COBB ARRESTED FOR CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE
AT ST. LOUIS DEBATE
"The real crime is the corporate hijacking of our democracy"
David Cobb, the Green Party's presidential candidate, was arrested tonight in St. Louis for committing civil disobedience to protest the anti-democratic presidential debates which are restricted to participants from two political parties and sponsored by their corporate contributors. The debates' sponsor, the Commission on Presidential Debates, denied the Cobb campaign's repeated requests to participate in the debates with Bush and Kerry and denied Mr. Cobb's request to attend the St. Louis debate as an audience member.
Cobb was arrested shortly after the start of the Washington University debate, one of three sponsored by the Commission on Presidential Debates, an organization founded and operated by the two old establishment parties. Cobb was arrested by St. Louis City police officers when he pushed through a line of police with shields who were preventing entry to the debate.
"The real crime is the corporate hijacking of our democracy. The corporations sponsoring these restricted, scripted and staged events, and their two-party accomplices, don't want the American people to know about the choices they have in this election. Both Big Business and the duopoly don't want you to hear voices calling for an immediate withdrawal from Iraq or for health care for every single American citizen," said Cobb.
"Debates aren't just about who is going to win an election; they are the only forum where we can have unrestricted dialogue about the critical issues facing us. Third parties have a long history of changing the political landscape of this country. Restricting debates to two parties severely limits our potential for progressive change," said Cobb-LaMarche Media Director Blair Bobier.
"All real social change came about in this country because of the pressure brought by a third party. Slavery was ended because of pressure brought to bear by a third party called the Republicans. The Greenback-Labor Party pressured this country to give women the right to vote. The Socialist Party created the momentum for the creation of Social Security. The Progressive Party brought pressure to bring about the direct election of the United States Senate," said Cobb.
Debates including third party and independent candidates have had a profound effect on recent American politics. Ross Perot's participation in the 1992 presidential debates is widely credited with putting the issue of a balanced federal budget on the table. Jesse Ventura's victory as a gubernatorial candidate in Minnesota was due in large part to the fact that he participated in debates with his two-party opponents.
The Cobb-LaMarche campaign supports debate participation standards which are fair, objective and allow for the participation of more than two candidates. Specifically, the campaign supports debates which include candidates who are on enough ballots to win the presidency. In this election, that would be only six candidates, a very manageable number and far fewer than participated in many of the Democratic presidential primary debates this year. Obtaining ballot access in a sufficient number of states is a very rigorous and complicated process which would serve as a reasonable threshold for participation. "Participation in presidential debates should not be dependent on polls commissioned by the corporate media," said Bobier.
Libertarian presidential candidate Michael Badnarik pushed his way through the police line at the debate site about a minute after Cobb and was similarly arrested. Cobb and Badnarik have debated four times in this campaign; a fifth debate is scheduled for October 15 at Eastern Tennessee State University with a number of other candidates.
For more information about the Cobb-LaMarche campaign, see http://www.votecobb.org. Information about the Green Party can be found at http://www.gp.org.