Thursday, October 23, 2003

No compromise. 

I attended a so-called progressive forum in New Orleans last night, sponsored by a peace group, CCC, that I had been involved with on occasion. Last night I was glad I wasn't associated with the group any longer, because it seemed like idiots with their eyes closed structered this so-called forum.

It was top-heavy, with a panel of, can't call them experts, with one exception, and the audience relegated to a mostly passive participation, except for the question and answer session.

There was one representative of the Democratic party, a Dean supporter, who idiotically spoke negatively about hillbillies and Texas, alluding to our current president. However, as someone shouted "what's wrong with Texas", and I said, "what's wrong with hillbillies", its not about a certain state or a sub-group of people. Obviously, it was a poor choice of words on his part. It didn't help that he went on to talk down certain candidates. Someone called it "gossiping", which hit the nail on the head.

God, I came away depressed at the state of far left politics in this country. The panelist representing the new Black Panther Party, dressed like a general with a silver panther dangling around his neck, very intimidating presence. In his opening remarks there was much assailing against the white race, and I can agree with most of what he said. Also, he was at least willing to step out of the norm of his party to create alliances with the democratic party people in New Orleans, in an "anyone but Bush" attitude.

The green party panelist was depressingly familiar in his rhetoric that we should "vote our conscience", or "vote our principals". I'm supporting my principals in Dennis Kucinich, though I nearly lost faith in him recently. I came to realize it doesn't matter wether Kucinich wins. He is changing the face of electoral politics with his emphasis on certain issues, such as opposition to war, NAFTA, WTO, Universal Health Insurance (with the only workable plan, in my opinion), the bloated Pentagon budget, etc.

It is all about being like Kucinich, isn't it? Working hard for your beliefs, and not giving up.

I told the green party member that I felt a great deal more hope when Clinton was president, and Gore was running. I don't see where the green party accomplished one little shit by running the ego-inflated Nader as their candidate.

Then there were two African-American activists in the audience who spoke on the state of the black community in New Orleans. We all know, it ain't good, but then they went on to condone and justify the possibility of violent resistance and revolution. I confronted the younger one after the forum, questioning his support of violence as a means of change. At first he denied his support of violence. "You didn't hear me," he said. "Revolution begins in the mind". When I pressed him, he seemed to defend his support of violence as a means of defense against the white oppressors. I am white, by the way.

"You mean to tell me," he said, "that if I would punch you in the face, that you would not strike me back?"

"First of all, " I said, "you would probably knock me out, if you punched me. Secondly..." and here, I got real with him, "I've had two young black men, on two different occasions, point guns at me and demand my money. One night, a young black male smashed a bottle over my companion's head as we innocently walked down the street, in the Fauberg Marigny. As a result of these events, I have never wanted to own a weapon, or exact any kind of revenge.

"If you had a weapon on you, wouldn't you have used it?" he asked.

"I would never own a weapon," I said. He brushed me off then, as he had tried to talk over me the entire time I addressed him. Very angry, passionate, and mis-directed.

Professor John Clark of Loyola University spoke last night; brilliant in politics and philosophy. He said the green party made a terrible mistake when it got into electoral politics, rather than focusing on creating alternative "institutions", so that the hearts and minds of people can be influenced from the bottom up. Clark has land in Mississippi where he is creating an alternative, bio-diverse farm. He is walking the talk.

I did disagree with Clark that we should ignore electoral politics and focus on creating alternatives. I think we can do both. I believe we have to do both. If we lose this election, we will be saying good-by to civilization as we know it.