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Jill Stein, Tim Canova and Chase Iron Eyes Trace the Path Forward for Progressives

Posted on Jan 23, 2017

By Donald Kaufman

On Saturday, Jill Stein, the Green Party’s 2016 presidential nominee, and Tim Canova, who ran unsuccessfully against U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz in Florida’s August primary, spoke at the Greens’ Inaugurate the Resistance event in Washington, D.C. They discussed whether the Democratic Party is reformable and debated the importance of its progressive wing. Their talk also covered the future of the two dominant parties and the importance of grass-roots movements.

At that same event, Chase Iron Eyes, an American Indian activist and member of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, explored the importance of nonviolent resistance, the assault on Native American culture and women, and the situation on the ground in North Dakota concerning the Dakota Access pipeline.

Watch Truthdig contributor Donald Kaufman in conversation with Stein, Canova and Iron Eyes below (via YouTube). Full transcripts of both conversations can be found below the videos. Click here for a transcript of Kaufman’s discussion with Iron Eyes.


A conversation with Jill Stein and Tim Canova:


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Donald Kaufman: You ran for the primary—

Tim Canova: Yes.

Kaufman: ... and you’ve been recently crucified on the left for doing recount.

Jill Stein: Sort of. I mean, by some—

Kaufman: By some.

Stein: —not by others.

Kaufman: Do you think now that Trump has won, and now that people, in general… I mean, [Clinton] won the popular vote but has kind of rejected this kind of Plutonian way of politics, and they’ve kind of rejected the Democratic establishment. Do you think they are starting to understand that they need to reanalyze and refocus? Or do you think that they’re just trying to distract with things like Russia propaganda? How do you think it’s going to move forward?

Stein: Yeah. I mean, I think there is certainly an effort to distract, and to sort of corral people with the usual kind of mythologies like that the Democrats are the alternative to Trump. But they’re not, because most people who voted for Trump were not voting for Trump; they were voting against the other alternative that they were even more afraid of and distrusting of. So I’ve been really surprised to see how deep the thinking is here, and I really wasn’t sure what the mood was going to be like here. And out on the street,  I’m not seeing people signing up for, oh, “Let’s just go back to the same old Democratic Party program” that’s the alternative to Trump. By no means. What I’m really seeing out on the street is that this is an indictment of both predatory politic parties. Trump is sort of the representation of a failure of corporate politics. He’s sort of the consummate expression of the oligarchy and its politics.

So what I’m seeing from people is kind of a deep yearning and commitment to a transformative kind of politics. And the numbers, I think, support that, that people were screaming for other alternatives. Seventy-six percent wanted open debates, 80 percent said they were disgusted with the election, 90 percent, according to an AP New York poll, said that they’ve lost confidence in our political system, the executive, Congress, judiciary, you name it. And there’s such an effort being made now by the political system to silence real alternatives and deep analysis.

Kaufman: Well, it’s interesting because yesterday I went to this… they call it the “deplorable ball.” And it was the gays’ deplorable ball, and it was… the whole headline was “gays for Trump.” And if you look at the policy issues, when it came to Snowden, when it came to Assange, people, they called them heroes.

Stein: They called them?

Kaufman: Heroes.

Stein: They did?

Kaufman: When it came to the drone program, they didn’t believe in it. They thought we should go out of the Middle East. The head person that was running the whole thing actually said she was a Jill Stein fan—and this was the head; these people are running these inaugural balls for the Trump administration. So I kept asking, what’s going on? Why is there such a disconnect? Why are you so excited by the Trump movement? And the only thing that was kind of consistent was it was an F-you to the system in place.

Stein: Yes, exactly.

Canova: I think that’s true. I think that’s a big part of the Trump vote. I think the Democratic Party has been trying to distract from the corruption of the DNC and from the failure of the Clinton campaign, and if we’re reaching any lessons, Clinton now defends Trump if it’s two to one. Money alone doesn’t win elections when you don’t have credibility anymore, and there’s a fight going on within the Democratic Party still, and I see this in Florida in just the past few weeks. It was a contest for who was going to be the chair of the state party.

Kaufman: Yeah.

Canova: And the establishment investor basically became the party leaders. And it was a loss for the progressive win, but the progressive win didn’t just go down silently. They organized, they fought hard. I think they’re gaining strength within the Democratic Party. And, I think, outside the party. When I look at the past year, what I see is an awful lot of the progressive movement woke up and roared. And you saw it in Bernie’s campaign. If Sanders had been at the top of the ticket, I think he would have destroyed Donald Trump.

Kaufman: Yeah.

Canova: I truly do, and their polls suggest that. And you saw that backlash against the establishment in Jill’s campaign as well. And in Trump’s campaign. So the American people, I think, are way ahead of both major parties, including the Democratic Party, in wanting reform. And in Florida—I know you and I were speaking about some of the environmental conflicts there. About twice in the past year voters of Florida statewide voted the right way on referendums dealing with solar power. And yet we can’t get anything through Tallahassee where the Republicans control it. You can’t get anything through the U.S. Congress. And the Democrats have a lot of reckoning to do if that party is redeemable, if it can be reformed. And I think that’s what’s playing out or will play out over the next two years as well.

Kaufman: And so on that note, because there’s this kind of consensus that you have, and if you don’t toe this party line ... and even the big criticism Sanders had was all of a sudden all the things he was talking about in the primaries, he goes around and then endorsed Clinton. And there’s this kind of ... I’m wondering how we get outside of this toeing the party line. And just even yesterday I was in the inauguration and whether you agree with Trump or not, these people came from across the country. They were big fans. And they went to go see his inauguration and these protesters cut them off, sat down, they couldn’t go in, and were screaming at them, “You’re misogynist, you’re racist.”

Stein: Oh. Wow.

Kaufman: And that’s all that’s … It’s creating this divide.

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