Dave Chandler: ‘A little blue about leaving the Green Party’

From an opinion piece by Dave Chandler in the Colorado Statesman. Excerpt:

I’m not writing here a lofty essay explaining some deep, consequential philosophical divergence from the Green Party of Colorado.

For those captivated by politics, it is probably rather seldom that a person experiences a major ideological crisis and leaves their party. Partings, I suspect, usually happen for much more mundane reasons.

In my case, I still find attractive and persuasive the ideas and goals of the Green Party’s ‘Ten Key Values.’ I am also very committed to the belief that the current political and governmental structures in this country have been irredeemably corrupted by corporate and other special interest money. I, therefore, still believe that it may take an effective and dedicated third party — with strong adherence to rejecting ‘big money’ — to reform and re-democratize our Republic.

However, as has been the case with many third parties in the past in the United States, finding the resources and tenacity to continue fighting the “two party system” is very difficult and discouraging most of the time.

Without an overarching great issue, like the Iraq war debate in 2002, a third party tends to lose the volunteer energy that allows it to grow or even to survive.

That is what has happened, in my analysis, to both the Green Party of the United States and the Green Party of Colorado (GPCO). Without the urgency of the war and peace issue, these organizations seemed to have lost their direction. In Colorado, the core group of activists has shrunk to about fifteen individuals, and local chapters continue to drift away.

As often occurs in groups or clubs in decline, in-fighting and turf battles actually increase as the pressure and strain to find a way to survive intensifies. This is what is going on right now in the Green Party of Colorado.

Continue reading…..

11 thoughts on “Dave Chandler: ‘A little blue about leaving the Green Party’

  1. Kimberly Wilder

    David Chandler was never that green, anyway. I am not even a Green Party member anymore, but I think the party is better off without him (and he has been hurting it by being in it for awhile, anyway.)

    Here is a letter I wrote to a green friend way back in August 2008:

    QUOTE from letter I wrote: Finally…and on a whole different line of reasoning…

    Dave Chandler is a Co-Chair of Colorado. I knew something was fishy the other day, when I went to a blog of Dave’s linked to the Colorado web-site, and saw him label progressives “the loony left.” He is doing this to support a horrible breach of civil liberties, where police can impound cars on the spot.

    It gets worse…now Dave has a horrible post about why he will not support Cynthia McKinney. And, it is on his blog that comes straight off the Colorado site.

    I am starting to think that the Colorado Green Party doesn’t really have any green values…

    TWO POSTS from Dave Chandler’s blog:

    August 17, 2008
    A Colorado Green Says ‘No’ to McKinney

    I am the co-chair of the Green Party of Colorado, but I am not supporting Cynthia McKinney for President.

    Colorado Green Party candidates this year are exceptional and I support them whole heartily: Bob Kinsey for U.S. Senate; Art Goodtimes for San Miguel County Commissioner; Scott Zulauf for Jefferson County Commissioner; Jerry Lacy for Custer County Commissioner; Joe Calhoun for Congress-CD 2; and Tony D’Lallo for State House District 34.

    There have been internal Green Party controversies involving the Green Party of Colorado and the McKinney presidential campaign that have raised very serious concerns for me — structurally the McKinney campaign is disorganized, uncommunicative, and there have been incidents of a dismissive attitude towards state and local Green Party groups. These failings in operation are seriously at odds with the Ten Key Values that make the Green Party distinctively different from the major political parties.

    There are more importantly real issue oriented reasons why I believe the nomination of McKinney and her vice presidential pick, Rosa Clemente, was a mistake by the national convention of the Green Party of the United States.

    In politics and running for office, one cannot stop other groups or organizations from expressing support or opposition to your candidacy or cause. In this Republic where free speech is enshrined as our first freedom in the Bill of Rights, people and groups have a right to say what they think and believe. However, one also has the right to choose with whom one decides to associate.

    The Cynthia McKinney campaign cannot stop the Workers International League from endorsing her … but McKinney has decided to embrace that recommendation and publish it on her web site. This is also true of the Workers World Party.

    Here are the links:

    Workers International League: “your candidacy is the best choice for working people”

    WorkersWorld: Cynthia is a Militant Voice for Peace

    This is plainly and simply unacceptable to me.

    I believe that there are indeed politically and socially disaffected and alienated Americans who should be reached out to and encouraged to participate in our democratic process — the two afore mentioned groups, however, are not part of the ‘oppressed’ or ‘forgotten’.

