From Portside <[email protected]>
Subject Readers Respond: An Open Letter to the Green Party About 2020 Election Strategy
Date January 31, 2020 1:34 AM
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[ Friday xxxxxx posted An Open Letter to the Green Party About
2020 Election Strategy, by Noam Chomsky, Barbara Ehrenreich, Bill
Fletcher, Leslie Cagan, Ron Daniels, Kathy Kelly, Norman Solomon,
Cynthia Peters, and Michael Albert.] [[link removed]]

READERS RESPOND: AN OPEN LETTER TO THE GREEN PARTY ABOUT 2020
ELECTION STRATEGY   [[link removed]]

 

xxxxxx Readers, including: Eisenscher; Collier Lamont; Millstone;
Kinnucan; Jones; Young; Krug; Schwartzman; Zeese; Hawkins; Nack;
Schwartz; and Markey
January 30, 2020
xxxxxx

*
[[link removed]]
*
[[link removed]]
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* [[link removed]]

_ Friday xxxxxx posted An Open Letter to the Green Party About 2020
Election Strategy, by Noam Chomsky, Barbara Ehrenreich, Bill Fletcher,
Leslie Cagan, Ron Daniels, Kathy Kelly, Norman Solomon, Cynthia
Peters, and Michael Albert. _

,

 

Below are some of the responses that xxxxxx received to An Open
Letter to the Green Party About 2020 Election Strategy, from Michael
Eisenscher; Susan Collier Lamont; Steve Schnapp; Gene Glickman; Daniel
Millstone; Jay Jurie; Michael Kinnucan; Steven Sherman; Jeff Jones;
Ethan Young; Bert Schultz; Lew Ward; Glenn Kirk; Steve Krug; Tom
Caves; Cliff Gulliver; David Schwartzman; Tom Shcherbenko; Kevin
Zeese; Howie Hawkins; Jonathan Nack; Ellen Schwartz; and Ray Markey.

I appreciate the effort that went into this open letter,
[link removed]…
[[link removed]]
and agree with its central argument. But I found it a bit hard to
follow and think it would have been better to have a bullet pointed
list of the arguments rather than a dialog.

But I also have a simpler way to make the point:

If a raging forest fire threatens your home, and professional
firefighters are no where to be found, you fight the fire with
whatever is at hand - a fire extinguisher, a garden hose, a water
bucket - 
and save your argument about the best way to fight fires for after the
one in front of you is out.  Once the fire is out, you can go back to
developing new firefighting techniques.

In solidarity,

Michael Eisenscher

Here are some new memes I just posted to SolidarityINFOService.org
[[link removed]].

     =====

What a bunch of crock. I am thoroughly disgusted with the circular
logic of these folks - particularly Noam Chomsky. We do not have Trump
because of the Green Party. We have Trump because the Democratic Party
is neoliberal. The racists have always been racist, so that hasn't
changed.

You might have had Bernie in 2016, but you accepted that the DNC
didn't want him. If they know you'll vote for their choice no matter
what they do, why would they give you your choice when it isn't
theirs?

I voted for the most radical Democrat in the primaries and whatever
garbage was thrown at me in the general for 30 years. Watched the
party keep moving to right, steadily, all that time and finally said
(too late), "Fuck this shit!" It's not that the Green Party has all
its shit together, but people talk as though the Democratic Party
does!

Anyway, it is beyond insulting for these assholes to say that voting
for one's values is "feel good" voting. The logic in this letter is so
twisted that I'll have to question everything I hear from them in the
future. That they would repeat the falsehood that Greens want Trump is
disgusting.

I don't think "Clinton is the same as Trump," but she is horrendous
just the same and I haven't been able to hold my nose that hard for a
long time.

And I'm really not interested in hearing Facebookers repeat what I've
been hearing for so long. You all know that I think deeply about
issues. You all know that I think they are complex. Do me the favor of
not insulting my intelligence.

And if I can be accused of wanting Trump more than Hillary, can't the
Democrats be accused of wanting Trump more than Bernie?

Susan Collier Lamont
Posted on xxxxxx's Facebook page
[[link removed]]

     =====

Just saw this and couldn't agree more.

Steve Schnapp

     =====

I appreciate that xxxxxx opened its space to publish this open
letter. The issue is an important one and should be the subject of
critical thinking by xxxxxx's readers.

The letter deals with relatively recent history, going back as far as
the 2000 election, but also focusing much attention on the 2016
election. In both elections, there are some who want to make the Green
Party's campaign a scapegoat for Democratic Party failures. I think
the open letter does a good job of tackling these issues. But the
thrust of the letter has to do, of course, with the upcoming
election. 

