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Flak in Colorado with McKinney campaign and Recreate 68

When you are trying to work in the world of national politics, peace politics, and the presidential race, things are bound to be, well, not easy.

At Green Party Watch is a long post about the Green Party of Colorado, Recreate 68 (which members of the Green Party of Colorado reject), and the McKinney/Clemente campaign – who WILL BE speaking at Recreate 68 events.

This is a common dilemma in progressive politics. Some people have a fear, or interpret statements that Recreate 68 is leaving the door open for non-non-violent action. Though, I have seen newer, more specific assertions from Recreate 68 that they always meant and mean to support non-violent activism only.

Cynthia McKinney and Rosa Clemente are determined to speak at the Recreate 68 events surrounding the Democratic Convention in Denver. Some people in the Green Party of Colorado were afraid of implications and associations, and reacted by taking odd (probably unfair) measures. I will note that people, even myself, often react strongly with fear and passion, when they are afraid that their value of non-violence may be compromised. Though, again, Recreate 68 is peace activists, wanting non-violence and civil disobedience. And, Cynthia McKinney and Rosa Clemente have to make their own decisions about where to speak.

If you can stand some party drama, please see the full post at Green Party Watch.

One Response

  1. To answer some of the questions and concerns about this episode — below is the explanation and response posted on the Colorado Greens email list last night.

    Thursday, August 14, 2008

    To Colorado Greens:

    As many of you may know, metro Denver area Green groups have chosen quite emphatically to disassociate themselves from the entity called ‘Recreate ’68’ that was created to protest at the Democratic National Convention. The reasons for this go back almost a year and involve that group’s lack of structure and organization, their tardy and lack of sincere commitment to non-violence, their undemocratic and secretive decision-making process, and the use of personal invective that has been characteristic of its leadership.

    Readers of the Denver Post and Rocky Mountain News will be fully aware of the disruptive and inflammatory conduct of Recreate ’68.

    Since our party’s national convention, Claire Ryder, GPOC co-chair and chair of the Denver Greens, took the lead in organizing an appearance and fundraiser for the Green Party’s presidential nominee, Cynthia McKinney, during the time of Democrat’s convention here. Furthermore, the Green Party of Colorado just a couple of weeks ago agreed to be a member of the umbrella group ‘Alliance for Real Democracy’ setup to provide an alternative to Recreate ’68 that more closely aligns with our Ten Key Values.

    So, it was with surprise and great disappointment that on Monday of this week, we saw McKinney’s and vice presidential candidate Rosa Clemente’s names listed as speakers on a press released issued by Recreate ’68. The McKinney campaign has apparently been making other arrangements for activities in Denver without informing Claire and active Greens here in the metro area.

    Further complicating matters, believing there was a misunderstanding, Claire contacted a member of the McKinney campaign who told her that McKinney was not involved with Recreate ’68 and that Colorado Greens could issue a press release to that effect, which was done Monday evening.

    Wednesday morning Claire received this email from Rosa Clemente:

    >> Hi Claire

    i saw this article today, i know we did not get a chance to talk but me and CYnthia are speaking at Recreate 68, i do not think it was a good idea for you to speak on our behalf or on behalf of the party, can i see the blast that you sent out monday, and whom in the national party asked you to issue a statement on mine and Cynthia’s behalf, I wanted to talk with you about how and why we arrived at the discussion to participate, of course the Green Party of Colorado has the autonomy to act in whatever way benefits you all. I will be calling the reporter to clarify our position, he should have reached out to me and CYnthia anyway, to get our position first hand, thanks

    Rosa A. Clemente
    VP Candidate for the Green Party <<


    Claire and I sent an urgent email to both McKinney and Clemente yesterday morning requesting a simple confirmation of whether or not they were planning to participate in the Recreate ’68 protests. As of this afternoon, we had not received any other communication from them whatsoever.

    Tom Kelly and Bob Kinsey did have some correspondence on this matter yesterday with Scott McLarty, Communications Director of GPUS.

