Statement from Power to the People Campaign Supporters
Vote for Cynthia McKinney and Rosa Clemente
on November 4!
Where We Stand on the “Four Points of Unity” Agreement
between Ron Paul, Chuck Baldwin, Bob Barr,
Cynthia McKinney and Ralph Nader
We, the undersigned activists for independent political action, call on Blacks, Latinos, youth, and working people as a whole to vote for the Cynthia McKinney-Rosa Clemente Power to the People ticket on November 4, 2008.
We support the Power to People campaign because of the call in its political platform for Reparations to the Black Nation for slavery and its continuing legacy; Black self-determination; full amnesty – legalization for all immigrants; an end to the ICE raids and deportations; for the unfettered right to unionization for all workers, whether “legal” or “illegal”; repeal of all “free trade” agreements that destroy nations around the world and force millions of people to migrate to the United States to feed their families; and election integrity that actually counts the votes of all the voters, among many other vital planks.
We have campaigned for the Power to the People campaign because of Sister McKinney’s publicly stated objective of using her campaign to lay the groundwork for an independent Black-led political party, a Reconstruction Party, rooted in the Black-Brown alliance, that could both set an example for, and provide the first step toward, the formation of a political party of the entire working class — a Labor Party.
Today, in the aftermath of the bipartisan vote in the Congress to bail out the speculators on the backs of working people in this country, and, in particular, on the backs of Black people, the fight for a clean break with the Republicrats and the building of a genuine independent working class alternative has become a burning necessity.
Rarely has the one party of Capital, with its two wings, the Democrats and Republicans, revealed its anti-worker and anti-oppressed nationalities agenda so openly. Obama, Bush, Pelosi, and McCain all joined hands in dealing one of the sharpest blows ever dealt to working people in this country when they lobbied for and then voted for the $850 billion bailout for Wall Street. The first to be attacked will be Blacks and Latinos.
It is from this vantage point that we feel compelled to express our disagreement with one political act taken by Sister McKinney, which we consider a political error insofar as it points away from independent political action for working class and oppressed people.
We have written to Sister McKinney requesting that she clarify her position on the questions we raise in this statement. If and when she does — which we hope very much — we will gladly forward her response to all our supporters.
In a nutshell, we disagree with Sister McKinney’s decision on September 10 to sign a political document — the “Four Points of Unity” — together with rightwing Republican Congressman Ron Paul, Constitution Party presidential candidate Chuck Baldwin, Libertarian Party presidential candidate Bob Barr, and independent presidential candidate Ralph Nader.
The “Four Points of Unity” document deals with a whole host of issues pertaining to (1) foreign policy, (2) privacy/civil liberties, (3) the national debt, and (4) the Federal Reserve.
On the surface, most of the issues appear to be consistent with policy statements put forward by the Power to the People campaign. But this is not the problem. The problem is that signing a four-point political platform — whatever its political content — in common with a rightwing capitalist politician like Ron Paul represents a departure from an independent political campaign. It sends a signal that Ron Paul, a dangerous racist and populist demagogue, is a potential political ally in the struggle for peace and for the rights of Blacks, Latinos, and working people in general. It legitimizes Ron Paul in the eyes of the supporters of the Power to the People committee.
Such a unity platform, moreover, creates the illusion that Sister McKinney’s positions are the same as those of Ron Paul on the issues of privacy/civil liberties, national debt, and monetary policy, when in fact they are diametrically opposed.
On what basis do we make such a claim?
While Sister McKinney has proposed to bring the Federal Reserve under democratic and public control, Ron Paul wants to eliminate it entirely and return to a completely unregulated and entirely private-sector system of banking.
Sister McKinney’s 10-Point Platform calls for many programs that require and deserve government spending: A Department of Peace, a rebuilding of the country’s infrastructure, a massive public works program focused on renewable energy and public transportation, Reparations for the Black nation, living wage jobs for all workers, single payer healthcare, expanded and improved public education, and ending student and homeowner debt, to name but a few.
She has called for funding all these programs by taxing the rich, nationalizing the Federal Reserve Bank and other financial institutions, and transferring appropriations out of the military and prison industrial complexes and into these vital social programs. There is nothing inconsistent about her call to spend government money on these programs and her proposal to stop growing the national debt.
Ron Paul, on the other hand, calls for abolishing all public sector social programs, including Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and public education. He proposes doing all this in the name of “balancing the budget.” He also believes that it is not Black people, but the slave owners who should receive reparations. In an interview with “Meet the Press” on Dec. 23, 2007, he went so far as to condemn Abraham Lincoln for going to war against the Confederacy, arguing that “slavery could have been phased out over time … by buying and releasing the slaves.”
How about “unity” with Ron Paul on “Privacy” and “Civil Liberties”?
While Ron Paul and his supporters present him as a staunch defender of civil liberties, it is clear to anyone who looks closely at his record that Ron Paul is only a defender of civil liberties for some.
