg said on September 29th, 2007 at 2:47pm #

    Scruggs said on September 28th, 2007 at 5:32 am #

    Marq Goldberg, please calm down and, please, please ease off the gaseous self-righteousness. People have been trying to “take back the Democratic Party” for decades. Did you think it never occurred to anyone? Are you aware of all the energy that’s been put into trying? Your instructions are fatuous and useless.
    ————————————————————————-
    I guess basic math isn’t your strong suit huh? Let me guess. You’re a Green aren’t you? The instructions I gave are the ONLY way it will work. Quit dividing the party. It only gets the other guy elected. I would have thought you would have learned that in 2000.

    ————————————————————-
    Blyden writes: And to the guy saying that ANY Democrat is better than ANY Republican – there are things a Democrat can do that a Republican could never think of. Ending welfare for one. Or bringing back the draft. Bubba accomplished #1 (Reagan and Bush knew how much opposition there would be if they even tried), maybe Hillary will be able to do #2?
    —————————————————————-

    That’s why you get rid of them at the PRIMARY stage. And BTW the Clintons are DINOs. Democrats In Name only. Hillary was a Goldwater Republican. But a Goldwater Republican is still vastly superior to the freaks they have in their party now. First we get the Dems in control and then we replace the Dems we don’t like with the candidates we do like. And there’s no reason you can’t raise hell about a Dem leader who is doing wrong. Why do you think only a Dem could get away with certain things? Have you been asleep the last 7 years? Bush could literally rape babies on the White House lawn during a live press event and the only thing we’d hear from his constituents is what a brave right to life statement he had made. At least the Dem party isn’t made up of bathroom lurkers and child molestors.

  25. Marq Goldberg said on September 29th, 2007 at 3:10pm #

    BTW Cindy Sheehan has announced that she plans to run against Nancy Pelosi if Pelosi doesn’t work a little harder to end the war. Now what kind of message do you think it would send if their Speaker of the House was replaced for being too conservative? That’s a shot across the bow and it will be a helluva lot more effective than dividing the party. If the religious nuts could take over the GOP then the liberals or at least the moderates should have no problem taking back the DNC.

  26. Tom Yager said on September 29th, 2007 at 3:42pm #

    Marq Goldberg said on September 29th, 2007 at 3:10 pm #

    “BTW Cindy Sheehan has announced that she plans to run against Nancy Pelosi if Pelosi doesn’t work a little harder to end the war.”

    She’s running as an independent. Before you repeat your condescending lecture, the Republican got 11% against Pelosi last year. It’s basically a race between Pelosi and Sheehan.

  27. David Gaines said on September 29th, 2007 at 11:44pm #

    Since this whole discussion reminds me of the 2nd grade, I’ll characterize a review of it as such: you all fail, and my overall comment is “these people do not play well with others.”

    The Socialist Party went through all this sniping, snipping, he said/she said, blah blah blah nonsense 75 years ago and disintegrated because of it. Well, that and the end of the depression, but let’s keep things simple. The far left in America, going back to the 19th century, has historically been unable to keep from splitting, fracturing, and bickering, and thus self-imploding. It’s really fascinating to watch it happen over and over again, proving the whole saying about the definition of insanity being doing the same thing over and over expecting a different result each time.

    Isn’t anyone in this movement interested in NOT repeating the past? The current dregs of what’s left of the Socialist Party is going through the exact same thing, and what they say to each other makes what you folks are throwing around look like polite chit chat.

    I don’t give a rat’s ass whether David Cobb was a right-on dude or not, or whether Joshua Frank has every single one of his facts straight. I didn’t support Cobb and, frankly, don’t much like the guy, but I made sure to keep on working with my GP allies who stayed behind and supported that campaign, and when 2004 we kissed and made up and moved on like grownups.

    I’ve been working on the third party bandwagon since before Nixon resigned, before — I daresay — many of you were born, when it was pretty damn tough to walk around sidewalks and parking lots trying to get people to sign petitions to put totally unknown radical wackos on a ballot. And the one thing I’ve learned is that, when you insist on engaging in a fight over who’s the most self-righteous, the whole party loses. Great, you win your ad hominem turf battle, and then you get nowhere on election day (or, more importantly the day after election day….something our Democratic Party mole here doesn’t understand) because you can’t get everyone united enough to focus on the things we in the Green Party all have in common, which ABSOLUTELY TOWER over the things on which we disagree — to paraphrase a certain rumpled acquaintance of mine with some practical experience in this area.

    Let me repeat this point. Kwitcherbellyaching, focus your energy on our shared goals and the important issues on which we all agree, and grow up. This is a sorry spectacle and worse than having to watch televangelists argue with each other over who’s a better Christian.

    And to the DailyKos mole with the tiresome and snotty attitude about third parties and an obsession with grade school politics, I have four questions: (1) Can you name one significant social reform that was initiated by the Democratic Party and NOT by a third party? [hint: the correct answer is somewhere south of “one”] (2) Do you really think that Zell Miller, Joe Lieberman, and James Traficant are “better” (whatever that means) than Chuck Hagel, Christopher Shays, and Olympia Snowe? (3) Why don’t you support our efforts at educating people about instant runoff voting and range voting, which would completely do away with what it is about the current system that dissatisfies you? I doubt you support IRV, simply because virtually no prominent Democrats do, when pressed on the issue. (Why? I have no earthly clue. What are they afraid of? Maybe Ann Coulter’s right when she says that Democrats haven’t come up with an original idea since…….well, I forget, but it was something Eugene Debs came up with decades earlier anyway.) Of course, these are people who think that voters will “become confused” when presented with a ballot that has (gasp) more than two names on it. Never mind that, in many countries around the world, masses of people who are ILLITERATE somehow manage to cast ballots with literally dozens of parties appearing on them. In any event, if all IRV does is keep the Democratic Party of Virginia from having to send goon squads to Richmond to prevent the people of that state from deciding for themselves whom they wish to see on their election ballot, then it’s worth it (4) Were you happy when Sen. Tim Johnson of South Dakota was reelected last time out because a Libertarian candidate was in the race? At least one Democrat is in the House now because a Constitution Party candidate was in his race, too. Was that okay? It must be, because any Democrat is better than any Republican, so will you be maxing out this year when you send your contributions to the Libertarian Party and Constitution Party?

