Asher Platts Warned Us About Bernie Sanders

Our guest writer is Asher Platts, long time Green Party activist from Maine. Here he describes the very real dangers of of following a Democratic Party "sheepdog" who sounds good but later recants to urge voting blindly for democrats because "this election is just too important."  It is amazing to me how the democrats use this sheep herder strategy successfully over and over again: Jesse Jackson, Kerry, Obama, Kucinich, Cuomo, Grayson, Van Jones, Warren, Sanders, Clinton twice, etc.

So, I made it abundantly clear that I opposed any leftists or progressives supporting the Sanders campaign early on.

Why?

Because I knew then, that this was exactly how it would end. I said at the outset, that we needed to spend our time building the Green Party into a stronger more functional organization, so that when Bernie endorses Hillary, and his supporters are flummoxed and don't know what to do, we can offer them an option at the ballot box in all 50 states. We could offer them a functional political party and they could just snap into place within the organization we built.

But a lot of people went into the Democratic Party, and they got "Berned" by the DNC. And Greens had a hell of a time getting on the ballot in Maine as a result. The Greens, already, weak, became even weaker.

And now what? Ballot access deadlines for State Legislature were over in March, so we're not going to run any ex-Bernie supporters as Greens this cycle. The Maine Greens are at a point where they basically need to be rebuilt from scratch.

This is exactly what I was afraid would happen.

How did I know this was how it would all end? I am not a psychic. I knew Bernie was going to endorse Clinton, somebody who opposes everything he stands for, from the outset, because I understand the players, and I understand the chess game being played.

And now I'm vindicated. Bernie supporters wasted a bunch of money and resources thinking they were building the revolution, but they got tricked into building the Democratic Party, a party of War and Wall Street.

I don't feel good about being vindicated. I wish that people would have just listened instead. But I understand too, that people have to learn the hard way, through lived experiences.

Many still won't learn this political lesson, and will back Clinton, despite her being opposed to everything Bernie stands for. And so the logic of lesser evilism shifts the national politic rightward once more, giving rise to the next Trump, who will be even worse than this one.

Others will not back Clinton, but will fall for the sheepdogging tactic of the next progressive luminary in the DNC the next time, which will prevent the independent left from being able to mount the sort of campaign necessary to make an impact. And so the the status quo of wars and Wall Street remains the same.

For those of us who will never vote for a Wall Street War Hawk, nor a racist billionaire, the only option we have that will be on the ballot everywhere in Maine is Jill Stein. The Maine Green Party is incredibly weak right now, so there's basically no ground campaign for her.

Better get scrambling. Only a few months until this political moment is totally over. We can either surge forward now and go hard against lesser evilism, or we can do nothing and sink into national despair as the political center marches ever faster to the right.

Asher Platts also said in a later comment:

The point I'm actually trying to make: When Greens leave the party to support Democrats, it weakens the Green Party. Greens should not have supported Bernie Sanders, they should have been putting the work in to build the Green Party.

It is objectively the case that the Maine Greens are weak now. The Maine Greens fielded 16 candidates for state legislature in 2014, 14 got on the ballot, including myself. We did not endorse a candidate for Governor, and chose to focus our efforts on electing our state legislative candidates. This election cycle, only 1 candidate for state legislature made it on the ballot. Thankfully, Jill Stein will also be on the ballot. That is thanks only to automatic ballot access.

Jill Stein's politics are solidly Green. The correct move forward here for the Green Party over every state is to put their shoulder in to her campaign, because they will win people to the party on a solid basis. But also to think seriously about what it actually means to be a political party, and why the logic of lesser evilism leads to greater and greater evils. Why we must be politically independent, and not tail the Democrats. Why we must not fall prey to the political sin of opportunism, where for some short term gain, we cost ourselves greatly down the road.”

References:

1-Don’t Let These People or Organizations Fool You

2-Grayson, Kucinich, Warren, and the Road to Hell 

3-Third Party Cooperation with Democrats 

4-Gary Swing on Bernie Sanders 

5-Kim Swift on Bernie Sanders 

6-Safe States, Inside-Outside, and Other Liberal Illusions

7-Cautionary Tales  

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Showing 18 reactions


commented 2016-07-20 09:10:17 -0400 · Flag
I was actually ready to be done, but since you seem to have missed the point of any of my posts, I will give you one more chance to hear what I am trying to say. You seem to think that I somehow support the democrats so you must have missed the part where I said that the only democratic presidential candidate I have ever voted for was George McGovern in 1972. I have been voting no ever since. For the last forty years, regardless of which party has held sway, we have had a widening income gap and endless war. I get that. I have voted for everyone from Jesse Jackson to Pat Paulson to whoever was running on the socialist workers party ticket in Wisconsin. I have voted green for president every time since Nader/LaDuke in 2000. No way could I ever have supported Obama. Although I admire him as a human being and was hoping he would actually manage to close guantanamo bay, he is way too much of a hawk for me. I believe that the fatal flaw in his campaign was that people saw his election as the end game and neither gave him the support he needed nor pushed him enough after he was elected, but felt their work was done. On the other hand, I have the deepest respect for progressives who have the patience to work on reforms from within the democratic party. Folks like Keith Ellison and Russ Feingold amaze me with their dedication and ability to maintain a positive attitude in the face of such adversity. I am totally willing to stand with them. My link to Bernie’s speech was not about “glorifying Bernie”, it was about listening to him in his own words instead of what the pundits who don’t get it are saying about him.
None of this is about Bernie. It is about building a movement and Bernie’s campaign has done more to mobilize people than the Mobilization of 1968 at the democratic convention in Chicago. I was there with SDS and the Chicago Seven in the streets. Apparently Bernie was too. Bernie had the stamina to hang in when I got burned out and joined the back to the land movement in 1971. (Another movement that is growing again, I am happy to say.) My perspective is that it doesn’t really matter who is POTUS until we have a real grass roots movement and the time is ripe for that. November is not the end game, it’s the beginning. What this election cycle has done is expose the underbelly of the democratic party and bring many thousands of activists into the process. I have many friends who call themselves progressives who are totally pissed at me for voting for Nader and for being clear about choosing Stein over Clinton. They are totally pissed at Nader as well. If Bernie had not followed through on his plan to stick with the “anybody but trump” campaign, the negative fallout could easily have wiped out all of the momentum of this movement by pissing off too many people. The mainstream media would have crucified him and many thousands of excited supporters would have turned away in disgust, especially if trump actually wins.
I am not good at lawyerly arguments like the ones you have outlined in your post. I would be the last person chosen for the debate team. But I do have a lot of experience as a grass roots organizer and I believe that the way to build a movement is by looking for common ground and building on that, not picking things apart over the details. Thousands of Bernie’s supporters have heeded his call to take out papers and run for local office. This is a huge opportunity for the green party to grow at the grass roots level.

You can think whatever you want. I only share all of this because I have been a fairly loyal green supporter for 20 years but after reading your negative posts I will be registering as an “Independent” when I get down to city hall next and I will be giving you and yours a wide berth. Presumably you want to build a movement. So do I. Too bad we won’t be working together. I only offer this as food for thought. Quite ready to agree to disagree.
commented 2016-07-19 18:11:27 -0400 · Flag
Phyllis Reames, I am not perfect and in fact worked very hard for Obama in 2008. Nonetheless repeated failure to recognize how bad the democrats are leaves us in a very bad situation. Bernie supporters should of course be welcomed into the Green Party unless they still blindly worship him and the Democratic Party. You seem to be begging for a response so I will try to explain where the NPA is coming from.

“My old neighborhood in Minneapolis is represented by Keith Ellison, the only muslim on the hill and a registered democrat. He was a big player along with Bill McKibben in getting the democratic platform to the progressive place it is."

Bill McKibben campaigned hard for Obama in 2012 with nary a mention of the XL Pipeline. As a result Obama sat on it until it failed economically. At least Cornel West has endorsed Jill Stein. Unconditional support of democrats has not served environmentalists well.

“He was a big player along with Bill McKibben in getting the democratic platform to the progressive place it is.”

Surely you jest. Firstly the platform for both major parties means nothing.

The Democratic Party voted for the following in its 2016 platform.
• Against an immediate 15.00 minimum wage
• Against expanding solar power
• Against an amendment banning fracking
• Pro TPP
• pro Israeli war crimes against Palestinians
• Against a carbon emission tax
• Against pension protection to keep them from being cut
• Against an amendment blocking energy companies from using eminent domain for fossil fuel extraction
• Against an amendment to make climate change a test for building a future Keystone pipelines
• Against an amendment for a single payer healthcare system
• Against an amendment to make healthcare a right
• Against an amendment eliminating the use of any force in the Syrian conflict
• Against an amendment calling for the end of U.S. exportation of fracking to foreign nations

Take the minimum wage. They voted down an immediate 15.00 minimum wage but said we should do it someday indefinitely in the future. This makes it like the republican platform in insuring it will never happen. They may have since changed to support the carbon tax, but Hilary says she is opposed to this simple easy measure which discourages those in Washington state who are fighting for a carbon tax. See 732 – http://www.yeson732.org/ Most shameful of all is refusing to block the TPP which sells out US sovereignty, environmental interests, and our economy.

“I changed my registration to democrat to caucus for Kucinich and for Sanders.”

Yes, Kucinich who singlehandedly destroyed the public option when pressed by Obama.

