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DNC Protest, Split, and the Principled Stand of Cynthia McKinney

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"As the United States activated Navy ships and the Air Force to begin an airlift of non-specified goods into the former Soviet state of Georgia, and military exercises began in the Persian Gulf near Iran, I received communications from certain individuals among the Colorado Greens who were organizing campaign support events there, suggesting that I not participate in an anti-war program being organized by other individuals in Colorado." -Cynthia McKinney

DNC Protest, Split, and the Principled Stand of Cynthia McKinney

 

By Steven Argue

 

Protest plans have been in the works against the Democratic National Convention (DNC) for some time now, with organizers opposing the Democrat Party’s policies of war and occupation, backing of continued corporate policies that cause global warming, and their attacks on immigrants.

 

The people who have been organizing the protest schedule formed a coalition called Recreate ‘68.  A rightward split has occurred in this coalition, and another group has also been formed called the Alliance for Real Democracy.  The Alliance for Real Democracy is organizing their own separate events, one of which is a reception for Democrat Party delegates complete with drinks and BBQ.

 

The Alliance for Real Democracy is made up of the Colorado Green Party, Code Pink, United for Peace and Justice, the Rocky Mountain Peace and Justice Center, the American Friends Service Committee, Iraq Veterans Against the War, Colorado Street Medics, and Students for Peace and Justice.

 

While the Alliance for Real Democracy consists largely of white liberals who are trying to influence the hopelessly corporate run Democrat Party, Recreate ‘68 is made up primarily of minorities, socialists, anarchists, communists, and other radicals who have fewer illusions in reforming the Democrat Party and who instead want to organize the power of the people.

 

Glen Spagnuelo, spokesperson of Recreate ‘68, says he’s not bothered by the formation of the Alliance for Real Democracy, because both groups oppose the war in Iraq and neither is advocating a violent protest.

 

Yet, the Alliance for Real Democracy has gotten extensive coverage in the corporate media of Colorado for their violence baiting of Recreate ‘68.  The stand of Recreate ‘68 is, however, one where they simply explain that they are not planning violence, but if the police attack them, they do not disavow the right of protesters to self-defense. 

 

As Benjamin Whitmer of Denver explained in the letters column of the Rocky Mountain Times in a June 5, 2008 letter entitled, “Re-create 68 members aren't violent extremists”:

 

“I’m a little confused as to the media’s portrayal of Glenn Spagnuolo and the members of Re-create 68 as violent extremists. Though Mr. Spagnuolo is getting painted as Vlad the Impaler with a bag full of severed heads, I’ve yet to hear of him engaging in a single act of violent protest. Moreover, I’ve attended several Re-create 68 meetings – meetings which, it’s worth noting, are never without a media presence – and have yet to hear a single suggestion of violent protest from him or from anyone else attending.

 

“The controversy seems to stem from Re-create 68’s refusal to disallow the right to self-defense to its members. Re-create 68’s explanation of this refusal is clear. There will be people protesting with Re-create 68 arm-in-arm with their children and elders. In large part, these will be representatives of communities which have most suffered from the never-ending betrayal of the Democrats. To attempt to deny them the right to defend themselves is to deny a fundamental human right.”

 

Yet, the Alliance for Real Democracy is demanding everyone roll over and die when and if they are violently attacked by the police, and painting those who do not have such a commitment as “violent”.  The coverage their denunciations have received in the corporate media play into the hands of government attempts to deny permits, and, ultimately plays into the hands of police violence if the government does decide to physically attack these protests.  In fact, the Alliance for Real Democracy’s denunciations of the right to self-defense and denunciations of Recreate ‘68 as “violent” creates a ready made excuse for the police and government that may actually cause police violence.

 

In addition, the Green Party of Colorado has issued false statements to the press and all over the internet claiming that Green Party presidential candidate Cynthia McKinney will not be participating in the Recreate ’68 events.  Here is one such statement from Dave Chandler, co-chair of the Colorado Green Party, Green Party candidate for U.S. Congress in the Seventh Congressional District, and supporter of a Denver ballot measure that would seize the vehicles of illegal immigrants: 

 

“Cynthia McKinney, Green Party candidate for President, and Rosa Clemente, Green Party candidate for Vice President are NOT participating in any Recreate ‘68 activities.  Both candidates, and the Green Party of Colorado, are refuting this announcement and are stating that neither candidate, nor the Green Party of Colorado, are in any way associated with Recreate ’68, nor will any of their candidates be speaking at or attending any event, nor are they in any way associated with the group Recreate ’68.”

