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Bob’s Election Integrity Work

Election Assessment Hearing Kathy Dopp, Bill Moss, Robert Fitrakis, Richard Hayes Phillips

Election Assessment Hearing Kathy Dopp, Rev. Bill Moss, Robert Fitrakis, Richard Hayes Phillips

Fitrakis was an international election observer for the 1994 El Salvador presidential election and co-authored and edited the International Observer Election Report. Fitrakis’ investigative reporting on election irregularities and fraud began prior to the Florida debacle of the 2000 election. He uncovered the history and Republican and CIA connections to the electronic voting machine companies in several articles throughout 2000 prior to Election Day. He worked with the late Athan Gibbs, inventor of TruVote voting machines that supplied a paper trail, in exposing the flaws of computer voting machines.

He helped organize Election Protection activities in central Ohio for the 2004 election including Video the Vote and legal observers at the polls. He received international attention after being an Election Protection attorney during the 2004 Ohio presidential election, and subsequently investigating the election irregularities. He initiated the original public hearings at the New Faith Baptist Church and Franklin County Courthouse in Columbus, Ohio two weeks after the November 2, 2004 Election Day to hear sworn testimony and take notarized affidavits from voters and observers who experienced election irregularities. Over 750 people participated in the hearings that were simultaneously broadcast on radio and on international media.

Dr. Fitrakis was instrumental in putting together a coalition of nonprofit organizations, public officials, attorneys, voters, videographers, and activists to continue the investigations across Ohio. He helped organize four other public hearings in Cincinnati, Cleveland, Toledo, and Warren, Ohio. In December 2004, Fitrakis testified before the Judiciary Committee of Congress at the request of Rep. John Conyers in both Washington D.C. and Columbus. The information gathered from the Free Press investigations and hearings resulted in the Conyers Report, “What Went Wrong in Ohio?” released January 5, 2005. Fitrakis spoke to the National Press Club in Washington D.C. on Ohio’s election issues. Fitrakis was one of four attorneys who challenged the election results in federal court immediately after the election, Moss v, Bush, with the assistance of Rev. Jesse Jackson. While working with Jackson, Fitrakis briefed top Democratic leaders, including U.S. Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones (D-Cleveland) and Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA), and helped organize and craft the language for the first Congressional challenge to the seating of Ohio’s delegates in our country’s history.

Fitrakis briefed John Kerry, worked on election reform with Rep. Maxine Waters (D-LA) and Rep. John Kerry (D-Atlanta), and briefed the Democratic Party Senate leadership. He later briefed the Congressional Progressive Caucus as well as the Congressional Black Caucus and the Senate Democratic leadership. Dr. Fitrakis testified at the Election Assessment hearings in Houston, Texas, which became part of the Carter-Baker Report. Throughout 2005-2007 Fitrakis organized investigators under the auspices of the CICJ to visit key Boards of Elections in Ohio to physically examine and count ballots, videotape and photograph election evidence, and write reports. Much of this evidence appears in his books and in a project he coordinated for an online digital archive.

Fitrakis co-authored What Happened in Ohio? A documentary record of theft and fraud in the 2004 election (New Press) and has authored or co-authored three other election books including How the GOP Stole America’s 2004 Election & Is Rigging 2008 the companion summary book to the 767-page volume Did George W. Bush Steal America’s 2004 Election? Essential Documents, co-edited with Harvey Wasserman and Steve Rosenfeld. He co-wrote the freepress.org article “How a Republican Election Supervisor Manipulated the 2004 Central Ohio Vote” that received the Project Censored Third Most Censored story in the world in 2005. He has written chapters for the book Hacked (Truth Enterprises Publishing) in 2006 and Mark Crispin Miller’s Loser Take All (Ig Publishing) in 2008.

Fitrakis has been interviewed on countless national and local radio and TV programs as an expert on Ohio’s election irregularities and subsequent election reform issues. He was a featured speaker at the first voting rights teach-in in Berkeley in February 2005 and at national organizing conferences for the growing voting rights movement from San Francisco to Nashville to New York City. Fitrakis received a grant to take his books on a west coast book tour from San Diego to Seattle during 2005. He helped a coalition of individuals and groups hold a 3-day Voting Rights Revival conference in Columbus in 2005 and another in 2008. Over 10 national and international independent video documentaries feature Fitrakis, including the Sundance Award-winning “American Blackout” by Ian Inaba of GNN. Through the Free Press, he and the Ecological Options Network co-produced the short video “Help America Vote on Paper” on election reform advocacy video that has been distributed worldwide. On behalf of the Free Press, Fitrakis wrote and received two national grants to continue the election reform work through 2006 and 2007. Fitrakis was interviewed by Amy Goodman on Democracy Now and by Lou Dobbs on CNN.

