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Denver DNC Demonstration Drama (will the Colorado Greens take Cynthia off the ballot?)

Colorado Greens threaten ballot line over McKinney and Clemente’s participation in DNC Protests

Planned protests and demonstrations in Denver surrounding the Democratic National Convention have been plagued by strife pretty much from the beginning. The tension appears to be between one planning group called “Recreate 68″ (a reference to the Chicago 68 riots at the DNC) and a variety of other peace and justice organizations including the Colorado Green Party. The divide may be related to tactics – as when Recreate 68 lost the bid to demonstrate in Civic Center Park to Democrats the organizer vaguely threatened (as published in the media at the time):

“We’re having our protest at Civic Center,” said … Glenn Spagnuolo, a lead organizer for the group Re-create 68. “We’re not going to give up Civic Center park to the Democrats. . . . They are creating a very dangerous situation.”

Spagnuolo stood by the group’s intention to march from the Civic Center Park to the Pepsi Center and the DNC:

“When things blow up because the police have to enforce a permit that the Democrats got, don’t blame us for that,” said Glenn Spagnuolo, an organizer for the Re-create 68 Alliance.

Keep in mind that the Colorado National Guard is moving 400 troops to Denver “as part of its work at the National Convention…” The Colorado Green Party, having separated itself from Recreate ’68, urged Cynthia McKinney and Rosa Clemente to pull out of speaking and participating at events in Denver.

In a statement issued earlier this week, Claire Ryder of Colorado (apparently, incorrectly) stated:

August 11 – In a press statement, and email blast this morning, Recreate ’68 announced that Cynthia McKinney, Green Party candidate for President, and Rosa Clemente, Green Party candidate for Vice President, would be speaking at their rallies. Both candidates, and the Green Party of Colorado, are refuting this announcement and are announcing that neither candidate, nor the Green Party of Colorado, are in any way associated with Recreate ’68, or will have any of their candidates speaking at, or attending, any event, in any way associated with the group Recreate ’68.

However, that turned out to not be the case. Cynthia McKinney and Rosa Clemente stood by their decisions to speak at two separate events in Denver. McKinney is scheduled to speak at the “End the Occupations March and Rally” on August 24, and Rosa Clemente is scheduled to speak at the “Freedom March” on August 25.

Consequently, certain members of the Colorado Green Party informed the campaign that the Colorado Green Party was canceling all events for McKinney and Clemente, suspending petition drives by Colorado Greens to put McKinney on the ballot in Wyoming, and even threatening to make efforts to remove McKinney from the Colorado Green Party’s ballot line.

Breakdown (i.e. Editorial Portion)

This originated over a disagreement about “violence”, specifically that Recreate ’68’s statement on non-violence was not strong enough for others. That led to the division between the Colorado Greens and others from Recreate ’68. But when McKinney and Clemente refused to recuse themselves of speaking at one of the two largest political demonstrations in America this year, apparently one member of the Colorado Greens decided to put some teeth into her demands that they pull out.

While I empathize with the predicament that the Colorado Greens are in, I also feel that McKinney and Clemente are doing the right thing by speaking in front of and standing with the tens of thousands of frustrated and angry protesters demanding action against the War in Iraq, the War on Civil Liberties, and the dissipation of Democracy in America. These are our votes – and McKinney and Clemente have to go out and earn those votes.

Whether it is one individual or a handful in the Colorado Green Party that are choosing to hold their ballot line hostage, they are potentially denying Democracy to the voters of Colorado by threatening to remove McKinney from their ballot. The voters of Colorado, be they Greens or Republican-Democrats or Socialists or Independents, deserve a choice at the ballot box. No one person or small group of individuals should have that power to deny an elective choice to over a million voters, and it is exactly that kind of power over our Democracy that the Green Party has been fighting against.

I hope that this situation is resolved in a way that allows all participants to save face, but in no way should the Green Party ballot line in Colorado be denied to McKinney and Clemente, and no one should have the right to make demands on a candidate from a position of this level of power.