In my opinion, the letter's strongest argument has to do with the
battleground states, where, the letter asserts, if Stein had not been
on the ballot in 2016 and her votes  had gone to Clinton, Trump would
not be president now. it is correct to assume that this is a possible
danger in 2020 as well. The letter's weakest aspects are all
conjectural. 1) It asserts that Clinton would have been better than,
or at least not as bad as, Trump. Of course we cannot know how Clinton
would have been as president and whether the supposed difference
between her and Trump would have made it important enough to be
decisive. 2) It does not dwell on how a Trump re-election poses a
danger, although it  says it would be a "catastrophe." 3) While it
spends much of its efforts talking as if the Democratic candidate will
be "Sanders, Warren or whoever," (this expression is used five times
in the letter), it doesn't say how good or bad "whoever" would turn
out to be, assuming that Sanders or Warren were not the candidate.

Sanders and Biden truly have consistent track records — Sanders'
record is pretty positive, Biden's pretty negative. Warren's is less
clearcut, Klobuchar's even less so and Buttigieg's almost
non-existent. If we're considering ordinary policy issues, where time
is not a crucial factor, we can merely plead ignorance: we do not know
how serious an outcome might be with one of the three of them. But if
we're thinking about the climate crisis, it's quite clear that if
radical changes in policy are not made very rapidly in the direction
of a Green New Deal, all will be for naught; incremental changes will
not be sufficient.

This leads me to what turns out to be a compromise between the two
positions — that of the open letter and that of the Green Party's
Howie Hawkins: Here is my suggestion: the Green Party holds its
nominating convention after the Democratic Convention. If the
Democrats nominate Sanders, the Green Party either also nominates him,
or does not put up a competing candidate. If the Democrats nominate
someone other than Sanders, the Greens nominate a Green Party
candidate and go all out for their own candidate.

Gene Glickman

     =====

This is not for everyone because it’s far inside the Interior
beltway of left wing politics. But if it’s for you, do not miss it.
Here many friends sign an open letter to address a problem posed by
the Green Party. In an article
[[link removed]]
in December, Howie Hawkins argued that Greens should contest
everywhere (I have put a link to that article in the comments).
Hawkins rejects a “safe state” strategy for the Greens (in which
Greens would not contest swing state elections). I agree with the
signers of the open letter. But. I don’t know that this is a useful
conversation. If green voters could have been persuaded to vote for
HRC in swing states, she would have won and we would have been spared
some of the nightmare excesses of trumpery. Could they have been
persuaded? Can they be persuaded this time? Only by a political
program that appeals to them. Thanks to xxxxxx for publishing the
letter
[[link removed]]
and helping to continue the discussion.

Daniel Millstone
Posted on xxxxxx's Facebook page
[[link removed]]

Thanks for posting both sides of this debate. While it can certainly
be agreed the absolute imperative at the moment is the defeat of Trump
and right-wing coup for which he is the leading edge, the Neidig
statement goes too far in asserting a "vote for the Greens is a vote
for Trump." There can be no doubt that a vote for whomever the Green
presidential candidate might be doesn't help the situation any, but
playing the blame game isn't all that helpful either.

What'd be a better approach would be simply old fashioned politics,
making the case to the Greens and other left third party candidates,
as to why voting for them is simply a luxury we cannot afford at this
moment, when all hands are needed on deck to push back the rising tide
of neo-fascism that threatens to engulf us all.

Footnote: why is the Neidig article dated 07/27/16? Was it first
published then, and then updated with Trump's name?

Jay Jurie
Posted on xxxxxx's Facebook page
[[link removed]]

     =====

most interesting thing here is the paragraph that’s like “look, we
don’t even WANT to run for president, but we’re forced to do so by
ballot access laws to guarantee a line for our down ballot
candidates.” Like, at the point when your most important strategic
decision as a party is being basically determined by ballot-access
law, you should really ask yourself whether having your own
“party” (ballot line) is really granting you the independence you
thought it would.

Michael Kinnucan
Posted on xxxxxx's Facebook page
[[link removed]]

     =====

If virtually all Green voters in swing states had voted for HRC...
quite a stretch. I agree the focus of campaigns should be on winning
voters not issuing these warnings.

Steven Sherman
Posted on xxxxxx's Facebook page
[[link removed]]

     =====

Thanks for posting this. I always find it interesting how roughly half
the country doesn’t vote, following their own rational decision
making (laid out by Chomsky years ago), and no one frets about why? No
one really seeks to mobilize that block of potential voters who never
vote. Instead, Nader gets racked over the coals to explain away
Gore’s complete failure. And now we get Clinton lost because of
Russia! She lost because her program sucks.

