2010 Fall

September 25, 2010 in 2010 Fall


Features

Greens meet with groups from around the world
Get to business at GPUS Annual National Meeting
by Jan Martell, North Carolina Green Party

Michigan Green Party candidate speaks out against state
Outrage as state withholds information of qualifying independent candidates
by the Green Party of Michigan

2010 Maine ìGreen of the Yearî to be honored posthumously
Jack Harrington, 1946ñ2010

New York Peace Conference draws participants from all over the world
by Joe Lombardo
Green Party of New York State and co-organizer for United National Peace Conference


Elections

I am a candidate ñ I am a Green
Green Party candidates share their thoughts
compiled by David McCorquodale, Green Party of Delaware

A Composite Look at 2010 Green Candidates
by Dave McCorquodale, Green Party of Delaware

Green Candidates: Authors and Writers
by David McCorquodale, Green Party of Delaware

New York Greens go for top seats in state government
A full slate of state candidates raises key issues
by Deyva Arthur, Green Party of New York State


Opinion

What Happened to the Dream?
by Dee Berry, Progressive Party of Missouri; Paul Krumm, Green Party of Kansas; and Barbara Rodgers-Hendricks, Green Party of Florida

A call to action against dangerous natural gas drilling
Hydrofracking is taking over the northeast

by Jay Sweeney, Green Party of Pennsylvania

Overcoming the Crabs in a Bucket Syndrome
by Brent McMillan, Green Party Executive Director


Reports


Evergreen

A review of The Story of Stuff by Annie Leonard
by Wendy Kenin, Green Party of California

State & Committee Reports

September 16, 2010 in 2010 Fall Reports

Let the world know what good work your state Green members are doing and you may get new members ñ write a report for the next issue of Green Pages

Illinois
by Jack Ailey, treasurer, ILGP

Since the primary on Feb. 2, our 50 plus candidates have been busy preparing for the general election, raising funds, working on their websites, and appearing at public events. For a complete list of recognized Illinois Green Party candidates, see our website. We had the first of two statewide membership meetings for 2010 in April at Chicago State University on the South Side of Chicago. Next on the schedule is our big political convention and rally the weekend of July 30, 31, and August 1, at the campus of Loyola University on the North Side of Chicago.

We are fully expecting this election cycle to be record breaking in Illinois. For one thing, we have a realistic possibility of electing the first Green Party Governor in the nation. We say this because of the huge political crisis in both the Democratic and Republican Parties in this state. The last Republican Governor is in jail and the last elected Democratic Governor is headed to jail. There is a $13 Billion hole in the state budget. Vital social services such as school funding are being cut viciously. Teachers are being laid off and state universities are hiking their tuition.

The Democratic nominee proposes borrowing to pay some of these bills and postponing payment on others. The Republican nominee apparently doesn’t care about education or social services and just wants to cut more. The only serious plan to solve this problem comes from our Green Party candidate, Rich Whitney. He proposes a total reform of our taxing system so those with the money to pay, pay more, and we quit trying to base our state finances on those least able to pay. See Rich Whitney’s website for his 20 page paper explaining his plan in detail, www.whitneyforgov.org.


Maine

State Committee members in Maine hold their meeting
by Jacqui Deveneau, National Committee delegate, MGIP

This has been quite a year for the Maine Green Independent Party (MGIP). We started out with a strong campaign to get Lynne Williams on the ballot for governor, only to run into some new laws that made it impossible to get the Clean Elections money. In making a substantial effort to raise the money we needed by the new laws, we fell short of getting the needed signatures.

However Lynne was able to step from one campaign into a race in her district for state senate and was able to raise her Clean Elections money. Lynne along with 14 other Greens will be running for office this year. We are fortunate also, we just need to have 10,000 Greens vote in the November elections to keep Party status.

On a sad note, we had one of our very active MGIP Greens, Jack Harrington, pass away. He was not only himself running for State House Rep, but also on the MGIP State Committee and was on the National Committee, as well as most of our other MGIP Committees. He will be greatly missed by all.

May 1st we held our MGIP Convention at a Grange Hall in Greene, Maine. It was well attended, at which we voted in our new State Committee, which with the exception of Jon Olsen [whom is Co-Chair of the National Merchandise Committee] are all under 30 years of age. It is so good to see this group of motivated youth stepping up. The new SC members are: Erin Cianchette – Chair; Tony Zeli – Treasurer; Jeremy Hammond – Scribe; Anna Trevorrow, Asher Platts, Nate Shea, and Jon Olsen.

Moving forward we have plans in place to grow the MGIP through hard work, getting lists vetted and new County and Town Committees up and running. One of our new SC members, Asher Platts, has some wonderful ideas around the use of the Internet groups such as You Tube and Facebook.

We will have our presence at the Gay Pride Parade and Festival as we do every year. We will also be tabling: the Medical Marijuana Conference June 5th, the huge State Common Ground Fair in September, and tabling to help the Veterans For Peace, which was founded here in Maine, to celebrate their 25th Anniversary in August with former Green presidential candidate David Cobb coming to speak.

It is not easy being Green, you have hurtles at every turn to deal with. But I take heart to the fact that even after all these years the Dems and Reps are still so afraid of us that they will keep finding new ways to try to block us. It means that we are gaining ground and it is my firm belief that the harder you make it for me to do what is right the harder I am going to fight. Quiting is not an option for me. I am proud to be a Green. And personally proud to say I am a Maine Green.

Green and Growing
www.mainegreens.org
info@mainegreens.org
415 Congress St.
Portland,Me. 04101
207-699-1321


Maryland

Last Saturday the Maryland Green Party held its annual assembly at the historic Maryland Inn in Annapolis. Greens from across the state considered candidates seeking the nomination of the Green Party for fall elections, elected new party officers, and heard a keynote address from Kathy Phillips, Assateague Coastkeeper and plaintiff in a pending lawsuit against Perdue Chicken.

Three candidates seeking the Green Party nomination for fall elections spoke to the assembled party members. Natasha Pettigrew of Cheverly is seeking the party’s nomination for United States Senate. Natasha is currently a law student at the University of Maryland, and is taking a leave of absence in anticipation of running against Senator Barbara Mikulski.

Mike Shay of Shady Side was nominated for Anne Arundel County Executive by the Anne Arundel County chapter of the party, for which he received front-page coverage in a recent issue of The (Annapolis) Capital. He is seeking approval from state party officers to be placed on the general election ballot.

Under state law the Green Party may not run candidates in taxpayer-funded Maryland primary elections. The party considers this exclusionary and continues to work for equal treatment under state election laws. The party is also working to collect 10,000 valid signatures of registered voters to stay ballot-qualified after this year’s elections. Minor parties are required by state law to petition for ballot access, while the Democratic and Republican parties are not.

George Gluck of Rockville is seeking the party’s nomination for an at-large Montgomery County Council seat. In a special election in 2009, Gluck received 3.5 percent of the vote in the 4th District.

Kathy Phillips of Ocean City spoke to the assembled party members about her work as an Assateague Coastkeeper and the difficulties of enforcing the Clean Water Act on the Eastern Shore. She is pursuing legal action against evasion of laws meant to limit emissions of nitrogen and phosphorus into the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries.

The party also elected officers to annual terms. Brian Bittner of Baltimore and Karen Jennings of Annapolis were elected chairs. Shanna Borell of Baltimore was elected treasurer. Robb Tufts of Churchton was elected membership coordinator, and Robert Smith of Crofton was elected recording secretary.

The party officers and representatives from county chapters meet on a monthly basis. The Maryland Green Party has been ballot-qualified since 2002 and is a state affiliate of the Green Party of the United States. The Green Party of the United States is recognized by the Federal Election Commission as the national committee of the Green Party, and has nominated David Cobb (2004), Rep. Cynthia McKinney (2008) and Ralph Nader (2000) for President of the United States. The Green Party is currently running over fifty candidates for federal office.

For further comment, please call 443-449-4159 or e-mail marylandgreens@gmail.com.


