In media, her novel DAWN is being developed for television by Ava DuVernay (“Selma”; “A Wrinkle In Time”). An opera by Toshi Reagon based on Butler’s novel PARABLE OF THE SOWER was part of The Public Theatre “Under the Radar” festival and toured worldwide in 2018. Amazon Studios and JuVee Productions (Viola Davis and Julius Tennon’s production company) are developing a drama series from Butler’s PATTERNIST series, beginning with WILD SEED, and the series is being co-written by Nnedi Okorafor and Wanuri Kahiu, who will also direct.
I'd recently noted that I didn't understand why they weren't making her books into films and Stephen e-mailed me the above. So hopefully we'll soon have Octavia on the big or small screen.
So there's that.
Yesterday, I was enraged. Or thought I was. Then I met someone really enraged.
So it's my girlfriend's birthday today and I had gotten her a good present but found out she had a favorite album late Thursday night. I thought, great, I'll go to Half Price Books and get a copy on vinyl. So that's the plan and I'm going to do it at lunch but? My car dies. I get it taken into the shop and it's going to be ready on Saturday. I get a taxi back to work. After work, I take a taxi to Half Price Books and get out, the taxi pulls off, I go to the store and the door doesn't open. "Temporarily closed to browsing" a sign reads. I am pissed. Nothing is going right -- oh, and it's starting to rain. And I'm not going to be able to get my girlfriend the present and I'm stuck here in the rain and calling for another cab and I'm pissed.
But not as pissed as the woman watching me in her car. She gets out and walks up and explains, "They've been closed for three days. And they're holding a book for me!" She reaches in her purse, takes out a lipstick and scrawls over their glass windows, "F**K YOU! I AM NEVER SHOPPING HERE AGAIN!"
They're lucky no one's tossed a rock through their windows.
I did a group text and C.I. was the first to respond. She said she had the album on vinyl and she'd get it shipped overnight within the hour. And she did, saving the day. We went and got my car this morning and when we got back to the house the package was there. I let her open it on the porch and she was thrilled. She gets the other present after dinner.
Right now, we're just relaxing with some popcorn and watching Jodie Foster in The Little Girl Who Lived Down The Lane. And that's prompted a question from my girlfriend: Why has Jodie not done a horror film since she became an adult?
Jamie Lee Curtis and Neve Campbell, to name just two women, have made careers out of horror movies. Jodie clearly has the talent for the genre. I am surprised that she's never tried one as an adult but maybe she feels they're beneath her as an Academy Award winner? Although one of those awards came for The Silence of the Lambs which many consider a horror film. I'd like to see her make a real horror film -- with a killer on the loose or a ghost or vampire or something supernatural.
Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"
Friday, October 30, 2020. It's Friday, we look at the race for the US president which means looking at a number of presidential candidates -- not just two -- and Glenn Greenwald has left THE INTERCEPT after they removed his article on Joe Biden.
Glenn Greenwald has left THE INTERCEPT. As we explained yesterday, the press organizations exist to lie and cover. An e-mail to the public account states, "You should have noted the Iraq War." We did. Do you know how to read? How's your comprehension level. "Instead of noting the Iraq War or the way the liberal press turned on Richard Nixon and fabricated Watergate, you noted a bunch of silly stories."
I'm not sure where you're getting that Watergate was fabricated. I will allow that there was a lot more to Watergate that got buried. I will even allow that Richard Nixon's enemies in the government brought about his downfall. We can even have a conversation about the intel community and how Bob Woodward's background was in intel. But you're losing me on the fabricated aspect.
And that's why I chose what I chose.
Marilyn Monroe. If she's just a silly story, then, by all means, the press should have had no trouble getting the story right. But they didn't. They lied about her. They lied about her when FOX fired her as well. It was a smear campaign intended to destroy her. It didn't. And she had several films in the pipeline and, more importantly, FOX had already come crawling back and offered her SOMETHING'S GOT TO GIVE again.
Young people today may think that her affair with JFK was always known. That's not how the media treated it. When it did pop up in the 60s or 70s, it was dismissed as rumor and as a false rumor at that. The tide turned when? When Anthony Summers wrote his groundbreaking book on Marilyn (GODDESS) and the British media began reporting on it. That was 1985. As a result, the US 'news' magazine 20/20 prepared a report. The report was set to air and then, at the last minute, Roone Arlidge (who knew a tiny bit about sports and nothing about the news) killed it and he killed it because he was friends with Rose Kennedy (mother of JFK). John was dead for over 20 years by that point and ABC 'NEWS' killed the story to 'protect' . . . news? Hosts Barbara Walters and Hugh Downs made it clear that they were appalled by the decision to kill the story and, in killing the story, Roone actually got it more attention than it might have gotten if it had just aired on 20/20.