Cynthia McKinney has released a statement to Green Party supporters regarding this situation and I am waiting for permission to release portions of it. More as it develops.

Ronald Hardy

43 Comments

  1. Looks like Recreate ’68 has already posted McKinney and Clemente’s response.
    http://recreate68.com/?p=143
    Kudos to our nominees for not giving in to some sore loser’s temper tantrum.
    Someone should remind the Colorado Greens that the party has chosen our nominees. Maybe they should reflect that on their website.

  2. As one who marched, protested and got
    tear-gassed at the un-democratic party
    Chicago convention of 1968, i find it so distressing to hear the “ballot-line” threats
    to the Green Party/ Cynthia McKinney/Rosa Clemente ticket in Colorado. These threats
    to circumvent the decision of the Green Party
    national convention, and all of the Green Parties throughout the country that have struggled so valiantly for ballot access, can only serve the purposes of the corporate democrats & republicans. I thank Cynthia and Rosa for wisely seizing this historical moment in Denver to bring the Green Party message to a world stage….a better world is possible!

  3. Could someone from Colorado explain the issue in a little more detail, so we can have an informed discussion?
    I understand the CO Greens’ desire to avoid guilt by association with any group that may use violent tactics, altho I disagree with their approach to this situation. Cynthia McKinney has always been unafraid to speak up for what she thinks is right, regardless of how her enemies will twist and warp her words to slander her. While it crossed my mind that Fox “news” might intersperse clips of her speech with shots of brick-throwing anarchists, I think that the Denver convention is a good opportunity for our candidate to address thousands of politically active young Americans who are disillusioned with the two-party system and bring them the Green message that nonviolent organization is the best way to see our values implemented in public policy.

  4. If this is true than the Colorado Greens {I am sure not all Colorado Greens Agree} who are trying to stop other Greens from exercising their rights of free speech suck. Since they are going against at least 8 of our key values while Cynthia and Rosa not only aren’t violating any key value including non violence. They are actually trying to live our 10K’s. Here’s a twinkle to McKinney and Clemente.
    A Michigan Green

  5. The state Green Parties, unlike the D’s and R’s, are not the towel boys of the GPUS. My understanding is that the state puts up the ballot line, top to bottom, and it is ultimately their choice. If they seek to replace the prez ticket, but not remove the ticket, then no one in Colorado would be denied their choice. Participating in an unapproved demonstration/march, in areas they weren’t given permits for (risking arrest), could give the Colorado Green Party the “reason” they need to replace them on the ballot.

    I can see why the Colorado Green Party is opposed to this action, and I hope the GPUS at least considers the situation. This demonstration is preparing itself for violence/property damage. In their “statement of non-violence and principles”, #6 and 9 cause me the most concern. If McKinney sees someone being assaulted, is she not supposed to take steps to prevent this assault? If Clemente knows that vehicles or buildings are about to be burned or damaged, is she not to report it? If the event turns violent/destructive, are we to be concerned with the perception of the event organizers? Or will the Green Party be doing anything and everything to denounce the violence/damage and seek to punish those involved? We are not talking about a peaceful MLK march, or a rally ending with laying in the road to stop traffic. This group is seeking to “Recreate ’68” and I fear they are hoping for a recreation of the battlefield of ’68 as well.

  6. But why can’t the Colorado Green Party distance themselves from Recreate 68, as they have done, and let the candidates do what they are going to do? You don’t have to agree with your candidate 100% of the time to still put them on your ballot.

    Would it be right to say: “Unless you distance yourself from [insert issue or group here] we will not put your name on our state’s ballot…”???

    When the Delegates named Cynthia McKinney our Candidate we took ALL OF HER. And we have to let McKinney and Clemente do what we nominated them to do – run for President, and we should be prepared to support them however we can.

    I don’t need to justify McKinney’s involvement in the DNC events, she does it herself here:
    http://recreate68.com/?p=143

  7. The Colorado Green Party has distanced themselves from Recreate ’68, however, if the state party (under their rules) wishes to distance themselves from the McKinney/Clemente ticket, I feel it would be their right. Unless it were removed by consensus it should remain on the ballot, but the amount of support the ticket receives is up to the individuals and the party.