Massachusetts

The Massachusetts Green-Rainbow Party (GRP) is fully supporting of five main candidates heading for the November ballot. Dr. Jill Stein is making her second bid for governor, entering a field that includes an incumbent Democrat, a Republican, and an independent. Stein is the only candidate in the race who supports single-payer health care, public campaign financing, stopping the wars, keeping gambling casinos out of the state, and creating a progressive tax system. Steinís spacious storefront office in Bostonís Dorchester neighborhood is rapidly becoming a hotbed of green organizing.

Over a two-month period in April and May, Steinís support in statewide polls more than doubled to 8 percent – a trend that was tremendously encouraging to supporters. ìWe are in a race with three conventional politicians who are splitting the business-as-usual vote,î Stein says. ìBy election day, we are going to be the clear alternative for voters who have had enough of bailouts, layoffs, ripoffs, and payoffs.î

Steinís running mate is community activist, Rick Purcell, a veteran of Operation Desert Storm who spent the first 13 years of his life living on an Indian reservation in New Mexico. Purcell says he is ìjust an ordinary guy trying to do an extraordinary thing.î

The Green-Rainbow candidate for state auditor is Nat Fortune, a physics professor at Smith College and a long-time town school committee member. ìEvery candidate for auditor should be committed to rooting out waste, fraud, and abuse of funds,î Fortune said. ìBut that is just the beginning of the job. An auditor should be asking if our expenditures are really working for the people – or if theyíre only benefiting the lobbyists and insiders. As someone who is independent of the big political machines who made the deals, I can promise voters a full and objective review of each questionable expenditure.î

State representative candidate Scott Laugenour is running hard in the 4th Berkshire district. Laugenour views his campaign for state representative as ìan opportunity to tip the scales towards new solutions – towards vibrant, green, forward-looking politics and public policy.î And running strong in an adjoining district (3rd Berkshire) is Mark Miller, a former journalist and newspaper co-owner who has long been involved with health care and justice issues.


Tennessee

The Green Party of Tennessee held its statewide meeting and nominating convention on February 20, 2010 in Knoxville at Barley’s Taproom and Pizzeria. It was a spirited meeting, and a great deal of state business was concluded. In addition, the TN Greens unanimously nominated John Miglietta as the Green Party candidate for U.S. House of Representatives 5th district. The TN 5th district encompasses most of the city of Nashville and parts of two neighboring counties. The Green Party of Tennessee also anticipates running a candidate for Governor. Howard Switzer, who previously ran in 2006 for Governor, is our likely candidate.

The Green Party of Tennessee is still striving for ballot access as a party. We are one of the plaintiffs in a lawsuit, together with the Constitution and Libertarian parties, against the state of Tennessee. The lawsuit is currently before a judge and we anticipate a ruling in the near future. The Green Party of Tennessee continues to sponsor the Green Hour Radio Show on Radio Free Nashville, www.radiofreenashville.org. WRFN is a low power community radio station broadcasting to Nashville and the surrounding area. You can tune into the Green Hour 7:00 PM Sundays, central time.

We are Green and Growing in Tennessee!!


Texas
by Christine Morshedi, Co-chair of Green Party of Texas

Greens in Texas are celebrating a great victory! On May 24, 2010, over 93,000 signatures on a petition requesting that Green Party candidates be placed on the ballot were turned in to the Secretary of State. Although we await formal certification, these signatures are double the number specified in the Texas election code. We fully expect that the enthusiasm encountered from the general public during the ballot-access drive will turn into success at the polls in November. At least one of our statewide candidates has a good chance to receive more than 5 percent of the vote, which would allow us to retain ballot access and recruit a broader range of candidates in 2012.

The bulk of the ballot-access signatures submitted were received as a donation-in-kind; a non-partisan petitioning company collected them in a whirlwind last-minute collection effort. In addition, this year the Green Party of Texas (GPTX) broke new ground by collecting petition signatures online. Since Texas law allows electronic signatures in business and contractual contexts, we believe digital signatures should be allowed for civic speech as well. If the state claims that our pen-and-ink signatures are insufficient, we are prepared to defend the supplementary e-signatures in court. If successful, we will set a precedent for parties in other states.

On the activism front, Greens across Texas continue collaborating with a variety of groups in support of Green progressive causes. We seek to transform our society from one that acts through confrontation and is in continuous fear of those who are different to a society which values diversity, cares for each other and the planet we call home.


Virginia

On May 24, Audrey Clement, co-chair of the Green Party of Virginia, and John Reeder, convener of the Arlington Greens, filed a brief with the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals challenging an April 30 federal district court decision dismissing their suit to stop the widening of I-66 inside the Beltway. The two Greens have challenged the widening of I-66 in Arlington as a violation of federal environmental law, and a breach of the legal agreement that permitted the construction of the four-lane highway through Arlington some 30 years ago.

Virginia Governor McDonnel recently trumpeted the fact that the Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTB) had awarded a $10.2 million contract for the first phase of the so-called Spot Improvement Project, known as Spot 1. But Clement and Reeder argued VDOT misrepresented the findings of the 2005 I-66 Feasibility Study to justify the project, when it actually recommended end-to-end road widening. They stated the decision to back away from the Feasibility Study’s principal recommendation was based on political considerations rather than sound engineering.

Clement and Reeder also predicted the three entrance-to-exit merge lanes to be constructed in Arlington County won’t relieve congestion on I-66, because 90 percent of westbound traffic travels beyond the Arlington exits. They also criticized the fact that VDOT rejected 17 out of 21 noise barriers recommended by its own noise consultant and denied the public an opportunity to speak at workshops held in 2007.

For more information, contact John Reeder at info@arlingtongreens.org


Bylaws Committee

Spring 2010 saw the Bylaws Committee conducting hearings on a proposal sponsored by Nan Garrett of Georgia, to provide rules to govern the Platform revision process. Earlier bylaws changes moved the Party from a four-year to a two-year cycle for the consideration of changes to the national Platform. It is anticipated that sessions planned for the Annual Meeting in Detroit will allow for debate on the 80 plus amendments offered by the member State Parties and Caucuses. And if rules endorsed by the Bylaws committee and offered to the National Committee as proposal #455 are adopted, voting on those proposed changes should wrap up in early August. The schedule was chosen to permit the publication of a new national platform in time to support the 2010 Congressional slate in the Fall elections.


Fundraising Committee

Since last year’s convention in Durham, a revitalized Fundraising Committee (Fundcom) has been working hard, not just to bring in money, but to build a stronger financial foundation, better communication, and more cooperation between GPUS and state parties.

We began at the end of 2009 with a drive to raise our number of sustaining donors to 500. While we have not yet reached that goal, we have increased the number of sustainers from about 300 to 450.

In May, we held our first ìvirtual phone bankî jointly with the Green Party of New York State, with members making fundraising calls from their homes and sharing information and solidarity via an online chatroom. We are working on an Organizing Kit, bringing together the collective wisdom and experience of Greens around the country. Details of the phone bank and the Organizing Kit will be unveiled at the national meeting in Detroit.

Shout outs are in order to committee member, Bill Kreml (ILGP), who has raised thousands of dollars by convincing members who have loaned money to GPUS to forgive part or all of their loans; Brian Bittner (staff and member of the Green Party of Maryland) who has initiated ìFive Dollar Fridays,î where we ask for small donations through Facebook and Twitter; and Brent McMillan, our Political Director, who raises a large chunk of our national budget himself, in addition to supporting our committee and doing many other things to build the Green Party. Jody Grage (Washington State) and Jeff Turner (Hawaii) also serve on the Finance Committee and have helped the two committees work together more.

New members are always welcome! Please contact the chair for more information.
Karen Young, Chair GPUS Fundcom, Green Party of New York State
Karenyoung521@yahoo.com

A review of The Story of Stuff by Annie Leonard

September 16, 2010 in 2010 Fall Evergreen


by Wendy Kenin, Green Party of California
Book + Videos with Green messages reaches millions

After learning about the success of the Story of Stuff 20-minute video, which has reached over 10,000,000 viewers in over 200 countries, I thought, ìThe Green Party should seriously look at how Annie Leonardís green message was able to reach to so many.î Leonard has illuminated in some of the farthest corners of the Earth the entangled elements of irresponsible governments and corporations that are exploiting and abusing societies, cultures, economies, and the environment.