Jeff Jones
Posted on xxxxxx's Facebook page
[[link removed]]

     =====

Wrong Jeff. I don't care about Gore's or Clinton's careers but the
facts show they won the popular vote, and lost the election due to GOP
maneuvering. -In 2000, a combination of SCOTUS and far right cadres in
the Florida count; Gore was ahead nationally. In 2016, the GOP saw
gaping holes in the Dems' strategy and took advantage, enabling them
to again bypass the popular vote, which went substantially to Hill.
Let's get serious about the state of democracy in the USA - to
paraphrase Gandhi, it's a good idea.That's the significance of
Bernie's groundswell. He actually IS mobilizing MIA voters.

Ethan Young
Posted on xxxxxx's Facebook page
[[link removed]]

     =====

In 2016, my state of PA was supposed to be a safe state for Clinton.
She lost by less than the Green vote. Including mine.

Bert Schultz
Posted on xxxxxx's Facebook page
[[link removed]]

     =====

Surprised that you, believe the spin blaming the Greens on Clinton's
losing the election. A convenient scapegoat. There were far more
non-voters than Greens. Be realistic, Clinton was a bad candidate and
didn't appeal to the voters. Let's hope after 4 years of Trump the non
voters wake up.

Lew Ward
Posted on xxxxxx's Facebook page
[[link removed]]

 

When have I heard this desperate Democratic party shill appeal before?
Oh right, each and every election for last 30 years at least.

Glenn Kirk
Posted on xxxxxx's Facebook page
[[link removed]]

     =====

Third parties in U.S. Elections As a person who has voted for the SWP,
the SPUSA and the Greens I wish to take issue with the somewhat tired
notion that all people who vote for third parties are responsible the
more "evil" of the two mainstream candidates to win. I voted for Jill
Stein in Wisconsin. If my only choices had been Trump/Clinton I
wouldn't have voted at all. I am not one of those folks who say there
is no difference between the repubs/demos, but recognizing that fact
it is very important to remember there is also a sizable difference
between the dems and, in the case of this article, the Greens. 

The article says that even though I agree with Green policies and not
the neo-liberal policies of the dems I still ought to vote for them
because otherwise I'm supporting the greater "evil" that the repubs
embody. I am well aware of the pitfalls of the "glorious defeats" all
third parties, who never stand a chance of winning, have swam in. So,
why bother voting for what you want, when your vote might help someone
"evil" to be elected (was it Nader who quipped about the "evil of two
lessors"?). 

Third parties in the U.S., in my mind, are responsible for the big
shifts in both policy and elect-ability of both mainstream parties.
The repubs "southern Strategy" was made possible when George Wallace
got several million votes , the repubs happily changed their pitch to
the right to woo those voters and dems stopped winning southern
states. When Debs, sitting in a jail cell, was still able to get
votes, the dems ,through FDR ,modified their platforms to avail
themselves of those votes from the left. Elections have long been
decided by voters who are not card carrying repubs/dems. Having a bloc
of those voters gives you some power to force the issues. 

Recent history has shown us that the working class has continued to
loose ground under both repub/dem administrations, both parties
embrace militarism and capitalism. How does one nudge a mainstream
party one way or another when the party elites don't want change? Can
the dems be transformed into a progressive party? We all witnessed
what the old establishment dems did to Bernie last election cycle and
what they did to Henry Wallace in the 40's. I applaud those who
organize, be it thru unions or progressive wings, to give some clout,
and decent candidates, to working people. Democrats who expect someone
like me to vote for them are going to have to put forward policies
that serve the class I belong to, not just provide me with a
clothespin for my nose so I'll vote for 'em. 

Steve Krug

     =====

I refuse to vote for Trump or a corporate Democrat. So as a
progressive I'm stuck with an independent or Green party candidate.

Tom Caves
Posted on xxxxxx's Facebook page
[[link removed]]

     =====

Tom Caves then you’re voting for trump.

Cliff Gulliver
Posted on xxxxxx's Facebook page
[[link removed]]

     =====

This Open Letter is in response to Howie Hawkins’ CounterPunch
article
[[link removed]].
xxxxxx should have run both side by side so readers could make their
own judgement without having to retrieve the Hawkins article.

According to the Open Letter, “If Clinton got Jill Stein's Green
votes in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Michigan, Clinton would have won
the election. Thus, the Green Party's decision to run in those states,
saying even that there was little or no difference between Trump and
Clinton, seems to us to be a factor worthy of being removed from
contested state dynamics, just like the Electoral College is a factor
worthy of being removed across all states.”

This analysis
[[link removed]]
is not supported by pre-election polls and the national exit poll
suggesting that a lot of Stein’s supporters wouldn’t have voted at
all, if they’d been forced to pick between the two major candidates,
plus there were many factors involved in Trump’s win in these swing
states
[[link removed]].

