WHEN THE CENTER CANNOT HOLD

7 03 2015

A couple of weeks ago, I was commenting in a discussion thread on Facebook that had started with a local, politically active friend bemoaning the abysmally low turnout in the last election.  Here in Tennessee, only 29.1 percent of the electorate bothered to show up at the polls, the second lowest turnout in the country.  This enabled the sixteen percent of Tennessee voters who actually support banning abortion and income taxes, and who approve of the mean-spirited program of the Republican Party, to feel as if they had swept like a mighty tide over the state.

Well, I pointed out, the Democrat Party hasn’t really put up much of a fight.  Their leadership is inextricably tied to the national DP leadership, which is, truth be told, “progressive” only in its rhetoric, and then only when it needs to attempt to motivate “progressives” to vote for Democrats.  The progressive rhetoric, which is never truly radical, certainly not anti-corporate, and absolutely never questions capitalism, is quickly cast aside once the election’s over, and, if they win, the Dems go back to being the same old imperialist, corporatist, center-right party they’ve always been.  So, I said to the folks in the thread, why don’t all you progressives come over to the Green Party?

stein_chanceResponse? He was shocked, absolutely shocked.  “When Greens run, Democrats lose,” wrote my friend.  Another commenter chimed in, “Nader cost Gore the 2000 election.  Look what that got us.”

It was late at night, I was feeling ill, and I was short on temper and brains. “You guys have drunk too much Democrat kool-aid,” I fumed, and quit the group in disgust.  It didn’t take me long to regret my grumpiness and haste, but they declined to let me back in the group. I had had a chance to unmask some of my friends’ illusions, and I had blown it.  What I am telling you today is for my own benefit as well as for the benefit of the many people who would have echoed their words, reminding me to be patient with those who have fallen for the Big Lie about Nader, and the many other big lies that, er, underlie our sociopolitical fabric. Read the rest of this entry »





SHAFTED IN THE SHADOWS

13 09 2005

Something is rotten in the state of Georgia. The state legislature recently passed a highly restrictive voter registration act, in an atmosphere so polarized that the legislative black caucus walked out in protest. Since Georgia is still on probation, in a manner of speaking, for its discriminatory policies in the past, an appeal was made to the federal government, which has the authority under the voting rights act to strike down laws deemed too restrictive. Alberto Gonzalez and his so-called Justice Department declined to do so, although during the Clinton years, the Justice Department had struck down less restrictive laws in other states.

What this law does, is mandate that voters have one of five forms of photo ID in order to vote. While one of these forms is a driver’s license, many poor people, as we just discovered in New Orleans, don’t own cars, and so have to get a special ID issued at one of only 56 centers in the state. There is no such center, for example, in the City of Atlanta proper, only in the wealthy, mostly white suburbs around it.

Defenders of the Georgia rule have pointed out that Mexico, a third world country, requires a photo ID to vote, but they are ignoring the fact that Mexico makes it much easier to get a photo ID. They are also ignoring how well known it is that photo IDs have not made Mexican elections any more honest—although the bill’s proponents were forced to admit that there was no reason to believe that Georgia elections are NOT honest because they don’t have stringent ID requirements.

On the other hand, any bunch of voters dumb enough to believe a chicken hawk who impugns Max Cleland’s patriotism probably don’t give a hoot about the details. They just want to keep the nigras from voting and taking over.

A case in point is Brunswick, Georgia, where former Black Panther Chairwoman Elaine Brown is running for mayor on the Green Party ticket. A lot is at stake. The city is a seaport, with a lot of money coming in, or at least going through, especially now that the Port of New Orleans is shut down for the immediate future, and, like Hugo Chavez in Venezuela, Ms. Brown would like to see more of that money go to help people who need help, rather than accrue in the bank accounts of the already wealthy, as it tends to do in this country.