  28. Brandy Baker said on September 30th, 2007 at 7:37am #

    David Gaines. Right on.

    As an active Green, I have learned in the past few years to work with those who are on board and focused on the mission. Ignore the rest.

    Let’s move the fuck on and give a hard Sunday Punch to the two party system in 2008.

  29. Myles Hoenig said on September 30th, 2007 at 8:08am #

    Regardless of all the blather going back and forth regarding personalities, the point needs to be made that the Green Party is a political party, whose goal is to win elections, promote our agenda, and not to be another party’s foil. Mistakes are always made in elections. We made them in 04. Every party errs in some way. Probably close to half a billion dollars will be spent by the losing party in 2008 as their victory is stolen once again. Or, the likely candidate for now for the Democrats will be outvoted by people who want someone who actually admits to being a Republican, not just acting like one all her life. Or, people might be just too drained and worn out that they’re sucked into a vacuum of leadership and gravitate towards the Democrats solely because of frustration, false messages and nothing of substance.

    Should the Greens run against a Democrat if the outcome could be a conservative Republican? Why not. It’s unfortunate that Shehan is not registered as a Green. What if a Pelosi-type were to lose to a Republican because of a Green or Independent challenge? For the last several decades they have sold out or co-opted every movement that had fought for social change.
    Labor: a minimum wage only maximizes poverty. GP supports a Living Wage. Where are they fighting pension theft? Where are they fighting anti-unionism by companies like Wal-Mart whose income is greater than many nation’s GDP. Oh, yeah, they’re on their board of directors (Hillary with Wal Mart, or John Kerry with a $million in stocks with them).
    Health care: Dems support an insurance based health care system. Only the GP supports Single Payer. More than half of all bankruptcies in America is due to health crises. Labor should never have to fight to protect health care. That should be a given for all citizens regardless of employment status.
    Peace: with rare exceptions, the Democratic leadership and their representative toadies all support this war or its continuing and permanent occupation. Funny how the first high profile Senator to really challenge the war was Chuck Hegel, R of Neb.
    Middle East: No Democrat would dare challenge the unequal treatment the US gives to Israel.
    Democracy abroad: D or R admin., when have the Dems ever challenged a war to overthrow elected governments before, or as it was happening?

    It should be the goal of the GP to become a major political party. Let the Dems become a 3rd party, or merge with the GOP and let others have easy ballot access.

    Myles Hoenig,
    former GP candidate for Baltimore City Council and campaign manager for Ed Boyd, GP candidate for Governor of Maryland.

  30. Max Shields said on September 30th, 2007 at 5:47pm #

    I agree that this is not getting us anywhere; and I really don’t understand Mr. Franks obsession with the GP.

    The real changes need to be at the local and state. The DC world cannot be transformed from within unless there is a great turnover to a Third Party (GP) which is not likely (make that NOT going to happen).

    Concentrate at winning at the local level. Begin to change the dynamics there. The problem cannot be met head on. Today the centers of power will destroy all attempts at real change. Focus where that center is not. With time, DC may become irrelevant or at least less relevant.

    But by all means GP must win as many local elections as possible. There can be great power in municipalities to make real change on a human-scale. Even at that level we are dealing with complexities which cannot be simplified if we are to be effective.

    Mr. Frank, have you actually run a campaign or been a candidate? If not try it some time and then, let’s talk.

  31. Marq Goldberg said on October 1st, 2007 at 12:04am #

    Great don’t listen to me. But you may want to remember that the two party system has such a lock on the election process that Ralph Nader couldn’t even get into the debates. So rather than putting your efforts where they may do some good I guess you’ll just keep undermining your own goals. It really doesn’t matter in the big picture anyway. Europe will continue to make progress and in 30 or 40 years the USA will be a third world nation. Mankind as a whole will move on. Unless one of these right wing sociopaths you keep putting in office blows up the planet or makes it virtually uninhabitable. Its too bad you can’t see the Democratic Party as it could be rather than as it is. Because the Greens will never be anything but a spoiler. And if you think Al Gore would have been anything like George W. Bush as a President there’s no point in arguing with you because you’re obviously completely insane.

  32. Marq Goldberg said on October 1st, 2007 at 12:14am #

    It should be the goal of the GP to become a major political party. Let the Dems become a 3rd party, or merge with the GOP and let others have easy ballot access.

    Myles Hoenig,
    former GP candidate for Baltimore City Council and campaign manager for Ed Boyd, GP candidate for Governor of Maryland.

    ——————————————————————
    Not much chance of the Greens becomming a major political party when they can’t even get in the debates. And just exactly what is your plan for getting them to “let others have easy ballot access”? Are you gonna beg them to let you in? What color is the sky in your world? Because you obviously aren’t living in this one.

    I don’t understand why you Greens would think the moderates and progressives (the majority) can’t take back the Democratic Party when a handful of religious lunatics have clearly accomplished that with the GOP. Its too bad. You could have been part of the solution instead of being part of the problem.

  33. Myles Hoenig said on October 1st, 2007 at 8:38am #

    I’m happy to be part of your ‘problem’.

    The ballot access that I referred to was hypothetical. If we were to be a major party, then we should support all parties having easier access to the system. Unfortunately, Democrats, and Republicans, are notoriously opposed to participatory democracy by denying people the right to have their party recognized for election purposes.

    Democrats who oppose easier ballot access for other voices oppose ‘democracy’ as well as show their antipathy, anger, and sometimes outright hostility towards voters; especially of voters who don’t accept the DP position that it owns their vote.

