My guest today is David Cobb, 2004 Green Party presidential candidate, campaign manager for Jill Stein's Green Party 2016 presidential candidacy and co-founder of Move to Amend.
Joan Brunwasser: Welcome to OpEdNews, David. Some of our readers may not be familiar with you or the Green Party. Before we jump in, let's get some background out of the way. In the '80s, you were an active member of the Democratic Party. What caused your subsequent break with the Dems?
David Cobb: I was born in rural poverty in Texas, and worked as a shrimper, construction worker and in food service putting myself through college. I share that to underscore that my analysis around economic injustice is a result of lived experience. But I had to work hard to unlearn what society taught me about race, gender and sexual orientation.
I got my start in electoral politics working on Jesse Jackson's campaigns in '84 and '88, and Jerry Brown's in '92. Those experiences taught me that the Democratic Party presidential primary is where progressive politics goes to die. Because all the energy, enthusiasm and money is ultimately absorbed into the Wall Street funded and corporate controlled Democratic Party machine.
As I studied history, I realized that all systemic, transformational change was always spearheaded by alternative political parties-- the abolition of slavery, women getting the right to vote, the creation of the Social Security, pure food and drug laws, ending child labor, the 40 hour work week, the direct election of the US Senate. I realized that if we were going to make systemic change, it would only come if we built an alternative political party.
Which is to say, my Green Party membership is based on cold, calculated analysis about what I think it will take to WIN. With respect, I think it is naive for progressives to stay in the Democratic Party where they are barely tolerated. As Albert Einstein put it: "Doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results is the definition of insanity."
JB: Let's go back to your claim about change being fueled by alternative political parties. I'll bet that most of our readers, including me, did not know that. It's a far cry from the "spoiler" argument often levied against third parties. Tell us more; time for a little history lesson.