by Ann Garrison
KPFA Weekend News broadcast Oct. 22, 2016
Green Party vice presidential candidate Ajamu Baraka, Stein-Baraka campaign manager David Cobb and Jill Stein surrogate YahNé Ndgo were in Downtown Berkeley on Saturday, Oct. 22, for a rally at the Berkeley City Club. Before it began, I spoke with Stein-Baraka campaign manager David Cobb, for KPFA.
KPFA/Ann Garrison: David Cobb, most KPFA listeners are already familiar with Jill’s platform now, with the Green New Deal, the peace offensive and the idea that “We don’t need no friggin’ wall; we just need to stop invading other countries.” But what they may not understand is the significance of the 5 percent goal, the goal of getting 5 percent nationally in this election. Can you explain that?
David Cobb: Yes, Ann. First we have to understand that, if the Green Party receives 5 percent of the overall vote nationally, we will qualify for a minimum of $10 million for matching funds for the next election cycle. The Stein-Baraka campaign will finish this campaign probably raising something between four to five million dollars.
If the Green Party receives 5 percent of the overall vote nationally, we will qualify for a minimum of $10 million for matching funds for the next election cycle.
So imagine starting a campaign with more money than we raised during this entire election cycle. That’s what we’re talking about. And it’s not just about the money.
It’s also about the apparatus and institution building, because we are running a campaign to guarantee being on the ballot in the next election cycle. Each state has different ballot access laws, but we are focusing our effort, focusing our energy, focusing our candidate time on those states where we can maintain ballot access. So the point I’m making is that the Green Party strategy is about building an apparatus for the future.
We’re not merely a protest vote; we’re a movement vote. We are preparing to take and exercise state power. We know that this struggle must be protracted; this cannot happen in just one election cycle.
Pacifica listeners know very well, and I’ll say it out loud, that a political revolution is absolutely necessary in this country, but a political revolution cannot be run, r-u-n, in just one election cycle. And a political revolution cannot be won, w-o-n, by any one candidate or two candidates, no matter how good she or they are.
A real political revolution requires sustained effort over time, an understanding of how power operates, an understanding of the historic moment that we’re in, an understanding of a shared political analysis around race and gender and class and sexual orientation, and understanding of social, political and economic institutions.
We’re not merely a protest vote; we’re a movement vote. The Green Party is a party of activists. The Green Party is a party of social change.
You see, the Green Party is a serious, credible revolutionary force, and I’m inviting Pacifica listeners to think about the Green Party differently than they may have before this campaign.
KPFA: As a bunch of tree huggers.
KPFA: I mean like a lot of people.
DC: Ann, there’s worse things to hug than trees!
KPFA: Good point. Like maybe Wall Street and the military industrial complex. But I want to know – the $10 million – would it go into the party’s infrastructure?
DC: That money would be available for the candidate and the party, for the party’s convention and for the party’s nominee. So there are multiple ways the party would be able to leverage that 5 percent and we would be able to leverage it.
KPFA: A lot of the complaints about the Green Party are that it doesn’t spend enough time and money on its local infrastructure, on local party building, local elections, that it just runs a candidate for president every four years.
DC: Well, let’s first actually dispel that myth. The reality is that there are approximately 400,000 registered Greens and Green Party members across this country. The second thing is that there have been thousands, literally thousands, of Green Party local candidates in the last eight years.
There have been thousands, literally thousands, of Green Party local candidates in the last eight years. The Greens have elected hundreds of people to office at the local level, and Greens win about 34 percent of the time that we run in local elections.
The Greens have elected hundreds of people to office at the local level, and Greens win about 34 percent of the time that we run in local elections. So please do not allow Pacifica to repeat a myth that the corporate media creates.
The Green Party is actually very involved in local elections, and Greens are very involved in multiple movements for peace, justice, democracy and ecology across this country. The problem has been that Greens have not been seen being Green, but Greens are usually on the front lines of most of the social justice and social change efforts in this country.
KPFA: Yeah, as YahNé Ndgo said at Davis today, the Green Party is a party of activists.
DC: There’s no doubt. The Green Party is a party of social change.
Oakland writer Ann Garrison writes for the San Francisco Bay View, Black Agenda Report, Black Star News, Counterpunch and her own website, Ann Garrison, and produces for AfrobeatRadio on WBAI-NYC, KPFA Evening News, KPFA Flashpoints and for her own YouTube Channel, AnnieGetYourGang. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. In March 2014 she was awarded the Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza Democracy and Peace Prize for promoting peace in the Great Lakes Region of Africa through her reporting.