    I don’t forsee the GP having such electoral strength in my lifetime, but to see the DP whither away in a short time is a near certainty. Whenever you get rid of a broken down old table, you go and get something new.

  34. Brandy Baker said on October 1st, 2007 at 11:21am #

    The third party movement is not going away and people from PDA and other from “within the DP” will always be sniping at us instead of holding the neo-con Hillary, Al Gore (who yes, would have invaded Iraq if he served the term that he won in 2000; he and B Clinton called for “regeime change” in Iraq in 1998), O Bomb Them Barack, and these other seelouts and criminals accountable . Ignore the sniping and ask the question: what will the third party movement become?

    Max Shields submitted some very intelligent thinking on this. But I do have to question: should the Green Party be focusing on the local level? I am not so sure that it should. Here’s why:

    The public does not pay much attention to local politics and local politicians are limited as to what they can do (espcially one Green amongst many Dems, which is what would be the case here is Baltimore City). I believe that the only way that local GP races can be effective is through having the campaigns grow out of local movements for housing, municipalization of services, etc. Also, the local races seem to be left to the local/state GP apparatus, which, with some exceptions, comprises of individuals who are more conservative than the Greens involved directly with movements. The apparatus, which mostly goes to meetings and chats on listservs day in and day out, is (with some exceptions) not really involved in the movements. So when candidates who have no business being nominated come forward (whether they want our ballot line and do not believe in left politics; or they were once good activists decades ago, but alienation has made them nuts, etc), the apparatus will nominate them no matter how inept these candidates are or how inept the political outlook of these canddiates truly is. It takes a strong political consciousness to stand up and say, “Know what? This person may have good intentions, but he has no business in this race.” These candidates that have no business running, if they were ever elected, would fold in a heartbeat once elected to city council, state house, etc. They, like the state party apparatus, are too timid to stand up for what is right.

    Also, all GP candidates, local, state, and federal, need to be emphasizing the growth of a movement through action, “Join the GP, fight for your rights through activism, direct action, agitation of the elites and by the way, vote” not, “Okay, on this date, go to the polls and vote for me.” The emphasis needs to be taken off of the individual, which we saw too much of in our 2006 Senate race.

    So to return to my point: I see limitations to the local focus that so many Greens want us to employ. Also, coming back: most of the public do not follow local races. They do not even know where their local and state districts. So if there is not at least one strong local movement keeping the local GP candidates left, the culture of local politics will grow conservative as the only types of people the candidates will be surrounded by at these forums are Democratic Party (and Republican Party) hacks who believe in nothing but their own desire to move up in the ranks of either one of the two major parties.

  35. Brandy Baker said on October 1st, 2007 at 11:25am #

    *the culture of local politics will grow conservative (and local GP candidates right along with them)

  36. Max Shields said on October 1st, 2007 at 7:54pm #

    Brandy,

    I agree that the public doesn’t pay much attention to the politics which impacts their lives the most – local. But that is due to our lack of democracy. Democracy in the US is almost non-existent – in fact, honesty would say it’s merely a word used as a pretext to invade other nations rather than a way to live our lives here.

    While you note important challenges, they should not deter us if they are the right challenges; and I submit they are. The dynamics of national politics cannot be directly changed. To do so would require a revolution (ala French). To partake of the national body politic is to be inculcated by that process and thus be swallowed up by it if not first destroyed.

    The change, than, should be at the local level. Why? Because I think more people want the kind of alternative GP can offer if it stays true to a new model of social and ecological justice. If applied it touches all aspects of life and governance, economics and culture. That kind of transformation will not happen top down. Instead it reflects the biological and physicial emergence we see in quantum physics (complexity theory) and molecular biology. In a word it is a network of self-organization which is not hierarchical in nature but horizontal and best attained at the local, community level. In political terms it is a movement.

    It is a powerful force because it mimics nature. National politics reflects empire and domination, top down, hierachical organization; anti-nature. The GP has a better chance if it avoids the machine altogether and patterns itself on sustainability. It will be true to its basic principles and avoid the death trap of DC politics as we know and understand it.

    It is important to also note that most municipalities have a great deal of unused power to make real change. That does not mean there are not significant challenges. How best, for instance, to move toward a fair and sustainable land value tax if the State has not provided for it? But, again, this is not an insurmountable, simply an identifiable problem to be solved. There’s still many tools available at the municiple level which are largely unused. Go there first and then fight the good fight to add to the toolchest. As we weave this web, I’m betting the transformation will follow. It’s a start and it can make the lives of many so much better while we defang the empire from the bottom up.

  37. Marq Goldberg said on October 3rd, 2007 at 12:26pm #

    Myles I see that you were the GP candidate for Governor of Maryland. Could you kindly explain to me what you could do as a GP Governor that you couldn’t have done as a DP Governor? Specifically how would you have governed differently as a member of one party as opposed to the other. Other than getting a conservative elected. And if you can’t answer that maybe you should keep your mouth shut until you can.

    And secondly, if you were leading troops into battle would you rather lead a tight, cohesive unit or one where everyone just kind of “did their own thing?” And make no mistake about it. We are neck deep in a class war and we are getting
    —————————————————————————

    Brandy Baker said on October 1st, 2007 at 11:21 am #

    The third party movement is not going away and people from PDA and other from “within the DP” will always be sniping at us instead of holding the neo-con Hillary, Al Gore (who yes, would have invaded Iraq if he served the term that he won in 2000; he and B Clinton called for “regeime change” in Iraq in 1998),
    ———————————————————————-

    Are you sure you’re a Green? Because you sound more like a Republican. Maybe you weren’t aware of the speech Al Gore gave in September 2002. Yeah, 2002, when it was political suicide to be against the war.

