Former Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson Founds Justice Party, Announces Candidacy for U.S. President
The former mayor of the largest city in one of the most conservative states in the nation has formed a new political party and is running for President of the United States as a left-of-Obama progressive who says he will fight for economic, social and environmental justice.
Who is this unlikely champion of equality and justice? He’s Rocky Anderson, former Democratic mayor of Salt Lake City, Utah. Anderson, who is 60 years old, ran the Beehive State’s largest city from 2000- 2008. He earned a well-deserved reputation as a fierce advocate of progressive causes, from LGBT rights, environmental sustainability and immigration reform to opposing the war in Iraq and the failed ‘War on Drugs.’ He was the only mayor of a major U.S. city to call for the impeachmentof former President George W. Bush over torture, illegal wiretapping and other “egregious violations.”
Yesterday Anderson announced the formation of the Justice Party in Washington, DC before a small but dedicated crowd of supporters. According to the Salt Lake Tribune, no TV news crews bothered to show up to cover the historic event, at which Anderson declared his candidacy for president and his party’s intention to wage war against the corrupting influence of corporate money on American politics.
“We the people are powerful enough to end the perverse government-to-the-highest-bidder system sustained by the two dominant parties,” Anderson proclaimed. “We are here today for the sake of justice — social justice, environmental justice and economic justice.”
Topping the Justice Party agenda is a constitutional amendment that would tackle the growing problem of special interests– especially corporations– buying our government. The odious 2010 Supreme Court decision Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, in which the justices ruled that corporations are people endowed with First Amendment free speech rights, that money is free speech and therefore corporations could spend as much as they wished, without disclosure, to influence the outcome of American elections, is the most glaring example of how special interests have hijacked our democracy.
Anderson says that forming the Justice Party “converges beautifully with the Occupy movement.” ”I think that the Occupy movement is one of the most promising things I’ve seen, especially from young people, in decades,” he told Democracy Now’s Amy Goodman, “because they get it, they’re willing to take action, and I think that it’s really been enlightening for the American people to see that we can do this from the grassroots and really take on a system that has been so corrupt and has so disserved the American people and the public interest.”
Anderson vowed to work to break what Moral Low Ground has long referred to as the “Republicrat” stranglehold on our nation’s democracy, the two-party monopoly that gives voters the illusion of choice but which really serves the interests of Wall Street and Washington over those of ordinary Americans.
But Anderson and other Justice Party leaders don’t really care much for being called “third-party” candidates. ”We are not a third party. We plan to be a major political party,” acting chairman Paul Zeitz told the Tribune. “We are not doing this to be an irritant.”
Anderson told Democracy Now! that he considers the Justice Party to be a second party. ”The Republican-Democratic parties have… through their collusion… brought this country to its knees economically,” he asserted. “Without the Democrats colluding with the Republicans, we would not have engaged in an illegal, aggressive war against Iraq,” he said, one of several examples he gave of Republicrat collusion that has caused great harm to America and the world.
Anderson told Democracy Now! that President Obama is a big part of the problem. Slamming Obama’s recent comments about economic inequality as “total hypocrisy,” Anderson pointed out that:
“President Obama received more money from Wall Street than any other candidate has ever received in a presidential or any other election campaign. And he surrounded himself with all these alumni from Goldman Sachs. Not one person… has spent one day in prison as a result of the massive financial fraud that we know took place by these Wall Street firms, and the people that work for them, that did so much damage to the American people.”
Anderson also attacked the President’s environmental and health care records, claiming that “he’s serving the interest of polluting industries” over the public interest.
“We’d have a universal healthcare system like… every other nation in the industrialized world were it not for the corrupting influence of the money flowing in from the medical insurance industry,” Anderson told Democracy Now!
Just how does the Justice Party plan on taking on the Republicrats in 2012 and beyond? “We can do this from the bottom up,” Anderson insists.
“We’re going to do this very differently,” he told Democracy Now! “It’s going to be through a grassroots movement. We’re going to use social media. If other nations can carry on their revolutions and bring in a complete change of government through that kind of grassroots organizing and use of social media, how democratizing, how amazing is that? Those are the kinds of things we’re going to be doing. And we’ll show that that’s how we can win elections, by appealing to the people on the streets, people who are impacted every single day by this failure in terms of public policy at both the congressional level and in the White House.”
Anderson seems to believe that his Justice Party can win by promising– and delivering– an honest alternative to the filthy business as usual in Washington.
“It [seems] that the notion of justice– economic justice, social justice, environmental justice—that’s what the people in this country want,” Anderson told Democracy Now! “They want an equal playing field. They want the laws to apply to everyone equally. And they don’t want our Congress and our president simply serving the interests of the economic aristocracy in this country any longer.”
To those who claim that a third-party challenge from the left could harm President Obama’s re-election bid, Anderson says he used to worry that supporting such candidates would hand Republicans an easy victory.
“But if that fear essentially trumps the possibility of the creation of a new party that could bring about a real change in the system, then things will continue to get worse,” he told the Tribune.
Besides, Anderson has made it clear that his former party is a cesspool of corruption that no more deserves our support than do Republicans. ”I’m done with the Democratic Party,” he told the Deseret News in August. “I’ve put my ‘Proud Democrat’ coffee mug in storage. I think now I’ll just throw it in the garbage and have done with it… The Constitution has been eviscerated while Democrats have stood by with nary a whimper. It is a gutless, unprincipled party, bought and paid for by the same interests that buy and pay for the Republican Party.”
Moral Low Ground couldn’t agree more.
The Justice Party will hold an official nominating convention in Salt Lake City in February as well as a National Convention in Philadelphia on the Fourth of July.
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