    This action by the McKinney campaign is a blatant contradiction of our party’s principle of “grassroots democracy” and displays not only serious lack of communication and organization, but a disregard for the work and desires of the GPOC, the Denver Greens — and especially the energy, money and efforts that Claire Ryder has put into planning a venue for Cynthia McKinney to promote her candidacy. (Rosa Clemente telephoned Claire this past Sunday requesting that although she had initially said that she didn’t need an airplane ticket to Denver, would Claire now please purchase one for her and her daughter. That day Claire also received this email from Rosa (in its entirety): “sorry, yes nothing for R68 for me, all GPOC and als events within the Black and Latino community, no dietry needs, not allergice to cats.” (sic))

    It is the determination of Claire — through discussions with Tom Kelly and Bob Kinsey and me — that all local Green Party sponsored events for Cynthia McKinney and Rosa Clemente are hereby canceled.

    The disrespect and ill-consideration by the McKinney campaign demonstrated by this incident is reason for Colorado Greens to discuss and debate whether or not we, as a state party, should continue with any commitment to the McKinney-Clemente presidential campaign.

    Dave Chandler

    With Claire Ryder, Co-Chair


    Late this afternoon the statement below was emailed to Claire. It is important to understand that this message was issued with ZERO direct consultation or discussion with Claire or any other Colorado Green.

    The McKinney campaign has clearly decided to function outside of the Green Party of Colorado and in spite of the advice and counsel of Colorado Green Party members that would have been given.

    The lack of communication from McKinney with Colorado Greens is, frankly, astounding coming from a presidential campaign. Claire and I and others have been pleading for greater communication with Cynthia and Rosa, so we are even more offended that now they are stating that we have not been cooperative.

    It appears that there is something seriously wrong with the organization of the McKinney campaign — and it seems to us that there are critical questions about their commitment to behaving and operating in accordance with the Ten Key Values.

    We — especially Claire — will be happy to provide more information about this situation to GPOC folks on this list. We both also firmly believe that a serious discussion should take place about possible further action that might be taken in the face of this blatant snub and affront directed towards Colorado Greens.

    Claire Ryder and Dave Chandler
    Co-Chairs, Green Party of Colorado

    Cynthia McKinney and Rosa Clemente Announce Their Participation in
    Anti-war, Anti-human rights Abuse Events Before the DNC

    August 14, 2008

    As the United States activated Navy ships and the Air Force to begin an airlift of non-specified goods into the former Soviet state of Georgia, and military exercises began in the Persian Gulf near Iran, I received communications from certain individuals among the Colorado Greens who were organizing campaign support events there, suggesting that I not participate in an anti-war program being organized by other individuals in Colorado.

    Perplexed, I began to do my research to understand the nature of the fissure that I seemed to be placing myself in the middle of. The communications to me about not participating in one of the scheduled events became more and more shrill. The events ran through August 26th. When the lineup of speakers, including Rosa and me, was announced for the events in question, I received multiple communications stating in various ways that the sender from the Green Party of Colorado, was on the verge of desperation over the matter. Within a few hours, I was reading messages stating that the Green Party of Colorado would be ruined if I participated in the End the Occupations/End the War march and rally slated to take place on the morning of August 24th on the steps of the Colorado State Capitol, or if Rosa participated in a Freedom March and Rally for Human Rights and Political Prisoners at Civic Center Park the following day.

    An article appeared in a local Colorado newspaper stating that Rosa and I would not appear at the events for which we had been scheduled. Rosa responded to our Colorado Green Party contact that yes, indeed, we were appearing at the two events. Both Rosa and I then received messages demanding to know by a time certain what our plans were, and asserting that the Green Party of Colorado would be totally ruined if we associated with the group sponsoring the events. In addition, we were told that at least one resignation and sustaining membership would be tendered to the Party, and that Rosa and I could expect no support on the ground in Denver from the Green Party of Colorado, including a planned fundraiser and a place to stay.