    If I or any other candidate came out in support of off-shore drilling, the defense of marriage act, or “democratic centralism”, then yes…I would want that name removed from the ballot. There has been no violence…yet…but why involve themselves and the Green Party in an event that is pre-planning a response to violence/property damage, and is telling participants to withhold information from police if violence/property damage occurs?

    The national convention nominated McKinney/Clemente. THEY took all of her. It is up to individuals, counties, and states to decide whether or not to support the ticket, and what form and degree this support shall be.

    Don’t get me wrong. I am not campaigning against McKinney/Clemente. As a County candidate for the Green Party, I feel a certain obligation to support the entire Green slate, however, this support is with a “small s”. If requested or needed by the County or State Parties, I may participate or help with a campaign event, but I won’t be the one planning or promoting them. I will not actively support or work for another candidate for president. At the same time, I won’t be seeking support or endorsements from them either, which is unfortunate, because Clemente lives literally minutes away from me…

  8. I’m also confused. What exactly was wrong w/68? The poster seems to be taking the slogan rather literally, too much so. Why? has the poster read Recreate’s own 10 point statement of principles and of non-violence on its website?

    Some of the questions the poster asks seem quite orwellian as well. If one is physically assaulted, does one not have the right to resist? Isn’t that the meaning of self-defense? How exactly does that violate a pacifistic plank of the party? Putting aside the fact that that is the one party value I don’t agree with (unless onesmeans opposition to war which is also a common definition), we shouldn’t fetishize the idea. This can easily lead into a different long discussion, but basically I mean that we as a party have already endorsed a candidate who has links (as she says in her statement on this matter) to individuals and groups that have commonly been portrayed as “militant” in the mainstream press, and even in much of academia. Compared to the regime and 2 party system we’re opposing, that’s simply not based in fact. Our nominees have repeatedly stated their commitment to non-violent resistance, as have the members and supporters of the power to the people campaign, including basically all of the Marxist hip hop artists that have endorsed the campaign. I have in mind here Dead Prez, Immortal Technique and others. The same applies to all the former Panthers (including Louisianna Green congressional candidate Rahim) or member of Move members.

    So I again ask, what is the controversy over. I don’t see any cause for it.

  9. To answer some of the questions and concerns discussed here — below is the explanation and response posted on the Colorado Greens email list last night.

    Thursday, August 14, 2008

    To Colorado Greens:

    As many of you may know, metro Denver area Green groups have chosen quite emphatically to disassociate themselves from the entity called ‘Recreate ’68’ that was created to protest at the Democratic National Convention. The reasons for this go back almost a year and involve that group’s lack of structure and organization, their tardy and lack of sincere commitment to non-violence, their undemocratic and secretive decision-making process, and the use of personal invective that has been characteristic of its leadership.

    Readers of the Denver Post and Rocky Mountain News will be fully aware of the disruptive and inflammatory conduct of Recreate ’68.

    Since our party’s national convention, Claire Ryder, GPOC co-chair and chair of the Denver Greens, took the lead in organizing an
    appearance and fundraiser for the Green Party’s presidential nominee, Cynthia McKinney, during the time of Democrat’s convention here. Furthermore, the Green Party of Colorado just a couple of weeks ago agreed to be a member of the umbrella group ‘Alliance for Real Democracy’ setup to provide an alternative to Recreate ’68 that more closely aligns with our Ten Key Values.

    So, it was with surprise and great disappointment that on Monday of this week, we saw McKinney’s and vice presidential candidate Rosa Clemente’s names listed as speakers on a press released issued by Recreate ’68. The McKinney campaign has apparently been making other arrangements for activities in Denver without informing Claire and active Greens here in the metro area.

    Further complicating matters, believing there was a misunderstanding, Claire contacted a member of the McKinney campaign who told her that McKinney was not involved with Recreate ’68 and that Colorado Greens could issue a press release to that effect, which was done Monday evening.

