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Aaron Dixon isn’t accustomed to selling out his ideals for career or political gains. Despite decades of community activism, as a former Black Panther and now a Green Party candidate for US Senate, Dixon’s legacy has yet to be tainted by concessions or compromise.
Back in the late 1960s and early 1970s Dixon was on the front lines of the civil rights movement in Seattle. He started the Free Breakfast for School Children program, opened up a free medical clinic, as well as a free legal clinic, and worked to improve civil liberties for black students within the Seattle school system. In 2002, Dixon founded Central House, a not-for-profit organization that works to provide housing for young homeless adults, where he is still acting director.
Aside from managing his nonprofit, Dixon is running a statewide antiwar campaign against Democratic incumbent Maria Cantwell in Washington State. Unlike Cantwell, Dixon is calling for an immediate unconditional withdraw of troops from Iraq and Afghanistan, and views his campaign as an extension of left social movements that are developing across South America and elsewhere. Needless to say, there are a few folks who are unhappy with Dixon’s campaign to oust Sen. Cantwell. And listening to Dixon tell it, they’ve done their best to persuade him to disband his campaign.
Allegedly it all started with a phone call from Mark Wilson, the former antiwar challenger to Maria Cantwell, who dropped out of the Democratic Primary halfway through the campaign to take a lofty post within the Cantwell camp. After agreeing to take the position, Wilson told a reporter that the amount of money he would be making was "confidential", but several people familiar with the campaign say similar positions pay upwards of $8,000 a month. Apparently even antiwar positions have a price tag attached.
Unless you are Aaron Dixon, that is.
As Dixon tells it, "Mark [Wilson] called and basically told me that a lot of people have a lot of money within the Cantwell campaign, and he said that they could put on a fundraiser for Central House that would ‘blow my mind’. He called a week later and basically told me the same thing. I didn’t bite, ending this war is too important."
When asked if exiting the race would have been contingent on there being a fundraiser for his organization, Dixon answered, "It wasn’t said directly, but it was certainly implied."
Dixon also said that Mark Wilson was not the only Cantwell staffer to call his campaign headquarters with the hope of convincing him to drop out, but Dixon declined to elaborate.
The Cantwell campaign declined to comment on Dixon’s allegations.
Perhaps that’s just how Maria and the Democrats play ball. They attempt to buy out their opposition and support them financially if they forfeit. How’s that for embracing the democratic process? Fortunately for the antiwar movement there are candidates like Aaron Dixon who refuse to surrender.
Like Dixon said, ending this war it just too important.
JOSHUA FRANK, author of Left Out! How Liberals Helped Reelect George W. Bush, edits http://www.BrickBurner.org