Swans Commentary » swans.com September 25, 2006  



Voting One's Conscience
Howie Hawkins, Donna Warren, Peter Camejo, et al.


by Gilles d'Aymery





(Swans - September 25, 2006)  America, please vote your conscience, not your calculations. Vote on the issues.

Do you want to bring the troops home NOW, not launch another war, this time against Iran (or the Sudan), and have a more proactive policy to end the Israeli-Arab conflict? Do you want to defend our civil liberties by abolishing the USA Patriot Act, defend unions' rights and women's right to choose, as well as civil rights for the gay and lesbian communities, and equal rights for immigrants? Do you want universal health care? Do you want to spend more on education and less on incarceration, and abolish the death penalty and the three-strikes nightmare? Do you want the wealthiest 1% of America to pay a fairer share of the tax burden and lower taxes for the bottom two quintiles of the citizenry? Do you want environmental policies that tax corporate polluters, develop real alternative energies, and tend toward conservation, away from consumerism? Do you, in the last analysis, want to put people before profits?

If you do, here is some good news: There are candidates who are actually running on this kind of platform. I am thinking of Howie Hawkins running for the US Senate against Hillary Clinton in New York State, a man with impeccable credentials and a long history of activism; or Peter Camejo who's running for Governor in California -- Peter's commitment to humanity is well-known -- with long-time dedicated activist for peace, justice, equality, civil rights, Donna J. Warren for Lt. Governor; or Todd Chretien, "a man of integrity and peace," says Cindy Sheehan of Chretien, who's running for the Senate in California. There are many more candidates all over the country that represent the values I presented above. The Green Party slates 388 contestants -- 68 in California alone -- who ask for your support and your vote in 38 states. Go to greens.org/elections to find a Green candidate in your state and in your communities. Vote for change, not the same old, same old, bicephalous system.

To the best of my estimation the last time the "Greens" (meaning Green Party) appeared on Swans was on September 12, 2005 in a sardonic response to a question by a reader from San Antonio, Texas, Ellen Berky. She asked: "How come such a dearth of Green commentary?" I answered: "Good question... Where are the Greens these days, still hard at work on a Safe States Strategy?" Then, you have to go back to October 18, 2004, in "2004 US Presidential Election: Recapitulation" to see a mention of the Greens. I mean, they'd gone off the radar screen and we had moved away from the San Francisco Bay Area (July 2004) -- and the Greens did not follow us. Never heard from Peter Camejo again. Co-editor Jan Baughman, a former registered Green (she's switched to Independent out of utter disgust over their ineffectiveness), did not hear from them either... Till I received a week or so ago an e-mail from Donna J. Warren there had not been much greenery in our political environment. Donna Warren wrote:

Mr. d'Aymery,

In 2003, you wrote the article "Peter Camejo-Cynthia McKinney - A Green Presidential Ticket," which supported strong green candidates. Do you still feel the same? If so, I was wondering if you would support the Camejo-Warren campaign by writing an article or whatever else you believe could help the campaign.


Thank you for your wonderful analysis,

Donna J. Warren, Green Party Candidate for Lt. Governor (CA)
"...a different face in the (Green) Party...", "...stresses the need to cooperate on issues, across party lines." -- The Village Voice.

I answered:

Dear Donna,

Thank you for your e-mail. Yes indeed, I still feel the same, though the conditions have evolved. In 2003/4, GM and Ford were on top of the world...seemingly. Today they are near bankruptcy. One could say the same regarding the Dems and the Reps. Yet, the situation (economic, civil rights, environment, social justice, etc.) keeps deteriorating, and the country at large, and the "alternativists," appear compass-less, without any direction.

The Greens have been eviscerated by the selling-out of Cobb & Co. to the Democrats in 2004. These people have done a huge damage to a movement that was at last emerging. I could not and will not support any one of them in the current cycle and in future battles (so I need to differentiate the green outside and red inside, and the green outside and Dems. inside -- not an easy proposition). People without spine (principles) should be treated with utter contempt.