A lot of 'protecting' went on. That included the use of the Secret Service and the FBI in the immediate hours after Marilyn died. Photos were seized from wire services and publications of the two of them together, Marilyn Monroe's personal phone bill was seized (actually the toll slips that would be used for a monthly statement).
All of this was done and it was known that it was being done. Known but not reported.
You can dismiss it as a silly story -- I don't know how Marilyn qualifies as silly -- but if that's what you think then please explain to me why so many in the press were vested in lying and continuing the lies?
Although we're at the point finally where the affair between Marilyn and JFK can be acknowledged, there is still some pushback to the fact that she also had an affair with RFK. And who knows what more we'll find out in a few more years?
The press lies. And as long as you go along with those lies, you can have a nice little career. Your writing won't mean much (Robert Fisk, I'm looking at you, especially) but you will make coin and if that's all it is to you, a paycheck, you will find some sort of satisfaction.
A paycheck wasn't enough for Glenn Greenwald. Glenn had a big paycheck. All he had to do was not rock the boat. And there were times prior when he was biting his tongue that I felt he should have come forward publicly. We'll come back to biting of the tongue. But Glenn tried to be loyal to the outlet and he tried to tell the truth. That never works out very well. Ask Kristina Borjesson -- and read the book she edited INTO THE BUZZSAW: LEADING JOURNLISTS EXPOSE THE MYTH OF A FREE PRESS. You could ask Gary Webb . . . if he were still alive. Certainly, Michael Hastings was persecuted at the end of his life for the reporting he did. Even Sy Hersh could tell you about how his investigative reporting, so valued at THE NEW YORKER when Bully Boy Bush occupied the White House, fell out of favor when Barack was president which is why his articles ended up at THE LONDON REVIEW OF BOOKS.
While Sy fell out of favor, whore Jane Mayer knew what was what. And she wanted to whore. No more articles about the torture programs or other things the government was doing wrong -- not once Barack was president. No, when Barack became president, Jane focused her eye on ridiculing people who believed in Jesus Christ and going after what she termed "hillbillies" -- basically anyone more than a 15 minute cab ride from Manhattan. The 'investigative' reporter no longer investigated the government.
We noted yesterday that they don't even need orders. Yes, orders do sometimes come, but they're not needed because working for these corporate institutions allows them to daily instill the parameters of what is and is not allowed.
That's Glenn explaining to Tucker Carlson why he resigned from THE INTERCEPT.
They pulled an article Glenn wrote about the Hunter Biden scandal. You can read the article here. Tht link goes to SUBSTACK, not THE INTERCEPT. THE INTERCEPT would only put the article back up if Glenn removed various paragraphs.
INFORMATION CLEARING HOUSE has posted Glenn's article on his resignation and his e-mail to THE INTERCEPT. This is an excerpt from article on his resignation:
Today I sent my intention to resign from The Intercept, the news outlet I co-founded in 2013 with Jeremy Scahill and Laura Poitras, as well as from its parent company First Look Media.
The final, precipitating cause is that The Intercept’s editors, in violation of my contractual right of editorial freedom, censored an article I wrote this week, refusing to publish it unless I remove all sections critical of Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, the candidate vehemently supported by all New-York-based Intercept editors involved in this effort at suppression.
The censored article, based on recently revealed emails and witness testimony, raised critical questions about Biden’s conduct. Not content to simply prevent publication of this article at the media outlet I co-founded, these Intercept editors also demanded that I refrain from exercising a separate contractual right to publish this article with any other publication.
I had no objection to their disagreement with my views of what this Biden evidence shows: as a last-ditch attempt to avoid being censored, I encouraged them to air their disagreements with me by writing their own articles that critique my perspectives and letting readers decide who is right, the way any confident and healthy media outlet would. But modern media outlets do not air dissent; they quash it. So censorship of my article, rather than engagement with it, was the path these Biden-supporting editors chose.
The censored article will be published on this page shortly. My letter of intent to resign, which I sent this morning to First Look Media’s President Michael Bloom, is published below.