Now offered in 11 languages on The Story of Stuff Project’s international website, the video has been opening minds since its release in 2007. Since the time her video came out, Leonard has made more films, The Story of Cap ‘n’ Trade (over 600,000 views) and The Story of Bottled Water. The Story of Cosmetics is her July 2010 Release. Her next film The Story of Electronics is due out in the fall of 2010.

Annie Leonard released her book The Story of Stuff: How our obsession with stuff is trashing the planet, our communities, and our health – and a vision for change in March 2010. She uses this new platform to delve further into flaws of the materials economy, calling out “unmentionable” capitalism in its current form as unsustainable, asserting that it is patriotic to examine our failed economic system.

“Our Project is systems-focused, solutions-oriented and change-driven,” the Story of Stuff Project website states. Coming out of the depressing truth of a massive system out of control, the book is speckled with signs of hope and viable alternatives. She transmits a sense of consumer empowerment and responsibility by providing links to resources, and laying out the options and outcomes of our everyday choices.

As in her video, Leonard gives more examples of power imbalance, with such specifics about how the world’s wealthiest nations are dumping toxic waste on the world’s poorest countries. In her video, Leonard presents her case with chapters on: extraction, production, distribution, consumption, disposal, and “another way.” Also her blog contains a categories section on materials economy. Her book chapters are arranged the same way, unfolding deeper facts that clarify the framework with more illustrations to help you feel the reality of this burdensome system.

Presentation

The introduction to the book opens with author Annie Leonard’s personal story, growing up in Seattle, Washington, the evolution of her personal interests, and the context for the story of stuff – including the bold assertion we are nearing limits, ideas about interconnectedness and solutions, and statements of intention. One signature cartoon appearing in the introduction is the “work-watch-spend treadmill”, which in the video Leonard narrates with a spoken-word depiction of life in America:

“So we are in this ridiculous situation where we go to work, maybe two jobs even, and we come home and weíre exhausted so we plop down on our new couch and watch TV and the commercials tell us ìYOU SUCKî so gotta go to the mall to buy something to feel better, then we gotta go to work more to pay for the stuff we just bought so we come home and weíre more tired so you sit down and watch more T.V. and it tells you to go to the mall again and weíre on this crazy work-watch-spend treadmill and we could just stop.”

The Story of Stuff Project channel on youtube features a banner with cartoon stick characters holding signs at a demonstration such as: “Green Jobs Now,” ” Justice,” “Yes We Can,” “Si Se Puede,” and “More Fun Less Stuff!” Leonard’s brand from the web and videos carries over to the book, as you can hear her upbeat voice in the text and enjoy eye-opening graphic depictions of straightforward facts and statistics.

The extraction chapter sections are broken into trees, water, and rocks, with subsections such as: gold, diamonds, other conflict minerals, coal and petroleum. Leonard also rethinks extraction, the imbalanced benefits, and how to transform extraction.

Production involves lists of hazardous materials, toxic pollutants and identification of exposure pathways, plus a history of industrialization, which is also communicated in a page of charts in the book’s introduction. These charts demonstrate the coinciding rise in water use, paper consumption, population, motor vehicles, global biodiversity loss, ecosystems, and surface temperature of the earth.

We learn about dangerous working conditions and environmental racism, about mismanaged governmental structures implementing inconsistent standards. We also find out that PVC plastic and aluminum cans are the stupidest inventions still in use.

In the chapter on distribution, Leonard describes the history of international financial institutions, and the devastating impacts of the IMF (International Monetary Fund), World Bank, NAFTA, GATT, and the WTO (World Trade Organization). “There is no way to comprehend the story of Stuff with out them because they establish the rules…”

Of strategic benefit for the 20-something activists and young adults who were kids when it took place, Leonard proceeds to recount the history of the 1999 international 70,000 person-strong protests at the WTO in Seattle. At the time, she says the WTO had grown into “an international regime that prioritizes trade over the planet, communities, and workers.”

The consumption chapter demonstrates that Americans are unhappy, due to messages from the media and deteriorating social relationships caused by the need to spend time interacting around consuming and maintaining Stuff. Americans are spending more time at work than people in any other country, and we’re less happy. Corporate messaging and governmental sanctification of consumerism are replacing the wisdom of our spiritual ancestries. The materials ritual is the act of buying more than our share of Stuff.

We learn from the chapter on disposal: types of waste, various methods for sending Stuff ‘away’, the huge amount of industrial waste, and how much more than ever before we have of waste. We learn about wealthy nations dumping on the third world, related disparities, and some illuminating grassroots and international victories. Leonard points to zero-waste initiatives, including comprehensive approaches to reduction, reuse, composting, and some recycling, as leading solutions to our disposal problems.

Activism

With an attitude, she relays the history of resistance, provides contacts and resources, and shows a vision for positive solutions. Leonard works hard to motivate the reader to contribute to positive change, and presents arguments to convince you to “reactivate your inner citizen.”

Leonard describes fragmented justice movements and urges people to make the connections, unite, and “take back” our governments, to rebuild society based on sustainability and equity. A glossary of terms in the book would be helpful, despite the fact that The Story of Stuff website is designed to be fully-interactive, with opportunities even throughout the video to click and learn more and connect with organizations working to make change.

Also in the book, I found myself wanting a condensed list of action resources, which are instead spread throughout the book such as www.waterfootprint.org, http://www.goodguide.com/ to check up on consumer products, and http://citizen.org/trade/tradeact/ on international trade.

Leonard takes the time to share stories of desperation and even martyrdom as fallouts to global industrialism – from the deaths and injuries of thousands of people caused by U.S. multinational Union Carbide Corporation’s chemical leak in Bhopal, India in 1984, to the story of Nigerian activist Ken Saro-Wiwa who was executed in 1995 with eight other activists during a campaign to expose and end Shell Petroleum’s theft and pollution of Ogoni people’s land and resources – emphasizing “the intersection of environmental, human rights, and economic abuses.”

ìWe come home and weíre exhausted so we plop down on our new couch and watch TV and the commercials tell us ìYOU SUCKî so gotta go to the mall to buy something to feel better.î
~ Annie Leonard

Green Revelation

Leonard reveals in the simplest way that materialism and consumerism are trashing our planet. Full of facts and statistics illustrating the connections between our health, lifestyles, food, toxins, industries, policies, and ìstuff;î Leonardís book wholeheartedly represents the Green Partyís 10 key values.

On the website, Leonard builds her message with ongoing live appearances. Her success at getting the word out has caught the attention of the media including: CNN, Good Morning America, The Colbert Report, Huffington Post, Yes! Magazine, Elle Magazine, WNYC’s the Brian Lehrer Show, Alternet, Tree-Hugger, Earth Island Journal, and Bioneers. Leonard was one of Time Magazine’s 2008 Heroes of the Environment.

In her discussion of international trade controversies in the chapter on distribution, Leonard mentions she worked in Ralph Nader’s office in Washington D.C. in the late ’90s. Though she is registered with the Green Party, Leonard doesnít identify herself as a Green in her work ñ nor does she seem to advocate for the Green Party. I suspect that if Greens reach out to Leonard as a fellow member, she will step into her natural role and help inform the general public, bridging the Green Party with today’s green trends.

The next questions I ask are, “If the U.S. Green Party were to bring a Green leader, change-maker and movement-builder such as Annie Leonard to a high-level policy-making position in our day, might we succeed? Could a Green leader with Leonard’s accomplishments, skills and reach, bring the Global Green Network to a higher-functioning level?”

Greens meet with groups from around the world

September 3, 2010 in 2010 Fall Features

Get to business at GPUS Annual National Meeting
by Jan Martell, North Carolina Green Party

This year the Green Party Annual National Meeting was held in conjunction with the second U.S. Social Forum (USSF) drawing together activists and people representing often little heard voices from cultures around the world. Held in Detroit this June, there was a strong Green presence at the USSF as Green Party members presented a number of forum workshops.

