Tuesday, June 22, 2004

The Green Party National Convention, June 23-28, 2004

The Green Party National Convention will begin tomorrow -- the only party convention where delegates will actually debate issues and make political decisions -- most importantly, whether to endorse the Ralph Nader/Peter Camejo campaign, to nominate David Cobb as the Green Party presidential candidate, to endorse both the Nader/Camejo and Cobb campaigns, or not to nominate/endorse anyone for the presidential election. The Democratic and Republican Party Conventions, in contrast, are merely photo opportunities for John Kerry and George W. Bush.

If supporters for John Kerry had been smarter, they would have deliberately joined the Green Party in droves and promoted the Cobb candidacy, since Cobb's "safe states" strategy would reduce the Green Party from a full-fledged political party intent on replacing the Democratic Party and becoming the main mass political party for the working class and our allies to just another liberal interest group designed to lobby the Democratic Party from the left:
David Cobb of Texas, the leading Green Party candidate for president, supports a "safe states" campaign. He argues the Green Party should campaign aggressively in states where Bush or Kerry is likely to win easily, but back Kerry in the battleground states that could decide the election. (John Wildermuth, "By Adding Camejo as VP Choice, Nader Could Boost Ballot Visibility," San Francisco Chronicle, June 22, 2004)
Today, the Green Party is nearly evenly divided between those who think like Camejo and those who think like Cobb. As I mentioned in the entry titled "Vote Nader/Camejo 2004!", I believe that the announcement of the Nader/Camejo ticket yesterday will tip the balance in favor of an all-out campaign for Nader/Camejo 2004, but we shall see if Green delegates have the guts to refuse to bow to political pressures from the Democrats and break the vicious cycle of activist dependency on the Democratic Party -- the so-called politics of protest, aka "activistism" (cf. Liza Featherstone, Doug Henwood, and Christian Parenti, "'Action Will Be Taken': Left Anti-intellectualism and Its Discontents"): three years of protests against what Gore Vidal called "the property party, which essentially is corporate America, which has two right wings"; the presidential election year during which activists retreat, protest mainly the Republicans, and apologize profusely for the Democratic Party in the name of pragmatism (aka electing the "electable"); and then back to protests again. Dependency on the Democratic Party made at least some political sense until the late 1960s and early 1970s for workers fortunate enough to have good union jobs, but since then, the Democrats have ceased to deliver even in the narrowly economistic calculations of crass business unionism (cf. Yoshie Furuhashi, "Winning the Culture War, Losing the Class Struggle," Dissident Voice, May 4, 2004). It is high time for activists to break the bad habit of feeding the political animal that always bites us back. We have to build our own political party, not another liberal interest group. The choice for Greens at the convention is clear: support Camejo.

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