Dealing with PSL and ANSWER #3

by nati Wednesday, Jun. 09, 2010 at 6:22 PM

Resignation letter to PSL

The following is in reference to the PSL(Party for Socialism and Liberation), who are the main organizers behind the ANSWER coalition.
For the sake of clarity and brevity and because I am not sure in what order any of this might eventually be read I am including a summation from a more general piece. If you read both then this will simply be repeating a section and you should skip below. I guess you could call this paragraph the TL;DR version..

To recap, with a quick summary -- and to clarify some things which have taken a certain importance based on conversations with people since I left the PSL-- the resignation letter deals with some basic violations of democratic centralism. In brief, I originally raised an issue regarding an undemocratic oversight I thought should be corrected at an internal party meeting. Namely, bylaws possibly forcing people to vote for something they did not want. There were concerns about my corrective proposal but I was not allowed to address those concerns when I raised my hand (as the leadership was trying to ignore me). After about 4-5 responses Ian Thompson, the nominal head of the Los Angeles branch, brought up a claim which I thought seriously misrepresented the effect of the proposal. After he finished, but before he could ignore me and call on someone else, I spoke up of my own accord to try to answer peoples concerns to my corrective proposal. I only got in a couple sentences edgewise before Ian cut me off and raised his voice to drown me out while stammering out no, no, no, no, no. (I am pretty sure this is called shouting down but if you can come up with a better term for it let me know.) As I was shocked to what happened, some of the other leaders stepped in to back up Ian and shut down discussion and I was told I could fill out some form to raise the (un)democratic issue at the party congress. When I raised my corrective proposal at the congress I basically reviewed a statement I had submitted. I was opposed by a nonsensical argument addressing a different section of the newly proposed constitution. They basically said forcing people to vote for a full ballot, even with unacceptable options, was part of "full participation." When I tried to respond by asking for time to address the issue I was denied. The only way I could get in a word edgewise was when I asked to at least clarify something. I was allowed to clarify that the argument posited by the PSL did not even address the correct section of the constitution. They then magically lifted the argument whole cloth from one section of the constitution and said it was also applicable to my proposal for another section. I could only look on in stunned disbelief. The gears within my brain grinded to comprehend how anyone could count as fully participatory something that was not fully democratic. It was pretty clear that the argument never mattered, and the outcome was already decided ahead of time. The fact that Ian was on the presiding committee at the congress may have had something to do with that, but who knows, it certainly did not feel impartial. That was the end of the discussion, no one else spoke up and they approved the section as is. If this all seems like some cruel little pretend game of mock democracy for the sake of putting on a show then you share my sentiment, but the letter should provide more detail.

I felt it important to attach my original letter of resignation even if it might go into too much detail for the sake of consistency and candor in presenting this situation. My original resignation follows only modified due to a formatting error for a chart and a lack of footnotes.

This issue was first brought up at the party elections a couple years ago not too long after I had first moved down to Los Angeles. I considered the idea that we might be forced to vote for someone we did want to vote for in order for our vote to be counted anathema to the concept of democratic centralism let alone the general concept of democracy, proletarian or bourgeois. I was told that this (faulty) voting process was in the interim constitution and that in order to change it I was told I would have to wait until the next party congress where the constitution was brought up.

Understanding the principles of democratic centralism and party discipline I held my tongue for two years, so to speak, and waited for the party congress to bring up the issue again. In the meantime I did not advocate, speak of nor do anything which might be misconstrued as a violation of party discipline. I initially considered this error an oversight and thought it would be rectified in the next drafting of the constitution as the issue had been raised before with concerns by many comrades, including myself. When I saw the same error in the current draft of the constitution I still considered it an oversight -- as if someone had not worked out the implication and/or application of said rule -- and duly brought it forth at the appropriate internal party meeting, where conversation on the topic was quickly shut down by the presiding party leaders with great vehemence. At this point I can not consider it an oversight and have to accept that it is the avowed policy of the party to accept undemocratic principles.

Overview of the Party Constitution by section.
My main grievance lies in article III of the constitution, The Party Congress. To be clear I will briefly go over each section, pointing out the section that most concerns me.

Section 1.1 covers the Party congress as the highest body of the Party.
Section 1.2 covers how often it will convene.
Section 1.3 covers the organizing of the congress.

Section 2.1 covers who shall comprise the Party Congress, namely delegates.
Section 2.2 covers the election of delegates by the Central Committee.
Section 2.3 covers the invitation of non-voting delegates.

