By David Swanson
I spoke in Van Nuys, California, and in Ventura, California, on Saturday as part of a book tour, talking about peace, justice, and activism. The first event had me speaking to loyal members of the Democratic Party. A number of participants in the second event made clear that their top priority is demolishing the Democratic Party.
I didn’t agree with either group on the matter of the Democrats, but I agreed with both and they all agreed with each other on what they want from our government. They all wanted representation, an end to corporate control, demilitarization, investment in human needs, upholding of human rights and the rule of law. They just didn’t agree about how you get there.
My answer to both groups boils down to this:
1. When it comes to elections, back the best candidate unless the spoiler effect convinces you not to. Don’t oppose the best candidate because they do or do not belong to the Democratic Party.
2. Work for reforms that would permit new parties, which are the same reforms that would permit independent candidates not subservient to any party: ballot access, debate access, media access, clean elections, independent media, fusion voting, smaller districts, etc.
3. Focus at least 95 percent of your efforts away from direct involvement with elections and candidates, to work on building movements and pressuring elected officials to represent us in between elections. Treat all elected officials as equals, without any prejudice based on party. Punish and reward all of them, since they all deserve both.
4. Stop focusing more than 5 percent of your efforts directly on elections.
5. Review numbers 3 and 4 above and actually attempt to achieve them.
Here are the two events, with my opening remarks and a little bit of the Q and A. Sadly, these videos didn’t include most of the Q and A, and I hope someone else posts it.