Tag Archives: Leslie Cagan

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 Fundraiser, place to stay, withdrawn.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 Assistance to get on Wyoming ballot, withdrawn.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

The DNC Alliance for Real Democracy is a counter-protest Fifth Column

Denver DNC 2008DENVER, COLO.- The Alliance for Real Democracy (ARD), formed to counter the scrappily-named Recreate 68 at the DNC, is in reality an unwitting fifth column, set up by Democratic Party allies to temper protest in Denver. The UFPJ and other sundry “non-violent” progressives are funneling their members into the less populist ARD actions to divert participation from the major DNC demonstrations. But the aforementioned underwriters aren’t providing any funding, surprise! Leaving the ARD to protest exactly what it’s supposed to: nothing.

Alliance for Real DemocracyI think it’s heartbreaking to watch earnest young activists, representing the organizations comprising the ARD coalition, trying to organize activities without any commitment from their national affiliations. And some of the more outspoken national leaders, keen to make appearances at the DNC rallies, are beginning to smell a rat. They’re making backup arrangements to coordinate with the boots on the ground, R-68.

A Fifth Column refers to a group of partisans, usually spontaneously organized, which forms behind enemy lines as a conquering army approaches. It is the additional “column” of civilian fighters which an attacker might count on to stab the defenders in the back. Franco boasted of his fifth column in the Spanish Civil War. The French Resistance represented a fifth column for the Normandy liberators.

America’s antiwar movement has had its steady divisions, between UFPJ and A.N.S.W.E.R. most notably, but the rift has become more critical with the advent of another hopeful Democratic election win. Four years ago it was Kerry, with groups like Moveon.org trying to tone down the antiwar rhetoric. This year it’s Obama, and the appeasers are out in battalions. As usual, it’s done in the name of “nonviolence,” where too vigorous protest is seen as insufficiently nonviolent for the Democrat’s fragile delusions.

When R-68 began the groundwork for DNC protests, they were vilified for evoking the Chicago 1968 police riots. R-68 repudiated the violence, but not surprisingly those statements have yet to be reported in print. Meanwhile the bad press gave UFPJ and other nonviolence apostles the opportunity to break away and form their holy alliance to give their members sanctuary from the ruffians, re unpredictable young people.

But will it really? The R-68 group includes Unconventional Denver and Disrupt 08, but neither have violent plans. Black Block script-kiddies will turn up no matter whose event. Police agent provocateurs will instigate violence no matter how pious your crowd.

Code Pink, IVAW, Veterans For Peace, and UFPJ are among the national endorsers of ARD. Tent State, SFPJ, and Students for a Democratic Society are examples of young activists getting caught in their elders’ tar baby.

Because it’s not enough to vote for Obama, you have to quash dissent for Obama. It’s the Alliance For Real Democracy For Obama.

Naturally Denver protest organizers, whether ARD or R68, have found themselves having to confer about time slots and permits, out of respect for the success of each other’s activities. As a result, the national head of UFPJ, Leslie Cagan, issued an email decreeing that no ARD organization member would participate in the major Aug 24 kickoff antiwar demonstration. This drew question marks from prominent activist leaders who want to be at the biggest rally.

Bi-monthly CONSULTA meetings were scheduled by ARD and R68 to coordinate efforts. But the morning before the second Consulta, Leslie Cagan flew in from NYC for an emergency meeting with ARD leadership to brief them on what not to negotiate. She followed this with a hastily scheduled press conference the next day on the subject of Iran, it appeared to preempt her rivals’ DON’T BOMB IRAN action planned for August 2nd.

Colorado Springs own PPJPC is an endorser of ARD. Their letter of support was read into the minutes of a recent meeting, and it read like the typical support they’re getting from everyone. I’ll paraphrase the PPJPC letter:

“We at the Pikes Peak Justice and Peace Commission are honored to endorse your efforts at the DNC … due to critical funding shortages, we cannot offer you any monetary support at this time … Likewise, I’m sorry that I will not be able to participate in any events that week , but will try to interest our members in attending…” We’ll be with you in spirit, etc.

Why form a fifth column if you’re not going to support it? Because the ARD‘s job is to do nothing. Doing nothing is exactly how you stab activism in the back.