In 1987, Ron Paul began to publish a periodical journal called “The Ron Paul Political Report” with the help of Lew Rockwell, a rightwing member of the Libertarian Party.
In the June 15, 1992, issue of this publication (Volume VI, No. 6) Ron Paul argues that Black people in the United States have too many civil rights! The eight-page white-nationalist tirade includes such statements as these:
“Opinion polls consistently show that only about 5% of Blacks have sensible political opinions.”
“I think it safe to assume that 95% of the black males in that city [Washington, DC] are semi-criminal or entirely criminal.”
“We are constantly told that it is evil to be afraid of black men, but it is hardly irrational. Black men commit murders, rapes, robberies, muggings, and burglaries all out of proportion to their numbers.”
“Blacks have ‘civil rights,’ quotas, mandated hiring preferences, set asides for government contracts, gerrymandered voting districts, black bureaucracies, black mayors, black curricula in schools, black TV shows, black TV anchors, hate crime laws, and public humiliation for anyone who dares question the black agenda.”
While Ron Paul’s supporters like to talk about his opposition to the federal “Defense of Marriage” Act, they don’t like to mention his vote in favor of banning adoptions by gay couples in Washington, DC. It is also clear from his own website that Ron Paul does not think that “privacy” or “freedom” includes a woman’s right to control her own reproductive system. Ron Paul also does not think it includes a worker’s right to organize a union on the job.
According to “On The Issues,” Ron Paul opposed the principle of gender-equal pay, opposed the principle of collective bargaining in the workplace, opposed the existence of the minimum wage, and opposed adding sexual orientation to the list of protected categories in the Employment Non-Discrimination Act.
It is hardly surprising then, given Ron Paul’s contempt for Black people, gay people, women, and working class people in general, that he also holds immigrants in deep contempt. He virulently opposes any kind of amnesty for undocumented immigrants, and advocates an amendment to the Constitution to alter who can be a citizen by birth.
Being born in the United States does not make you an American in the eyes of Ron Paul. He wants to see proof that both your parents were citizens in order to consider you a member of his nation. He wants all government services to be rendered in English only, and wants English to be declared the “official language” of the United States.
He voted YES on border fence/militarization funding in September 2006, YES on reporting undocumented workers who receive hospital treatment in May 2004, and he sponsored a bill banning student visas from all nations that the federal government claims are “terrorist nations” in January 2003. Ron Paul is also highly praised and supported by a number of fascist vigilante groups who use extra-legal, armed, and violent means of pursuing their agenda. And he does not distance himself from these supporters.
One such group of Ron Paul lovers operates an openly neo-fascist website called StormFront. Another such group, larger and more professionally organized, is the outfit known as the Minutemen. This organization hunts down immigrants while they cross the border and while they are seeking employment. It deploys armed groups to interfere with rallies and political meetings of immigrants and their supporters. It conducts violent raids on immigrants in their homes, breaking and entering, holding the immigrants at gunpoint, calling Homeland Security, and handing the immigrants over to ICE agents when they arrive.
The federal government is actively encouraging and cooperating with these vigilantes. On June 6, 2006, the federal government approval of the Minutemen was rendered a matter of Congressional Record by House vote number 2006-224 and the approval of amendment 968 to Homeland Security appropriations bill 5441. “Voting YES on this amendment supports the Minuteman Project, a group of volunteers who have taken on surveillance of the Mexican border for illegal immigrants,” stated Ron Paul, a co-sponsor of this amendment.
The amendment states that U.S. funds will not be used to tell the Mexican government about the whereabouts of the estimated 7,000 Minuteman Project “volunteers.”
Because of his support for this amendment and his overall anti-immigrant stance, Ron Paul received the Minutemen’s endorsement of his Republican primary race — an endorsement Ron Paul said he greatly “appreciated.”
Sister McKinney, in her campaign platform and in her public statements throughout the campaign, loudly championed the struggle for amnesty/legalization for all undocumented immigrants. She denounced the Wall of Shame on the border and called for full rights, including union rights, for all immigrants living in this country. She called for the repeal of the “Free Trade” treaties that destroy the economies south of the border and force millions to risk their lives traveling to the United States in search of the means to feed their families.
We believe that signing onto a “Four Points of Unity” document with such an overt racist, immigrant-hater and rightwing demagogue as Ron Paul gives unwarranted credibility to this enemy of Blacks, Latinos and the entire working class.
We very much hope Sister McKinney will clarify her views on these important political questions for all her supporters and potential voters. Doing so will only strengthen the Power to the People campaign and the struggle to build a genuine political alternative for Blacks, Latinos, youth and all working people.
In unity and struggle,
Editorial Board, The Organizer Newspaper
Al Rojas, Coordinator, Frente de Mexicanos en el Exterior (Front of Mexicans Abroad)
Luis Magaña, Coordinator, Organizacion de Trabajadores Agrícolas de California (Organization of Agricultural Workers of California)
Rodrigo Ibarra, Editor, El Organizador
This statement was composed by Socialist Organizer.