|[The following statement was initiated by Peter Miguel Camejo. He is a
life-long fighter for social justice who was the Green candidate for
Governor in California in the 2002 general elections and in the 2003
THE AVOCADO DECLARATION
The Green Party is at a crossroads. The 2004 elections place before us a
clear and unavoidable choice. On one side, we can continue on the path
of political independence, building a party of, by and for the people by
running our own campaign for President of the United States. The other
choice is the well-trodden path of lesser evil politics, sacrificing our
own voice and independence to support whoever the Democrats nominate in
order; we are told, to defeat Bush.
The difference is not over whether to "defeat Bush" - understanding by
that the program of corporate globalization and the wars and trampling
of the Constitution that come with it - but rather how to do it. We do
not believe it is possible to defeat the "greater" evil by supporting a
shamefaced version of the same evil. We believe it is precisely by
openly and sharply confronting the two major parties that the policies
of the corporate interests these parties represent can be set back and
Ralph Nader's 2000 presidential campaign exposed a crisis of confidence
in the two party system. His 2.7 million votes marked the first time in
modern history that millions voted for a more progressive and
independent alternative. Now, after three years of capitulation by the
Democratic Party to George Bush they are launching a pre-emptive strike
against a 2004 Ralph Nader campaign or any Green Party challenge. Were
the Greens right to run in 2000? Should we do the same in 2004? The
Avocado Declaration based on an analysis of our two party duopoly, and
its history declares we were right and we must run.
ORIGINS OF THE PRESENT TWO-PARTY SYSTEM
History shows that the Democrats and Republicans are not two
counterposed forces but rather complimentary halves of a single
two-party system: "one animal with two heads that feed from the same
trough," as Chicano leader Rodolfo "Corky" González explained.
Since the Civil War a peculiar two party political system has dominated
the United States. Prior to the Civil War a two-party system existed
reflecting opposing economic platforms. Since the Civil War a shift
occurred. A two-party system remained in place but no longer had
differing economic orientation. Since the Civil War the two parties show
differences in their image, role, social base and some policies but in
the last analysis they both support essentially similar economic
This development can be clearly dated to the split in the Republican
Party of 1872 where one wing merged with the "New Departure" Democrats
that had already shifted towards the Republican platform of pro-finance
and industrial business. Prior to the Civil War the Democratic Party
controlled by the slaveocracy favored agriculture business interests,
developed an alliance with small farmers in conflict with industrial and
some commercial interests. That division ended with the Civil War. Both
parties supported financial and industrial business as the core of their
For over 130 years the two major parties have been extremely effective
in preventing the emergence of any mass political formations that
challenge their political monopoly. Most attempts to build political
alternatives have been efforts to represent the interests of the average
person, the working people. These efforts have been unable to develop.
Both major parties have been dominated by moneyed interests and today
reflect the historic period of corporate rule.
In this sense United States history has been different from that of any
other advanced industrial nation. In all other countries multi party
systems have appeared and to one degree or other they have more
democratic electoral laws and more representation has existed. In almost
all other cases political parties ostensible based on or promoting the
interest of non-corporate sectors such as working people exist.
STRUGGLES FOR DEMOCRACY AND SOCIAL JUSTICE
In spite of this pro-corporate political monopoly, mass struggles for
social progress, struggles to expand democracy and civil rights have
periodically explodedd throughout United States history.
Every major gain in our history, even pre Civil War struggles --such as
the battles for the Bill of Rights, to end slavery, and to establish
free public education-- as well as those after the Civil War have been
the product of direct action by movements independent of the two major
parties and in opposition to them.
Since the Civil War, without exception, the Democratic Party has opposed
all mass struggles for democracy and social justice. These include the
struggle for ballot reform, for the right of African Americans to vote
and against American apartheid ("Jim Crow"), for the right to form
unions, for the right of women to vote, against the war in Vietnam, the
struggle to make lynching illegal, the fight against the death penalty,
the struggle for universal health care, the fight for gay and lesbian
rights, and endless others. Many of these struggles were initiated by or
helped by the existence of small third parties.
DIVISION OF WORK
When social justice, peace or civil rights movements become massive in
scale, and threaten to become uncontrollable and begin to win over large
numbers of people, the Democratic Party begins to shift and presents
itself as a supposed ally, always seeking to co-opt the movement,
demobilize its forces and block its development into an alternative
independent political force.
