Green Party Populism

by STEPHEN LENDMAN

Imagine a political party wanting America governed progressively. Imagine its platform stressing social justice, human and civil rights, peace, disarmament, and other populist policies America’s duopoly spurns. More on this below.

On October 23, Russia Today (rt.com) and C-SPAN broadcast 90 minutes of debate by third party presidential candidates Jill Stein (Green Party), Gary Johnson (Libertarian Party), Virgil Goode (Constitution Party), and Rocky Anderson (Justice Party).

Scoundrel media coverage was scant. Broadcast and cable news networks ignored it. Chicago’s Hilton and Towers served as venue. The Chicago Tribune headlined “Third-party candidates make their cases in Chicago debate,” saying:

In 1960, political debates began in Chicago. Kennedy and Nixon faced-off. Tribune writer Bob Secter dismissively called Tuesday night’s debate hardly up to the level of Obama/Romney.

It’s “unlikely the whole world was watching,” he said. That’s the cross “off-brand parties” must bear, he added. He said nothing about ideas and philosophies expressed.

He did little more than say perhaps they could be spoilers in key battleground states too close to call.

Free and Equal Elections (freeandequal.org) sponsored the debate. Four in all were planned. A final one is scheduled for Washington, DC on October 30.

Freeandequal.org is a non-profit organization. It was “formed to ensure a fair and open electoral process for all. It is our belief that a true democracy fosters a climate where all voice are heard regardless of political party or persuasion.”

Not in America sadly. Independents are virtually shut out. In 1992, Ross Perot was the last one allowed to debate. His candidacy (and perhaps participation) helped elect Clinton.

The Washington Post also covered Tuesday night. Headlining “Third-party presidential candidates rail against Obama and Romney at debate,” it said:

Four alternative party aspirants offered “starkly different political perspectives, but unit(ed) in agreement that neither Mitt Romney nor President Obama can solve the nation’s biggest problems.”

Left unsaid was who they are, what they stand for, and why America’s duopoly assures destructive same old, same old every time. The Post merely said they “addressed many of the same issues the major party candidates have wrangled over” plus some they left out.

America’s duopoly doesn’t debate. Prescripted theater substitutes. Flim flam defines it. A previous article said Republican/Democrat face-offs don’t edify. They insult. Issues aren’t discussed responsibly. They’re ducked. Voters come away knowing nothing.

A recent USA TODAY/Suffolk University poll suggested 90 million Americans won’t vote in November. Why bother when both major candidates spurn them. Selecting one over the other is like choosing between death by hanging or firing squad. Either way you’re dead.

Post writer Sean Sullivan gave Tuesday night scant coverage. He mentioned only a few sound bite comments candidates made. Doing so ignored principles they stand for. What’s more important than that.

Quoting Jill Stein saying, “Let’s bail out students” hardly explains the progressive Green Party platform. It’s polar opposite America’s duopoly. More on it below.

Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson is right saying. “Wasting your vote is voting for someone you don’t believe in.”

Support people oriented candidates or stay home. Green Party’s Jill Green represents real change to believe in. She rejects Obama’s duplicitous figure of speech.

America’s Green Party says “Another US is possible. Another party is necessary.” Party platform principles were adopted by the Green National Committee. They deserve to be read and studied. Key values are stressed in great detail. Specifics cover vital issues affecting everyone. They include:

Real democracy, not the fake kind under duopoly power. It requires government of, by and for everyone. Republicans and Democrats represent wealth and power. Ordinary people are entirely left out.

Green Party candidates promise something different and mean it. They’re “committed to the strengthening of our civil society, including the many mediating institutions at the community level.”

Reforming today’s corrupt system is essential. For real democracy to work, “citizens must share in the power of governing. Greens seek to bring vibrant grassroots democracy to every part of the United States.”

Greens support electoral reform. Getting money out of politics is key. So is institutionalizing direct grass roots democracy. Everyone should have the right to choose their officials in free, fair and open elections.

Voters today have no choice. Money power runs America. Obama and Romney are in lockstep on all issues mattering most. Not a dime’s worth of difference separates them. People have no say. Something this corrupted has to be torn down and rebuilt from the bottom up. Doing it at the grassroots is essential.

Greens support communities, families and children. They want ordinary people protected and served.

Independent media are essential. Democracy can’t exist without them. Ready access to real news, information, and analysis keeps people informed. That’s how they get to decide responsibly what’s best for them and others.

Media conglomerate gatekeepers suppress what’s most important to know. Censorship in all forms is abhorrent. Greens favor returning “ownership and control of the electromagnetic spectrum to the public.”

Make free speech and the public airwaves a reality. Break up the media giants. Support community radio. Provide broadband Internet access for everyone as an inherent right, not a commodity available only to those able to afford it.

Prioritize disarmament and demilitarization. End imperial wars and the bogus war on terror. Choose peace over conflicts. Prioritize it as a constitutional right. Recognize the sovereign right of all nations.

Support international law. Play a lead role as peacemaker. Abolish nuclear and other weapons of mass destruction.

“Declare a no-first-strike policy. Declare a no-preemptive strike policy. Declare that the US will never threaten or use a nuclear weapon, regardless of size, on a non-nuclear nation.”

Prioritize never using these or other WMDs against anyone.

“The Green Party of the United States recognizes that our greatest contribution to peace in the Middle East will come through our impact on US policy in the region.”

Palestinian self-determination is key. So is ending occupation harshness, Gaza’s siege, Israeli apartheid, and America’s one-sided military and financial support.

Greens support “nonviolent punitive measures until Israel meets its obligation to recognize the Palestinian people’s inalienable” rights fully. Principles affirmed under international law must be obeyed.

Other vital foreign policy changes include promoting fair, not free one-sided trade, prohibiting IMF/World Bank structural adjustment harshness, strengthening labor rights, legislating anti-trust laws with teeth, prohibiting US corporations from parking profits abroad, make them pay their fair share, ending Cuba’s blockade, and lawless sanctions against nonbelligerent countries.

Universal human and civil rights should be constitutionally mandated. End corporate personhood. They’re business enterprises, not people.

Enact a Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). In 1979, the General Assembly adopted it. Over 170 countries ratified it. America is the only industrialized one to spurn it.

In 1898, America invaded Puerto Rico and colonized it. Nothing changed to this day. Greens support Puerto Rican independence. It’s 114 years overdue.

Domestic security must be prioritized. Rescind police state laws. Restore freedom. End torture, political persecution, illegal spying, indefinite detention without trial, and presidential diktat power to order anyone (including US citizens) killed on his say alone.

Reinstitute real checks and balances. Prosecute lawless high-level government and corporate officials. Enforce inviolable constitutional, US statute, and international laws.

Shut down overseas torture prisons. Reform America’s domestic gulag. Institutionalize judicial fairness. End abuses of power. Demilitarize space.

Community organizer/independent journalist Rosa Clemente calls America’s Green Party “no longer the alternative.” It’s an “imperative.”

Its platform also prioritizes social justice. Democratic values must be enforced. Equal rights are fundamental in just societies. Nothing less is acceptable.

Enforce the letter and spirit of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It constitutes a minimal international standard. Discrimination in all forms is abhorrent.

Greens stress social equality, reproductive and other women’s rights, economic fairness, cracking down on violence and oppression, and prohibiting racial and other forms of discrimination.

Long-denied rights of indigenous peoples (including for Native Hawaiians) must be enforced. Other vital ones include affirming sexual orientation and gender identity equality, the rights of the disabled, religious freedom and secular equality, youth rights, and those for GIs and veterans.

Consumers must be protected from fraud, harmful products, usury, corporate greed, other ripoffs, environmental harm, as well as economic, social and political injustice. Greens prioritize supporting ordinary people. They’ve been denied far too long.

“An unjust society is an unsustainable” one. People “have a right to food, housing, medical care, jobs that pay a living wage, education, and support in times of hardship.”

Taxes must be fair and equitable. Make corporations and rich elites carry their share of the load. Working people need relief, not greater burdens. End the austerity hoax.

Government must serve everyone, not just America’s privileged. Invest in people, not prisons. End the death penalty and war on drugs.

Curb corporate power. Support small business and self-employed people. Prioritize job creation with livable wages. Institutionalize banking reform. Return money power to the public where it belongs.

Break up or shut down too-big-to-fail banks. They’re too big to exist. Clean up a system based on speculative excess and grand theft. End corporate bailouts and subsidies in all forms. Subsidize people, not corporate predators.

Protect pensions and social security for working people. Replace austerity with vital stimulus. Prioritize doing things right, not wrong.

Greens represent America’s progressive alternative. Merriam Webster calls progressivism “believing in moderate political change and especially social improvement by governmental action.”

The Oxford Dictionary says it’s anyone “advocating or implementing social reform or new, liberal ideas.” Wikipedia calls it a “political attitude favoring or advocating changes or reforms through governmental action.”

Earlier progressivism began in the 19th century. It stood for ending slavery, supporting women’s rights (including suffrage), small farmers and political populism. It advocated:

• social reforms benefitting ordinary Americans;
• citizens having more control over government;
• establishing comprehensive education as a universal right;
• curbing excessive corporate power;
• eliminating corruption and waste;
• supporting organized labor;
• laws to prevent child worker exploitation;
• environmental conservation; and
• stressing social values over financial gain.

Greens are their modern-day equivalent. In 2008, former Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney was their standard bearer. Twice she was effectively drummed out of Congress for unconditionally supporting right over wrong.

She’s the exception that proves the rule. Jill Stein heads today’s Green ticket. She and running mate Cheri Honkala stand for all party platform principles covered above and then some.

They prioritize job creation and worker rights, equitable taxes, responsible budgets, peace, not war, disarmament and demilitarization, real financial reform, free eduction to the highest levels, universal healthcare, affordable housing, prohibiting foreclosure and evictions, clean energy, human and civil rights, voting rights and other democratic values, and other ways to have government work equitably for everyone.

Obama and Romney are polar opposites. Americans deserve what they’ve been denied for so long. It’s high time they got it.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net

Will Falk moved to the West Coast from Milwaukee, WI where he was a public defender.

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