Thursday, October 25, 2007

Green Party: you gotta admit, they have a point

Recently, my friend Paul sent me this email from the Green Party:
> HOW TO END THE IRAQ WAR:
> VOTE GREEN
>
> It's time to face the truth: voting for Democrats
> is not going to end the war or change the
> direction of the US.
>
> • Democratic Party leaders supported the invasion
> of Iraq from the beginning. In October 2002,
> they voted with Republicans to surrender
> Congress's constitutional war power over to the
> Bush White House.
>
> • Democrats won't use their power in Congress to
> stall on Bush's requests for more war funding,
> which would result in a quick withdrawal of US
> troops. According to an Associated Press news
> report on October 10, congressional Democrats
> have put troop withdrawals "on the back burner."
>
> • Democratic Party leaders will only support
> vague and delayed timetables for bringing home US
> troops. Clinton and Obama won't promise that all
> US combat troops will be out of Iraq by 2013.
>
> • Democrats have rejected impeachment and won't
> hold Bush & Cheney responsible for criminal
> abuses of power: deceiving the American people
> about why we invaded Iraq, torture, surveillance
> of US citizens without warrant, detention without
> trial, violation of international laws, inaction
> and racist response to environmental emergencies
> (Hurricanes Katrina & Rita), tampering with
> scientific research on global warming.
>
> • Top Democrats limit their criticism to Bush's
> strategic military mistakes in Iraq. They won't
> talk about how the war itself is a crime -- an
> invasion of a country that posed no threat to the
> US, based on manipulated intelligence and lies to
> the American people.
>
> • Democrats want to plunder Iraqi oil:
> Democratic leaders have endorsed the Iraqi
> hydrocarbon law "benchmark" that would place 2/3
> of Iraq's oil resources under the control of
> major US and UK energy companies. This would
> require continued US military presence in Iraq to
> protect the investments of corporations like
> ExxonMobil, ChevronTexaco, and BP. The same oil
> companies that contribute to Republicans also
> give campaign checks to Democratic candidates.
>
> • Top Democrats also take money and orders from
> the pro-Israeli-government lobby (AIPAC), which
> demanded the invasion of Iraq and now demands an
> attack on Iran.
>
> • Clinton, Obama, and Edwards have signed on to
> Bush's threat of a US attack on Iran -- which
> could touch off World War III.
>
> * * *
>
> Whether we elect a Democrat or Republican to the
> White House in 2008, the war will continue. Our
> only hope for bringing home US troops safe and
> sound is to elect Green Party candidates to
> Congress, support a Green presidential campaign,
> and help the growth of the Green Party!
>
> • Greens are committed to an immediate withdrawal
> of all US troops and to impeachment of Bush &
> Cheney for their crimes.
>
> • If Greens win seats in Congress, it'll shock
> Democrats (and some Republicans) into stronger
> action to end the Iraq War. Democrats and
> Republicans will no longer be each others' sole
> competition for votes.
>
> • The few genuine anti-war Democrats and
> Republicans in Congress aren't getting help from
> their own parties. They need Greens in Congress
> to create the political bloc necessary to end the
> war.
>
> • Thanks to the two-party monopoly on elections,
> America has moved toward more war, greater
> corporate power, and less democracy. This
> direction will continue... until new political
> voices get elected.
>
> • Green candidates take no money from powerful
> corporations. Democrats and Republicans take big
> campaign checks from oil companies, arms makers,
> credit card companies, media conglomerates, HMOs,
> insurance firms, pharmaceutical manufacturers,
> Wall Street, K Street, and other corporate
> lobbies.
>
> • There is no hope for rehabilitating the
> Democratic Party. Progressive and anti-war Dems
> like Dennis Kucinich stand very little chance of
> getting the nomination or influencing the
> Democratic Party platform. The party's powerful
> leaders won't allow it, just as they blocked
> Jesse Jackson, Jerry Brown, Al Sharpton, and
> other progressives in previous presidential
> races. Past efforts to turn Democrats into "the
> people's party" have all failed.
>
> • The only solution is a new, independent party.
> The Green Party is as urgent for America now as
> the anti-slavery Republican Party was in the
> 1850s, when it emerged as a third party competing
> against Democrats and Whigs.
>
[...]
While I don't agree with all these (I don't think bombing Iran, as stupid, immoral, and counterproductive as that would be, would set off anything that could reasonably be called World War III), you have to admit that the Green Party does make some pretty good points. The Democrats have been enormously disappointing in some key areas involving standing up to the Bush administration on the Iraq occupation, torture, abuse of the Constitution, politicization of the Justice Department, granting immunity to Corporations who probably spied on Americans (though Dodd is providing some leadership there), etc.

I disagree that there is "no hope for rehabilitating the Democratic party". Much of what I do is premised on the idea that we can change the Democratic party. It is the idea behind the Moulitsas & Armstrong book Crashing the Gate. I would agree that this is an extraordinarily difficult task. The Iron Law of Institutions works against such change, even when such change makes the Democratic party more popular, and more able to defeat Republicans.

I definitely support measures, such as instant runoff elections, to break the lock of the two big parties and enable people to support Greens, Libertarians, and other smaller parties without "throwing" the election to a large party they don't like.

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