Section 3.1 covers local preparation for the Congress.
Section 3.2* covers the nomination and election of delegates to the congress by branches (this is the section that concerns me).
Section 3.3 covers waiving of membership requirements.
Section 3.4 covers alternate delegates.
Section 3.5 covers vacancies for delegates.
Section 3.6 covers at large members.

Section 4.1 covers tasks of the Party Congress.

Section 5.1 covers Pre-Congress discussion period.
Section 5.2 covers the outgoing Central Committees proposal of an agenda and other duties.

Section 6.1 covers the term of the Congress.
Just to be clear I am not concerned with other sections but 3.2. Errors or limitations found in those other sections should be addressed elsewhere.

Review of pertinent section and the submitted amendment
Here is Section 3.2 of Article III, the part I wanted amended is in bold:

3.2. Nominees must have been full members in good standing for at least one year.

All full members in good standing may make nominations and vote. Any member making a nomination shall explain the reason for the nomination. A nomination must be seconded by another full member in good standing to be valid.

Members shall be given up to a week to accept or decline nominations, and may do so without explanation. Members who accept their nomination are committing to being present at the Congress.

When the election is held, all members must cast a complete ballot - they must vote for as many nominees as there are delegate positions available for that branch. Incomplete or improperly filled out ballots will be considered void. The vote will be carried out by secret ballot.
And here is my amended portion:
When the election is held, all members must cast a complete ballot - they must should strive to vote for as many nominees as there are delegate positions available for that branch. Incomplete or Improperly filled out ballots will be considered void.
With the original motivation for the amendment:
Leaving the possibility open for people being forced to vote for someone they do not want to vote for just so their vote is counted is undemocratic, thereby undermining the principle of democratic centralism. Such a situation could occur if all people declined except for the minimum necessary to secure the available slots therefore leaving no choice on who to vote for. The same would apply where the number of candidates a person might want to vote for does not match up with those actually available to vote for. Also, in a growing party and organization people may not be sure about everybody, but as long as they want to vote for at least one candidate then their vote should be counted.
The process of nomination guarantees that the process can not be bankrupted because each nominated candidate secures at least two votes in the process of (1) the initial nomination and (2) the subsequent seconding of that nomination. All other party rules regarding democratic centralism would still apply in that that nominated candidates who are elected would be accepted by all party members as delegates to the congress under majority rule and the principle of party discipline. The same would apply if a candidate someone voted for was not elected -- that same person would be obliged to support the majority rule despite the fact that their preferred choice was not elected.
Choice in deciding who to vote for should rest with the individual, but once a decision has been reached by the majority that decision should be honored in accordance with the principle of democratic centralism and under the auspices of party discipline. Freedom of discussion and unity of action should be the central tenet of all party policies and each principle should be honored in its full.

Example election with main point of grievance pointed out.
To be clear I want to run through a mock election. I do not want to leave the party and have people confused as to why I left. I have no expectation people may or may not agree with me but at least they will be clear on my main point of contention. I will offer a simple example which will make the stark choice of who is nominated and elected clearer, but by no means should the principles of this matter be limited to the proportions listed here.

The 9/10/11 nominations and elections for delegates to the party congress.

In the hypothetical example we have ten possible delegate slots at some hypothetical branch. Initially 20 people are nominated at their local internal party meeting dealing with nominations and this is the only time people are allowed to be nominated. After a month we have voting on the delegates at the next internal party meeting. In the interim between both meetings nine people have declined their nomination, only leaving eleven possible nominees to vote for. Of these eleven, lets say I do not want to vote for two in particular, Mr. Aye and Mr. Gee , leaving only nine possible choices for me. Nominations are closed at this point so you can not simply vote for someone else to fill an extra spot for you, nor do I advocate this position. Nine is obviously short of the full ten needed to fill out the ballot and have it counted, so either my ballot can be counted as invalid, I can forgo voting or I can vote for someone I do not want to simply to have my ballot counted . This is the conundrum of how things are currently set up, I have only nine nominees I want to vote for and ten delegate slots, I cannot vote for the remaining two in good conscious and their is no democratic remedy.

