How a Green Won

AP, San Francisco: San Francisco Mayor Matt Gonzalez announced his campaign for the Green Party nomination for President today. He is expected to encounter only token opposition at the Green Party nominating convention in July. A likely running mate is Georgia representative Cynthia McKinney, according to Green Party officials.

Pledging an immediate withdrawal of US troops from the Middle East, the Gonzalez-McKinney ticket is expected to galvanize anti war activists displeased with the current field of candidates all of whom are on record as having supported President Bush’s invasion and occupation of Iraq. Congressional support of subsequent incursions into Syria and airstrikes on major Iranian cities have led to numerous, increasingly disruptive demonstrations across the nation.

Unlike previous Green Party candidates, Gonzalez brings to the table substantial experience in governance. A big city mayor and public interest lawyer, Gonzalez’s resume is equivalent to that of his likely Republican opponent, though largely untainted by the plague of scandal that has been a conspicuous feature of the Giuliani campaign since its outset.

The multi-ethnic ticket is also expected to attract the support of Latino voters angered by the Democratic frontrunner’s overtures to anti-immigrant groups. A former member of the Congressional Black Caucus, McKinney will be the first member of this body nominated for executive office. She is expected to make the war on drugs, widely viewed as catastrophic for African American communities, a centerpiece of the campaign and has pledged to make voter registration among traditionally disenfranchised groups a major focus.

The Green Party ticket’s endorsement of single payer, universal health care has attracted the support of large activist organizations developed in the wake of Michael Moore’s Sicko, which last week became the largest grossing film in history. The only other candidate supporting single payer, Ohio Congressman Dennis Kucinich has remained mired in the low single digits and has, since September, been excluded from debates sponsored by major news organizations.

Experts noted that while a Gonzalez-McKinney ticket would be a long shot under normal electoral circumstances, the presence of two moderate candidates in a four-way race leaves the field open for a left wing challenge.

While lacking the financial resources of the major party candidates, Green Party officials believe they can compensate for this shortfall through on line donations and an effectively organized volunteer staff. They note that these were sufficient to overcome a candidate lavishly financed by corporations, wealthy donors and the full weight of the Democratic Party machine in 2003.

While some progressives remain skeptical about the prospects for third parties, others have reconsidered their position. “A year ago I was on record as saying ‘It’s not going to happen.’ Now I’m not so sure,” said one who insisted on anonymity.

John Halle is a Professor at the Bard College Conservatory of Music and former Green Party Alderman from New Haven's Ninth Ward. Read other articles by John, or visit John's website.

31 comments on this article so far ...

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  1. BC Macdonald said on July 28th, 2007 at 9:13pm #

    Is the natural opportunity for third party coalition led by Greens? With many alternative parties carrying concerns for a just and peaceful nation as an alternate to the 200 years of violent imperialism, we are indeed ready for a change in social consciousness.

  2. Eric Patton said on July 28th, 2007 at 11:10pm #

    > [L]ast week [“Sicko”] became the largest grossing film in history


  3. m said on July 29th, 2007 at 12:07am #

    San Francisco Mayor Matt Gonzalez. . .A big city mayor

    Um, the mayor of San Francisco is Gavin Newsom, who is a Democrat.

    Sicko is the top-grossing DOCUMENTARY film of all time.

    And what is all this “is expected” jazz? Expected by whom?

    This is really sloppy.

  4. m said on July 29th, 2007 at 12:10am #

    Dennis Kucinich. . .has, since September, been excluded from debates sponsored by major news organizations.

    Also not true.

  5. m said on July 29th, 2007 at 12:19am #

    If this came from the Associated Press, I’m the queen of England.

    WTF, guys?

  6. Another Mayor put in hat for Prez « The Proletariat said on July 29th, 2007 at 7:47am #

    […] 29th, 2007 · No Comments Dissident Voice AP, San Francisco: San Francisco Mayor Matt Gonzalez announced his campaign for the Green Party […]

  7. Gregory Hillis said on July 29th, 2007 at 9:17am #

    Is this article serious? I would vote for a Gonzales-McKinney ticket in a minute. That said, I can’t say I share the Prof. Halle’s exuberant optimism about the election’s outcome. The moneyed interests that own both the Republican and Democratic parties won’t let it happen.

  8. Sunil Sharma said on July 29th, 2007 at 1:08pm #

    Hi M,

    The article is a fictional/satire piece, which should be obvious . . . Dream a little dream . . .

