- June 19 - Today
an unprecedented coalition of Democrats and Republicans, community activists
and political leaders, comedians and celebrities announced a powerful
alternative to the major party conventions, focusing on the issues that
the parties just won't touch. The alternative - Shadow Conventions 2000:
A Citizens' Intervention in American Politics - will parallel this summer's
Republican and Democratic National Conventions, which will be scripted,
crafted and controlled forums that relegate issue debate into obscurity.
"The parties' addiction to massive doses of campaign cash
has distorted our policy priorities and led to the neglect of critical
issues," said syndicated columnist Arianna Huffington, one of the conveners
of the Shadow Conventions 2000. "The Shadow Conventions are a citizens'
intervention to give voice to millions of Americans currently shut out
of the national debate."
Held in Philadelphia and Los Angeles parallel to the party
conventions, the Shadow Conventions will focus on three issues campaign
finance reform, poverty and the wealth gap, and the failed war on drugs
that are being ignored at both partyıs events, and will bring together
some of the nationıs leading thinkers on these issues.
The Shadow Conventions are being convened by Jim Wallis
of Call to Renewal, Scott Harshbarger of Common Cause, Ethan Nadelmann
of The Lindesmith Center, Deepak Bhargava of National Campaign for Jobs
and Income Support, Ellen Miller of Public Campaign, Chuck Collins of
United for a Fair Economy, and Ms. Huffington who will all speak at the
conventions. They will be joined by a broad range of activists, political
leaders and celebrities, including:
- Senators John McCain (R-AZ), Russ Feingold (D-WI) and Paul Wellstone
- Governor Gary Johnson (R-NM);
- Representatives Tony Hall (D-OH), Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-IL), Dennis
Kucinich (D-OH), John Lewis (D-GA), and Jerrold Nadler (D-NY);
- Warren Beatty, Geoff Canada, John DiIulio, Al Franken, Jesse Jackson,
Jonathan Kozol, Paul Krassner, Lewis Lapham, Skip Long, Bill Maher,
Mary Nelson, Eugene Rivers, Harry Shearer, Ron Silver, and Diana Jones
The Shadow Conventions will take place from July 30 through August 4
in Philadelphia, during the Republican party convention, and from August
13 through August 17 in Los Angeles, during the Democratic party convention.
Debates and forums will be staged on each morning, preceding the party
convention sessions in the afternoons and evenings. All Shadow Convention
events will be free and open to the public.
- Shadow Convention proceedings on poverty and the wealth gap are being
organized by Call to Renewal, the National Campaign for Jobs and Income
Support, and United for a Fair Economy. These groups are dedicated to
ending the persistence of poverty during an unprecedented wave of prosperity.
Despite the booming economy, one out of five of Americaıs children remain
"In an economy with record breaking prosperity, it's past time to put
poor people on the political agenda," said Jim Wallis, the Convener
of Call to Renewal. "The rising tide is lifting the yachts, but not
all the boats."
- Shadow Convention proceedings on campaign finance reform are being
organized by Common Cause and Public Campaign. These groups are working
to create a level playing field in political campaigns by reducing the
role of special interest money and the influence of big contributors.
The Democrats and Republicans are expected to launder more than a half
a billion dollars in unregulated and unlimited "soft money" contributions
from corporations, unions, and wealthy individuals in campaign 2000.
"The political parties have eroded their once-noble traditions and have
transformed themselves into something almost unrecognizable giant
mail drops for special-interest money," said Scott Harshbarger, President
of Common Cause.
- Shadow Convention proceedings on the failed drug war are being organized
by the Lindesmith Center, a drug policy institute which educates Americans
on alternatives to our nationıs current failed drug policies. Almost
half a million people are now incarcerated in the United States on drug
charges, almost ten times as many as in 1980, and greater than the total
number of people incarcerated in Europe for everything.
"Drug policy reform is rapidly emerging as a new movement for political
and social justice in the United States -- one that calls for drug policies
based upon common sense, science, public health and human rights," said
Ethan Nadelmann, Director of the Lindesmith Center.