A real example of the LA nominations and elections with a slightly different 13/15/(20) scenario provides further illustration of this point. In this instance there were thirteen delegate slots available. Initially there were twenty people nominated but by the time of voting five of them had dropped out leaving only fifteen available nominees. Now, let us imagine from the example above, Mr. Aye and Mr. Gee exists in the Los Angeles Branch. Obviously I cannot vote for them, putting me precariously close to no choice in who to vote for or having my ballot disqualified if someone else is running who I do not desire as a party delegate. This scenario could have easily become untenable if one more person I wanted to vote for had dropped out or if someone else I strongly did not want to vote for had switched places with someone more agreeable. In this instance there were two more nominees, Mr. Eeh and Mr. Noh, who I did not want to vote for. These are not bad comrades, if anything they are quite pleasant and always cordial, to my mind. I simply did not think of them as the type of person I would want to send as a delegate and did not plan to vote for them . But I had to vote for them in order to pad out my ballot. In this case I did not have to hold my nose in voting for them to fill out my ballot, but it still felt wrong it was not a genuine vote, simply something to pad my ballot so it would be counted. I did not feel strongly about Mr. Eeh or Mr. Noh not going to the conference, but I did not feel strongly for sending them either, and that is one of my criteria for sending someone as a delegate, I have to have a strong sense that they will be a good delegate without reservation. Not only was this process a proscription on my voting rights but it also ends up skewing the election. There are nominees out there who other people must feel strongly about sending to the congress. These people who have a strong genuine desire want to send people to the congress should not lose out because another candidate may have received the cast offs of someones ballot that simply needed to be padded out to fulfill current requirements. The current process is doubly undemocratic by depriving people of unfettered, authentic choice and by skewing the elections results against genuine votes.

Democratic Centralism versus so-called "Full Participation"
If there is anything that can be construed as Full Participation it should be democratic -- as in full, free and democratic -- without any, or at very least the most minimal, of fetters on the practice of that democratic participation. Full participation which is abridged by the conscript of undemocratic norms can not be construed as truly participatory.

You can never guarantee that all the candidates available on a ballot will be nominees who all the people in your branch want to vote for. Nor should we limit the right of voting to people who are willing to vote for every nominee. People make choices and those choices should be honored -- this is central to any process of voting. Even with more choices available than delegate slots anyone voting could have multiple nominees they do not want to vote for, thereby compromising their vote. People will have to choose, between not having their vote counted because the number of nominees they want to vote for are less than all available slots, thereby invalidating their ballot. On the other hand they can choose to vote for someone they do not want to vote for in order to pad out their ballots with the required amount needed to make their ballot valid under current rules. Forcing people to have a full ballot in order for their vote to count puts people in a potentially precarious and undemocratic situation.

There is no way you can argue that allowing people to be put in this situation is democratic -- it is undemocratic to force people to vote for someone they do not want to vote for in order for their ballot to be counted. The undemocratic nature of these rules was glossed over at the congress (and previously at the internal) and was never addressed or to my mind justified. The closest thing to a justification that was proffered at the party congress by the "recommendation" committee was the idea that Full Participation by comrades required people to vote for all the slots. But this is a sleight of hand and misses the point that if the available nominees are less than the number someone wants to personally vote for that then their ballot will be compromised as previously explained. Full participation should never have to be undemocratic or enforce any such prescription on a persons participation and under the circumstances there is no other way to interpret this rationale as anything but undemocratic. People might think it expedient -- an error so obvious I will not address it -- but that does not make it democratic. The most common retort, that somehow people could "boycott" the vote misconstrues and distorts the situation and the fact that the nomination process at the very minimum commits two votes for each candidate (the nominator and the person who seconds) and therefore the process cannot be boycotted . Then there is the fact that the nominee can vote for himself, and of course party leaders themselves can always make sure their own ballot is filled. Not voting for someone you do not want to for is not boycotting, it is how voting is done -- you vote for who you want to vote for and you do not vote for who you do not want to vote for -- and spreading the misrepresentation otherwise is wrong and libelous. Furthermore, as should already be clear, there is no room for nominating more people once voting has begun. You can not nominate on the fly once the vote comes to pass or do a write in nomination, nor would I propose that as a solution. Suffice it to say that entreaties toward nominating yourself out of this predicament will not work as there is no guarantee the people nominated will not simply decline the nomination nor is their a second round of nominations -- there is only one round of nominations and once that round is done people have to vote on the nominations based on who accepted or declined.

