FDR Club Debates
Mass Organizing Strategy
With Calif. Dem Leader
by Sky Shields
Oct. 12 saw the fourth monthly meeting of the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Legacy Democratic Club, the official LaRouche arm of the California Democratic Party. In keeping with the club's mission, each month's meeting has consistently brought the best of the Democratic Party's elected leadership into an environment where they can be developed by their exposure to the LaRouche Youth Movement's university on wheels, and the products of the LYM's organizing among labor, industry, and scientific-engineering professionals.
The first presentation was by LYM member Ardena Clark, who covered the nest of Gestapo-like agents deployed into American universities by networks associated with "Sister" Lynne Cheney, Sen. Joseph "Goebbels" Lieberman, and synarchist banker John Train (see recent issues of EIR).
This set the stage for the second presentation, a brief introduction of the evening's highlighted speaker, by Western States LaRouche spokesman Harley Schlanger. Schlanger contrasted the separate responses to the massive election fraud perpetrated by the synarchist controllers of the Bush Administration in the 2004 U.S. Presidential election on the one side, and the 2006 Mexican Presidential election on the other. He called for a break from the existing apathy within the Democratic Party and U.S. population more generally, and for a "regime change" in the upcoming November elections, which would mirror the kind of fight expressed by the supporters of Andrés Manuel López Obrador in Mexico. The speaker he was about to introduce, he said, would undoubtedly play a major role, both in achieving that needed electoral regime change, and in shaping policy in its aftermath.
Campaign To Defeat Schwarzenegger
With this introduction, Los Angeles Democratic Party Chairman Eric Bauman took the podium. He asked the audience whether they realized that Election Day is no longer Tuesday, Nov. 7, but is in fact Wednesday, Nov. 8. He explained to the befuddled audience, that this lie was actually already being spread among black, Hispanic, and Asian-immigrant communities by mechanized "robo-calls." This compounds the difficulty to be faced in the California Gubernatorial elections, where Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger recently made his top campaigner a woman who was already serving as his chief of staff, Susan Kennedy. Kennedy typifies the type of left-right synarchist operation, which controls Schwarzenegger: She is the former Chief of Staff of the prior Democratic Governor, Gray Davis, who was ousted in the 2003 recall election that installed Schwarzenegger as Governor. Kennedy is the former head of NARAL, California (a pro-choice organization), as well as the former Executive Director of the California State Democratic Party.
Matt Dowd, Schwarzenegger's chief campaign strategist, is a similar type. He is credited by Bauman as the man who won California for Bill Clinton; yet he left the Democratic Party to campaign for George Bush's election and, as Bauman said, "knows California voters as well as anybody."
Such left-right cover is what makes Schwarzenegger difficult to defeat. Already, people are beginning to forget that this is the same Arnie who, just months ago, was attacking police, firefighters, teachers, and nurses as "special interests," and was gloating over "kicking their butts." A recent allocation of state funds for after-school programs was funnelled to black churches in order to buy them off; and, to top it all off, Arnold had finished a campaign blitz through South Central Los Angeles, speaking at these churches, before the Democratic candidate had even determined that it would be necessary.
The only counter to this from the Democratic leadership, was that Congresswoman Maxine Waters organized a last-minute group of 200 protesters to follow Arnold around and remind people that, only months before, he had been leading a full-tilt assault on the state's poor and on the services on which they depend. The Schwarzenegger campaign has been micro-targetting California, he said, the way Bush did in Ohio, using a method which was recently used to defeat an amendment in Oregon: buying magazine subscription lists, and using them to tailor campaign messages to specific groups.
All of this is preventing people from realizing, Bauman said, that come Nov. 8, Schwarzenegger is going to have to pay back $120 million in campaign loans—his easy-come, easy-go, newfound image will be the last thing on his mind. As a further example of what the post-election plans of his controllers consist of, is that his chief policy man is the former president of the Personal Insurance Federation of California—"the worst of corporate greed in California"—the grouping in charge of lobbying for corrupt policy changes to rip off California insurance-policy holders.
What will we do over the next four to five weeks? Bauman asked. We may not win the gubernatorial election. What will we do if the GOP sweeps California? Tom McClintock, the Republican candidate for Lieutenant Governor, believes that Social Security should not exist. Chuck Pachegian, Republican candidate for state Attorney General, voted against a ban on 50-caliber assault weapons, and believes that enforcing environmental laws and defending consumers is not a responsibility of the Attorney General's office.
