THE AVOCADO DECLARATION
by Peter Miguel Camejo and the Avocado Education Project.
The Avocado Declaration was initiated by Peter Miguel Camejo
(www.votecamejo.org). Peter was the Green Party candidate for Governor of
California in the 2002 general elections and in the 2003 recall election.
This statement was issued by the Avocado Education Project.
The Green Party is at a crossroads. The 2004 elections place before us a
clear and unavoidable choice. On one side, we can continue on the path of
political independence, building a party of, by and for the people by
running our own campaign for President of the United States. The other
choice is the well-trodden path of lesser-evil politics, sacrificing our own
voice and independence to support whoever the Democrats nominate in order,
we are told, to defeat Bush.
The difference is not over whether to "defeat Bush" - understanding that to
mean the program of corporate globalization and the wars and trampling of
the Constitution that come with it - but rather how to do it. We do not
believe it is possible to defeat the "greater" evil by supporting a
shamefaced version of the same evil. We believe it is precisely by openly
and sharply confronting the two major parties that the policies of the
corporate interests these parties represent can be set back and defeated.
Ralph Nader's 2000 presidential campaign exposed a crisis of confidence in
the two-party system. His 2.7 million votes marked the first time in modern
history that millions voted for a more progressive and independent
alternative. Now, after three years of capitulation by the Democratic Party
to George Bush they are launching a pre-emptive strike against a 2004 Ralph
Nader campaign or any Green Party challenge. Were the Greens right to run in
2000? Should we do the same in 2004? The Avocado Declaration based on an
analysis of our two-party duopoly, and its history declares we were right
and we must run.
ORIGINS OF THE PRESENT TWO-PARTY SYSTEM
History shows that the Democrats and Republicans are not two counterpoised
forces, but rather complementary halves of a single two-party system: "one
animal with two heads that feed from the same trough," as Chicano leader
Rodolfo "Corky" Gonzalez explained.
Since the Civil War a peculiar two-party political system has dominated the
United States. Prior to the Civil War a two-party system existed which
reflected opposing economic platforms. Since the Civil War a shift occurred.
A two-party system remained in place but no longer had differing economic
orientation. Since the Civil War the two parties show differences in their
image, role, social base and some policies but in the last analysis, they
both support essentially similar economic platforms.
This development can be clearly dated to the split in the Republican Party
of 1872 where one wing merged with the "New Departure" Democrats that had
already shifted towards the Republican platform, which was pro-finance and
industrial business. Prior to the Civil War, the Democratic Party,
controlled by the slaveocracy, favored agricultural business interests and
developed an alliance with small farmers in conflict with industrial and
some commercial interests. That division ended with the Civil War. Both
parties supported financial and industrial business as the core of their
For over 130 years the two major parties have been extremely effective in
preventing the emergence of any mass political formations that could
challenge their political monopoly. Most attempts to build political
alternatives have been efforts to represent the interests of the average
person, the working people. These efforts have been unable to develop. Both
major parties have been dominated by moneyed interests and today reflect the
historic period of corporate rule.
In this sense United States history has been different from that of any
other advanced industrial nation. In all other countries multi-party systems
have appeared and to one degree or another these countries have more
democratic electoral laws and better political representation. In most other
countries, there exist political parties ostensibly based on or promoting
the interest of non-corporate sectors such as working people.
STRUGGLES FOR DEMOCRACY AND SOCIAL JUSTICE
In spite of this pro-corporate political monopoly, mass struggles for social
progress, struggles to expand democracy and civil rights have periodically
exploded throughout United States history.
Every major gain in our history, even pre-Civil War struggles --such as the
battles for the Bill of Rights, to end slavery, and to establish free public
education-- as well as those after the Civil War have been the product of
direct action by movements independent of the two major parties and in
opposition to them.