I shall see what I can do. I have not changed my analysis. I have not changed my principles -- but I have indeed felt betrayed and abandoned. Out of no other alternative, I think I'll support you and Peter. Or possibly, I'll write in favor of voting (if voting has any meaning) for whatever candidate, independent of party label, that is clearly against the war in Iraq, the saber rattling with Iran, the unconditional support of Israel whatever the exactions in her neck of the woods, the increasingly dismal conditions of workers around the world, etc., etc., etc.

I wish Latinos, blacks (or African Americans, to be PC), would join together and form a truly revolutionary party.

I went back and read my July 2003 piece again. It's amazing how it has not aged. Change a few names and the analysis remains as pertinent today as it was then. In the midst of the ongoing brouhaha on the way to November 2006, we are hearing how much the Democrats must regain control of Congress if only to save the Republic. The Michael Bérubés, Todd Gitlins, David Corns, Marc Coopers, Nathan Newmans, Katha Pollitts, Norman Solomons, et al., of the liberal, democratic pwogosphere are crying wolf. Michael Albert, Ted Glick, and their ilk, who have never gone back to review their terrible wishy-washy 2004 approach, will either remain mum or will, again with much circumvolutions, call to vote for the Democrats. These people are helpless and hopeless.

I can't repeat it enough. If you want change, vote for change. If you agree with Peter Camejo's assessment of the damages done to California and on his proposed solutions, vote for Peter Camejo. Vote for what you crave for. Vote for hope. Don't vote out of fear -- that's what the Republicrats offer you only, with a sprinkling of social cuts and military entanglements. You can't change a system by continually voting the system in out of fear and disinformation. Trust your instincts. Ignore the fearmongers and the naysayers.

The right-wingnuts in 1964 may have lost the presidential election but they did not discourage. Instead they embarked on a program to take over all local offices, from the school boards, the PTAs, the mayorships, all the way up to Congress and the presidency. They coalesced on a set of powerful radical reactionary ideas and they prevailed...not by voting in the middle, but by sticking to their guns and by organizing relentlessly. They won. We lost. Is it not about time we learn the lesson?

Watching Mr. Bush's encounter with Mr. Clinton, as the former was walking out of the UN Chamber after having delivered his speech to the world last week, I was reminded of the collusion between the Republicans and the Democrats. A pat in the back from Bush to Clinton; a friendly exchange, with smiles aplenty... I for one, who believed change would occur in 1992, who wrote to then president-elected William J. Clinton, that I would be proud to serve in any capacity (I got a fund-raising letter back, of course...) to help the country move on to a path of sanity, almost threw up at the sight of the happenstance. One of these days, not far in the future, we shall witness a government composed of both parties, a so-called bi-partisan administration with a Republican and Democratic ticket -- a McCain-Clinton tandem, or a Gingrich-Obama circus. Obama, Obama, merchandized as the future of the Democratic Party -- a Democrat hard on attacking Iran, even using tactical nuclear bombs. It says it all. Don't get had again, and again, and again.

Michael Albert and other luminaries of the "Left" will find a way to tell you why voting for change is not worthy of attention. Follow the leaders, he'll tell you, as he follows the money. But this is defeatism redux and so detrimental to engaging the millions of potential voters who go fishing on Election Day. Why would they trust us when cycle after cycle we go back like headless chickens to the Democratic coop to roost? We need to offer a strong platform with clearly defined policies and stick to them. Candidates like Donna Warren, Peter Camejo, and Howie Hawkins do. Vote for them.

Friends, vote and work for change. Listen to your conscience.


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Internal Resources

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About the Author

Gilles d'Aymery is Swans' publisher and co-editor.



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This Edition's Internal Links

The Classroom And The Class Struggle - Louis Proyect

Road Kill - Martin Murie

"In Light Of This New Environment" - Gerard Donnelly Smith

Ecstasy of Peace - Gilles d'Aymery

Faith-Based Research - Cartoon by Jan Baughman

Where're The Stars? - Book & Film Review by Peter Byrne

Tony Blair: Child Of The Hippie Generation - Karen Moller

Oriana Fallaci, 1929-2006 - Peter Byrne

Aha n.4: The End - Experimental Poem by Guido Monte

Blips #41 - From the Martian desk - Gilles d'Aymery

Letters to the Editor

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Swans -- ISSN: 1554-4915
URL for this work: http://www.swans.com/library/art12/ga216.html
Published September 25, 2006