The Republican Party has historically acted as the open advocate for a
platform to benefit the rule of wealth and corporate domination. They
argue ideologically for policies benefiting the corporate rulers. The
Republicans seek to convince the middle classes and labor to support the
rule of the wealthy with the argument that "What's good for GM is good
for the country," that what benefits corporations is also going to
benefit regular people.
The Democratic Party is different. They act as a "broker" negotiating
and selling influence among broad layers of the people to support the
objectives of corporate rule. The Democratic Party's core group of
elected officials is rooted in careerists seeking self-promotion by
offering to the corporate rulers their ability to control and deliver
mass support. And to the people they offer some concessions,
modifications on the platform of the Republican Party. One important
value of the Democratic Party to the corporate world is that it makes
the Republican Party possible through the maintenance of stability
essential for business as usual by preventing a genuine mass opposition
from developing. Together the two parties offer one of the best possible
frameworks with which to rule a people that otherwise would move society
towards the rule of the people i.e. democracy.
An example of this process is our minimum wage laws. Adjusted to
inflation it has been gradually declining for year. Every now and then
the Democrats pass a small upward adjustment that allows the downward
trend to continue but gives the appearance they are on the side of the
Together the two parties have made ballot access increasingly difficult,
defended indirect elections such as the Electoral College, insisted on
winner-take-all voting to bloc the appearance of alternative voices and
opposed proportional representation to prevent the development of a
representative democracy and the flowering of choices. The undemocratic
structure of the US senate and the Electoral College, that are not based
on one-person one vote, but instead favor the more conservative areas of
the nation, are supported by both parties.
Elections are based primarily on money. By gerrymandering and
accumulating huge war chests -payoffs for doing favors for their rich
"friends"-- most officeholders face no real challenge at the ballot box
and are re-elected. In the Races that are "competitive," repeatedly the
contests reduce themselves to two individuals seeking corporate
financial backing. Whoever wins the battle for money wins the election.
Districts are gerrymandered into "safe" districts for one or the other
party. Gerrymandering lowers the public's interest and involvement while
maintaining the fiction of "democracy" and "free elections." The news
media goes along with this, typically focusing on the presidential
election and a handful of other races, denying most challengers the
opportunity to get their message out to the public.
Corporate backing shifts between the two parties depending on
short-term, and even accidental factors. In the 1990s more endorsements
from CEOs went to the Democrats. At present the money has shifted to the
Republican Party. Most corporations donate to both parties to maintain
their system in place.
NO CHOICE NO HOPE
The Democratic Party preaches defeatism to the most oppressed and
exploited. Nothing can be expected, nothing is possible but what exists.
Before the people they justify continues betrayal of what could be with
the argument of lesser evil. It's the Republicans or us. Nothing else is
DEMOCRACY VERSUS COOPTATION
Democracy remains a great danger for those who have privilege, and
control. When you are part of the top 1% of the population that has as
much income as the bottom 75% of the people, democracy is a permanent
threat to your interests. The potential power of the people is so great
that it puts sharp limits on what corporations can do. The ability of
the Democratic Party to contain, co-opt and demobilize independent
movements of the people is a critical element in allowing the continued
destruction of our planet, abuse, discrimination and exploitation based
on race, gender, sexual preference and class, and the immense
misdistribution of wealth.
As we enter the 21st century there is no more important issue than
saving our planet from destruction. The world economy is becoming
increasingly globalized. Corporate power is now global in nature and
leads to massive dislocations and suffering for most people. The planet
is over populated and the basis of human life declining. The greatest
suffering and dislocations exist in the third world but there is also a
downward trend in the United States as globalization leads to a
polarization of income and wealth. This shift is making the United
States each day closer to a third world country with an extremely
wealthy minority and a growing under class. This polarization adds
further fear of democracy for the elite.
THE GROWING SHIFT AGAINST THE RULE OF LAW
The shift away from the rule of law has accelerated in recent years.
This process will be a factor in the 2004 presidential elections
especially if a Green candidate is involved in the race. The shift away
from our Constitution is proceeding with the complicity of both parties
and the courts. The process through which the Constitution can be
amended is not used as changes are made illegally through legislation
because it would awaken a massive resistance to the changes underway. A
similar process is under way regarding the rule of law internationally.
