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News ::
A Report from Outside the Second Gubernatorial Debate (english)
05 Oct 2002
Modified: 07 Oct 2002
Protesters call for more inclusive debates. Two more are scheduled.
wpiprotest2.jpg
Protesters call for more inclusive debates. Two more are scheduled.
On Tuesday evening, October 1st in Worcester, Massachusetts, supporters of Green Party gubernatorial candidate Jill Stein arrived at Worcester Polytechnic Institute to protest the exclusion of their candidate from three scheduled debates. The debate at WPI was the second in this series, the first having occurred the previous week at Western New England College in Springfield. Stein supporters contributed a significant presence at this first debate and would make an even stronger showing in Worcester, one that would lead to the creation of two more debates to include all five official candidates.

Much of the action on this particular evening occurred outside of the debate hall as an increasing number of protesters filled the concrete courtyard directly in front of the doors to the Campus Center at WPI where the debate was being held. Green Party supporters were joined by student groups from WPI and Clark University concerned with both environmental issues and inclusive debates. A handful of supporters for Independent candidate Barbara Johnson were also in attendance. Estimates of the total number of protesters range from 150 to 300 people. All of the groups united in the chant, ”Open the Debates!”

Dr. Stein and running mate Tony Lorenzen, arriving on the scene, were immediately beset by reporters and TV cameras. Interviews with various media were often interrupted by the continuous chanting of Green supporters. Surrounded by signs which decried the media blackout of three of the five gubernatorial candidates, Stein addressed the crowd, proclaiming that “democracy was alive and well” outside of the debate hall.

Unbeknownst to many, including debate organizers, Stein supporters had acquired a ticket for the candidate to enter the debate hall and watch the invitation-only proceedings from inside. As Dr. Stein approached the doors which were guarded by police, protesters rushed to follow, increasing the volume and urgency of their demand to “Let Jill Debate!” With news cameras recording the exchange, Stein presented her ticket, and, after a brief discussion and some hesitation on the part of police and debate organizers, was escorted into the debate hall. The crowd outside cheered at the symbolic victory. A ticketless Barbara Johnson also attempted to enter the debate hall, but was not allowed admittance.

While the debate went on, the protesters rallied around several speakers and received intermittent reports from inside. Jonathan Leavitt, a Green party candidate running for State Representative in the 14th Essex District (Lawrence, No. Andover), reported to protesters that he was escorted out of the debate hall because he had interrupted the Republican candidate’s opening remarks by calling out for the inclusion of Dr. Stein in the debates. His remarks elicited a response from the Republican candidate, who claimed that he, in fact, was in favor of having all candidates in the debates.

Tony Lorenzen, Green Party candidate for Lieutenant Governor spoke to the crowd about the “coin-toss democracy” existing in the Commonwealth, claiming that there is little difference between the Democrats and Republicans, as both are beholden to the special interests who fund their campaigns. He demanded a “new coin” for the voters of Massachusetts that would provide more options and a discussion of wider issues not being presented by Republicans or Democrats.

Green candidate for treasurer, James O’Keefe, spoke about the need for the Commonwealth to invest in renewable energy. He maintains that voting Green in the upcoming election would effectively show voters’ disapproval of a foreign policy dominated by the concerns of oil companies.

As the hour long debate came to a close, protesters proceeded around the back of the Campus Center where the candidates included in the debate were expected to depart. Nearly thirty Republican supporters stood by with signs and were surprised and angered to find they were outnumbered by Stein’s supporters. They attempted to block the protesters from the area through increasingly physical means. Five complaints were made by women protesters to police officers present that they had been unnecessarily pushed, shoved, or threatened by Republican supporters. Police pushed both sides back to the street in response to the complaints and in an attempt to restore order to the situation. As the Republican candidate departed, he witnessed the unexpected scene outside. After his departure, his supporters left amidst the chanting of Greens, ”This is what Democracy looks like!”

Shortly after, Jill Stein emerged from the debates to be greeted by the crowd and more television cameras. During a lengthy interview with Channel 7, she reported that it was “business as usual” inside as the two participating candidates agreed on many of the issues but did not adequately address important topics such as affordable housing, providing health care for all Massachusetts residents, tax reform, and educational reform, including the discontinuation of MCAS testing. She expressed her frustration at being locked out of the debate, and related her feelings to the frustration of the voters of Massachusetts who feel locked out of a process which only gives them two narrow choices.

The following day, the media announced that an agreement had been made to hold two more debates inclusive of all five gubernatorial candidates. These debates are scheduled for October 9 and 21, with details forthcoming. As of this writing, official announcements had not yet been made by all five candidates confirming their participation.
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Comments

Real Elections (english)
06 Oct 2002
Open debates? Yes!

No bribery? Yes!

Real vote tabulation? Yes!

Genuine money? Yes!

Puppet politicians, puppet protests & puppet currencies?

Nah....

http://egroups.com/group/jpchance/links/Elections_000993420693

http://egroups.com/group/jpchance/links/Treasury_000993420879

http://egroups.com/group/jpchance/links
See also:
egroups.com/group/jpchance
By the Way... (english)
06 Oct 2002
The Mass Greenwash Party are not real Greens, and Staples is just another subsidiary of the Federal Reserve Corporation.

Go figure....
See also:
egroups.com/group/jpchance
Greener than any one else (english)
07 Oct 2002
The Mass Greens are Greener than any other party in Massachusetts, though I would agree that they could be Greener. Also, a correction to the article, it was Peter White from Cape Cod who was escorted from the debate hall, not Jonathan Leavitt.
CORRECTION & UPDATE!! (english)
07 Oct 2002
Thank you to those who noticed the correction in the above article. In fact, the Green candidate running for State Representative who was escorted from the debate was Peter White. He is running in the 2nd Barnstable District (Barnstable, Yarmouth). My apologies.

I would also like to credit the photograph accompanying the article to Amy Rothstein. More photos of Amy's from the debate protest can be seen at www.jillwill.org.

An update on the debate. I hope everyone will tune into Channel 56 on Wednesday, October 9th at 10:15 p.m. to hear ALL of the candidates speak.