The question also has to be asked why you would want to hide the fact that people did not want to vote for someone. A compromised vote is an illegitimate vote, and any rule which forces people to vote for someone they do not want to vote for is illegitimate and undemocratic under any norms or principles of proletarian democracy or bourgeois democracy. In fact Lenin stated that proletarian democracy should have the widest, most democratic and most exhaustive discussion prior to any decision. The idea that not voting for someone who you do not want is tantamount to abstention is a false, malicious and misleading distortion of the truth of the situation. Not voting at all is abstention and I do not advocate this. In fact the impingement of peoples voting rights that could disqualify their ballot would, if anything, promote abstention. Of course people should not vote for who they do not desire as a delegate. If you had to cast a vote for someone you did not want how could it be construed as democratic?

If anything my amendment was meant to guarantee the full, free and democratic participation of as many comrades as possible. If someone, under the current rules, and the aforementioned situation was to adhere to strict principles and not allow for their vote to go to someone they did not support simply to have the rest of their vote count then their vote would be counted invalid or they would simply have to forgo their ballot entirely as their vote would not be counted anyway. If anything, this just described situation would be more of an abstention (not to mention undemocratic) than anything anyone could misconstrue from my proposal; This is opposed to someone who voted for up to 9/10 of a ballot (or any other proportion) and turned it in but could not vote for the remaining nominees because they did not want them as a delegate. Simply because the last remaining nominees on a ballot are ballot positions which are needed to make your ballot count does not make potentially unwanted candidates more valid or palatable, if anything it does the opposite by forcing people to vote for nominees they do not want simply to make the ballot full.

You cannot bankrupt or totally boycott the elections based on the nominations process and the fact that nominees who accept can at the very least vote for themselves. Therefore any entreaties to safeguarding the vote from manipulation are without merit. There is no practical way to sabotage the vote without outright interference by the presiding voting committee, in which case my amendment does not deal with this issue anyway. Neither does it deal with people not nominating enough people in the first place. That type of manipulation is a separate matter and can be remedied by simply waiting for enough people to be nominated. The true manipulation lies in forcing people to vote for nominees they do not want to vote for. There is not some unforeseen calculus by which someone can bankrupt the vote and to reference this or proffer it as a reason for forcing people to vote for those they do not want to vote for is a circular argument which has been disproven . Even in the most extreme circumstance where no one wanted to vote for a nominee I have to point out it only takes 1 vote to make sure the process can not be sabotaged and party leaders in each branch could make sure at least their own ballot had a vote for each spot.

At this point I can only assume it is the decision of the party to support an undemocratic principle for the purpose of keeping secure control of the election process against some unknown phantom menace. However, this effort to keep secure control does not make things anymore democratic; instead you have sacrificed the democratic principle for a questionable and unproven rationale. This should be pointed out because Lenin and Trotsky defined democratic centralism along a continuum that allowed more or less democracy or centrality depending on the heat of the moment or the circumstances at hand . None of the excuses offered seek to address centrality at all, let alone in a way that is justifiable. We are in a relatively open period and the discussion leading up to and including the party congress should be as free, democratic and open as possible, which should include the voting for delegates to the congress. Party unity can not be reached by forcing people to vote for those they do not want.

Irregularities, Undue influence and inconsistent internal logic.
Some of these may be too personal in their observation of events, so you may take them with a grain of salt, but I feel it is necessary to give an idea of my point of view as there will not be another time to do this. These are not central grievances to my concern, which has been mostly stated above, but they do inform my view of events. They are salt in the wound, so to speak, but the cut was made by the previous violation of principles not the relatively minor grievances below.

One of the things which bothers me is I feel the discussion on this topic was stifled at the internal meeting. When the topic was first brought up I explained my concerns with the undemocratic nature of possibly forcing people to vote a certain way if they wanted their ballots to be counted. The response from the party leadership was visceral and opposed to even mentioning the idea in a way I felt bordered on knee jerk reaction. Two immediate concerns were brought up. One by comrade Bethany that said it was incumbent upon us to simply nominate more people or enough people to make sure you had someone to vote for and this received verbal support by some comrades, including the leadership the point was later contradicted but I will address it in a bit. The other point was by comrade Ian who posited that the voting process could be broken or boycotted. After these two claims I calmly tried to respond to this by adding that the process of nomination was sufficient to safeguard against any sort of bankruptcy or sabotage of the election because each nominee was essentially secured two votes with the person who nominated them and the person who seconded that motion . The response was practically apoplectic. Ian could only stammer out no, no, no in what seemed an effort to drown me out. At the same time Comrade Muna and Preston seemed to want to jump into the fray with some vague appeal to democratic centralism and party unity but the question was put to rest and I was never allowed to address comrade Bethanys point openly, but was instead told I could fill out a form for amendments and submit it for the congress.

