There is a move under way in the California Peace & Freedom Party under the leadership of its chairperson, Kevin D. Akin, to discipline its former chair, Irv Sutley (who served from 1970-72) for the purported crime of allegedly forwarding an email to somebody (supposedly me) who then recirculated this party list-serve email outside the ultra-secretive cabal of the party’s leadership. This move can be characterized with a lift from Vladimir Lenin’s Left Wing Communism: An Infantile Disorder, in which he wrote “….very clearly reveals their entire thinking and their entire range of ideas, or, rather, the full extent of their stupidity, pedantry, baseness and betrayal of working-class interests.”
Under Akin’s tutelage, the State Executive Committee (SEC) has followed his innate Stalinist instincts in completely disregarding the PFP’s section of the Elections Code (which was drafted by party leaders in the early 70s with a specific view towards preserving party small “d” democracy), the party’s bylaws, and Robert’s Rules of Order which the bylaws specify as its parliamentary authority. Akin, whose Stalinist (with apologies to my genetic cousin, Joseph Stalin, whose Y chromosome is G2a, whereas I’m G2b) predisposition goes back at least to his (never-repudiated) defense of the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia, must be trying to emulate the record of the Greek Communist Party (GCP).
In his delusions of grandeur in orchestrating the parliamentary maneuvering in PFP’s SEC to take disciplinary action against one of his predecessors, Kevin D. Akin is carrying out a long-time Stalinist purge record, which in the case of the GCP resulted in the purge of the first 11 of its 17 party chairs (as per Wikipedia):
- Nikolaos Dimitratos (November 1918 – February 1922). Expelled from the party on charges of “suspect behavior.”
- Yannis Kordatos (February–November 1922). Expelled from the party on charges of “distorting Marxism.”
- Nikolaos Sargologos (November 1922 – September 1923). Expelled from the party on charges of “espionage.”
- Thomas Apostolidis (September 1923 – December 1924). Expelled from the party on charges of “opportunism.”
- Pandelis Pouliopoulos (December 1924 – September 1925). Expelled from the party on charges of being a “provocateur.”
- Eleftherios Stavridis (1925–1926). Expelled from the party on charges of pro-bourgeoisie political position.
- Pastias Giatsopoulos (September 1926-). Expelled from the party on charges of “liquidarism.”
- Andronikos Chaitas (March 1927-). Expelled from the party and executed in the USSR in 1935.
- Nikolaos Zachariadis (1931–1936). Expelled from the party; committed suicide after 17 years in exile in Siberia.
- Andreas Tsipas (July 1941-September 1941). Expelled from the party on charges of “adventurism.”
- Georgios Siantos (January 1942-1945). Expelled from the party on charges of being an “agent provocateur.”
PFP’s Purge Protocols
Under Akin’s leadership (he has repeatedly played musical chairs, repeatedly assuming the title of State Chair when it rotates to Southern California), the party simply does whatever it wants to regardless of whether it comports to its own stated rules. The Elections Code Section (Section 7805) that governs the PFP’s disciplinary procedures states:
This committee may remove any elected or appointed member who, during the term of membership, affiliates with or registers as a member of another political party, publicly advocates that the voters should not vote for the nominee of the party for any office, publicly gives support to or avows a preference for a candidate of another party or candidate who is opposed to a candidate nominated by this party, or has violated the bylaws or constitution of the state central committee.
Those of us who wrote the party’s governing election code sections, including myself, Lew McCammon, Kay McGlachlin, C.T. Weber, and Israel Feuer, specifically limited the grounds for expulsion to preserve and protect the right to dissent and the right of free discussion in and outside the party. We didn’t want to allow disciplinary action to be taken against people who went outside party circles to criticize party actions and party policy so that PFP would not wind up behaving like so-called Leninist political parties that purged people for publicly disagreeing with them. A number of prominent PFP members, including Dorothy Healy, Ben Dobbs, and Sam Kushner had been thrown out of their party positions in the Communist Party USA for publicly disagreeing with that organization over the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia–very unlike Kevin Akin who supported the leadership of the CPUSA in which he had then found a home.
Anyway, nothing that Irv Sutley is accused of falls under the criteria of Section 7805 of the Elections Code.