Furthermore, the white folks who run Brunswick (Ms. Brown’s opponent is a member of the Sons of the Confederacy—I didn’t know such foolishness still existed), have concocted an Urban Removal, excuse me, Renewal project that will gentrify the poor, predominantly black part of town, using the kind of power of eminent domain the Supreme Court recently approved, in the name of improving the business climate—and disrupting the possibility of a black political power base in the town.

The County Commission in Glynn County, where Brunswick is located, is predominantly white and what we call conservative in this country, though they are not interested in conserving the things I think need to be conserved—but I digress. They have decided to have a special election to try and pass new taxes on the same day as the mayoral election, but guess what—county election polling places are not in the same locations as city election polling places, so people will have to go to two different places to vote. Divide and conquer, eh?

Ms. Brown has called for freedom rides and other forms of massive public protest over the way her candidacy is being jacked around by the power structure. I’m unable to break loose from what I’m doing to go help out, and I’m not sure how much concrete response her request has generated, but I know a shaft when I see one, and she and all the poor, black people in Georgia are getting it.

Comments

Today is the day after the election and the PEOPLE of Brunswick, GA have spoken. After months of words, campaigning, legal actions, court room drama, death threats, marches in the streets, heated exchanges, 5 day 24 hour candle prayer vigil and yes even violence; the citizens of the City Of Brunswick finally got the chance to voice their opinion and their feelings toward Elaine Brown by exercising their right to vote and loudly saying NO to Elaine Brown as Mayor of Brunswick. After the polls closed and the votes were counted, Bryan Thompson won the Mayoral seat with 63.84%. Otis Herrington, the only other black Mayoral Candidate besides Elaine Brown received 17.15% of the votes. Out of the over 16,000 residents that live in the City Of Brunswick, Elaine Brown received almost 1.5%. What that tells me is 98.5% of the residents said NO to Elaine Brown as their Mayor. Elaine Brown has already told the press that she will contest the election. To me, when Elaine Brown continues to claim she is the People’s Mayor, maybe one day she will realize that 98.5% of the people spoke, NO SHOUTED, that they do not want her as their Mayor. But Elaine Brown does have a right to continue filing complaint after complaint in court and by the looks of things this legal battle may go on for months if not years.
Posted by Brunswick Voter on 11/09/2005 09:27:18 PM

Response:  Somehow, this note slipped past my attention back when I made the post, but let’s look at the numbers and what they mean.  Sure, Confederate Party candidate Brian Thompson received 64% of the 1900 votes that were cast,  which means he is governing the town with the overt approval of more or less 1200 citizens of Brunswick.

However, there are over 15,000 people living in Brunswick, an estimated 70% of them old enough to vote.  That’s a voter pool of around 10,000 people, so Thompson’s 1200 votes hardly mean that “98.5% of the residents said NO to Elaine Brown.”  This vote means that about 12% of the (potential) voters said no to Elaine Brown.

Now, in a city that’s 60% black, howcome so many people of colour didn’t vote when not one, but two of their own were running?  Elaine Brown’s name had been removed from the ballot and the story is that poll officials were not being helpful about write in votes.

Notice that the larger part of this story is Georgia’s efforts to restrict minority voting, approval of which has since been proven to be political chicanery on the part of the Justice Department.  That’s what the US Attorney firing scandal was about.  Moreover, “Plan Brunswick” appears to be similar to the unannounced “plan New Orleans” which has cut down on the black majority in that city.

So, “Brunswick Voter” has cherry-picked the facts to make his case.  Hey, the town’s gonna be under water in the blink of a geological eye, anyway.  Let the honkies stay there and get soaked.

On the other hand, Elaine Brown has recently quit the Green Party amidst a cloud of charges and countercharges that I can’t judge.  Like Cynthia McKinney, a person Ms. Brown does not like, she is accused of being excessively combative and thin skinned.  She says her detractors are racist and sexist, although how that  fits in with their support for Ms. McKinney is a bit fuzzy to me.  I expect it will all be clearer in a few years….








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