Looking at the democratic party in depth, here are 16 areas with over 8,800 references documenting just how bad they are.
Civil Rights – http://www.newprogs.org/civil_rights_under_the_democratic_republican_uniparty
Corporate Overreach – http://www.newprogs.org/corporate_overreach
The Economy – http://www.newprogs.org/economics_under_the_democratic_republican_uniparty
Economic Graphs and Videos – http://www.newprogs.org/economic_graphs
Education – http://www.newprogs.org/education_under_the_democratic_republican_uniparty
Election Reform Is Needed – http://www.newprogs.org/election_reform_is_needed
The Environment – http://www.newprogs.org/the_environment_under_the_democratic_republican_uniparty
Healthcare – http://www.newprogs.org/healthcare_under_the_democratic_republican_uniparty
Our Crumbling Infrastructure – http://www.newprogs.org/our_crumbling_infrastructure
Labor – http://www.newprogs.org/labor_under_the_democratic_republican_uniparty
Poverty is Getting Worse – http://www.newprogs.org/poverty_is_getting_worse
The Powerless Press – http://www.newprogs.org/the_powerless_press
Diminishing Transparency – http://www.newprogs.org/transparency_under_the_democratic_republican_uniparty
Continuous Wars – http://www.newprogs.org/wars_under_the_democratic_republican_uniparty
The War on Whistleblowers – http://www.newprogs.org/whistleblowers_under_the_democratic_republican_uniparty
Widespread Police Misconduct and an Expanding Prison Population – http://www.newprogs.org/massive_police_misconduct “One of the worst myths Democratic partisans love to tell themselves – and everyone else – is that the GOP refuses to support President Obama no matter what he does. Like its close cousin – the massively deceitful inside-DC grievance that the two parties refuse to cooperate on anything – it’s hard to overstate how false this Democratic myth is. When it comes to foreign policy, war, assassinations, drones, surveillance, secrecy, and civil liberties, President Obama’s most stalwart, enthusiastic defenders are often found among the most radical precincts of the Republican Party.” Glenn Greenwald

It is amazing to me how the democrats use this sheep herder strategy successfully over and over again: Jesse Jackson, Kerry, Obama, Kucinich, Cuomo, Grayson, Van Jones, Warren, Sanders, Clinton twice, etc. See Grayson, Kucinich, Warren, and the Road to Hell – http://www.newprogs.org/grayson_kucinich_warren_and_the_road_to_hell

Thanks to very hard work and generous donations by many of us, democrats had a huge majority in 2009-2011. The republicans had not had such a majority since 1923. What did they do with it? Collapsed on war, the environment, the economy, and made the Bush tax cuts for the rich permanent. Contrast that with Bush who despite a minority in both the House and the Senate still did whatever the hell he wanted to do. It is past time to face the fact that this is what the democrats want and they are not constantly out foxed by the republicans. For a humorous take on this see this segment by Jon Stewart at http://thedailyshow.cc.com/videos/z4egij/mass-backwards

Arguments democrats use to defend their records:
• Lesser of Two Evils (LOTE): At least we are not republicans.
• Half a Loaf of Bread: Getting something is better than getting nothing. This hides the fact that what the democrats frequently get is nothing disguised as a real improvement.
• Republicans are Worse: Just look at their rhetoric and ignore our actual results.
• False helplessness before minority republicans: Contrast with Bush Jr. who despite a democratic majority in both houses still did whatever the hell he wanted to.
• Progress not perfection: This is said to hide the lack of progress.
• This is the most important election ever! or This election is just too important!
• Elect democrats and then hold their feet to the fire then forget to hold them accountable on war, civil rights, the environment, etc.
• Supreme Court! If shouted loudly enough repeatedly it can successfully obscure that those appointed by democrats have often disappointed.
• Remember Clinton enabled NAFTA, the 1996 Telecommunications Act, Welfare Reform and the repeal of Glass-Steagall.

Now look at Sanders. First his voting record is simply poor. See Don’t Let These People or Organizations Fool You at http://www.newprogs.org/don_t_let_these_democrats_fool_you
His history:
• He has always caucused with and been treating with the privileges of a democrat.
• He has promised to support Hilary over Trump from the beginning.
• He has looked the other way on Hilary’s many examples of corruption.
• He has looked the other way on Hilary’s many examples of voter fraud.
• He lied about taking it to the convention, gave up, said he expects Hilary to win, said he would vote for her, and then endorsed her under her direction at a Clinton rally.