    Wednesday morning Claire received this email from Rosa Clemente:

    >> Hi Claire

    i saw this article today, i know we did not get a chance to talk but me and CYnthia are speaking at Recreate 68, i do not think it was a good idea for you to speak on our behalf or on behalf of the party, can i see the blast that you sent out monday, and whom in the national party asked you to issue a statement on mine and Cynthia’s behalf, I wanted to talk with you about how and why we arrived at the discussion to participate, of course the Green Party of Colorado has the autonomy to act in whatever way benefits you all. I will be calling the reporter to clarify our position, he should have reached out to me and CYnthia anyway, to get our position first hand, thanks

    Rosa A. Clemente
    VP Candidate for the Green Party

    (sic)<<

    Claire and I sent an urgent email to both McKinney and Clemente yesterday morning requesting a simple confirmation of whether or not they were planning to participate in the Recreate ’68 protests. As of this afternoon, we had not received any other communication from them whatsoever.

    Tom Kelly and Bob Kinsey did have some correspondence on this matter yesterday with Scott McLarty, Communications Director of GPUS.

    This action by the McKinney campaign is a blatant contradiction of our party’s principle of “grassroots democracy” and displays not only serious lack of communication and organization, but a disregard for the work and desires of the GPOC, the Denver Greens — and especially the energy, money and efforts that Claire Ryder has put into planning a venue for Cynthia McKinney to promote her candidacy. (Rosa Clemente telephoned Claire this past Sunday requesting that although she had initially said that she didn’t need an airplane ticket to Denver, would Claire now please purchase one for her and her daughter. That day Claire also received this email from Rosa (in its entirety): “sorry, yes nothing for R68 for me, all GPOC and als events within the Black and Latino community, no dietry needs, not allergice to cats.” (sic))

    It is the determination of Claire — through discussions with Tom Kelly and Bob Kinsey and me — that all local Green Party sponsored events for Cynthia McKinney and Rosa Clemente are hereby canceled.

    The disrespect and ill-consideration by the McKinney campaign demonstrated by this incident is reason for Colorado Greens to
    discuss and debate whether or not we, as a state party, should continue with any commitment to the McKinney-Clemente presidential campaign.

    Dave Chandler
    Co-Chair

    With Claire Ryder, Co-Chair
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    ADDENDUM

    Late this afternoon the statement below was emailed to Claire. It is important to understand that this message was issued with ZERO direct consultation or discussion with Claire or any other Colorado Green.

    The McKinney campaign has clearly decided to function outside of the Green Party of Colorado and in spite of the advice and counsel of Colorado Green Party members that would have been given.

    The lack of communication from McKinney with Colorado Greens is, frankly, astounding coming from a presidential campaign. Claire and I and others have been pleading for greater communication with Cynthia and Rosa, so we are even more offended that now they are stating that we have not been cooperative.

    It appears that there is something seriously wrong with the organization of the McKinney campaign — and it seems to us that there are critical questions about their commitment to behaving and operating in accordance with the Ten Key Values.

    We — especially Claire — will be happy to provide more information about this situation to GPOC folks on this list. We both also firmly believe that a serious discussion should take place about possible further action that might be taken in the face of this blatant snub and affront directed towards Colorado Greens.

    Claire Ryder and Dave Chandler
    Co-Chairs, Green Party of Colorado
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    Cynthia McKinney and Rosa Clemente Announce Their Participation in
    Anti-war, Anti-human rights Abuse Events Before the DNC

    August 14, 2008

    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 matter. 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 Rosas 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 Cant 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

  10. I spoke earlier today with Dave Chandler. As it turned out I had sent him an email at the same time he was posting his message here. I still haven’t taken time to read through all the info out there, but I agree 100% with Dave on one thing. As the cost or telephone calls has dropped so much for so many of us, we should consider replacing a good deal of what we do via impersonal email with phone conversations so that I can be sure if folks are joshing, angry, or frustrated.

    As I have heard it said so often, if people talk in person the way they come across in email they would have no friends on the globe.

    Dave said that the Colorado Green Party will weather this storm, and I believe he is right. I hope that the mediation is a success.

