Historian, activist, professor Howard Zinn dead at 87

Here is a story at The Boston Globe.

According to the story Zinn’s family reports that he was traveling in Santa Monica and suffered a heart attack.

The story includes this quote by linguist and activist contemporaries Noam Chomsky:

“His writings have changed the consciousness of a generation, and helped open new paths to understanding and its crucial meaning for our lives,”

“When action has been called for, one could always be confident that he would be on the front lines, an example and trustworthy guide.”

The article, written by Pulitzer Prize winner Mark Feeney calls Zinn’s historic academic works “revisionist”, and says of A People’s History of the United States,

“A People’s History of the United States” (1980), had for its heroes not the Founding Fathers — many of them slaveholders and deeply attached to the status quo, as Dr. Zinn was quick to point out — but rather the farmers of Shays’ Rebellion and the union organizers of the 1930s.

With books written over decades, Zinn was a prolific writer of both scholarly and popular works.

Zinn showed support for the Green Party and Ralph Nader, having as recently as February of 2008 worked with Nader to “Hold the Democratic presidential candidates feet to the fire”.

Here is a link to a story at On The Wilder Side.



From the Whitney for Governor campaign:

Rich Whitney for Governor 2010
Contact: Brandon Punke, Communications Director, 618-434-0046
Carbondale, IL- Green Party candidate for Governor Rich Whitney issued the following statement Friday in response to the recent Supreme Court ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission:
In a transparently political decision, a majority of the U.S. Supreme Court overturned its own recent precedent yesterday and paid tribute to the giant corporate interests that already wield tremendous power over our political process and political speech. Drawing upon a much older precedent – the legal fiction of corporate “personhood” that it created in 1886 – the Court determined that these contrived “rights” trump the public interest in having genuinely representative government.

The limitations on corporate influence currently in place were already inadequate to prevent corporate and banking interests from dominating government at both the federal and state levels. These forces have already undermined the democratic process to the point where our government has become a plutocracy – rule by the wealthy – rather than something that could still be called a democratic republic. Increasingly, it has also become a “kleptocracy,” as these same interests have used their control over government to privatize public functions and raid the public treasury.

Corporate and bank campaign contributions already direct the actions of the Democratic and Republican parties, their candidates and officeholders. An army of highly paid corporate-and-bank-sponsored lobbyists reinforce the message, peddling their influence through the power to give or take away campaign cash. As Will Rogers used to say, “We have the best politicians money can buy.” The American people recently witnessed a crystal clear example of how the system “works” – works to ensure that corporate interests are served, that is – in the recent fiasco known as health-care reform. 

On top of all that, five corporate conglomerates control the vast majority of what most Americans consume as “news.” But yesterday the Supreme Court declared that that wasn’t enough. Now it has reopened the floodgates for corporations to promote their policy agenda and their chosen candidates – and to trash any candidate that crosses them – with no holds barred. 

But with every problem comes an opportunity. In the face of this devastating threat to what remains of democratic process in our country, I, along with my fellow Green Party candidates, now present an even clearer choice to voters. We remain the Party that stands on principle, the Party that does not accept, and whose candidates do not accept, corporate money. We are the Party that is serious about establishing government of, by and for the people. 

Our commitment to this goal goes beyond our commitment to swearing off corporate money, however. We stand for a direct challenge to corporate domination of not only our political system, but our economic system. As the Illinois Green Party platform states:
    By definition, a “corporation” is a legal fiction – a business entity or organization that . . . has been given “rights” comparable to human beings, yet does not have the same legal responsibilities as human beings. . . .
    While originally subject to strict regulation under state charter, corporations over the years have eroded these social controls and now exert much more control over governments than governments exert control over them. Even in his day, Abraham Lincoln warned:

    I see in the near future a crisis approaching that unnerves me and causes me to tremble for the safety of my country . . . . corporations have been enthroned and an era of corruption in high places will follow, and the money power of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until all wealth is aggregated in a few hands and the Republic is destroyed.
        Letter to William Elkin, Nov. 21, 1864

But just as the corporation was a creation of human beings, acting through their government, human beings, acting through government, can rein in the power of corporations – or even abolish them if they so choose. And herein lies the answer to the challenge posed yesterday by the Supreme Court. The Court has spoken: Corporations have First Amendment rights, and for the time being, we the people are stuck with the consequences of that decision. But we the people always have the power to decide whether a corporation is chartered or licensed in the first place, and under what conditions. We also retain the power to decide which corporations are allowed to do business in our state, and under what conditions. 