Comrade Bethanys concern should have at least received a response that the process of nomination is no guarantee that people will have enough nominees agreeable to them. Because nominees can always decline their nomination there is no way of knowing who will be left over once nominees accept or decline. You could nominate 20 people and 9 could decline or you could nominate 25 people and 14 could decline and you would still be in the same situation . Moreover once you begin voting you can not nominate people on the fly to fill in positions or do a write in; I would not advocate such a position anyway, but it has to be pointed out for clarity and to show how intractable the situation becomes once you begin voting if there are not enough nominees you actually want to vote for to fill the ballot. The whole point is rendered mute, though, by how things actually proceeded. We were only allowed two nominations a piece once the voting process actually occurred which contradicts the whole reasoning behind nominating your way out of this intractable situation. The way things happened in Los Angeles makes the absurdity of this situation clear, where 20 people were nominated for 13 slots but 5 people, a full quarter of the nominees, declined. You could say 20 people seemed like a safe number at the time but obviously there is no way to vouch for a safe number based on who declined. This is even truer given that people were only allowed a limited number of two nominations. This is especially glaring now given that we were allowed as many chances as possible to nominate people for the central committee at the party congress. I can not but wonder if the proceedings in Los Angeles abridged or constricted the rights and privileges of the voting party members or if we are simply supposed to have fewer chances at the local level than in the party congress. Besides the limitation on two nominations we were also told there should be no slate voting. While I do not agree with the idea of slate voting the rationale given was in contradiction to the reasoning against my suggested amendment. Namely, that people should not plan on having a whole bunch of candidates to vote for, but yet if we did not like the candidates available we were supposed to nominate as many as was needed to feel safe when voting for the ballot the logic of this escapes me, especially given my previous assertion that people can just decline without you knowing .

I also feel there was a limited response allowed at the congress. In this instance I feel the strict adherence to the for-and-against format did not allow the issue to really be brought to the floor. I asked for time from the chair but was not allowed to respond to the misconstrued idea of "Full Participation" and was previously only allowed to clarify a gross misreading of the amendment which in the first place I feel muddied the waters of the discussion and may have unduly influenced people.
The very short period for clarifying questions I also felt was also an anomaly. Only one comrade came forth to ask a question and not because, as in all other instances, clarifying remarks were elicited from the chairs -- only speakers for or against had been elicited at that point . Comrades who take the initiative to ask questions should be commended but overall I feel short shrift was given to an issue as important as the inner workings of party democracy and democratic centralism. Part of my view on this may be too much of a conceit on this matter as part of me hopes there was just some misunderstanding, but the more I look at it and think about the problem the more that prospect dims.

In the end, I have to operate under the assumption that the vast majority of the people knew what they were doing and did it anyway. The party congress is filled with the highest functioning cadre in the party. The idea that most of the party cadre let alone the party leaders and elders at the congress did not understand the implications of their vote is incredulous especially given the way the vote went and the unanimous opposition of certain cadre. The silence that followed asking delegates for support for the proposal was cavernous and spoke volumes about the political mindset of the congress . I consider this a failure of the vast majority of the cadre and party leaders at the congress . When there is failure there should be consequences. The decision made by the congress was willful and calculated and supplanted an amendment for democratic principles with the ill-defined concept of full participation.
The vague notion of Full Participation is not mentioned or defined anywhere in the article dealing with voting for the party congress or in the rights and responsibilities of members. The reference to Full Participation as some sort of counterargument does not mitigate the undemocratic nature of forcing people to vote for someone just so their vote will count. No where could I find any definition of full participation, let alone one that defined the responsibility of members as voting for something they did not want. Entreaties to some notion of Full Participation are also a form of circular argument. Where, but for the Party Congress, can we define what the rights and responsibilities of comrades are and why would we want to enshrine in the constitution such an undemocratic principle as forcing people to vote for someone they do not desire? If all you do is say that Full Participation was a certain way and therefore should always stay that way then how are we ever to amend or change things for the better? We should have made every effort to safeguard or improve the democratic process for comrades when voting.