  11. Whoa…now that was a long comment…and answered a lot of questions I had…but…

    breakso,

    I don’t feel I am taking the name recreate ’68 too literally. If you read the words of Glenn Spagnuolo in the original post, they are obviously inflammatory and from someone who is “spoiling” for a fight. And yes, I did read their statement of non-violence and principles, and as I said before, #’s 6 & 9 bother me…a lot.

    I do believe in the right of self-defense. Anyone has the right to defend themselves and others. The right to have and bear arms is one I cherish, and I am in the minority of the GP on this subject.

    In your comment you seemed to blend resistance and self-defense, however in this context they are two separate ideas…

    If you are marching/demonstrating and someone from the spectators comes at you with a 2X4 and you take him down….THIS is self-defense.

    If you are marching/demonstrating without a permit, and a police officer tells you to stop or be arrested, but you continue and respond to the arrest a)without a struggle/resistance b)by stopping and sitting or laying down, being uncooperative with NO physical resistance…THIS is non-violent resistance.

    If you are marching without a permit, and are approached/blocked by police or National Guard, and you react with ANY physical force OR damage to property….THIS is violent resistance.

    Non-Violence is not just a Key Value…It is one of the Four Pillars.

  12. Okay but what if you are marching, the police tell you to stop, you continue or lay down, and they hit you over the head with a club.

    Do you non-violently take the blow and prepare to take another, or?

    THAT is what I believe is the difference of opinion. That is what I think is the bone of contention – do the protesters intend to get their heads beat in, or do they intend to “resist” that beating? I believe Recreate ’68 intends to resist.

    The other bone of contention, in my opinion, may have to do with property violence. The “non-violence” statement from Recreate pretty clearly identifies opposition to violence against “humans”, which leaves the door open to the brick throwing that was mentioned somewhere.

    Some anarchists anticipate getting beat up when they demonstrate, it is par for the course. Some anarchists anticipate causing property damage. I would not be surprised if Recreate ’68 feels very comfortable with confrontation and violence.

    I think it is very fair and understandable for the Colorado Greens to separate themselves from Recreate ’68 if they feel that the direction they are going is dangerous or harmful, and they would know better than most of us since they have been involved with this protest planning for close to a year. There are organized groups across the nation that intend to raise holy hell at both the DNC and RNC, and they have been planning this for a long time.

    So I hear where the Colorado Greens are coming from, I support their decision to distance themselves from Recreate ’68, and I do think that what Chandler posted adds a LOT of dimension to this story.

    But going back to the candidates, I still feel that they are going to be reaching a vastly larger number of potential voters, tens of thousands of them, most of whom are activists in some sense of the word, by speaking at these events.

    Mediation may well resolve this.

  13. On the one hand, it is wise to worry about the actions of some anarchists at protests like this. However, we should also not forget about the presence of agents provocateurs (i.e. undercover cops trying to start fights). The regime sends them out specifically to disrupt peaceful opposition, and they can not be kept away from large protests. It is best to be on the lookout for such people (i.e. suspicious people trying to start fights, damage property, etc). They are not always anarchists, and such people should be called out for what they probably are: cops.

  14. I am very happy for the dialogue. I do think that this is mostly about well-meaning people confused as they try to accomplish peace in the center of our violent, duopoly universe.

    I hope the mediation goes well.

    I just wanted to flesh out one more aspect. I am not saying that the Green Party of Colorado even realized this, but the Alliance for Democracy group is very co-opted. I am thinking from looking at the article (pieces of which below), that the problems could be because Democrats were pointedly trying to recruit greens to their co-opted position, of politely asking the Democrat Delegates for favors.

    It seems that the Alliance for Democracy group includes Code Pink (notoriously pro-Democrat and cold-shoulder to Green Party). Also, that one of the events is a barbecue for Democrat delegates. Could that be true? That is not a way to show how emphatic one is that women and children are being hurt, killed, bombed and exploited by decisions of our (Democrat and Republican) Congress.