“One of my postings here was censored out because it was too proBernie. That is what Ed Griffiths remark is about not allowing posts “glorifying Sanders.”
You made no comment, just referred to a website falsely implying Bernie was continuing the struggle. This website will not be used to glorify democrats. “I will certainly vote Jill Stein (again), because she is an excellent candidate…”

On that we agree.
commented 2016-07-18 06:17:14 -0400 · Flag
My old neighborhood in Minneapolis is represented by Keith Ellison, the only muslim on the hill and a registered democrat. He was a big player along with Bill McKibben in getting the democratic platform to the progressive place it is. And you’re gonna tell me I’m a “sellout” and a “sheepdog” to support that? Good luck with that.
commented 2016-07-18 06:01:09 -0400 · Flag
I do live in Portland, moved here 11 years ago from Minneapolis. It is true that I have noticed a few folks in office or running as candidates such as the fellow who ran for mayor last time. I am retired so have a lot of discretionary time to do various volunteer activities and have not bumped into many greens in the other groups I am involved with. I have voted green for president every election since Nader/LaDuke in 2000 and often vote green when I can support the individual. While the green platform generally fits my views, I am not about following the party line. Because of the way the primary system works here, I changed my registration to democrat to caucus for Kucinich and for Sanders. After learning how rigid you all are about the party line and whether or not I am really green is I supported Bernie, when I change my registration again, I will be changing it to “independent”. All this talk about the “sheepdog” effect is just way too negative for me. I didn’t know Bernie back in the sixties, but we were at a lot of the same places, especially when I was a community organizer in Chicago. I will certainly vote Jill Stein (again), because she is an excellent candidate, but I will not be getting involved with the green party at the local level. I only share this with you because supposedly the greens are hoping to build a movement here and I thought it might be useful to let you know the ways in which your language and tactics are driving at least some people away rather than pulling them in. I personally think Bernie gave you a huge opportunity to swell your ranks and it’s too bad you are tossing it away with your narrow point of view. One of my postings here was censored out because it was too proBernie. That is what Ed Griffiths remark is about not allowing posts “glorifying Sanders”. So much for free speech I guess. The greens back in Minnesota are doing well I miss them… I have great hope that local Berniecrats will find a way to grow this movement here in maine with or without the maine greens.
commented 2016-07-18 04:38:56 -0400 · Flag
Oh, I misunderstood the expression ‘giving a wide berth." I thought it meant you were giving the party a lot of lattitude and a chance, despite your frustration.
My frustration is actually similar, and I agree with you that Greens shouldn’t get so hung up on what other Greens, as individuals, decide to support by their own personal choice.
The irony of the article I thought, was how the speaker criticizes Greens for leaving the party to join Democrats, yet at the same time, a year ago, the very same speaker told Greens who wanted to support Sanders but wanted to remain Greens and NOT join the Democrat that they couldn’t remain as Greens if they supported Sanders.
The effect, as I wrote to Ed recently is this:

“Greens showed other (Sanders-supporting) Greens to the door and said, ‘Get out.’ So while the Democrats are culpable for luring people into the sheepdog effect, equally so are certain Greens culpable for expelling Greens directly out into the sheepdog effect.”