The Michigan Green Party and Detroit Greens were well represented at the forum, particularly on the first day, which was themed to introduce forum attendees to Detroit, its deep and ongoing economic challenges, and its growing community support networks. Green Party attendees had an opportunity to attend hundreds of workshops, people’s assemblies, actions, and events.

“The USSF, with scores of groups involved, thousands of total attendees, and literally a hundred choices of a workshop to attend every two hours, was just too overwhelming. After one day there, I was content to attend the Green Party events at Wayne State and avoided returning downtown to Cobo Hall,” said David McCorquodale of the Green Party of Delaware.

While social activist groups worldwide were meeting at the forum, Greens nationwide came together to attend to Party business, work on the platform, meet candidates, and network with members from other states. “As at past annual meetings, the most exciting part for me was seeing some of the people who will be candidates for office. It is hopeful to hear articulate, informed Greens who will be representing our views,” McCorquodale said.

The GPUS meeting itself included: workshops on the GPUS budget, designed to allow input from members on budget priorities; a brainstorming session on strategic planning for the party, in which members got a chance to see how strategic planning is done in an overall sense, and to choose some issues to discuss in breakout sessions. There were meetings of some of the caucuses and committees, including the new Southeast-Southwest Caucus; press conferences as well as a mixer event to present Green candidates for office; a session on platform amendments with breakout groups to get input on current amendment proposals; and a panel on healthcare, followed by a fundraising dinner.

Budget ñ GPUS finances are much improved over last year, with all bills associated with the 2008 convention in Chicago paid at this point. Sharing funds are beginning to be distributed to the state parties as money comes in; some loans from members are still unpaid, and earmarked funds for caucuses and committees may still be on hold until our fundraising efforts become stronger. Because the party is legally obligated to pay outstanding bills first, it is unable to distribute contributions that have been marked by donors for specific purposes to the appropriate caucuses and committees until the party can rise above the basic operational funding level. Groups such as the Black Caucus and the International Committee are increasingly frustrated, as they have been owed funds for years.

Platform ñ Platform amendments, which have been posted on the GPUS website since April for commenting by all, enters the voting queue on a rolling basis over the summer. Comments can still be taken up to about a week before the section goes into the discussion phase, allowing the sponsoring states to respond to comments by revising their amendments before submission. Revision for each section will then go to an up or down vote by the National Committee. The new platform will be formatted and launched in September.

Southeast/Southwest Caucus ñ This is not an officially recognized or constituted GPUS Caucus, but an informal alliance of state Green parties from Maryland to Arizona, who share ballot access challenges and consequent under-representation in the Party. National committee member Theresa El-Amin proposed a strategy of “crossing the line” where neighboring states can assist in ballot access petitioning efforts, by crossing state lines to gather signatures. There was discussion of working together toward changing the delegate apportionment formula to one that is fairer to Southern states, for example reverting back to the previous formula.

In addition to the published agenda, Kat Swift made a report on the difficulties in the Texas ballot access drive. Through the services of Free & Equal, run by Sean Haugh and Christina Tobin, Texas Greens succeeded in gaining a ballot line in May. Democrats responded by obtaining a temporary restraining order against Green candidates filing, alleging that the funding of the drive was illegal, though their claim was shaky at best. The TGP sued to have it lifted. It lost on the first round, but won at the state Supreme Court level in time for the candidates to file by the deadline. The story is further complicated by the fact that the petitioning drive was paid for by a contribution from what eventually proved to be a corporate source. This is not a legal issue, but an ethical one for the Party, as it is against its bylaws. It warrants some caution and more transparency in any future relationship state Green Parties may have with Free & Equal.

There was a minor misunderstanding at the meeting when Haugh and Tobin mistakenly signed the plenary session on the roster used for delegate roll call. One of the steering committee members checking the attendance questioned the strange names, at which Tobin claimed to have been thrown out of the meeting, and complained on Internet social media. A lot of buzz and bad feeling followed, complicated as one of the local candidates from Chicago was offended by Tobin’s presence because of his experience with Free & Equal in Chicago races.

The evening mixer, where Green candidates for office in many states made speeches, was a really positive, entertaining and exciting event. A diverse group of strong, energetic candidates showed real ability to communicate and a strong grasp of the issues. It is wonderful to see so much energy and commitment behind these campaigns.

Theresa El-Amin (NC), Julie Jacobson (HI), and Craig Thorsen (CA) were elected to the GPUS Steering Committee. Jeff Turner (HI) is the new Treasurer.

Michigan Green Party candidate speaks out against state

September 3, 2010 in 2010 Fall Features

Outrage as state withholds information of qualifying independent candidates
By the Green Party of Michigan

John Anthony La Pietra was nominated as the 2010 Secretary of State candidate for the Green Party of Michigan (GPMI) at the party’s 2010 state convention July 31-August 1. But almost a month later, the Michigan Bureau of Elections has not published or posted his name on its authoritative list of candidates for the November 2 general election.

And he’s not alone. The Greens nominated two dozen more candidates for state-level offices the weekend before the deadline date of Primary Election Day, August 3. Independent candidates, those with “no party affiliation,” had to file their petitions by July 15, and reportedly almost two-dozen of them did. Many candidates have been waiting even longer.

The US Taxpayers’ Party of Michigan nominated 29 state-level candidates at its convention two months ago on June 26. The Libertarian Party of Michigan’s convention was May 24, so their 71 state-level candidates have been denied recognition for over three months.

“The voters should already know about all these candidates,” La Pietra said. “Once candidates started qualifying for the general election, the Secretary of State’s office should have started posting each candidate’s name, address, party or independent status, the office they’re running for, and when and how they earned their place on the November 2 ballot.”

“The list couldn’t be final and official until after this weekend’s Democratic and Republican conventions at the earliest. But so what? The Bureau of Elections posts unofficial primary-election candidate lists weeks or months before the mid-May filing deadline. Why? So people considering voting, or running for office themselves, can make informed decisions.”

The delay is unfair to candidates nominated by convention and caucus meeting state requirements, but also, said La Pietra, it is unfair to the voters. “We deserve all the information our government has about all of our voting choices. Those in power now shouldn’t get to pick and choose which candidates aren’t important for us to hear about.”

Also, media outlets and civic organizations that hold public debates and forums, or interview or survey candidates on key issues, tend to rely on the Bureau’s information to tell them which candidates should be invited to participate. “Even a short delay by the Department can wind up denying candidates a fair chance to reach a lot of voters,” La Pietra said.

La Pietra has contacted the Michigan Third Parties Coalition about possibly acting as a clearinghouse to help voters and civic groups connect with convention-nominated candidates in case the Secretary of State’s office continues its silent treatment. He has invited all independent/NPA candidates to work together to inform the public. One of his rivals, Libertarian Scotty Boman, has welcomed the suggestion.

For information or to contact John Anthony La Pietra campaign go to:
http://members.triton.net/jalp/jalp4FBE.html
jalp4FBE@triton.net
or call 269-781-9478.

For a list of 2010 Green Party of Michigan candidates, please visit
http://www.MIGreens.org
or contact GPMI at 548 S Main St; Ann Arbor, MI 48104; 734-663-3555.

2010 Maine “Green of the Year” to be honored posthumously

September 3, 2010 in 2010 Fall Features, Obituaries

Jack Harrington, 1946 – 2010

An honoree for his efforts in the Maine Green Party, John T. (Jack) Harrington passed away Thursday, April 22, 2010, after a brief illness. The Green Party has been a big part of his life. Jack served his state by sitting on multiple committees for the Maine Green Independent Party, was a delegate to the National Committee of the Green Party of the United States, and was to be honored as the 2010 Maine “Green of the Year,” an award he will receive posthumously. At the time of his death Jack was the Green candidate for State House Representative in District 36, which extends from part of Mt. Desert Island to the island of Vinalhave.