    TEXT OF GORE’S SPEECH:

    Like all Americans I have been wrestling with the question of what our country needs to do to defend itself from the kind of intense, focused and enabled hatred that brought about September 11th, and which at this moment must be presumed to be gathering force for yet another attack. I’m speaking today in an effort to recommend a specific course of action for our country which I believe would be preferable to the course recommended by President Bush. Specifically, I am deeply concerned that the policy we are presently following with respect to Iraq has the potential to seriously damage our ability to win the war against terrorism and to weaken our ability to lead the world in this new century.

    To begin with, I believe we should focus our efforts first and foremost against those who attacked us on September 11th and have thus far gotten away with it. The vast majority of those who sponsored, planned and implemented the cold blooded murder of more than 3,000 Americans are still at large, still neither located nor apprehended, much less punished and neutralized. I do not believe that we should allow ourselves to be distracted from this urgent task simply because it is proving to be more difficult and lengthy than predicted. Great nations persevere and then prevail. They do not jump from one unfinished task to another.

    We are perfectly capable of staying the course in our war against Osama Bin Laden and his terrorist network, while simultaneously taking those steps necessary to build an international coalition to join us in taking on Saddam Hussein in a timely fashion.

    I don’t think that we should allow anything to diminish our focus on avenging the 3,000 Americans who were murdered and dismantling the network of terrorists who we know to be responsible for it. The fact that we don’t know where they are should not cause us to focus instead on some other enemy whose location may be easier to identify.

    Nevertheless, President Bush is telling us that the most urgent requirement of the moment – right now – is not to redouble our efforts against Al Qaeda, not to stabilize the nation of Afghanistan after driving his host government from power, but instead to shift our focus and concentrate on immediately launching a new war against Saddam Hussein. And he is proclaiming a new, uniquely American right to pre-emptively attack whomsoever he may deem represents a potential future threat.

    Moreover, he is demanding in this high political season that Congress speedily affirm that he has the necessary authority to proceed immediately against Iraq and for that matter any other nation in the region, regardless of subsequent developments or circumstances. The timing of this sudden burst of urgency to take up this cause as America’s new top priority, displacing the war against Osama Bin Laden, was explained by the White House Chief of Staff in his now well known statement that “from an advertising point of view, you don’t launch a new product line until after labor day.”

    Nevertheless, Iraq does pose a serious threat to the stability of the Persian Gulf and we should organize an international coalition to eliminate his access to weapons of mass destruction. Iraq’s search for weapons of mass destruction has proven impossible to completely deter and we should assume that it will continue for as long as Saddam is in power. Moreover, no international law can prevent the United States from taking actions to protect its vital interests, when it is manifestly clear that there is a choice to be made between law and survival. I believe, however, that such a choice is not presented in the case of Iraq. Indeed, should we decide to proceed, that action can be justified within the framework of international law rather than outside it. In fact, though a new UN resolution may be helpful in building international consensus, the existing resolutions from 1991 are sufficient from a legal standpoint.

    We also need to look at the relationship between our national goal of regime change in Iraq and our goal of victory in the war against terror. In the case of Iraq, it would be more difficult for the United States to succeed alone, but still possible. By contrast, the war against terror manifestly requires broad and continuous international cooperation. Our ability to secure this kind of cooperation can be severely damaged by unilateral action against Iraq. If the Administration has reason to believe otherwise, it ought to share those reasons with the Congress – since it is asking Congress to endorse action that might well impair a more urgent task: continuing to disrupt and destroy the international terror network.

    I was one of the few Democrats in the U.S. Senate who supported the war resolution in 1991. And I felt betrayed by the first Bush administration’s hasty departure from the battlefield, even as Saddam began to renew his persecution of the Kurds of the North and the Shiites of the South – groups we had encouraged to rise up against Saddam. It is worth noting, however, that the conditions in 1991 when that resolution was debated in Congress were very different from the conditions this year as Congress prepares to debate a new resolution. Then, Saddam had sent his armies across an international border to invade Kuwait and annex its territory. This year, 11 years later, there is no such invasion; instead we are prepared to cross an international border to change the government of Iraq. However justified our proposed action may be, this change in role nevertheless has consequences for world opinion and can affect the war against terrorism if we proceed unilaterally.

    Secondly, in 1991, the first President Bush patiently and skillfully built a broad international coalition. His task was easier than that confronted his son, in part because of Saddam’s invasion of Kuwait. Nevertheless, every Arab nation except Jordan supported our military efforts and some of them supplied troops. Our allies in Europe and Asia supported the coalition without exception. Yet this year, by contrast, many of our allies in Europe and Asia are thus far opposed to what President Bush is doing and the few who support us condition their support on the passage of a new U.N. resolution.

    Third, in 1991, a strong United Nations resolution was in place before the Congressional debate ever began; this year although we have residual authority based on resolutions dating back to the first war in Iraq, we have nevertheless begun to seek a new United Nations resolution and have thus far failed to secure one.

    Fourth, the coalition assembled in 1991 paid all of the significant costs of the war, while this time, the American taxpayers will be asked to shoulder hundreds of billions of dollars in costs on our own.

    Fifth, President George H. W. Bush purposely waited until after the mid-term elections of 1990 to push for a vote at the beginning of the new Congress in January of 1991. President George W. Bush, by contrast, is pushing for a vote in this Congress immediately before the election. Rather than making efforts to dispel concern at home an abroad about the role of politics in the timing of his policy, the President is publicly taunting Democrats with the political consequences of a “no” vote – even as the Republican National Committee runs pre-packaged advertising based on the same theme — in keeping with the political strategy clearly described in a White House aide’s misplaced computer disk, which advised Republican operatives that their principal game plan for success in the election a few weeks away was to “focus on the war.” Vice President Cheney, meanwhile indignantly described suggestions of political motivation “reprehensible.” The following week he took his discussion of war strategy to the Rush Limbaugh show.