Next, the body which has initiated a disciplinary investigation into the accusations leveled against Sutley has no authority under the bylaws to do so. Nothing in the PFP bylaws gives the SEC the authority to undertake any disciplinary action of any sort, and Section 9(C) expressly rules out certain disciplinary actions by the SEC: “The State Executive Committee may not admit, expel, or suspend members, appoint officers, or co-opt any persons to its own membership.” On its face, Cat Woods accusation begins by dubbing Sutley’s purported violations to be a violation of “rules” rather than the bylaws:
complaint to the officers:
I believe the email below is a violation of the SCC’s rules for this listserv. I request that the officers investigate this matter and enforce those rules.
I believe that Mr. Sutley was also the one who previously broke the rules for this listserv by forwarding a communication from Cindy Sheehan intended (and clearly labeled) as internal for the party to “Barbara Simpson” who then sent it to Roseanne Barr. The intent was clearly to further foment the conflict between our Pres & VP candidates. This effort has been very successful. Paul Dahmen (the recipient of Kevin’s email who clearly did not honor his request, instead forwarding the email to Irv or someone who would forward it to Irv) has also repeatedly attempted to foment, magnify and exacerbate the conflict between Cindy & Roseanne. He successfully persuaded Cindy that she needed to go more public with it.
The party repeatedly has refused to do anything about very clear destructive intent against the party demonstrated by Jan Tucker (aka “Barbara Simpson”) and Irv Sutley. That’s just in the short time that I’ve been in the party, without even considering the history to which Kevin testifies. The party’s refusal is in the name of openness and transparency. Yet *BECAUSE* of this failure to deal with the very few problem people in the party, the officers frequently forfeit openness and transparency. In other words, the intent to be open & transparent has had exactly the OPPOSITE result.
Now here is a chance to cut out a destructive cancer fairly and accordingly to the party rules. Please do it.
Article 14 of the PFP bylaws provides the sole authority for any disciplinary action for a State Central Committee member, which is expulsion by a 2/3 vote of the State Central Committee (SCC) itself. Sutley has not been accused of any of the grounds for expulsion set forth in Article 14 in the proceedings before the SEC — and as pointed out, the SEC itself has no authority under the bylaws to initiate disciplinary action (in this case the SEC has proposed potential suspension of Sutley from the list-serve).
Finally, the present course that has been undertaken by the PFP SEC violates its own purported adherence to Robert’s Rules of Order, although whoever wrote the bylaws was so incompetent that even the rules of order are not clear for anything other than the SCC meetings under Article 7. It is also important to point out that by adopting Robert’s instead of the Movement Rules of Order written by PFP’s own Professor Michael P. Schoen, it effectively abolished its own invention of the “friendly amendment” which does not exist in Robert’s. The friendly amendment procedure promulgated by Schoen, went on to be adopted in the Standard Code of Parliamentary Procedure (otherwise known as “Sturgis” for its author, Alice Sturgis, which is the code recognized by the American Institute of Parliamentarians). Organizations which operate in the stone age of parliamentary procedure still use Robert’s while modern, well managed organizations operate under Sturgis.
Robert’s–like Sturgis–imposes certain basic standards of due process which the PFP SEC has chosen to simply ignore in the purge of Sutley. As Robert’s summarizes it:
A member has the right that allegations against his good name shall not be made except by charges brought on reasonable ground. If a member is thus accused, he has the right to due process–that is, to be informed of the charge and given time to prepare his defense, to appear and defend himself and to be fairly treated.
When, as in Sutley’s case, an investigating committee (Debra Reiger, Katey Ramesden, and Miriam Clark) is assigned to look into the charges, Robert’s specifies that the committee should interview the accused (which in the two months since it was appointed it has never done) to determine in the first place whether further action is even warranted. Since they have never bothered to communicate with Sutley, he has not been afforded an opportunity to demonstrate how he is not accused of any ground under which the SEC or SCC can even take action under their own rules, let alone to refute the truth or falsehood of the charges. Nor has the committee bothered to find out from Sutley who his potential defense witnesses are let alone to bother to talk to any of them.
