This is the most interesting Green ticket put together ever. Cynthia McKinney and Rosa Clemente have brought black radicals like the Reconstruction Movement and the activist hip-hop community into the Greens and this, in turn, has helped in raising issues of class and of imperialism. This is an achievement, especially in the context of this election. McKinney’s campaign is also a strong refutation of the lie that Barack Obama’s candidacy reflects the end of racism, and therefore the close of the Civil Rights Movement, in this country.
The Greens are quite a ways from developing into a cohesive political party. The fallout from the split in Green orientation during the 2004 election has continued and there is question as to the medium term survival of the Green Party project. The goal of this campaign is to reach the 5% threshold to become a national party. If the combined percentage of the McKinney and Nader campaigns reached 5% I think most of us would be surprised.
It is clear that, contrary to the fears of some, McKinney will campaign against the Democrats; no “safe state strategies” like the Cobb debacle in ’04 this year I hope. She’s going to get my vote and the vote of many comrades. That said, the Greens and the McKinney campaign are worthy of honest critique. And any critique begins with class.
At the heart of nearly all of what Cynthia and Rosa so eloquently decry is the reality of a society and its economy based on class rule, division and exploitation; politics are the reflection of the class war (we’re taking a beating BTW). The Greens aren’t, and won’t become, a working class party. A party of, by and for the working class, remains an essential element in turning the class war into a two way fight.
But the formation of such a party or parties is a process and can’t be dictated; the point is to push for it in anticipation of those historic moments when subjective and objective conditions collide to make new things possible.
It is my belief that the McKinney campaign is invested with the greatest potential of all of the “left” campaigns to actually build a political project to the left of the Democrats as well as the space to raise the socialist and revolutionary conclusions necessary for real transformation of society. Following Cynthia and Rosa’s speeches is a (mildly dated) resolution from Solidarity’s National Committee of a few months ago on the elections.
This election is going to be a tough one for the left. Bush’s disastrous rule have made it the Democrat’s election to lose. I urge you to vote for Cynthia McKinney and Rosa Clemente in the 2008 Election. I understand that there are other campaigns that comrades are engaged in: Ralph Nader, the Socialist Party’s Brian Moore, and the propaganda campaigns of revolutionary groups. I wish we had a single candidate that the left could coalesce around, but I understand there are divergent views and all kinds of local and regional realities that weigh the question.
Here are the acceptance speeches of Cynthia McKinney (Cynthia’s speech begins at 16:40) and Rosa Clemente from the weekend’s Green Party Convention in Chicago.
Motion from Solidarity National Committee
Passed May 17, 2008
Solidarity endorses the Cynthia McKinney campaign in the Green Party as the most viable option for an independent political alternative in the 2008 presidential election. We make this choice in the context of the following considerations:
1) We fully recognize that the political space available to independent politics in this election is small, and we are not anticipating or banking on a mass “breakthrough” or indeed a showing on the scale of Ralph Nader’s campaign in 2000. Supporting independent politics is an important statement of principled opposition to the parties of corporate capital.
2) The choice of supporting a McKinney candidacy in 2008 over other options, in particular the independent campaign of Ralph Nader, isn’t because we see fundamental differences in principled politics between them. It’s our assessment that the McKinney campaign has a greater potential “upside,” particularly in advancing the possibility of the Green Party becoming a people of color-led formation with a chance to develop real social roots. Again, this is not a question of expecting the McKinney or any other independent campaign on the left to be a mass phenomenon this time around.
3) We respect the fact that for a number of reasons, our assessment isn’t shared unanimously by committed activists for independent politics. We respect those in particular who are working for the Nader campaign and we’re committed to helping ensure that differences among IPA forces over strategy for 2008 don’t become barriers to unity in struggle over the long haul.
4) We have to recognize that choosing “our” candidate for 2008 isn’t the only issue for us, and indeed not the most important. We need to address ourselves critically and sympathetically, but without illusions, to the mass sentiment among African Americans and among youth of all races rallying around Barack Obama. There are powerful and valid reasons why the Black community – which is overwhelmingly loyal to the Democratic Party – sees the need to defend Obama’s nomination for president from being “hijacked” by party superdelegates. Black Americans know that failing to do so now would be to sacrifice an opportunity that will not come around again for a long time to come, if ever. They know that ANY Black politician’s pastor could be attacked like Jeremiah Wright. And they know that throwing the nomination to Hillary Clinton on grounds of “electability” would be saying that the Black vote can be taken for granted but white voters have to be carefully massaged.
5) The most important thing for us is to simultaneously present our critique of Obama – which is not complicated, it’s simply that he’s a centrist corporate Democrat – with a defense of the Black community’s (and young people’s) defense of Obama. We suggest the approach taken in the ATC 134 editorial and Malik Miah’s article on Obama, Wright and Black Liberation Theology.