“Jack was a man with a heart of gold and a deep sense of integrity and compassion,” affirmed Claire Mortimer, long-time Green activist and dear friend. “He dedicated his life to fighting for social justice.”

“Over the last three years, I got to know Jack well, and experienced first hand his commitment to our party, and to peace and justice.” Lynne Williams

“Over the last three years, I got to know Jack well, and experienced first hand his commitment to our party, and to peace and justice. We spoke many times about how much fun it was going to be to campaign in the overlapping parts of our district, and what our messages would be. We will miss him tremendously,” said Lynne Williams, Green candidate for the 28th State Senate District seat.

The Maine Greens held their Annual State Party Convention at the Androscoggin Grange in Greene, Maine on May 1st. Jack Harrington had been elected to the Steering Committee of the Maine Green Independent Party in 2009. He was also Treasurer of the Deer Isle Grange #296, and it was his idea to hold the convention at a Grange, since the Grange movement has many parallels with Green Party principles. The Convention was dedicated to his memory, and at the Convention he was posthumously honored with the “Green of the Year” Award.

As a veteran of both the Army and Navy, he was a member of Veterans for Peace. He was particularly concerned with the plight of disabled and homeless veterans, and had proposed converting military bases into centers to provide housing, support services and job training to veterans in sustainable technologies.

Jack was instrumental in re-energizing the Green Party in Hancock County. He had worked hard with many Greens throughout the county, gathering signatures for his campaign and for Lynne Williamsí bid for governor. Through Jackís efforts, four caucuses were held in Hancock County, the most of any county in the state. Jack had also worked with Greens on the Blue Hill Peninsula to establish municipal committees in the towns of Brooksville, Brooklin and Blue Hill.

Jack Harrington cared deeply about his hometown of Deer Isle and the issues facing people throughout Hancock County. He was a volunteer at Hospice of Hancock County he offered bereavement counseling. Also he was a member and past Deacon of the Order of Masons, Marine Lodge #122. Jack was involved in maintaining and restoring cemeteries on Deer Isle. He was retired from service in the military, the National Security Agency, and the Postal Service. At the time of his death he was a special tutor at Deer IsleñStonington School, and had served on the School Board.

Jack will be deeply missed by his beloved partner, Claire Mortimer, who he met through his Green Party activities. Also he is survived by his mother, Jeanne Harrington, daughter Jennifer Henderson, son Trevor Harrington, sister Susan, brother Steven, their families and many beloved cousins and dear friends.

Jack will be deeply missed for his selfless commitment to community service and his keen political understanding.

New York Peace Conference draws participants from all over the world

September 3, 2010 in 2010 Fall Features

By Joe Lombardo, Green Party of New York State and co-organizer for United National Peace Conference

The United National Peace Conference in Albany, New York on July 23 – 25 brought together people from around the country and overseas, with nearly 800 people registered. With an extensive list of speakers including Media Benjamin of Code Pink, Green Party representatives delivered a message of a real political plan for peace.

ìI think that there is a tendency to say ëwell, we are war wearyí but having just returned from Afghanistan and Pakistan and having been in Iraq all through the shock and awe bombings, I think we donít have even a tiny fraction of war weariness that burdens the people who bear the brunt of our warfare. Ö We need one another as a nationwide community of peace activists. Ö The peace movement has been referred to as the worldís only other superpower,î said Kathy Kelly at the conference. Kelly is a founder of Voices in the Wilderness and three-time nominee for the Nobel Peace Prize.

The conference presented 33 workshops on topics related to war and social justice. Presenters came from a range of perspectives including: faith-based peace groups, immigrantís rights advocates, the Palestinian rights movement, labor groups, active duty GIs, veteranís and many more.

The conference operated democratically, with every person in attendance having a voice and a vote. Out of this process came an Action Proposal and a set of resolutions. The Action Proposal calls for local actions in the fall and bi-coastal demonstrations in New York City and California in the spring. The spring actions will be accompanied by separate and distinct non-violent civil disobedience actions.

The proposal also calls for support and collaboration in building mobilizations these include demonstrations planned for Washington and Detroit on August 28 and a large October 2nd demonstration being organized by SEIU/1199, AFL-CIO, the NAACP, and others. The action proposal includes a strong stand in support of Palestinian rights and against the threats directed at Iran.

The Action Proposal also calls for coordinated teach-ins, lobbying efforts, and campaigns to pass city, town, and village resolutions on the issue of war spending and its impacts on the economy. The proposal can be read here.

The Albany area Sanctuary for Independent Media provided live-streaming of major segments of the conference on the Internet, and provided a place for people to upload pictures, tweets and posted major presentations on Youtube. The day after the conference, the Youtube videos got over 17,000 hits, making them the most viewed videos from a non-profit organization for that day.

The core leaders of the anti-war movement were all there, including Benjamin, Kelly, and Col. Ann Wright, who resigned in protest from the State Department and has been outspoken against the war ever since. Noam Chomsky spoke via video. Followed by Donna Dewitt, president of the South Carolina AFL-CIO, and leading member or the National Assembly and U.S. Labor Against the War.

Also there was Ethan McCord, former soldier and seen on the first wikileaks video. He spoke out publicly for the first time at the conference. War resisters, GIs who have refused to deploy, spoke via the computer from Canada since they could not be there in person.

Giving rousing speeches were leaders of the movement against intervention in Iran, Columbia, Honduras, and Haiti and student leaders like Blanca Missa, who was key to the recent student protests on the Berkeley campus against Californiaís cuts to education.

Mumia Abu-Jamal, death-row prisoner for 30 years spoke from an audio taped message from his prison cell, as did Imam Aref, one of the wrongly prosecuted Muslims from Albany, New York. Ralph Poynter, husband of imprisoned civil rights attorney Lynne Stewart, read her message to those assembled. Stewart was a member of the administrative body of the National Assembly to End U.S. Wars and Occupations, the group that had initiated the conference. She was also a founding member of Project Salam, one of the other 31 co-sponsoring groups.

Many of the participants at the conference came representing different groups active in the peace movement. Many from across the country were members of the Green Party, some of whom were key organizers to the event. New York State Greens had a strong presence at the conference, with a table and representatives to let participants learn how the Green Party has never wavered on its stance against the war and other peace issues. As well as letting people know how activism can and must take place in the political arena.

Howie Hawkins, who is the Green Party candidate for governor in New York, presented at a workshop at the peace conference on electoral strategies against militarism, war and imperialism.

One theme running throughout the conference was the connection between the anti-war movement and the Muslim solidarity movement. The wars have been called preemptive wars, and the prosecutions of Muslims have been labeled preemptive prosecution and both are part of a phony war on terror. The government uses these concepts as theoretical justifications for the wars going on at home and abroad. The Muslim solidarity issue was highlighted at a poignant and symbolic march from the peace conference to the Masjid-Al Salam mosque where the imprisoned Albany Muslims used to worship. At the Mosque, a rally was held where family members and supporters of the wrongly prosecuted Muslims spoke about the tragedy that had befallen their families and democracy.

There was strong and positive local media coverage of the event including five articles by the Times Union newspaper of Albany. However, outside of some alternative media, the conference was not covered by the national media, in stark contrast to the coverage of the Tea Party convention which, despite having fewer in attendance, was given prime time live coverage by CNN and other outlets.

At times unity was tested at the conference, the most significant one being around the issue of Palestine. Important leaders of the Palestinian movement were in attendance, and a caucus was formed by Palestinian rights activists to discuss how best to integrate the Palestinian issues with the broader peace issues. They put together a resolution and an amendment to the Action Proposal on Palestine, which passed by a large majority. However, some felt that the wording was too strong and there was serious disagreement. Pulling together a unified conference with 31 different groups, each with its own perspective on how to bring about peace was a real achievement.

The conference was the right thing to do at the right time; it came to a close literally hours before the explosive Afghan War Diaries were published by Wikileaks and right before Congress voted for additional funding for the perpetual U.S. wars and occupations. The conference gave the peace movement a powerful voice at a critical time. It also succeeded in bringing together 31 peace groups with diverse perspectives. It also brought together the peace movement with leaders of other movements that have mobilized millions in their own right. In doing so, it was a step forward not only for peace, but also for human rights and justice in general.