Again quoting our platform, the Green Party not only favors “alternatives to the corporate model,” such as worker-owned enterprises and workers’ cooperatives. It also favors reinvigorating our corporate chartering laws, such that corporations will be permitted to operate “only if they minimize or eliminate their environmental harm, engage in no socially destructive behavior, pay a living wage to their employees, do not abandon communities that have benefitted them, and [meet] other publicly beneficial criteria.” 

To this we can add a new requirement: that corporations shall not be chartered, nor foreign corporations allowed to do business in Illinois, unless they agree not to engage in speech aimed at influencing its officeholders or candidates, or provide monetary support to any organization that aims to influence officeholders or candidates. 

The Supreme Court trumped the public interest by declaring that corporations have rights of free speech. But through the Green Party, the people can trump the Supreme Court, by declaring that no corporation has the right to exist in the first place unless it agrees not to use its First Amendment rights to influence elections and political decision-making. 

If elected Governor of Illinois, I will do everything in my power to completely bar corporate and banking influence over government.
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Green Party issues press release about Supreme Court ruling

In a press release the Green Party of the United States addresses the recent Supreme Court ruling in Citizens United v FEC.

Greens predict that the decision, which strikes down laws limiting the use of corporate money for campaign advertising, will have extremely damaging consequences for democratic elections and for the existence of the US as a republic. The Green Party accepts no corporate funding and advocates clean elections, free of the money and influence of corporations.

The Green Party is urging the adoption of a Constitutional Amendment which will affirm that “We the people” means humans, not corporations.

The full press release is available at the above link or below the fold.

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I Am Running For City Council

I have to apologize for not posting as often here lately, and I am now offering my excuse. Having reported here on so many candidates and campaigns, I find myself now on the other end!

I am running for City Council in Oshkosh, Wisconsin this spring. I am running for local office because I feel that I can help develop a future focused course for the city that incorporates sustainable practices, local economies, increased energy efficiency, decreased energy consumption, and greater stewardship of the two large lakes that border the city to the East and West and the Fox River that connects them.

About the election

It is a non-partisan election. There are 7 candidates vying for 3 seats, all candidates appear on the same ballot, and there are no districts – the entire election is “at large”, i.e. the entire city casts up to three votes per voter. The February 16 primary narrows the field down to six candidates, and at the April 6 general election, the three candidates with the most votes win seats on the seven member Council.

Oshkosh has a population of 65,000. In 2009, 3,622 people voted in the primary (7.85% voter turn out), and 11,267 people voted in the general election (24.72% turnout).That year, Tony Palmeri running for re-election finished first and Bob Poeschl finished third on the ballot, putting two Greens on the Oshkosh Common Council. If I am elected, there will be three Greens on the seven member Council.

Sustainability is Key to the Future Viability of Local Communities

“Community Sustainability” means balancing our present needs with the ability of future generations to meet their needs. Sustainability is about *very* long-term planning. For Oshkosh, this means asking “what do we want to leave for our children and our grand-children?” and “what can we do now to ensure that our children and grandchildren can live satisfying lives in Oshkosh many years from now?” A community wide sustainability plan should be future focused – it should establish goals based on reducing energy consumption, reducing the amount of chemicals that are dumped into our landfills and waterways, preserving or improving the natural eco-system we live in, and ensuring equitable access to resources. As the Chair of the City of Oshkosh Sustainability Advisory Board, I believe that citywide sustainability efforts are extremely important to the long term viability of the city. I place a very high priority on making sure that the city implements a sustainability plan and sustainability measures when it comes to planning, development, housing, transportation, economic growth, public works, public health, parks, and natural resources.
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Rwanda’s 1994 genocide and 2010 election

In a story posted to Digital Journal California Green Ann Garrison writes about the 1994 genocide in Rwanda and the influence memories of that time will have on elections to be held in that nation in 2010.