Since the Civil War, without exception, the Democratic Party has opposed all
mass struggles for democracy and social justice. These include the struggle
for ballot reform, for the right of African Americans to vote and against
American apartheid ("Jim Crow"), for the right to form unions, for the right
of women to vote, against the war in Vietnam, the struggle to make lynching
illegal, the fight against the death penalty, the struggle for universal
health care, the fight for gay and lesbian rights, and endless others. Many
of these struggles were initiated by or helped by the existence of small
DIVISION OF WORK
When social justice, peace or civil rights movements become massive in
scale, and threaten to become uncontrollable and begin to win over large
numbers of people, the Democratic Party begins to shift and presents itself
as a supposed ally. Its goal is always to co-opt the movement, demobilize
its forces and block its development into an alternative, independent
The Republican Party has historically acted as the open advocate for a
platform which benefits the rule of wealth and corporate domination. They
argue ideologically for policies benefiting the corporate rulers. The
Republicans seek to convince the middle classes and labor to support the
rule of the wealthy with the argument that "What's good for General Motors
is good for the country," that what benefits corporations is also going to
benefit regular people.
The Democratic Party is different. They act as a "broker" negotiating and
selling influence among broad layers of the people to support the objectives
of corporate rule. The Democratic Party's core group of elected officials is
rooted in careerists seeking self-promotion by offering to the corporate
rulers their ability to control and deliver mass support. And to the people
they offer some concessions, modifications on the platform of the Republican
Party. One important value of the Democratic Party to the corporate world is
that it makes the Republican Party possible through the maintenance of the
stability that is essential for "business as usual." It does this by
preventing a genuine mass opposition from developing. Together the two
parties offer one of the best frameworks possible with which to rule a
people that otherwise would begin to move society towards the rule of the
people (i.e. democracy).
An example of this process is our minimum-wage laws. Adjusted for inflation,
the minimum wage has been gradually declining for years. Every now and then
the Democrats pass a small upward adjustment that allows the downward trend
to continue, but gives the appearance that they are on the side of the poor.
Together the two parties have made ballot access increasingly difficult,
defended indirect elections such as the Electoral College, insisted on
winner-take-all voting to block the appearance of alternative voices and
opposed proportional representation to prevent the development of a
representative democracy and the flowering of choices. Both parties support
the undemocratic structure of the U.S. Senate and the Electoral College,
which are not based on one person, one vote, but instead favor the more
conservative regions of the nation.
Elections are based primarily on money. By gerrymandering and accumulating
huge war chests --payoffs for doing favors for their rich "friends"-- most
officeholders face no real challenge at the ballot box and are re-elected.
In the races that are "competitive," repeatedly the contests are reduced to
two individuals seeking corporate financial backing. Whoever wins the battle
for money wins the election. Districts are gerrymandered into "safe"
districts for one or the other party. Gerrymandering lowers the public's
interest and involvement while maintaining the fiction of "democracy" and
"free elections." The news media goes along with this, typically focusing on
the presidential election and a handful of other races, denying most
challengers the opportunity to get their message out to the public.
Corporate backing shifts between the two parties depending on short-term,
and even accidental factors. In the 1990s, more endorsements from CEOs went
to the Democrats. At present the money has shifted to the Republican Party.
Most corporations donate to both parties to maintain their system in place.
NO CHOICE, NO HOPE
The Democratic Party preaches defeatism to the most oppressed and exploited.
Nothing can be expected, nothing is possible but what exists. To the people
they justify continuous betrayal of the possibility for real change with the
argument of lesser evil. It's the Republicans or us. Nothing else is
DEMOCRACY VERSUS COOPTATION
Democracy remains a great danger to those who have privilege and control.
When you are part of the top 1% of the population that has as much income as
the bottom 75% of the people, democracy is a permanent threat to your
interests. The potential power of the people is so great that it puts sharp
limits on what corporations can do. The ability of the Democratic Party to
contain, co-opt and demobilize independent movements of the people is a
critical element in allowing the continued destruction of our planet, abuse,
discrimination and exploitation based on race, gender, sexual preference and
class, and the immense misdistribution of wealth.
As we enter the 21st century there is no more important issue than saving
our planet from destruction. The world economy is becoming increasingly
globalized. Corporate power is now global in nature and leads to massive
dislocations and suffering for most people. The planet is overpopulated and
the basis of human life declining. The greatest suffering and dislocations
exist in the third world but there is also a downward trend in the United
States as globalization leads to a polarization of income and wealth. This
shift is making the United States each day closer to a third-world country
with an extremely wealthy minority and a growing underclass. This
polarization adds further fear of democracy for the elite.
