Sunday, January 08, 2006

The Green Party: Not ready for prime time

I could have called this item "Why Ross Mirkarimi Will Never Be Mayor of San Francisco." As District 5 Supervisor, Ross is the highest elected member of the Green Party in San Francisco, and, rumor has it, a potential progressive candidate for mayor in 2007, when Mayor Newsom will be running for re-election.

Item #1:
The San Francisco Green Party still has an anti-globalism screed by convicted cop-killer Mumia Abu-Jamal on its web site.

Item #2:
As reported by Matt Smith, a few months ago Ross Mirkarimi featured an art show in his office about the Black Panthers:

"It was intense stuff---'Die pigs' and all that, and there were Panthers there who had never been in City Hall," says Mirkarimi, who's given official city acknowledgment to William Burroughs, and is looking for an excuse to officially honor the anarchist bookstore Bound Together on Haight Street. "They've got to have an anniversary or something coming up," Mirkarimi says. (SF Weekly, Dec. 14-20, 2005)

As a candidate for mayor, this will not exactly put Ross in solid with the POA. The Black Panthers who, along with some useful community work, used to brandish guns and talk about "self-defense" against the police, don't exactly embody the message the city should be sending to the young black men in the Western Addition and Hunter's Point. After all, don't we have a gun violence problem right now? Do we want to reinforce the notion, already propagated by the appalling rap/hip-hop culture, that guns are cool? (William Burroughs, by the way, was a gun fetishist and, in my opinion, a terrible writer.) One can only hope that the anarchists at Bound Together are of the libertarian, pacifist variety, not bomb-throwers in the Johann Most tradition.

This kind of thing---along with Critical Mass, the tolerance for graffiti/tagging and homelessness---won't play well on the west side of San Francisco in a citywide campaign. Ross evidently didn't learn anything from his predecessor, Matt Gonzalez, who allowed a so-called graffiti artist to deface his office in the name of art. Apparently Ross thought that was pretty cool.

As Bob Haaland told Tim Redmond and Calvin Welch at the last HANC meeting, the city's left needs to grow up.

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