I advocate for patience, tolerance and understanding amongst Greens toward each others’ individual choices, and to trust that democracy will prevail to reveal the collective will of the majority of its members.
Therefore, when any one Green endorses a Democrat, that’s not a big deal to me, and nothing worth making hay about, because there will never be enough of those individuals to result in the whole party endorsing a Democrat.
Anyway, I take it you don’t live in Maine, Phyllis? If you do, you surely would have run into one of us by now. We’re a bigger deal here than in most places in the country.
I was the first Green elected in Portland, Maine, back in 2001, and at least 17 Greens have been elected in this city after me.
I haven’t voted for a Democrat or Republican in 20 years, so I get defensive when somebody claims that I’m trying to help the Democratic Party, or that my party, the Green Party is trying to be a wing of the Democratic Party, just because a couple of individuals in the party deviate from the party line to support a Democrat.
I hope you have a positive experience in the future and please don’t let these squabblings between any two individuals affect your opinion of the party proper as a whole. It’s unfair to the party to let two people’s words serve as the representation of hundreds of thousnads of others.
There are lots of good people in the party, kind, caring and eloquent people who just want to save the world from poison and corporations.
At any rate, if Bernie is your man, and he doesn’t pull of a miracle to win his party’s nomination, I hope you will give serious consideration to Jill Stein over Hillary Clinton.
Stein is still worth your vote even if you do arrive at eleciton day with a negative disposition toward the Green Party.
Best wishes to you,
Ben
commented 2016-07-17 22:23:44 -0400 · Flag
Hi Ben, I guess my instincts were correct if you are glad that I will be avoiding the green party. I don’t generally like to categorize people, but my friends who do tell me I am basically an anarchist at heart. I cannot believe how hung up you all are on who someone backs for president and whether or not they are labeled a green and whether or not you approve of their actions. Way too many shoulds in the language you choose for me to want to work with you. I do a lot of grass roots work and so far have not bumped into many of you. I think I understand why now. I’m glad the green party is going strong back in the upper midwest. I hope there are other places as well. The Berniecrats are handing you thousands and thousands of votes on a silver platter and all you can do is analyze it to death. Yikes. Life is way too short. Think I’ll just keep on keeping on as I have been.
commented 2016-07-17 01:06:01 -0400 · Flag
HI Phyllis, thanks for giving the Maine Greens a wide berth. We are getting a huge influx of people and interest right now. We’re not smooth, polished, nor funded by huge influxes of corporate money to fund our ability to organize.
I apologize for any of my comments that come across as vitriol. I do get defensive when a certain person has continued to falsely portray what my opinions are for more than a year.
For the record, I have never advocated that the Green Party endorse a Democrat. Indeed, I haven’t voted for a Democrat or Republican in 20 years, have no intention of voting for one and certainly don’t think the Green Party should endorse any.
Yet, still, even after clarifying and correcting my views in response to a certain person’s false representation of my views, the statement that I “acutally advocate the party endorse Sanders” gets elevated from a comment into the actual content of the body of the article itself, and without any reference, source or citation, and without any inclusion of my own refutation of that other person’s (false) statement of what my view is.
Regardless, that person, who continues to paint an imaginary construct of who I am, still has positive virtues, skills and contributions to the party.
He’s done a lot to build the party, improve social media communications, recruit candidates, bring issues to the forefront of our state’s biggest city, and much more.
I recognize and appreciate these positive attributes despite his continued campaign of misinformation about me, and only hope that one day he may realize that we are in agreement on most everything about this party and should be allies, not positioned as opponents.
In a respectful debate, I would suggest perhaps the difference here is the distinction between individual choice and the collective will of the party.
All too often, when certain individual Greens go off and endorse or support a Democratic candidate, others attempt to characterize their actions generally as being “the Green Party endorsing candidates,” when in fact, the collective party as a whole is not even remotely approving endorsement of a Democrat.
It’s misinformation to perpetuate the false notions that the “Party” endorses Democrats, simply on the basis that some certain individuals in the party have done so.
The party doesn’t decide who it’s members are. Individuals decide what party they choose to affiliate with and it’s largely a very personal decision for every individual.
The party shouldn’t impose its will on its membership in such a way as to completely detract or infringe from the freedom that individuals enjoy in how they wish to cast their own votes and make their own political decisions.
Members of parties vote across party lines all the time, because most people, even those in parties, reserve their right and freedom to think independently and make their own choices.
When Republicans endorse Democrats, nobody thinks that the “Republican party” is endorsing Democrats. Fellow Republicans don’t demand those Republicans leave the party.
Basically, nobody gets in a quandry about what individuals decide to do in the way that some members of the Green Party do.
I think it’s a fair distinction to make. Individual Greens endorsing Democrats do NOT “The Green Party endorses Democrats” make.
Our job is to influence and persuade people to our point of view, tempt them, lure them and coax them along to see the light that we have all discovered as true — that the corporate two-party system is a destructive dead end.
This is a more welcoming and enticing approach than simply shunning and attacking people who don’t immediately hold the purist party view, because ridiculing the Greens who occasionally endorse Democrats doesn’t lure them in closer, it pushes them away. Eventually, they will discover that we are right and will become more loyal and their support will grow — IF we haven’t already pushed them away because we don’t respect their ability to take responsibility for their own personal and individual democratic choices.
I respect everybody’s right to think for themselves and make their own decision with their own vote. It’s their vote, not mine, and it’s not my place to tell people that their personal choice is wrong or right. Influence them, sure, but a healthy democracy also requires a level of respect for those with differing views.
I never supported Sanders, and I never advocated for the Green Party to endorse him. However, I also never joined the wagon of shunning and repelling Greens for personally and individually deciding that they may choose to support Sanders for a while.
Those decisions were theirs to make and I didn’t feel it proper for me, or anyone else, to be trying to kick them out of the party for it.
If any of my comments come across as personal attacks, I apologize. I have been finding myself constantly needing to set the record straight for over a year now as a certain individual takes it upon himself to make up his own version of what my opinions are, and it gets tiring.
And then to make the attempt to clarify in the most clear way possible, only to have the author of this article re-perpetuate the falsehood in the body of the article itself without offering my own rebuttal of another person’s false claim of what my opinion is.
Despite this, the positive potential for this party, to attract and resonate with large percentages of the population, is great, and deserves to be given the most time of day.
I wish Asher Platts and Ed Griffith well, and I hope the anger (likely based on misunderstanding) subsides and gives way to unity, collegiality and a spirit of pride and togetherness for sharing our values and goals to see this party succeed.
There isn’t a need to perpetuate divisions within the party, or to perpetuate the party publicly as a negative entity.
The Maine Green Independent Party has been a rebuilding state for more than just the past year. We’ve been trying to get our feet on the ground and gain some momentum for nearly five or six years.
The author claims that the MGIP is “objectively weak,” yet, “weak” is in and of itself a subjective attribution of measurement. It is impossible to characterize something as “weak” and say it is an “objective” assessment.
We may not be running candidates right now, but we have nearly 50 local groups in development, and Jill’s campaign is directing and mobilizing people to our party in large numbers, many of whom were Sanders supporters.
We must make sure those Sanders supporters realize that they are welcome to our party, that our party is a more appropriate and better home for them than the Democratic party. Certainly, welcoming them is the better approach than casting judgment and criticism towards them for having supported Sanders in the past.
I don’t oppose anyone supporting Sanders, as the author suggests that other Greens and leftists should have opposed any other progressive from supporting Sanders on their own individual accord. I don’t “oppose” people supporting Sanders because I don’t intrude or interject my will on other people’s votes and choices, which I respect as their domain. I simply oppose Sanders and encourage and persuade others to give the Green Party serious consideration.
Where I agree with the author however, is that yes, the party should NOT endorse Democrats. When individual Greens do endorse Democrats however, it is completely improper to characterize that as “the Party” endorsing Democrats, as has been another train of misinformation spread around broadly in the past year.
May we all have higher spirits and better clarity moving forward.

