Greens work with the alt-right? No way!


The following represents the opinions solely of the author and should be understood to only represent those opinions.

Over the past several weeks, the issue of a questionable interview by 2004 Green presidential candidate David Cobb done on Green News Network (GNN) with Caitlin Johnstone, a writer of dubious merit, has become an issue of concern within certain circles. It seems worthwhile to point out several things at this juncture. Johnstone has advocated in previous works and interview a collaboration of Greens and the alt-right to challenge the phantasmic and ultimately fictional construct of the "deep state", a rather silly construct created by a lazy analysis of the military-industrial complex and its various auxiliaries.

First, the Jill Stein presidential campaign organization is an apparatus that is an entirely separate legal entity from both the Green Party of the United States and the Green Party of Rhode Island. While there are instances of interaction and endorsement of each other's actions, one cannot and should not conflate automatic and instantaneous endorsement of each other's actions. For instance, the national Green Party did not agree to the Jill Stein campaign's 2016 recount efforts. Because the GNN channel is operated by the Stein campaign, it should not be considered as a representation of the national or state-level Green Party opinion. Whether it is appropriate for the Stein organization to operate a web platform that is conflated with the operational structure and legal entities of the multiple state and national Green Parties is a genuine conversation worthy of debate. The Green Party has existed from the beginning as a bottom-up confederation of state-level parties whose decentralization and lack of a national leadership equivalent in form to a chairperson or central committee makes its structure and governance wholly different than older progressive-left parties such as the Socialist Party or the Communist Party.

This distinction makes it quite difficult to adequately acknowledge and deal with the matters surrounding David Cobb and Caitlin Johnstone, the second point. How or why should a matter which the Green Party of Rhode Island and the Green Party of the United States has no control over or ability to control impact our standing in the public eye? In a rather worthwhile parallel example of a "red-brown" collaboration, we should ask whether every Communist in America should have been seen as responsible for the treaty the government of the Soviet Union made with Nazi Germany in 1939. The history is more than clear, the actions of the Soviet government in that period did in fact embarrass a significant number of progressive-leftists who quit the CPUSA as a result. Just as those American Communists had no control over the behavior of Stalin so I and the rest of the Green Party of Rhode Island has no control over the behavior and actions of David Cobb.

Perhaps emphasis on our principles and restatement of our Key Values reflective of opposition to any form of oppression bears merit herein:

2. Social Justice And Equal Opportunity

As a matter of right, all persons must have the opportunity to benefit equally from the resources afforded us by society and the environment. We must consciously confront in ourselves, our organizations, and society at large, any discrimination by race, class, gender, sexual orientation, age, nationality, religion, or physical or mental ability that denies fair treatment and equal justice under the law.

7. Feminism And Gender Equity

We have inherited a social system based on male domination of politics and economics. We call for the replacement of the cultural ethics of domination and control with cooperative ways of interacting that respect differences of opinion and gender. Human values such as gender equity, interpersonal responsibility, and honesty must be developed with moral conscience. We recognize that the processes for determining our decisions and actions are just as important as achieving the outcomes we want.

8. Respect For Diversity

We believe it is important to value cultural, ethnic, racial, sexual, religious and spiritual diversity, and to promote the development of respectful relationships across the human spectrum. We believe that the many diverse elements of society should be reflected in our organizations and decision-making bodies, and we support the leadership of people who have been traditionally closed out of leadership roles. We encourage respect for all life forms, and increased attention to the preservation of biodiversity.

Those who come to the Green Party of Rhode Island seeking to undermine such values will be challenged and repudiated for any behaviors, actions, attitudes, or statements that negate these key values. The so-called "alt-right", which should be properly understood as a restyled and redecorated neo-Nazism that seeks to build a wider base in the American white middle class and sections of the white lower-income strata, is as repulsive as it is frightening. The Green Party has no space within its membership for people who adhere to such ideologies and desire no part of their machinations. Any advocacy for collaboration or suggestion of convergence with such individuals in a coalition that would thereby risk the safety and security of frontline communities in America is to be rigorously and vigorously opposed. There is absolutely zero room for negotiation on such things and it is essential to understand the Green Party of Rhode Island would never compromise itself in a way that would invite such dubious characters into our ranks.

Meanwhile, the task of challenging racism and its appeals to the cohort that the alt-right set seeks to build a base within through initiations such as "red-pill-ing" and similar tactics is a significant and important one that I personally have been working on in both professional and activist efforts for several years now. The challenge of making so-called whites exchange notions of race war for class war is a substantial and at times quite fraught one that entails a good deal of both self-assurance and self-esteem combined with a humility and recognition that inter-sectional class-based politics is hinged upon centering the discourse on the poor, women of color, and other groups who have been marginalized for far too long.

As such, the notion that I personally would be in favor of the strategic proposals presented by Caitlin Johnstone or that any organization I am affiliated with supports such a strategy is both clearly untrue but also deeply disturbing and borders on insulting. It flies in the face of literally years of work that I have dedicated to activism that is not easy or able to win you many laurels. Let's be absolutely clear, white supremacy hinges on the comfort of so-called whites. That means this sort of activism depends on making so-called whites uncomfortable. It's not about winning friends, it is actually about making yourself known as someone who ticks people off. I don't desire any hosanas or praise for being a decent human being but I also don't desire to have that activism flatly lied about because of what amounts to nothing more than guilt by association.

David Cobb only speaks and acts for David Cobb and the Stein organization, which is separate from the Green Party on both the state and national level. Conflation or affiliation of his behaviors, both laudable and abhorrent, with the Rhode Island and national Green Parties flatly contradicts both the legal and structural definitions of what are more than three distinct legal entities under the auspices of the IRS and other legal administrations. Implication of his behaviors within the Stein apparatus on the character of Greens is an unfair and wholly unmerited claim which cannot be substantiated by any documentary materials within the state or national party record archives. As such, his recent interviews with Caitlin Johnstone on GNN are videos that are completely alienated from the control or whims of the Green Party of Rhode Island and its membership. When he speaks with Caitlin Johnstone about her writings, including the idea of Greens collaborating with the alt-right, he speaks as someone who is at that moment only affiliated with the Stein campaign. Claims otherwise are wholly unmerited.

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