  9. m said on July 29th, 2007 at 2:22pm #

    The article is a fictional/satire piece, which should be obvious . . . Dream a little dream

    Satire is usually funny and when successful has a clear target. This isn’t funny and even knowing that it’s satire, it’s impossible to see what, exactly, is being satirized.

    It just looks like a poorly informed blog post.

  10. Eric Patton said on July 29th, 2007 at 3:30pm #

    > The article is a fictional/satire piece, which should be
    > obvious . . . Dream a little dream . . .

    The author communicated this to me privately via e-mail. But no, it is hardly obvious. Halle’s attempts at satire will never make anyone mistake him for Jonathan Swift.

  11. Eric Patton said on July 29th, 2007 at 3:32pm #

    Oh, if it’s satire, and you have to TELL people it’s satire, it’s NOT satire.

  12. Sunil Sharma said on July 29th, 2007 at 6:43pm #

    Eric Patton said: Oh, if it’s satire, and you have to TELL people it’s satire, it’s NOT satire.

    Well I guess we’ve cleared things up now, haven’t we?

  13. m said on July 29th, 2007 at 7:51pm #

    Three people here have posted and three didn’t get the ‘joke.’ This is becoming a satire of sorts but not the one that was intended. Some thing about humor-deaf leftists gleefully sniffing their own rarefied air.

  14. Mark Dixon said on July 29th, 2007 at 9:14pm #

    This whole thing should be taken down as it just makes DissidentVoice look bad. Halle has been commenting other blogs like CommonDreams with a link to this as an “example of how a Green candidate could win.” I didn’t perceive this as satire but as badly informed blogging. Matt Gonzalez lost to Gavin Newsom. Halle is using a candidate who couldn’t get elected mayor as a fictional example of how a candidate could get elected president.

  15. Sunil Sharma said on July 29th, 2007 at 9:19pm #

    “Three people here have posted and three didn’t get the ‘joke.’ This is becoming a satire of sorts but not the one that was intended. Some thing about humor-deaf leftists gleefully sniffing their own rarefied air.”

    Gee, you sure are taking this so seriously given the non-stop comments . . . which I find rather humorous. Maybe you ought to give it a rest and move on to something else.

  16. Sunil Sharma said on July 29th, 2007 at 9:31pm #

    “Halle is using a candidate who couldn’t get elected mayor as a fictional example of how a candidate could get elected president.”

    Right. A Green who lost by a narrow margin — after only entering the race in the Fall of that election year — to a rich and well-funded Democrat (Newsom outspent Gonzalez 10-1), and who so worried the DP leadership, that Al Gore and Bill Clinton had to be flown into SF to shore up the DP’s base. There’s nothing unrealistic about a Green or any other third party candidate winning a mayoral race in an important city like SF, and further down the line having a shot at the presidency . . . a long-term strategy, some would argue, the Greens and other third parties should adopt rather than go for broke and run a presidential candidate without having a substantial enough base to win.

  17. Max Shields said on July 30th, 2007 at 6:54am #

    Sunil Sharma

    Thanks for speaking up. You’ve just provided the reason why there’s nothing satirical about this. Perhaps you should have written the piece. We’re a bit beyond poor irony and satire. I’m very supportive of Greens in particular as a third party alternative; to the extent that that will make a differnce in our deep cultural and economic problems.

    But, as someone said (and I paraphrase), if you’ve got to explain it, than it aint working.

    If it is to be done effectively, than great, but this piece was about as poorly constructed as I’ve seen.

  18. Max Shields said on July 30th, 2007 at 6:56am #

    If it is to be done effectively, than great, but this piece was about as poorly constructed as I’ve seen.

    And as such this piece mocks – not the powers that be – but those of us who are struggling for change.

  19. Creme de la Crud « UFO Breakfast Recipients said on July 30th, 2007 at 9:13am #

    […] Link […]

  20. saurabh said on July 30th, 2007 at 11:24am #

    Sunil obviously misspoke when he said it was satire – it’s a piece of speculative fiction. if you’d just see it as that, and stop trying to shoehorn it into the category of satire, maybe your knickers wouldn’t be all twisted up. It’s pretty clear what the piece is trying to do: it’s laying out a scheme for how a Green could get elected. It’s not mocking anyone. Calm yourself. Maybe the idea of a Green being elected has made you hyperventilate – a paper bag is usually helpful.

  21. Sunil Sharma said on July 30th, 2007 at 3:49pm #

    Yes, fiction not “satire”. My bad!