The Open Letter should have acknowledged what Cornel West said at the
Green Party (GP) Convention in 2016, making a distinction between a
catastrophe (Trump) and a disaster (Clinton), rather than equating the
two. On domestic issues and the climate challenge Clinton would have
likely been far better than Trump, but don’t rule out the potential
for a catastrophic outcome on foreign policy if Trump had been
defeated in 2016. Clinton’s foreign policy guru is Henry Kissinger.
Her role in regime change in Libya is a red flag regarding the
possibility of full-scale war with Iran, North Korea and even Russia
in a Clinton administration for the last four years.  And now the
Democrats are attacking Trump from the right in the Impeachment
process, casting the nuclear power Russia, encircled by U.S./NATO
bases, as our prime enemy. We should recognize one positive from the
Trump catastrophe: the exponential rise of the U.S. socialist left,
especially the Democratic Socialists of America  (DSA).  I doubt
this would have happened if Clinton were President.

The Open Letter concludes by asking “…is a Green candidate running
for President after the summer really going to argue we shouldn't vote
for Sanders in contested states not just to end Trumpism but also to
enact all kinds of important changes including urging and facilitating
grass roots activism and thereby advancing Green program?” But what
Howie Hawkins  said was “Greens want to get Trump out as much as
anybody. Our advice to Democrats is to stop worrying about the Green
Party and focus on getting your own base out. Our position is that we
are running our own candidates because neither corporate- indentured
party will support real solutions to the life-or-death issues of
climate change, growing inequality, and nuclear weapons.”

I am a leader of the DC Statehood Green Party (DCSGP) and former
candidate. DCSGP is an affiliate of the GP. I am strongly supporting
Howie Hawkins for the GP Presidential nomination and will vote for him
in DC, where any Democrat on the ballot will certainly win the 3
electoral votes. While the open letter says “we admire the Greens'
Green New Deal and economic justice commitments”, it fails to
recognize the GP’s historic role in its launch into the public
discourse.  Howie Hawkins was the first to champion a Green New Deal
(GND) in his campaign for New York State Governor in 2010, an
ecosocialist GND was the focus of both of Jill Stein’s Presidential
campaigns. An ecosocialist GND
[[link removed]] goes beyond the
historic Congressional Resolution introduced by AOC and there is good
evidence that the latter came about because of the GP’s introduction
of a GND dating back to 2010. I am also a proud member of DSA,
enthusiastically supporting their effort to get Bernie Sanders
elected. Trump, the white supremacist climate denier must be defeated
in 2020 and Bernie Sanders with his GND proposal is the best candidate
to make this possible and thereby open up unprecedented possibilities
for a much stronger ecosocialist movement.

So we should certainly emphasize the consequences of a Trump
re-election, emphasizing the still decisive role of the white
supremacist Electoral College with the voters and respect their choice
for President in each state, and of course maximize the turnout of
women, people of color and young voters as Michael Moore has wisely
advised, as well as fight against the voter suppression which played a
big role in the 2016 election.  If Bernie wins the Democratic Party
nomination there can be a positive relationship with Howie Hawkins’
campaign. Don’t tell voters how to vote, rather share the
consequences as we see them. Show respect to voters, even potential
Trump voters, and Trump will be defeated.  So lets think through our
electoral approach strategically, to both defeat Trump and maximize
the synergy between the democratic socialist movement behind Bernie
and the GP.   I know there is a lot of bitterness on both sides, but
can’t we work for ‘the greater good, rather than the lesser
evil”, Jill Stein’s slogan for the 2016 election? Now the greater
good is defeating Trump, electing Bernie Sanders and promoting an
ecosocialist GND.

David Schwartzman,
Washington DC

     =====

My idea: Green Party gives up Presidential and Congressional
candidates, and focuses exclusively on legislatures safely under
Democratic Party leadership. I think a Green Party member of the New
York City Council or State Assembly would be a good thing. Of course,
I'd want to see a few WFP members of both bodies first.

Tom Shcherbenko
Posted on xxxxxx's Facebook page
[[link removed]]

 

You published an open letter urging Greens not to run against
Democrats in battleground states. Howie Hawkins, a candidate for the
Green Party nomination was specifically mentioned. Howie has been
responding to these kinds of positions for years. They recur every
presidential election campaign. Below is his response to the open
letter. I hope you will consider publishing it.

Thanks.

Kevin Zeese

     =====

Every State Is a Battleground

By Howie Hawkins

A Response to "An Open Letter to the Green Party About 2020 Election
Strategy
[[link removed]]"

The Open Letter is a response to my article (The Green Party Is Not
the Democrats’ Problem
[[link removed]],
December 25, 2019). The signers want the Green Party presidential
campaign to adopt the “safe states strategy” of campaigning only
in safe states where the outcome is a forgone conclusion. They want
the Green Party to support the Democratic presidential ticket in the
battleground states where the race is close.