 

This is a blatant lie.  Cynthia McKinney and Rosa Clemente will be speaking at the Recreate ’68 events. 

 

Liberation News does not endorse the Cynthia McKinney campaign, partly because she is running on the Green Party ticket, a capitalist party.  Yet, she has the right positions on many issues, and does show what a candidate who is not beholden to corporate interests can speak out on, such as for single payer healthcare, immediate withdrawal from Iraq and Afghanistan, and for freeing political prisoners in the U.S. like Mumia Abu-Jamal.

 

It is for these reasons, and the good principled stand that McKinney is taking on the protests at the Democrat National Committee, standing up to the leadership of the Green Party of Colorado, that Liberation News prints Cynthia McKinney and Rosa Clemente’s statement on the DNC in full:

 

*******

Open Letter from Cynthia McKinney

 

As the United States activated Navy ships and the Air Force to begin an airlift of non-specified goods into the former Soviet state of Georgia, and military exercises began in the Persian Gulf near Iran, I received communications from certain individuals among the Colorado Greens who were organizing campaign support events there, suggesting that I not participate in an anti-war program being organized by other individuals in Colorado.

 

Perplexed, I began to do my research to understand the nature of the fissure that I seemed to be placing myself in the middle of.  The communications to me about not participating in one of the scheduled events became more and more shrill.  The events ran through August 26th.  When the lineup of speakers, including Rosa and me, was announced for the events in question, I received multiple communications stating in various ways that the sender from the Green Party of Colorado, was on the verge of desperation over the latter.

 

Within a few hours, I was reading messages stating that the Green Party of Colorado would be ruined if I participated in the End the Occupations/End the War march and rally slated to take place on the morning of August 24th on the steps of the Colorado State Capitol, or if Rosa participated in a Freedom March and Rally for Human Rights and Political Prisoners at Civic Center Park the following day.

 

An article appeared in a local Colorado newspaper stating that Rosa and I would not appear at the events for which we had been scheduled. Rosa responded to our Colorado Green Party contact that yes, indeed, we were appearing at the two events.  Both Rosa and I then received messages demanding to know by a time certain what our plans were, and asserting that the Green Party of Colorado would be totally ruined if we associated with the group sponsoring the events.  In addition, we were told that at least one resignation and sustaining membership would be tendered to the Party, and that Rosa and I could expect no support on the ground in Denver from the Green Party of Colorado, including a planned fundraiser and a place to stay.

 

Without receiving any additional response or information from either Rosa or I, the correspondent sent a message informing us that all Green Party of Colorado events previously scheduled for us had been canceled.  Further, the message stated that ballot access petitioning by Green Party of Colorado would cease in neighboring Wyoming and that all efforts would be made to remove Rosa's and my names from the ballot in Colorado. The message also noted that the Colorado delegation overwhelmingly supported Elaine Brown at the Green Party Convention.

 

With the e-mail messages flying "fast and furious," I hope I have mentioned the highlights of this episode in somewhat chronological order. What Rosa and I would like to address now, is the ideological and rational order that produced this outcome.  At the very first Green Party debate held in San Francisco earlier this year, I pleaded for unity of action and purpose as we face the challenges that confront us as a country.  Rosa and I are proud to join with others who are sick and tired of war, occupation, human rights abuses, and the continued incarceration of our political prisoners.  We are proud to join with others who are willing to do something about it.  In the context of activities in Denver, that means cooperating with some organizations new to us and others with which Rosa and I have had a long-standing relationship. Let me explain some of those relationships.

 

I am proud to have received a Backbone Award from the Backbone Campaign, one of the co-participants of the anti-war, anti-occupation events in question, according to the organizers.

 

Rosa and I are pleased to have received the endorsement of M-1 of Dead Prez, who put out a video of endorsement and is rallying other conscious Hip Hop, Generation X voters to the Green Party with Rosa and I as its nominees.  Rebel Diaz was on the stage with Rosa as she accepted her Green Party nomination for Vice President.  Both Dead Prez and Rebel Diaz are participating in the events in question, according to the organizers.

