Green Party-pooper insubordination more embarrassing than imaginable

And I thought I hade a vivid imagination. Green Party presidential candidate Cynthia McKinney has issued a press release detailing her explicit intention to participate in the Sunday DNC rally. The letter is very diplomatic but it spells out the ultimatum she was given by the Colorado Greens to desist. Cynthia McKinney for President Compelling reading. On a related note. Cindy Sheehan will also be joining the lineup. This represents a significant divergence from her close allies Medea Benjamin and UFPJ’s Leslie Cagan. It shouldn’t be that way.

If you’re not inclined to read McKinney’s letter, and I’ll add it’s as direct as her speeches, I can summarize the threats made and actions taken. Spoiler alert. For agreeing to speak at a rally organized by R-68: Resignation threatened. Fundraiser, place to stay, withdrawn. All scheduled engagements canceled. Assistance to get on Wyoming ballot, withdrawn. Every effort to remove her from Colorado ballot, threatened. McKinney was also informed she had been last choice candidate of Colorado delegation. So there.

Are we witnessing someone’s hissy-fit nervous self-immolation? Could be, but it packs the wallop of a suicide bomber. Local party gutted; bystanders, fellow Greens, burned; vital preparations annulled just months from the election. Third parties probably attract people who have difficulty with authority. In this case with irreparable consequence.

Cynthia McKinney & 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 Rosa’s 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 Can’t 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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Eric Verlo

About Eric Verlo

On sabbatical
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3 Responses to Green Party-pooper insubordination more embarrassing than imaginable

  1. Avatar tony logan says:

    This is typical of the incredible sectarianism and incredible sabotage we are running into amongst the same sort of people right here in Colorado Springs. The real reasons for this sort of attitude amongst them are simply that these folk do not want any real challenge to their Democratic Party lobbying style of politics.

    Sadly, like in 2004 with the Green Party, the Green Party remains infested with Democratic Party glued liberals whose main efforts have been to derail Green Party campaigns. Here they are trying to derail antiwar organizing, too. And most of all in Denver, they want the DNC protest kept small, unfocused away from the Democratic Party leadership, and controlled all by themselves.

    The liberal Democrats are often times worse and nastier opponents to Peace organizing than even the Republicans.

  2. Hey, Tony, it’s Turkey! I agree with Eric’s analysis of the unfortunate implosion of the Green Party, and I agree with your word “sectarian,” but I don’t see many Democrats in ARD. The real problem in sectarianism stems from World Can’t Wait and other groups being backed by such sectarian M-L or Trot parties as RCP, WWP, SWP. For me, if I see a protest I want to go to, I’ll go to it. But many of the folks in ARD just don’t like working with sectarian-influenced organizations, and it isn’t because they’re more middle of the road. I’ve worked in coalitions with SWP and RCP and have been burned a lot of times. It stems from those groups’ belief in vanguardism. Vanguardism is self-centered and silly and it sucks, and it stands in the way of building coalitions.

  3. Avatar tony logan says:

    First off, Loring, I want to say that I am sorry if I offended you previously by my turkey comment in regard to yourself. That being said, I still find it hard to understand how you were so quick to call people in the PPJPC whom the PPJPC director called the cops on ‘divisive’? Was that not name calling on your part, too? What about the calling out of the cops?

    We have not separated ourselves away from the group but rather it is others that do not want any discussion of PPJPC policies that have tried to push us away and out of involvement in the local Peace Movement. You have been making apologetics for their actions instead of moving to try to heal these divisions and to understand what is behind them.

    As to sectarianism and the difficulty some find in working with what you call ‘vanguard organizations’, I share some of your sentiments. It is not easy to work with some groups on the Left who hold these philosophies and organizational models. But might I add to this, that there is nothing more sectarian than many of the people pointing fingers at others while calling them sectarians? The national UFPJ is full of exactly these sort of folk. These are people who call vanguardist organizations sectarian and impossible, and then have made themselves splitters and impossible people to actually have as national leaders of the antiwar movement. Why? Because it has become themselves that most refuse to coordinate anything or at anytime with people they have differences with.

    Something akin to this exists within the local PPJPC, too. Here, we have a group that holds no membership meetings, yet supposedly is fighting for peace and justice? Doesn’t that ring a bell of alarm with you? Why don’t you want this group to organize itself in another form other than top down? Who new would want to come around a group organized in the current manner the PPJPC is?

    Add to this the business model that has been created for the group even though it represents itself as a community organization. The PPJPC has 3 paid workers who think that they somehow have automatic rights to be the main leaders, policy makers, and organizers of the group. They are unchecked by others because members neither have meetings, nor have voice, nor have the ability to make policies of the group. Membership is cut out of leadership altogether, which is far worse than even ‘vanguard organizations’ would do.

    The PPJPC is in crisis because its paid staff is bankrupting the group with their unwarranted salaries. There are 3 of these paid workers, and yet they cannot even keep the doors open to the offices more than 10-2 pm, M-F! Their salaries run into the tens of thousands of dollars yearly.

    Supposedly the office staff is reportable to the board which is a nondemocratic body that is not made up of the more activist of those around, yet sits above them judging them poorly while running without any accountability to membership. How can they be held accountable? They do not allow the group any membership meetings, remember? The membership has no role in deciding who is on the board!

    Loring, you could be one of those hoping to gently move this group into more responsible forms of organization than what exists at present. But I have not seen you moving yet in this direction? That is a shame IMO because you seem to be someone that should know better than to be blindly backing up such an undemocratically functioning lot?

    I hope that you can accept my apology for calling you a ‘turkey previously’? Best wishes to you, Loring. Maybe we all need to do a little less name calling at this time and have a cooling off period? But that in no way means that I would just stop mentioning the real issues of the PPJPC. The group is run top down, and that simply needs to change. I thought that true when Eric was director of the board, too, and I told him that at the time.

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