For more information on the conference go to: www.nationalpeaceconference.org

To view speeches, lectures and other video of the conference go to: mediasanctuary.tv/crows/

ìThe peace movement has been referred to as the worldís only other superpowerî Peace Activist Kathy Kelly

I am a candidate & I am a Green

July 6, 2010 in 2010 Fall Elections

Green Party candidates share their thoughts
compiled by David McCorquodale, Green Party of Delaware

Who are the people who join the Green party and why do they run for political office? Greens running for office this year were asked a series of questions to reveal the answers. In sharing their thoughts, these Greens may also have formed a composite picture of Greens in general.

Why do you belong to the Green Party?

The overwhelming response of the candidates was tied to the Ten Key Values of the Green Party as being the reason these candidates belong to it. G. Scott Deshefy, candidate for Congress in Connecticut, summarizes, ìI belong to the Green Party because its progressive key values and national platform are in line with my philosophies and ecological instincts and training. Moreover, the positions are there for the electorate to see. No one really knows the Democratic or Republican agendas, other than making election and reelection their priority at the expense of solving our problems and at the expense of the American people.î

Michael McCue, running for Neighborhood Council in the Studio City area of Los Angeles County, California said, ìI believe in the Ten Key Values as the guiding philosophy for all principled, legislative decisions that I make and advocacy positions for which I take a stand.î Similarly, Robert Grota, candidate for Cook County [Il] Assessor adds, ìIts the only party that stands out based upon ethical and moral issues. Too many politicians are in it for the money rather than for a real leadership position based upon morals and ethics.î

As an African American seeking a political forum that aligns with him, LeAlan Jones, who is running for U.S. Congress in Chicago, Illinois said, ìGreen is only a word to use for efficiency and better management, so the African American community has a greater affiliation with the Green Party, I think, than they do any party because we’ve always been a community that’s had to deal by efficiency because we’ve always not had the resources the dominant culture has had.î

Duane Roberts, candidate for the U.S. Senate in California, mentions another important point is that the Green party is a ballot-qualified party. ìUnlike other left-leaning political parties, the Greens have succeeded in exporting their model to a number of different states and have maintained a visible nationwide presence.î

Dan Craigie, candidate for the Minnesota State House of Representatives, District 59B, emphasizes that ìover the years, the Green party has shown itself committed to serving the interests of citizens and supporting policies for future generations.î

Why havenít you joined the Democratic or Republican Party?
What is wrong with the political system as it is currently set up?

The overwhelming sentiment of the candidates polled for this survey is that the Democratic and Republican Parties are no longer serving the interests of people, but rather are bought off by corporate interests. Both parties ìare owned by big business, and no longer represent the interests of ordinary Americans. Legislation appears to be written in favor of mega-profit rather than the well-being of the people. The two majors have sold the myth of ëbi-partisanshipí as being the only way to address the problems we face in our country, when in actuality that is one of the biggest problems facing the country. Diversity, fresh ideas, and non-allegiance to corporations and political machinery is the ONLY thing that is going to bring this nation back from the edge of ruinî, says Ken Adler, candidate for U.S. Congress from Arkansas.

The two “Titanic” parties will say what they need to say to get votes, and when elected they will do a little for regular people, but the Titanic parties will not alienate their corporate sponsors, said Laura Wells, gubernatorial candidate in California.

Similarly, Ben Emery, candidate for U.S. Representative in California maintains ìboth parties have been going to the same trough, big corporations and their industries, for campaign funding for decades. This has produced a seat at the legislation table for lobbyists of these same companies and industries leaving the average American without representation. This is the problem, and the entire nation knows it, yet neither party will get past the fringes on campaign reform. When a monopoly is obtained, why change it, if youíre part of the monopoly?î

Bill Balderston, running for Insurance Commissioner of California, takes a more caustic view of the situation: ìI belong to neither the elephants or the jackasses because both represent a view of the world, reinforced to an extreme in recent years, that places the interests of the corporate community above any crumbs that they provide for the vast percentages of working people and small business owners. While the GOP depends on a populist right, which now extends beyond the evangelical agenda and is quasi-fascistic, the Dems continue to mesmerize progressive forces, even while they prioritize bailing out banks and other financial/real estate interests, and put forward a neo-liberal approach to public education (I am a long-time teacher) and health care and no strong stand of environmental degradation. As a union leader and activist, I am especially incensed by the subservient role that most of the labor bureaucracy plays as regards the Democrats, even while maintaining they are still fighting for progressive goals.î

Adding to the problem of the corruption of the two large parties, is the necessity of making reforms in the way elections work. Ross Frankel, candidate for Controller in California, notes that ìthe current political system set-up is greatly at fault; we do not have proportional representation. As a result about 25 percent of the active voting populace is alienated and not represented in the legislative bodies. Another 25 percent of the potential voters decline even to vote. That leaves barely half the voters to decide on candidates and issues for everyone.î

Adds Jay Sweeney, candidate for Congress in Pennsylvania, ìthe major problem with our political system is the influence of money. Public financing of campaigns, use of the public airwaves and equal access to the ballot and voter verified paper ballots would go a long way toward free and fair elections.î Michael McCue emphasizes ìClean Money Elections…publicly- funded elections…without corporate interference. That’s the only solution that makes all other solutions possible.î

Some candidates noted the disillusionment of having been former Democrats. Dave Bosserman, running for a non-partisan seat on a Washington, D.C. advisory council, said, ìI was a member of the Democratic Party when I lived in Virginia, just across the Potomac River from DC. I moved to DC in 1985 and found the Democratic Party in control of a dysfunctional city. So I looked about for a better party. I found it in the DC Statehood Party which emerged from the civil rights movement in 1969/70. DC is still dysfunctional with elected officials working for outside moneyed interests instead of DC residents.î

Adds Deshefy, ìAfter years as a municipally elected democrat and a short stint in the Connecticut Party to support Lowell Weicker, I have been a registered Green for over 20 years (the first in Lebanon, CT). It is the only party banner I would carry in a campaign for office.î

When asked what is wrong with the political system, Lisa Green, California State Assembly Candidate, 53rd District takes a more encompassing view: ìThe Green Party is Earth’s Party. The other parties have a reactive approach that does not focus on shifting our behaviors, and ways of thought to a holistic approach in balance with nature, all life, and natural resources. All success and challenges we face as a species are a direct result of how we interact within the biosphere. The mind shift required to evolve our species into earth’s stewards is not apparent in the other major parties platforms or their actions.

Why are you running for office as a Green?

This question evoked a mix of responses from the earnest to the humorous and philosophical. Ben Emeryís seem to encapsulate the overall Green sentiment: ìI share the outrage that a vast majority of Americans have about our current situation. We need concerned everyday Americans who understand everyday issues representing us in Washington DC. Our government has failed us but not in the way we hear about in the mainstream media. It has failed us because ëWe the Peopleí have been sending representatives to Washington DC for decades who believe in getting out of the way and letting the free market correct and regulate itself. We have seen where that leads us. Why Iím running? I guess a quote by Mahatma Gandhi sums it up. ëYou must be the change you want to see in the worldí.î

Similarly, David Curtis, candidate for Governor of Nevada, says, ìI got tired of avoiding the issue of governing. I feel this is perhaps my last chance as a citizen to resist the takeover of our government by corporate and religious interests.î

Midge Potts, U.S. Senate candidate in Missouri, points out that Green candidates expand the issues: ìI am running for office so I can be vocal about issues that no other candidate in Missouri is talking about – complete withdrawal from Iraq and Afghanistan, economic transformation through nuclear disarmament and reduction of U.S. military presence across the globe, diverting energy subsidies away from coal, oil and nuclear toward providing solar panels and windmills in every American neighborhood. As a transgender woman, I chose the Green party because it truly supports LGBT rights for employment & housing security, marriage, and in all facets of life.î

