The CLG: History and Dedication
(on the tenth anniversary of its founding)By Michael Rectenwald, Ph.D.
Citizens for Legitimate Government (CLG) was founded on December 12, 2000, by a group of activists in response to the 2000 U.S. Presidential "election" debacle. We held and continue to maintain that the "election" of George W. Bush was a fraud, and that the installation of Bush marked a fundamental breach of the formal electoral processes in the United States of America. We emphasize the purely formal character of the electoral breach because we recognize and always have recognized the highly mediated and manipulated character of the American electoral process, a condition that has only worsened since the founding of our organization.
The CLG started as a group of online protestors. We found each other in a Yahoo! group and began to organize around a simple proposition; whoever believed, as we did, that Bush was fraudulently installed as the President of the United States, could join us for opposing his every move. Our first action was to fly a banner over the Super Bowl held in the aftermath of the election theft (January 2001) at the scene of the crime in Florida (Tampa). While the plane was hired, the banner, "Bush Stole the Election," never flew over the stadium itself. Rather, the plane merely circled the parking lot. Needless to say, the governor of the state had something to do with this rerouting. Our hope was to attain national media attention, which is why the CLG’s current Editor-in-Chief Lori Price was important to the budding group. Lori then worked for a televsion network; our thoughts were that she could help us get camera coverage of the banner. Lori has since become the heart and soul of the CLG, turning it from an obscure group of activists to a major web source for news and commentary relied on by so much of the left in the U.S. and around the world. Through Lori’s influence and work, I have been able to appear on national television numerous times, as well as on a myriad of radio stations nationwide. The CLG now has a subscriber base of 75,000 and our newsletter is included in the feeds of hundreds if not thousands of sites across the web.
The CLG charter held that the CLG was a multi-partisan group established to "expose the coup" and "oppose the occupation." We made clear our principled position on numerous occasions, but most significantly at the Voter March and Protest.
Little did we know then that the words “oppose the occupation” would soon become a double entendre and stand very well for our opposition to the occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan. Even before the 2000 "election," I had personally believed that Bush’s election would definitely entail the attack of Iraq. I said as much before 9-11 and the pretext for the Iraqi War was established -- in an early speech I gave on the first annual "Not-My-President’s-Day." A great deal of our passion had to do with the strong belief we had that same anti-democratic means by which Bush took office (literally) would be rolled out across the world during the Bush “presidency.” Our presentiments on that score have since been vindicated. We advanced such notions years in advance of the so-called left intelligentsia. We publicly called Bush a war criminal and a terrorist long before it became safe and popular to do so. We continue to oppose the wars on principled grounds and haven’t ceased our opposition simply because a Democrat is executing them.
Our group had planned to protest every Bush appearance outside of D.C., and we did, until the eventuality of 9-11. Before 9-11, we were subject to containment in the "Free Speech Zones" set up by the Bush regime. We faced possible arrest for moving outside of such pens. After 9-11, protests of Bush’s appearance became all but impossible. Nevertheless, we persisted as a news service and stepped up our media efforts. We did not shy away from criticism of the administration, when, after 9-11, it became very unpopular to engage in it. We were asked many times by media pundits why we kept up our position despite Bush’s supposed popularity after 9-11.We never swayed from our principled position that Bush was an illegitimate “president” and thus every one of his executive actions was also illegitimate. History has since proven us to be correct. We only wish that our word had been heeded earlier.
Anyone who is paying attention must realize the mutation that American and world politics has undergone over the past ten years. The endless illegal wars, the indefinite detentions, the state-exacted torture, the intensification of domestic surveillance, the funding of "enemy combatants," the crisis of capitalism and the state-sponsored bailouts of criminal banks and brokerage firms, the exposure of state criminality and the backlash against democratic media impulses and organizations--all of this makes these times most interesting and unusual. But such has become the times and these realities are no longer unusual. They make up the political environment that we can expect until drastic change comes about.
We believe that our function at the CLG is to continue to report and comment upon what mainstream media has been unwilling or unable to report and comment on, and to support such outlets as WikiLeaks for propagating news and information of vital interests to the subjects of the world. As the corporate media outlets, including Democratic Party boosters like MSNBC and The Nation, play an increasingly overt propaganda role for the capitalist state, sources like the CLG gain in importance and readership. We pledge to stand by the principles of democratic truth-telling, to provide news from the perspectiveof the vast majority and not from that of the corporate and military rulers.
Join us in celebrating ten years of service to the interests of democracy.
12 December 2010