The reason given for these steps since September 2001 is the terrorist
attack within the borders of the United States by forces originally
trained, armed and supported by the United States government. The
so-called "war on terrorism" does not exist. The United States
Government has promoted, tolerated, and been party to the use of
terrorism all over the world. The United States has even been found
guilty of terrorism by the World Court.
The terrorist attacks against U.S. targets are important, but they need
to be countered primarily in a social/political manner. That approach is
the opposite of the Patriot Act, and the occupations of Afghanistan and
Iraq. On the contrary, by aggravating inequality, injustice,
disrespecting the rule of law and its military interventions and
occupation, the present policies of the US Government add to the
dangers faced by US citizens throughout the world and in the United
States. Especially dangerous are the promotion of nuclear, chemical and
bacteriological weapons, and the open declarations of the intention to
once again use nuclear weapons.
This recent shift, while rooted in bipartisan policies over the last
decades, has been accelerated by the present Republican administration.
Its ability to carry out these actions has depended on the Democratic
Party's support, and its ability to contain, disorient and prevent the
development of mass opposition.
Amazingly in December of 2003 General Tommy Franks the recently retired
head of CentCom was quoted as stating that he thought the people of the
United States may prefer a military government over our present
Constitutional Republican form if another terrorist attack occurs. Such
a statement is so far off base one most wonder why it is being made. The
people of the United States are solidly opposed to any consideration of
a military dictatorship in the United States. In fact, polls have
repeatedly shown they favor increasing our democratic rights such as
limiting campaign contributions and allowing more points of view in
Never in our history have top military leaders or ex military leaders
spoken openly of ending our Constitutional form of government. No leader
of the Democratic Party has protested Franks' comments. How many
officers in the armed forces have such opinions? If there are any they
should be immediately removed from the military.
DEMOCRATS: PATRIOT ACT AND UNEQUIVOCAL SUPPORT FOR BUSH
The Democratic Party leadership voted for the USA Patriot Act. In the
United States Senate only one Democrat voted against the Patriot Act.
Democrats considered "liberal" such as Wellstone and Boxer voted for the
Patriot Act. Huge majorities have repeatedly passed votes in the
Congress against the United States Constitution. In one case only one
Congresswoman, Barbara Lee, voted against the abrogation of the
Constitutions separation of powers in Article One Section Eight.
Democratic Party politicians, when called upon to support the Republican
Party and their corporate backers, repeatedly comply and vote against
the interest of the people and against the Constitution they have sworn
The Democratic Party leadership as a whole gave repeated standing
ovations to George Bush as he outlined his platform in his January 2002
State of the Union address promoting the arbitrary decision to occupy
sovereign nations through military aggression in violation of
international law. The ovations given the Republican Platform by the
Democratic Party was done on a nationally televised format for the
people to see a unified political force. The effect is to make people
who believe in peace, support the UN charter, the World Court and the
rule of law feel they are isolated, powerless and irrelevant.
A resolution was passed in March of 2003 calling for "Unequivocal
Support" to "George Bush" for the war in Iraq. It had the full support
of the Democratic Party leadership. Even Democratic "doves" like
Kucinich would not vote against the resolution. Only a handful (11) of
congressional representatives voted against the motion for "unequivocal
support" to George Bush.
THE ROLE OF THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY
The usefulness of the Democratic Party in its open defense of the
Republican Platform and its attacks on our Constitution and the rule of
law internationally would be of little value to those who favor the
present policies if it led to the development of a mass independent
opposition. The failure of such forces to exist in sufficient strength
permits the Democrats to be more open in their support for
Nevertheless some voices outside the Democratic and Republican Parties
are beginning to be heard. Massive anti-war street demonstrations, and
the voice of a new small party, the Green Party, have gained some
attention and respect. In no case did the Democratic Party as an
institution support, call for, or help mobilize popular forces for peace
and respecting international law. Yet large numbers of its rank and file
and many lower level elected officials against their party participated
and promoted anti-war protests.
Many lower elected officials among the Democrats and even some
Republicans who defend the Constitution of the United States are voting
to oppose the USA Patriot Act at the local level. Even many middle level
Democrats have conflicting views and some time take progressive stances
in concert with the Green Party's platform. These individuals live in a
contradiction with the Party they belong to and while we can and should
join with them behind specific issues we do not adopt their error of
being in a party that is against the interest of the people,
pro-corporate and against the rule of law.