THE GROWING SHIFT AGAINST THE RULE OF LAW
The shift away from the rule of law has accelerated in recent years. This
process will be a factor in the 2004 presidential elections especially if a
Green candidate is involved in the race. The shift away from our
Constitution is proceeding with the complicity of both parties and the
courts. The changes are made illegally through legislation rather than the
official process by which the Constitution can be amended because to do
otherwise would awaken a massive resistance. A similar process is under way
regarding the rule of law internationally.
The reason given for these steps since September 2001 is the terrorist
attack within the borders of the United States. An attack made by forces
originally trained, armed and supported by the United States government. The
so-called "war on terrorism" does not exist. The United States Government
has promoted, tolerated, and been party to the use of terrorism all over the
world. The United States has even been found guilty of terrorism by the
The terrorist attacks against U.S. targets are important, but they need to
be countered primarily in a social and political manner. A manner which is
the opposite of that taken by the USA PATRIOT Act, and the occupations of
Afghanistan and Iraq. On the contrary, by aggravating inequality, injustice,
disrespecting the rule of law and its military interventions and occupation,
the present policies of the U.S. Government add to the dangers faced by U.S.
citizens throughout the world and in the United States. Especially dangerous
are the promotion of nuclear, chemical and bacteriological weapons, and the
open declarations of the intention to once again use nuclear weapons.
This recent shift, while rooted in bipartisan policies over the last
decades, has been accelerated by the present Republican administration. Its
ability to carry out these actions has depended on the Democratic Party's
support, and its ability to contain, disorient and prevent the development
of mass opposition.
Amazingly, in December of 2003 General Tommy Franks, the recently retired
head of U.S. Central Command was quoted as stating that he thought the
people of the United States may prefer a military government over our
present Constitutional Republican form, if another terrorist attack occurs.
Such a statement is so far off base one must wonder why it is being made.
The people of the United States are solidly opposed to any consideration of
a military dictatorship in the United States. In fact, polls have repeatedly
shown they favor increasing our democratic rights such as limiting campaign
contributions and allowing more points of view in debates.
Never in our history have top military leaders or ex-military leaders spoken
openly of ending our Constitutional form of government. No leader of the
Democratic Party has protested Franks' comments. How many officers in the
armed forces have such opinions? If there are any they should be immediately
removed from the military.
DEMOCRATS: PATRIOT ACT AND UNEQUIVOCAL SUPPORT FOR BUSH
The Democratic Party leadership voted for the USA PATRIOT Act. In the United
States Senate only one Democrat voted against the Patriot Act. Democrats
considered "liberal" such as Paul Wellstone and Barbara Boxer voted for the
USA PATRIOT Act. Huge majorities have repeatedly passed votes in the
Congress against the United States Constitution. In one case only one
Congresswoman, Barbara Lee, voted against the abrogation of the
Constitution's separation of powers as stated in Article 1, Section 8.
Democratic Party politicians, when called upon to support the Republican
Party and their corporate backers, repeatedly comply and vote against the
interest of the people and against the Constitution they have sworn to
The Democratic Party leadership as a whole gave repeated standing ovations
to George Bush as he outlined his platform in his January 2002 State of the
Union address, a speech that promoted the arbitrary decision to occupy
sovereign nations through military aggression in violation of international
law. The ovations given the Republican Platform by the Democratic Party were
done on national television for the people to see a unified political force.
The effect is to make people who believe in peace, support the U.N. charter,
the World Court and the rule of law feel they are isolated, powerless and
A resolution was passed in March of 2003 calling for "Unequivocal Support"
to "George Bush" for the war in Iraq. It had the full support of the
Democratic Party leadership. Even Democratic "doves" like Dennis Kucinich
would not vote against the resolution. Only a handful (eleven) of
congressional representatives voted against the motion for "unequivocal
support" to George Bush.