For the Greens, every state is a battleground. No state is safe.
Greens in every state want a presidential candidate who campaigns in
their states in support of their local candidates and causes. Greens
in every state are fighting Democrats every day on fracking, oil and
gas pipelines, single-payer, school privatization, living wages,
police brutality, bloated military budgets and forever wars, and the
Greens’ very right to appear on ballots. In fighting escalating
rents, gentrification, displacement, and homelessness, Greens find
local Democrats are thick as thieves with their banker and real estate
developer campaign donors, as Trump himself was with the Democratic
machine New York City before he ran for president. Of course, the
Greens are fighting the Republicans on these issues, too.

Is anything different this time around? The two-capitalist-party
system’s stranglehold on US politics has not changed. The safe
states strategy does nothing to challenge that. The signers argue that
Trump is what is different this time around.

THE LEFT CAN’T OUTSOURCE FIGHTING THE RIGHT TO THE DEMOCRATS

The signers say Greens “refuse to recognize the special danger of
Trump” and that Greens say there is “no difference between
Democrats and Republicans.”

I did not say any of that in my article, or in 2016, or ever. In my
view, Trump’s racism, corruption, and narcissistic sociopathy make
him not just a man with bad policies, but a bad man as well. He was
the greater evil compared to Clinton. He’s a greater evil than
previous Republican presidents. He is an ever present danger right now
in office. 

What is different about Trump from previous Republicans is his vicious
public scapegoating, which has given permission to institutional
gatekeepers to increase covert discrimination and to white
nationalists to inflict slurs, vandalism, and violence against
immigrants, people of color, Muslims, Jews, LGBTQ people, and women.

Recognizing the danger of Trump does not mean that electing any damned
Democrat should trump all other considerations. The Democrats might
beat Trump, but they won’t beat Trumpism because they have enabled
it. In office the Democrats join the Republicans to support the basic
policies that the capitalist class cares about: neoliberal economic
austerity at home and neoconservative imperialism abroad. The
Democrats should have crushed Trump in a landslide in 2016 because the
hard right Republicans he reflects are a shrinking political minority
in the US. But they lost to Trump because most working people didn’t
vote at all since Clinton personified their corporate bosses who
disrespect and mistreat them.

One difference among the Democrats is that the corporate wing will not
return the favor of support that Sanders has given to them by pledging
to support to any Democratic nominee. Obama has made it known that he
opposes a Sanders nomination. Clinton recently refused very publicly
to say she would support Sanders if he is the nominee. The signers of
this Open Letter have bigger problems inside the Democratic Party than
they do with the Greens.

INDEPENDENT LEFT POLITICS IS MORE POWERFUL

The signers note that I say in my article that “Greens want to get
Trump out as much as anybody.” Then they ask “how can that be if
Greens would vote for a Green candidate, and not for Sanders, Warren,
or any Democrat in a contested state knowing that doing so could mean
Trump’s victory.”

That can be because there are stronger ways to fight Trump than
depending on the Democrats. Trump is dangerous now. The Democrats
should have impeached him long ago. Trump was committing crimes in
plain sight from the moment he took office. He also should have been
impeached for corrupt self-enriching emoluments, nepotism, campaign
finance felonies, racist policies and provocations that incited
violence, atrocities against migrants at the borders, war crimes,
gutting federal regulations and agencies, and constant obstructions of
justice. 

Instead, the Democrats have belatedly chosen to go small instead of
big by impeaching him just on the Ukraine extortion scheme and
cover-up, as if all his other crimes are acceptable. Instead of
beating Trump up politically on multiple grounds for a protracted
period of time, the Democrats have given Trump a short Senate trial
peppered with militaristic messaging in support of the US proxy war
with Russia in Ukraine. The Democrats short, narrow, and often
jingoistic impeachment trial fails to show the people how Trump’s
crimes hurt them as workers, consumers, minorities, and women,
undermined peace, and harmed the environment.

That is typical for how the Democrats enable Trumpism. Democratic
support for bipartisan militarism abroad enabled Trump to successfully
appeal to voters who want to end the endless wars, although that was a
big lie by Trump. Decades-long Democratic support for pro-corporate
economic policies has created the growing economic inequality and
insecurity that are the social conditions in which Trump and the
Republicans have been able to expand their base among
downwardly-mobile whites with racist, xenophobic, and mysogynist
scapegoating. The previous Democratic administration refused to
prosecute the corporate criminals who stole 14 million homes or the
war criminals who tortured people. The Democrats left them walking
free and they walked right into the Trump administration. For details
on that, see my article, “The Rich White Man’s Justice System
Protects Trump and His Cronies
[[link removed]].”

