The too-soonness is twofold: The first fold is that, along with the general good feelings of accomplishment and the largest attendance ever for an ANM outside of Presidential Nominating Conventions, there was conflict aplenty in Newark, some of it downright bitter. Second, as Kevin Zeese might attest, the dissension can be viewed as growing pains; what appears as disintegration may in the end prove to be evolution.
By my reckoning, I have read and enjoyed Zeese's insightful essays online, at Counterpunch and elsewhere, for about 15 years. He is adept at pointing out hypocrisy and anti-humanity in our corporatocracy. When he reveals racism or racist motives, he generally takes care to provide evidence to support his claims.
Thus I find it rather painful to see Zeese associate comrades like Jill Stein and David Cobb with white supremacy within the Party—even more painful than seeing Bill Crosier conducting ostensibly racist employment practices at Pacifica. Knowing them, I also find it very difficult to imagine them trying to take over. To add to that pain, on her Facebook page, katija assana gruene has also thrown the phrase "white supremacist" in their direction since returning from the ANM.
While I can take heart that Counterpunch has published something about the Green Party that isn't a smear piece since Yoav Litvin's hit-job on Caitlin Johnstone (sorry, not gonna link to it), it's both troubling and refreshing to read this kind of candor from the inside. I have a feeling that the editorial crew at Counterpunch decided to green-light it (pun intended) because it shows Cobb in such a bad light: troubling because it brings internal strife out into the open; refreshing, even encouraging, because it reflects the diversification of the Party. CP also posted a follow-up to Litvin's piece declaring that Cobb's 2004 presidential nomination doomed the Greens to irrelevance (also not linking to that).
What I will gladly link to is Cobb and Johnstone's joint defense against the recent smearage.
Yes, We Have Work to Do—Myself Included
Our predominantly white old guard will have to adapt to a multi-ethnic, multi-cultural mosaic of members. My 18 years of familiarity with Cobb, for example, leads me to believe that he is both willing and able to make the adjustment, and to own up to anything he does that may smack of white supremacy; I gather from Zeese's words that he believes or hopes the same. Here are two paragraphs that I perceive as central to Zeese's thesis:
First, we need to get the full story on the extent of Stein-Cobb interference in elections. Did they have any involvement in the negative smears against [Andrea] Mérida [Cuellar]? Did they pressure members of the Green Party of Colorado to attack Mérida? Was there any involvement between them and a false, smear letter about Mérida at Standing Rock? Why didn’t Stein and Cobb publicly endorse what came to be considered their slate? Why were they making calls in private instead of being public? Delegates are supposed to represent their state, so was the Stein-Cobb interference a violation of Green ethics? What role did they have with the Black Caucus’ action?
The second task is even more important. The Greens need to continue to face up to internal race issues. The Green Party needs to put systems in place that will ensure black people, youths, women and other groups are represented throughout the party and play key leadership roles. Members of the various caucuses need to be at the forefront in designing these new systems.
In light of all this, I wish Zeese weren't so eager to pin a Supremacist badge on Stein and Cobb just because they oppose an outspoken Latina's re-election to the GPUS Steering Committee. Why point out that two of the African American candidates who were not elected to the SC were secretly favored candidates of Stein and Cobb? At least he didn't assert that the two were stooges of the white GP establishment, or nominated just to make that establishment look less racist.
In addition, I wish that Zeese had reached out to Cobb for a deeper explanation of his behavior and motivations. I hope that Cobb will issue his customary measured and rational response to Zeese and his accusations. I went looking for the Facebook thread on the essay, but alas I could not find it. Perhaps tomorrow?
For now, despite the fissures within the Green Party, Progressives in the US and elsewhere should note that at least this party is willing to acknowledge publicly when its members and leadership have said or done something with racial or racist implications, and then work toward a remedy. (Please note that this is not true of all the members, and that some of us have work to do.) I'll take that over the gleeful racism, covert and overt, of the Republicans. I'll take that over the denialism of white Democrats, the nowhere-else-to-go attitude of black and brown Democrats. I'll definitely take that over the neoliberal policies of both parties that do direct damage to families of color all over the world.