THE ROLE OF THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY
The Democratic Party with its open defense of the Republican Platform and
its attacks on our Constitution and the rule of law internationally would be
of little value to those who favor the present policies if it allowed the
development of a mass independent opposition. The failure of such forces to
exist in sufficient strength permits the Democrats to be more open in their
support for anti-democratic policies.
Nevertheless some voices outside the Democratic and Republican Parties are
beginning to be heard. Massive anti-war street demonstrations, and the voice
of a new small party, the Green Party, have gained some attention and
respect. In no case did the Democratic Party as an institution support, call
for, or help mobilize popular forces for peace and respecting international
law. Yet large numbers of its rank and file and many lower level elected
officials against their party participated and promoted anti-war protests.
Many lower elected officials among the Democrats and even some Republicans
who defend the Constitution of the United States are voting to oppose the
USA PATRIOT Act at the local level. Even many middle level Democrats have
conflicting views and some time take progressive stances in concert with the
Green Party's platform. These individuals live in a contradiction with the
Party they belong to. While we can and should join with them behind specific
issues, we do not adopt their error of belonging to a party that is against
the interest of the people, that is pro-corporate and is against the rule of
DEMOCRATS ATTACK THE GREEN PARTY
The Democratic Party allows its lower level representatives to present
themselves as opposed to the war. Some of its leaders have begun to take on
an appearance of disagreeing with "how" the policies of Bush are being
implemented. The Democratic Party has unleashed a campaign to divide and
conquer those opposed to the pro-war policies. On one hand it tries to
appear sympathetic to anti-war sentiment while on the other it tries to
silence voices opposed to Bush's policies.
Soon after the 2000 presidential election The Democrats began an attack on
the Green Party on the grounds that since there is no runoff system, that
is, since the Democrats in partnership with the Republicans do not allow
free elections, the Green Party's existence and its candidate for President
Ralph Nader in 2000 should be declared responsible for George Bush becoming
PROGRESSIVE DEMOCRATS JOIN ATTACK
This campaign against the Greens has been heavily promoted by the corporate
media. It has achieved success in part because of the support it has
received by the more liberal wing of the Democratic Party and some of the
"progressive" journals controlled by liberal Democrats, such as The Nation
and Mother Jones.
Their political message is simple and clear: "no voice truly critical of the
platform of the Republicans may be permitted; only the Democrats must appear
as 'opponents' to the Republicans". They have no objection to rightist,
pro-war third party candidates entering the race and promoting their views.
They only oppose a voice for peace and the rule of law like that of Ralph
Nader in 2000.
Never in the history of the United States has a magazine claiming to favor
democracy run a front page article calling on an individual not to run for
president -- until The Nation did so against Ralph Nader running for
President in 2004. The fact that polls show 23% of the people favor Nader
running (extrapolated to the total voting population this would represent
about 40 million people) and 65% favored his inclusion in debates is of no
concern to The Nation as it seeks to silence the only candidate who in 2000
opposed the premises of George Bush's platform.
THE CONSPIRACY AGAINST THE VOTERS
The Nation's editorial board is free to campaign for the Democratic Party
and urge people to vote for the Democrats in spite of their support for the
USA PATRIOT Act, their votes for "Unequivocal support to George Bush", etc.
That is their right. But they want something else. They want the Greens to
join with them in a conspiracy to deny the voters a choice.
All voters are fully aware there is no runoff in a presidential race. Many
who support the platform of the Greens will vote against their own
principles by voting for the Democratic Party. Each voter will make that
decision. But The Nation, along with many others, is calling on the Greens
to disenfranchise voters who disagree with The Nation's preference for the
Democratic Party. It wants these voters to have no choice and be unable to
express their electoral wish. The Nation and those it represents want to
silence the voices of these voters, not to allow it to be registered, as a
way to try and force them to vote for their party, the Democrats.
The passage of the USA PATRIOT Act, the undemocratic electoral laws, the
manipulation of electoral campaigns by the corporate media and the campaign
to silence the Greens are all part of the same campaign against democracy.
They are just another example of how the two-party system is set up to
repress and silence those who favor democracy.