DEMOCRATS ATTACK THE GREEN PARTY
The Democratic Party allows its lower level representatives to present
themselves as opposed to the war. Some of its leaders have begun to take
on an appearance of disagreeing with "how" the policies of Bush are
being implemented. The Democratic Party has unleashed a campaign to
divide and conquer those opposed to the pro-war policies. On one hand it
tries to appear sympathetic to anti-war sentiment while on the other it
tries to silence voices opposed to Bush's policies.
Soon after the 2000 presidential election The Democrats began an attack
on the Green Party on the grounds that since there is no run off system,
that is, since the Democrats in partnership with the Republicans do not
allow free elections, the Green Party's existence and its candidate for
Ralph Nader in 2000 should be declared responsible for George Bush
becoming the president.
This campaign has been heavily promoted by the corporate media. It has
achieved success in part because of the support it has received by the
more liberal wing of the Democratic Party and some of the "progressive"
journals controlled by liberal Democrats such as The Nation, and Mother
PROGRESSIVE DEMOCRATS JOIN ATTACK
Their political message is simple and clear: "no voice truly critical of
the platform of the Republicans may be permitted; only the Democrats
must appear as 'opponents' to the Republicans". They have no objection
to rightist, pro-war third party candidates entering the race and
promoting their views. They only oppose a voice for peace and the rule
of law like that of Ralph Nader in 2000.
Never in the history of the United States has a magazine claiming to
favor democracy run a front page article calling on an individual not to
run for president -- until The Nation did so against Ralph Nader running
for President in 2004. The fact polls show 23% of the people favor Nader
running (extrapolated to the total voting population that represents
about 40 million people) and 65% favored his inclusion in debates is of
no concern to The Nation that seeks to silence the only candidate who in
2000 opposed the premises of George Bush's platform.
THE CONSPIRACY AGAINST THE VOTERS
The Nation's editorial board is free to campaign for the Democratic
Party and urge people to vote for the Democrats in spite of their
support for the Patriot Act, their votes for "Unequivocal support to
George Bush" etc. That is their right. But they want something else.
They want the Greens to join with them in a conspiracy to not allow the
voters a choice.
All voters are fully aware there is no run off in a presidential race.
They understand and many who support the platform of the Greens will
vote against their views by voting for the Democratic Party. The voters
will make that decision. But The Nation along with many others are
calling on the Greens not to allow voters who do not agree with The
Nation's opinion, to vote Democratic, to have a choice and be able to
express their electoral wish. They want to silence their voices, not to
allow it to be registered, as a way to try and force them to vote for
their party, the Democrats.
The passage of the USA Patriot Act, the undemocratic electoral laws, the
manipulation of electoral campaigns by the corporate media and the
campaign to silence the Greens are all part of the same phenomena
against democracy. It is just another example of how the two party
system is set up to repress and silence those who favor democracy.
LESSER EVIL LEADS TO GREATER EVIL
This campaign's effectiveness has penetrated within the Green Party
where a minority supports the concept that the Green Party should not
run in 2004. Behind this view is the concept that politics can be
measured as degrees, like temperature, and that the Democrats offer a
milder and thus lesser evil alternative to the Republican Platform. This
view argues that to support the "lesser evil" weakens the greater evil.
Such a view fails to grasp the essence of the matter. Political dynamics
work exactly the opposite. To silence the voice of the Green Party and
support the Democrats strengthens George Bush and the Republican Party
because only the appearance of forces opposed to the present policies,
forces that are clearly independent of corporate domination can begin to
shift the relationship of forces and the center of political debate.
Despite the intention of some of its promoters, the anti Green Party
campaign helps the policies pursued by Bush as well as his re election
Although some claim that George Bush's policies represent only a small
coterie of neo-conservative extremists, the reality is otherwise. Bush
and his friends serve at the will of the corporate rulers. His standing
with the American people can be crushed in a moment if the corporate
rulers so choose -- just by the power of their media, which today is
concentrated in the hands of a half dozen giant conglomerates.
It is presently in the interests of the corporate effort to pursue a new
colonialism to have Bush re-elected, thereby legitimatizing his
government before the world. In order to safely achieve that, the voices
that truly oppose Bush's policies need to be silenced.