U.S., UK, and their allies justify their military support of Rwanda with the genocide narrative that identifies Rwanda as the Israel of Africa and its Tutsi population as the Jews, who deserve special protection because they have suffered a holocaust. The hero of this narrative is Rwandan President Paul Kagame, described as the extraordinary leader who has led Rwandas in their rise from the ashes of genocide, to swear, like the Israelis, “Never again.”……To register and get a ballot line in Rwanda, a party must first convene, and the Democratic Green Party of Rwanda has now tried to convene five times, only to be met with bureaucratic obfuscation and, on October 30th, violence. Their members have been harassed and arrested.

The full text of the report is below the fold, but does not include links and photos at the original story. Continue Reading


Massachusetts Green-Rainbow Party: Brown victory reflects new power of break-away progressives, not a Republican surge

The Massachusetts Green-Rainbow Party has released a statement on the reasons for the Democratic Party’s loss of the US Senate seat formerly occupied by Ted Kennedy (from Green Mass Group, highly recommended reading for anyone interested in MA Green politics):

With the surprise victory of Scott Brown over Martha Coakley in Tuesday’s special Senate election, the conventional wisdom regarding the dominance of the Democratic Party in Obama-era Massachusetts has been shattered.  But in the scramble to understand what the voters said on Tuesday a fundamental lesson is being missed. This was a revolt of progressives against a hijacked Democratic Party – not a sudden conversion of Ted Kennedy supporters to Republican ranks.

The exit polls and the hard vote totals bear this out. Brown benefited from two very strong trends: first, a sizable number of Obama voters who were inspired by Obama’s progressive message in 2008 were not motivated to go to the polls. Secondly, a large block of voters who were disgusted by Obama’s acceptance of an industry-friendly health bill without a public option went to the polls and voted for Brown in protest.

Brown did a good job of motivating his smaller conservative base but this alone would not have been enough.  He would have lost in a landslide if the progressive voters had felt that Coakley was on their side. The real story of this election is the rejection of a party that
has been hijacked by the special interests behind much of the crisis in health care – as well as the Wall Street meltdown, home foreclosures, climate change, and the expanding war in Afghanistan. The emergence of this break-away values-driven movement will change the face of politics in Massachusetts.

Read the full article and discussion at Green Mass Group.


GP of Minnesota Winter Membership Meeting

Title: GP of Minnesota Winter Membership Meeting
Location: North Regional Library, 1315 Lowry Avenue Northeast, Minneapolis.
Link out: Click here
Description: The Green Party of MN Winter Membership Meeting will be held at North Regional Library, 1315 Lowry Avenue Northeast, Minneapolis.

All members are welcome to attend.

We\’ll have a very short business meeting, then we\’ll hear about energy storage technology and how it can help us transition to clean energy solutions, and also about the foreclosure crisis and what is happening with it.
Start Time: 12:00
Date: 2010-02-13
End Time: 16:00


Green Party of Texas Runs 21

The Green Party of Texas has announced that 21 Greens have filed to run for office in 2010, from Governor to four candidates for County Clerk. This looks like a great field, and a great year to do it.

If the GP of Texas can get the signatures to qualify for the ballot, a 5% showing in a state wide race would secure ballot access for the Green Party in Texas through 2012.

As reported at Ballot Access News, Texas Democrats are not running a candidate for State Comptroller.  This may make it very likely that the Libertarians, Greens, and Constitution Party candidates for that office can surpass that 5% mark to secure ballot access in Texas through 2012.  The Green Party candidate for State Comptroller is Edward Lindsay.

The full press release from the Green Party of Texas is below.
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Laura Wells announces for Green nomination for 2010 California governor’s race

On Jan. 16th, the Sacramento Bee ran an article entitled “Green Party’s California gubernatorial candidate steps up”:

With approval ratings at record lows for Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and the Democratic-dominated Legislature, it wouldn’t be a surprise if Californians started looking outside the two major parties for a savior.

Green Party gubernatorial candidate Laura Wells would like to be that alternative. The Oakland woman toured Sacramento this week to announce her candidacy while preaching her message of budget reform and higher taxes on wealthy Californians.

You can read the full article at the Sacramento Bee.