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Where is the progressive third party to pick up a few seats in Congress?

John Keenan

John Keenan

our friend John Keenan was asked this question recently:

. . . now would seem a good time for a third party to come forward with some good progressive ideas that the majority of the people of the country could get behind.  Maybe said third party could pick up a few seats in Congress if it started now.  So where is it?

This is John’s answer:

Interesting question.  The short answer is that we are here, and have been for years.   The fact that you need to ask that question begs the question, “why are you asking that question”? 
Why is the green party invisible? Is it the fault of the green party?
I wish I knew the answer.  Some thoughts:
The green party works for all practical purposes without a budget.  Quite frankly we are poor. Really we are broke. There is discussion now at the national level with regards to the budget.  With the economy a mess, we are concerned about funds.  And yet, we realize we have an opportunity to be an influence in the coming elections..ie…2010,2012.
It is unfortunate that so many liberals, progressives, whatever you want to call them, still cling to the hope that the democratic party will represent them.
Admittedly, I would agree that people don’t perceive the green party as a viable party and therefore dismiss them. It is also unfortunate that people’s resources of information are limited.  Most people I know read the mainstream newspapers(if they read a paper at all) which, to put it bluntly, suck. The same is true of the television news.  What a nightmare.  So the green party is sort of akin to Job.
What people don’t realize is that there is strength in numbers.  We are also up against two parties that are super funded.  Funded by the very enemy of the state in fact.  Our only hope is the voters.
It is also unfortunate that elections are a sort of visual showcase, more than substance.  If the green party doesn’t come up with a candidate with notoriety, or real visual appeal, it is difficult to “sell”. And the spin doctors have plenty of dough to vilify.
MoveOn.org and the like are all funded by the democratic party machine(Do you notice that you don’t hear much from them now that Obama has gotten in the oval office?).  That is how they attain their visibility.  Money!!!
We don’t have that resource.

Another answer could lie in “active participation“.  That is also difficult.  Even registered greens have busy lives, and are just trying to get by in life.  It takes a dedicated person to do the dirty work of party building.  I am active, and still don’t give it what I could.  It is also discouraging to some degree.  All the work just to stay alive, but if we don’t do it, it won’t be here. And that is definitely not good for America.
I hate to condemn the people, but truly the people by their lack of participation in their own government are letting it slip away.  And the takers know this.  And the dems and reps are already in the power position, so they have more leverage when trying to recruit volunteers.  A green party volunteer’s only reward is the satisfaction of knowing they are doing the right thing, because at the end of the day, the green party is still losing the battle.  One day I hope the tide will turn.  The dems are helping us to some degree.  I am waiting for my liberal friends to see the light.

Here in NY in particular, we are going to work hard to get a gubernatorial candidate that will garner 50,000 votes. We need that to get ballot status.  The dems and reps have the game rigged to keep any competition out of the game. It is so difficult to run candidates, even here in Suffolk county.  We petition for candidates on the ballot, but the dems and reps knock us off and we don’t have the resources to challenge it. It takes lawyers and volunteers and money.  None of which we have much of.
In presidential elections we work hard(i shouldn’t say we because i take a back seat on that usually) to get a candidate on the ballot in as many states as we can.  It is only because of draconian election laws that it is difficult. Cynics may say we simply don’t have the support, but if one knows the election laws it is very apparent that it is otherwise.  Just look at the qualifications one needs to get into a presidential debate.  Have you ever seen a third party presidential debate by the way?  I have.  On CSPAN.  They are so much more alive.  They are excellent.  They are real.  They are refreshing and honest; even from candidates whose ideas I disagree.
But why in the USA is it like this?  It’s wrong.
We will be running candidates for senate, congress, and more in 2010.  We always do.  The fact that you may not know this is testament to the less than democratic ways of elections in the land of the free.