OPPOSITION IS RISING
Opposition is rising against Bush. The massive overwhelming majority of
the world is against Bush's war policies. The resistance to the
occupation in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the inability of the US media
and government to prevent the world from hearing the truth about these
events, is weakening Bush's standing. The corporate interests and their
media apparently want to make a great effort to get Bush elected, but if
this becomes too difficult, the Democratic Party will be prepared to
appear as an "opposition" that will continue the essence of Bush's
policy with new justifications, modifications and adjusted forms.
The only force that could upset the general direction set by the
bipartisan policies voted over the last few years would be a
destabilizing mass development inside the United States along with world
public opinion. This occurred during the war in Vietnam and forced a
reversal of US policy.
In the case of Vietnam the Republicans under Eisenhower initiated the
direct U.S. intervention by sponsoring the Diem regime in the south of
Vietnam when the French withdrew in the mid-1950s. With U.S.
encouragement, his regime refused to abide by the peace accords and hold
talks and elections to reunify the country. The Democrats under Kennedy
sent ground troops in the early 60's. The US force expanded massively
from 16,300 under Kennedy to more than half a million by 1967 under
Lyndon Baines Johnson, Kennedy's vice president, who won re-election in
1964 as the supposed "peace" candidate.
The rise of a massive uncontrollable opposition within the United States
and around the world became a critical brake on the pro-war policies. An
entire generation was starting to deeply question the direction of the
United States in world affairs. The Democrats and Republicans,
reflecting the opinion of the major corporate leaders and strategists,
decided they had no choice but to pull back and concede military defeat
in Vietnam because the developing division in U.S. society threatened to
result in the emergence of a massive independent political force. This
change in policy was carried out under Republican Richard Nixon.
Saving Bush from a backlash is now on the agenda and the positions of
the Democratic Party helps Bush in several ways.
First, they seek to prevent even a small but independent critical
political development, that is they try to silence the Green Party, and
they orient those opposed to the new colonialism to stop demonstrating
and focus instead on the electoral campaigns of their Party.
Second, they seek to convince the people that what was wrong with the
invasion of Iraq was just that the United Nations -meaning the
undemocratic Security Council dominated by the wealthiest countries--
did not lend it political cover, or NATO was not the military form used,
or the US did not include France and Germany in stealing Iraq's
resources, or not enough troops are being used or some other question
about how things are being done rather than what is being done.
They promise that all will be well if the Democrats can take charge and
handle the matter better. With this orientation the Democrats free the
hands of corporate America to give their funding and support to Bush.
With few exceptions of relatively isolated voices they offer, not real
opposition, but only nuances.
And those isolated voices, (Kucinich, Sharpton and Moseley), of
opposition within the Democratic Party, no matter how well-intentioned,
have a negative
consequence: they give legitimacy to the Democrats as "opponents" of the
These exceptions to the general rule are allowed on condition that after
the primary campaigns they urge a vote for the Democratic nominee. This
must be done no matter how different that endorsed candidates positions
are from the positions taken during the primary. The cover for their
political sell out is the winner-take-all system that allows them to
posture as just "opposed to Bush" as they support the very Party that
has supported Bush.
Those are the dues you have to pay to "play" in that game; otherwise
they will be eliminated and driven out of the House, the Senate or a
For the Green Party there is nothing more important or effective long
term and short term in stopping Bush than to expose how the corporate
interests use their two-party system and the role of the Democrats in
that system. We must let all Americans who question the policies of
Bush, who favor the rule of law, peace, and our Constitution and Bill of
Rights see the Democratic Party's hypocrisy, how they support the war
and the Patriot Act.
DEMOCRATS HELP INSTITUTIONALIZE BUSH'S PLATFORM
It is transparent that the Democrats' objective is to help
institutionalize the USA Patriot Act's break with our Constitution and
Bill of Rights, by proposing amendments and adjustments that will
disorient, divide and weaken the opposition to the USA Patriot Act, and
give the appearance public concerns have been corrected.
The Democrats are making interesting suggestions for how to pursue the
war effort. Some are calling for a more extensive commitment and the
sending of more troops to suppress any resistance to US domination in
Iraq and Afghanistan. Others are suggesting more flexibility in forming
alliances with European nations that had made capital investments to
exploit Iraq's oil wealth under the Saddam Hussein dictatorship. These
proposals are all aimed at continuing the denial of self-determination
for the people of Iraq, which means continuing war and continuing
violation of international law.
The Democrats and Republicans both supported Saddam Hussein and the
Baathist in Iraq before 1990 when it served their interests. Now they
argue with each other on how best to oppress the Iraqis as they try to
fool the American people into thinking they are actually trying to bring
the Iraqis democracy and freedom.
