A classic of Green Party history, the "Avocado Declaration" by Peter Camejo. Some describe themselves as "watermelons": "green on outside, red on inside", meant to evoke more of a Marxist attitude.

The Avocado Declaration states we're "green inside & out" marxists.org/archive/camejo…
The Avocado attitude comes from the idea that Green socialism is its own tendency, different from other forms of socialism. Particularly when you look at influences like Murray Bookchin's social ecology, it's easy to see a different praxis than that suggested by Marxist orgs.
Let's look at a few of the most standout parts of the Avocado Declaration and see how much applies to today still. (The original was written in early 2004).
"History shows that the Democrats and Republicans are not two counterposed forces but rather complementary halves of a single two-party system"

Camejo identifies the two parties taking on the same economic policy in about 1872; the two cooperate to prevent mass movements.
"Since the Civil War, without exception, the Democratic Party has opposed all mass struggles for democracy and social justice."

Camejo points out how Democrats have opposed all movements for civil & political rights, but revisionism pretends them to be "champions" of the people.
"When social justice, peace, or civil rights movements become massive in scale, ..., the Democratic Party begins to shift and presents itself as a supposed ally, always seeking to co-opt the movement, demobilize its forces, and block its development..."
The GOP "argues ideologically for policies benefiting the corporate rulers."

Democrats are different, "It acts 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..."
Careerists in the Democratic Party are those that learn to manipulate the masses with leftist-sounding language that co-opts people toward corporate positions while pretending to be opposition.
"One important value of the Democratic Party to the corporate world is that it makes the Republican Party possible through the maintenance of stability essential for business as usual by preventing a genuine mass opposition from developing."
"The Democratic Party preaches defeatism to the most oppressed and exploited. Nothing can be expected, nothing is possible but what exists, and what continues is betrayal of what could be with the argument of lesser evil. It’s the Republicans or us. Nothing else is possible."
Camejo focuses a bit on "the rule of law" which is a little confusing to me. While making good points about the aftermath of 9/11 and attacks on freedom, US Constitutional law was never particularly democratic to begin with so I don't quite see "rule of law" being so important.
Camejo seems to be equating the "rule of law" with democracy, which isn't quite the same. But certainly we want democratic decision making respected, rather than authoritarian oligarchic rule.
Camejo goes on to point out how the Democratic Party was overwhelminingly in favor of the Republican-proposed changes and attacks on democracy. Even the "progressives" voted for it, much as we're seeing today with new progressives like AOC continuing to vote for imperialism.
"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."
Camejo essentially argues that the Democratic Party tolerates and even wants a few dissenters to keep up appearances, as long as the oligarchy knows it continues to maintain power in votes and actual decision making.
"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.”"

Democrats must have a monopoly on "resistance" so it can control the message.
"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."
This really hits home in 2020. Democrats worked hard to throw Howie Hawkins, the Green nominee, off the ballot in many states. Camejo notes that the purpose is specifically to prevent democracy & peace candidates.
"Never in the history of the United States has a magazine claiming to favor democracy run a front page article calling on an individual to not run for president"

Younger folks don't realize how popular Nader was, and how much corporate media had to smear him to stop him.
"For the Green Party there is nothing more important or effective long-term and short-term in stopping Bush than to expose how the corporate interests use their two-party system and the role of the Democrats in that system."
Camejo spends a few paragraphs discussing all the Democrat crossover to support Republicans and a corporate agenda within the Dems, and concludes that for Greens one important objective is exposing the corporate control of both parties and the system as a whole.
Next Camejo comments on how the Democrats act as a "self-correcting mechanism" to upkeep two-party rule.

"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 leads to compliant people unable to question, who remain silent before betrayals or criminal acts."

As mentioned earlier, the top ranks of the Democratic Party become full of careerists that learn to cater to corporations.
More troublingly, this means anyone that plans a "career" in politics must ultimately fall in line or be kicked out of the party, the system, and the career. One must find a new job. Be wary of folks that seek a career in Democratic politics.
"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."
McKinney actually became the Green presidential nominee in 2008, although did not receive a particularly high vote total. By this point "Obamamania" was sweeping the progressive movement.
"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..."

A callback to earlier where Camejo argued Dems *like* some dissent.
A small amount of controlled dissent in a controlled primary allows the Democratic party to continue to pretend to be on the side of the people while consciously support & voting for the same corporate agenda as Republicans.
"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."