    The foreshortening of deliberation in the Congress robs the country of the time it needs for careful analysis of what may lie before it. Such consideration is all the more important because of the Administration’s failure thus far to lay out an assessment of how it thinks the course of a war will run – even while it has given free run to persons both within and close to the administration to suggest that this will be an easy conquest. Neither has the Administration said much to clarify its idea of what is to follow regime change or of the degree of engagement it is prepared to accept for the United States in Iraq in the months and years after a regime change has taken place.

    By shifting from his early focus after September 11th on war against terrorism to war against Iraq, the President has manifestly disposed of the sympathy, good will and solidarity compiled by America and transformed it into a sense of deep misgiving and even hostility. In just one year, the President has somehow squandered the international outpouring of sympathy, goodwill and solidarity that followed the attacks of September 11th and converted it into anger and apprehension aimed much more at the United States than at the terrorist network – much as we manage to squander in one year’s time the largest budget surpluses in history and convert them into massive fiscal deficits. He has compounded this by asserting a new doctrine – of preemption.

    The doctrine of preemption is based on the idea that in the era of proliferating WMD, and against the background of a sophisticated terrorist threat, the United States cannot wait for proof of a fully established mortal threat, but should rather act at any point to cut that short.

    The problem with preemption is that in the first instance it is not needed in order to give the United States the means to act in its own defense against terrorism in general or Iraq in particular. But that is a relatively minor issue compared to the longer-term consequences that can be foreseen for this doctrine. To begin with, the doctrine is presented in open-ended terms, which means that if Iraq if the first point of application, it is not necessarily the last. In fact, the very logic of the concept suggests a string of military engagements against a succession of sovereign states: Syria, Libya, North Korea, Iran, etc., wherever the combination exists of an interest in weapons of mass destruction together with an ongoing role as host to or participant in terrorist operations. It means also that if the Congress approves the Iraq resolution just proposed by the Administration it is simultaneously creating the precedent for preemptive action anywhere, anytime this or any future president so decides.

    The Bush Administration may now be realizing that national and international cohesion are strategic assets. But it is a lesson long delayed and clearly not uniformly and consistently accepted by senior members of the cabinet. From the outset, the Administration has operated in a manner calculated to please the portion of its base that occupies the far right, at the expense of solidarity among Americans and between America and her allies.

    On the domestic front, the Administration, having delayed almost —months before conceding the need to create an institution outside the White House to manage homeland defense, has been willing to see progress on the new department held up, for the sake of an effort to coerce the Congress into stripping civil service protections from tens of thousands of federal employees.

    Far more damaging, however, is the Administration’s attack on fundamental constitutional rights. The idea that an American citizen can be imprisoned without recourse to judicial process or remedies, and that this can be done on the say-so of the President or those acting in his name, is beyond the pale.

    Regarding other countries, the Administration’s disdain for the views of others is well documented and need not be reviewed here. It is more important to note the consequences of an emerging national strategy that not only celebrates American strengths, but appears to be glorifying the notion of dominance. If what America represents to the world is leadership in a commonwealth of equals, then our friends are legion; if what we represent to the world is empire, then it is our enemies who will be legion.

    At this fateful juncture in our history it is vital that we see clearly who are our enemies, and that we deal with them. It is also important, however, that in the process we preserve not only ourselves as individuals, but our nature as a people dedicated to the rule of law.

    Moreover, if we quickly succeed in a war against the weakened and depleted fourth rate military of Iraq and then quickly abandon that nation as President Bush has abandoned Afghanistan after quickly defeating a fifth rate military there, the resulting chaos could easily pose a far greater danger to the United States than we presently face from Saddam. We know that he has stored secret supplies of biological and chemical weapons throughout his country.

    We have no evidence, however, that he has shared any of those weapons with terrorist group. However, if Iraq came to resemble Afghanistan – with no central authority but instead local and regional warlords with porous borders and infiltrating members of Al Qaeda than these widely dispersed supplies of weapons of mass destruction might well come into the hands of terrorist groups.

    If we end the war in Iraq, the way we ended the war in Afghanistan, we could easily be worse off than we are today. When Secretary Rumsfield was asked recently about what our responsibility for restabilizing Iraq would be in an aftermath of an invasion, he said, “that’s for the Iraqis to come together and decide.”

    During one of the campaign debates in 2000 when then Governor Bush was asked if America should engage in any sort of “nation building” in the aftermath of a war in which we have involved our troops, he stated gave the purist expression of what is now a Bush doctrine: “I don’t think so. I think what we need to do is convince people who live in the lands they live in to build the nations. Maybe I’m missing something here. We’re going to have a kind of nation building corps in America? Absolutely not.”

    The events of the last 85 years provide ample evidence that our approach to winning the peace that follows war is almost as important as winning the war itself. The absence of enlightened nation building after World War I led directly to the conditions which made Germany vulnerable to fascism and the rise to Adolph Hitler and made all of Europe vulnerable to his evil designs. By contrast the enlightened vision embodied in the Marshall plan, NATO, and the other nation building efforts in the aftermath of World War II led directly to the conditions that fostered prosperity and peace for most the years since this city gave birth to the United Nations.

    Two decades ago, when the Soviet Union claimed the right to launch a pre-emptive war in Afghanistan, we properly encouraged and then supported the resistance movement which, a decade later, succeeded in defeating the Soviet Army’s efforts. Unfortunately, when the Russians left, we abandoned the Afghans and the lack of any coherent nation building program led directly to the conditions which fostered Al Qaeda terrorist bases and Osama Bin Laden’s plotting against the World Trade Center. Incredibly, after defeating the Taliban rather easily, and despite pledges from President Bush that we would never again abandon Afghanistan we have done precisely that. And now the Taliban and Al Qaeda are quickly moving back to take up residence there again. A mere two years after we abandoned Afghanistan the first time, Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait. Following a brilliant military campaign, the U.S. abandoned the effort to destroy Saddam’s military prematurely and allowed him to remain in power.

    What is a potentially even more serious consequence of this push to begin a new war as quickly as possible is the damage it can do not just to America’s prospects to winning the war against terrorism but to America’s prospects for continuing the historic leadership we began providing to the world 57 years ago, right here in this city by the bay.

