Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Progressives Dems v. Greens continued

After my guest editorial in the Beyond Chron publication, a Green saw fit to respond. So I got another crack at the discussion and then another Green weighed in. Below is the exchange, which follows the first editorial, posted below all of these.

Your comments, my fellow Green Dogs?


Guest Editorial: Progressives Should be Green

Kim Knox 21.NOV.05
Recently, Beyond Chron ran a guest editorial beseeching progressives to not leave the Democratic party. I can't speak for the San Francisco Greens. But as a Green party member, I disagree with the author's premise that Democratic Party is now the home for true progressives.

In light of Friday's Congressional vote of 403-3 against a nonbinding resolution calling for the immediate withdrawal of troops in Iraq, I wonder why progressives would stay in a party that refuses to vote its conscience. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-San Francisco "sent word to the rank-and-file Democrats to vote with the Republicans against immediate withdrawl of U.S. troops."

At last year's election, I didn't vote for Pelosi. I wrote in the name of Terry Baum, SF Green Party's endorsed Congressional candidate and peace activist. I also gave a check to Green Party activist Marla Ruzicka's CIVIC Organization. Marla gave her life this spring helping Iraqi civilians in Iraq.

I belong to the party who lead the campaign for the City's Minimum Wage Initiative onto the ballot and into the City Charter. I belong to the party who lead the drive to institute Instant Runoff Voting and worked with other progressives to create and pass the City's Sunshine Ordinance.

I am angry that the majority of Democratic Congressional members voted for the Patriot Act. I am dismayed at the Democrats' support of Bush's "No Child Left Behind" programs. I am also shocked at the speed that the Democratic leadership have separated themselves from the issue of gay marriage.

But I've been amazed at the depth of knowledge and talent that the Greens have brought to our City. As an author of several books on science-related education as well as mentor of 82 students over seven years, I was honored to work on the School Board campaigns of outstanding education activists (and Greens) Mark Sanchez, Sarah Lipson and Whitney Leigh, an attorney who formerly worked in the Juvenile Section for the Public Defender's Office.

School Board Members Sarah Lipson and Mark Sanchez are examples of why the Green Party is successful. Sarah is a successful advocate of univeral pre-K and quality early childhood education. Her leadership at the last BOE meeting prior to the scheduled strike by Local 790 against SFUSD helped to create time that resulted in the 11th hour agreement and an averted strike.

Mark is a key advocate on the School Board for the students in the county schools (those who drop out or are expelled), open government within the District and the Small Schools Initiative. As the only gay BOE member who has been vocal in his opposition to the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy, Mark has been active in creating legislation against miltary recruitment efforts in San Francisco's schools.

Over the last several years, other progressives have worked on the campaigns of other Green outstanding candidates such as Ross Mirkarimi, Renee Saucedo, Terry Baum, Lisa Feldstein, Susan King, Barry Hermanson and Jane Kim.

In the past, progressives may have had a voice within the Democrat party. But those days appear to be gone. That's why I am a member of the Green Party.

Kim Knox, is an education and environmental activist and a Green Party member.

And me again:

Guest Editorial: Green Dog Democrat Responds

Dotty LeMieux
Dotty LeMieux 22.NOV.05
In response to your recent guest editorial responding to my recent Guest editorial on progressive Democrats, it appears the writer got hung up on the headline (Which was not my own, by the way). The point of my article was not that progressives need to be Democrats or even that the Democratic iParty s necessarily progressive. But that we need to work together, Greens and progressive Democrats alike (not to mention progressive independents sick of all political labels) to ensure that progressives are elected.

I applaud the Green Party for doing just that in electing local school board members, city council members (I live in a town with two Greens on the Council), Supervisors and the like.

Also I applaud those Greens who are supporting the candidacy of Ron Dellums for Oakland mayor. Look to the politics, the principles and the person, not the Party.

Yes, as a life long Democrat, I'd love to pull my own Party in a more progressive direction. That's why we formed the California Democratic Progressive Caucus. We are still living in an essentially two party system. If we want to take back the Congress, we have to look to the Democratic Party to do it. For now, anyway.

I believe in pluralism, and will support a Green when she is the most progressive (and viable) candidate for local office. If Greens can get elected to Congress, so much the better for our Democratic system I say. But that time is not yet.

As for Republican Trojan Horse "pull out now" resolution introduced Friday, its sole purpose was to unleash a backlash and fury on the right. My first reaction was like yours, call their bluff! (only three Dems did vote against it, notably neither Barbara Lee nor Lynn Woolsey, who saw it for what it was, a way to squelch debate and make Democratic lawmakers look unpatriotic.)

