Friday, 1 February 2008
by Stephen Dohnberg from Digital Journal 7 October 2008 Anti War activist and challenger for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's Congressional Seat (CD 8, California), Cindy Sheehan has indicated her intention to launch a National political party after the U.S. Election of Nov. 4. Inspired in part by Mark Twain's involvement in The American Anti Imperialist League in reaction to the annexation of the Philippines by the United States in the late 19th Century, Sheehan said that the party will have a progressive platform and that after Nov. 4, "no matter what happens, we need to consolidate the energy against Imperialism and work on building another party movement." While discussing a potential third party unity movement, Sheehan indicated that her own candidacy against House Speaker Pelosi has seen a broad coalition of support from Greens, independents, disillusioned Democrats such as herself (Sheehan left the Democratic Party in May of 2007 in response to the Democratic Party led House support for a funding bill to continue Iraq War funding), and Republicans, many of whom made up the traditional base of the GOP represented by Ron Paul. Sheehan revealed that name of the new party would be The First Party. She reasoned "We don't want to do third-party politics which has a stigma in the United States" The First Party, with a populist-progressive agenda, will be the first party that "cares about the people, will work for the people, and will actually be a viable party." "I have spoken to Green Party Presidential Candidate Cynthia McKinney and the Nader Campaign" and as disillusionment with the two party system increases, "this is the time to build on that energy." Reflecting on her own chances in unseating incumbent Pelosi, she is pragmatic and acknowledges it has been "upward momentum, the only way we could go" but believes the success of the recent $700 billion bailout proposal could turn the tide in her favor. "When we're out on the streets, we have overwhelming support , especially since this bailout." Sheehan indicates that she notices that "people have a new rage and a new fire in their belly because of the corporate bailout. People are just so angry" More importantly, some public opinions of her ability to lead have changed, and could indicate a tipping point for the Sheehan Campaign. She notes that responses have been favorable pointing to an email she recently received, "Two weeks ago I thought you should be shot, but now I'm awake, I'm not going to be a slave anymore, and I support what you do." Sheehan believes that Members of Congress voting in favor of the bill did so at the peril of their own House seats and they have underestimated the voters. "I was watching the debates on the House floor and the Congress people kept saying 'my constituents are overwhelmingly against this but I have to do it because it's for the good of the country', what a load of crap!"