The role of these two parties is not a conspiracy. Boxer, Wellstone and
many other Democrats did not vote for the USA Patriot Act consciously
seeking to assist Bush. Being Democrats they become part of a system
that will have them removed if they do not follow the rules of support
when corporate America insists. To rise in the Democratic Party there is
a process that leads to compliant people unable to question, who remain
silent before betrayals, or criminal acts. Cynthia McKinney is an
example of a Democrat who refused to go along, stepped across the line
within the Democratic Party and was driven out of office by the combined
efforts of both the Democratic and Republican parties and the corporate
Voting to abrogate the 4th amendment to the Constitution, which
prohibits searches without probable cause and a judge's order, as the
USA Patriot Act does directly is an illegal act. The Democrats and
Republicans who voted for this law were fully aware of what they were
doing. It is an insult to the intelligence of people like Wellstone and
Boxer not to recognize that they fully understood the choice they were
making. The Green Party differs, it defends the 4th amendment and seeks
to defend the Constitution and respect for the law on how the
Constitution can be amended that requires the consideration and vote of
That is not to say there are many issues where Greens agree with
Democrats like Boxer and Wellstone and even admire positions they have
taken and efforts they have made. But to go into denial, and refuse to
recognize the obvious --that the Democrats have joined in passing and
promoting the USA Patriot Act against the Constitution with the support
of people like
is to deny the true framework we face politically in our nation.
The self purging process of the Democratic Party is an on going balance
between allowing, even welcoming, voices of opposition in order to
co-opt, but not allowing those voices to form a serious challenge,
especially any challenge that favors the development of political
formations not dominated by corporate money.
SUCCESS OF DEMOCRATIC PARTY
The Democratic Party should be seen historically as the most successful
political party in the history of the world in terms of maintaining
stability for rule by the privileged few. There is no other example that
comes near what the Democratic Party has achieved in maintaining the
domination of money over people.
The Democratic Party through trickery co-opted the powerful and massive
rise of the Populist movement at the end of the 19th century precisely
using the same lesser evil arguments now presented against the Green
They blocked the formation of a mass Labor Party when the union movement
rose in the 1930s. They derailed, co-opted and dismantled the powerful
civil rights movement, anti-Vietnam war movement and women's liberation
movement. They have even succeeded in establishing popular myths that
they were once for labor, for civil rights and for peace. Nothing could
be further from the truth.
One quite popular myth is that Franklin Delano Roosevelt was pro labor.
Continuing the policies of Woodrow Wilson who oversaw a reign of
anti-union terror, including black listing and deporting immigrant labor
organizers, FDR's administration sabotaged union drives every step of
the way. When workers overcame their bosses' resistance and began
winning strikes, FDR turned on them and gave the green light for
repression after police killed ten striking steel workers in 1937. As
FDR said himself, "I'm the best friend the profit system ever had."
After WWII Truman used the new Taft Hartley Anti-Labor Act to break
national strikes more than a dozen times.
The Democrats have not abandoned "progressive" positions once held as
some Democrats repeatedly claim but have simply shifted further to the
right as world globalization has advanced leading to the lowering of
democratic rights and the growth of wealth polarization within the
If a massive opposition develops, if the Greens begin to win races and
its following grows, the corporations will put more money behind the
Democrats, the media will become more sympathetic to the Democrats,
promote its more "progressive" voices. The media would also become more
critical of the Republican lack of sensitivity, all in an effort to
maintain the two-party system. That is, a shift towards the Democrats
will occur if the Democrats cannot control the people.
The two-party system is a self-correcting mechanism that shifts back and
forth between the two parties, and within different wings of those
parties, to maintain corporate political control. Loyalty to the
two-party system is inculcated in the educational system, and our
electoral laws are rigged to discriminate against third parties.
GREENS VOICE MUST BE HEARD
Those who call for a "lesser evil", that is, for evil will unfortunately
succeed. The call for a "lesser evil" is what makes possible the greater
evil. Those voices who say Nader should not run, that the Greens should
consider withdrawing, that the Greens should not campaign in states
where the vote is close are, unconsciously, actually helping Bush's
re-election by weakening the development of an opposition political
movement that shifts the balance of forces. Nothing is more important
than the appearance of candidates and mass actions that tell the full
truth, that call for the rule of law, respect for the Bill of Rights,
and speak out for peace and social justice.
