The recent controversy over the procedure adopted for compiling the nominations for presidential candidates by North American PNCR groups provides another opportunity to look into the prism of internal democracy in the PNCR. A cursory glance suggests that this is another missed opportunity by the PNCR to do what’s right. It is not being suggested here that there was some major conspiracy by Congress Place to derail the democratic process. However, at a minimum, there is a clear demonstration of political naïvety, immaturity and incompetence and the pursuit of personal agendas by the officials involved.
The PNCR published some rules governing the nomination process for its presidential candidate.
Central to the process is for groups to submit their priority list of nominees to the Regional Committee which will then meet in an extended session to integrate the groups’ nominations into a regional priority list. However, these rules also allowed for groups located in areas where regions were not functioning to submit their priority list directly to the General Secretary. Implicit in Rule 2.14 is that the General Secretary will pass the groups’ priority list on to the Presidential Candidate Process Committee. Equity would suggest that the entire priority list of all groups, even if integrated into a regional priority list, must also reach the General Secretary and the Process Committee.
In areas where the regions are functioning, Rule 2.12 charges the Extended Regional Committee with the authority to integrate the group priority lists into a region priority list. All competent sources interpret the authority to integrate as the duty to add, compile, put together or amalgamate and in this case, in some order of priority. The North American Region vote to shortlist instead of integrating as authorized is an exercise in the tyranny of the majority not democracy as some contend.
The issue is even worse when one considers the fact that the procedure for shortlisting was adopted after the group priority lists were submitted. There was ample opportunity for the procedure to be designed to target the exclusion of specific nominees. Democracy is not a three card trick. All rules governing the process must be made known beforehand. Adjustments along the way are trickery and fraud and should not be allowed to stand.
Another fundamental breach of the tenets of democracy is the nature of the involvement of members of the Presidential Candidate Process Committee. Rule 2.13 stipulates that members of this committee would attend the extended regional meetings as observers. This was not complied with at the meeting of the North American Region. This meeting was chaired by a member of the Process Committee and the offensive motion to shortlist instead of integrate was seconded by another member of the Process Committee. These violations void all decisions, as flawed as they are, taken at the meeting and trigger the question if these persons can properly continue as members of the Process Committee.
The protest by Eustace Hall, Secretary of the New York No. 1 Group is meritorious. The apparent decision by Congress Place to ignore the facts presented in Eustace Hall’s letter undermines the rules they approved and sends an ominous signal of what to expect as the process develops further.
Those giving public approval of this flawed process stand indicted of complicity with attempts to subvert democracy.