  22. Lynda Hernandez said on July 30th, 2007 at 5:00pm #

    Actually, Matt Gonzalez did win as Mayor in San Francisco the night of the election Dec. 2003. When they finished counting the absentee vote the next day, he lost by a very narrow percentage. His campaign at one point had 4000 volunteers literally walking in every SF precinct. It was a phenomenal grassroots campaign. I would vote for Matt Gonzalez for Senate or President without hesitation. I hope he will consider running for office again in the next 5-10 years (the sooner the better because we need him!).

  23. Max Shields said on July 30th, 2007 at 5:23pm #

    Yes, fiction. DV has changed is mission and gone fiction. Must keep that in mind as we continue to read other fiction at this blog.

    Such a shame we’ve all been suckered!

    Editors if you want to create a “fiction section” like say The New Yorker, I’d suggest you do just that.

  24. Sunil Sharma said on July 30th, 2007 at 6:12pm #

    Man, what a bunch of uptight whiners!

    The bottom field below the author’s bio shows it falls under the fiction category (among three others), and the article is clearly fiction given the title is in the past tense.

    Also, DV has in its five years of existence posted a number of fiction and literary pieces. Up until now, nobody save less than a handful of folks, have been confused.

    Now can we all move on to more important things?

  25. Max Shields said on July 30th, 2007 at 8:34pm #

    Sunil Sharma

    Yea, and you just started the “fiction” tab. Nice backfill – and only Halle’s 2 posts are there.

    If its fiction, satire, or giggles, it’s just bad stuff. It would be only mildly engaging if it were none of these; i.e, if it was…..TRUE!

  26. Sunil Sharma said on July 31st, 2007 at 12:13am #


    This incarnation of DV (with commenting feature) is only three months old. In the older version of DV (now archived) we posted a number of fiction, poetry and satire pieces, most notably by Adam Engel, Leilla Matsui, Gary Corseri, Vi Ransel, Mickey Z., and others. You won’t find them linked on this version of DV’s search engine because the older DV is housed on a different system and, alas, we can’t at the moment link to them without a lot of tedious work . But the point is, you’re flat wrong as long-time DV readers will know. Do a Google search under “Dissident Voice” and the names I’ve just given and you’ll find them. Fiction, poetry and satire are welcome on DV as long as they have a political bent, as is stated in our Submission guidelines (which are the same guidelines we’ve had for over four years,)

    Second, if you don’t like Halle’s fiction, fine then. You’re entitled to your view and you’re being given the space to voice it . . . over and over again. Indeed, this constant harping leads me and others to believe the main source of your displeasure is the embarrassing fact that you actually believed this story was real, despite the “Fiction” categorization below the bio (which was included the same time the article went up) and the past-tense headline which gives it away — something most everyone else, save for a couple of others here, did not miss.

    Anyway, would you like to tell the world — yet again — how much you hate this piece? And while you’re at it, might you want to question whether this neurotic persistence over one fiction article is an indication that there are other things you could be focusing your energies on. Like supporting meaningful alternatives to the one party with two right wings?

  27. Robert B. Livingston said on July 31st, 2007 at 1:01am #

    Only one thing I’ve disliked more than those tests where the first instruction says to read them all first, and the last instruction says to skip all the others except to sign your name and turn the test in…. Can you guess what that is?

    How about the fact that everyone gets a great laugh out of it save those of us who were too stupid or too eager to complete as many instructions as we could.

    Well this satire sure made me a dunce today. And I shiver thinking about who may have got the best laugh out of it. I mistook the fiction for the truth in spite of all the clues.

    I probably spend too much time dreaming of the best candidates and real justice in this world — and am too ready to snatch on any glimmer that suggests that “Soul Power” can possibly triumph over jaundiced realism — and to hell with the details!

    Now I feel even such fantasies are worthless, and it’s time to get off of my cloud — and get “real” like “everyone else.”

    Maybe I should just square up and trust that Barack Obama is lying to the Man just enough to get in the door, or that Hillary is really sorry that many of us have no health care. (Well, maybe they are.)

    Better, why not turn it all off and just go shopping– there’s gotta be something I can afford.

    And then, these pesky hopes — don’t they eventually lead to someone busting down the front door to haul us away? (Or more likely, lead to being ostracized — “oh, he’s just an eccentric relative. Don’t know exactly what’s in his mind.”)

    Will it be safe to dream… really dream again?

    On another tack, because I’m sounding maudlin: here is a something from someone’s eccentric relative who got me really thinking.

  28. ms_xeno said on August 2nd, 2007 at 7:30am #

    The trouble with you,Mr. Sharma, and with the equally pernicious Mr. Halle, is that you don’t use enough smilies in your writing. 😉

    See how much better that is ?