As of now, I will be publishing my journalism here on Substack, where numerous other journalists, including my good friend, the great intrepid reporter Matt Taibbi, have come in order to practice journalism free of the increasingly repressive climate that is engulfing national mainstream media outlets across the country.
This was not an easy choice: I am voluntarily sacrificing the support of a large institution and guaranteed salary in exchange for nothing other than a belief that there are enough people who believe in the virtues of independent journalism and the need for free discourse who will be willing to support my work by subscribing.
Like anyone with young children, a family and numerous obligations, I do this with some trepidation, but also with the conviction that there is no other choice. I could not sleep at night knowing that I allowed any institution to censor what I want to say and believe — least of all a media outlet I co-founded with the explicit goal of ensuring this never happens to other journalists, let alone to me, let alone because I have written an article critical of a powerful Democratic politician vehemently supported by the editors in the imminent national election.
But the pathologies, illiberalism, and repressive mentality that led to the bizarre spectacle of my being censored by my own media outlet are ones that are by no means unique to The Intercept. These are the viruses that have contaminated virtually every mainstream center-left political organization, academic institution, and newsroom. I began writing about politics fifteen years ago with the goal of combatting media propaganda and repression, and — regardless of the risks involved — simply cannot accept any situation, no matter how secure or lucrative, that forces me to submit my journalism and right of free expression to its suffocating constraints and dogmatic dictates.
From the time I began writing about politics in 2005, journalistic freedom and editorial independence have been sacrosanct to me. Fifteen years ago, I created a blog on the free Blogspot software when I was still working as a lawyer: not with any hopes or plans of starting a new career as a journalist, but just as a citizen concerned about what I was seeing with the War on Terror and civil liberties, and wanting to express what I believed needed to be heard. It was a labor of love, based in an ethos of cause and conviction, dependent upon a guarantee of complete editorial freedom.
It thrived because the readership I built knew that, even when they disagreed with particular views I was expressing, I was a free and independent voice, unwedded to any faction, controlled by nobody, endeavoring to be as honest as possible about what I was seeing, and always curious about the wisdom of seeing things differently. The title I chose for that blog, “Unclaimed Territory,” reflected that spirit of liberation from captivity to any fixed political or intellectual dogma or institutional constraints.
When Salon offered me a job as a columnist in 2007, and then again when the Guardian did the same in 2012, I accepted their offers on the condition that I would have the right, except in narrowly defined situations (such as articles that could create legal liability for the news outlet), to publish my articles and columns directly to the internet without censorship, advanced editorial interference, or any other intervention permitted or approval needed. Both outlets revamped their publication system to accommodate this condition, and over the many years I worked with them, they always honored those commitments.
When I left the Guardian at the height of the Snowden reporting in 2013 in order to create a new media outlet, I did not do so, needless to say, in order to impose upon myself more constraints and restrictions on my journalistic independence. The exact opposite was true: the intended core innovation of The Intercept, above all else, was to create a new media outlets where all talented, responsible journalists would enjoy the same right of editorial freedom I had always insisted upon for myself. As I told former New York Times Executive Editor Bill Keller in a 2013 exchange we had in The New York Times about my critiques of mainstream journalism and the idea behind The Intercept: “editors should be there to empower and enable strong, highly factual, aggressive adversarial journalism, not to serve as roadblocks to neuter or suppress the journalism.”
When the three of us as co-founders made the decision early on that we would not attempt to manage the day-to-day operations of the new outlet, so that we could instead focus on our journalism, we negotiated the right of approval for senior editors and, especially the editor-in-chief. The central responsibility of the person holding that title was to implement, in close consultation with us, the unique journalistic vision and journalistic values on which we founded this new media outlet.
Chief among those values was editorial freedom, the protection of a journalist’s right to speak in an honest voice, and the airing rather than suppression of dissent from mainstream orthodoxies and even collegial disagreements with one another. That would be accomplished, above all else, by ensuring that journalists, once they fulfilled the first duty of factual accuracy and journalistic ethics, would be not just permitted but encouraged to express political and ideological views that deviated from mainstream orthodoxy and those of their own editors; to express themselves in their own voice of passion and conviction rather stuffed into the corporatized, contrived tone of artificial objectivity, above-it-all omnipotence; and to be completely free of anyone else’s dogmatic beliefs or ideological agenda — including those of the three co-founders.
