Tag Archives: green party

Elizabeth Warren for President? Why Not Jill Stein?

It has, to my knowledge, not yet been observed elsewhere that much of what can be said about the candidacy of Elizabeth Warren could also have been said about the 2016 Green Party candidacy of Jill Stein.

Both are Harvard faculty members associated with platforms most  on the left would endorse. Both are (obviously) women and, according to many of their supporters ignored by the mainstream, corporate media on this basis.* Finally, both have significant weaknesses as candidates with national polls routinely showing single digit support.

Continue reading Elizabeth Warren for President? Why Not Jill Stein?

In Praise of Vote Shaming

After putting in several days with the thousands (yes thousands) of volunteers canvasing for Antonio Delgado in the hard fought NY19th congressional district, it occurred to some of us that the best use of our time time- that which was most likely to put the Democrat over the top- was to switch tactics.

The Green Party candidate in NY 19 was polling at over 3% in the week before the election. As has been the case for Greens for at least a decade, votes for him would accomplish few positive results if any-surely nothing in terms of building the infrastructure of a viable alternative third party.(1) They would have only one ultimate effect which would be to help “the most dangerous organization in human history” to maintain control of congress. Our convincing a few might make a small but possibly significant difference in the outcome, or so we hoped.

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On Voting and Responsibility: The Green Temptation in NY 19

A recent WAMC debate between the candidates in the closely contested New York 19th congressional district was a surprise in that, according to many of my friends from across the political spectrum, it was won by a candidate few had heard of, the Green Party’s Steve Greenfield.

It is likely, even certain, that some of those impressed by Greenfield’s performance will support him at the polls next week thereby taking votes away from the Democrat Antonio Delgado to the benefit of the Republican John Faso.

One outcome, however, is certain: whoever wins, it won’t be Greenfield who will acquire no more than a small fraction of the total votes.

Continue reading On Voting and Responsibility: The Green Temptation in NY 19

On Personality Politics, Fandom and the Sheepdogs of 2016


A commenter posting on this Facebook discussion is wary of describing me as a fan of Ocasio-Cortez about whom I have been frequently posting.

He thinks he might take it as an insult.

He’s right. I would and here’s the reason:

Being a fan implies an emotional investment in a politician. To personalize politics is a recipe for disaster since it fundamentally misconceives how politics works and the role of politicians within the process.

That is, they are to be regarded not as personalities, as “friends” or “enemies” but as tools to achieve concrete goals. Insofar as they are useful to achieving them, they should be supported. Insofar as they are not, they need to be dropped. One’s personal feelings about them as individuals have nothing to do with this and are in fact a distraction from the kind of objective, cold blooded determination which needs to be made.

To prevent that from happening is, of course, why millions are invested in political campaigns. The billionaire donors behind George W. Bush knew that they could never sell his policies to a public certain to be overwhelmingly disadvantaged by them. What they relied on was enough votes being acquired from those who (famously) thought he would be a great guy to have a beer with.

An identical logic applied to Barack Obama his award winning branding exercise (masquerading as a campaign) targeting a urban, college educated demographic who no doubt imagined themselves discussing Beyoncé, basketball or Urdu poetry over single malt scotch with our first African American president.

To capitulate to either marketing strategy-to become a fan of any politician-is to become a chump or a fool. I would like to think I am neither, and I’m glad that he didn’t insult me by suggesting that I am.


That said, there are plenty on the left who believe that we should relate to politicians and politics as fans. In fact, as it turns out, the commenter himself is one of these. We know this because, in his capacity as Georgia Green Party co-chair he has routinely promoted Green Party candidates, this despite, as Michelle Goldberg recently observed, the decades of evidence “that the Green Party’s habit of running doomed third-party campaigns has (never) done anything to further its ostensible values.”

In short, he meets the precise definition for a “fan” advanced in the above.

This awareness casts a different light on his suggestion that I might be one. Specifically it is an instance of what is referred to as projection-defined as denying the existence of tendencies in one’s self while attributing them to others.

