Mann for School Board
The Avocado Declaration, Part Two
Write-in "Doug Mann" for School Board
by Doug Mann, 29 Oct 2004, Submitted to the Star-Tribune for publication 28 Oct 2004
PETER CAMEJO: THE AVOCADO DECLARATION
OPPOSITION IS RISING
Opposition is rising against Bush. The massive overwhelming majority of the world is against Bush's war policies. The resistance to the occupation in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the inability of the US media and government to prevent the world from hearing the truth about these events, is weakening Bush's standing. The corporate interests and their media apparently want to make a great effort to get Bush elected, but if this becomes too difficult, the Democratic Party will be prepared to appear as an "opposition" that will continue the essence of Bush's policy with new justifications, modifications and adjusted forms.
The only force that could upset the general direction set by the bipartisan policies voted over the last few years would be a destabilizing mass development inside the United States along with world public opinion. This occurred during the war in Vietnam and forced a reversal of US policy.
In the case of Vietnam the Republicans under Eisenhower initiated the direct U.S. intervention by sponsoring the Diem regime in the south of Vietnam when the French withdrew in the mid-1950s. With U.S. encouragement, his regime refused to abide by the peace accords and hold talks and elections to reunify the country. The Democrats under Kennedy sent ground troops in the early 60's. The US force expanded massively from 16,300 under Kennedy to more than half a million by 1967 under Lyndon Baines Johnson, Kennedy's vice president, who won re-election in 1964 as the supposed "peace" candidate.
The rise of a massive uncontrollable opposition within the United States and around the world became a critical brake on the pro-war policies. An entire generation was starting to deeply question the direction of the United States in world affairs. The Democrats and Republicans, reflecting the opinion of the major corporate leaders and strategists, decided they had no choice but to pull back and concede military defeat in Vietnam because the developing division in U.S. society threatened to result in the emergence of a massive independent political force. This change in policy was carried out under Republican Richard Nixon.
Saving Bush from a backlash is now on the agenda and the positions of the Democratic Party helps Bush in several ways.
First, they seek to prevent even a small but independent critical political development, that is they try to silence the Green Party, and they orient those opposed to the new colonialism to stop demonstrating and focus instead on the electoral campaigns of their Party.
Second, they seek to convince the people that what was wrong with the invasion of Iraq was just that the United Nations -meaning the democratic Security Council dominated by the wealthiest countries -- did not lend it political cover, or NATO was not the military form used, or the US did not include France and Germany in stealing Iraq's resources, or not enough troops are being used or some other question about how things are being done rather than what is being done.
They promise that all will be well if the Democrats can take charge and handle the matter better. With this orientation the Democrats free the hands of corporate America to give their funding and support to Bush. With few exceptions of relatively isolated voices they offer, not real opposition, but only nuances.
And those isolated voices, (Kucinich, Sharpton and Moseley), of opposition within the Democratic Party, no matter how well-intentioned, have a negative consequence: they give legitimacy to the Democrats as "opponents" of the Republicans.
These exceptions to the general rule are allowed on condition that after the primary campaigns they urge a vote for the Democratic nominee. This must be done no matter how different that endorsed candidates positions are from the positions taken during the primary. The cover for their political sell out is the winner-take-all system that allows them to posture as just "opposed to Bush" as they support the very Party that has supported Bush.
Those are the dues you have to pay to "play" in that game; otherwise they will be eliminated and driven out of the House, the Senate or a Governor's office.
For the Green Party there is nothing more important or effective long term and short term in stopping Bush than to expose how the corporate interests use their two-party system and the role of the Democrats in that system. We must let all Americans who question the policies of Bush, who favor the rule of law, peace, and our Constitution and Bill of Rights see the Democratic Party's hypocrisy, how they support the war and the Patriot Act.
DEMOCRATS HELP INSTITUTIONALIZE BUSH'S PLATFORM
It is transparent that the Democrats' objective is to help institutionalize the USA Patriot Act's break with our Constitution and Bill of Rights, by proposing amendments and adjustments that will disorient, divide and weaken the opposition to the USA Patriot Act, and give the appearance public concerns have been corrected.
The Democrats are making interesting suggestions for how to pursue the war effort. Some are calling for a more extensive commitment and the sending of more troops to suppress any resistance to US domination in Iraq and Afghanistan. Others are suggesting more flexibility in forming alliances with European nations that had made capital investments to exploit Iraq's oil wealth under the Saddam Hussein dictatorship. These proposals are all aimed at continuing the denial of self-determination for
the people of Iraq, which means continuing war and continuing violation of international law.
