New York Greens celebrate fracking ban, credit grassroots movement

Posted in Ecological Wisdom & the Environment on December 18th, 2014 by Dave Schwab – Be the first to comment

p greens demand fracking banYesterday it was widely reported that New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has agreed to ban fracking after a state environmental review found that the gas drilling method cannot be employed without unacceptable risk to public health and the environment. This decision comes after Green Party gubernatorial candidate Howie Hawkins, who advocated for a fracking ban, took nearly 5% of the vote in the 2014 election. This significant turnaround by the Cuomo administration, which announced plans in 2012 to introduce fracking in New York’s Southern Tier, comes after years of unrelenting pressure from community activists, including Greens across New York.

From the New York Green Party:

The Green Party of New York (GPNY) and its recent gubernatorial candidate Howie Hawkins join the chorus of New Yorkers celebrating what appears to be an imminent fracking ban, arising from today’s reports from Environmental Conservation Commissioner Joe Martens and Acting Health Commissioner Howard Zucker.

p howie hawkins“This news is a victory for all New Yorkers who have dedicated their lives for the past six years to keep fracking out of New York,” said Howie Hawkins, 2014 Green candidate for Governor. Hawkins ran in 2010 and 2014 on a strong anti-fracking platform and confronted Cuomo about the issue during the October 2014 gubernatorial debate in Buffalo. “Together, we have won more than just a ban – today, we have a strong movement that must now use our people power to win the transition to 100% renewable energy for New York by 2030 in order to fight climate change.” read more »

Rev. Edward Pinkney is latest African-American Green leader targeted for political prosecution

Posted in Social & Economic Justice on December 17th, 2014 by Dave Schwab – 1 Comment

p edward pinkneyRev. Edward Pinkney of Benton Harbor, Michigan is a long-time community organizer who has led resistance in this predominantly African-American community to a government subservient to the Benton Harbor-based Whirlpool corporation. Benton Harbor is among the Michigan cities, including Detroit, where democratic self-governance has been replaced by “emergency financial management”.

After Pinkney led a petition effort to recall the mayor of Benton Harbor, he was arrested, charged with election fraud, and eventually sentenced to up to 10 years in prison despite a distinct lack of evidence (as explained below). Rev. Pinkney is a prominent member of the Michigan Green Party and has run for Congress on the Green line.

The overt targeting of an African-American activist for a politically-motivated prosecution is reminiscent of recent episodes involving Chuck Turner and Elston McCowan, both Greens who challenged the power structures in their communities. In a system where police officers regularly kill unarmed African-American men without facing trial, it is especially galling that the same system sentences an African-American activist to up to 10 years imprisonment on trumped-up, politically-motivated charges.

Truthout.org has the details on the trial and sentencing of Rev. Edward Pinkney: read more »

Cleveland Green official calls for resignations after pattern of excessive police force

Posted in Social & Economic Justice on December 16th, 2014 by Dave Schwab – Be the first to comment

p brian cumminsThe following editorial by Cleveland City Council member and Green Party member Brian Cummins was published on Cleveland.com:

The U. S. Department of Justice has released its investigation report that concludes, “the Cleveland Division of Police engages in a pattern or practice of the use of excessive force in violation of the Fourth Amendment.”

The report describes a pattern of excessive use of deadly force, including shootings and head strikes with impact weapons; excessive force against persons who are mentally ill; and employment of poor and dangerous tactics that place officers in situations where avoidable force becomes inevitable and places officers and civilians at unnecessary risk.

The scathing report follows the recent tragic deaths of Tanesha Anderson and Tamir Rice and comes two years after the car chase and shooting deaths of Timothy Russell and Malissa Williams. read more »

Green Party: Prosecute officials who approved torture, including Bush & Cheney

Posted in Peace & Non-Violence on December 12th, 2014 by Dave Schwab – Be the first to comment

From Green Party US:

p investigate tortureWASHINGTON, D.C. — The Green Party of the United States supports the demand by a U.N. special investigator that U.S. officials and CIA personnel who authorized and carried out torture must be prosecuted.