    Without receiving any additional response or information from either Rosa or I, the correspondent sent a message informing us that all Green Party of Colorado events previously scheduled for us had been canceled. Further, the message stated that ballot access petitioning by Green Party of Colorado would cease in neighboring Wyoming and that all efforts would be made to remove Rosas and my names from the ballot in Colorado. The message also noted that the Colorado delegation overwhelmingly supported Elaine Brown at the Green Party Convention.

    With the e-mail messages flying fast and furious, I hope I have mentioned the highlights of this episode in somewhat chronological order. What Rosa and I would like to address now, is the ideological and rational order that produced this outcome. At the very first Green Party debate held in San Francisco earlier this year, I pleaded for unity of action and purpose as we face the challenges that confront us as a country. Rosa and I are proud to join with others who are sick and tired of war, occupation, human rights abuses, and the continued incarceration of our political prisoners. We are proud to join with others who are willing to do something about it. In the context of activities in Denver, that means cooperating with some organizations new to us and others with which Rosa and I have had a long-standing relationship. Let me explain some of those relationships.

    I am proud to have received a Backbone Award from the Backbone Campaign, one of the co-participants of the anti-war, anti-occupation events in question, according to the organizers.

    Rosa and I are pleased to have received the endorsement of M-1 of Dead Prez, who put out a video of endorsement and is rallying other conscious Hip Hop, Generation X voters to the Green Party with Rosa and I as its nominees. Rebel Diaz was on the stage with Rosa as she accepted her Green Party nomination for Vice President. Both Dead Prez and Rebel Diaz are participating in the events in question, according to the organizers.

    Fred Hampton, Jr.s mother, a victim of COINTELPRO, came to Georgia in the mid-1990s to help me gain reelection after a malicious redistricting case that went all the way up to the Supreme Court. Ward Churchill has traveled to my Congressional district to educate my former constituents on the COINTELPRO of yesterday and the COINTELPRO of today. Natsu Saito introduced me to other victims of COINTELPRO. I asked Kathleen Cleaver to co-author a report that was submitted to Mary Robinson, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights at the time of the World Conference Against Racism, on the unsolved murders of Black Panther Party members who were victims of COINTELPRO. Fred Hampton, Jr., Ward Churchill, Natsu Saito, and Kathleen Cleaver are all participating in the events in question, according to the organizers.

    As a Member of Congress, I supported the release of all political prisoners and welcomed information from the American Indian Movement about Leonard Peltier. I have at many times in my political career been allied with the ACLU, and have always supported Pam and Ramona Africa and the MOVE Organization. The American Indian Movement of Colorado, King Downing of the ACLU, and Pam and Ramona Africa of MOVE are all participating in the events in question, according to the organizers.

    Mumia Abu Jamal has endorsed the Power to the People Campaign and my Green Party candidacy. According to the organizers, Mumia will transmit a message to all of us participating in the events in question.

    Finally, I have appeared on various stages with many Palestinians; I have proudly spoken at rallies organized by Larry Holmes. Debra Sweet with World Cant Wait was among the very first to my knowledge to organize around impeachment as an imperative and I support hers and all other impeachment groups in their efforts. And finally, I have known Ben Manski for a long time as a socially conscious activist who is also a member of the Green Party. According to the organizers, a Palestinian refugee is slated to speak at the events in question, as well as Larry Holmes, Debra Sweet, and Ben Manski.

    Rosa and I have not been given any rational, ideological, or strategically-acceptable reason by the Green Party of Colorado to dissociate ourselves from the movement that this country so desperately needs and that these individuals and organizations participating represent, as we all attempt to hold the Democratic Party accountable for its complicity in all of the crimes of the Bush Administration. Therefore Rosa and I will keep our appointments in Denver and we hope that the members of the Green Party of Colorado will attend our sessions and listen to what we have to say. I have faith that by taking principled stands against war and occupation, human rights abuse, the prison-industrial complex, and in support of freedom for political prisoners, the Green party will emerge stronger.

    Cynthia McKinney
    Green Party Nominee for President of the United States

    Rosa Clemente
    Green Party Nominee for Vice President of the United States

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