yours,
Ben
commented 2016-07-16 17:58:14 -0400 · Flag
It’s clear you fellows don’t care what I think, but FWIW I was very active in the Green Party in Minnesota in the 90s, have been a political activist much of my adult life since my involvement with students for a democratic society (SDS) in the sixties specifically at the ERAP project in Chicago with Rennie Davis and Richie Rothstein. I will continue to vote green when the greens field a candidate I can support such as Jill Stein, but I want nothing to do with the brand of negativity you are selling. I’m so grateful there is a new movement growing that I can relate to. The road to peace starts with respectful dialogue and willingness to listen to differing points of view. The sort of vitriol I see here has no place in politics of any sort, but especially progressive politics. I’m sure you will be happy to know that I plan to be giving the Maine greens a wide berth.
commented 2016-07-16 16:15:15 -0400 · Flag
We will not allow statements glorifying Sanders. It is crystal clear he is interested only in serving the democratic party. There are many places to spread those lies, the New Progressive Alliance is not one of them.
commented 2016-07-16 08:58:41 -0400 · Flag
Again, Benjamin Meiklejohn is avoiding any points made in the article above to make personal attacks based in lies cut from whole cloth.

I don’t understand why he engages in this sort of behavior, but he does.
commented 2016-07-15 21:31:12 -0400 · Flag
Just to be clear, this sentence should have read:

We would have been a stronger party today if huge portions of our party hadn’t been chased away by the stubborn and intolerant party elite that would rather disenfranchise and dis-involve those whom they DISagree with instead of allowing them an opportunity to represent a super-minority viewpoint within the party.
commented 2016-07-15 21:17:27 -0400 · Flag
And hence comes both the melodrama and fabricated realities constructed by the honorable Mr. Platts whenever you dare to disagree with him.
He attacks his own party as “weak,” attacks his own party members, calling them “Democrats,” then if you dare stand up in defense of both the party and the rights of Greens to have differing opinions than he melodramatically exaggerates your refutations of his false pretenses as a form of “character assassination.”
Two people arguing on a blog is hardly a “character assassination.”
Yet, another endearing quality I have discovered about Mr. Platts, is his unending desire to blatantly misrepresent the viewpoints of others, perpetuating plain falsehoods about what other people believe or hope to accomplish.
Case in point: “Ben Meiklejohn actually advocated the Green Party endorse Sanders.”
When someone blatantly lies about what my views are, I naturally will defend my own position.
Short of calling Mr. Platts an outright liar however, which I would be in my right to do because the statement that I advocated for the party to endorse Sanders is exactly that — a lie, I will instead just kindly suggest that Mr. Platts is severely misinformed about my opinion, and would encourage him to keep to representing his own views instead of falsely representing others’.
The issue at point here is how Greens treat each other and respect each other (or not).
It was a year ago that a bunch of Greens, many of whom I have known for years and many of whom are friends, decided that they were interested in supporting Mr. Sanders’ campaign, and yet, still, they did not want to leave the Green Party and become Democrats. They wanted to remain in the party of their choice and support Mr. Sanders’ campaign from this side of the aisle.
Being a supporter of democracy, and the democratic processes within our own party, I helped other Greens to understand how they could participate in our democratic process in pursuit of a certain goal, regardless of whether I shared that goal or not.
I was always quite vocal that I personally, did not support Sanders’ campaign myself nor did I support the party endorsing Sanders. However, since our presidential nomination process does provide for the option of “no candidate,” I thought it only fair, that anybody should be empowered with the tools and knowledge for how to execute their participation in our party’s democracy to achieve this goal.
The Green Sanders supporters rallied together as “Greens for Sanders,” ironically, out of a loyalty for the party, because they did not want to leave the party and become Democrats.
The strategy was simple: Greens who wanted to support Sanders would vote for “no candidate” and advocate for “no candidate” delegates at our presidential convention. It wasn’t my personal preference or position, but surely, it’s only fair and just to let people know how to participate in our party’s democracy towards certain ends.
I had no fear whatsoever of “no candidate” actually being the winner of our presidential nomination convention, or fear of Sanders actually being endorsed by the Green Party, because I have faith and belief in the democracy of our party and knew that neither of these positions was even close to a majority view.
In my opinion however, I would rather have had those Greens remain in the party as a matter of retention, to have felt included in our democratic process, and then in the end, they would have rallied behind our eventual nominee having felt that at least they had a voice of participation in the party.
Asher, and other die-hard Greens would not have it. They insisted those Greens must leave the party and become Democrats. They ostracized, ridiculed and tarred and feathered Greens for daring to support Sanders, doing everything they could to basically kick Sanders supporters out of the party.
It created significant bad blood that was unneeded.
I advocated for “no candidate” myself, at one point, not for the purpose of endorsing Sanders but simply for the purpose of focusing on winnable races. Despite the fact that “no candidate” is a legitimate option spelled out in our own process, I too, was told to leave the party, that I wasn’t Green.
Eventually, I ended up settling on Sedinam Curry as my choice for our nominee and voted for her in our caucus. If someone wanted to support William Kreml, Darryl Cherney, Jill Stein or Kent Mesplay, or “no candidate,” or Bernie Sanders, I would equally inform any of those people how they could register their vote of support in our caucuses, but that doesn’t mean that is my personal position.
I’m not afraid of empowering those with opposing views to my own because I believe in democracy and know that the majority views of our party will prevail.
The efforts a year ago to chase Sanders supporters out of our own party was completely unnecessary and based on a fear that has no merit. We all know Greens would not have ultimately endorsed Sanders, and I felt no threat by those Greens who did choose to exercise their own personal and individual choice to vote how they wish in seeking to achieve a Green Party endorsement of Sanders, because I knew it wouldn’t go anywhere within our party.
They would have ran a rinky dink little campaign that wouldn’t even have yielded one delegate, but at least Greens would have been retained and ultimately,supporting our eventual final nominee.
Instead, this particular group of purists levied judgment and rejection and had no ability to respect the democratic rights of others to cast their own votes as they choose.
Clearly, saying that I advocated for the Green Party to endorse Sanders is an outright untruth. However, I did support those who held that opinion to remain in our party and vote accordingly because everybody should feel welcome to vote their beliefs and not strong-armed or threatened to vote any other way.
We would have been a stronger party today if huge portions of our party hadn’t been chased away by the stubborn and intolerant party elite that would rather disenfranchise and dis-involve those whom they agree with instead of allowing them an opportunity to represent a super-minority viewpoint within the party.
I hope this clears up my views, and I hope people take my words, not Asher’s words, as the truest testament of my beliefs.
commented 2016-07-15 19:45:05 -0400 · Flag
Ben Meikeljohn is incorrect in much of what he says, some of which is an attempt to assassinate my character for his own reasons of ego which I don’t fully understand. Whatever his motivations, his personal attacks detract from the point I’m actually trying to make:

When Greens leave the party to support Democrats, it weakens the Green Party. Greens should not have supported Bernie Sanders, they should have been putting the work in to build the Green Party.

Ben Meikeljohn actually advocated the Green Party endorse Bernie Sanders, demonstrating a lack of any concept of the purpose of political parties. He would have had us endorse a candidate who is now endorsing Clinton. Pure foolishness and opportunism, with no long term sense of politics.

It is objectively the case that the Maine Greens are weak now.

The Maine Greens fielded 16 candidates for state legislature in 2014, 14 got on the ballot, including myself. We did not endorse a candidate for Governor, and chose to focus our efforts on electing our state legislative candidates.

This election cycle, only 1 candidate for state legislature made it on the ballot.

Thankfully, Jill Stein will also be on the ballot. That is thanks only to automatic ballot access.

Jill Stein’s politics are solidly Green. The correct move forward here for the Green Party over every state is to put their shoulder in to her campaign, because they will win people to the party on a solid basis.

