We are feminists who consider the Bush administration a danger to our country and the world, and see a regime change in 2004 as the highest political priority. Rather than waiting to hear what all the Democratic candidates have to say, then jumping on the bandwagon of the least offensive, we decided to make our own list of priorities and see who agrees with us. Here's our list:
  1. We want a candidate who will stop the war on the poor. Though an estimated 20 -29 percent of Americans live in poverty, the Republicans’ new tax code penalizes the poor and rewards the rich. Women on welfare are forced into low-paid jobs, even in the absence of childcare. Food pantries can no longer meet the demand of the millions of the poor, both employed and unemployed. When anyone mentions these facts, the Republicans accuse them of inciting a "class war," but they are the ones who have started this war, whose victims are disproportionately women, children and people of color.
  1. We want a candidate who stands for peace, respects international treaties and institutions such as the U.N. and the International Criminal Court, and tries to resolve problems through negotiation. We are horrified by the fact that our country started a war for no clear reason, on the basis of lies and distortions, in defiance of international law and world opinion, and without concern for the lives that would be lost. Far from protecting us from terrorism, such military adventures can only increase our vulnerability and feed the rage and ranks of those who seek to harm us.
  2. We want a candidate who will defend the separation of church and state, and the individual rights guaranteed us by the Constitution. The Bush administration has instituted detention without trial; secret military tribunals; and hugely increased government surveillance of our citizens.
  3. We want a candidate who opposes discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity, and who stands for women's reproductive rights and recognizes that these rights depend on universal health insurance. The right to choose means women are entitled to abortion, if that is their choice, and to all the social supports necessary to raise children, if that is their choice. The Bush administration is seeking to appoint judges who will undermine these rights.
  4. We want a candidate who will address questions of global economic imbalance and stand up for the rights of immigrants. International financial institutions like the IMF and World Bank, led by the U.S., have imposed “structural adjustment” policies that relentlessly increase the gulf between rich and poor countries -- driving many of the world's poor to come here, legally or illegally. We call for an end to the harassment of undocumented workers by the INS and the political persecution of immigrants of color--the round-ups and detentions. We are a "nation of immigrants" and should embrace this heritage.
  5. We want a candidate who will challenge racism domestically and internationally; who understands that affirmative action is still needed and that our schools have been re-segregated; and who will take a stand against the Republican Party’s use of stereotypes to spread division and fear, from Reagan's "welfare queens" to today's demonized version of Islam.
Dennis Kucinich is the only candidate who not only agrees with all these points but has developed policies to support them: starting a cabinet-level Department of Peace; supporting unions and the right to organize; cutting the bloated military budget; restoring environmental regulations and launching a “Global Green Deal” to benefit developing countries; withdrawing from NAFTA and the WTO and challenging IMF/World Bank policies; repealing the “Patriot Act”; upholding Roe v. Wade; working for universal health insurance; and abolishing the racially and economically biased death penalty.

Because we feel that he comes closest to representing our priorities, we have decided to support Dennis Kucinich for President and hope you will join us by signing this statement. Of course this does not preclude our voting for whoever gets the nomination; this is about whom to support in the primaries. Molly Ivins has put it: Vote your heart in the primaries, vote your head in November. If Dennis wins enough hearts, there won't be any contradiction.

Original Signers:

Barbara Ehrenreich, a political essayist whose most recent book is Nickel and Dimed: Surviving in Low Wage America

Angela Gilliam, professor and scholar of Black feminist anthropology and international feminism

Ynestra King, a writer and activist specializing in environmental, feminist, and disability issues

Gail Lerner, an organizer in the global women's movement, who has worked with several United Nations agencies and international NGOs in the U.S. and abroad

Grace Paley, a writer and peace activist whose works include Enormous Changes at the Last Minute, Later That Same Day, and Just as I Thought

Rosalind Petchesky, an international feminist activist and Distinguished Professor of Political Science at Hunter College and the City University of New York

Digna Sanchez, a Latina community activist in New York, president of the Aspirante Alumni Fellowship

Meredith Tax, a novelist, essayist and international organizer of feminist writers, whose books include Rivington Street and Union Square