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by Don DeBar
Monday, Aug. 09, 2004 at 7:06 PM
For much of your campaign, you have stated that the purpose of your run is to "build the Green Party." Up to now, despite my personal disagreement over tactics, I have had no reason to doubt that. But the moment is here - an important historical moment for both our party and the nation - to learn whether or not that is, in fact, your intent.
As shown at http://www.gp.org/convention/delegate_tally.html , the official California delegate count going into the convention - before the backroom dealing began, when only the voice of the constituents had been heard - was thus:
State Projected Delegates* Primary
Camejo 83 Cobb 13 Glover 0 Mesplay 2 Miller 0 Nader 0 Salzman 12 Other 0 NOTA 22 Uncom 0
132 3/2 Pri
Mesplay 2.1 6/4-06 83 13 0 2 0 0 12 0 22 0
Peter Camejo and Lorna Salzman were openly running as Nader delegates. Peter had a clear majority and with Lorna's added the vote totaled more than 72% for Nader's straw candidates. It is clear that the vast majority of California Greens wanted Ralph Nader as their party's candidate, knowing that he was not seeking the nomination of the national party, but only its endorsement and the ballot lines it would bring to his independent national campaign. Yet, as things stand right now, you are the California candidate of the party on the ballot.
As you know, one of the key values of our party - THE FIRST key value, which I cut and pasted here from our website at www.gp.org - is this:
1. GRASSROOTS DEMOCRACY
Every human being deserves a say in the decisions that affect their lives and not be subject to the will of another. Therefore, we will work to increase public participation at every level of government and to ensure that our public representatives are fully accountable to the people who elect them. We will also work to create new types of political organizations which expand the process of participatory democracy by directly including citizens in the decision-making process (emphasis added).
It was reported that the Nader/Camejo campaign, under assault from the Democratic political machine, has not reached the threshold for ballot status in California. I must point out here that their campaign will bring a peace and justice program to millions of voters across the country which will materially force the Kerry campaign to either address the issues which concern Green Party members - Iraq, USA Patriot, NAFTA, economic justice, etc. - or lose the election. Although I respect the progressive message which you have been bringing through your campaign to the electorate, you and I both realize that it is not likely to draw enough of a vote to matter to the election's outcome, while, on the other hand, Nader/Camejo is becoming a critical force in several so-called "swing" states.
Although we have not discussed the matter, I believe we disagree on the tactics that should be followed in this most crucial period in our nation's, and the world's, history. I do not subscribe to the notion that Bush is the greatest danger to us - it is rather, I believe, the program which has been brought to the present state of development under his administration, with, I might add, the affirmative votes of Kerry, Edwards, and most of the Democrats - and virtually all of the Republicans - in Congress. It is my considered belief that the election of Kerry/Edwards on the current platform on Iraq, in particular, and on USA Patriot and NAFTA more generally, would be an even more dangerous event than a Bush victory where a strong Nader/Camejo vote was a significant factor and where Bush won with a weak plurality.
In the first case, a large majority would be endorsing with their vote the program of Bush/Cheney in front of the entire world - preemptive war, continued occupation of Iraq, and amendment, rather than repeal, of USA Patriot and NAFTA. In particular, this message on Iraq would be a most frightening one - that the American government, after first facing million of protestors in the country and many millions around the world, and then suffering the outcome of this war which has been witnessed in the year and a half subsequent, need not fear the consequences of its actions at the polls. To me, the material consequences of such a vote means carte blanche for more adventurism along the lines that US foreign policy has been following in the past 3 years. More importantly, this would likely also be the message received by either Bush/Cheney or Kerry/Edwards, and by most of the people around the world with whom we currently are having difficult relations, as well. What else could it mean to anyone who believes in democracy?
If Nader/Camejo is not on the ballot in California, the campaign will be seriously wounded. If, however, the California Green Party, and its ticket, were to make some accommodation to the preferred candidates (including, I might add, one of its own leading members) of its members, it would first provide a basis for the claim that your campaign is party-building, and is doing so on the basis of the first plank in the party's program, viz., Grassroots Democracy. It would also provide some excellent, and sympathetic, press coverage for both campaigns. And it would finally empower the Nader/Camejo ticket to pursue the program which does, in fact (if not in form, as measured by the outcome at Milwaukee), represent the wishes of the party membership and a significant - no, crucial - part of the electorate - to force the Democratic face of the duopoly to either materially accommodate a progressive program, or find itself an unelectable dodo and, thus, no longer credible.
I ask that you consider strongly taking whatever action you can to cede the California ballot line to Nader/Camejo immediately, for both the good of the party and of the nation, and for the future of the planet, as well.
87 Ferris Place
Ossining, NY 10562
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