I worked hard in 2002 to be heard when I ran for congress.  The media gave me almost no attention. I was a viable candidate, and I was the best candidate.  Well maybe I wasn’t the best candidate for Long Island’s 2nd congressional since it is so conservative, but I was honest, and I was right. And this was when we had ballot status.  There are so many aspects to the repression of fair elections that I won’t get into it here, but thinking about my experience that year more come to mind.
The libertarians have the same problems. It’s not that they don’t have a message that is viable. They are also competition to their precious power.  And the libertarians, like the greens, will unlock the dirty little secrets of their treason.

And, btw, did you know there were at least 3 libertarians running for office last month right here in Suffolk county? They wound up running write in campaigns because the dems and reps knocked their petitions.

But I’m rambling.  I would like to hear your thoughts about how the green party could be more visible, and why you think, or thougth we are not.

I am going to pass your email on to the Suffolk Greens(I will not send your name or address).  Recieving this is a hint that the tide may be turning, and your question is one that needs to be addressed. {emphasis added}

13 Responses

  1. What a load of nonsense. That may fool some people but I’m a Green. We’ve wasted 2009 by refusing to call out Barack Obama who is no better than George W. Bush. We’ve wasted it and attempted to help Democrats who are not our friends. We are the Green Party. When we act like that, when we act like a real party, people will believe in us. Though I’ve yet to quit the party the way Kimberly Wilder did after the 2008 election, followed by her non-stop Obama Is Goodness panting, I’m not going to play dumb and pretend we accomplished a damn this year. And, for the record, if I could take my 2008 vote back I would. I’d vote for Ralph. Cynthia McKinney embarrassed herself with that hideous column of how “we” all supported Obama in the election. I don’t know if she’s was a Trojan Horse intended to ensure that the Greens didn’t have a real candidate or not but I know I am done with her. And my question at the 2012 convention will be: “Are you a candidate who’s going to call out the Democratic nominee or are you just another coward who’s wasting all of our time?”
    One last point, this site attacked Sarah Palin who was not running for President. Rosa Clemente was not qualified to be vice president. You attacked Palin constantly and Clemente was and is a joke. That’s reality.
    2012 we better have a real ticket or I’m done voting.

  2. Jodi,
    I would ask that you get specific as to the “nonsense”, since you insinuate that I am attempting to “fool” my friend and others.
    First of all, my letter was not about why people don’t “believe in us”. Even so, your response is disturbingly puzzling.
    Regarding our refusal to call out Obama, a cursory look at the green party website will show that many a press release has gone out to criticize obama’s decisions/actions. What exactly do you mean by “call out”, and how do you suggest we implement such actions?
    Which democrats did we attempt to help? If you mean the 2004 presidential election and David Cobb, I agree with you. That was ridiculous, but I hope you are not holding the green party to an impossible standard of perfection. As a Nader supporter, you know the criticisms thrown at him. Nobody, nor any party is perfect. It’s real easy to find fault with anybody or anything, but we should keep the whole picture in mind.
    How does a “real party” act; by taking lobby money and disregarding the will of the people? By distorting, or even disregarding the constitution? I guess if we are to follow the model of duopoly, the answer is yes.

    I know Kimberly, but don’t ever remember any “obama is goodness panting”, let alone “non stop”. She spent a great deal of time in 2008 actively campaigning for McKinney. Probably more than anyone in Suffolk county.
    I would be interested to read the Mckinney column to which you refer. I have no knowledge of it.
    You say that you “don’t know if she’s was a Trojan Horse”, so why even mention it? Give us something. You imply that she was a coward, and then you go on to vilify Rosa Clemente as a joke. Until you establish some more context, specifics, etc, it is all considered ad hominem.

    I have to ask, “what have you done for the party lately?” I don’t like to be harsh, but the fact that you called my views on our situation(which was at least mostly based on my experience) nonsense , indicates to me that you are an armchair quarterback. If you are active within the party and believe my views to be nonsense, it would shock me. To what do you base your opinion that what I wrote is nonsense? From what I gather in your response, you seem to think that we haven’t taken obama to task strongly enough(or not at all, I don’t know), Kimberly and Cynthia are closet democrats, and Clemente is not qualified to be VP. And that’s why the Green party is invisible? Or that people don’t believe in us? As far as believing in us, I see that you don’t for these reasons, but I’ve never heard it before.

