The Green Party ended its four-day national convention in Houston, Texas, yesterday with resounding endorsements of their standard-bearers in the general election—physician Jill Stein for president, and human-rights activist Ajamu Baraka for vice president. The convention was one of the latest to be held in the current political season, just three months before Election Day. But the newly launched Stein-Baraka ticket has deep roots in nonmainstream activism and politics, Stein said; their nominations formally gave them permission to represent the party and its constituent base in an election in which an alternative to the duopoly is urgently needed.
At its Aug. 4-7 national convention in Houston, Texas, the Green Party of the United States officially will nominate its presidential candidate for the general election—all but certain to be physician Jill Stein—and tend to other vital election-year matters. Chief among them, no doubt, will be moving the party beyond its 0.36-percent share of the overall vote, when Stein headed the Green Party presidential ticket in 2012. Bernie Sanders’ full-throttled defection to Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party may be Stein’s good fortune, but even if that and widespread discontent with the political process were to bring new blood and interest to the party, is the Green Party prepared to do battle with the Duopoly?
During the presidential election cycle, liberals display their gutlessness. Liberal organizations, such as MoveOn.org, become cloyingly subservient to the Democratic Party. Liberal media, epitomized by MSNBC, ruthlessly purge those who challenge the Democratic Party establishment. Liberal pundits, such as Paul Krugman, lambaste critics of the political theater, charging them with enabling the Republican nominee. Liberals chant, in a disregard for the facts, not to be like Ralph Nader, the “spoiler” who gave us George W. Bush. The liberal class refuses to fight for the values it purports to care about. It is paralyzed and trapped by the induced panic manufactured by the systems of corporate propaganda. The only pressure within the political system comes from corporate power. With no counterweight, with no will on the part of the liberal class to defy the status quo, we slide deeper and deeper into corporate despotism. The repeated argument of the necessity of supporting the “least worse” makes things worse. Change will not come quickly. It may take a decade or more. And it will never come by capitulating to the Democratic Party establishment. We will accept our place in the political wilderness and build alternative movements and parties to bring down corporate
On July 25, opening day of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, Cheri Honkala, leader of the Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign, who was denied a permit to march by city authorities, will rally with thousands of protesters outside City Hall. Defying the police, they will march up Broad Street to the convention. We will recapture our democracy in the streets of cities such as Philadelphia, not in convention halls such as the aptly named Wells Fargo Center, where the Democratic Party elites intend to celebrate the results of the rigged primary elections and the continuity of corporate power. Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein, other activists and I will march with Honkala. It is not as if we have a choice. No one invited us into the center or to the lavish corporate-sponsored receptions. No one anointed us to be Clinton superdelegates—a privilege that went to corporate lobbyists, rich people and party hacks. No one in the Democratic establishment gives a damn what we think. The convention is not our party. It is their party. It costs a lot of money to attend. Donate $ 100,000 and you become an “empire” donor, with perks such as “VIP credentials for all
The artifice of corporate totalitarianism has been exposed. The citizens, disgusted by the lies and manipulation, have turned on the political establishment. But the game is not over. Corporate power has within its arsenal potent forms of control. It will use them. As the pretense of democracy is unmasked, the naked fist of state repression takes its place. America is about—unless we act quickly—to get ugly. “Our political system is decaying,” said Ralph Naderwhen I reached him by phone in Washington, D.C. “It’s on the way to gangrene. It’s reaching a critical mass of citizen revolt.” This moment in American history is what Antonio Gramscicalled the “interregnum”—the period when a discredited regime is collapsing but a new one has yet to take its place. There is no guarantee that what comes next will be better. But this space, which will close soon, offers citizens the final chance to embrace a new vision and a new direction. This vision will only be obtained through mass acts of civic mobilization and civil disobedience across the country. Nader, who sees this period in American history as crucial, perhaps the last opportunity to save us from tyranny, is planning to rally the left for three days,
It is well known to Washington political observers that politicians invited to speak at the annual, giant AIPAC convention ask for suggested talking points from this powerful pro-Israeli government lobby. Hillary Clinton’s pandering speech must have registered close to 100% on AIPAC’s checklist. Of course, both parties pander to AIPAC to such depths of similar obeisance that reporters have little to report as news. But giving big-time coverage to sheer political power is automatic. Compare it to the sparse attention given to the conference a few days earlier at the National Press Club on the Israeli lobby featuring scholars, authors and the well-known Israeli dissenter, Gideon Levy of the respected Ha’aretz newspaper (see israellobbyus.org/). Read
The Reuters report put this colossal dereliction simply: “A law in effect since 1992 requires annual audits of all federal agencies—and the Pentagon alone has never complied.” All $585 billion and more, e.g., for the Afghanistan and Iraq conflicts, of your money—not just unaudited, but, in the sober judgement of the Government Accountability Office (GAO) of the Congress, this vast military budget is year after year UNAUDITABLE. That means that the Congressional auditors cannot obtain the basic accounting data to do their job on your behalf. Auditing the Department of Defense receives left/right support, from Senator Bernie Sanders (Dem. VT) to Senator Ted Cruz (Rep. TX). H.R. 942, the “Audit the Pentagon Act of 2014,” is supported by both Democrats and Republicans in the House of Representatives. In the statement announcing this legislation, the sponsors declared “The Treasury Department’s Financial Report of the US Government for fiscal year 2012 shows the DOD yet again has nothing to audit—its books are a mess. In the last dozen years, the Pentagon has broken every promise to Congress about when DOD would pass an audit. Meanwhile, Congress doubled Pentagon spending.” Republican right-winger, Mike Conaway (Rep. TX) used to be a CPA in private
Les Leopold is the co-founder and executive director of two nonprofit educational organizations: The Labor Institute and the Public Health Institute. He also helped to create the Blue-Green Alliance, and organization that merges labor unions with environmental concerns, such as the Sierra Club. Les’ articles appear in Alternet, Truthout and Huffington Post and Ralph Nader listed Les’s award-winning book, “The Man Who Hated Work and Loved Labor” on his recommended top 10 read list. His recent book “Runaway Inequality: An Activists Guide to Economic Justice” puts into clear perspective an integral view of understanding the many consequences of the growing inequality gap that has decimating Americans’ lives, the economy and the planet. His website is RunAwayInequality.org
The U.S. has some big problems that require bold solutions. Unfortunately, books about solutions to our society’s problems are often given short shrift by reviewers or languish on our bookshelves. As I often say, this country has more problems than it deserves and more solutions than it uses. Now comes S. David Freeman. In 1974 David Freeman, an energy engineer and lawyer, wrote much of and directed all of the research for the book, A Time to Choose: America’s Energy Future, a comprehensive early inquiry into America’s energy crisis. A Time to Choose offered ideas galore about how our country could use efficiency and conservation to benefit the environment and the economy and ushered in a new era of energy efficiency. Read
The release Thursday of the 5,544-page text of the Trans-Pacific Partnership—a trade and investment agreement involving 12 countries comprising nearly 40 percent of global output—confirms what even its most apocalyptic critics feared. “The TPP, along with the WTO [World Trade Organization] and NAFTA [North American Free Trade Agreement], is the most brazen corporate power grab in American history,” Ralph Nader told me when I reached him by phone in Washington, D.C. “It allows corporations to bypass our three branches of government to impose enforceable sanctions by secret tribunals. These tribunals can declare our labor, consumer and environmental protections [to be] unlawful, non-tariff barriers subject to fines for noncompliance. The TPP establishes a transnational, autocratic system of enforceable governance in defiance of our domestic laws.” Read