Again, I am surprised it took Glenn so long. I don't know how he bit his tongue so long. But he doesn't have to now. As a father with bills to pay, Glenn may consider writing a book on his experience. If he does, it won't go over well for bitsy ditsy Betsy Reed. But Glenn doesn't owe her or anyone else anything. He could get a princely sum for a tell-all. And it would sell very well.
Let's quote from the article that THE INTERCEPT pulled:
All of these new materials, the authenticity of which has never been disputed by Hunter Biden or the Biden campaign, raise important questions about whether the former Vice President and current front-running presidential candidate was aware of efforts by his son to peddle influence with the Vice President for profit, and also whether the Vice President ever took actions in his official capacity with the intention, at least in part, of benefitting his son's business associates. But in the two weeks since the Post published its initial story, a union of the nation's most powerful entities, including its news media, have taken extraordinary steps to obscure and bury these questions rather than try to provide answers to them.
The initial documents, claimed the New York Post, were obtained when the laptops containing them were left at a Delaware repair shop with water damage and never picked up, allowing the owner to access its contents and then turn them over to both the FBI and a lawyer for Trump advisor Rudy Giuliani. The repair store owner confirmed this narrative in interviews with news outlets and then (under penalty of prosecution) to a Senate Committee; he also provided the receipt purportedly signed by Hunter. Neither Hunter nor the Biden campaign has denied these claims.
Publication of that initial New York Post story provoked a highly unusual censorship campaign by Facebook and Twitter. Facebook, through a long-time former Democratic Party operative, vowed to suppress the story pending its “fact-check,” one that has as of yet produced no public conclusions. And while Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey apologized for Twitter’s handling of the censorship and reversed the policy that led to the blocking of all links the story, the New York Post, the nation’s fourth-largest newspaper, continues to be locked out of its Twitter account, unable to post as the election approaches, for almost two weeks.
After that initial censorship burst from Silicon Valley, whose workforce and oligarchs have donated almost entirely to the Biden campaign, it was the nation's media outlets and former CIA and other intelligence officials who took the lead in constructing reasons why the story should be dismissed, or at least treated with scorn. As usual for the Trump era, the theme that took center stage to accomplish this goal was an unsubstantiated claim about the Kremlin responsibility for the story.
Numerous news outlets, including the Intercept, quickly cited a public letter signed by former CIA officials and other agents of the security state claiming that the documents have the “classic trademarks" of a “Russian disinformation” plot. But, as media outlets and even intelligence agencies are now slowly admitting, no evidence has ever been presented to corroborate this assertion. On Friday, the New York Times reported that “no concrete evidence has emerged that the laptop contains Russian disinformation” and the paper said even the FBI has “acknowledged that it had not found any Russian disinformation on the laptop.”
The Washington Post on Sunday published an op-ed -- by Thomas Rid, one of those centrists establishmentarian professors whom media outlets routinely use to provide the facade of expert approval for deranged conspiracy theories -- that contained this extraordinary proclamation: "We must treat the Hunter Biden leaks as if they were a foreign intelligence operation — even if they probably aren't."
Even the letter from the former intelligence officials cited by The Intercept and other outlets to insinuate that this was all part of some “Russian disinformation” scheme explicitly admitted that “we do not have evidence of Russian involvement,” though many media outlets omitted that crucial acknowledgement when citing the letter in order to disparage the story as a Kremlin plot:
Despite this complete lack of evidence, the Biden campaign adopted this phrase used by intelligence officials and media outlets as its mantra for why the materials should not be discussed and why they would not answer basic questions about them. “I think we need to be very, very clear that what he's doing here is amplifying Russian misinformation," said Biden Deputy Campaign Manager Kate Bedingfield about the possibility that Trump would raise the Biden emails at Thursday night’s debate. Biden’s senior advisor Symone Sanders similarly warned on MSNBC: “if the president decides to amplify these latest smears against the vice president and his only living son, that is Russian disinformation."
The few mainstream journalists who tried merely to discuss these materials have been vilified. For the crime of simply noting it on Twitter that first day, New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman had her name trend all morning along with the derogatory nickname “MAGA Haberman.” CBS News’ Bo Erickson was widely attacked even by his some in the media simply for asking Biden what his response to the story was. And Biden himself refused to answer, accusing Erickson of spreading a "smear."