 

Fred Hampton, Jr.'s mother, a victim of COINTELPRO, came to Georgia in the mid-1990s to help me gain reelection after a malicious redistricting case that went all the way up to the Supreme Court. Ward Churchill has traveled to my Congressional district to educate my former constituents on the COINTELPRO of yesterday and the COINTELPRO of today.  Natsu Saito introduced me to other victims of COINTELPRO.  I asked Kathleen Cleaver to co-author a report that was submitted to Mary Robinson, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights at the time of the World Conference Against Racism, on the unsolved murders of Black Panther Party members who were victims of COINTELPRO.  Fred Hampton, Jr., Ward Churchill, Natsu Saito, and Kathleen Cleaver are all participating in the events in question, according to the organizers.

 

As a Member of Congress, I supported the release of all political prisoners and welcomed information from the American Indian Movement about Leonard Peltier.  I have at many times in my political career been allied with the ACLU, and have always supported Pam and Ramona Africa and the MOVE Organization.  The American Indian Movement of Colorado, King Downing of the ACLU, and Pam and Ramona Africa of MOVE are all participating in the events in question, according to the organizers.

 

Mumia Abu Jamal has endorsed the Power to the People Campaign and my Green Party candidacy.  According to the organizers, Mumia will transmit a message to all of us participating in the events in question.

 

Finally, I have appeared on various stages with many Palestinians; I have proudly spoken at rallies organized by Larry Holmes.  Debra Sweet with World Can't Wait was among the very first to my knowledge to organize around impeachment as an imperative and I support hers and all other impeachment groups in their efforts.  And finally, I have known Ben Manski for a long time as a socially conscious activist who is also a member of the Green Party. According to the organizers, a Palestinian refugee is slated to speak at the events in question, as well as Larry Holmes, Debra Sweet, and Ben Manski.

 

Rosa and I have not been given any rational, ideological, or strategically-acceptable reason by the Green Party of Colorado to dissociate ourselves from the movement that this country so desperately needs and that these individuals and organizations participating represent, as we all attempt to hold the Democratic Party accountable for its complicity in all of the crimes of the Bush Administration.  Therefore Rosa and I will keep our appointments in Denver and we hope that the members of the Green Party of Colorado will attend our sessions and listen to what we have to say.  I have faith that by taking principled stands against war and occupation, human rights abuse, the prison-industrial complex, and in support of freedom for political prisoners, the Green party will emerge stronger.

 

Cynthia McKinney

Green Party Nominee for President of the United States

 

Rosa Clemente

Green Party Nominee for Vice President of the United States

 

*******

Liberation News endorses and encourages people to attend:

Recreate ‘68 Protest: Speakers and Free Concerts Schedule

http://recreate68.com/?p=135

 

FYI:

Alliance for Real Democracy: drinks and BBQ for Democrat Party delegates and their other scheduled events:

http://slapstickpolitics.blogspot.com/2008/07/alliance-for-real-democracy-dnc.html

 

This is an article of Liberation News, subscribe free:

https://lists.riseup.net/www/info/liberation_news

Comments

Principled Stand????

It just shows how absolutely stupid mckinney is. The racist trash doesn't have enough sense to pour piss out of a boot and her decision to align herself with the anti American hate groups listed in this article just proves the point. Unfit for command, unfit to wait tables.

Response to anonymous

Cynthia McKinney is not a racist.

McCain and Obama support the deep seated racism of this society.

McCain is a racist. He even said he will hate the "gooks" as long as he lives. This after his bombing raids on northern Vietnam probably murdered more people than Timothy McVeigh in Oklahoma. McVeigh was executed for his crimes, yet, the Vietnamese released McCain after only five years of prison.

And Obama is pretty bad in terms of racism as well. He's joined the establishment of a racist society. As soon as the racist establishment complained about the Reverand Wright, with most of what Wright says about racist America being true, Obama kicked him to the curb.

Obama has voted for the Patriot Act by voting to renew it in 2006. He also voted for the racist anti-immigrant wall as well as the "guest worker" program that denies immigrants rights, but allows them to come to this country to be exploited and under-paid. Obama also voted for the so-called "Class Action Fairness Act" that makes it harder for the people to sue corporations.