The Democrats have helped to normalize Trump by joining with him to
overwhelming support military budget increases, the US Mexico Canada
Trade Agreement (NAFTA 2.0), and the prosecution of Julian Assange and
persecution of Chelsea Manning.

The left is more powerful when it makes its demands independently of
either pro-corporate, pro-war party. Instead of depending on the
soft-right Democrats to fight the hard-right Republicans, the most
effective way to fight the right is to build an independent left
movement and party with its own program, actions, and candidates.
Instead of futilely begging the politicians of the lesser evil between
the two capitalist parties to say and do the right things, the left
should speak to the public for itself and build its own independent
power.

REAL SOLUTIONS

The signers claim “Voting Green in the swing states is a feel-good
activity (‘vote your hopes, not your fears’) as if fear of climate
disaster, for example, shouldn’t be a motivator for political
action.”

Greens are not political dilettantes who cast votes just to feel good.
We vote to make politicians meet our demands if they want our votes.
We vote to show people who agree with our demands that they are not
alone. We don’t waste our votes affirming Democrats like Clinton who
exemplified the elite consensus for the neoliberal economics and
neoconservative imperialism that has given us unabated global warming,
growing economic insecurity, and endless wars. We used our vote for
Jill Stein to demand a Green New Deal, improved Medicare for All, a
job guarantee, student debt relief, ending US military aggression, and
fair elections.

The climate crisis is a prime reason why Greens don’t support
Democrats. The last Democratic administration’s “all of the
above” energy policy was a euphemism for fracking the hell out of
the country. Obama still brags about how the US became the world’s
largest oil and gas producer under his administration. Clinton had her
delegates to the Democratic Platform Committee vote against all the
climate policies proposed by the Sanders campaign. The one Sanders
plank that was adopted was later reversed by the Democratic National
Committee in August 2018 when it re-committed the party to taking
fossil fuel industry money and went back on the record for the “all
of the above” energy policy
[[link removed]],
the language that Sanders got removed from the 2016 Democratic
platform. Trump calls climate change a hoax, but the
Democrats _act_ as if it is a hoax.

The signers continue, saying “Real solutions require Trump out of
office. Real solutions will become far more probable with Sanders or
Warren in office. And real solutions will become somewhat more
probable even with the likes of Biden in office.” 

Yes, let’s be realistic. The Democrats are not going to bring us
Medicare for All, a Green New Deal, or deep cuts in the war budget.
Progressive Democrats are allowed to make speeches. But the corporate
Democrats make the decisions.

One would think that after the last two Republican presidents first
assumed office after losing the popular vote that the Democrats would
move to abolish the Electoral College. But no, it is only the Green
Party that is campaigning for a national popular vote for president
using ranked-choice voting. Ranked-choice voting would eliminate the
spoiler problem that the safe states strategists are so worried about.

The Democrats have had 20 years since Bush took the presidency after
losing the popular vote to make these rigged elections an issue. Since
Trump, the loser by 3 million votes, took the presidency for the
Republicans, all the Democrats have been able to do is blame Russians
and Greens. We are not waiting for the Democrats.

THE REAL GREEN PARTY

The Open Letter makes a couple of other assertions about the Green
Party that are simply wrong.

It asks rhetorically, “Weren’t more potential Green Party members
and voters driven off by the party’s dismissal of the dangers of
Trump than were inspired by it?”

To the contrary, Stein’s vote tripled from 469,627 votes (0.36%) in
2012 to 1,457,218 (1.07%) in 2016. Clinton, on the other hand
[[link removed]],
only got 81% of 2012 Obama voters in 2016, while 9% voted for Trump,
7% stayed home, and 3% voted for a third party candidate. Stein and
the Green Party grew. It was Clinton who drove voters away from her
party. As I titled my article, “The Green Party Is Not the
Democrats’ Problem.”

The Open Letter also asks rhetorically, “Weren’t the Greens in the
late ’80s and early ’90s winning elections to city councils and
other local offices across the country, consistent with a grass roots
strategy, though for much of the past 20 years, they’ve largely
abandoned local and state contests, devoting nearly all their
attention to increasingly harmful races for president?”

Not true again. In the ‘80s and ‘90s, the number of Green
candidates each year grew from handfuls in the late ‘80s to around
100 in even years in the ’90s. Since Ralph Nader’s campaign in
2000, the Greens have run hundreds of candidates every year and won
30%-40% of their local races each year. 130 Greens currently hold
elected office.

The presidential campaigns have been helpful to state and local
parties in securing the 21 state  ballot lines the Green Party
currently has. These campaigns also helped locals to recruit people to
the party for local and state politics. But by far the most Green time
and money has gone into local politics. 