    Peace,
    Kimberly Wilder

    Steve’s article was posted at a national list-serve:

    <<<<<From: Steven R. Argue

    Subject: [labor_action] DNC Protest, Split, and the Principled Stand of 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…

    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.>>>>

    The article has much stronger words about the Alliance. I did not want to post it here to inflame.

    Politics is confusing. All of us – even those Demmy Code Pinkers – are oppressed by the drumbeat of war and our corporate oligarchy. I can see all sides of this argument. And, also how other groups or people may have intentionally caused confusion or stoked flames.

    Hope this gets resolved.

    Hope no Green Party member would show up at a Barbecue reception for Demcorat Delegates. Especially if they were serving meat.

    ;)
    Kimberly Wilder

  15. Kim thanks for that information. I too am happy for this dialog.

    The post from Bryan addresses violent vs. non-violent resistance. I am *not* a believer in permits (and I have been arrested in an act of non-violent, civil disobedience without a permit), and so think that it is important to note that non-violent resistance can happen *with* or *without* permits, just like violent resistance can also happen under the same. Most permitted marches do have, as part of its events, posted guidelines of non-violent behavior, a sort of “contract” between participants and organizers and the city.

    I do not personally advocate violence in acts of resistance (with or without permits), however I do not turn the other cheek when faced with groups of people at the same event who *do* advocate violence to get out their message. Instead, I and others lead by example in the hopes that the point can get across that the same effect can be had without violence – media coverage, bold statements of message through the acts of non-violent resistance, etc.

    My personal opinion in the case of this DNC is that in light of disagreements over approaches to protest, both groups should have been accepting of each other, held their respective events – and with gusto. (although I concur with Kim about Greens not attending a bbq for Dems!).

    My two cents.
    Deanna

  16. I’ve been doing more reading and found the schedule for the Alliance for Real Democracy at this website:

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

    Cynthia is scheduled to speak,and it looks like there is a lot of interesting activities, but there are these activities to note as well:

    SATURDAY, AUGUST 23
    5:00 – 10:00 PM Gates Crescent Park
    Welcoming BBQ & Drinks for the Delegates

    TUESDAY, AUGUST 26(6:30 PM City Park
    Democratic Party “Watching Party”
    Local Democrats will host a big-screen TV for non-seated Democrats to watch the Convention.)

    Just fyi.

  17. Just wanted to express my wholehearted support for the opinions in #15 & #16.

    The only reason I am not in CO with McKinney and Clemente and the rest is that I don’t have the funds. I wish them the best, and I hope law enforcement can contain itself. For a change.

  18. I can now understand a little better Nader’s aversion to party politics. He hires the staff, runs his national campaign making whatever appearances he wants without regard to the grassroots. It looks neater, but it isn’t building alternative politics, and that’s why I’ve stuck with the Greens. In the long run, the local organizing done by the COGP will do more good than a mere top-flight campaign.

    If the COGP and the organizers of the rally and march really cannot work together, for personal and/or political reasons, then my two-cents would be let the national campaign go its own way so that it may make its case to the rally and march.

    At least there does not appear to be a direct time conflict between the COGP’s events, and the planned events of the McKinney campaign.

    Unless I’m mistaken about the chronology, the previous national GP campaign director has just left that position, which she had only held for a short time. I’d guess that the candidates and their staff and the party staff are filling in during the transition. These people already have jobs to do. There isn’t any indications that the COGP has taken the national GP’s difficulties into account.

    In NYC the kind of rhetoric surrounding the Recreate 68 event accompanies nearly every large demo. Then the demo itself is always relatively sonombulant. The police presence and random detentions are more disruptive.

  19. I’m assuming the people who focus on the BBQ are not youth as older people have a hard time with sarcasm. Go to the website – http://tentstate.org – the barbeque is held by pirates! taking the booty from the coporate controlled Dem’s.

    And Kimberly, I sat on the board of the Campus Greens for two years, worked for Nader in 2000, and Cobb in ’04. Effective messaging doesn’t make you a democrat, it makes you effective.

    David Cobb, Mark Rudd, Matt Gonzalez, The Coup, and Rage Against the Machine are all working with ARD and Tent State, speaking or performing.

