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Cornell West Challenged by New Progressive Alliance

I was invited by Tony Noel, organizer of the New Progressive Alliance, to sit on a steering committee with Cornell West, Jill Stein and three or four others almost two years ago to seek a candidate who would challenge Obama. The New Progressive Alliance at that time was seriously considering adopting the United Progressives platform in tact as its own and was quite impressed with the stand that we have taken regarding adherence to progressive values. Since then, the platform that was adopted contains elements from several others as well, including the Green Party, United Progressives, Socialist Party USA, 1892 Populist Party, and the 1912 Progressive Party. Since that occurred, Cornell West has demonstrated a shift in his attitude toward holding to this agenda. In consequence, Noel has written a letter to him challenging him to respond to this:

Cornell West

Dr. West,

As facilitator of the NPA, a group whose steering committee you joined 20 months ago, I must ask you directly – in light of your recent comment that there is no viable third-party alternative to Barack Obama or Mitt Romney – why are you denying the existence of Jill Stein? And Rocky Anderson?

Both have endorsed the Unified Progressive Platform, the NPA-crafted, steering committee-ratified amalgam of four current and two legacy platforms of ACTUAL Progressive organizations (as opposed to pseudo-prog orgs like Move On and PDA). Very frankly Dr. West, if you cannot bring yourself to help advance the growth of electoral alternatives in America by at least acknowledging them when they exist, I’m not sure the NPA Steering Committee benefits from your inclusion.

Please look at it from our perspective, Dr. West. We have included you on our website, applauded your poverty tour, and anticipated that your words advocating real alternatives would be backed up with support for them when they actually present themselves. The NPA’s goal is to back candidates who publicly endorse the Unified Platform, in order to begin quantifying the very sort of dissent you have done so much to foment, and thereby refute the corporate parties’ false claim that “People must be happy with their choices, otherwise they’d vote differently.”

Jill Stein’s lifelong work toward building such alternatives is exemplary and her success in getting sufficient voter support to qualify for federal matching funds in this election certainly warrants your support. And though Rocky Anderson’s campaign has not achieved what Stein’s has from a fundraising point of view, his call for real alternatives is beginning to garner media attention. Adding your voice would help (1) wake people up to the existence of real alternatives this cycle, and (2) preclude any FEC game-playing that might deny Stein matching funds. Indeed, your advocacy might even help her get the podium she has earned in the presidential debates.

It is with sincere respect and admiration that I write you today, Dr. West. But now is the time to put your money where your mouth has been throughout this utter sellout of a presidency, one that both of us so strongly believed in and worked for.

We were duped, and regressing now to lesser-evilist political strategies will serve only to perpetuate them. Instead, I hope you’ll strike a blow for real change and help set America on the course Canadians have already negotiated.

Thank you in advance for your anticipated reply, and PLEASE NOTE that I will publish this email widely if I have not received your response within one week.

Best regards,
Anthony Noel

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About Paul Barrow

Director of Policy and Communications, United Progressives