That it is irresponsible and even unethical to mention these documents became a pervasive view in mainstream journalism. The NPR Public Editor, in an anazing statement representative of much of the prevailing media mentality, explicitly justified NPR’s refusal to cover the story on the ground that “we do not want to waste our time on stories that are not really stories . . . [or] waste the readers’ and listeners’ time on stories that are just pure distractions.”
Let's stay with NPR's ombudsperson for a moment. Kelly McBride was the focus of Ava and my "Media: NPR doesn't trust its listeners" this week. As we noted, Kelly's journalistic malpractice includes not only censoring the Hunter Biden article, but also devoting a column to James Fallows interests because, apparently, his many appearances on NPR commenting aren't enough for him to have a platform for his views and his position at THE ATLANTIC MONTHLY does not give him much of a platform either. She fails to explore real issues raised by listeners -- we know that at least 65 listeners have complained to her about the gender imbalance on ALL SONGS CONSIDERED since Ava and I began writing about that over the summer -- but will devote her time and attention to a topic that a member of the press wants addressed. She also failed to disclose her friendship with James Fallows.
Why does that matter? Goes to ethics absolutely. More to the point, she was just chiding Nina Totenberg for her long friendship with RBG and failure to clearly disclose that over the years when reporting on the Supreme Court. In her criticism of Nina, she also failed to make the most important point: Nina says it never conflicted but this isn't a self-determination. Nina can't make that determination, she's too close to the subject -- and, after all, that's why a disclosure should have been made for every report in the first place. Also wrong? Her constantly quoting people with POYNTER. That's her other job. So she's using NPR to promote her other employer. That's a conflict of interest. POYNTER staff already work on her columns and now she's using her position at NPR to plug various 'names' at POYNTER. It's disgusting and it's unethical.
Wait, we're not done. Let's quote from Ava and my piece:
A lot of what she does is wrong -- including ignoring the gender imbalance on NPR's ALL SONGS CONSIDERED (we reported on that most recently here). Take the way, in the newsletter we just linked to, she refers to an interview with a guest: "But over on Twitter, many listeners were cheering Inskeep on for putting Anton in his place." It's the purpose of NPR to put guests they invite on 'in their place'? That's an interesting way of looking at it.
That alone, her wording there which implies a guest was put in their place, should have gotten her immediately fired.
Kelly McBride is not up to being a public editor or ombudsperson and, in better journalistic times, she'd be crucified -- and she should be. Think about when the NPR public editor came out against Terry Gross over the Bill O'Reilly interview. At that time, the position of public editor was supposed to be independent and practice ethics. Under Kelly, there are no ethics.
Here's Jimmy Dore on the effort to discredit the Hunter Biden e-mails.
Do you know who hasn't covered the e-mails -- besides members of the corporate press? Ana Kasparian. A weekly show and she's got time to bore us with so much but she can't cover that? And she wants to get into a feud with Jimmy Dore?
But sad is also the same corporate media that sold the country the Iraq War now wants to sell the country War Hawk Joe Biden as president.
There are choices beyond Joe and Donald Trump. There's Gloria La Riva who is the candidate from the Party for Socialism and Liberation.
Gloria is a choice.
I'm not sure we noted this last Friday, but this is Gloria's response to the Biden-Trump debate:
Party for Socialism and Liberation presidential candidate Gloria La Riva issued the following statement at the conclusion of the second debate between Joe Biden and Donald Trump
Tonight’s debate between Joe Biden and Donald Trump was one of the closing events of a presidential campaign that has been an utter insult to the working class. The crises facing poor and working people could not be more dire -- hundreds of thousands dead from the pandemic, tens of millions unemployed and facing eviction, racist police waging war on Black communities, an environment on the brink of total catastrophe, and so much more. Neither candidate put forward anything remotely close to a serious plan to solve these problems.
Instead, we heard more ludicrous denialism on COVID-19 from Trump, who claimed, “We’re rounding the corner, it’s going away.” In fact the number of infections is surging along with deaths. But Biden offered no specific, credible solutions. Biden claimed in the debate that he believed “Health care is not a privilege, it's a right.” But he opposes a universal healthcare system that would actually make healthcare a right in practice, something that’s all the more pressing in the middle of a pandemic.
