Thursday, October 2, 2008


To read this interview on David Mixner's blog, go to
If Woody Guthrie were alive today he would be Holly Near. This kind, gentle person is one of the great folk singers, writers, activist and teachers alive. She was the one of the first women to ever create an independent record company called Redwood Records over thirty years ago. She has been a major presence in the LGBT, feminist, peace and justice movements her entire life. When one thinks of champions of civil rights and human rights you think of Holly Near. Most of all, Holly is a brilliant singer and entertainer who has sung in all corners of the world. Coming from a left, feminist and activist viewpoint, we asked her to discuss her support of Obama with us.

Who did you support in the primaries and why?

I didn’t work for any of the candidates. I don’t like either party much and have always worked outside of the mainstream political system. But I do vote.
Kucinich's ideas were probably the closest to my own. I have a friend who voted for Edwards by absentee ballot but by the time the actual California Primary happened, he had withdrawn so her vote was wasted. Clinton would have been her second choice. It is crazy her vote didn’t count. We need a new system. I voted for Obama in the primary.
I feel frustration during an election year. I can’t stand flag waving and phrases that suggest this country was built on the principles of democracy and equality when in truth our “fore-folks” had slaves, lynched people, and terrorized indentured servants including little northern European irls who looked like me working in sweat shops. Millions of indigenous people were killed - so the whole show un-nerves me.
That said, I’m not stupid. I think critically and strategically. I like Obama and McCain scares me to death. If Clinton had won the primary I would be supporting her as well. I am a long time activist - always left of the democrats - but I like to choose with whom I am going to struggle. I did NOT vote for Nader last time nor would I vote 3rd party this time. I like the idea of building a third party from local level up but I am startled by the thought that experienced political organizers would vote 3rd party this time around at the presidential level.
I don’t feel I’m voting for an icon or a politically perfect social feminist…

…Some indigenous tribes say that the clan mothers pick the ones who will serve different aspects of the community. They would never put a warrior as chief. They would only put a diplomat. So, when I imagine that red blinking button and a cinder box moment involving nuclear weapons, it terrifies me to think of McCain or Palin representing our national security. Obama is not an anti war candidate but he is thoughtful and seems to know how to listen. And he makes room for an anti war movement in his belief system. I don’t feel hated by Obama. I feel hated by McCain…
...This is one of the most historic and important elections I have experienced in my lifetime. And the Republican Convention just upped the ante. How often do we get to do something as the citizens of the United States? I’m not a nationalist but I do live in a nation that is seen around the world as violent and insensitive and greedy and weak and self absorbed.
I want the world to see the other side of our nation, see us make a choice, even if it seems to some to be symbolic. Most people in the world don’t know about the in fighting in the left or about gay marriage. All they know is that their lives and the very safety of the planet has been in grave danger for the last 8 years. I believe they are looking at us to see if we will stand with them to form the biggest circle of resistance the world has ever seen in opposition to Bush-Cheney policy. Regardless of what Obama can achieve or not achieve, I believe one of the strongest things we could do for national security is to show the world we have the courage throw out the Republican agenda and replace it with an offer friendship - to each other and to the world.

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