Ben Emmerson, the United Nation’s special rapporteur on counterterrorism and human rights, called for prosecution in the wake of a Senate Intelligence Committee report on CIA torture and “black sites” in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, released on Tuesday. Greens urged Sen. Mark Udall (D-Col.) to release the full report before he leaves office.

“The torture revelations — some of which were already known — show the extent to which the U.S. has turned into a ‘security state’ in which human rights and the rule of law have been abandoned. The Senate report exposes the appalling complicity of the Bush and Obama administrations and Democratic and Republican leaders in allowing torture and shielding officials who ordered or approved it from punishment,” said Darryl! L.C. Moch, national co-chair of the Green Party. read more »

Greens demand publication of secret Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact drafts

Posted in Social & Economic Justice on December 11th, 2014 by Dave Schwab – 1 Comment

p TPP why so secretFrom Green Party US:

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Green Party of the United States called for publication of the draft text of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), after leaked portions indicated that the trade agreement will weaken democratically enacted laws protecting the environment, public health, and labor rights in signatory nations, including the U.S.

Representatives from the 12 nations are meeting in Washington, D.C., this week for the next round of talks on the TPP, which if enacted will affect more than 40% of the world’s GDP.

Greens expressed support for activists and protesters, in the U.S. and other countries, who are speaking out against the secretly negotiated pact, which has stalled in the U.S. after Congress rejected President Obama’s request for Fast Track approval. Greens also support Wikileaks’ publication of the secret drafts. read more »

Interview with Glenn Davis, Philadelphia Green Party leader

Posted in Local Party News on December 10th, 2014 by Dave Schwab – Be the first to comment

p glenn davisFrom Philadelphia Weekly:

Glenn Davis is just about the only politician you’ll ever meet who doesn’t go out of his way to make sure you know right up front that’s he’s a military veteran. “I’m proud of that, but that doesn’t make me honorable,” he says, chatting over a bite at the McDonald’s at 56th and Vine. “I was a veteran of a foreign war—but I grew up. I realized I was fighting for corporations, and if I’m out in Iraq or wherever, who’s fighting for my family on the street?”

Now, after several post-military careers—including a stint doing maintenance at this very fast food chain—Davis is the chair of the oft-floundering Green Party of Philadelphia, and he’s running for state representative in the 198th District against Democrat Vanessa Lowery Brown. Brown made headlines earlier this year when she was named as one of five Philly pols to take a bribe in a state Attorney General’s office-conducted sting operation, and almost lost her Democratic primary because of it. PW talked with Davis about his campaign and what might lie in the Green Party’s future. read more »

Ohio Green Party calls for indictment of officers involved in Tamir Rice shooting

Posted in Social & Economic Justice on December 5th, 2014 by Dave Schwab – Be the first to comment

From the Ohio Green Party:

p tamir riceCleveland OH: –The Green Party of Ohio backs the decision of the Department of Justice to impose a consent decree on the Cleveland Division of Police in response to a finding of “A pattern of excessive force” dating back years.

The recent death of 12 year old Tamir Rice, shot by an officer of the CPD, within seconds of that officer’s arrival on scene is just the latest example of the “shoot first and ask questions later” actions of the Cleveland Police.

In November of this year, Tanisha Anderson,a mentally ill 37 year old woman, died shortly after an encounter with officers who used a takedown maneuver to force her cooperation after she became agitated during attempted transport to a medical facility.

In late 2012, two members of the Cleveland community, Timothy Russell and Malissa Williams, were killed under a 137 round barrage after a police chase that was initiated after their car backfired and an officer mistook the sound for gunshots. Both Mr. Russell and Ms. Williams were unarmed at the time of their deaths. read more »

Green Party supports nonviolent protests against police brutality

Posted in Social & Economic Justice on December 4th, 2014 by Dave Schwab – 1 Comment

From Green Party US:

New York City grand jury’s refusal to indict an officer accused of killing Eric Garner is cause for more protest; police terror against Blacks and mass incarceration must end, say Greens

p brian jones ny greens police brutalityWASHINGTON, D.C. — Green Party leaders and activists expressed support for ongoing protests across the U.S., especially for nonviolent protesters facing brutal police retaliation, in the wake of a St. Louis County grand jury’s decision not to indict Officer Darren Wilson for the murder of Mike Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.

