Keeping Independent Politics Alive

The Editors

IT’S IMPORTANT FOR us on the left at least to salute the most courageous candidacy of 2008: Cynthia McKinney (former Georgia congresswoman) and Rosa Clemente (Puerto Rican hip-hop cultural activist), the presidential and vice-presidential candidates of the Green Party.

Given the profound emotions around the Obama campaign and the revulsion against the Bush legacy, this was inevitably an election where the space for independent anti-corporate politics was squeezed to the margins of the margins. McKinney/Clemente’s total vote of around 145,000 may look paltry, but their effort represents an important struggle to keep independent politics alive, and for the Greens to become an authentic party of social justice rooted in communities of color.

The McKinney campaign spent around $185,000. Ralph Nader, the veteran anti-corporate campaigner running with Matt Gonzalez as independents on the ballot in 50 states, and with greater name recognition picked up some 750,000 votes (Nader/Gonzalez campaign expenditure: about $4 million). This compares to $650 million spent by the Obama campaign between the end of the primaries and November 4.

In a subsequent issue we’ll present assessments of the overall Green Party efforts in 2008 and its future prospects.

ATC 138, January-February 2009