One might think that Obama, as a black man in racist America, might have something to offer on issues dealing with the suffering caused by the racist police state, mass incarceration of the poor, lack of healthcare, and dramatic drop in the standard of living of the multi-racial working class and poor. Instead, Barack Obama plays into racist stereotypes, blaming the victims of racist America rather than the corporate criminals, stating:

"Such wisdom might help us move beyond ideological bickering and serve as the basis of a renewed effort to tackle the problem of inner-city poverty. We could begin by acknowledging that perhaps the single biggest thing we could do to reduce such poverty is to encourage teenage girls to finish high school and avoid having children out of wedlock. . ." Barack Obama, The Audacity of Hope, pps. 255-256

The inner cities of America have, by and large, been abandoned by the same capitalists that got rich off of the jobs they have now exported, just as the victims of hurricane Katrina were left to die by this same racist system. Yet the best thing to do according to Barack Obama is for black girls to stop having children out of wedlock.

In his book, Obama not only lets this racist system off the hook, but he praises one of the worst anti-working class reforms of the Clinton administration stating, "we should also acknowledge that conservatives-and Bill Clinton-were right about welfare as it was previously structured." Bill Clinton's welfare reform has caused homelessness, hunger, and less access to other basic necessities for the poor in America, but Barack Obama says Bill Clinton and the conservatives were right.

Both Obama and McCain have voted for war appropriations for the racist war and occupation of Iraq, and both are for sending more troops into Afghanistan.

It is McCain and Obama who represent this racist war mongering corporate system, not McKinney.

Inspiring

It's great to see Cynthia McKinney taking such a principled stand. Her speech at the April 19 Mumia rally was very powerful. You can watch it at 7:54 in this video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5DsNJalDIuc

I wish the convention protesters all the best!

Humm, typical lefty bullshit answer

Hey argue, your statement that mckinney isn't a racist then your immediate bashing of mccain and obama is just typical progressive bullshit. Cindy and obama should be on the same ticket, they both subscribe to the racist ranting of that rev. wright moron. And yes mckinney is a fucking racist, and dumb as a box of rocks as well. Her arrogance is only outweighed by her absolute stupidity.

Another Response on Racism

Anonymous has yet to give one instance of racism by McKinney. But this person's labeling of McKinney as a racist is typical of rightwing nut-jobs who claim that anyone who speaks out against racism is a racist.

Republican candidate Ron Paul, exposed as having voted against the renewal of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 that gave Blacks the right to vote; exposed for knowingly accepting a donation from former KKK Grand Dragon and Nazi Stormfront radio host Don Black; and exposed for having put out a racist-sexist-homophobic newsletter in his name for decades that opposed Martin Luther King and desegregation; now makes the claim, “I am the most anti-racist because I don’t see people in collective groups” (CNN). Interestingly enough, Nazi Stormfront members Don Black and David Duke make the same claims of not being racist (Stormfront). To them, the real racists are those who speak out against the inequalities suffered by people of color.

Racism and xenophobia take many forms, both subtle and overt. While overt racism and national chauvinism are still very much a problem in America, one of the most insidious forms of racism is promoted in the form of denying that these problems even exist, and calling the anti-racists who try to remedy the problem as "racists".

I wrote further on this question in the following article:

Closing Our Eyes Won’t Make Racial and Ethnic Inequalities Disappear
by STEVEN ARGUE

http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2008/01/21/18473855.php

Hey CO Greens,

Hey CO Greens,
What's up with you? Are you Greens or Democrats?
Make up your mind and fix your dysfunctionality, it can be done.

Love Me, I'm A Liberal

In the spirit of '68, here's to the CO Greens:

"Love Me, I'm a Liberal"
by Phil Ochs

I cried when they shot Medgar Evers
Tears ran down my spine
I cried when they shot Mr. Kennedy
As though I'd lost a father of mine
But Malcolm X got what was coming
He got what he asked for this time
So love me, love me, love me, I'm a liberal

I go to civil rights rallies
And I put down the old D.A.R.
I love Harry and Sidney and Sammy
I hope every colored boy becomes a star
But don't talk about revolution
That's going a little bit too far
So love me, love me, love me, I'm a liberal

I cheered when Humphrey was chosen
My faith in the system restored
I'm glad the commies were thrown out
of the A.F.L. C.I.O. board
I love Puerto Ricans and Negros
as long as they don't move next door
So love me, love me, love me, I'm a liberal

