Greens do not sign loyalty oaths – Peter Camejo
Here’s more on the upcoming Green Party national convention, where David Cobb loyalists have rammed through a rule saying delegates must sign a loyalty oath to only support the Green candidate. Translation: Cobb supporters wish to make it impossible for delegates to support Nader in any way, shape, form, or manner. How Orwellian and right wing of them…
The highly respected Peter Camejo, twice Green Party candidate for governor in California, has written an eloquent open letter slamming the Cobb forces for, among other things, being undemocratic and “neo-Stalinist.”
It’s long – and worth reading, even if you aren’t a Green. Camejo has been an organizer and activist for decades and his experience and genuine commitment to openness and democracy is obvious here.
Excerpts from Peter Camejo’s open letter follow. (It appears to be a rough draft, so there’s a few typos, however it is authentic.)
“A new concept never seen before in the Green Party, to my knowledge, has appeared for the Nominating Convention. A new rule requiring that a delegate before they can participate in the convention must sign a loyalty oath to the “Presidential Candidates nominated by the Convention”. They must in writing declare: “to not oppose the Presidential and Vice Presidential candidates nominated by the convention.”
At first glance this may not seem so onerous especially written in the negative. But the concept behind such an oath as a criteria for being certified for delegates duly elected by their state at a nominating convention runs counter to the fundamental concept of the Green Party as a voluntary organization of individuals required only to agree with Ten Key Points that outline the goals and aspirations of the Green Party.
Its members retain at all times the right to say what they want, when they want to, and to agree or disagree, to work with or work against any candidate. No such issue can be a condition of participation in the proceedings of our Party.
We are NOT a centralist party!
We win people because they become convinced of the views or ideas being projected. If any candidate in our party takes positions that other members disagree with strongly they should feel totally free to express themselves in any way the wish privately or publicly.
Greens have every right to be delegates and argue their views and if the convention rejects it by nominating a candidate for president that opposes lesser evil voting they are free to support John Kerry, obviously working against the convention nominee. What are the promoters of the Loyalty Oath going to do? Are we going to begin expelling people in the Green Party that agree with our ten points but disagree with conventions decision? The logic of the Loyalty Oath flies in the face of the Green Party’s political openness and diversity.
Where did the idea of this loyalty oath originate? It appears to come from Ginny Case one of the top David Cobb campaign managers in California who co-chaired the commission for these rules. In my opinion this rule reflects a sectarian turn in our party being promoted by the David Cobb campaign.
It is sectarian to state that duly elected Greens cannot attend and represent the rank and file of our movement unless they sign a Loyalty Oath to not oppose whom ever the convention endorses. Greens should never give any candidate a blank check. If David Cobb’s campaign does not agree with these neo-Stalinist centralist concepts he should publicly join with me in calling for its withdrawal.
This Loyalty Oath issue is the kind of problem that leads to divisions in the party. Ginny Case has announced publicly in the Party that she will no longer give financial support to the party if it chooses to endorse a candidate that is not a Green. That is in a very indirect way she has already declared she will violate the Loyalty Oath of the nominating convention if it does not go her way and yet she is the promoter of the Loyalty Oath.
I urge all Green delegates to refuse to sign the loyalty oath as in violations of the principles of openness and the rights of all Greens to speak their mind, act on their conscious and with full respect of other Greens work for or against any candidate depending on their conscious.
I am a delegate. I will not sign the loyalty oath.
Does this mean that the convention will not sit me? I am declaring that I will never sign any loyalty oath of any kind in the Green Party. When I was 20 years old I was drafted into the US army. At that time they had an illegal loyalty oath one had to sign. I refused. I would not sign it. The army never took it to court where they would lose because the oath was unconstitutional. Instead they denied me the right to serve in the Army. I protested it but my protest was rejected and I was issued a 4F rating, the rating used primarily to not allows homosexuals to participate in the army. When you went to apply for a job you had to state what your draft rating was a 4F often lead to being summarily rejected for employment. I had it happen several times.
While this loyalty oath is certainly different it poses the same question, what is the consequence of refusing to sign it? Are you banned from presenting your Green views and serving as a delegate? What if a delegate signs it and then violates it? What unit of the Green Party will prosecute these deviant Greens that openly exercise their opinions?
Are we going to set up our own little FBI in charge of determining when this Oath is violated, to establish rules of conducts for delegates after the convention etc. This flies in the face of our traditions, our openness; our accepting of diversity and our commitment that truth can only be achieved through the conflict of ideas.”
Let’s hope this noxious Loyalty Oath gets whacked at the convention, never to raise its twisted little head again – and in my view, the Cobb forces, for all practical purposes, are a fifth column.