Surely these are the times which try progressive souls…and patience. Yesterday a cabal of activists with virtually no grassroots support gave the Green Party presidential nomination to one David Cobb, attorney at law.
No matter, really. Chances are you never will hear of David Cobb unless the corporate media decides to trot him out as the Great Nader Slayer. Cobb received the nod on the second ballot with 408 delegates from a total of 800. The short end went to the independent candidacy of Ralph Nader and his VP choice, Green activist Peter Camejo. Camejo and Cobb did go head to head once in the primaries, in their mutual state of residence, California. Camejo embarrassed Cobb among the state’s registered Green rank-and-file, 75% to 12%.
Camejo had suggested the convention nominate no one, but give endorsements to both Nader and Cobb, leaving it up to the states to bestow the ballot line upon their own preference.
Nader declined to seek the nomination in order to broaden the independent challenge to the Republican/Democrat duopoly. Unlike Cobb, he did not cozy up with Green party functionaries and apparatchiks, but has been taking his challenge directly to the grassroots. In addition to the Reform Party endorsement, the Nader/Camejo ticket enjoys the support of 10-20 million Americans according to public opinion polls. Barring corporate media promotion, not nearly that many people will ever have the vaguest notion what the devil a David Cobb is.
And the worse part is, Cobb’s candidacy will function as a broom-closet in the Democratic Party country club. Cobb has promised a “safe-states” campaign, which means he will not campaign actively against John Kerry and the Democrats in states close enough to fall to Bush should he peel off a few too many progressive votes.
Ralph Nader sees the Democratic Party as what it is: Corporate Welfare Party #2. War & Imperialism Party #2. Gap between Rich and Poor Party #2. Zionist enemy of Palestine (if not all Islam itself) Party #2. Free Trade/Cheap Labor Party #2. And most insidiously, Mass Incarceration Party #2.
The last warrants a bit of digression, as this social genocide has been and continues to be presided over with equal silence and if not zeal by both standard-bearers for both the Dems and the GOP.
For several decades, the incarceration rate in the U.S. held steady at 100 per 100,000 population. In the ’60s, in response to the Civil Rights Movement and Black Power, it has zoomed to 713 per 100,000, a seven-fold increase. With 5% of the world’s people, the land of the free contains 25% of its locked-down human beings, half of whom are black (as opposed to less than 30% in 1965, already a disproportionate number). One out of every 8 people behind bars on this planet are African-American.
These are the facts of the American Gulag. Along with the Dope trade whose dollars keep Wall Street afloat, it destroys lives, hope, and community.
It is a creature of pure evil.
And the Democrats who routinely receive 90% of the black vote will never even attempt to slay this Dragon.
But the Green Party will.
Still small in number, but reflecting deep and genuine concern for improving the lot of most Americans, the Greens are a party committed to Ten Key Values which reflect the heartfelt desire to make possible a world based upon love and justice, rather than upon the greed and fear which now prevails.
This is why people make a choice to be Green. None of us did it because that’s what our parents are or the people we live around. The present setback notwithstanding, we continue to grow, because we believe in something that resonates with many.
How many Libertarian candidacies of historical consequence can you name? Natural Law? American Independent since the George Wallace white backlash of ’68?
On the other hand, the Greens have seen several such candidacies in the last few years: Nader’s current and previous campaigns, Peter Camejo’s gubernatorial outings in California which earmarked the first time a third party earned entry into televised debates for statewide office, the near hit of Matt Gonzales for Mayor of San Francisco, even when outspent 10-1 and with Clinton, Gore, Feinstein, and all the corporate power of the Democrats arrayed against him.
And there will be more. And more. And more.
But we must be steadfast to our vision and principles articulated so well in Peter Camejo’s “Avocado Declaration”: (www.petitiononline.com/avocado/petition.html)
This outstanding little masterpiece advises us to stand firm, green on the outside, green on the inside, like an avocado. It drives home the truth that the Democrats exist only to co-opt and snuff out any genuine movement by workaday Americans to expand democracy and justice.
‘Tho like the abolitionists and others in the stuggle to force America to live up to its founding creed of liberty and justice, we are small in number, and great is the scorn heaped upon us by the self-righteous,. Well, let me say without reservation that to persevere is to prevail!
I see this perseverance in the actions of Green Heroes in the unlikely quarter of Orange County, California, long a bastion a Republicanism rooted in white flight from Los Angeles and livelihoods dependent upon the manufacture of the weapons of war. In this conservative stronghold, where one out of every hundred Americans live, these unsung heroes are the blood, sweat, tears and soul of our progressive community. Lynda Hernandez, Henry Duke, John Earl, Annie & Pat McNally, Matt Leslie, Bill Kolar, Tom Lash , Duane Roberts & many others don’t just speak truth to power, they clean the toilets and take out the trash and keep the lights burning!
And each and everyone of them is committed to removing the Democrats and defeating the Republicans. I haven’t asked Matt, but I know for sure all the others are front and center in Greens for Nader.
They’ve developed thick hides to the barbs from the Nader-hater democrats and hysterical “anybody-but-Bush” contingent among them and the Cobb-Greens.
Those thick hides and single-minded commitments remind me of the alligators I would watch for hours in the lazy summer days of my childhood. I grew up in Louisiana , on a farm 10 miles upriver from New Orleans along the Mississippi.
Contrary to popular belief, the ‘gators were docile creatures, even graceful, unless they or their young were threatened. They were patient, deliberate, and unafraid to mix it up in the mud and muck along the bayou. When moved to action they sprung with a power and kinetic energy that was well-nigh majestic.
And it is those same traits we “‘Gator Greens” need to develop and maintain. Like the mother ‘gator, we will brook no attack upon that which we have nurtured. The Cobb Catastrophe will pass into an oblivion beyond footnotes. The architects of that debacle have no legitimacy with the grassroots, so let that be our forte. Let’s build viable green communities starting with the most challenged neighborhoods. Maybe the great Emma Goldman was right when she said “If elections really solved anything, they’d be against the law.” In this corrupt system of Diebold and dimpled chads, that observation may be spot-on. But if nothing else, elections are a great way to mobilize folks for direct action, which indeed does move the earth an eighth of an inch from time to time. And by getting on track with Nader-Camejo at full throttle, we may move it a quarter of an inch this time.