The people of old Mississippi
Should all hang their heads in shame
I can't understand how their minds work
What's the matter don't they watch Les Crain?
But if you ask me to bus my children
I hope the cops take down your name
So love me, love me, love me, I'm a liberal

I read New republic and Nation
I've learned to take every view
You know, I've memorized Lerner and Golden
I feel like I'm almost a Jew
But when it comes to times like Korea
There's no one more red, white and blue
So love me, love me, love me, I'm a liberal

I vote for the democratic party
They want the U.N. to be strong
I go to all the Pete Seeger concerts
He sure gets me singing those songs
I'll send all the money you ask for
But don't ask me to come on along
So love me, love me, love me, I'm a liberal

Once I was young and impulsive
I wore every conceivable pin
Even went to the socialist meetings
Learned all the old union hymns
But I've grown older and wiser
And that's why I'm turning you in
So love me, love me, love me, I'm a liberal

AND, THIS IS JELLO BIAFRA'S 1994 UPDATED VERSION:

I cried when they shot John Lennon
Tears ran down my spine
And I cried when I saw "JFK"
As if I'd lost a father of mine
But Malcom-X and Ice-T had it coming
They got what they asked for this time

Chorus:
So love me, love me, love me,
I'm a liberal

I go to pro-choice rallies
Recycle my cans and jars
I'll honk if you love the Dead
Hope those funny Grunge bands become stars
But don't talk about revolution
That's going a little bit to far

Chorus:
So love me, love me, love me,
I'm a liberal

I cheered when Clinton was chosen
My faith in the system reborn
I'll do anything to save our schools
If my taxes aint too much more
And I love Blacks and Gays and Latinos
As long as they don't move next door

Chorus:
So love me, love me, love me,
I'm a liberal

Rush Limbaugh and the L.A.P.D.
Should all hang thier heads in shame
I can't understand where they're at
Arsenio should set them straight
But if neighborhood watch doesn't know you
I hope the cops take your name

Chorus:
So love me, love me, love me,
I'm a liberal

Yeah, I read the New Republican
Rolling Stone and Mother Jones too
If I vote it's a democrat
With a sensible economy view
But when it comes to terrorist Arabs
There is no one more red, white, and blue

Chorus:
So love me, love me, love me,
I'm a liberal

Once I was young and had an attitude
Stickers covered the car I drove in
Even went on some direct actions
When there weren't rent-a-cops to be seen
Ah, but now I've grown older and wiser
And that's why I'm turning you in

Chorus:
So love me, love me, love me,
I'm a liberal

McKinney Owes Colorado Greens an Apology

Last Monday, August 11, Recreate '68 issued a press release listing McKinney and Clemente as speakers, the Greens organizing their trip to Colorado -- including buying the plane tickets and arranging lodging -- were totally unaware of any such arrangements.

It was a McKinney campaign staffer, Davyd (?) that told us that indeed, no Recreate '68 events were known by him and that a press release to that effect would be appropriate.

Despite our continued efforts to receive a direct communication from McKinney about her plans while in Denver, we heard nothing. To this day Colorado Green organizers have heard NOTHING from the McKinney campaign about what Cynthia and Rosa are doing in Denver.

There is, therefore, nothing 'principled' about Cynthia McKinney's and Rosa Clemente's behavior towards the Green Party of Colorado.

If the presidential nominees of the Green Party want to ignore Green grassroots, want to ignore community focus, and kowtow to the loonier elements of Denver left reactionaries ... well, that's just fine with us, but then don't count on our money, support or votes.

McKinney Does Indeed Owe an Apology

Dave Chandler is right, and Steven Argue is absolutely full of shit. I worked with both ARD and Recreate 68 and did not try to have misperceptions, but McKinney was dishonest in her approach to the Colorado Greens, and Rosa Clemente in her speech on Sunday specifically dismissed radicals that choose as a tactic Ghandian nonviolence, saying they are no better than Democrats. And no, Hans Bennett, the issue has NOTHING to do with the Ochs or Biafra version of "Love me I'm a liberal." Biafra chose to work primarily with ARD because he found R68 sectarian and problematic. There were many anarchist groups working with ARD, and Colorado Greens are not overly liberal, they are just pissed off at McKinney and Clemente for legit, specific reasons. I found most of the R68 organizers to be narcissistic "carry the gun" wannabes, not principled radicals. If you weren't in Colorado, you didn't see all this crap.