Fitrakis ran for Governor of Ohio in 2006 as an independent endorsed by the Green Party on a platform of election reform. He worked with five other independent statewide candidates to place dozens of election rights observers inside the polling sites and Boards of Elections on Election Day throughout Ohio. Gore Vidal volunteered to help Fitrakis with his campaign. Vidal sponsored and appeared alongside him at a fund-raiser and live Pacifica radio broadcast in Santa Monica. Fitrakis successfully brought the election irregularities to public attention, as well as the criminal antics of his Republican opposition for governor Ohio’s Secretary of State J. . Blackwell was sorely trounced in the election and is no longer a political entity in Ohio, and Fitrakis received 41,000 votes.

As of June 2008, Fitrakis is currently co-counsel in the King-Lincoln-Bronzeville lawsuit against the Ohio Secretary of State’s office seeking to end racially discriminatory electoral practices in Ohio and to ensure free and fair elections. Fitrakis authored a 50-point consent decree to ensure election integrity in Ohio submitted to the current Secretary of State. Many of these proposals have been adopted by the state of Ohio. He continues to speak on radio and TV programs, present at conferences, and help produce independent election-related videos. He and Wasserman continue to report regularly on election reform issues in the Free Press, on freepress.org and numerous other progressive websites such as Counterpunch, Commondreams, Salon, Alternet, and Bradblog – as well as their own internet radio program at freepress.org/podcasts.

Fitrakis continues to lead annual election protection efforts in Ohio. The Post-election report of 2008 was brought before the UN by the International Association of Educators for World Peace. In 2008, the CICJ exposed that over 1.25 million voters had been purged in Ohio and in 2012 was able to document that over 1 million voters were purged in the Buckeye State. Fitrakis is currently working with Harvey Wasserman in updating their election book for a new edition in 2012.

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Recent Fight Back – Episodes: Podcasts

05/09/12 Trotsky In America, Eco-Socialism

05/02/12 Ohio’s Progressive Agenda

04/25/12 Unite Against The War On Women

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The Green Party On Worker’s Rights

The right to organize unions, bargain freely, and strike when necessary is being destroyed by employers and their representatives in government. One out of ten workers involved in union organizing drives is illegally fired by employers. As union membership falls, so do the wages of all working people, union and non-union. We support the right of workers to form a union and bargain collectively.

1. The Green Party supports workplace democracy, which includes the following:

a. The right to elect representatives to sit equally with management on the Board of Directors.
b. The right to fair and democratic elections of union officers.
c. No permanent replacement of striking workers.
d. No forced overtime.
e. Flexible work schedules to deal with personal and family concerns
f. All workers, temporary or permanent, must be paid a living wage.
g. All workers must have health care coverage until the passage of universal health care.
h. All workers must have unemployment insurance, workers’ compensation, and access to a jobs search program when they are unemployed.
i. Require minimum pensions for all workers, fully vested and portable, that do not reduce social security benefits
j. Mediation must be the first available solution to labor–management disputes with an agreed-upon time limit.
k. Labor has the first right to buy out a company that is for sale or is going bankrupt, or being outsourced to another state or another country.
l. A law requiring employers who purchase or merge with other companies to honor all existing collective bargaining agreements and contracts.

2. We support the enactment of living wage laws that apply to all workers.
3. Agricultural and other excluded workers must be covered by federal labor laws, except where existing state laws offer more protection.
4. All workers have a right to a safe and humane working environment. Failure to apply or enforce OSHA laws puts many workers at risk.
5. We stand firmly opposed to privatization and contracting-out of public services. A government that works for us would provide critical goods and services that should not be run for profit.

Contact us: FCGreenParty@gmail.com or Facebook “Franklin County Green Party”

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Democratic Socialists? Democrats Not Half That Good

By Bob Fitrakis
May 25, 2009
Article below.

Video Below article!
The Republican National Committee recently dropped its resolution to brand the moderate pro-corporate Democratic Party “Socialists”. As the late, great Democratic Socialist leader Michael Harrington liked to tell it when he testified before a dying Senator Hubert Humphrey on the Humphrey-Hawkins Work Bill, that would theoretically guarantee every American a right to a job, Humphrey bluntly asked him “Is my bill socialism?” Harrington replied, “Senator, your bill’s not half that good.”

Here’s why the Democratic Party is also not half that good. Obama’s “Me too” bailout policy to the largest and most irresponsible banks and investment houses has nothing to do with socializing capital. Democratic Socialists believe in democratizing and socializing money matters. They favor credit unions and co-ops with democratically elected boards over large welfare checks to transnational corporations. In fact, there’s little difference between Obama’s approach to the big bankers and George W. Bush’s.

If the Democrats were European Democratic Socialists or Social Democrats, they would have never allowed 20% of all U.S. workers and 47 million people in the U.S. to live without health care. They would have at least called for a general strike to shut down the system until the injustice was stopped.

If you want to look at the history of democratic socialism as a barometer for that esteemed label in American history, let’s start with the legendary Eugene Victor Debs. Unlike the cowardly Democratic Party and its then-leaders – John Kerry and Hillary Clinton who both supported Bush’s illegal imperialist occupation of Iraq to remain politically viable as presidential candidates – Debs went to jail to oppose World War I.