The two candidates competed to outdo each other in militaristic bluster. Biden claimed that Russia wants to “Make sure I do not get elected the next president of the United States” and referred to unsubstantiated reports that the Russian government was paying fighters in Afghanistan to target U.S. troops occupying the country. Trump countered that “There has been nobody tougher on Russia” than him, citing his actions to coerce members of NATO into increasing their war spending “to guard against Russia” and that he “sold tank busters to Ukraine.” Both candidates signaled their absolute support for the Pentagon’s drive to war against China and Biden ridiculously compared North Korea to Hitler’s Germany.
Trump unsurprisingly used the debate to spout more racist rhetoric targeting immigrants, saying that children his administration cruelly separated from their parents were brought to the United States by “gangs and drug dealers.” And Biden was part of an administration that cruelly deported far more immigrants than the Trump White House. Biden’s hypocritical appeal to “those DACA kids” omitted the fact that DACA was won not because of the kindness of the Obama administration, but because undocumented youth courageously organized civil disobedience at Obama / Biden campaign offices and put enough pressure on the government to win temporary legal status.
The Party for Socialism and Liberation’s campaign believes that the wealth of this society -- wealth that was created by workers, not the millionaires and billionaires -- should be used to provide a dignified life for all with education, housing, a job or income, healthcare, and more guaranteed as constitutional rights. Our campaign demands that racist killer cops be locked up and the end of the system of mass incarceration. We are against war for empire. We want to end the extraction of fossil fuels. Don’t throw your vote away on one of the two capitalist parties -- vote socialist and help build a movement for a better world!
And she participated in a debate with some of the other choices the corporate media ignores.
Jo Jorgensen wasn't at that debate. But she is on the ballot in all fifty states and she's the candidate for the Libertarian Party.
Jo's campaign issued the following:
GREENVILLE, S.C. October 28, 2020— “I don’t vote because it wouldn’t make any difference,” is the refrain heard from millions of Americans. They believe the system is rigged and that there’s no chance of getting the kind of candidate they’d want to see in office elected.
Dr. Jo Jorgensen, the Libertarian candidate for president, has a message for such voters.
“Washington, D.C. wants you demoralized,” said Jorgensen. “They don’t want you to vote because they need you to stay home in order for their status quo candidates to win.”
“Refusing to vote feeds right into their hands,” she added. “It doubles the impact of the voters who do, and it keeps career politicians, cronies, and special interests in power.”
“But you actually have much more influence over the system than you realize,” she said. “Enough, in fact, to turn the establishment on its head.”
In 2016, 102 million Americans were eligible to vote, but stayed home. Meanwhile, Donald Trump won the election for president with just 63 million votes.
“Americans who sit out elections hold an overwhelming majority in this country,” notes Jorgensen. “If just two-thirds of them voted, we could bring down the powers that be in Washington, D.C.”
“With a large turnout of anti-establishment voters, those who already vote but who have settled for the ‘lesser of two evils’ would vote their conscience instead. They’d join forces with you to bring in real outsiders,” she said.
“Don’t let media blackouts, manipulative polling, and fake debates trick you into believing you don’t have a choice,” she said. “You most definitely do have a real choice, and a chance for real change.”
Libertarian Jo Jorgensen is on every ballot in America this election — all 50 states, plus the District of Columbia.
“If you know the two-party system is broken and doesn’t serve your family’s needs, please vote for me this election,” she said.
Dr. Jorgensen advocates lowering health-care costs dramatically by way of free-market competition, bringing our troops home from endless foreign wars, allowing wage-earners to opt out of paying the Social Security (FICA) tax, and ending the failed and destructive War on Drugs.
Her campaign gives voters a viable alternative to Donald Trump and Joe Biden, who are the only other presidential choices appearing on every ballot.
This year marks the fifth time the Libertarian Party has succeeded in placing its presidential ticket on the ballot in all fifty states, having done so previously in 1980, 1992, 1996, and 2016.
“There’s no such thing as not voting,” said Jorgensen. “If they get you to stay home, you’re ‘voting’ for your opponents to win. If you want a different outcome, do something different.
“You hold the power to change everything. All you have to do is vote.”
Howie Hawkins is the US presidential candidate for the Green Party.
In 2004, a number of prominent progressives issued statements calling on people to vote for Democrat John Kerry in the close states and the Green Party candidate in the so-called safe states where the outcome would not be close. In 2020, many of these same people have moved further to the right and call for a vote for Biden without any support for a Green vote in the so-called safe states.