My purpose in seeking the Green Party nomination for president is to
urge and assist the Green Party to qualify for more state ballots and
to use those ballot lines to elect thousands of local candidates as we
move into the 2020s to municipal and county and soon state and
congressional offices. The strategy is to build an independent
movement and party for ecosocialism from the bottom up
[[link removed]] into a
major party in American politics. 

We are running out of time to address the life-or-death issues of the
climate crisis, the nuclear arms race, and the growing economic
inequality that has become a survival issue for working people whose
life expectancies are now declining in this country. We don’t have
time to march in place with a safe states strategy to elect a lesser
evil Democrat. If the Democrats again give us a dismal choice between
a corporate Democrat and Trump, and lose again because they cannot get
their natural base out to vote for them, it will be their fault, not
the Greens’.

_[Howie Hawkins is a retired Teamster in Syracuse, New York. A
co-founder of the US Green Party, he was the first US candidate to
campaign for a Green New Deal in a run for governor of New York in
2010. He is currently seeking the Green nomination for president.]_

 

I believe there is a serious need for discussion about the strategy we
Greens should take in this Presidential election, if we want to
contribute to the defeat of Trump.

I don't know how helpful the "open letter" will be in stimulating such
discussion, since it's not written from a perspective of building the
Green Party, and few of its authors have done much to build the Green
Party.  Most Greens I'm hearing from are pretty pissed off by it and
dismissing it as a smear against the Green Presidential campaign.
 The letter may have even harmed chances for there to be a discussion
within the Green Party on our Presidential strategy.  We'll have to
see.

I come from a place of having supported the Green Party since its
founding in California in the early 1990s.  My argument centers on
how a strategic approach to this election can help to build the Green
Party and greatly enhance its reputation. In the interests of full
disclosure, I am also one of many Greens supporting Bernie's campaign
for the Democrat's nomination.

There is a strong consensus among constituencies the Green Party seeks
to represent that Trump must be defeated - that a second Trump term
must be prevented. Included in this consensus are the great majority
of environmentalists, leftists, progressives, anti-racist activists,
immigrant rights and LGBT rights activists, feminists, labor
organizers, and activists spanning the social movements. Probably the
majority of registered Greens also agree that it is important that
Trump be defeated.  Given all this, a serious discussion about how
the Green Party can accomplish our goals in this Presidential
election, get out our party's platform out to the public, along with
our critique of the two party system, as well as how we can contribute
to the defeat of Trump, is warranted.

I'm not sure of the best strategic approach for the Greens, if we
acknowledge that contributing to the defeat of Trump is one our
strategic goals in this election.  That's why I favor a public
discourse on the matter among party registrants.  A collective
process in which a collective strategy could emerge.

While my mind is open regarding strategy, and it could be influenced
and changed through discussion, the approach I currently favor is
actually mentioned in a back-handed way in the "open letter."  "[I]f
a Green candidate weren’t telling everyone who was a potential Green
voter to vote for Trump’s opponent in contested states, how could
that evidence that Greens want Trump to lose as much as anyone?"  To
put this in a positive way, why shouldn't our Green candidate for
President publicly call on Green voters in certain swing states, and
only those states, to cast their votes for the Democrat in order to
ensure Trump's defeat?

There are many arguments for and against such a strategy.  Would its
overall impact be beneficial in building the Green Party and enhancing
its mass reputation or detrimental?  I currently think the benefits
would far outweigh negatives, but am eager to know what other Greens
think.

I see many potential benefits to this strategy. The first is that the
announcement by the Green candidate that Greens in certain swing
states (it might end up being very few states) should vote for the
Democrat, the Green candidate would immediately receive more corporate
media coverage than the rest of their previous coverage of the Green
campaign combined.

The corporate media (and all other media) will all ask why such an
announcement is being made. This will give our Green candidate the
opportunity to explain that this is not an endorsement of the
Democrat, but rather a call for strategic voting to ensure Trump's
defeat. They could explain that it is made necessary by our
undemocratic Presidential elections, and specifically the Electoral
College, which need to be abolished. Our nominee could also take the
opportunity to deliver the Green Party's platform to a much wider
audience.

Overnight the corporate media's characterization of the Green Party
could change – from a party that is portrayed as at best irrelevant
and at worst a spoiler, to questioning whether the party could be a
potential kingmaker that could actually tip the balance in a close
election. It could also go a considerable distance in changing the
views progressives, leftists, and activists of all types that want to
see Trump defeated. It might even change the outcome of the election.

(Although as many Greens have pointed out, the Green Party isn't
nearly the spoiler many critics think it is, and it's potential to
swing the election results even in one state is actually quite small.
Perceptions are very important in politics, however.)