    Go on the website http://tentstate.org , look at the actions and events and try to educate yourself.

    Or maybe you prefer to get behing R 68 spokes Glenn Spagnuolo’s statement that he’s prefer 5,000 “streetfighters” to 50,000 liberals. That’ll build a movement.

  20. Since when does a state party organization dictate the activities and schedule of a national party candidate? Bob Barr isn’t appearing at the R’68 protest either; perhaps the Green Party of Colo. finds him more to their liking.

  21. Wow, I never in my life thought that the greens would shoot themselves in the foot as badly as the C-Greens are trying to do right here. Way to go, I really hope you area all happy with yourselves. I’m sure some response of “we are only sticking up for what we believe in” is in order, but honestly, what you believe in is so shallow and without any serious meaning, nobody outside of your state will give to ****’s about it anyway. Am I bitter? you’re god damn right I am.

  22. Ron and crew:

    Please, have mercy on us all. Please post something new!

    The Denver thing is partially designed by the -forces-that-be and progressives-owned-by- Democrats to create division and controversy.

    Please, I am sure there is something ELSE happening exciting and wonderful somewhere in the Green Party!

    (Guessing you are both busy, but a new post sure would be welcomed. )

  23. I’m glad to see so many posts on a GPW topic; however, I’d like to see the quality of the discourse continue on the same high level it’s been. Before I post anything, I take ten seconds to think: “is this going to make people think, or is it just going to make them angry?”

    Ad hominem (personal) attacks are never okay. Okay?

    I find myself agreeing somewhat with both sides here. Altho I wish the CO Greens would support McKinney, we shouldn’t be quick to dismiss their concerns. If they think that Recreate 68 is courting violence, and that the Greens will be judged guilty by association when the bricks start to fly, then that is something that we should take seriously.

    Obviously, McKinney won’t be advocating violence or anything but grassroots organization. However, we know how the media twists everything she says or does to slander her. The press has called her racist for speaking up against racism and anti-semitic for standing up for Palestinian human rights when no one else would. All it takes is one embedded FBI agent to start a group of anarchists tossing bottles while Cynthia is speaking, and the next day it’ll be all over Fox “news”…

    The only “resistance” allowed in nonviolent resistance, as practiced by Dr. King and Gandhi, is covering your head and lying down. Fighting back will earn you a worse beating and forfeits your moral high ground in a big way. Maybe Greens in Denver should make an effort to teach their fellow protesters the basic principles of Gandhi’s satyagraha.

  24. I’m a Green from Oakland, CA who’s decided to go to Denver specifically to support Cynthia McKinney and Rosa Clemente.

    I’m quite disappointed that Colorado Greens are seeking to punish our national ticket for their principled participation in the protests in Denver. I wish the Colorado Greens would realize that there is way more at stake in the presidential campaign than a disagreement over the way some protests are being organized.

    I think that Cynthia and Rosa are responding in a principled way and I note that the information above states that they will participate in protests organized by both Recreate ’68 and the Alliance for Real Democracy. That’s great. I’ve decided to go to Denver to do the same.

    I carefully read charges and warnings from some Colorado Greens regarding the R-68 organized protests. The worst I saw is a charge that R-68 is “inflammatory and disruptive” Well, as long as its nonviolent, I approve of being inflammatory and disruptive.

    There’s a warning that we shouldn’t be ultra-leftduring this period and a charge that R-68 is doing that. If that means not being radical and militant, and calling this country’s corporate fascist system what it is, and the Democrats what they are, and I suspect it does, then a totally disagree.

    I also understand the reasons why many important groups decided to break off from the R-68 and form ARD to organize which people feel are less politically provocative and safer, more family friendly, and with a broader progressive message. I support that too and will join in them as well as R-68 events.

    There’s a place for both militancy and broader progressivism. Ideally, they could be organized with more unity, even while providing seperateclearly defined spaces for each.

    I hope Colorado Greens will not seek to remove Cynthia and Rosa from the Colorado ballot. That would be terrible and deny Colorado voters the chance to support a terrific Green ticket of two strong Black Women.

