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This article appears in the May 3, 2024 issue of Executive Intelligence Review.

[Print version of this article]


‘People Really Want a Real Independent!’

Diane Sare, a longtime associate of former U.S. Presidential candidate and renowned economist, the late Lyndon H. LaRouche, Jr., is an independent candidate for U.S. Senate in the state of New York. She is running against incumbent Senator Kirsten Gillibrand . In 2022, she ran for U.S. Senate in New York against Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, accomplishing the Herculean task of gathering 66,000 petition signatures in order to gain ballot status. A musician, in 2014 Sare founded the Schiller Institute New York City Chorus to promote Classical music as a way of uniting a city thrown into turmoil by the unfortunate death of Eric Garner. She was interviewed by Daniel Platt of Executive Intelligence Review.

Daniel Platt: Your press release from last week says that you and your colleague, Jose Vega, plan to collect 90,000 signatures.

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Diane Sare campaign
Diane Sare

Diane Sare: He needs 3,500 valid; he’s running in a congressional district, and I need 45,000 valid. So, he is trying to get 10,000-plus for his district and I really should get 90,000, double what the requirement is.

Platt: Two years ago you caught the political machine by surprise, because they thought they had erected a barrier against independent candidates by creating an impossibly onerous petitioning requirement. So you beat them last time—have they tried to erect any new obstacles to your candidacy?

Sare: Well, yes and no. They have changed some wording. For example, if you’re a party—which I’m not, I’m not trying to start a party—but the state passed some legislation that you are not allowed to even use the word “independent,” or anything like it. You’re not allowed to use the words “American,” “New York,” or “national.” Isn’t that amazing?

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Courtesy of Nathan S.
Jose Vega, right, with two of his petition campaign workers in the Bronx, New York.

Platt: That is amazing. How would you describe yourself if you can’t say you’re independent?

Sare: (laughs) I don’t know! And people really want an independent, a real independent. On my voter registration it says “unaffiliated.” So maybe I should have had a line that said “unaffiliated LaRouche associate.” It’s really prickly, it’s quite difficult, and I know other independent candidates have had similar problems. Also, it’s really a kind of a Venetian exercise. For example, if I took the form of the petition and wanted to be sure that it was correct—because they don’t give you a blank, they just tell you what the wording has to be—so if I were to send that to the board of elections, they would say, “We’re sorry, we can’t comment. That would be advising a campaign.” So imagine the sadism of allowing someone to go out there and work seven days a week, 12 to 14 hours a day, to get these signatures, only to be told, “Oh, we’re sorry, there was a “T” you didn’t cross on the third line of your petition.

This requirement is so onerous…. First of all, you really can’t pay professional petitioners to do it, because it’s just too difficult. There are so many pitfalls in terms of detailed information, but also, the pace of signatures that you have to get—we instruct my supporters, and these are political supporters, but we have to tell them don’t engage in political conversations. So, you’re out there intersecting all these people but, in effect, you’re tongue-tied. And you also feel, “Well, do I really want to have a fight about these issues right now? Because I have to keep a certain pace or I won’t get the [required number of] signatures.”

And I was thinking of how destructive that is to free speech and dialogue, and what one would want to do with a campaign, or Lyndon LaRouche’s approach to campaigning, which is really a Socratic dialogue where you’re transforming the people that you’re engaging with by finding those areas of disagreement and developing a higher conception. That you absolutely cannot do, and the people who design this partly are really just intending to keep people like myself off the ballot!

Platt: In the state of New York, which you will be representing if you win your election, there are reportedly Gaza solidarity encampments at the City University of New York, the New School, University of Rochester, and Columbia University; maybe others that I don’t know about. What is your take on this new wave of student activism?

Sare: Well, I’m really very happy about it! Unfortunately, the media—particularly the New York Post, which is over the top—is in an insane British Zionist mode, covering it in a totally incendiary way. They’re claiming that the students at Columbia are yelling “death to Jews!” There’s nothing of the sort, and probably maybe 20% or more of the students occupying the central quadrangle of the campus are Jewish, and as this is Passover, they were organizing an outdoor Passover Seder which they had each night there.

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CC/Abbad Diraniya
Demonstrations in support of Palestine and the rights of the Palestinian people are multiplying on college campuses across the country. Shown here is a Gaza Solidarity Encampment at Columbia University in Manhattan, New York.

So, I’ve run into it on the campaign trail: People came up to say, “Isn’t it terrible what’s happening at Columbia?” And I said, “Do you realize that a large number of the students who are protesting are Jewish?” And they kind of are shocked, and I say, “Can you think of any situation which has been solved by killing large numbers of people?” And no one so far has been able to come up with anything for that. It doesn’t mean you always win, but I was down at Columbia—it’s unbelievably tense. The police are at every single gate. They’re shut with padlocks and heavy chains except for a small entrance. Everyone has to show their ID to get in. And then the press, like a hoard of vultures, is across the street, waiting for any arrests, and I don’t mean a few—I mean hundreds of press, just hanging out there, waiting to see something that they can use to incite. So it’s pretty awful.

The neighborhood is an extension of the Upper West Side; it has a large Jewish population who would consider themselves liberal. I met many people who identified themselves to me as Jewish and being very upset or being in solidarity with the students. I did meet one very nasty Israeli lady who said she came there explicitly to see what the terrorists were doing at Columbia. I met another guy who said, “Yeah but you can’t support Hamas!” He was completely convulsed. “You can’t support Hamas!” I said, “Look, I don’t support terrorism, but this is genocide.” “But what do you do?” I said, “I’m supporting a two-state solution.” He said, “Well, I agree with that! I agree with that!” And I said, “Well, what do you think happened to Rabin?” He was more thoughtful.

So, you see this incredible tension really being exacerbated by the lying news media. I know from where I live in New York. A lot of the police officers and first responders [also] live [there]—and the police are very upset. They are being put into a stupid situation, having to be the enforcers of a bunch of billionaires who want to quash free speech on the campus.

Platt: In the 1960s and 1970s, Lyndon LaRouche built his movement by intervening into campus ferment and recruiting the brightest students to his ideas, and Columbia was in fact one of the most fertile grounds for his ideas. Are you going to be doing something similar?

Sare: Hopefully! It’s as I said, because the media is so brutal. I found the students a little bit nervous; they didn’t want to necessarily be seen publicly signing. I didn’t get a lot of signatures from students. In fact, we went a couple of blocks away, where we could find people who were more calm. I did meet some young people who had seen me in an Afghan restaurant in Queens, and they grabbed the petition to sign it—“Oh, we met you at the Afghan restaurant!” and they signed readily.

The people in the anti-war movement [in the 1960s and ’70s] were nastily labeled this and that. I don’t think the atmosphere then was quite as tense. Now, they’re literally calling these students terrorists! That is just terrible! Really outrageous! And a number of the professors—we did meet some professors who signed up, and they’re very sympathetic with the students. One professor said, “I’m teaching my classes on Zoom. My students are all down at the occupation, the encampment. My cell phone battery died, so I went down there myself to give my classes.” We met those kinds of supportive people.

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