For all intents and purposes, this is sort of a self selecting process as you and I have a different point of view on this subject. Obviously, I do not believe it is ever acceptable to impinge on the privileges of voting which are accorded party members in the proceedings leading up to a party congress. The party congress is the highest body of the party, if we do not follow democratic principles to their utmost here then where will we? Other delegates obviously had a difference of opinion and believed there was some other rationale for telling people they must vote, even for someone they do not want to vote for, in order to fill up the ballot. What the rationale for that is was never explained to me to any semblance of satisfaction.

Another point which I consider anomalous to the proceedings of the congress were the chairs' emphasis on opposing my amendment. The special use of the term "unanimous" opposition had up until that point not been used for any other amendment in the program or the constitution and its specific application to the amendment process I felt had undue influence on the proceedings, tainting the well before the chair elicited comments for or against. While I am sure that the recommendation committees effort in easing the amendment process was helpful, they should not have styled themselves as the special bearers of judgment on proposed amendments which was implied by their unanimous decision.
This unanimity begs the question. Up to that point in the congress had there been disagreement on all the other amendments for the program and constitution? Was mine truly a special case where unanimity was reached? Had there already been consensus on most other issues, and if not why were we only apprised of one point of view when both points of view could have clarified the discussion? I took it as a personal affront that the recommendation committee would "unanimously" oppose my amendment when they had not "unanimously" opposed anyone else's, especially given the importance of the democratic principle at hand.
I also found a lot of inconsistency and lack of internal logic in the reasons given for passing some amendments and opposing others. Giving broader discretion to party members -- or maybe just leaders -- in applying elements of the constitution due to the vagaries of chance or unforeseen circumstances was a recurrent rationale in the approval or opposition of other amendments. Yet, when it came to trusting comrades, a trust which was asked many times of congress delegates in supporting the central committee and other party resolutions, it was not reciprocated. It just felt like we were asked to show confidence in those we elected but there was only limited confidence offered for those doing the electing.

Nowhere left to go
I do not leave the party easily. I have worked with some of the comrades going on eight years, before I had even considered joining a communist organization. My first ANSWER demonstration was the Palestinian march against the attack on Jenin in 2002. I still remember the day I walked into a solidarity committee supporting the ILWU and seeing Richard, Forrest and Nancy, which led to my working with the SF branch and the newly burgeoning anti-war movement.
The national question and democratic centralism as described by the comrades in SF were some of the main reasons I decided to join them and I have been part of a communist organization with most of you going on six years now. I have been in the PSL since the beginning when the founding members met in one room in the Presidio.
I brought up this issue initially two years ago and was told that the interim constitution allowed for what I considered an oversight and the only way to amend it would be at the next party congress. I have followed party discipline for these two years, not talking to people about this issue outside of what were deemed the appropriate venues nor did I advocate behind the scenes but held my tongue, while I waited to submit an amendment to the party congress. The congress is the highest body of the party, there is no other place left to appeal .

I do not take this issue lightly. You can not always know absolutely whether something is right or wrong, but the glaring nature of this oversight was too much to overlook and jumped out at me upon first perusal. Overall, things might have been countenanced if my grievances had only pertained to personnel. Some people may be caustic, make people feel unwelcome or prey on the morale of comrades. Others may try to sow seeds of division in the party or otherwise spur rancor and animosity among comrades thru lies and rumors. There are enough vagaries and unknowns to never truly be sure about a person let alone their intent .
I, myself, am not a perfect person. I always find it challenging when trying to balance a full time job, party work and night time classes. I am not the most personable of people and my sense of humor may be odd or misplaced. People could have any number of reasons for not wanting to vote for me but the same could be said for anyone and I would not want anyone to be forced to vote for me just to fill up their ballot. However, dealing with questionable personnel and dealing with questionable principles are totally different matters. Ultimately, it is the principles a party is built on which demand more serious consideration and I can not abide compromising those principles or letting them degenerate.

In closing, I do not wish people to misconstrue my intent; the emphasis of my discord is with the application and approval of an undemocratic principle: I do not leave the party based on what may or may not be perceived as personal slights.
Let me be clear, there is no way you can convince me that forcing people to vote for someone they do not want to vote for is democratic. Not even under the rubric of "Full Participation" does forcing people to vote for nominees they do not want become an acceptable idea. Neither does Full Participation have some special alchemical quality which can transmutate the essentially undemocratic into something democratic, either thru the strictest party discipline or unifying tenet of centralism in democratic centralism. Therefore I have to leave the party because I cannot abide by or participate in a party that allows for or supports such undemocratic principles.