    I think people want to feel confident that a green vote will produce. Short of a mass defection from the democratic party, incremental growth is probably all we can expect. Too many people are still of the mindset that reps good, dems bad, or vice versa. The left is so worried that if the republicans gets in, we’ll all be in trouble. Too frightened that voting green would be a spoiler, they vote democrat, and where does that get them? Look at it now. They voted for “change, didn’t get it, and believe it’s only because they have to “make him do it””(and let’s not forget the optimism displayed after the 2006 elections). I wish people could see that it doesn’t matter which of the two, either way we’re screwed; even the republican base. My friends on the right should be supporting the Libertarians, or some other party that may actually represent them. But people take what they know is bad, over what they don’t know at all. Sometimes ya just gotta take a risk. I would say that is the number one problem we have in gaining ground, or as you put it, getting people to believe in us, but that’s just my opinion. I don’t think the green party is without problems. I just don’t think that pandering to the democrats is the problem.

    In short my reasons for invisibility(of which was the original topic): Money(contributions), fruitless hope in the democratic party, active participation, a corporate dominated media(in the case of TV/Radio, using public airways by the way),and election law. All nonsense, according to you, yet you did not refute one of them.

  3. John

    First, to show that I am no armchair activist.

    I ran for state house in Minnesota as a Green 2002. In 2004 I was an official Green Party observer in the 2004 Re-Count in Ohio. I was a National Delegate in the Convention 2004. I supported David Cobb because I believed that little weasel and because i had not heard just how bad things were with the National GP (that fact by itself points at the real problem with the Greens) I worked the Convention floor for David Cobb, including working with Cobb, in his “office” there. What a fool I was.

    I went to countless events, promoted the GP, ran for US Senate in 2006. Since I had been to Ohio, I ran on the issue of Voting Integrity. Also, I had lived in northern Ireland as a child so I promoted the northern Ireland Peace Process as a real template for non-violent conflict resolution. As a Registered Nurse, I also promoted Single Payer. As an aside, I am a Burn Care Specialty Nurse, who helped treat some of the victims of the Pentagon attack on 9-11.

    When David Cobb came to Minneapolis, I asked him to publically endorse me. Silly me. He refused but not to my face. He told my campaign manager.

    After this, I became a National Delegate. As Kimberly Wilder will testify also, I was horrified at what I witnessed.

    For one thing, Ralph Nader supporters who had problems with the GP “leadership” were attacked, smeared and eventually thrown off of lists. Simply for pointing out their concerns about a fatally flawed system. As an aside, I was and am a Cynthia MCKinney supporter. However, I witnessed my Nader ALLIES being smeared and villified all over the place, then being thrown off of the lists. Unable to participate. In what I call very direct violations of Grassroots Democracy and Social Justice.

    On top of this, I and others in Minnesota who believed in Cynthia McKinney tried to work on her campaign. To build up a real campaign. We were both thrown off by orders of the National Green Party. In the early days of McKinneys non campaign, we both joined in the conference calls.

    FOUR people, including us were on those calls. All those folks who pushed so hard to have Ralph Nader not be the endorsed candidate and used McKinney as a way for that to happen just did not show up.

    It was at this time that I realized that Cynthia was being used.. As a way to attempt to destroy Naders campaign. Then to use her a symbolic gesture.

    Not to build a real campaign. It was the electoral version of standing on a bridge, with candle in hand to protest the war. Not effective but a feel good moment. Which is, by itself fine. Unless that is used to stop people who are SERIOUS about building ann alternative to the pro-war, corporate corrupted system.

    Now we get to answer your question. What happened.

    When i tried, in an open and transparent manner what had happened, i was pilloried and smeared. Other members of the GP did not want to hear it. they only wanted happy news. Their friends and allies who were DELIBERATELY disenfranchised were not important.

    Bottom line for me.

    If someone is being oppressed or beaten down (as Nader supporters were) and disenfranchised and one remains silent, then one is complicit, a partner in this act.

    The GP is now dying, with multiple states going into “Temporary Inactive Status.”

