Norma J F Harrison wrote:
…something about one of you people speaking badly of P&FP – which it sounds as though you might have grounds for doing, except that if I say that to Akin, and probably to some other long time active participants, they’d give me equally solid explanations why you are wrong to so declaim.
So I ask if you care to, tell me about this, your -whoever’s – ideas about P&FP relative to saying bad things about the party. I think this was as recent as in the past year or two.
(JT: I’m not sure who she was responding to since I didn’t see what prompted this message)
Bob Evans Responds to Norma:
It’s one thing to disagree with some P&F positions or to dislike some party activists, and it’s another thing to attack party leaders and the party’s candidates in public. Many, maybe even all of us, have done the former. Jan Tucker is one of the few to have done the latter. In the post Irv Sutley fowarded several times to the SCC email list, Tucker is
fairly restrained in his attacks on the party, its leadership and recent candidates.
I’ve quoted below a slightly older post, Tucker’s recommendations to voters in last month’s election. I hope you can agree that the party shouldn’t in any way support the candidacy of someone who engages in such attacks, at least not unless or until he retracts the insults and apologizes to the candidates he insulted. Note also that, if he had been
elected to the State Central Committee last year (he failed to do so by not being able to collect 150 signatures statewide to run against Marsha for U.S. Senate), his public endorsement of Kamala Harris would have been grounds for expulsion.
Norma responds to Bob Evans:
I WHOLLY without reservation agree with Bob Evans. He has the right idea about struggle, past and future. Debra, on the other hand, has barely a clue of what we’re about; she’s appealing because she appears the perfect Republican, but ‘on our side’.
(JT: I think the Debra referred to is Debra Reiger because she’s the only Debra I know to be active in PFP, but I have no idea why this is said about her as I’m usually out of the leadership loop.)
Soooo, here’s what I have to say about Bob Evans accusing me of insulting party leaders. First off, Friedrich Engels and Karl Marx periodically wrote of the role of the party press which gives some ideas about how they viewed internal political party small “d” democracy. One seminal item was in a letter by Engels to August Bebel written on November 19, 1892:
“There must be a party press which is not directly responsible to the national party executive or even to the national conference. That means that socialist journals must be free—within the bounds of the Party programme and agreed Party strategy—to oppose particular party tactics. They should also be free—within decent limits—to criticize the programme itself and even party strategy.”
Now there are several ways to insult the party leadership. I could insult them by engaging in ad hominem (abusive) comments, i.e., “name calling.” I don’t think I’m guilty of that but maybe I got carried away and (to use both ad hominem abusive and ad hominem circumstantial reasoning for effect) they’re just not thick skinned and cry babies about name calling. Another way to insult them would be to lie about them, but I think if I’d done that, they’d actually have denied, vehemently, what I said about them. Notice that Bob Evans doesn’t categorically deny any of the unspecified charges I’ve made against the party leadership.
Anyway, the way I was trying to insult them is simply by exposing the truth about some of their more insane political positions and holding them up to ridicule, such as:
- The PFP leadership position that Armenia should be punished with sanctions for having been blockaded by its neighbors, Turkey and Azerbaijan, after Azerbaijan drove out around 800,000 ethnic Armenians with old fashioned pogroms, a position to the right to Dick Cheney (who received the Azeri-American Chamber of Commerce “Freedom Support Award” for his defense of the Azeri/Turkish political positions)
- Kevin Akin’s utilization of the racist statement “All the Armenians I ever knew….” in arguing against my position on Azeri-Armenian issues
- John Thomas Condit’s defense of Bill Callison after he (Condit) had voted to expel Callison for sexual harassment of a former party chairperson, Kayren Hudiburgh.
Now, I’m sure that these guys consider my exposure of their hypocrisy to be insulting. It’s meant to be. I don’t consider racism, ethnocentrism, pogroms, or sexual harassment to be trivial issues and people who engage in support for these practices should be exposed at the risk of insulting their tender sensibilities. They probably also think that I’m insane, because they think that they’re so important that I should have some need for their forgiveness. To that I’ll plead guilty, because I don’t feel any need to have them forgive me and because as I told the Los Angeles Times (quoted July 7, 1996, second section, page one), “I don’t give a s–t how many people think I’m a nut. I’m a nut in high demand.”
Now Bob Evans seems to think that he’s some kind of genius in pointing out my disloyalty to the party and how I’m just not a good ‘party man.’ I’ll plead guilty to that too: my Pacoima Junior High graduating class voted me “Most Original” and my originality makes me less than susceptible to putting party loyalty above the principles for which I joined the party in the first place. But then, maybe he’s forgotten that he once re-registered out of the party to vote in the Democratic Party primary; I’ve never committed the sin of voting in a Democratic Party primary.