The Democrats and Republicans both supported Saddam Hussein and the Baathist in Iraq before 1990 when it served their interests. Now they argue with each other on how best to oppress the Iraqis as they try to fool the American people into thinking they are actually trying to bring the Iraqis democracy and freedom.
The role of these two parties is not a conspiracy. Boxer, Wellstone and many other Democrats did not vote for the USA Patriot Act consciously seeking to assist Bush. Being Democrats they become part of a system that will have them removed if they do not follow the rules of support when corporate America insists. To rise in the Democratic Party there is a process that leads to compliant people unable to question, who remain silent before betrayals, or criminal acts. Cynthia McKinney is anexample of a Democrat who refused to go along, stepped across the line within the Democratic Party and was driven out of office by the combined efforts of both the Democratic and Republican parties and the corporate media.
Voting to abrogate the 4th amendment to the Constitution, which prohibits searches without probable cause and a judge's order, as the USA Patriot Act does directly is an illegal act. The Democrats and Republicans who voted for this law were fully aware of what they were doing. It is an insult to the intelligence of people like Wellstone and Boxer not to recognize that they fully understood the choice they were making. The Green Party differs, it defends the 4th amendment and seeks to defend the Constitution and respect for the law on how the Constitution can be amended that requires the consideration and vote of the states.
That is not to say there are many issues where Greens agree with Democrats like Boxer and Wellstone and even admire positions they have taken and efforts they have made. But to go into denial, and refuse to recognize the obvious --that the Democrats have joined in passing and promoting the USA Patriot Act against the Constitution with the support of people like Boxer -- is to deny the true framework we face politically in our nation.
The self purging process of the Democratic Party is an on going balance between allowing, even welcoming, voices of opposition in order to co-opt, but not allowing those voices to form a serious challenge, especially any challenge that favors the development of political formations not dominated by corporate money.
SUCCESS OF DEMOCRATIC PARTY
The Democratic Party should be seen historically as the most successful political party in the history of the world in terms of maintaining stability for rule by the privileged few. There is no other example that comes near what the Democratic Party has achieved in maintaining the domination of money over people.
The Democratic Party through trickery co-opted the powerful and massive rise of the Populist movement at the end of the 19th century
precisely using the same lesser evil arguments now presented against the Green Party.
They blocked the formation of a mass Labor Party when the union movement rose in the 1930s. They derailed, co-opted and dismantled the powerful civil rights movement, anti-Vietnam war movement and women's liberation movement. They have even succeeded in establishing popular myths that they were once for labor, for civil rights and for peace. Nothing could be further from the truth.
One quite popular myth is that Franklin Delano Roosevelt was pro labor. Continuing the policies of Woodrow Wilson who oversaw a reign of anti-union terror, including black listing and deporting immigrant labor organizers, FDR's administration sabotaged union drives every step of the way. When workers overcame their bosses' resistance and began winning strikes, FDR turned on them and gave the green light for repression after police killed ten striking steel workers in 1937. As FDR said himself, "I'm the best friend the profit system ever had." After WWII Truman used the new Taft Hartley Anti-Labor Act to break national strikes more than a dozen times.
The Democrats have not abandoned "progressive" positions once held as some Democrats repeatedly claim but have simply shifted further to the right as world globalization has advanced leading to the lowering of democratic rights and the growth of wealth polarization within the United States.
If a massive opposition develops, if the Greens begin to win races and its following grows, the corporations will put more money behind the Democrats, the media will become more sympathetic to the Democrats, promote its more "progressive" voices. The media would also become more critical of the Republican lack of sensitivity, all in an effort to maintain the two-party system. That is, a shift towards the Democrats will occur if the Democrats cannot control the people.
The two-party system is a self-correcting mechanism that shifts back and forth between the two parties, and within different wings of those parties, to maintain corporate political control. Loyalty to the two-party system is inculcated in the educational system, and our electoral laws are rigged to discriminate against third parties.
GREENS VOICE MUST BE HEARD
Those who call for a "lesser evil", that is, for evil will unfortunately succeed. The call for a "lesser evil" is what makes possible the greater evil. Those voices who say Nader should not run, that the Greens should consider withdrawing, that the Greens should not campaign in states where the vote is close are, unconsciously, actually helping Bush's re-election by weakening the development of an opposition political movement that shifts the balance of forces. Nothing is more important than the appearance of candidates and mass actions that tell the full truth, that call for the rule of law, respect for the Bill of Rights, and speak out for peace and social justice.