In 40 states, the vote for the Green presidential ticket determines whether the Green Party retains or gains ballot line for the next election cycle. In most states, it’s 1%, 2%, 3%, or 5%. But there is no support for the Green Party this year from these progressives. What happened to left solidarity?
They have abandoned the idea that the best way for the left to fight the right is to build and fight with its own independent strength, advancing its own program under its own banner against two-capitalist-party system of corporate rule. Instead, they have responded to the rise of Trump by shifting to the right with him, telling the independent left to silence and disarm itself and back Biden, a man who would fit comfortably into the center-right parties of Europe.
“They have responded to the rise of Trump by shifting to the right with him.”
Reliance on the lesser evil has historically led to greater evils. In the classic case, instead of running their own candidate for German president on 1932, the largest party, the Social Democrats, supported the conservative Paul von Hindenberg as the lesser evil to Hitler. Von Hindenberg won and appointed Hitler to the Chancellorship. The Communists ran their own candidate in the most sectarian way imaginable, saying the Social Democrats were the “social-fascist main enemy” and “after Hitler it’s our turn.” That was a case where left solidarity against the fascist threat instead of relying on conservatives to stop the fascists. Had the socialists and communists formed a left united front, they would have easily outpolled the rightwing parties.
The result of progressives consistently settling for the Democrats as the lesser evil has created a political dynamic has been moving US politics to the right for decades. The soft-right Democrats ignore progressive demands because they pose no threat of taking their votes elsewhere. Instead, they adapt to the hard-right Republicans. Bill Clinton called it “triangulation.” Joe Biden calls it “working across the aisle.”
Meanwhile, the progressives in the Democratic Party are accommodating to Biden’s politics. Bernie Sanders is now for Medicare for All over 55 years old with a public option for the rest. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez took the Green New Deal slogan from the Greens and diluted the content in the non-binding resolution for a Green New Deal by dropping the essential immediate demand for a ban on fracking and new fossil fuel infrastructure, eliminating the rapid phase-out of nuclear power, removing the deep cuts in military spending to help fund the program, and extending the deadline for zero carbon emissions from 2030 to 2050. The words Green New Deal were not mentioned at the Democratic convention, in the Sanders-Biden Unity Task Force recommendations on climate, or in the Democratic Platform, which is pro fossil fuels and, for the first time in 50 years, pro nuclear.
“The progressives in the Democratic Party are accommodating to Biden’s politics.”
There will be no Medicare for All or Green New Deal from the Democrats, let alone a retreat from military bloat, wars, and coups abroad. But these progressives counsel people to vote for them everywhere, which tells the Democrats to take them for granted because posed no threat to vote for the Greens anywhere.
I don’t support a safe states strategy. Every state is a battleground for the Green Party. The gas industry is fracking the hell out of battleground states Pennsylvania and Ohio where the ducking Democrats join the retrograde Republicans lending no support to the anti-fracking movement. Greens, not the Democrats, are fighting the expansion of the Enbridge oil pipelines that take Alberta tar sands oil and Bakken fracked oil across Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Minnesota on to oil refineries. In every state, Greens are taking on Democratic machines in the cities, and real estate industry that finances them, when we fight for affordable housing and against the brutality of police forces that do what the Democrats in the cities designed them to do, which is to keep downscale people, particularly Black people, down and out of upscale communities. They are set up to police the New Jim Crow lines of school district and municipal boundaries that segregate us by race and class.
We should all be concerned about the voter suppression activities of Trump and the Republicans. But Greens know from bitter experience that we should also be concerned about voter suppression in the form of party suppression by the Democrats. The Democrats were able to knock the Greens off the ballot in Montana, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania where the Green petitions had two to three times the required signatures, which was difficult to do in the Covid lockdown. But the Democrats are also legislating party suppression. For example, in New York the Democrats rammed through a law attached to the state budget bill in April while attention was focused on the pandemic that triples the number of votes the Greens need to keep their ballot line. Only Nader for president in 2000 and me in 2014 for governor ever got that many votes as a Green candidate in New York. If we lose the ballot line, we will need 45,000 good signatures – triple the old number – collected in a six-week window to get statewide candidates on the ballot. When the Socialist Party lost its ballot line in 1938 in New York, it never recovered it. There was not an independent left party with a ballot line in New York again until the Green Party, 1999-2002 and 2010-?.
The following sites updated: