Last week I pointed out that the only female candidate in next month’s presidential election, the Green Party’s Jill Stein, had been arrested and handcuffed to a chair for eight hours during the presidential debate, and then gagged by local media. The episode was indicative, I argued, of a general tendency among political reporters to parrot the two dominate parties. I pleaded for fairer coverage of the wider spectrum of American political thought. » Continue Reading.
Posts Tagged ‘Green Party’
Consider this a plea to our political reporters – do your job, please. As a class you continue to fail the American public, ignoring the issues and perpetrating the lies of machine candidates. American political reporters have become a tool in the criminal usurpation of American democratic principles.
Let me start with a quick story. In the nineteenth century when Tammany Hall Democrats dominated New York City politics, their single biggest weapon was their control of the Tammany Hall building. Time and time again, when faced with opposition from the rank and file the Tammany Society simply locked the doors to the hall, the keys of which they controlled. “The Society’s key power, which throughout its history it rarely hesitated to invoke,” Tammany historian Oliver Allen noted, was “the power to grant legitimacy to any political force in the city by controlling the place that symbolized authority. Time and time gain it would turn aside threats to its hegemony simply by padlocking the doors.” The result was plain to see – corrupt one-party control. You, dear political reporters, are now holding the keys to the hall. » Continue Reading.
Saranac Lake accountant Doug Hoffman is, as you may have heard, out of the race for New York’s 23rd Congressional District. His decision to drop his third party run cleared the way for a two-way race between Watertown banker Matt Doheny and Democratic incumbent Bill Owens.
I don’t need to tell you that a two-way race dramatically shifts the GOP’s chances to take back a seat held by Republicans for more than a century. Politicos are predicting a close race — personally, I see Doheny gaining momentum, and fast. » Continue Reading.
Smaller party and independent candidates like Green gubernatorial nominee Howie Hawkins feel like they hit the lottery if their names are mentioned even as a footnote in the mainstream press. It’s not surprising, but still enraging, that the corporate media has a bias in favor of the candidates of the two corporate parties.
The common rationalization for such bias is the self-serving claim that people aren’t interested in candidates deemed “fringe” by the media pooh bahs… a catch-22 if there ever was one. When I’ve pointed out this bias of ignoring non-major party candidates to media elites, a typical response has been: “when have we been biased?”
Here’s a little educational lesson: if you ignore candidates because they don’t belong to a major party, then you are, by definition, biased against non-major parties. Justify this slant if you think you can, but don’t insult our intelligence by pretending it’s not bias. » Continue Reading.
Eighteen-year-old Ottawa, Canada native and now freshman at Hawai`i Pacific University, Michelle Mann-Saumier has written a short piece outlining the problems with the two-party system. I figured that since some of our local media folks are having so much trouble understanding how Democracy is supposed to work, I’d reprint her essay here and let a college freshman explain it. Michelle moved to Washington County when she was nine. » Continue Reading.
The election for the 20th Congressional District is about 40 days away. Three candidates have announced. Our local news is ignoring one of them – it’s as simple as that – and now they’ve been so brazen as to tell us why.
NCPR’s political reporter Brian Mann ran a story entitled “Lightning-fast 20th race pits experienced Republican against a fresh-faced Democrat” – no mention of the other candidate, or links to his website, although the other two are linked. Then he told us on his blog:
My job is to reflect reality in my stories. So I will be covering Mr. Sundwall, though I’ll generally treat him as an “issue” or a “protest” candidate. How much coverage he receives will depend on a) how interesting, thoughtful and compelling he turns out to be; and b) the degree to which his ideas influence the campaign debate. » Continue Reading.
Thanks to the folks at Adirondack Progressives, Independent Presidential Candidate Ralph Nader will return to Glens Falls on Saturday April 26, 2008 for an appearance at The Charles R. Wood Theater at 8:00 pm. Adirondack Progressives is a group of area citizens interested in fostering local dialog on today’s most important issues.