Camejo hits the nail on the head here. The Democrats are very successful at squashing dissent.
"The Democratic Party through trickery co-opted the powerful and massive rise of the Populist movement at the end of the 19th century precisely using the same “lesser evil” arguments now presented against the Green Party."
This refers to Democrat efforts against unionizing and independent politics like the Socialist Party in the late 1800s. Democrats ordered state police & private armies (e.g., the Pinkertons) to attack union strongholds in places like Pittsburgh.
The Socialist Party was rapidly growing and winning seats at all levels of government. SPUSA had thousands of municipal officials, many state legislators, and even a couple of members of Congress at its height.

Democrats colluded with Republicans to stop their growth.
One, Dems joined Rs in creating Espionage/Sedition Acts, and jailed Socialist Party leaders for speaking out against war. They also collaborated to make the complex system of ballot access we see today, purposely designed to make independent politics as difficult as possible.
"They [the Democratic Party] blocked the formation of a mass Labor Party when the union movement rose in the 1930s."

As the Socialist Party was weakened, other attempts were made at Labor Parties and People's Parties, but they all failed as Democrats co-opted the movement.
The biggest slap in the face was FDR accepting the New Deal, which was a watered-down and mild version of the Socialist Party platform that was gaining traction.

As FDR put it, he "saved capitalism" by taking these steps to squash dissent and independent movements.
"They derailed, co-opted and dismantled the powerful civil rights movement, Vietnam antiwar 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."
While dismantling the radical messaging of these movements -- always much more about democracy and socialism than we read about in today's history books -- Democrats also like to claim that they stand FOR these things! Historically that wasn't exactly true.
Democrats have never been leaders on any of these issues, and have often actually been obstructionists. Civil rights leaders including Martin Luther King complained about them. Unions and the environmental movement also saw opposition to their policies.
MLK famously wrote that the "white moderate" that wanted to "set a timetable on another man's freedom" was extremely frustrating to him and one of his biggest hurdles to overcome in the civil rights struggle.
"If a massive opposition develops, if the Greens begin to win races and its following grows, the corporations will put more money behind the Democrats, the media will become more sympathetic to the Democrats, and promote its more “progressive” voices."

Camejo points to media.
From the low point after Nader's 2000 run, Greens built up a new movement particularly with Jill Stein that was beginning to reach back toward Nader's numbers. Those growth numbers must have been making Democrats nervous.
While Stein got some mild corporate media coverage in 2016 such as a CNN Town Hall, the 2020 Green candidate Howie Hawkins was completely locked out of all media while they focused on Bernie & AOC. As Camejo predicted, Democrats will ramp up media against perceived threats.
"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."

Camejo recognizing the surprising adaptability of this two-party arrangement.
"Loyalty to the two-party system is inculcated in the educational system, and our electoral laws are rigged to discriminate against third parties."

Folks that grow up and learn "activism" from the system learn loyalty to the two party system & grow to expect third party losses.
“The assumption that what currently exists must necessarily exist is the acid that corrodes all visionary thinking.”

-- Murray Bookchin
Camejo wraps up his essay by focusing on the "lesser evil" argument that is taught to today's activists.

"The call for a “lesser evil” is what makes possible the greater evil."
Those "who say 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, actually helping Bush’s re-election by weakening the development of an opposition political movement..."
Camejo's comment here was actually directed at a number of Greens that took Nader's loss and subsequent labeling as a "spoiler" to heart. Afraid to meet the same fate as Nader, some Greens began arguing Greens should not run a presidential campaign, or campaign in "safe states".
Sadly, the "spoiler" label did not exist much before 2000 (historically, it wasn't that weird at all for multiple candidates to run for president and even win electoral votes), but a few Greens helped make that perjorative stick by embracing it instead of fighting it.
This disagreement is pretty well-documented in the book "The Green Party Strategy Debate" edited by Howie Hawkins. Hawkins advocated proudly running in every state, while some others did not. Most Greens wanted Nader to run again, but there was a vocal minority opposed.
Long story short, Nader did not receive the nomination in 2004, instead a relative unknown David Cobb was the nominee. Cobb received only a fraction of Nader's votes, sadly helping both the "spoiler" label stick as well as giving a sense that Greens weren't growing.
Ironically, folks working on the Bernie Sanders campaign have reported that Bernie desperately wanted to avoid Nader's fate, and that prompted him to avoid running as an independent. Similar to Cobb, he's sadly likely to fade into history as a result of not standing up.
"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 social justice."

Returning to Camejo's point, it's clear we must run everywhere.
"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."

Youth are the future! Shameless plug for @GPUSyouth.
"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."
Lastly, Camejo comments on this perceived tension of short-term and long-term strategy.

"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."

We see this every year when Democrats tell us "This isn't the year to vote Green!". When will it be?
And here Camejo points out a huge hole in these arguments:

"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."