The protesters’ anger was further inflamed by Wednesday’s breaking news that a New York City grand jury decided not to indict a white police officer accused of killing Eric Garner, an unarmed 43-year-old father of six, in Staten Island by putting him in an illegal chokehold.

Greens called for an aggressive investigation by the U.S. Justice Department of both the Ferguson and Staten Island incidents and the handling of the Ferguson case by St. Louis County officials, and demanded that the U.S. conform to international human-rights standards on the use of force by police, citing a Nov. 28 review from the U.N. Committee Against Torture (http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/11/28/us-usa-un-torture-idUSKCN0JC1BC20141128).

Green Party members have participated in and helped organize many of the rallies and protests in reaction to a steady flow of news reports about police killings of young Black men. read more »

Howie Hawkins: Join the fight for single-payer healthcare in NY

Posted in Social & Economic Justice on December 4th, 2014 by Dave Schwab – Be the first to comment

p howie hawkinsFrom Howie Hawkins:

Single-payer healthcare for New York State was one of the key reforms for which we campaigned in the race for Governor.

Although the media’s campaign narrative and the other candidates ignored healthcare, the Gottfried/Perkins bill for a single-payer New York Health program is co-sponsored by close to one-half of the Assembly and one-third of the Senate. The Green Party of New York is one of over 100 organizations statewide supporting the campaign for New York Health.

We can move this issue this year, closer to guaranteeing health care as a human right. The next step is public hearings hosted by the bill’s sponsors in cites around the state in December, beginning in Syracuse this Thursday. I urge you to attend and give testimony. They especially want to hear from people who have had problems affording and getting proper and timely treatment from the existing healthcare system and from businesses that find providing healthcare benefits difficult and too costly.

The New York Health bill would immediately provide every New York resident with all medically necessary services except for long-term care, which will be studied by the program with the goal of adding long-term care within five years.

New York Health would be paid for by progressive taxes based on ability to pay. It would be free to patients at the point of delivery when they visit their healthcare provider. No premiums, co-pays, or deductibles, just healthcare.

Learn more on a Single Payer Conference Call Teach-In hosted by the Green Party of NY on Thursdayevening at 8:30pm

And please support the Green Party of New York so we can help fight for health care as a human right. read more »

2014 campaigns highlight growing diversity of Green Party

Posted in Editorials on November 26th, 2014 by Dave Schwab – 2 Comments

Green Party campaigns in 2014 made a splash, from Howie Hawkins’ historic result in New York to Gayle McLaughlin’s triumph over a Chevron-funded challenge in Richmond, CA. But another remarkable story is the growing diversity of the Green Party and the candidates who are its public face.

Respect for diversity has long been a key value of the Green Party US, but still, Greens have faced charges (from within and without) that the party and its candidates are disproportionately white and male. Yet it’s clear that as people of color are increasingly marginalized by the Democratic and Republican parties, more and more are finding a welcoming home with the Green Party.

p anita riosIn Ohio, Green gubernatorial candidate Anita Rios, a longtime advocate within the Green Party for Latino/Latina issues, earned nearly 100,000 votes for 3.3%, winning a ballot line for the Ohio Greens. In California, gubernatorial candidate Luis Rodriguez, a well-known Chicano activist and author, took 1.5% in the June “Top Two” primary, the top vote-getter outside the Democratic and Republican parties. The Texas Greens’ slate included Emily “Spicy Brown” Sanchez for US Senate, Antonio Diaz for US House, and Martina Salinas for Railroad Commissioner. The Tennessee Greens’ gubernatorial candidate Isa Infante was born in the Dominican Republic. In New York, Attorney General candidate Ramon Jimenez is a “people’s attorney” from the Bronx, and Daniel Vila Rivera took over 10% of the vote for US House.

