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Alan Maki

Alan Maki
Doing research at the LBJ Library in Austin, Texas

It's time to claim our Peace Dividend

It's time to claim our Peace Dividend

We need to beat swords into plowshares.

We need to beat swords into plowshares.

A program for real change...

What we need is a "21st Century Full Employment Act for Peace and Prosperity" which would make it a mandatory requirement that the president and Congress attain and maintain full employment.

"Voting is easy and marginally useful, but it is a poor substitute for democracy, which requires direct action by concerned citizens"

- Ben Franklin

Let's talk...

Let's talk...

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

What kind of organization would a third party movement require?

My two cents.

I like the ideas former United States Senator Mike Gravel gave voice to— for the most part.

But Gravel always seems to toss a bizarre aspect into the mix for some reason and making a million dollars a prerequisite for conducting a Primary or third party campaign strikes me as being bizarre.

This is in keeping with politics focused and centered around money which we want to break free from.

Our politics as liberals, progressives and the left should be focused on framing issues properly in a way that leads people to coming up with common sense, reasonable and rational solutions to our problems:

End the wars and use the money to fund human needs; what more is required just tax-the-hell out of the rich.

Raising money obviously needs to be a consideration of great importance; but, the ideas and solutions should come first with the fundraising becoming an integral part of our struggles to free ourselves from Wall Street’s two-party trap.

Making money a focal point of the need to run is wrong but I agree with the rest of what Gravel says as far as his criticisms of Obama. He acknowledges that Cynthia McKinney would make a good candidate— and I agree.
But, instead of focusing on money the focus should be more modest and more about what grassroots activism is all about.
If we set up 1,000  gatherings in homes, church basements, community centers and union halls this would be more effective and likely raise the same amount of money through collections at the meetings: $1,000.00 at 1,000 meetings.
That would be a modest 20 meetings in each state.
Can liberals, progressives and the left, the grouping representing the historic coalition that has proven it is possible to win real change get together— overcome some insignificant differences compared to the urgency of the moment, and handle this kind of organizational task with the intent of forming a third party?
A Cynthia McKinney/Cindy Sheehan ticket would reflect the kind of country we really want.
To make it as easy as possible for this kind of ticket to run, a complete cabinet could be announced reflecting representation from different regions and the full gamut from liberal to progressive and left united around a basic program with specific solutions for real change.
Let’s build around ideas so we are building a base that will carry our movement into the future representing at the ballot box what people are struggling for in their neighborhoods, communities, at school, at work and in the streets— peace, social and economic justice:
End the wars.

Tax the rich.

Full employment with jobs for all putting people to work solving our pressing problems.

What Gravel has stated we can build around:

“Somebody should challenge Obama, there’s no question about it. He is what he is, and it’s not what we want…”

We have never been in a worse situation with respect to leadership. We’ve been in a lot of bad ones, but what we have today equals many of the bad ones of the past.”

“Obama was elected with a scant record, allowing voters to assume that his opposition to the Bush administration’s policies was based on more than mere politics.”

Obama presented himself not as what he is; he presented himself as you would want him to be… And then, of course, when he gets power he turns out to be what he is: a tool of the military-industrial complex and Wall Street.”

“Obama campaigned on transparency and he’s doing more than anyone else to stop transparency in government.

We still have renditions, we have secret prisons around the world, we have Guantanamo still open, obviously in these secret prisons we still engage in torture — what else do you think you’re doing in these secret prisons? — and then either our involvement or we condone Israeli assassination activities in Iran and try to change government in Iran through sabotage.”

That’s what we’re doing. And that’s all on Obama’s watch, which is essentially worse than Bush’s watch in certain degrees.”

Ron Paul is just too far over there for my tastes,” Gravel said. “He is a strict constructionist, not believing in the people.”Gravel said that former Georgia Rep. Cynthia McKinney would make an excellent candidate.

In addition to making raising a certain amount of money a precondition for running, I disagree with Gravel when he states:

Unlike some disappointed Democrats, Gravel doesn’t believe that Hillary Clinton would have been any better than Obama. “Oh God no!” Gravel said, adding that Clinton “would have been a tool of Wall Street and the military-industrial complex. And she’s that right now.”

This is an apt assessment for a third party challenge; however, let’s get real here. Any and every Democrat who would run trying to Primary Obama is going to represent just what Hillary Clinton represents as articulated beautifully by Gravel.

In my opinion, when it comes to looking for someone to Primary Obama, the only thing we should be concerned about is if we think we can apply enough pressure to force the candidate once elected to “bend towards justice.”

The fact is, the Democrats have never put forward anything other than a Wall Street imperialist for the presidency and seldom does anyone better squeak by in the U.S. House or Senate or even state legislatures— heck, not even mayors or city commissioners. Franklin Roosevelt, Kennedy and Johnson are often held up as exceptions but not a one of them was any prize for liberals, progressives or the left to write home about. Their primary quality was understanding and having the ability to “bend towards justice.” Make no mistake, Obama will never “bend towards justice;” for Obama it is a policeman’s billy club across the skull, tear gas and bullets.

In my opinion, Hillary Clinton, Al Gore and John Kerry would likely be apt to “bend towards justice.” Whereas, Cynthia McKinney would be the real thing.

I don’t see why we need to pit a Primary challenge to Obama against a third party campaign. We could, and should, do both with the idea the Primary builds towards a third party; a third party now, not later.