Thursday, July 15, 2004

The Future of the Green Party

The Green Party's voting process of the electoral college that apportioned electors to states based primarily upon sizes of their respective electorates rather than numbers of state Green Party members -- favoring the fearful technocratic faction of Medea Benjamins who cannot endure flaks from their Democratic friends and who need patronage of their Democratic benefactors for survival -- at its national convention was the antithesis of internal democracy, and that is why David Cobb and His Vice Presidential Candidate Who May Not Vote for Herself and Her Running Mate got nominated by the delegates (many of whom have few grassroots supporters in their respective states), even though they did not receive the majority of the popular votes in the Green primaries.
Cobb won the party's presidential nomination by a narrow majority of the nearly 800 delegates voting at the convention . . .

Cobb won about 5,000 votes in the California Green Party primary, for less than 12 percent of the total. Fewer people than that voted for him in all of the other state caucuses and primaries combined leading up to the convention. Yet Cobb came to Milwaukee with nearly one-third of delegates already committed to him. Camejo, who won 33,000 votes in the California primary alone, had less than half the number of delegates that Cobb did.

Camejo says that he and Nader have support from a majority of Greens at the grassroots. (Alan Maass, "A Report from Milwaukee: Green Party Shifts Into Reverse," CounterPunch, July 1, 2004)
It was arrogant and self-destructive of the Cobb/LaMarche faction to reject Peter Camejo's offer of a unity resolution that would have endorsed both the Nader/Camejo and Cobb/LaMarche campaigns, leaving it up to state parties to decide which campaign would get their 23 ballot lines, since the Cobb/LaMarche faction lack grassroots Green supporters. As of today, only "138 have signed up" for the National Cobb in 2004 Meetup -- just 3.1% of Nader/Camejo supporters who signed up for the National Nader in 2004 Meetup. Why such a small number of supporters for Cobb/LaMarche? Probably because many of the Green delegates who voted for Cobb/LaMarche did so merely to keep Nader/Camejo off the Green ballot lines in favor of John Kerry, rather than to work on the Cobb/LaMarche campaign.

Nader and Camejo have far more rank-and-file supporters inside and outside the Green Party than Cobb and LaMarche, and prominent Green leaders who have done the most for the Green Party -- Matt Gonzalez, Jason West, Ross Mirkarimi, Donna Warren, and others -- support the Nader/Camejo campaign rather than the Cobb/LaMarche effort to help elect John Kerry:
Green Leaders Endorse Nader-Camejo Ticket
Camejo, Gonzalez condemn attacks by the Democratic Party on Nader, call for fair elections

SAN FRANCISCO -- Vice-presidential Candidate Peter Camejo and San Francisco Supervisor Matt Gonzalez defended Ralph Nader’s right to run for president at a news conference in San Francisco Tuesday morning.

Camejo, who was the California Green Party candidate for governor in 2002 and 2003, also release a statement showing support by Greens Leaders throughout the Nation for the Nader/Camejo campaign and announced that Nader will appear at a rally in San Francisco on July 16 in the Mission High School auditorium.

More than 500 Green Party leaders signed a statement of support drafted by Camejo, Gonzalez and Jason West, Mayor of New Paltz, NY. Among the signers are Green presidential candidates Carol Miller and Lorna Salzman, former Lt. Governor Candidate Donna Warren, Kevin McKeown, Mayor Pro Tem of Santa Monica, CA and many Green elected officials, party leaders and activists from across the United States. The list of signers is at:

As Nader's running mate, Camejo addressed criticism leveled at Nader by the media and accused Democrats of interfering with free elections by trying to impede ballot access for the Nader/Camejo ticket.

"It is frustrating to me the lengths the Democrats will go, to attack Nader for wanting to run and express their views," said Gonzalez. Yet they won’t put the same energy into trying to reform the two party system that is clearly the culprit in the dilemma that faces Americans.

"The mystery of the 2004 campaign is that tens of millions of Americans oppose the war in Iraq, possibly a majority of Americans oppose the Patriot Act, and yet John Kerry and John Edwards, who are for the Patriot Act and for the war, are about to become the recipient of these tens of millions of votes of people who disagree with them," said Camejo.

"Everyone knows that the majority of registered Democrats oppose the politics of their party’s candidates and are closer to the politics of the Nader/Camejo ticket," added Camejo. "So why aren’t these tens of millions of people saying they will vote Nader/Camejo, for peace, and to abolish the Patriot Act? It is because we don’t have run off elections," Camejo said.

Both Gonzalez and Camejo emphasized that the Democrats along with the Republicans have steadfastly refused to allow run off elections such as IRV (Instant Runoff Voting) that would allow people to be free to vote for the candidate they support, would avoid the so-called spoiler effect, allowing the will of the electorate to be respected.

"If the spoiling of a presidential election in Florida has not lead to the reforming of our electoral process, then one wonders what will," chided Gonzalez. "In the United States if we are going to encourage people not to run because of a different outcome, even though there are millions of people who want to cast a vote for the Nader/Camejo campaign, if this undemocratic solution is the best we can do, then I absolutely reject it, I will not participate in it."

"The Nader/Camejo campaign is telling people to vote for what they believe in," exclaimed Camejo. "Kerry could never win the election if he told people to vote for what they believe in because the overwhelming numbers of people who are going to vote for him do not agree with him."

"This can only happen because we have an unfair and undemocratic system, dominated by corporate money, and the media has continually failed to tell this part of the story," said Camejo.

Gonzalez pointed out that the attacks on Nader/Camejo for running for office are really problematic. "They are running for public office in the U.S. because the actually hold views that are different from the two other major party candidates, yet they are being villainized for doing so," said Gonzalez.

"I want to remind people the facts are overwhelming," Gonzalez said. "At least 7 million Democrats voted for Bush in the 2000 election."

Instead of attacking the Nader/Camejo campaign, Gonzalez said, voters should focus on changing a system that is dominated by only two political parties. (July 14, 2004)
It's Peter Miguel Camejo and his supporters who are the present and future of the Green Party.

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