Taking more of a realpolitik strategy in the Presidential election
might also attract more interest in the Green Party from more
pragmatic voters. This could be quite significant if there are a
significant number of Bernie backers ready to take another look at the
Green Party, if the Democrats again rig the primary selection process,
and perhaps the Democratic Convention.

There are also arguments that such a strategy, or perhaps any Green
Party strategy developed to help insure Trump's defeat, could lose
support from Greens who may see it as a betrayal of the party's
principles. It could also impact the party's ballot status in the
swing states involved. (I don't know the details about all that and it
would depend on which of swing states are involved.)

A rich strategic discussion and debate could and should be had. I
believe such an open discussion within the Green Party could be very
helpful, especially if it seeks to involve a maximum number of party
registrants.

Unfortunately, many Green Party leaders and hardliners seem to want no
such discussion.  They seem to view even the suggestion of opening up
for such a discussion to be tantamount to treason to the party.
 Howie Hawkins' article, which also basically dismisses all concerns
raised in the "open letter," is not helpful in terms of organizing a
collective discussion on Green Party strategy.

What I'm proposing is frankly a tough sell.  Most Green Party
activists I've talked to about the idea are against it.  Decades of
being attacked as spoilers by liberal, progressive, and left wing
Democrats have hardened the attitudes of most of the party's
activists.  There also really is a big difference between what
remains (unless and until Bernie. AOC and insurgent progressives and
democratic socialists take it over) a pro-corporate capitalist and
imperialist Democratic Party, compared to the Green Party's radical
eco-socialist anti-war platform, and perhaps its too big a gulf for
such a strategy to be considered.

The party's very weak infrastructure also makes having a collective
discussion on strategy, especially one which includes all registered
Greens and not just the very small number of Greens who participate in
organizational activities, to be extremely difficult.

Nevertheless, I think the Green Party should attempt to engage its
registrants in a discussion regarding our party's strategy for this
coming election.  The party's weak primary and convention system can
be used as vehicles for such a discussion, but I think a more direct
vehicle which is all about engaging as many members as possible in a
discussion of strategy is also needed.

The above is written under the assumption that Bernie is prevented by
establishment opposition from winning the Democrat's nomination.  If
Bernie wins their nomination, it will be a game changer and a
different ballgame.  That's because of the large number of Greens,
including myself, who support Bernie and would gladly vote for him in
the General Election.  There are even some Greens calling on the
Green Party to nominate Bernie as our candidate (although that is
quite unlikely).

In solidarity,

Jonathan Nack

     =====

Seems to me there’s another path, and one that is needed no matter
who gets the Democratic nomination, and no matter who is elected.
 It’s not enough for the Greens, maybe even P&F, Bernie-ites,
whoever, to tell their members “to vote” for the Bernie or even
some neocon Democrat in the general election.  We need a mass
movement, or how about a bunch of small mass movements, to oppose
whoever gets elected if it isn’t Bernie, and to protect Bernie if
somehow the election doesn’t get stolen from him.

DSA is working for Bernie but not getting lost inside the Bernie
campaign.  Chapters are running their own pro-Bernie independent
campaigns.  That can continue and be even more important if some
schnook like Biden is nominated. We have to work for him, but  not
like in the past, inside campaigns controlled by our enemies.  And
still more important to have that structure in place if, oh, let’s
say Elizabeth Warren is elected – we can’t let it happen like we
did with Obama, not daring to criticize the first black President. If
the Green Party lacks the infrastructure to carry out a campaign,
phonebanking, door knocking, tabling, whatever, now is the time to
build it.  Along with other organizations, working independently, but
toward compatible goals.  For the working class and oppressed
minorities, to save the planet, end imperialist wars, the whole
shebang.

The aforementioned Barack Obama built a mass of volunteers who worked
to get him elected, but he was careful not to let them have any
contact with each other after the election, and because they
wouldn’t be fooled a second time, didn’t even unleash them to save
Democratic congressional and senatorial and gubernatorial candidates
in subsequent elections. Or maybe he couldn’t have if he wanted to,
because he had turned all the contact info over to the Democratic
central committee, and THEY certainly don’t want the masses in
motion.  So even if we work for a Democrat, we must not ever again
work *as* Democrats.  If we work as progressives, as Socialists, as
whatever we may happen to be, even if we’re working to get a
non-Trump stinker elected, we’ll be building a movement that can
turn the tide.

Ellen Schwartz

     =====

Thank you xxxxxx for posting the Open Letter
[[link removed]].
What amazes me about those critical of the letter is that they don’t
seemed worried about Impeached Trump and his alt-right allies. My
question is just what country are they living in? I’ll keep this
brief. I believe Impeached Trump is a menace to our Republic and none
of those running in the Democratic Party Primary are so I will vote
for whomever is the nominee of the Democratic Party.

I thank the authors for writing their letter.

Ray Markey

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