Ross Frankel wants to pave a way for Greens: ìTo open the door for fellow serious Green professionals in government. To be a catalyst for an ethical Green political machine. I want to further the cause of serious, realistic, pragmatic, down-to-earth Green solutions to the existing impasse of the ëRed & Bluesí.î

Similarly, Lisa Green wants to set a larger example for others to follow: ìTo be a voice for changing our behavior, and as an example of what must be done. Too many of us have checked out of the bureacratic processes where a select few that do not represent our best interests are currently in control. Women especially have not wanted to assume much representation in the political spectrum but to get back in balance we must have more women in office. My candidacy sets an example, and engages other people to act in a variety of ways instead of just looking the other way or feel hopeless. I remind people that we must get active politically and replace those that do not represent our values, our beliefs, of equality and balance with each other on earth.î

Duane Roberts sees his candidacy as a direct challenge to the status quo: ìI’m running because I’m fed up with the Wall Street billionaires who are literally robbing the working people of this country blind. I’m using this campaign as a vehicle to raise the level of expectations; that people can get what they want if they are willing to fight for it. We can have a single-payer health care system. We can have tuition-free public university education for all students. We can end all overseas wars. Power concedes nothing without a demand and if millions of people organize with one another to stand up and fight the system, anything is possible.î

Cecile Lawence, New York Green candidate for U.S. Senate has an agenda driving her to run for office. ìWe need to end the U.S. occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan now and return the troops home in early 2011. The U.S. must cease its drive for empire and domination of the planet including embedding its military forces with corporations whose drive for access to the resources of other countries lead to the destruction of their environmental and socio-economic health. Corporations must be stripped of the artificial personhood granted them by an accident of the U.S. Supreme Court, resulting not in human personhood but in god-like status, since they never get sick, and can never die. We must reform Wall Street, getting rid of the practices that led to the idea of ëtoo big to fail.î

Carol Wolman, candidate for Congress in California, has direct experience with insurers that drives her candidacy: ìAs an MD, I can testify that when insurance companies are in charge of health care, everyone suffers except the insurance companies’ profit margins. The Dems and Repubs impose tight party discipline on their elected officials like Kucinich having to reverse himself and vote for this atrocious [healthcare] bill. So the people and their interests don’t get represented.î

Similarly Bill Balderston is running for Insurance Commissioner because ìit is a key platform to challenge the general role of these parasitic insurance institutions, especially as regards health care, but also around auto insurance (which also should function as a single-payer system) home insurance, et al. The Anthems and AIGs of this world must be made to pay for the pain and suffering they have caused. It also allows me to use this campaign as a vehicle to help build mass movements, around health care, housing, immigrant rights and others.î

Gray Swing, candidate for Congress in Colorado humorously concludes that he is running for the same reason that Mick Jagger went down to the Chelsea Drugstore – ìto get my fair share of abuse.î

What are key issues and goals in your campaign?

The range of topics span from localized issues to global problems which these Green candidates have a clear plan to address. For all Greens a driving force behind their running for office is to get the Green message out.

Gubernatorial candidate for New York, Howie Hawkins said, ìA goal of our campaign is to move the policy debate in New York. We are going to present before the public, and make the mass media and corporate candidates deal with our platform of solutions to the problems we face such as: progressive taxation and revenue sharing, fully funded schools, full employment, single-payer health care, and renewable energy.î

For a variety of candidates, diversity and immigrant rights were key issues. Colia Clark, New York candidate for U.S. Senate said, ìThe right of immigrants to live, work and have their families visit is a human right. NAFTA, CAFTA, Project Hope and other infringements on the right of workers in other nations is unacceptable and as Senator from NYS I will work on all fronts to cancel these hideous instruments of corporate power.î

Jane Kim, candidate for District 6 Supervisor in San Francisco, California is taking on the same issue of diversity and immigrant rights from a more local perspective. ìThe real strength of District 6 lies in the diversity of its people. We must be vigilant in supporting opportunities for our immigrant neighbors to prosper. It is not enough to hide behind the fact that San Francisco is a sanctuary cityówe must enact policies that celebrate the contributions by immigrant shopkeepers, artisans, and entrepreneurs. We can do this by creating incentives for small businesses to move into vacant storefronts, ensuring that there is stable, affordable family housing, and top-notch public education.î

For Nicolas Ruiz III, candidate for U.S. Congress in District 23 of Florida has for a long time made the dangers of offshore drilling a top issue and has pointed to the short sightedness of politicians is promoting dangerous environmental practices. He said, ìThe focus needs to shift from old fossil energy to new renewable energy. There are other ways to fuel our needs for electricity ñ wind energy, solar energy ñ itís the 21st century, letís move forward, no? Itís simply disingenuous to claim that ideology and politics are unrelated. The fact is, your ideology Ö drive what you do in the world. If you are for the reckless pillaging of natural resources, well, thatís an ideology, wouldnít you say? Itís not right. We have to consider the well-being of so much more than short term narrow interests, if the world is to be a prosperous place for us all.î

Where do you think the party will be in ten years?

This question evoked answers ranging from confident in the partyís growth to doubtful that it would grow at all. All seem to believe that they must continue to work towards the development of the party.

On the tongue-in-cheek pessimistic end of the spectrum was again Gary Swing, who opined the Green Party could be found ìin FEMA detention camps.î Expressing a similar downbeat sentiment, Curtis added, ìSame place, small and struggling, but stubborn and fighting the good fight.î Ross Frankel chastises a certain tendency extant in the party: ìDead if we don’t act as a serious political party and political machine: engaging in and promoting pragmatic and realistic solutions that the everyday person can grasp and support! We’ve got to stop thinking of ourselves as primarily a rag-tag, motley gaggle of wing-nuts, radicals, and part-time volunteers.î

More representative of most candidatesí opinions was Jeremy Cloward, candidate for U.S. Congress from California, who said: ìThe party will either continue to grow, remain the same, or begin to fade over the next 10 years (this is true prima-facie). It will be up to us.î In the same vein, Scott Laugenour, candidate for state representative in Massachusetts adds, ìIf I and other candidates are elected or do well, the party will be stronger in ten years.î Dennis Spisak, candidate for Governor of Ohio, notes: ìI believe the Green Party will become the major opposition party to the Democrats and Republicans and become the true party of Progressive Liberals.î Wolman extends this expressed sentiment into a necessity: ìThe Greens must join forces with independents and all progressives in order to get people with our values into office.î

Jay Sweeney believes: ìThe Green Party has seen some ups and downs over the last ten years and I expect we will see more of the same over the next ten years. However, I predict the Green Party will be here. I do expect to see growth in the party in that time. While the 2008 presidential election year saw defection from the Green party, I think the failure of the Obama administration to promote a progressive agenda will move more people to the Green Party.î Bill Balderston expresses hope that ìGreen Party will, in ten years, have a much deeper root in many local governments and communities, including especially in communities of color.î

G. Scott Deshefy has an encompassing vision of the future, based on the success of a recent lawsuit in Connecticut: ìUnfortunately, we do not have the most critically thinking electorate in America, but the seething anger with Democrats and Republicans alike in 2010 suggests that the time has come for progressive and significant change to the systemic failures which plague America and the global ecology. In CT, the Green Party sued the state over campaign finance legislation which denied third party candidates freedom of speech under the Constitution. We have won that law suit, thanks to a landmark decision by Judge Underhill, who concluded in his decision that there are no major and minor parties under the constitution, only parties. In ten years, I expect the Green Party to have the same support as other parties without the blind allegiance, which enables the Dems and Reps to delude their supporters election cycle after election cycle, abusing them politically but getting their votes in November by promising a clean slate and cessation of abuse which never comes. The American people are demanding a divorce from the two-party system. They will get it in November with Green candidates, and they will seek the truth from Green visionaries and Green leadership through the distant future. The political landscape changes in 2010, and it is a Green vista ahead.î

A Composite Look at 2010 Green Candidates

July 6, 2010 in 2010 Fall Elections

by Dave McCorquodale, Green Party of Delaware

At least 187 Greens are running for political offices in 27 states and the District of Columbia this November, 2010. The sought after positions range from the local level, such as non-partisan neighborhood advisory seats, to state level such as gubernatorial campaigns, to federal seats for senator and representatives. The five states with the majority of the Green candidates seeking positions are: Illinois (43), California (25), Maine (18), Texas (16), and New York (14).