This isn't a temporary "strategy" but an excuse.
To the Democratic Party establishment & their political supporters that benefit from the neoliberal system, there will NEVER be a "right time" to organize independently because they simply DON'T WANT IT. They like the system how it is, their job is to stop YOU from changing it.
In 2020, we couldn't because Trump.
In 2018, we couldn't because Dems need to win the House.
In 2016, we couldn't because Trump again.
In 2014, we couldn't because Dems need the House.
In 2012, we couldn't because you're not going to oppose Obama are you??

See the pattern?
This strategy has been an utter failure at preventing the advance of right-wing fascism, because it was never meant to prevent fascism, only to keep winning corporations more control and more profits. Both parties continue to OPENLY move more right-wing as a result.
"As a result the number of workers in unions has dropped from 37 per cent of the work force to 12 per cent as they politically subordinated themselves to the pro-corporate Democratic Party."

As activists worked "within", they lost their real independent political power.
"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 interest of the people throughout American history."
"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..."

Progressive Dems need to join Greens, not the other way around.
"We need to suggest to “progressive” Democrats that they should concentrate their attacks on their leadership’s 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."
Notice how many of these quotes could easily apply to today if you just substitute in the appropriate names.

"Progressives" should concentrate on Trump's policies, not kicking Greens off the ballot for telling the truth and actually fighting for the ideals they claim to hold.
"The year 2004 will be 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."

Again, substitute in 2020 or 2024 and still applies.
"if we do not stand up..., 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."
This applies more than ever as climate change & social issues only grow more urgent. The change we need to make comes from establishing a truly democratic society, which means creating something new outside of today's system. The Green Party must be a step in that direction.
We cannot believe in ourselves and rally enough people around democracy if we are afraid to stand up on these important issues and declare our independent from corporations the capitalist profit motive. We need a Green Party, because Greens are us. We need ourselves to be heroes.
I didn't mean for this to be such a long thread; was actually going to write a blog post later and just drop a few comments but got really into it as I was reading along again for the first time in a while. Check out the full Declaration. marxists.org/archive/camejo…
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More from @PghGreenLeft

11 Dec
This video is of Elizabeth Warren before she became Senator when she wasn't afraid to call out Dem leaders for representing corporations not people.

How much of this story now applies to Warren herself? How many of today's "progressives" will do the same?
It's quite simple -- if you don't have the strength of will and organizing skills to proudly run as an independent, then how are you going to stand up to corporate pressures while in office?

Progressive activists need to be very careful who they are giving their time/money to.
It's no coincidence that the people afraid to declare independent opposition to the system get elected and then start voting for imperialism, massive war budgets, and more, despite all their progressive talk.

If you cave to "I have to run Democrat", what else do you cave to?
Read 7 tweets
8 May
I accidentally found myself reading US Green Party history late last night and I didn't realize how deep the tension is between the more liberal Greens & socialist Greens going back to the founding of the party. No wonder some demonize Howie, it's a personal feud at this point.
Howie was basically the leader of the Left Green socialist faction in the party going back to the 1980s, arguing that Greens needed to be a working-class movement. While electoral politics is an element of that strategy, it shouldn't be the only or even major focus, he argued.
So when Howie says he's a party co-founder, he's not wrong. He founded the Left Green Network that was a precursor to a real national party, which became the Greens/Green Party USA, which was basically that leftist/socialist faction in the party.
Read 28 tweets
4 Aug 19
Entirely reasonable given its severity! Importantly, once you look at the causes and solutions to climate, you realize how intertwined everything is. We have to address capitalism, imperialism, racism, & build democracy to effectively deal with pollution & climate long-term.
Climate change isn't a "single issue", that's an establishment talking point. It is the UNIFYING issue, the end result of a combination of a host of other problems. We cannot significantly tackle climate without addressing root causes -- carbon emissions alone aren't enough!
Capitalism causes the climate crisis, because the endless drive for profit means an endless consumption of greater and greater amounts of resources. You cannot have forever growth. Period. Pretending that you can results in the pollution and problems we see today.
Read 50 tweets
28 Nov 18
The Socialist Party was winning elections in early 1900s and proved a strong opponent to the Dems & GOP, especially when combined with unions and strikes. I believe an independent party is needed yet again.
The Socialist Party was on track to become a major party in US politics until many anti-war socialist and union leaders were jailed during the World Wars (in particular, horrible laws like Sedition Act of 1918).
More or less, the final nail in the coffin was FDR's New Deal, which was largely based on demands from the Socialist Party platform. It was a compromise to "save capitalism", in FDR's words -- keep capitalism by creating a social safety net to reduce tensions.
Read 43 tweets

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