  25. I agree that it would be quite embarrassing and pointless if the GPC removed the party’s presidential candidate. Why even have a national party if the state chapters will not work to elect the candidate selected at the national convention? We need to be a more organized, disciplined force if we are ever going to defeat the powerful political machines that the Dems and the GOP have.

  26. [I see that only small portions of Steven Argue’s article are posted here. I thought people would benefit seeing the whole piece. We shouldn’t be afraid of looking at the facts in this situation. If the truth inflames, so be it. Right on Cynthia and Rosa! Power to the people! -Cindy Pharmer]

    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

  27. I hope those Greens going to Colorado consider popping into Wyoming to collect a few signatures while they’re in the neighborhood. It would be a good way to mend some rifts.

  28. The only real question here is; can the CO GP legally remove McKinney/Clemente from the GP line in CO for November?

  29. This is going to be a moot point I think. From what I am hearing, there will be no attempt to remove her from the ballot.

    Also McKinney will be speaking at BOTH the Recreate 68 event and the ARD event.

    This appears to be getting resolved, and hopefully without hard feelings.

    I think after 2004 there still lingers a fear of division within the party but hey, this is the first bump and so far so good.

    I feel like the GP is more united now then it has been since 2000.

  30. In 04, I believe the Utah GP endorsed Nader & refused to place GP nominee David Cobb’s name on the ballot; they were decertified by the national party and replaced by a “new” GP.

    The issue, I believe, was resolved in court. The state recognized the decertified GP and the national party the 2nd GP.

    Hopefully, there won’t be a repeat with the COGP

  31. The GPUT did not endorse Nader. The GPUT’s liaison to the state board of elections made a unilateral decision to put Nader on the ballot instead of the Green Party’s nominee. After protests by Cobb supporters, he changed his mind and simply blocked them from putting Cobb on the ballot.

    He and the other Naderites who supported this spiteful disenfranchisement of Utah voters (Nader was already on the ballot as an independent) were suspended from the state party for their misconduct. They could have saved the state party a great deal of trouble by allowing Cobb to be placed on the ballot, going off to work for Nader, and coming back after the election.

    A lasting party split still could have been avoided if the Naderites had taken their well-deserved punishment like grown men and women. Instead, they decided to lash out at those who had held them accountable. The Naderites started their own Green Party of Utah. Some of them showed up at the Green Party’s national meeting in 2005 and 2006. Their fellow Naderites in the national leadership forced the party to spend precious time that was supposed to be dedicated to state party fundraising on listening to their half-truths and outright lies.

  32. **Thank you** VA Green for writing the FACTS about Utah!

    There have actually been *two* Utah splits and I have experienced them both (and lived to tell!). I’m not going to waste time on this blog going into the details. If you have a lot of time to read, go to
    http://www.desertgreens.org/timelineof2004documents1.html

    I will say that the whole 2004 debacle has had devastating effects on our state party.

    End of story. Want more info? Write me offlist or read the info on the link I provided.

    Dee Taylor
    deesings@xmission.com

  33. I hope you’re right, Ron. This would’ve been a rather silly issue over which to split. We’ve got much bigger fish to fry (unless you’re a vegan). The only way to win is to organize, partially by building bridges. Let’s focus on that.

  34. Unbelievable that the Colorado Green Party is so short sighted and pathetic. It makes me embarrassed to be a Green right now seeing how timid and scared the Colorado Green Party is about what “might” happen. I for one am very proud that McKinney and Clemente are speaking at the Recreate68 events. I’m glad that they, unlike the Colorado Green Party, are standing on the side of the anti-war protestors and thus who oppose imperialism. I’m glad that they, unlike the Colorado Greens, have a backbone to stand up for what is right and take action. Power cedes nothing to anyone. Asking politely does not work any longer. Sounds like the CO Greens need to put down their hippy bongs, stop singing kumbaya, and pay attention to what is happening out there in the streets. That is where our people are. Not at froo-froo vegan potlucks where people talk about their latest hybrid cars and their peace gardens. *gag*

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