Assuming arguendo that Sutley was even guilty of an offense under the bylaws or factually guilty of the allegations made against him, PFP has ignored his demands for due process, which are compelled and implied by the party’s bylaws:
It has now been (almost) two months since Cat Woods, aka Kathryn Bindels filed her untrue charges against myself as a member of the (California) Peace and Freedom Party’s State Central Committee, against Jan Tucker a long time party registrant and civil rights activist, and against Paul Dahmen, co-chair of Florida Peace and Freedom Party. I deny that I have every done anything to foment discord between Roseanne Barr and Cindy Sheehan. Woods/Bindels is engaged in a smear campaign and has offered not one whit of evidence or documentation to substantiate her false allegations.
Earlier I wrote to Debra Reiger, Katey Ramsden, and a Miriam Clark who had been appointed by certain officers of the party to look into this matter. I have never heard back form any of the three regarding my demands for due process.
Because more than 45 days have passed since C. Woods/K. Bindels made her spurious claims, because I am entitled to a speedy resolution of this matter and have never waived time, and because Bindels/Woods failed to attend the SEC telephone meeting on November 25, 2012 where this matter was to be considered, The minutes of this meeting have never been provided to me even though I was an attendee. I have been damaged by both ” Cat Woods”falsehoods as well as by the party’s failure of having full and fair procedures to deal with complaints, I now believe the party has failed to maintain jurisdiction in part by lack of timeliness as well as improper procedural matters – including the party’s own violation of the California Elections Code sections dealing with the party structure.
The Peace & Freedom Party of California (herein after “PFP”) publicly extolls the virtues of small “d” democracy in government, society, and in the workplace. It therefore behooves the party minimally grant me a basic semblance of due process rights against potential disciplinary action. The spectre of disciplinary action has been raised by allegations made on the State Central Committee listserve firstname.lastname@example.org .
Since the party claims to be more “democratic” than the institutions of the capitalist economic system and government, I am requesting that at a minimum I be accorded:
1. The rights that I would be entitled to under the California Corporations Code Section 5341 if PFP was a Non-Profit Public Benefit Corporation; and
2. The rights that I would be entitled to under federal labor law (e.g., Weingarten rights including the right of representation and the ancillary rights that my representative could exercise, such as requests for documents and specification of charges);
3. The rights under Skelly vs State Personnel Board that I could exercise under the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of California if I was a public employee.
In exercise of those rights I claim the right to designate a representative/advocate for these proceedings.
Assuming for the sake of argument that PFP officers are to be held to the minimum standards of conduct of union officials and non-profit corporate directors/officers, I am requesting that all those participating in the disciplinary process in any way, shape or form familiarize themselves with the fiduciary duty imposed by the Landrum Griffin Act on union officers and the duties imposed on non-profit conduct, including but not limited to:
–The duty of reasonable inquiry
–The duty of care
–The duty of loyalty.
Further, I or my representative would be initiating information requests, including but not limited to all writings as defined in California Evidence Code Section 250 concerning:
1. The precedent history of the expulsion proceedings undertaken against other members, including but not limited that of William Alan Callison aka Bill Callison;
2. All materials concerning the prior disciplinary proceeding initiated against me by Callison in 1994
3. All communications about me by all officers of PFP within the preceding one year period.
4. All materials relied upon by the committee (or subcommittee) which “investigated” allegations against Steven Bruce Orcutt aka Frank Runninghorse. Reference C.T. Weber’s letter to Relf Alison Star
A Word in my Own Defense
Cat Woods accuses me of being Barbara Simpson. This accusation has also been made by other nitwits in PFP including Tom Lacey, child molester Frank Runninghorse (Steven Bruce Orcutt, aka Running Dog), and Kevin D. Akin. Other plainly insane accusations that have been bandied about by these incompetents include that I am supposedly:
- Robert O. Williams
- Barbara Simpson
- Red Rover
- Monty Kroopkin
The latter of these accusations was refuted by Monty Kroopkin himself, a person I’d never even heard of before, but who was also compelled to point out that he really exists and that I’m not him. See my posting at: http://janbtucker.com/blog/2011/12/26/debunking-mythology/
Robert’s provides that an investigating committee’s members should be selected based upon their “…known integrity and good judgment…” yet, to this day, they have never bothered to contact me or anybody else that I know of to engage in a fair inquiry into whether or not I am really Barbara Simpson, which is at the base of Cat Wood’s major charge against Sutley. That failure on its own speaks for itself.