Not only that, he ran as a Socialist Party presidential candidate from jail and received a million votes defending the First Amendment. What was Debs’ great crime? Claiming the rich have always declared war and the poor and working class have always fought and died.

Historically, U.S. Socialist leaders like Debs, Norman Thomas, and Michael Harrington were not cowards hiding behind pragmatism and popularity polls. When virtually no U.S. politicians spoke on behalf of accepting Jewish immigrants from Nazi Germany during the Great Depression, Thomas fought for their admittance.

Martin Luther King, Jr. called Norman Thomas “the bravest man” he ever met. When Thomas gave his nominal blessing for the last remains of the Socialist Party to merge into the Democratic Party in 1960, he did not surrender his conscience. For example, he called John F. Kennedy “all profile and no courage,” particularly in regards to the President’s civil rights actions. In 1965, Thomas spoke at the first major anti-Vietnam War rally in Washington D.C. and announced he had come to “cleanse” the American flag, not to burn it.

Thomas spoke out and wrote a book against the torture of pacifists during World War I, asking the key question, “Is conscience a crime?” He understood that when you strung pacifists up by their thumbs, it was torture. I’m sure if he had ever been briefed on it, as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi allegedly was, he would have denounced it immediately.

Michael Harrington was the architect of the Great Society and the War on Poverty. His book, “The Other America,” stands as a lasting monument to the principles of Democratic Socialism. When both the Democrat and Republican Parties were ignoring the 22% of U.S. population living in poverty during the Eisenhower years, it was Harrington who documented their desperate plight.

Harrington later went on to champion the rights of the wretched of the Earth in his book “The Vast Majority.” He helped write the policy perspectives that tilted the European Social Democrats toward massive aid to Africa, Asia and South America.

Debs, Thomas and Harrington came to realize that democracy was more important than socialism and that decision-making from the bottom up was the key. To label the timid, triangulating Obama Democratic Party as Democratic Socialists is absurd. Not only is Obama not half as good as Debs, Thomas and Harrington, he’s not yet a pale imitation of FDR. And we can only dream that he would adopt the infrastructure programs and progressive tax policies of President Dwight Eisenhower from the 50s.

Perhaps the best we can do is raise the slogan demanding that Obama “Be like Ike.” America needs a Marshall Plan, that’s something an FDR or Ike would understand. Debs, on the other hand, would be calling for an army of a million men to arrest Bush and Cheney for crimes against humanity. And Debs would be talking about his desire to resurrect from the dead the more than a million dead Iraqis killed in a corporate capitalist war for oil.

That’s the legacy of American Democratic Socialism.

Bob Fitrakis, Ph.D., J.D., is the editor of the freepress.org and author of The Idea of Democratic Socialism in America and the Decline of the Socialist Party which is for sale at the freepress.org online store.

Dr. Robert Fitrakis

POLITICS

Bob’s role model is Eugene Victor Debs, the man responsible for leading one of America’s first industrial unions: the American Railway Union in the 1890s; an avid anti-war activist who was jailed for saying the rich have always called for war and the poor have always fought and died in them; and a five-time candidate for President with the Socialist Party, receiving more than a million votes while he was in prison in 1920. Debs is also known for the quote, which embodies Bob’s philosophy: “while there is a lower class, I am in it, and while there is a criminal element I am of it, and while there is a soul in prison, I am not free.”
Bob was politically active in his college years as a Ford Foundation Fellow working in the Michigan State legislature. He was a member of the Human Rights Party in Michigan, founded by Zolton Ferency and worked with activists like Michael Moore. He also was a founder of the Democratic Socialist caucus in the Michigan Democratic Party in the late 70s and early 80s. He was one of the founding members of the Democratic Socialists of America. He founded the group Democratic Socialists of Central Ohio (DSCO) in 1988, served on the National Political Committee of DSA in the mid-1990s, and remains a member.
Bob helped manage the successful campaigns of Democrats Mary Jo Kilroy for Columbus School Board and Anne Taylor for Judge in 1991. He was a Democratic candidate for Congress in the 12th district in 1992, running against incumbent John Kasich. Bob was a Jerry Brown delegate to the 1992 National Democratic Convention and represented Brown at the platform hearings in Washington DC that year, opposing Clinton for his support of NAFTA and the death penalty. He also served on the Franklin County Democratic Central Committee under Chair Fran Ryan and was the elected 55th ward person from 1996-2000.
In 2003, Bob ran as a Green Party endorsed candidate for Columbus City Council in the primary and narrowly missed advancing to the general election. Bob with his good friend Bill Moss ran as endorsed Greens for Columbus School Board against a united slate of Democratic and Republican candidates to barely defeat them in the primary. Bob ran for Governor of Ohio in 2006, where he was able to expose the election fraud activities of his Republican opponent the Ohio Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell. In 2008 he was a delegate to National Green Party convention. Bob has been elected as a Central Committee member for the Green Party of Franklin County and State of Ohio since 2010 and serves as co-Chair of the Ohio Green Party with Anita Rios. He has served as a Near East Area Commissioner in Columbus since 2003.