p brian jones headshotAfrican-American Greens made their impact felt too. In New York, Howie Hawkins’ running mate Brian Jones was crucial to mobilizing NYC activists for the Green Party. Eugene Puryear ran the most dynamic city council race the DC Statehood Green Party has seen in years, building the DCSGP for future success. In St. Paul, Lena Buggs’ run for state representative showed that the Greens are fast overtaking the GOP as the Twin Cities’ second party. Glenn Davis, a veteran and colleague of Cheri Honkala, helped the Greens do the same in Philadelphia. In Oakland, the Greens nominated Jason Anderson, a veteran, artist, and activist, for mayor. And in Texas, the Greens ran Jamar Osborne for Attorney General.

p skip sandmanOne of the most talked-about Green congressional campaigns in 2014 was that of Ray “Skip” Sandman in Minnesota’s 8th district. Skip Sandman is an elder in the Fond du Lac band of Ojibwe, and drew widespread attention for his stand against an ecologically devastating sulfide mining project in the Duluth area (which Democratic incumbent Rick Nolan continues to support). Sandman’s call to protect the water for future generations garnered admiration from Greens across the US, as well as 4.3% of the vote in a hotly contested congressional race. Shortly after Democrat Nolan’s re-election, he voted in favor of the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline.

p keiko bonkAlso deserving of special mention is Keiko Bonk, who challenged Hawai’i’s speaker of the house with a run for state representative. A Japanese-American, Keiko Bonk became the first Green elected to partisan office in the United States when she won election to the Hawai’i County Council in 1992. While she wasn’t able to unseat the speaker, Bonk did win 23.3% of the vote, beating a Republican into 3rd place.

These are only some of the candidates showing the growing diversity of the Green Party – there are many other Green candidates, not to mention activists, who are defying the stereotype that all Greens are aging white men. However, Greens still have much work to do if they hope to create a welcoming political party for people of color, and turn the Green Party into a truly diverse multiracial coalition dedicated to winning liberty and justice for all.

Green Party: Grant protected legal status for immigrants

Posted in Social & Economic Justice on November 21st, 2014 by Dave Schwab – Be the first to comment

p Green Party US new logoIn October, Green Party US put out the following statement on immigration:

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Green Party candidates and activists expressed alarm at President Obama’s dismissal of immigrants’ rights and apparent capitulation to the rhetoric of xenophobic Republican extremists.

Greens called for humane policies that recognize the basic rights of documented and undocumented immigrants and support an executive order to grant the latter protected legal status, amnesty, and an offer of citizenship.

The Obama Administration has deported more immigrants than any previous administration, with a record 438,421 deportations in 2013, 44% of which took place under “expedited removal orders” that denied court hearings. 96% of deportees are from Latino countries.

President Obama is now seeking $3.7 billion to fund “a sustained border security surge through enhanced domestic enforcement,” $40 million for air surveillance, and increased funding for drones for use against undocumented immigrants. read more »

Green Party makes progress on ballot access in 2014

Posted in Ballot Access on November 20th, 2014 by Dave Schwab – Be the first to comment

From Ballot Access News:

p Green Party US new logoThe Green Party is now on the ballot for president in 2016 in nineteen states. By contrast, four years ago it was on in fourteen states. For purposes of this sentence, the District of Columbia is treated as a state.

The Arizona Green Party submitted 30,000 signatures on November 14, so in all likelihood it will soon be on in Arizona. It has almost finished its Maryland petition drive and expects to submit those signatures in December, so it will probably soon be on in 21 states, the most it has ever had following a midterm election.

Relative to four years ago, the Green Party has gained Delaware, Hawaii, New Mexico, Oregon, and Wisconsin.

Who does the Working Families Party work for?