LESSER EVIL LEADS TO GREATER EVIL
The effectiveness of the "lesser evil" campaign has penetrated within the
Green Party, where a minority supports the concept that the Green Party
should not run in 2004. Behind this view is the concept that politics can be
measured in degrees, like temperature, and that the Democrats offer a milder
and thus less evil alternative to the Republican Platform. This view argues
that to support the "lesser evil" weakens the greater evil.
Such a view fails to grasp the essence of the matter. Political dynamics
work in exactly the opposite way. To silence the voice of the Green Party
and support the Democrats strengthens George Bush and the Republican Party
because only the appearance of forces opposed to the present policies,
forces that are clearly independent of corporate domination can begin to
shift the relationship of forces and the center of political debate. Despite
the intention of some of its promoters, the anti Green Party campaign helps
the policies pursued by Bush as well as his re-election possibilities.
Although some claim that George Bush's policies represent only a small
coterie of neo-conservative extremists, the reality is otherwise. Bush and
his friends serve at the will of the corporate rulers. His standing with the
American people can be crushed in a moment if the corporate rulers so choose
-- just by the power of their media, which today is concentrated in the
hands of a half dozen giant conglomerates.
It is in the interests of the corporate effort toward a new colonialism to
have Bush re-elected in 2004, thereby legitimatizing his government before
the world. In order to safely achieve that, the voices that truly oppose
Bush's policies need to be silenced.
OPPOSITION IS RISING
Opposition is rising against Bush. The massive overwhelming majority of the
world is against Bush's war policies. The resistance to the occupation in
Iraq and Afghanistan, and the inability of the U.S. media and government to
prevent the world from hearing the truth about these events, is weakening
Bush's standing. The corporate interests and their media apparently want to
make a great effort to get Bush elected, but if this becomes too difficult,
the Democratic Party will be prepared to appear as an "opposition" that will
continue the essence of Bush's policy with new justifications, modifications
and adjusted forms.
The only force that could upset the general direction of the bipartisan
policies put in place over the last few years would be a destabilizing mass
development inside the United States, along with world public opinion. This
occurred during the war in Vietnam and forced a reversal of U.S. policy.
In the case of Vietnam, the Republicans under Eisenhower initiated the
direct U.S. intervention by sponsoring the Diem regime in the south of
Vietnam when the French withdrew in the mid-1950s. With U.S. encouragement,
his regime refused to abide by the peace accords and hold talks and
elections to reunify the country. The Democrats under Kennedy sent ground
troops in the early 60's. The U.S. force expanded massively from 16,300
under Kennedy to more than half a million by 1967 under Lyndon Baines
Johnson, Kennedy's vice president, who won re-election in 1964 as the
supposed "peace" candidate.
The rise of a massive uncontrollable opposition within the United States and
around the world became a critical brake on the pro-war policies. An entire
generation was starting to deeply question the direction of the United
States in world affairs. The Democrats and Republicans, reflecting the
opinion of the major corporate leaders and strategists, decided they had no
choice but to pull back and concede military defeat in Vietnam because the
developing division in U.S. society threatened to result in the emergence of
a massive independent political force. This change in policy was carried out
under Republican Richard Nixon.
Saving Bush from a backlash is now on the agenda, and the positions of the
Democratic Party help Bush in several ways.
First, they seek to prevent even a small but independent critical political
development, that is they try to silence the Green Party, and they orient
those opposed to the new colonialism to stop demonstrating and focus instead
on the electoral campaigns of their Party.
Second, they seek to convince the people that what was wrong with the
invasion of Iraq was just that the United Nations -meaning the undemocratic
Security Council dominated by the wealthiest countries-- did not lend it
political cover, or that NATO was not the military form used, or that the
U.S. did not include France and Germany in stealing Iraq's resources, or
that not enough troops are being used or some other question about how
things are being done rather than what is being done.
They promise that all will be well if the Democrats can take charge and
handle the matter better. With this orientation the Democrats free the hands
of corporate America to give their funding and support to Bush. With the
exception of a relatively few isolated voices they offer, not real
opposition, but only nuances.