    No need to thank me. Your obvious unspoken gratitude is more than sufficient. 😀

    Seriously, the makeover looks good and you should just ignore the turkeys.

  29. Sunil Sharma said on August 7th, 2007 at 8:14pm #

    Thanks ms xeno. Point taken 🙂

    — SS

  30. Random said on August 25th, 2007 at 6:07pm #

    Being a Green, I knew something was amiss from the start, but sincerely hoped I was the one who had missed something!! I knew Matt had closely missed being mayor of SF, had not declared at our convention, and Sicko was not top grossing movie. . . . a quick read to the bottom clearly showed “fiction” in the categories . . . but oh what a millisecond thrill to think of someone like Gonzalez declaring an intent to run . . . McKinney I’m not to hot about . . .she can’t even decide to leave that other party.
    Okay, now I’m armed with skepticism to read Part Deux . . .

  31. Chris Driscoll said on September 9th, 2007 at 12:40pm #

    This piece is a joke in the form of speculative fiction (which often deals with future scenarios). For people to get the joke, they must first have enough knowledge and experience of the social context to understand the “cues” contained in the joke. I got it immediately, but then again, I know Matt personally, have supported his campaigns and also know many of the other key players in this little drama. If anyone could from an alternative party could win a major mayorship, it is Matt Gonzales in San Francisco.

    However, we are almost certainly on the cusp of an era of radical change in which business as usual will not be the watch word. In our past history as a country, such revolutionary times as we are probably going into are wild-card times in which events happen that could not be predicted and in which everybody stands around scratching their heads saying, “a year ago I would not have believed that possible?”

    During such times, especially in the early stages, reformist parties like the Greens will often be the first alternatives people turn to, but people quickly grow tired of them as they usually do not really differ much from the radical wings of the corrupt parties they pretend to replace. The Green Party is a perfect case in point. It is essentially a liberal party focused on the single issue of environmental protection. Much like the Prohibition Party of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The Prohibitionists too had a program of radical-reformist liberalism, but were eventually sunk by their single-issue name and orientation.

    I expect the Green Party to go down with other single-issue reformist parties of our past during the coming revolutionary epic. The Green Party U.S. has already proven its inability to adapt to changed circumstances, its essential anti-democratic organizational structure and its adherence to an essentially liberal program. In 2004 it shot itself in the foot through its fear of challenging the Democrats, choosing instead to run the “safe-states-only”, stealth Cobb/LeMarche campaign for President opposed to the Nader/Camejo campaign. (Camejo, as a candidate in the Green primary/caucus process won a much higher vote than Cobb did, but the Green misleadership chose Cobb anyway!) Why? Because the majority of its leadership feared the wrath of the Democrats. The results were clear for all to see: loss of numerous ballot lines, loss of 50,000 members (including me!) and loss of the right to claim it is a credible challenger to the Democrats and Republicans.

    Ultimately, as a joke, Halle has succeeded with this piece, at least among those who have enough of the political knowledge of this backwash of American popular thought to get the joke. As speculative fiction however, Halle has failed. The reason for the failure is that he fails to take into account the normal response of the populace during revolutionary times, that is, their response in rejecting business as usual, which the Green Party so aptly represents. Matt is a good guy who should have been mayor of San Francisco. If he is part of the radical re-alignment of political forces that will come in the near future, he will be a great asset to the people. If he fails to see the fact that the Green Party has already caste the die, already sealed its own fate, then he will go down with that party of the past. Greenism has been around for three decades internationally, long enough to prove itself or fail to. It is a tiny minority party even in those countries with democratic election systems like proportional representation. It has failed to win elections here in the United States even when all the objective factors are in its favor. The statistic that shows that 92 percent of the few hundreds they have succeeded in electing out of tens of thousands of possible elective public offices ran not as Greens but as non-partisan candidates in non-partisan elections is also telling. After a three-decades-long effort, they have little-to-nothing to show in the United States and internationally. They will certainly not be the choice of the people in the revolutionary period to come.

    The ultimate test of speculative fiction is its ability to recognize how events typically unfold given the socio-cultural parameters it sets for itself. Halle sets his parameters as a near future in which a radical change in popular consciousness has occurred. So far, so good. But then he posits the idea that a liberal, business-as-usual reformist party is able to capture the presidency. Not likely! If people become radicalized enough to overcome the systemic roadblocks against such an ocurance, they, I believe, will also be radicalized enough to go all the way to choosing genuine change as opposed to the superficial variety offered by the Green Party.

    Chris Driscoll, chairman, Populist Party of Maryland