    My goal has always been that the Green Party could become in time a major principled, progressive mainstream political party in the United States of America. The commitment of Greens to a more inclusive democracy, to a broader, pluralistic Republic, to politics free from the taint of big special interest money makes the Green Party uniquely different from the Democrats. The Green Party’s commitment to non-violence and rejection of militarism and nationalism as an organizing principle for the country makes us radically preferable to the Republicans.

    Cynthia McKinney and Rosa Clemente, however, appear to be moving the Green Party I believe in, in a very different direction. To put in glibly, but honestly — I don’t know what a ‘hip hop’ political party is.

    Furthermore, even passing references to violent revolution are anathema to me. This is NOT Green, it is uncivil, and for a vice presidential candidate, Ms. Clemente does not seem to know the difference between radical, reactionary, and being gratuitously inflammatory (end of video):

    I have not decided for whom I will vote for President of the United States in November 2008. I will certainly post that here when I decide. For now, however, I can state that I reject the McKinney-Clemente candidacy.

    Dave Chandler
    Co-Chair
    Green Party of Colorado

    Posted on August 17, 2008 at 11:47 AM | Permalink | Comments (3) – END QUOTE from the letter I wrote – KW

  2. Dameocrat

    uhm so far as I know the Iraq war isn’t over yet, and the bailouts and the insurance industry welfare bill are hardly small issues. He sounds like a right wing plant, that is to quit the green when the greens are actually gaining members.

  3. paulie Post author

    uhm so far as I know the Iraq war isn’t over yet, and the bailouts and the insurance industry welfare bill are hardly small issues.

    Yeah, no kidding! It takes a strange kind of “independent” to think that the war, domestic espionage, torture, massive corporate welfare ripoffs, militarization of civilian law enforcement, etc, etc, no longer matter just because a Democrat is in charge.

  4. paulie Post author

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  5. Dave Chandler

    Just some observations.

    Kimberly Wilder’s post illustrates exactly why the Green Party in Colorado (and probably nationally) is falling apart. As the activist core gets smaller and smaller, the demands for ideological purity get louder and louder.

    I cannot think of a single Colorado Green leader who supported Cynthia McKinney. (Her campaign was totally disrespectful and insulting to the Denver Greens during the Democratic National Convention — that caused the disaffection.) The McKinney ‘campaign’ was an absolute disaster for the GPUS … in large part because she took the party deep into “loony left” territory. If Greens are going to become knee-jerk lefty reactionaries, then it will cease to have any credibility with the vast majority of genuine mainstream progressives in this country.

    The uniqueness of the Green Party embodied in the Ten Key Values is that it could have been a real mainstream progressive alternative to the Democrats and “wine and cheese liberals.” For instance, decentralization and community economics are not Democrat or Republican values, that principle gave Greens a different kind of political character.

    As I noted in my article, however, I didn’t leave the Colorado Greens because of ideology … I left because the infighting and the turf battles among the remaining fifteen activists made the effectiveness of the party meaningless. There comes a time to change course and find a different way to make a difference. My time came as far as the Green Party was concerned.

    By the way, in the whole state of Colorado there will be a maximum of four, yes four, Green Party candidates for office this year … that’s it.

    Finally, I might note that in Colorado, registered Green Party numbers are shrinking. A look at the voter rolls shows almost 2,500 registered Greens as ‘inactive’, that means they will be purged from the lists this fall. So, there are only about 4,000 voting registered Greens in this state.

  6. Lou Novak

    Oh, c’mon Dave, you criticize McKinney for accepting endorsements from others and then you throw accusations of ‘idealogical purity’? Give me a break.

    All political parties are losing registered members. It should come as no surprise that the Green Party is doing so too.

  7. Just the tip of the ice berg .......... Lake

    As disfunctional as the Libs *personal experience* and the Greens *personal experience* have been on the west coast in the past decade, they have imploded less than average.

    In an era where Democans and Republicrats and all other non ‘decline to state’ groups have designagrated, the LP and the GP, inspite of WAR and Patricia LaMarshe, have had less of an erosion than others.

    The death knell:

    [a] reform movement [Long Beach] 2000

    [b] National Law Party [April 1] 2004

    [c] Constitution Party 2008

    and the misguided ‘god and country’ effort of the Veterans Party [2003 to 2005] and the American Reform Party [1998 to 2001]!

    Ah, the urge, the longing, the need for non Democan and non Republicrat representation!

    Ah, the potential of the large and growing ‘Decline to state’ aggregate ………

  8. Pingback: The White Nationalism of the Colorado Greens (2008) – Siglo de Lucha

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