    I believe, therefore, that the resolution that the President has asked Congress to pass is much too broad in the authorities it grants, and needs to be narrowed. The President should be authorized to take action to deal with Saddam Hussein as being in material breach of the terms of the truce and therefore a continuing threat to the security of the region. To this should be added that his continued pursuit of weapons of mass destruction is potentially a threat to the vital interests of the United States. But Congress should also urge the President to make every effort to obtain a fresh demand from the Security Council for prompt, unconditional compliance by Iraq within a definite period of time. If the Council will not provide such language, then other choices remain open, but in any event the President should be urged to take the time to assemble the broadest possible international support for his course of action. Anticipating that the President will still move toward unilateral action, the Congress should establish now what the administration’s thinking is regarding the aftermath of a US attack for the purpose of regime change.

    Specifically, Congress should establish why the president believes that unilateral action will not severely damage the fight against terrorist networks, and that preparations are in place to deal with the effects of chemical and biological attacks against our allies, our forces in the field, and even the home-front. The resolution should also require commitments from the President that action in Iraq will not be permitted to distract from continuing and improving work to reconstruct Afghanistan, an that the United States will commit to stay the course for the reconstruction of Iraq.

    The Congressional resolution should make explicitly clear that authorities for taking these actions are to be presented as derivatives from existing Security Council resolutions and from international law: not requiring any formal new doctrine of pre-emption, which remains to be discussed subsequently in view of its gravity.

    Last week President Bush added a troubling new element to this debate by proposing a broad new strategic doctrine that goes far beyond issues related to Iraq and would effect the basic relationship between the United States and the rest of the world community. Article 51 of the United Nations charter recognizes the right of any nation to defend itself, including the right in some circumstances to take pre-emptive actions in order to deal with imminent threats. President Bush now asserts that we will take pre-emptive action even if we take the threat we perceive is not imminent. If other nations assert the same right then the rule of law will quickly be replaced by the reign of fear – any nation that perceives circumstances that could eventually lead to an imminent threat would be justified under this approach in taking military action against another nation. An unspoken part of this new doctrine appears to be that we claim this right for ourselves – and only for ourselves. It is, in that sense, part of a broader strategy to replace ideas like deterrence and containment with what some in the administration “dominance.”

    This is because President Bush is presenting us with a proposition that contains within itself one of the most fateful decisions in our history: a decision to abandon what we have thought was America’s mission in the world – a world in which nations are guided by a common ethic codified in the form of international law — if we want to survive.

    We have faced such a choice once before, at the end of the second World War. At that moment, America’s power in comparison to the rest of the world was if anything greater than it is now, and the temptation was clearly to use that power to assure ourselves that there would be no competitor and no threat to our security for the foreseeable future. The choice we made, however, was to become a co-founder of what we now think of as the post-war era, based on the concepts of collective security and defense, manifested first of all in the United Nations. Through all the dangerous years that followed, when we understood that the defense of freedom required the readiness to put the existence of the nation itself into the balance, we never abandoned our belief that what we were struggling to achieve was not bounded by our own physical security, but extended to the unmet hopes of humankind. The issue before us is whether we now face circumstances so dire and so novel that we must choose one objective over the other.

    So it is reasonable to conclude that we face a problem that is severe, chronic, and likely to become worse over time.

    But is a general doctrine of pre-emption necessary in order to deal with this problem? With respect to weapons of mass destruction, the answer is clearly not. The Clinton Administration launched a massive series of air strikes against Iraq for the state purpose of setting back his capacity to pursue weapons of mass destruction. There was no perceived need for new doctrine or new authorities to do so. The limiting factor was the state of our knowledge concerning the whereabouts of some assets, and a concern for limiting consequences to the civilian populace, which in some instances might well have suffered greatly.

    Does Saddam Hussein present an imminent threat, and if he did would the United States be free to act without international permission? If he presents an imminent threat we would be free to act under generally accepted understandings of article 51 of the UN Charter which reserves for member states the right to act in self-defense.

    If Saddam Hussein does not present an imminent threat, then is it justifiable for the Administration to be seeking by every means to precipitate a confrontation, to find a cause for war, and to attack? There is a case to be made that further delay only works to Saddam Hussein’s advantage, and that the clock should be seen to have been running on the issue of compliance for a decade: therefore not needing to be reset again to the starting point. But to the extent that we have any concern for international support, whether for its political or material value, hurrying the process will be costly. Even those who now agree that Saddam Hussein must go, may divide deeply over the wisdom of presenting the United States as impatient for war.

    At the same time, the concept of pre-emption is accessible to other countries. There are plenty of potential imitators: India/Pakistan; China/Taiwan; not to forget Israel/Iraq or Israel/Iran. Russia has already cited it in anticipation of a possible military push into Georgia, on grounds that this state has not done enough to block the operations of Chechen rebels. What this doctrine does is to destroy the goal of a world in which states consider themselves subject to law, particularly in the matter of standards for the use of violence against each other. That concept would be displaced by the notion that there is no law but the discretion of the President of the United States.

    I believe that we can effectively defend ourselves abroad and at home without dimming our principles. Indeed, I believe that our success in defending ourselves depends precisely on not giving up what we stand for.

  38. Marq Goldberg said on October 3rd, 2007 at 5:03pm #

    And BTW if you want to work for a 3rd party I think that’s just great. There’s just one thing you need to consider.

    Your efforts are going to pull this nation either towards the conservative (dark ages) side or towards the liberal progressive side.

    Now apparently you Greens don’t understand how our system of government works. It is NOT representative. Other nations have repaired some flaws that our founding fathers didn’t recognize. They had the US as an example that we didn’t have. So in England if 30% vote for one progressive party and 30% vote for another progressive party and 40% vote for a conservative party they divide the seats up just like that. 30/30/40. In our system of government if the vote is split like that in every race 100% of the seats go to the party that got the most votes. In this case the conservative party.