Unfortunately, in a Congress with arcane procedures like allowing unrelated matters to be added to bills, I wouldn't be surprised to see the Repubs tack on drilling in downtown San Francisco to any realistic out of Iraq bill the Dems come up with at this time. No reason they shouldn't try however. I hope the Dems are using this Thanksgiving break to craft a message on the War that supports the troops, calls for UN intervention and sets a short timetable, for withdrawal just as John Murtha called for. What they should not do, and I think the author of the Guest Editorial can agree, is cede the moral high ground.

Our best hope is the upcoming 2006 elections. Greens and progressive Democrats together can make the difference. Running to the middle doesn't work. We must stand FOR something.

Help us change the course of these disastrous times.

And the last Green. Any Progressive Dems want to join this deiscussion: send to

Guest Editorial: Progressives Should be Green

Matt Magaña 23.NOV.05
I've been a registered democrat for nearly 28 years. Never have I been so disgusted with the party as I have been these past eight years. Perhaps, had I been more politically involved, I would have seen it sooner who's to say. Since Al Gore bent over the barrel in 2000, I have been voting my conscience. Which basically means that I have voted Green in all elections since then. I will continue to do so.

My choice as a figure head for the democratic party would not have been Howard Dean. Instead, how about Congressman Conyers? Barbara Lee? She would have surely shaken things up. Dennis Kucinich? Nevermind. I suppose, with the prolific racism that resides just below the surface in this country, it's probably too much to expect that anyone from the Democratic Black Caucus will be voted into the executive office. Congressman Kucinich supports worker rights. That alone puts him out of the running.

Wait a minute! How about Barbara Boxer. Isn't she one of those "democrats" who from 2000-2004, not only voted for this war, but was pretty much quiet about all the lies and deceit for the entire time. Let's give her an instant pass to go to the front of the line because she spoke up about the irregularities of the 2004 election. I'm sorry, the calls for her within the democratic party to have her run for president were, quite frankly, embarrassing. Anyone of the above I mentioned who have been consistently fighting to tell the truth should be seriously considered for an executive position, if not the presidency, in the next election. Only then, will the party get back it's spine.

I don't hold much faith in the two party system anymore. Not so much because I previously did, but because I'm simply more aware.

For example, this past presidential election. John Kerry, as expected, didn't put forth much of a fight to contest the election. Instead, basically, pretended the election wasn't stolen, and told everyone that we should ignore the lies spewing forth from the war criminals in the White House. That we should all pretend nothing is wrong and we should hold hands and play well together. at the same time, pocketing the + $50 million dollars collected for his campaign. What a bunch of HOOEY! I'd us much harsher language, but it probably wouldn't be printed.

Several friends told me that we all have to band together and vote for John Kerry. In spite of voting my conscience, the democratic ticket wins yet, another term in office. I now have very small hopes that they will change things, and I'm not surprised or disappointed when they don't. At least they're consistent.

To those of you who believe that simply continuing to vote these same democrats into office is going to solve the problems, just look at one of the most visible, Senator Feinsten. She consistently votes along the conservative line. Didn't she also vote in favor of Condi Rice as Secretary of State? She should be kicked out of the party, in my opinion. Pelosi is another one. Immediately after Congressman Murtha was quoted as calling for a pull-out of U.S. forces in Iraq, there was Congresswoman Pelosi, saying "Well, Congressman Murtha doesn't really speak for the democratic party" (paraphrased).

Need I say more. And don't kid yourself. Iraq is in Civil War right now. The question is, if we pull out, no more of our soldiers have to die, and less Iraquis will die. If we stay, there will continue to be more casualties*on both sides. Follow the trail. Bush's push for war was premeditated. They want control of the oil, and are even willing to sacrifice U.S. lives on our soil to do it * to gain support for their agenda * let alone countless lives abroad. Everything else is a smokescreen.

Basically, there is a saying in 12 step programs. "The definition of insanity is repeating the same behavior and expecting different results." People who vote from a place of fear (voting for the "lesser of 2 evils" mentality), are going to be constantly disappointed.

When my friends complain about the state of things, I have to remind them that they were the ones who encouraged me to vote democrat. It's becoming more clear to them. I'm encouraging them to vote their conscience.

This comes back to a recent article you had about Instant Runoff Voting. This is a democracy*at least on paper. When we go to electronic voting, it will cease to be. IRV is the only way that we can have a choice. Period.

Matt Magaña is an artist, photographer, Green Party Activist, and a member of D5 Dog, and the Alamo Square Neighborhood Assocoation.