A Tough Dialogue
The first question came from LYM member Nick Walsh, who asked Bauman why he hadn't addressed what really makes Schwarzenegger different: that he is run by the same synarchist-fascist networks associated with George Shultz, which are currently in control of the Bush Administration.
Bauman replied that while he would not dispute the facts Walsh was bringing up, he would disagree, and would insist that what really makes Schwarzenegger different, is that he is a movie star. In response to a follow-up question from Walsh, Bauman began to insist that though everything the questioner was saying was true, voters don't "care about huge themes like globalization and Felix Rohatyn"! He agreed that these are the source of their problems, but that voters only understand whether or not they have food on the table.
The next question came from LYM member Mike Steger, who asked: Say the Democrats do win in November. Will they be prepared to deal with the types of economic crises, and generalized civilizational collapse, which are hurtling in our direction?
Bauman answered quickly, and unequivocally, "No." Steger followed up by asking: Then how will they get prepared? To which Bauman replied that the current tactic of the Democratic Party—with which he did not necessarily agree—is that, if you see a train about to hit your opponent, just get out of the way. Look, he said, you guys—referring to the LYM—are different. You think differently. You're not average people. LYM member Cody Jones interrupted, pointing out, "We all used to be average people." You spend six days a week learning, Bauman replied; what average person does that?
At that point, Schlanger returned to the podium, and said to Bauman and to the audience: "What you're missing is that people aren't average. The question is not making the argument simple. We can do that. But I haven't seen a Democrat stand up yet and say, 'Look, you're going to lose everything because you've got a bunch of criminals in the White House.' "
Bauman interrupted, jumping to the microphone: "Then you're not paying attention!" Schlanger replied by going through the role the LYM is playing on Capitol Hill, giving the better Democrats such as Rep. John Conyers (Mich.) what little they have been willing to fight on. But Bauman retorted: "You're filibustering!" Schlanger responded that Bauman is wrong if he thinks that the average person doesn't understand NAFTA—so, why wouldn't any Democrat come out explicitly on that point?
Bauman said: "Look what you just did! You made it simple! That's what I'm saying! Listen to me: I've won every election campaign I've ever run, except for one ... well, and the one I'm about to lose, but that's not my fault! You have to have a candidate—"
"I've lost every campaign I've ever run—" Schlanger began. "Exactly!" shouted Bauman, while both still squeezed around the same microphone. Schlanger finished: "but I have a youth movement, and you don't!" At this point the already rowdy room burst into applause.
Someone else from the audience asked why the Democratic Party wasn't engaged in trying to sway non-Democratic voters. Bauman replied that for the first time, the L.A. party is doing just that: organizing in non-Democratic districts, targetting voters registered as "decline to state"—we've never spent money on this in L.A. before.
The follow-up question was: What about the national party? Bauman, half joking, replied: "I'm not responsible for the national party!" But it was clear that the questioner's point was well taken.
Schlanger poked at Bauman, saying that "If Eric [Bauman] were younger, he'd probably be in the LYM!" Bauman shot back: "If Eric were younger, he'd be president of the LYM!"
LYM member Sam Dixon asked about organizing the lower 80% of income brackets, and Bauman replied that those were the only people who voted Democratic in California.
LYM member Quincy O'Neal asked why Bauman doesn't focus on physical results, such as economic development, rather than just election victories? What sort of credibility does it give you to be winning elections in a period where all of the policy being pushed is destroying people? When does the measure become standard of living?
At this, Bauman suddenly became very serious. Elections, he said, are currently won by constricting the electorate, not by expanding it. Everyone is trying to keep the other guy's people from coming out to the polls. There are no ideas. Why won't Democrats in Congress stand up for principle? Because they all won their elections by appealing to a constricted electorate. You all need to run for office ... not all of you—a few of you. If I can figure out how to shorten the business portion of the Central Committee meeting, and expand the conceptual/policy discussion, I will. When you all are as old as I am, or as old as Harley [Schlanger] is—"
Schlanger concluded the meeting by re-emphasizing what Bauman had said about the role of the LYM as an intellectual force: We have to transform the society in which we live. We have to have better candidates, and the only way to do that, is to have a better society. Nobody else is going to do that, but us.
Afterwards there was much additional heated discussion between Bauman and LYM members.