And those isolated voices of opposition within the Democratic Party
(Kucinich, Rev. Al Sharpton and Carol Moseley-Braun), no matter how
well-intentioned, have a negative consequence: they give legitimacy to the
Democrats as the "opponents" of the Republicans.
These exceptions to the general rule are allowed on condition that after the
primary campaigns these individuals will urge a vote for the Democratic
nominee. This must be done no matter how different that nominated
candidate's positions are from the positions taken during the primary
campaign. The cover for their political sellout is the winner-take-all
system that allows them to posture as just "opposed to Bush" as they support
the very party that has supported Bush.
Those are the dues you have to pay to "play" in that game; otherwise they
will be eliminated and driven out of the House, the Senate or a Governor's
For the Green Party there is nothing more important or effective, long-term
and short-term, in the efforts to stop Bush than to expose how the corporate
interests use their two-party system and the role of the Democrats in that
system. We must let all Americans who question the policies of Bush, who
favor the rule of law, peace, and our Constitution and Bill of Rights see
the Democratic Party's hypocrisy, how they support the war and the USA
DEMOCRATS HELP INSTITUTIONALIZE BUSH'S PLATFORM
It is transparent that the Democrats' objective is to help institutionalize
the USA PATRIOT Act and its break with our Constitution and Bill of Rights.
They do this by proposing amendments and adjustments to the law that will
disorient, divide and weaken the opposition to the USA PATRIOT Act, and give
the appearance that public concerns have been corrected.
The Democrats are making interesting suggestions for how to pursue the war
effort. Some are calling for a more extensive commitment and the sending of
more troops to suppress any resistance to U.S. domination in Iraq and
Afghanistan. Others are suggesting more flexibility in forming alliances
with European nations that had made capital investments to exploit Iraq's
oil wealth under the Saddam Hussein dictatorship. These proposals are all
aimed at continuing the denial of self-determination for the people of Iraq,
which means continuing war and continuing violation of international law.
The Democrats and Republicans both supported Saddam Hussein and the
Baathists in Iraq before 1990 when it served their interests. Now they argue
with each other over how best to oppress the Iraqis as they try to fool the
American people into thinking they are actually trying to bring the Iraqis
democracy and freedom.
The role of these two parties is not a conspiracy. Boxer, Wellstone and many
other Democrats did not vote for the USA PATRIOT Act consciously seeking to
assist Bush. Being Democrats, they become part of a system that will have
them removed if they do not follow the rules of support when corporate
America insists. To rise in the Democratic Party there is a process that
results in compliant people unable to question, who remain silent before
betrayals, or criminal acts. Cynthia McKinney is an example of a Democrat
who refused to go along, stepped across the line within the Democratic Party
and was driven out of office by the combined efforts of both the Democratic
and Republican parties and the corporate media.
The Fourth Amendment to the Constitution prohibits searches without probable
cause and a judge's order. Voting for a law that abrogates this amendment,
as the USA PATRIOT Act does directly, is an illegal act. The Democrats and
Republicans who voted for this law were fully aware of what they were doing.
It is an insult to the intelligence of people like Wellstone and Boxer to
say that they didn't fully understood the choice they were making. The Green
Party differs; it defends the Fourth Amendment and seeks to defend the
Constitution and respect for the law which provides the only method by which
the Constitution can be amended, requiring the consideration and vote of the
It should be said that there are many issues where Greens agree with
Democrats like Boxer and Wellstone, and even admire positions they have
taken and efforts they have made. But to go into denial, and refuse to
recognize the obvious --that the Democrats have joined in passing and
promoting the USA PATRIOT Act against the Constitution with the support of
people like Boxer-- is to deny the true framework we face politically in our
The self purging process of the Democratic Party is an ongoing balance
between allowing, even welcoming, voices of opposition in order to co-opt,
but not allowing those voices to form a serious challenge, especially any
challenge that favors the development of political formations not dominated
by corporate money.
SUCCESS OF DEMOCRATIC PARTY
The Democratic Party should be seen historically as the most successful
political party in the history of the world in terms of maintaining
stability for rule by the privileged few. There is no other example that
comes near what the Democratic Party has achieved in maintaining the
domination of money over people.
