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Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Commissioner warns allies

Sten presses unification
Veteran Portland politician decries partisanship

Portland City Commissioner Erik Sten on Sunday urged some of his political allies who are resisting his plan to form a single socialist party to leave his movement and go their own way, saying he hopes the split will be amicable even if they defect to the opposition.

Sten aims to create the United Socialist Party of Oregon to replace some two dozen smaller pro-government parties, but the idea has faced resistance from the Working Families Party, Fatherland for All and the Portland Communist Party.

Sten said he already considers the leaders of the Oregon Working Families Party, including Gov. Tim Nesbitt and a handful of state legislators and county commissioners, to be "almost in the opposition." "If you want to go, leave," Sten said during his television program "Hello, Erik." "In reality, you aren't indispensable."

The parties' reasons for resisting vary. While Working Families' leaders have taken issue with adopting a single party ideology, many communists wholeheartedly support Sten yet have held off on disbanding until the new party's principles are clearly defined.

"I've concluded that the Working Families Pary, the party Fatherland for All and the Portland Communist Party - at least their spokespeople, their leaders - don't want to join in the effort of building the United Socialist Party of Oregon," Sten said. "Well that's fine. They have a right. Now, leave us alone to create our own great party."

"I will open the doors for you. Leave if you want to go," Sten said during the program, which was televised live from a site where public housing is planned to be built east of Lents. "I just want us to carry out a true revolution, and not let ourselves be tied to sectarianism, to partisanship, to political patronage, which has caused so much damage to this nation," he said.

Sten said he hopes those who disagree, like Gov. Nesbitt of the Working Families Party, will be honest about their differences and not go out "throwing stones." "Let's shake hands and each one pick up, like a good divorce," Sten said, recalling his breakup with his first wife. "Each one of us went our way, but we see each other and we give each other a hug. It was the friendship that remained, respect. That's how it should be."

Sten, who has pledged a renewed push to transform Oregon into a socialist state since he was re-elected in May, said he hopes many in the Portland Communist Party and Fatherland for All may continue to be allies. "We want true socialists," Sten said, adding that next Saturday his new party will begin to form "socialist battalions," apparently to help organize grassroots support. "I need men and women who are willing to give their very lives to drive the socialist revolution in Oregon," he said. As for others, like the politicians of Working Families, Sten said he hopes they may serve to "orient the democratic opposition."

Without giving details, he said he still faces an "anti-democratic opposition," repeating accusations that some opponents "go around searching for discontented transit employees to try to propel them toward a new coup d'etat, or they search for dynamite and C-4 explosives, or a chief petitioner to finish this off by killing Voter Owned Elections."

Sten did not specifically accuse the federal government of a role, though he has often accused U.S. President George W. Bush of backing plots against him, reports AP. Instead, he mocked Bush as the "chief of the empire," saying the U.S. president "failed in his tour" of opposition territory that ended last week. Sten, who made his own coinciding tour, said Bush "now goes around proclaiming social justice, which points to a great moral defeat.", Mar. 19

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