There is nothing more threatening to the rule of the corporations than the consolidation of a party of hundreds of thousands of citizens,
especially young people, that fearlessly tell the truth to the American people. Only such a movement can in time become millions, then tens of millions and eventually win. But it is also the best strategy for the short term, to force a shift away from the direction being pursued today.
SHORT TERM VERSUS LONG TERM
The idea there is a conflict between the short term and the long term is a cover for capitulation. It has been the endless argument of the Democrats against challenges to their policies. When independent movements appear they call on people to enter the Democratic Party and work from within. There is no time to go outside the two-party framework, they argue. This argument was made 100 years ago, 50 years ago, 25 years ago and, of course remains with us today. Millions have agreed there's no time to do the right thing. Very powerful groups, like the AFL CIO, have followed their advice. As a result the number of workers in unions has dropped from 37% of the work force to 12% as they politically subordinated themselves to the pro-corporate Democratic Party.
Rather than success, these movements have found the Democratic Party to be the burial grown for mass movements, and of third party efforts that sought to defend the interest of the people throughout American history.
If we follow the advice of the "left" Democrats who call on Greens to return to the Democratic Party, the Green Party will collapse like the New Party did for fear of confronting the Democrats.
The exact opposite is needed. We need to encourage those Democrats who are opposing the policies of their party to follow the lead of Congressman Dan Hamburg and break with the Democrats and join with us in developing an alternative force, fighting for democracy, social justice and peace.
All people who believe in democracy need to call on The Nation and others to stop their campaign against the Greens, a campaign at the service of corporate America. Instead they should join with the Greens in a battle for democracy in the same manner in which many progressive Democrats in San Francisco rejected their party's nomination for mayor and joined with the Greens to create a progressive alternative. We need to suggest to "progressive" Democrats that they should concentrate their attacks on their leadership's support for George Bush's policies, and not on the Greens for telling the truth and actually fighting for the
ideals many of these Democrats claim to hold.
THE YEAR 2004
The year 2004 will be a critical year for the Greens. The campaign of the Democrats will be powerful and to some extent effective. Some will abandon us but others will be attracted by our courage and our principled stance. In California the Green registration continues to rise even as the campaign against the Green Party grows. We may very well receive a lower vote than in 2000. But if we do not stand up to this pressure and hold our banner high, fight them and defend our right to exist, to have our voice heard, to run candidates that expose the two-party system and the hypocrisy of the Democratic Party and its complicity with the Republicans, we will suffer the greatest lost of all.
THE GREEN PARTY
The Green Party can and will win the hearts and minds of people when they see us as reliable and unshakeable, if we stand our ground. In time this leads to respect and then support. Those Greens who agree with our Ten Points but have disagreements with this Avocado Declaration need to be respected. We need to allow an open and honest debate as an essential part of our culture.
Truth can only be ascertained through the conflict of ideas. Thus democracy is essential for society but also for our internal process.
The present discussion around the 2004 elections is one that will not end but will be with us for a long time. It finds expression in many
forms because it is the most FUNDAMENTAL ISSUE of American politics in our epoch. Are we willing to stand up to the rule of corporate domination and its central political agent that has deceived and betrayed our people, the Democratic Party?
THE GREENS MUST BE A PLURALISTIC ORGANIZATION
The Green Party seeks to bring all those who agree with its Ten Key points into one unified political party. It welcomes diversity,
debate, and discussion on issues of strategy, tactics and methods of functioning. A healthy organization that fights for the interest of
the people by its nature will always have all kinds of internal conflicts, sharp differences, personality difficulties and all other things
human. This is not only normal it is healthy.
The Greens do not consider themselves a substitute for other movements or organizations, such as peace organizations and other specific issue groups that seek to unite people of all political persuasions around a specific platform. We welcome diversity with other groups that seek to move in the same direction with us but are not agreed to join us. We will try to work wi th such organizations where common ground exists. Thus the AVOCADO DECLARATION includes a call for the Greens to accept diversity, and maintain unity as we seek to build an effective mass organization.
Let those that agree with the AVOCADO DECLARATION help protect and build the Green Party as a vehicle for democracy, freedom, liberty and justice for all.
JANUARY 1, 2004