There is nothing more threatening to the rule of the corporations than
the consolidation of a party of hundreds of thousands of citizens,
especially young people, that fearlessly tell the truth to the American
people. Only such a movement can in time become millions, then tens of
millions and eventually win. But it is also the best strategy for the
short term, to force a shift away from the direction being pursued
SHORT TERM VERSUS LONG TERM
The idea there is a conflict between the short term and the long term is
a cover for capitulation. It has been the endless argument of the
Democrats against challenges to their policies. When independent
movements appear they call on people to enter the Democratic Party and
work from within. There is no time to go outside the two-party
framework, they argue. This argument was made 100 years ago, 50 years
ago, 25 years ago and, of course remains with us today. Millions have
agreed there's no time to do the right thing. Very powerful groups, like
the AFL CIO, have followed their advice. As a result the number of
workers in unions has dropped from 37% of the work force to 12% as they
politically subordinated themselves to the pro-corporate Democratic
Rather than success, these movements have found the Democratic Party to
be the burial grown for mass movements, and of third party efforts that
sought to defend the interest of the people throughout American history.
If we follow the advice of the "left" Democrats who call on Greens to
return to the Democratic Party, the Green Party will collapse like the
New Party did for fear of confronting the Democrats.
The exact opposite is needed. We need to encourage those Democrats who
are opposing the policies of their party to follow the lead of
Congressman Dan Hamburg and break with the Democrats and join with us in
developing an alternative force, fighting for democracy, social justice
All people who believe in democracy need to call on The Nation and
others to stop their campaign against the Greens, a campaign at the
service of corporate America. Instead they should join with the Greens
in a battle for democracy in the same manner in which many progressive
Democrats in San Francisco rejected their party's nomination for mayor
and joined with the Greens to create a progressive alternative. We need
to suggest to "progressive" Democrats that they should concentrate their
attacks on their leadership's support for George Bush's policies, and
not on the Greens for telling the truth and actually fighting for the
ideals many of these Democrats claim to hold.
THE YEAR 2004
The year 2004 will be a critical year for the Greens. The campaign of
the Democrats will be powerful and to some extent effective. Some will
abandon us but others will be attracted by our courage and our
principled stance. In California the Green registration continues to
rise even as the campaign against the Green Party grows. We may very
well receive a lower vote than in 2000. But if we do not stand up to
this pressure and hold our banner high, fight them and defend our right
to exist, to have our voice heard, to run candidates that expose the
two-party system and the hypocrisy of the Democratic Party and its
complicity with the Republicans, we will suffer the greatest lost of
THE GREEN PARTY
The Green Party can and will win the hearts and minds of people when
they see us as reliable and unshakeable, if we stand our ground. In time
this leads to respect and then support. Those Greens who agree with our
Ten Points but have disagreements with this Avocado Declaration need to
be respected. We need to allow an open and honest debate as an essential
part of our culture.
Truth can only be ascertained through the conflict of ideas. Thus
democracy is essential for society but also for our internal process.
The present discussion around the 2004 elections is one that will not
end but will be with us for a long time. It finds expression in many
forms because it is the most FUNDAMENTAL ISSUE of American politics in
our epoch. Are we willing to stand up to the rule of corporate
domination and its central political agent that has deceived and
betrayed our people, the Democratic Party?
THE GREENS MUST BE A PLURALISTIC ORGANIZATION
The Green Party seeks to bring all those who agree with its Ten Key
points into one unified political party. It welcomes diversity, debate,
and discussion on issues of strategy, tactics and methods of
functioning. A healthy organization that fights for the interest of the
people by its nature will always have all kinds of internal conflicts,
sharp differences, personality difficulties and all other things human.
This is not only normal it is healthy.
The Greens do not consider themselves a substitute for other movements
or organizations, such as peace organizations and other specific issue
groups that seek to unite people of all political persuasions around a
specific platform. We welcome diversity with other groups that seek to
move in the same direction with us but are not agreed to join us. We
will try to work wi th such organizations where common ground exists.
Thus the AVOCADO DECLARATION includes a call for the Greens to accept
diversity, and maintain unity as we seek to build an effective mass
Let those that agree with the AVOCADO DECLARATION help protect and build
the Green Party as a vehicle for democracy, freedom, liberty and justice
JANUARY 1, 2004