Through trickery, the Democratic Party co-opted the powerful and massive
rise of the Populist movement at the end of the 19th century using precisely
the same lesser evil arguments now presented against the Green Party.
They blocked the formation of a mass Labor Party when the union movement
rose in the 1930s. They derailed, co-opted and dismantled the powerful civil
rights movement, anti-Vietnam war movement and women's liberation movement.
They have even succeeded in establishing popular myths that they were once
for labor, for civil rights and for peace. Nothing could be further from the
One quite popular myth is that Franklin Delano Roosevelt was pro labor.
Continuing the policies of Woodrow Wilson who oversaw a reign of anti-union
terror, including black listing and deporting immigrant labor organizers,
FDR's administration sabotaged union drives every step of the way. When
workers overcame their bosses' resistance and began winning strikes, FDR
turned on them and gave the green light for repression after police killed
ten striking steel workers in 1937. As FDR said himself, "I'm the best
friend the profit system ever had." After WWII Truman used the new Taft
Hartley Anti-Labor Act to break national strikes more than a dozen times.
The Democrats have not abandoned "progressive" positions they once held, as
some Democrats repeatedly claim but have simply shifted further to the right
as world globalization has advanced leading to the lowering of democratic
rights and the growth of wealth polarization within the United States.
If a massive opposition develops, if the Greens begin to win races and their
following grows, the corporations will put more money behind the Democrats,
the media will become more sympathetic to the Democrats, promote their more
"progressive" voices. The media would also become more critical of the
Republican lack of sensitivity, all in an effort to maintain the two-party
system. That is, a shift towards the Democrats will occur if the Democrats
cannot control the people.
The two-party system is a self-correcting mechanism that shifts back and
forth between the two parties, and within different wings of those parties,
to maintain corporate political control. Loyalty to the two-party system is
inculcated in the educational system, and our electoral laws are rigged to
discriminate against third parties.
GREEN VOICE MUST BE HEARD
Those who call for a "lesser evil", which is still a call for evil, will
unfortunately succeed. The call for a "lesser evil" is what makes possible
the greater evil. Those voices who say Ralph Nader should not run, that the
Greens should consider withdrawing, that the Greens should not campaign in
states where the vote is close are unconsciously helping Bush's re-election
by weakening the development of an opposition political movement which could
shift the balance of forces. Nothing is more important than the appearance
of candidates and mass actions that tell the full truth, that call for the
rule of law, respect for the Bill of Rights, and speak out for peace and
There is nothing more threatening to the rule of the corporations than the
consolidation of a party of hundreds of thousands of citizens, especially
young people, that fearlessly tell the truth to the American people. Only
such a movement can in time become millions, then tens of millions and
eventually win. But it is also the best strategy for the short term, to
force a shift away from the direction being pursued today.
SHORT TERM VERSUS LONG TERM
The idea there is a conflict between the short term and the long term is a
cover for capitulation. It has been the endless argument of the Democrats
against challenges to their policies. When independent movements appear they
call on people to enter the Democratic Party and work from within. There is
no time to go outside the two-party framework, they argue. This argument was
made 100 years ago, 50 years ago, 25 years ago and, of course remains with
us today. Millions have agreed there's no time to do the right thing. Very
powerful groups, like the AFL-CIO, have followed this advice. As a result,
the number of workers in unions has dropped from 37% of the work force to
12% as they politically subordinated themselves to the pro-corporate
Rather than success, these movements have found the Democratic Party to be
the burial ground for mass movements, and of third-party efforts that sought
to defend the interests of the people throughout American history.
If we follow the advice of the "left" Democrats who call on Greens to return
to the Democratic Party, the Green Party will collapse like the New Party
did for fear of confronting the Democrats.
The exact opposite is needed. We need to encourage those Democrats who are
opposing the policies of their party to follow the lead of Congressman Dan
Hamburg and break with the Democrats and join with us in developing an
alternative force, fighting for democracy, social justice and peace.