    So if you really want to work for a 3rd party and you really want to move the nation in a pr0gressive direction what you should be doing is weakening the conservative side not the liberal side. Why not see what you can do to get Ron Paul to run as a Libertarian? Or work towards getting a more liberal candidate into the Democratic slot during the PRIMARIES. Because right now you’re working for the conservative team.

  39. David Gaines said on October 6th, 2007 at 5:23pm #

    Dear Mr. Goldberg:

    I’ll repeat, in slightly different form, one of the questions I asked you earlier, for which I’m still awaiting an answer. Do you or do you not support Instant Runoff Voting? IRV, which is being adopted by an increasing number of localities in the USA, will eliminate any objections you or any Democrat has to the so-called “spoiler” issue. If you do not, why do you not? And why should those who do continue working to support a system they want to bring to its knees; a system, mind you, that is so antiquated and rotten that even Diane Feinstein is on board the abolish-the-electoral-college bandwagon.

    Instead of simply accepting the status quo as etched-in-stone permanence, as every Democratic Party activist I’ve met over the last thirty years or so has, why not open your mind to the possibility of changing the system? Surely you would agree that it is sorely in need of changing. Since the Democratic Party is part of the systemic problem, why would we want to be Democrats? Your “least worst” logic has brought us……..well, nowhere, really. As Lawrence O’Donnell (who, last time I checked, still had the letter ‘D’ affixed to the end of his name, much like you) wisely points out in the recent documentary “An Unreasonable Man” (which I strongly recommend to you, although I would be surprised if you were even aware of it), you have got to show the Democrats that you are willing and able not to vote for them. That is the only language they (and, apparently, you) understand.

    I shudder to think where the Democratic Party would be today if people like Eugene Debs, Norman Thomas, Benjamin Spock, and Victoria Woodhull followed your line of thinking. You’re well familiar with them, aren’t you? Since people who support third parties are brain dead, and you are not, I assume you can expound upon these intellectually deficient characters from American history for us.

    Instead of running with the tired, arrogant, patronizing, and intellectually lazy position of the Democratic National Committee, I suggest you find out WHY people support the Green Party at the national, state, and local levels — people who are well familiar with the electoral college, with winner-take-all, and with the propensity of the Democratic Party to use goon squads to take choice out of the hands of individual voters, because they know what’s best, and anyone to the left of them who disagrees is obviously working for the conservative team. Right?

    We don’t need patronizing elementary school lectures. To paraphrase Ralph Nader, I was walking the walk on this issue when you were still in short pants, unless you’re older than I am, in which case I was walking the walk on this issue when you were tossing back your first bong hit in college.

    A wise old somebody-or-other once said “first seek to understand, then seek to be understood.” You may accomplish this in any number of ways; the one I recommend to you is to watch what I consider to be the best single-source exposition of the current pro-3rd party position. That would be the address Ralph Nader gave in October 2004 at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government – Institute of Politics. It’s important to remember while you watch it (it’s in the IOP archives at their website) that (1) Nader was not even on the ballot in Massachusetts (a safe Kerry state) that year, and (2) various MoveOn.org and DailyKos plants in the audience embarrassed themselves by asking questions that were rendered unnecessary by what Nader said in his address. Obviously they weren’t paying any attention. Not knowing how to pay attention is a big red flag, it seems to me, for people who are trying to convince other people that they should hold the reins of power.

    Please save your energy and don’t yap at us about how egotistical, futile, etc. Ralph Nader is. Just drop the party line, open up your mind, watch his address, and listen. Then ask questions. Listening and then asking questions is how one learns. Ralph’s mother taught him that; would that she had also parented the members of the Democratic National Committee.

    DG

  40. Marq Goldberg said on October 7th, 2007 at 3:19pm #

    David Gaines said on October 6th, 2007 at 5:23 pm #

    Dear Mr. Goldberg:

    I’ll repeat, in slightly different form, one of the questions I asked you earlier, for which I’m still awaiting an answer. Do you or do you not support Instant Runoff Voting? IRV, which is being adopted by an increasing number of localities in the USA, will eliminate any objections you or any Democrat has to the so-called “spoiler” issue. If you do not, why do you not? And why should those who do continue working to support a system they want to bring to its knees; a system, mind you, that is so antiquated and rotten that even Diane Feinstein is on board the abolish-the-electoral-college bandwagon.
    ————————————————————————

    David I wonder how closely you read what I wrote. Not only do I support “Instant Run Off Voting” I even explained what it was in case anyone reading was unfamiliar with the concept. But the reason you should continue to support Democratic candidates in elections where IRV is not available is because if you divide the progressive vote you end up with a conservative winner. How many times do I need to explain this? How much clearer can I put it?
    ————————————————————

    David Gaines said on October 6th, 2007 at 5:23 pm #

    Instead of simply accepting the status quo as etched-in-stone permanence, as every Democratic Party activist I’ve met over the last thirty years or so has, why not open your mind to the possibility of changing the system? Surely you would agree that it is sorely in need of changing.
    —————————————————————–
    Because your tactics won’t work. The electoral system we have is not set up to work the way you want it to work. I’m 100% in favor of changing that system but unfortunately you have to work with the tools you actually have to get that done. So work for IRV but until you get that when it comes down to voting day you need to support the most progressive candidate who can actually win. That’s why I keep saying take out the Democratic candidate at the PRIMARY stage. And if you can’t do that you don’t have any chance in a 3 way race. You’re just going to put one of those baby raping sociopathic neocon freaks in office.
    —————————————————————-
    David Gaines said on October 6th, 2007 at 5:23 pm #

    Since the Democratic Party is part of the systemic problem, why would we want to be Democrats?
    ———————————————————-
    Because its easier to change the Democratic Party than it is to get a 3rd party candidate elected. But in order to do that you have to work within the Democratic Party. Again if your candidate wins do you give a rodent’s rump whether he has a (D) or a (G) behind his name? The idea is to get the candidates we want ELECTED. And keep the baby rapers out of office.
    —————————————————————————