There is a wide range in what Green candidates do for a living. Among those on the campaign trail are lawyers, teachers, college professors, physicians, counselors, artists, architects, and of course activists. Many candidates have work histories that feature a mixture of working class labor such as in construction, truck driving, and trade ñ with white collar professions and small business ownership. Many candidates are authors, poets, writers or bloggers(see sidebar).

A commonality among Green candidates is a connection to or support for united workers. On their websites, many candidates express an appreciation and respect for labor and the power of unionization. Hugh Giordano, candidate for State Representative in Philadelphia, PA, is currently employed as union organizer for the United Food and Commerical workers Union (UFCW) Local 152.

Candidates include several veterans of the Marine Corps and other branches of the military such as; Dan Kairis, U.S. Representative of Illinios and also an enthusiatic Harley-Davidson motorcycle rider; Michael Smith, Cook County Commissioner in Illinois, serving 15 years in the military and 15 years in law enforcement; a former NFL football player, Morgan Reeves, Governor of South Carolina; Sheldon Schaefer, U. S. Representative of Illinios, who is director of a planetarium; Howie Hawkins, Govenor in New York and part of the founding of the Green Party in the United States, John Gray, U.S. Senate in Arizona and an enthusiastic backpacker; a player of the Great Highland Bagpipe, Ken Adler, U.S. Representative of Arizona; architects Jack Lindblad, State Assembly in California and Howard Switzer, Governor in Tennessee; and Jesse Johnson, House of Delegates in West Virginia, actor, filmmaker, and 2008 Gubernatorial candidate of West Virginia.

Persistent activists lead the way in two states

At the head of two Green party tickets are two long-time activists, Rich Whitney of Illinois and Dr. Jill Stein of Massachusetts, both running for Governor in their states. Their leadership and involvement in other issues brought them into the Green Party and showed their ability to handle big undertakings. They have run again and again for office, learning with each campaign and gaining in credibility with the electorate.

Rich Whitney, 54, is an attorney and partner in the Carbondale, Illinois law firm of Speir and Whitney. Born in Connecticut, he received his Bachelor’s Degree in telecommunications at Michigan State University in 1977. He has long been politically active in support of the labor, environmental, civil rights, women’s and antiwar movements.?Whitney was involved in nationwide legal battles to regulate tobacco advertising on behalf of the public health community. In his legal practice, he has also taken on challenging and sometimes controversial cases to protect First, Fourth, Eighth and Fourteenth Amendment rights, combating political patronage in employment, harassment and unjust firings of coal miners, prison employees, police officers and many other workers.

Whitney is also one of the founding members of the Illinois Green Party and wrote a good portion of the Party’s platform. In 2002, he ran for state representative for the Party in the 115th District, winning enough votes to make the party a legally “establishedî party in the District. He campaigned again in 2004, and in 2006 ran as the Party’s first ever candidate for Governor. He won over 360,000 votes in that race, about 10.5 percent of the total, and more than enough to make the Green Party an “establishedî party under Illinois election law.

Even with all his efforts on the campaign trail, he is always active in local political battles to protect the environment and resist urban sprawl, as well as the ongoing effort to oppose the U.S. occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan. In May, Whitney embarked on a nine day, 654 mile ìsustainable transportationî tour of the state traveling only by bicylcle or mass transit to publicze his ideas for sustainable transportation in Illinois.

Stein helped formulate a ìSecure Green Futureî ballot initiative calling upon legislators to accelerate efforts to move the Massachusetts economy to renewable energy and prioritize green jobs. The measure won over 81 per cent of the vote in the 11 districts in which it was on the ballot.

Dr. Jill Stein, the Rainbow-Green Party candidate for Governor of Massachusetts, is a mother, housewife, physician, longtime teacher of internal medicine, and pioneering environmental-health advocate. Stein began to advocate for the environment as a human health issue in 1998 when she realized politicians were simply not acting to protect children from the toxic threats emerging from current science. She offered her services to parents, teachers, community organization and a native American group seeking to protect their communities from toxic exposure. She has testified before numerous legislative panels as well as local and state governmental bodies and appeared on television programs.

After working to help pass a Clean Election Law, activists in the Massachusetts Green-Rainbow Party approached Dr. Stein in 2002 and asked her to run for Governor of Massachusetts. Dr. Stein accepted and began her first foray into electoral politics. She has twice been elected to town meeting in Lexington, Massachusetts. She is the founder and past co-chair of a local recycling committee appointed by the Lexington Board of Selectmen.

Stein represented the Rainbow-Green Party in two additional races ñ one for State Representative in 2004 and one for Secretary of State in 2006. In 2006 she won the votes of over 350,000 Massachusetts citizens ñ which represented the greatest vote total ever for a Green-Rainbow candidate.

In 2008, Stein helped formulate a ìSecure Green Futureî ballot initiative calling upon legislators to accelerate efforts to move the Massachusetts economy to renewable energy and prioritize green jobs. The measure won over 81 per cent of the vote in the 11 districts in which it was on the ballot.

Information on all the Green Party candidates, including additional links to campaign websites is available at: http://www.newmenu.org/.

Rich Whitney’s website is: http://www.whitneyforgov.org/.
Dr. Jill Stein’s website is: http://www.jillstein.org/.

Green Candidates: Authors and Writers

July 6, 2010 in 2010 Fall Elections

by David McCorquodale, Green Party of Delaware

One trait many of the 2010 Green Party candidates have is the ability to write and to share their ideas on issues about which they are passionate. Here is a partial list of their efforts:

Ann Menasche:
Leaving the Life: Lesbians, Ex-Lesbians and the Heterosexual Imperative (London: Onlywomen Press, Limited, 1999), $17.99 paperback.

Dr. Jill Stein:
In Harmís Way: Toxic Threats to Child Development, 2000, and Environmental Threats to Healthy Aging, 2009. Both are available for free download.

Tom Tresser:
America Needs You ñ Why You Should Become A Creativity Champion, free download.

Carol Wolman, M.D.:
Frequent contributor to OpEd News(up to 2009).

Jeremy Cloward:
Private Military firms and the United States War with Iraq.

G. Scott Deshefy:
Books: Shadow Stones and Other Poems (Ahimsa Press, 2002), Houyhnhnms All: Selected Poems (Ahimsa Press, 1998). Anthologies: Survival in Writing and Art 2001 (CT Trauma Coalition, 2001), In Other Words: An American Poetry Anthology (Western Reading Services, 1995) Journals: Eye Prayers, Gone .

Nicholas Ruiz III:
The Metaphysics of Capital, 2006; American In Absentia, 2008; and soon-to-be-released Integral Reality. He is also the editor of Kritikos.

Nicholas Ladendorf:
A cartoonist, currently constricting his website, http://www.nilgravity.com/.

Alan Woodruff:
A lawyer and author/co-author of more than 100 books (including three novels), articles and published study reports.

Anthony Gronowicz:
A historian, who has written several books, including Race and Class Politics in New York City Before the Civil War

Howie Hawkins:
An author of numerous articles on social theory, cooperative economics and independent politics in many publications. Links to his writing can be found at his campaign website: HowieHawkins.com

Rosa Clemente:
Hip Hop journalist, co-host producer on WBAI, and entrepreneur is currently writing a novel, Siempre Palante: Young Lords and the Legacy of Youth Resistance

Dr. Rick Staggenborg:
Has written Stop the Madness: The Diary of a Soldier for Peace in the War to Take Back America. Download at: http://takebackamericaforthepeople.blogspot.com/2009/11/stop-madness-diary-of-for-peace-in-war.html.

Ed Bortz:
Voices of A Wanderer at http://edbortzforcongress.org