    You folks didn’t want to hear about it then.

    That’s OK. Some of us have left the GP.. Never to return.

    We are instead building anew.

    We are serious about creating an alternative to the pro-war two party system.

    Oh and Rosa Clamente was not a joke. I heard her speak during the RNC. She and Cynthia were and are spectacular. They are both too damned good for the Green party.

    Jodi, if you want to join us, you will be made welcome.

  4. The Green Party has a number of undemocratic practices and rules that allow a minority to control the Party. Activists like me are drawn to the Party but once we have been around the Party we see how far GP practice is from its principles. I joined in 2005 and formally quit today. I suggest that the GP adopt the song 10 Little Indians as their party song.

    • Richard Kuzmar

      Why you old “destructo-green’ you. It is YOUR fault and Ralph Nader’s fault that the GP is loosing it’s most valuable resource.

      Volunteers with fire in the belly.

      Can I get a *twinkle* Brother?

      Only for those who have eyes to see and ears to hear.

      [Comment from KW: Oh, Ian understood, but I didn’t. This is sarcasm. “destructo-green” is what the elitists at national have called people like Mike and Richard K…]

    • Richard,

      Do you know what you are doing next???

      Kimberly Wilder
      former Green enrollee
      present “blank”

  5. Kimberly, I am looking for another alternative party. I am in contact with ex-greens that are trying to form a new party. Until then I intend to support activists that actually challenge the System: Courage to Resist, Iraq Veterans against War, Cindy Sheehan, RNC8, Earth First etc. etc.Needless to say i am deeply disappointed in the Greens, not all of them, but a significant minority that keeps the GP from living up to its values.

  6. Richard.

    I know the RNC 8. One of them is the daughter of a friend.

    thank you for the support.

  7. Although the green party has internal conflict, is it your contention that it is the primary reason that it is not a player? I too am frustrated by the leadership. I have my suspicion that there are elements(moles?) within, probably at various levels. I could not say with certainty, but it is not outside the realm of probability. Just another factor to add to the list..

    But is the internal conflict of the party more of a factor than election law manipulation, media suppression, campaign finance disease, and/or the left’s pathetic hope in the democratic party(prove me wrong democrats)?

    If it were less arduous, to get candidates on the ballot lines, which enabled the greens to run more candidates; and if these candidates were able to get their message out to the people on mainstream media(yuk, yuk), and in debates, wouldn’t it be plausible that many on the left would be pulling the lever(however obsolete that phrase may be) for these candidates? And wouldn’t that enable the party to proliferate?

    I believe these are issues that all Americans should be concerned about. But alas, most unaware of it.

    And, if we had all the above actually working equitably and justly, we would have strong a strong base at State and local level, which is what we all want. That might make the National less relevant. Of course I am just speculating.

    I have no problem with the rise of an alternative party. Hooray for democracy, hooray for the republic. I guess it has to start somewhere. If another progressive party gets off the ground, how will it escape the same problems encountered in the green party?

  8. Its not the conflicts ,its the undemocratic practices of the GP. I have no intention of replacing on set of Tyrants{ Republicrats} with another et of Tyrants {GP}.

  9. Richard

    Exactly. The very fact that the GP are unable to even deal with this, the undemocratic structure of the GP which allows this “leadership” to do what they do is and has remained the central issue. It more than anything else is what has kept the GP invisible. It has chased away those activists with “fire in the belly” while leaving those who are, quite frankly even more cowardly than the Democrats, remaining.

    That is why those of us who believe in creating a real, honest and viable alternative to the pro-war corporate corrupted two party system have walked away from the GP.

    Sad but true.

    John, when you are ready to join us, come on board. Until then you are “green washing” the Green Party. Just as the “Progressive
    Democrats are doing so to the Democratic Party.

    Carry On, Build, Organize..

  10. John and All

    You ask how the new creating party will not repeat the same mistake as the GP

    To use a quote

    Those Who Do Not Learn From History are Doomed To Repeat It.

    The opposite of that applies..

    We have learned from the horrific history of the past 8-10 years.

    We will not allow it to be repeated.

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