But also to think seriously about what it actually means to be a political party, and why the logic of lesser evilism leads to greater and greater evils. Why we must be politically independent, and not tail the Democrats. Why we must not fall prey to the political sin of opportunism, where for some short term gain, we cost ourselves greatly down the road.
commented 2016-07-15 13:54:39 -0400 · Flag
I think it is great that Bernie supporters might continue the movement in third parties and they should be welcomed. However, it is still legitimate to look at Bernie’s real record both in congress and in opposing Hilary. Much of the information and money he gathered will go to Hilary.
commented 2016-07-15 08:37:05 -0400 · Flag
Thank you, Ben, I find your comment very encouraging. I became a green back in the 90s when Ken Pentel ran for governor in Minnesota and have been happy to have green as an option on the ballot since moving here, but have not been active in the party here for precisely the reasons you outlined in your piece. I came of age about the same time Bernie did and we were likely in many of the same places in the 60s although we never met. I have been very excited about the movement his candidacy has helped to build and hopeful about what it may mean for the green party going forward. I would love to see the green party gain major party status. I recently heard that the libertarians will be on the ballot here as well so that may split the anti-establishment vote, but I remain hopeful. I am excited after hearing that many thousands of independent voters are heeding Bernie’s call to take out papers and run for office going forward. This is the most hopeful I have been in a long time and bashing those of us who are with Bernie is not the way to build a movement. I will be voting Jill Stein (again) in November and hoping to each the magic number that will give the greens major party status, but I do not see the Novemebr election as the end game, but rather a new beginning. The movement that has grown out of this election cycle has great potential going forward if we can stick together, find common ground, and keep it growing. Thank you for your message of hope.
commented 2016-07-15 00:29:23 -0400 · Flag
Asher wants to think that the Maine Green Independent Party can’t exist without him leading the way as our savior, but his attempts to fabricate the MGIP as “weak” are his subjective pinings to be in greater control of, and influential in a party that has grown beyond its dependence on his individualized direction.
The MGIP is not, as Asher describes, “weak.” We have 20 times more local groups in development than during his tenure as a leader, and we are getting a huge amount of emails from former Sanders supporters turning to us.
We didn’t have a “hell of a time” getting on the ballot in Maine. We’ve been on the ballot in this state for nearly 20 years. We had about as difficult a time as usual caucusing, but not especially more than usual, other than that some of Asher’s strongest allies stopped helping the party and instead advocated destructively for the party to simply lose party status.
Asher’s assessment of what would happen with the Democratic Party is correct, and he’s no prophetic visionary for it: we all saw what was going on and bound to happen.
The difference is that one year ago, Mr. Platts spent significant time scolding and berating those who chose to exercise their participation with the Sanders campaign instead of patiently waiting them it out with compassion and understanding for them to discover on their own journey and in their own time, what many of us already knew all along.
The result? The judge-and-eject mentality of exiling Greens that Asher participated in was a destructive display that burned bridges with many former and would-be Greens who are now likely to not turn to us.
Fortunately, there are many new supporters flocking to us from the Sanders campaign that were not subject or witness to the displays of aggression and ridicule that were exhibited towards Sanders supporters a year ago by a certain faction of absolutist and purist Greens, including Asher.
And we welcome them with open arms. We don’t criticize them, berate them, insult them and talk down to them like children in a holier-than-thou I-told-you-so attitude for having supported Sanders in the past year.
Instead, we merely appreciate that they have found us, on their own time, at their own pace, and in their own journey. It matters not how long it took for these people to find the Green Party, or how, it matters only that they know they are welcome.
While we are not running candidates this cycle, it is for a reason of strength, not weakness. We need not keep running candidates that can’t win, without having developed local groups that can back up those candidates.
We are focusing our party’s development on aggressively building up our local groups from the ground up, in order to run candidates for school boards and selectmen in 2017, and legislature in 2018.
All is not doom-and-gloom with the Maine Green Independent Party. Conversely, we have a greater eye on long-term sustainability, future focus and tolerance and appreciation of all of our members absent the judgmentalism, than we have seen in this party for a long time.
The state of the Party is not ‘weak’ but quite strong.
We are ready to roll.
Don’t believe such words simply because they are said. That’s what Donald Trump and Paul LePage do, repeat untruths, or their opinions as truths, over and over again, in the expectation that audiences will just eventually take their opinions, or untruths, as facts.
The characterization of the MGIP as “weak” comes from a member who begrudges others who don’t agree with him on everything, or bow down to his sermons in worship, and it couldn’t be more dead wrong.
commented 2016-07-13 18:14:47 -0400 · Flag
This is not about Bernie. It is about building a movement. I have been voting Green for 20 years now with no sign of success anywhere in sight. I thought sure Nader/LaDuke was going to be the magic ticket, but not even close. In a level playing field, Bernie would have won the nomination, but this was never really about that. It was about building a movement and that has been huge success. Thousands of young people who were completely disengaged from the electoral process are now paying attention and many of them are heeding Bernie’s call to take out papers and run for local offices. Whatever else is true, the democratic platform is much more progressive than it would have been. The election is not the end game. Without Bernie, it would have been a simple anointment of Hillary and now we have an entirely different scenario. This is just the beginning. What’s important is what happens the day after the election going forward and Bernie has helped build a huge movement going forward. Not to mention that if enough Berniecrats vote for Jill Stein for the greens to get major party status, that will be a huge boost going forward. This is such an opportunity. It breaks my heart to see people flushing it down the toilet like this. This is the biggest hope for change we have had in over 40 years, probably the last best hope in my lifetime.