Furthermore, the commenter, in his capacity as a Green is perhaps best known for his having created a viral meme, namely, the characterization of Bernie Sanders as a “sheepdog” candidate, one who would lead activists into the “graveyard of social movements” which is, so the story goes, the Democratic Party.

But, as we can now see, this is projection too. For it was Sanders who, in demonstrating that a major national campaign could be run without financing from corporate sources, was the most promising story of  2016 campaign and probably of the decade. And it is the Sanders campaign and its successor organizations providing the foundation for the current mobilization, one which, for the first time, is showing real potential to seriously challenge the dominance of neoliberal elites.

Conversely, it was the Greens in alliance with an equally cynical and opportunistic ultra left  who recognized the viable, functional left which the Sanders campaign represented as an existential threat to what remains of their dysfunctional sects. The sheepdog meme is probably the most effective smear which has emerged from them. But by now it has become clear to whom it should be applied. For in attempting to lead activists down the dead end of national third party politics, precisely at the moment when victories within Democratic Party primaries were being fought for and won that it was Sanders’s opponents on the left who were the sheepdogs of 2016.

And it was the Sanders successor organizations which are tangibly and unmistakeably “advancing the left and its values” through candidacies like that of the extraordinarily charismatic, photogenic and personable Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, not to mention Sanders himself who is none of these.

They have their fans, but their core supporters are those who know that their success means our success, which is to say major improvements in the quality of life of the 99% and in the future viability of the planet. The commenter, whose work, I should say, I have admired over the years and favorably discussed on more than a few ocassions in the past probably knows this is so.

Now is the time to admit he put his money on the wrong horse and find a way to invest his impressive talents in building up the movement rather than tearing it down.

Guest Post by Daniel Falcone: John Halle Discusses Electoral Politics, Noam Chomsky, and the Core Commitments of the Enlightenment

John Halle is the Director of Studies in Music Theory and Practice at Bard College Conservatory of Music, a position he assumed after serving for ten years in the music department at Yale University. As an active composer and theorist, his scholarship focuses on connections between the mental representation of language and music. Halle is also known for his political writings and collaboration with Noam Chomsky. Along with Chomsky, he co-authored, An Eight Point Brief for LEV (Lesser Evil Voting), a widely read essay, in the summer of 2016.

In this interview, Halle explains the need to engage in electoral politics while maintaining a high level of skepticism for the paternalistic elites found in both dominant political parties. Further, Halle makes observations of how those on the left can more adequately reevaluate their relationship with activism, protest and revolution. Halle explains how this all can fit into creating a viable and workable policy agenda that can be moved forward until radical structural reform of the current system is achieved. Many of these ideas culminate from his discussions with Chomsky (a family friend).

Daniel Falcone: Should people be more engaged in electoral politics now with the Trump Administration in office? Many have been reluctant to do so in the past. Here, I’m basically expressing the need to strategically vote against Republicans. What are your thoughts?

Continue reading Guest Post by Daniel Falcone: John Halle Discusses Electoral Politics, Noam Chomsky, and the Core Commitments of the Enlightenment

Seven things Noam Chomsky believes (on electoral politics)

Seven things Noam Chomsky believes (on electoral politics) that much of the “left” do not.

1) Chomsky believes that it is likely that the Bernie or Bust contingent played a role in throwing the election to Trump.

2) Chomsky does not believe that the Democratic Party is “self destructing”. Rather he believes a) that the neoliberal wing of the party is self-destructing and b) that this is a good thing.

3) Chomsky believes that a takeover of the DP by the Sanders wing is possible, desirable (obviously) and very much worth the investment of activist energies.

Continue reading Seven things Noam Chomsky believes (on electoral politics)

An Endorsement

An Endorsement

There is only one candidate
In the 2016 Presidential Election

Who can be trusted.

And that is the Green Party’s Jill Stein.

Her statements are without exception
Free from grandstanding,

Political calculation or tainted by self-interest.

Her campaign staff as well
Can be assumed without question

To be acting entirely based on moral principle
And deep spiritual conviction to achieve
The greatest good for the greatest numbers.

Indeed, the same can be said
of every Green Party candidate

Past, present and future.

To suggest otherwise
Would be an outrage.