The Socialist Salon hosted a community forum on “left parties” and the possibility of working with the Democratic Party to create social change in our country that matches the ideals of the current “third parity’s” ideals. The event was held at the Joyce Beers Community Center on 9/19 with panelists from the Peace and Freedom Party, Green Party and PDA/Progressive Democrats of America.
The PDA representative did not make it to the meeting so Jerry Malamud, a PDA member, added some information to the discussion about the PDA perspective.
Miriam Clark, Peace and Freedom Party candidate for the 50th Congressional District, gave the group a historical litany of our governments moral indiscretions from the Vietnam War through our government’s repeated inappropriate imperialist actions in Central America and ending with the current imperial wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Although Ms. Clark never actually stated that she would not be able to work with the Democratic Party she made it clear, both by her comments and her current campaign, that she feels the parties in power are morally bankrupt and should not be approached as partners.
Hugh Moore, Co-Chair of the San Diego County Green Party, showed the group a short PowerPoint presentation explaining the Green Party’s 10 key values that he indicated are the core basis on how all policies that the Green Party supports are derived from. His presentation stressed the need for a moral guide that a party should follow rather than basing the platform of a party on the current party’s membership’s ideas of what is acceptable at a specific point in time.
His presentation ended with a comic that indicated there was no difference between President Bush and President Obama. Again, no statement of refusing to work with the Democratic Party but the message was very clear that the Democratic Party has lost the ability to lead due to their past record of support for immoral policies.
Jerry Malamud, a member of PDA for many years who spoke as a representative of the PDA without the benefit of time to prepare, indicated that he felt their organization was successfully working within the Democratic Party to achieve socially progressive policies even though that progress was slow.
He not only stated that he felt many of President Obama’s new policies had benefited the majority of the population but felt that the current administration needed to be supported by the politically left populous because any vote for a third party might as well be counted as a vote for the Republican Party.
After the presentations from the panelists the discussion was opened up to the group present (about 30 people) and not only was every person allowed time to speak but every person did speak with many ideas for different political actions being presented.
Some of the ideas discussed were:
- the possibility of supporting an action of a vote boycott: to demonstrate the public’s frustration about the current government’s policies by not giving consent to be governed;
- the possibility of third parties moving their focus of action to supporting the needs of minorities: to demonstrate that the third parties are actually interested in the needs of the disenfranchised and possibly to improve their membership in communities that up to now have had minimal voter participation;
- the need to find objectives that are common among third parties and take actions that everyone can agree on: the goal of which would be to speak with one voice and be able to have a larger impact on the political process; and other ideas.
No final decision was reached by the group on the topic of working with the Democratic Party but everyone present was given information that they may not have previously had and hopefully each person will now have the knowledge needed to make their own decision on the topic of the forum.