Posted in Editorials on November 19th, 2014 by Dave Schwab – 2 Comments

Andrew CuomoThe Working Families Party, which began in New York and has attempted to spread to other states, stirred up considerable controversy in 2014 by supporting Andrew Cuomo’s re-election campaign for New York Governor. Cuomo has done much to anger New York progressives, including breaking a promise to support independent redistricting and vowing to fight labor unions in his second term.

The Working Families Party’s decision to endorse Cuomo a second time has raised questions about their strategy of urging progressives to vote for right-wing Democrats like Cuomo, as well as possible links between this strategy and the WFP’s sources of funding.

From In These Times, “Andrew Cuomo and the Sad State of the Working Families Party”:

To demonstrate the party’s weakness, one need only look at how far out of its way the WFP went to win voters by not mentioning the candidate at the top of the ticket. Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union (RWDSU) President Stuart Appelbaum on his Facebook simply said that he was voting for “Governor of New York” on the party line—no mention of who that governor was. Party mailers featured not an image of the governor but of New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, whose plan for progressive taxation to fund universal pre-kindergarten was thwarted by the fiscally conservative Cuomo.

And there are many reasons why the party couldn’t talk about him. Cuomo failed to make good on a central promise he made in exchange for the WFP endorsement: to push for Democrats to regain control in New York’s State Senate.

read more »

The two-party system is the problem; ranked-choice voting is the solution

Posted in Grassroots Democracy on November 18th, 2014 by Dave Schwab – 16 Comments

p lauren besankoLauren Besanko, who ran as a Maine Green Independent Party candidate for state representative, recently wrote an article for the Bangor Daily News about Maine’s growing movement for ranked-choice voting. From the article, entitled “The Two-Party Duopoly is the Problem”:

Ranked choice voting allows people to vote for several candidates in order, from their favorite to their least favorite, by assigning candidates numerical values. Their favorite candidate would receive the “No. 1” vote, their second favorite the “No. 2” vote and so on. One of the points of election reform like this should be to eliminate the “spoiler” effect, so we don’t end up splitting the vote, for example, between center-left and farther-left candidates, resulting in electing a far-right tea party Republican.

Reform like this could very well be the start of a path toward the end of a political system dominated by the two parties.

read more »

State Green Parties unite against the pipelines

Posted in Ecological Wisdom & the Environment on November 18th, 2014 by Dave Schwab – 1 Comment

From Green Party US:

p no kxl green partyWASHINGTON, D.C. — The Green Party of the United States is calling for the defeat of proposed tar-sands pipelines when the U.S. Senate votes on the Keystone XL pipeline on Tuesday and opposes alternative plans, including “Energy East,” that would route Canadian oil into the U.S. by pipeline or tanker.

Green Party leaders are encouraging the public to call on Senators to vote nay. If the Senate approves the pipeline, Greens urge President Obama to exercise his veto power.

The Green Parties of Maine, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New York, and New Jersey have banded together against a proposed fossil-fuel pipeline through the region, calling themselves the Green Alliance to Stop the Pipelines, or GASP (https://www.facebook.com/StopThePipelines).

GASP opposes a plan by the six New England governors to spend $6 billion on the Kinder Morgan gas transmission pipeline, which would bring fracked natural gas to export terminals in Maine and Canada.

Greens criticized Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s decision to hold the vote on Tuesday to allow pro-pipeline Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) to participate. Republicans in the Senate are determined to approve the pipeline, regardless of Democrats’ positions. (See “Green Shadow Cabinet: Alert: Resist the Dems’ KXL Sneak Attack!” http://www.greenpartywatch.org/2014/11/14/green-shadow-cabinet-alert-resist-the-dems-kxl-sneak-attack/)

“Green Parties across the nation are battling plans for massive investments in fossil fuel infrastructure that, if approved, would sabotage efforts to avert the looming catastrophe of climate change,” said Jill Stein, 2012 Green presidential nominee and a member of the Massachusetts Green-Rainbow Party. read more »