Thursday, May 11, 2006

Perhaps the PDA should grow some backbone itself

The Progressive Democrats of America (PDA) has quite a following within the peace movement. However, I am critical of their hostility to supporting progressive anti-war third-party candidates in the general election cycle.

Here is my recent letter to them:

I believe Kevin has this right. PDA's unwillingness to support independent or third party anti-war candidates against a more corporate/"middle-of-the-road" Democrat in the general election in many ways effectively makes them a tool of the status quo. I admire many involved with PDA, but I think they need to realize the political terrain underneath them is shifting.

I asked a couple of them two weeks ago if they would endorse the candidacy of a friend of mine who is vehemently anti-war and calling for Bush's impeachment. They replied no, as this person is running a a Republican. Never mind that she's running as a Republican in an open primary against the incredibly corrupt Roy Blunt. So there you have it. Should we continue to pursue the path of partisanship in our loathing of Bush, or should the political discourse widen and become more inclusive when the anti-war movement goes to the polls?

I could make the argument that party labels mean less and less these days. You have "progressive" Kwesi Mfume saying that it will probably be OK to bomb Iran, you still have many Dems supporting the Patriot Act and continually funding the war with billions and billions and billions of taxpayer dollars. The Democrats are tightly married to corporations. The Democrats are often scared of their own shadow, despite the growing support for the anti-war movement. However, they are great at giving tepid lip service and going on about how Bush bungled the whole affair.

The Democrats also tend to take minorities and gays for granted. But how many of them really support gay marriage? How many of them are really trying to stop gentrification? Look at the orgies between the elected Democrats and developers right here in D.C.!

The PDA has consistently called on their party leadership to grow some backbone, and it hasn't -- just more meaningless lip service. So maybe PDA now needs to do the most courageous thing itself and leave the party. Again, I do not mean to disrespect people who have worked very hard on this cause, I simply want to intensify this important discussion.


Anonymous said...

backbone? You mean cluelessness about the real political strategy?

What has any third party movement done? Here is a response from one PDA activist to this letter that was found on the blogs:

PeteinDC said...

Third parties are here to stay. They have helped shape and direct political discourse several times during the history of this nation.

I am proud to be Green and will remain a Green. But I politely responded on that blog. It was a well crafted essay, but it didn't get at the heart of why millions of progressives choose not to vote in general elections.

Believe me, I won't be surprised if the Democrats still don't regain some control via the mid-term elections.

I am simply asking progressives to read the 10 key values of the Green Party. Change does not happen over night. But we are foolish if we really think the PDA will reshape the corporatist DNC.