[R-G] New York Senate Race a Referendum on the War?
david.mcr at earthlink.net
Tue Jun 22 00:47:30 MDT 2004
POLITICS IS NOT A SPECTATOR SPORT (statement by David McReynolds)
On June 11th I met with Gloria Mattera and two other members of the New York Green Party, at my apartment, to discuss the possibility of my being the Green Party candidate for US Senate this fall, running against the incumbent, Charles Schumer. As a result of that meeting, Gloria and the "search" committee is recommending that the Green Party select me as its candidate. She has asked for a brief statement from me.
The overwhelming issue confronting the United States is the militarization of this country. It is an issue which neither major party can address, since both are so deeply involved in that process. One result of this militarization is that when the nation faces a genuine crisis, as it did on September 11, 2001, the only response that comes to mind is military action - in that case the invasion of Afghanistan. Because of this military mind-set, George Walker Bush was able to gain broad support when he launched an aggressive war against Iraq. Currently tens of billions of dollars of national treasure are being drained in Iraq, the lives of our own troops, and the lives of many Iraqis, are being wasted as a result of this criminal adventure.
I will run for the US Senate if chosen by the Greens. I am both flattered that I would be considered as a candidate, and also a bit nervous that, at 74, I will not have the same energy I had when I was the Socialist Party candidate for President in 2000 and, before that, in 1980. But I will give it my very best shot.
I am not a member of the Greens - in fact, I am on the National Committee of the Socialist Party USA - but have had a friendly relationship with the Greens, including being a supporter of its candidates for Governor and Senator in recent elections. There have been personal links with figures in the German Greens, as I was a friend of the late Petra Kelly, twice going to Germany at her invitation, to meet with the Green caucus in the Bundestag, and to campaign in Germany, with the Greens, in opposition to the deployment of US missiles when the Cold War was so dangerously close to being hot.
How to change a society is a complex problem with no easy answer. Or, perhaps, a problem with a wide range of answers, including education, demonstrations, civil disobedience, the importance of the individual conscience, the necessity for a political analysis, and changes in objective conditions. No matter who the Greens run for the Senate this fall, that campaign will not change the world - but it can be a part of the process of changing the world. Politics is not a spectator sport. I'm sending this post more widely than simply as a response to Gloria's request for a summary of my positions. Those who get it, if they live in New York State, should not send me a note saying "good luck" - they should send Gloria a note saying "count me in". The Greens do NOT have a ballot line, so that to be on the ballot fo US Senate will demand rigous petitioning. The Greens do NOT have a magic money machine, so there will have to be fund raising. In short, if you think it might be a good idea for me to run for the Senate, do you realize that no candidate can be more effective than the support he or she can muster?
The Senate race in New York offers all of us a chance to make this election a referendum on the war - and on the kind of society which American capitalism has become. In the national race, there are many who will support John Kerry because of the great fear of a second term for George Walker Bush. I understand that fear and I share it. But New York is a safe state for Kerry - so it will be possible to vote "as far left as possible" with a clean conscience. More important, it is possible, in the Senate race, to cast a vote against Charles Schumer, who exemplifies what might be called a "liberal trapped by militarism". Schumer is not the enemy - the enemy is that system of which he is a part, which is sending our men and women into combat far from home. And it is to struggle against that system that I'm convinced this Senate race makes sense.
A Senate race means the chance to talk to people all across this state about the need for an America which will develop a foreign policy designed with the interests of the children of the world in mind, not the interests of the US corporate structure.
There will be time enough to develop my positions more clearly, and to work those out with the Greens, but as a summary for the New York Greens, who must make their decision within the next two weeks, let me briefly lay out other issues on which I stand, and which I hope would also be issues on which together a campaign can be waged and keeping in mind that these points are meant as a "beginning" of a program, not the end.
. . . . The repeal of the "Patriot Act", which is an affront to the Bill of Rights
. . . . The closing of US military bases abroad, including the immediate closing of the US base at Guantanamo, and the normalization of relations with Cuba.
. . . . A single payer health care program covering every citizen.
. . . . A program of low and middle income housing to reverse the present trend in which our large cities - New York City being the prime example - become "Disney lands" for the wealthy to live and play, but places where working people cannot afford to live, from which the poor are excluded.
. . . . Reform of the police and the prison system, so that there are in place civilian review boards to monitor police conduct, and a court system which does not have a double standard for the rich and the poor, for those who are white, and those of color. Our present prison system is a failure which has punished the poor and those of color. An end of the death penalty.
. . . . A tax program which would have as one objective the elimination of the present enormous concentration of wealth in the hands of less than 1% of the population by introducing inheritance taxes that would prevent one generation from passing on its billions of dollars to the next
. . . . Repeal of the Rockefeller drug laws, and a complete re-examination of present approaches to addictive drugs, looking toward substituting medical treatment of addiction rather than imprisonment, and with the legalization of the use of marijuana
. . . . Defense of a woman's right of choice to abortion - and also to make it possible for women who might want to have children, to feel a genuine safety net of health care and economic support to make that choice an option.
. . . Repeal of the Taft-Hartley Act, and defense of trade unions in their right to organize and bargain
. . . A job creation program aimed at full employment, with meaningful work and decent pay.
I am tempted to go on, but this is a quick framework, a beginning at the process of "imagining the future in which we want our children to live". If there is violence in our schools and our streets, it reflects the instutionalized violence of our nation. If there is hope for our nation, it doesn't come from that wealthy elite which imposed George Walker Bush on us, but in the example of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who helped give back to us a vision of what America has never been, and yet might become.
(David McReynolds, 74, worked for many years on the staff of War Resisters League, from which he retired in 1999. He has been arrested a number of times in civil rights, labor, and peace demonstrations.He was one of those active in the Vietnam Peace movement. An open gay, he has lived for many years on the Lower East Side. He is currently on the Board of the Mutual Housing Association of Cooper Square, and on the Board of the A. J. Muste Memorial Institute).
david.mcr at earthlink.net
More information about the Rad-Green