The local Glens Falls Post Star relegated Nader (who is a Presidential Candidate after all!) to page B7 on Saturday. You can read Matt “Two Political Parties = One Massive Corporation” Funiciello’s take on their efforts to diminish Nader’s candidacy at his blog (there’s more Ralph Nader stuff there too). Brian over at MoFYC also writes a lot about Ralph from a local and regional perspective. There is more on the flip – » Continue Reading.
Former presidential candidate and progressive activist Ralph Nader will return to Glens Falls on Friday, May 25, 2007 for a variety of events including an appearance at a Glens Falls High School, a local premiere of the documentary “An Unreasonable Man,” and a book signing at Red Fox Books. Ralph Nader’s visit is sponsored by Adirondack Progressives, a group of local people interested in fostering a local dialogue on today’s most important issues.
The day’s events will begin at Glens Falls High School where Nader will speak to students and participate in a student forum from 1 to 2:15 pm. Issues to be discussed could include the Iraq War, the growing imperialist threat of multinational corporations, the dangerous convergence of corporate and government power, and the role of third parties and citizen activism in the political process. » Continue Reading.
We hadn’t realized, but North Country Public Radio’s Brian Mann published his first book, Welcome to the Homeland: A Journey to the Rural Heart of Conservative America, last July. The books seeks to parse the divide between urban and rural life.
Howard Berkes, Rural Affairs Correspondent for National Public Radio has said that “Brian Mann has lived the rural life and the political divide that splits urban and rural places. It splits his own family. Mann shows that family harmony isn’t all that’s at stake in the urban-rural divide. The nation’s political future depends on this political and cultural gap. “Welcome to the Homeland” dives into the gap, and comes up with perspectives that just might surprise rural and urban folk who believe they already have each other pegged.” » Continue Reading.
Although not a single mainstream media outlet covered the groundbreaking event, four local folks from the Saratoga Peace Alliance were arrested Monday after occupying New York Senator Hillary Clinton‘s office at the Federal Building in Albany New York to protest Clinton’s continued support for the Iraq War.
At 3 pm, sixteen members representing various area peace groups met (for a third time since last fall) with Tracey Brooks, Clinton’s regional Political Director. This was the third time they had met with Brooks since last fall. Several weeks ago local citizens had asked that Clinton vote against the appropriations bill to fund the Iraq War and vote to de-fund the war more generally. Clinton refused and vowed to continue to fund the war. » Continue Reading.
Even though businesses can’t vote and the media is supposed to present all sides of the story, New York candidates for governor Eliot Spitzer and John Faso spent the day talking to the notoriously conservative New York State Business Council and the myopic Associated Press statewide meeting.
The first event was held at the Sagamore in Bolton Landing – not exactly a bastion of us common folk either. It really makes it clear who they are interested in impressing, and it’s not the actual voter but the candidate’s wealthy inside men (and women) in these organizations. » Continue Reading.
Brian’s recent rant on the 20th Congressional District race
Democracy in Albany – “Someone’s lying“
From the WFP Blog: “Sweeney misfires“
NY Cowboy Looks at “Sweeney’s claims” he’s an upstater
And while we’re at it:
The Green Party of New York State is in petition mode – help out.
And remember these gems?
Still have doubt? Check out the Washington Post’s Congressional Votes Database (goes back to 1991)
Adirondack Progressives, who have been heralded here at the Almanack a few times before, have announced that they will meet at 7:30 pm, tomorrow (Thursday, 7/15) at the Rock Hill Bake House Cafe in Glens Falls.
According to always active progressive Matt:
It’s time! Howie Hawkins (Green candidate for U.S. Senate against Hillary) is coming to
next month for a fundraiser that we’re going to put on for him! We need to help this man out …in the fall, we can likely have him come up with Malachy McCourt (the Green candidate for Governor) and hear them speak at the Wood Theater. Let’s see the Post-Star ignore that! So far they have neglected to mention, even once, that there are any alternatives to Hillary and Spitzer. Glens Falls
We hope you can make it!
While we’re at it: The Working Families Party Election Round-Up for June
Time for a Two-Party System?