    David Gaines said on October 6th, 2007 at 5:23 pm #

    Your “least worst” logic has brought us……..well, nowhere, really. As Lawrence O’Donnell (who, last time I checked, still had the letter ‘D’ affixed to the end of his name, much like you) wisely points out in the recent documentary “An Unreasonable Man” (which I strongly recommend to you, although I would be surprised if you were even aware of it), you have got to show the Democrats that you are willing and able not to vote for them. That is the only language they (and, apparently, you) understand.
    —————————————————–
    David do you understand what a PRIMARY is? That’s the election they have within each party to determine who their candidate is going to be. For example in the 2000 election if Ralph Nader had beaten Al Gore in the PRIMARY it would have been a head to head race between Nader and Bush for President. So not only would Nader have gotten all the Green Party voters behind him he would have gotten all of the Democratic Party voters behind him too. As a 3rd party candidate Nader wasn’t even allowed to debate. Now which of those two seems like the more likely to get Nader elected?
    —————————————————————
    David Gaines said on October 6th, 2007 at 5:23 pm #

    I shudder to think where the Democratic Party would be today if people like Eugene Debs, Norman Thomas, Benjamin Spock, and Victoria Woodhull followed your line of thinking. You’re well familiar with them, aren’t you?
    ———————————————————————
    Seems to me that if the Democratic Party had been dominated by the likes of them the Democratic Party would be more to your liking. I don’t know how you think they were more effective as 3rd party candidates who couldn’t get elected. Can you explain that to me?
    ———————————————————-

    David Gaines said on October 6th, 2007 at 5:23 pm #

    Since people who support third parties are brain dead, and you are not, I assume you can expound upon these intellectually deficient characters from American history for us.
    ————————————————-

    No CONSERVATIVES are brain dead. That’s why I don’t want them in office. People who support 3rd parties simply don’t understand how our electoral system works.
    ———————————————————-

    David Gaines said on October 6th, 2007 at 5:23 pm #

    Instead of running with the tired, arrogant, patronizing, and intellectually lazy position of the Democratic National Committee,
    ——————————————————————

    Change the leadership. Change the leadership. Change the leadership. Change the leadership. Change the leadership. Change the leadership. Change the leadership. Change the leadership. Change the leadership. Change the leadership. Change the leadership. Change the leadership. Change the leadership. Change the leadership. Change the leadership. Change the leadership.
    —————————————————————————

    David Gaines said on October 6th, 2007 at 5:23 pm #

    I suggest you find out WHY people support the Green Party at the national, state, and local levels — people who are well familiar with the electoral college, with winner-take-all, and with the propensity of the Democratic Party to use goon squads to take choice out of the hands of individual voters, because they know what’s best, and anyone to the left of them who disagrees is obviously working for the conservative team. Right?
    ———————————————————-

    I guess that just depends on whether you want to get your candidates elected or just piss and moan about things. I would like to actually change things for the better.
    ——————————————————————–

    David Gaines said on October 6th, 2007 at 5:23 pm #

    We don’t need patronizing elementary school lectures.
    ———————————————————
    Apparently you do because so far your tactics have failed MISERABLY. How many Green candidates are there in Congress? Unless and until you can get IRV pushed through the only thing you will accomplish is to put the worst candidate in office. And unfortunately the way things are set up the only way to get IRV is to get it passed in Congress and then signed by the President. The only way that is going to happen is if you get your candidates elected. And the only way that’s going to happen is if you beat the candidate you don’t like at the PRIMARY stage and then run head to head against the Republicans.
    —————————————————————————

    David Gaines said on October 6th, 2007 at 5:23 pm #

    To paraphrase Ralph Nader, I was walking the walk on this issue when you were still in short pants, unless you’re older than I am, in which case I was walking the walk on this issue when you were tossing back your first bong hit in college.
    —————————————————————-
    David how many of your candidates have you helped get ELECTED? Because that’s the only thing that matters. If your candidate doesn’t get ELECTED you can walk from here to the moon and its not going to matter.

    ——————————————
    David Gaines said on October 6th, 2007 at 5:23 pm #

    A wise old somebody-or-other once said “first seek to understand, then seek to be understood.” You may accomplish this in any number of ways; the one I recommend to you is to watch what I consider to be the best single-source exposition of the current pro-3rd party position. That would be the address Ralph Nader gave in October 2004 at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government – Institute of Politics. It’s important to remember while you watch it (it’s in the IOP archives at their website) that (1) Nader was not even on the ballot in Massachusetts (a safe Kerry state) that year, and (2) various MoveOn.org and DailyKos plants in the audience embarrassed themselves by asking questions that were rendered unnecessary by what Nader said in his address. Obviously they weren’t paying any attention. Not knowing how to pay attention is a big red flag, it seems to me, for people who are trying to convince other people that they should hold the reins of power.
    —————————————————————

    David, again, how many of your candidates have you gotten ELECTED? I’m not trying to explain why I or any current Democrat should be allowed to hold the reins of power. I’m trying to explain to you how YOU can take them. Because the way you’ve been trying to do it won’t work.

    Please save your energy and don’t yap at us about how egotistical, futile, etc. Ralph Nader is. Just drop the party line, open up your mind, watch his address, and listen. Then ask questions. Listening and then asking questions is how one learns. Ralph’s mother taught him that; would that she had also parented the members of the Democratic National Committee.

    DG

  41. Marq Goldberg said on October 7th, 2007 at 3:25pm #

    I’m not trying to tell you that Nader is futile, egotistical or anything else. I’m trying to tell you that if Nader had run as a Democrat and gotten enough grass roots support to eliminate Gore at the PRIMARY stage of the election process and then run a stronger campaign against Bush than Gore did Nader would have been President the last 8 years.