All people who believe in democracy need to call on The Nation and others to
stop their campaign against the Greens, a campaign at the service of
corporate America. Instead they should join with the Greens in a battle for
democracy in the same manner in which many progressive Democrats in San
Francisco rejected their party's nomination for mayor and joined with the
Greens to create a progressive alternative. We need to suggest to
"progressive" Democrats that they should concentrate their attacks on the
leadership of their party and its support for George Bush's policies, and
not on the Greens for telling the truth and actually fighting for the ideals
many of these Democrats claim to hold.
THE YEAR 2004
The year 2004 is a critical year for the Greens. The campaign of the
Democrats will be powerful and to some extent effective. Some will abandon
us but others will be attracted by our courage and our principled stance. In
California, the Green registration continues to rise even as the campaign
against the Green Party grows. We may very well receive a lower vote than in
2000. But if we do not stand up to this pressure and hold our banner high,
fight them and defend our right to exist, to have our voice heard, to run
candidates that expose the two-party system and the hypocrisy of the
Democratic Party and its complicity with the Republicans, we will suffer the
greatest lost of all.
THE GREEN PARTY
The Green Party can and will win the hearts and minds of people when they
see us as reliable and unshakeable, if we stand our ground. In time this
leads to respect and then support. Those Greens who agree with the Ten Key
Values but have disagreements with this Avocado Declaration need to be
respected. We need to allow an open and honest debate as an essential part
of our culture.
Truth can only be ascertained through the conflict of ideas. Thus democracy
is essential for society but also for our internal process. The present
discussion around the 2004 elections is one that will not end but will be
with us for a long time. It finds expression in many forms because it is the
most FUNDAMENTAL ISSUE of American politics in our epoch. Are we willing to
stand up to the rule of corporate domination and its central political agent
that has deceived and betrayed our people, the Democratic Party?
THE GREEN PARTY MUST BE A PLURALISTIC ORGANIZATION
The Green Party seeks to bring all those who agree with its Ten Key Values
into one unified political party. It welcomes diversity, debate, and
discussion on issues of strategy, tactics and methods of functioning. By its
nature, a healthy organization that fights for the interests of the people
will always have internal conflicts, sharp differences, personality
difficulties and all other things human. This is not only normal, it is
The Greens do not consider themselves a substitute for other movements or
organizations, such as peace organizations and other specific issue groups
that seek to unite people of all political persuasions around a specific
platform. We welcome diversity with other groups that seek to move in the
same direction with us but are not agreed to join us. We will try to work
with such organizations where common ground exists. Thus the AVOCADO
DECLARATION includes a call for the Greens to accept diversity, and maintain
unity as we seek to build an effective mass organization.
Let those that agree with the AVOCADO DECLARATION help protect and build the
Green Party as a vehicle for democracy, freedom, liberty and justice for
ORIGINALLY DISTRIBUTED ON JANUARY 01, 2004
AVOCADO EDUCATION PROJECT
The Avocado Education Project (AEP) educates about the history of struggles
for democracy in the United States and their relationship to a multi-party
political system. Americans have repeatedly called for a multi party
democracy throughout our history. Since the founding of the United States of
America, the political establishment has rejected moving towards a
Related to this development is the one person, one vote issue that has also
faced a long uphill battle in U.S. history. While often accepted as the goal
of democracy, many U.S. institutions, such as the Electoral College and the
U.S. Senate reject the concept of one person, one vote.
The AEP seeks to learn from the experience of the majority of nations
holding elections where multi-party systems exists, whose laws protect
one-person one-vote and where the juridical electoral forms favoring a
two-party system have been rejected.
Specifically the AEP is a project that focuses on the existing debate within
the United States on this issue. Should the U.S. electoral system favor
limiting elections to two parties or should it be opened up to a multi-party
system? Should governmental electoral institutions and electoral forms that
do not follow the one-person one-vote rule be allowed to exist?
Should entities that are not people and do not follow a one-person one-vote
policy in their own decision making, such as corporations, be allowed to
participate in elections through financial donations?
Through its website, publications, conferences and symposiums, the AEP will
provide a forum where all those committed to advancing democracy in the
United States can share ideas, and learn from each other.
Note: The website url will be available soon.