Though some in the suburbs of Saratoga County might disagree, I don’t think of Albany as a particular bastion of liberal politics. It does however, have an active, sordid political landscape, marked, of course, by its famously long Democratic Party dominance.
So it was interesting to realize that given the results of this year’s election, one wouldn’t be crazy to surmise that if Albany does break into a true multiparty give-and-take some time soon, it may not be the Republicans, the country’s presumed “second party,” who take us there.
Granted, if parties had to earn their ballot line separately in Albany, rather than just getting 50,000 votes for their gubernatorial candidate on your line—which in 2002 worked out to about 1.1 percent of the total votes cast—then Republicans, with 6.5 percent of the vote for mayor, would not be in immediate danger of going the way of the Liberals or the Right-to-Life Party. (Or, yes, the Greens, who lost their state ballot line in 2002; they just seem to have managed to stay active as a party despite that, which the other two have not.)
The Republicans also fielded some interesting and committed candidates this year. I suspect that in at least some races their poor showing had less to do with them, and more to do with the legacy of Democratic Party dominance—when you have one party for so long, it becomes a very large tent. There’s little to stop fairly conservatively leaning folks from ending up running on the Democratic line—that’s how one gets elected after all—and therefore getting used to voting on the Democratic line.
This is not an intractable problem, but it doesn’t seem like Albany’s Republicans—who also have been needing to spend some attention trying not to lose ground in the rapidly Democratizing Albany County suburbs—have yet hit on the formula to draw people back.
On the other hand, the results, not to mention the buzz and the attention, of this November’s election point to the fact that in the city of Albany, the Working Families Party and the Green Party are perhaps closer to that formula. They’ve both been working very hard to build their bases and be a presence on local and regional issues outside of elections.
The Working Families Party, of course, has the immense strategic advantage of retaining its ballot line and being willing, usually, to use it to support candidates also running on major party lines (though not in Albany, it should be noted that they have in fact cross-endorsed Republicans). The Greens have their own strength, however, because they are not afraid to stand completely independent, rather than aiming at mostly shifting the Democratic Party in one direction or another.
Especially after conflicts over last year’s district attorney primary, the WFP is careful not to be seen as trying to influence Democratic Party primaries. (The same cannot be said, for example, of the Conservative Party and its mailings about city treasurer Betty Barnette.) Still, the WFP does seem to have gained enough influence and respect that merely making its endorsements for its own line before the Democratic primary carries some weight with voters. Shawn Morris, the WFP candidate for Common Council president, sailed to victory despite her history of being willing to confront the mayor, and ended up getting more total votes in the general election than Jennings did.
And for its part, when the Green Party fields candidates like Alice Green and David Lussier who are willing to do the legwork, they can get impressive results. Alice Green got nearly 25 percent of the vote. She may still be an underdog, but that’s not a dismissible number.
WFP and the Greens endorsed two candidates in common this year—David Lussier in Ward 11 and Russell Ziemba (who also had the Democratic line) in Troy. Reportedly, if Alice Green hadn’t held back on her campaign announcement in order to not steal Archie Goodbee’s thunder, she may have had a chance at the WFP line for mayor as well—and we can all only wonder what might have happened then.
Karen Scharf, chair of the local WFP, and Mark Dunlea, state Green Party chair, both are interested in collaborating more in the future. The two parties are planning to meet and talk about how to follow up on some of the key issues locally. This sounds incredibly promising.
Here’s what I would love to see—I’d love to see the Green Party get their ballot line back in next year’s gubernatorial election, and then locally I’d like to see the two parties more frequently cross-endorse candidates, pooling their strengths and similar commitments to democratic process and reform. But I’d also like to see them maintain their independence, each sometimes taking risks or making commitments to candidates when the other won’t, and generally providing an opportunity for the voters to indicate their support for specific agendas and priorities.
That could bring Albany the power of a viable second party, with the variety and protection against calcification provided by active third parties. Who knows, it might even provide the climate for the Republicans to get back in the game.