Ralph Nader: Revitalizing the AFL-CIO

When Harry Kelber, the 96 year old relentless labor advocate and editor of The Labor Educator speaks, the leadership of the AFL-CIO should listen. A vigorous champion for the rights of rank-and-file workers vis-a-vis their corporate employers and their labor union leaders, Kelber has recently completed a series of five articles titled
The reaction: Silence from union leaders, their union publications and at union gatherings.

Kelber, operating out of a tiny New York City office, knows more firsthand about unions, their historical triumphs, their contemporary deficiencies and their potential for tens of millions of working families than almost anyone in the country. Over the decades, no one has written more widely distributed pamphlets that cogently and concisely explain unions, the labor movement and anti-worker restrictive laws like the Taft-Hartley Act of 1947, than this honest, sensitive worker campaigner.

At a perilous period for both working and unemployed Americans, facing deep recession, corporate abandonment to China and other repressive regimes, and the Republicans’ virulent assault on livelihoods and labor rights, Kelber believes that AFL-CIO should be on the ramparts. Instead, he sees it as moribund, hunkering down, with control of the power and purse concentrated in the hands of the silent and Sphinx-like Federation officers and the tiny clique of bureaucrats who run the show.

“In the AFL-CIO, the rank-and-file have no voice in electing their officials, because only the candidates of the Old Guard can be on the ballot,” he writes.

Certainly, the AFL-CIO is not reflecting the old adage that when “the going gets tough, the tough get going.” They recoil from any public criticism of Barack Obama, who disregards or and humiliates them by his actions.

Mr. Obama promised labor in 2008 to press for a $9.50 federal minimum wage by 2011, and the Employee Free Choice Act, especially “card check,” and then forgot about both commitments. He has not spoken out and vigorously fought for an adequate OSHA inspection and enforcement budget to diminish the tens of thousands of workplace related fatalities every year. He’s been too busy managing drones, Kandahar and outlying regions of the quagmire of our undeclared wars.

Nothing Obama does seems to publically rile the AFL-CIO. In February, he crossed Lafayette Square from the White House with great fanfare to visit his pro-Republican opponents at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce yet declined to go around the corner and visit the AFL-CIO headquarters. Where was the public objection from the House of Labor?

He prevents his vice-president from responding to the Wisconsin state federation of Labor’s invitation to address the biggest rally in Madison, Wisconsin protesting labor’s arch enemy, Republican Governor Scott Walker. Biden, a self-styled “union guy”, wanted to go but the political operatives in the White House said NO. Still no public objection from Labor’s leaders.

Kelber describes the lack of a strong, funded national and international strategy to deal with the growing gap between rich and poor and the expanding shipment of both blue and white collar jobs abroad. He laments AFL-CIO’s failure to develop a “working relation with the new global unions that are challenging transnational corporations and winning some agreements.” He also notes that the AFL’s top leaders “have minimal influence at world labor conferences. They rarely attend them, even when they are invited.”

Pushing for higher wages and worker rights in the poorer developing countries, including the adoption of International Labor Organization (ILO) standards has great merit and is also a constructive way to also protect American workers.

What is restraining AFL-CIO’s President Richard Trumka? A former coal miner, then a coal miners’ lawyer, and president of the United Mine Workers, Mr. Trumka has been at the Federation for over a decade. He knows the politics of the AFL-CIO, makes great speeches about callous corporatism around the country, and has a useful website detailing corporate greed.

Read the whole entry here:http://www.nader.org/index.php?/archives/2278-Revitalizing-the-AFL-CIO.html


Challenging Presidential Leadership

Earlier this year, a group of environmental organization leaders sent a letter to both President Obama and China’s President Hu. It highlighted the current state of climate change inaction and concluded with the following:
Nature tells us time is running out, but we can’t see the clock. As we blindly reach critical climate “tipping points,” things promise to get worse, much worse. Central to the solution is a wartime-like mobilization by the governments of the United States and China to cut carbon emissions 80 percent (based on 2006 levels) by 2020. This is required if we are to reduce carbon emissions to 350 parts per million in the atmosphere, the level top climate scientists say is safe for humanity.

There is no more important measure of presidential leadership than living up to the expectations of our children to protect their future. Every day our respective governments fail to act, their future grows more perilous. We await your response.

I firmly believe that the same criteria of leadership needs to be applied to the selection of a Green Party presidential candidate. I will not vote for any candidate who does not make this the central issue. For the sake of our our children, we must find a voice who will speak for the future.

Taken from:http://cagreening.blogspot.com/


Green Party supports protesters opposing massive ‘Via Verde’ gas pipeline through Puerto Rico

A press release from the Green Party of the United States:

Puerto Rico’s colonial status must be replaced with self-determination and independence, say Greens

Green Party Speakers Bureau: Greens available to speak on ecological sustainability and global warming:http://www.gp.org/speakers/speakers-ecological.php

WASHINGTON, DC — The Green Party has joined Puerto Ricans protesting a proposal by Gov. Luis Fortuño to construct a huge natural gas pipeline that would endanger Puerto Rico’s communities and ecosystems. Green Party leaders said that the problem of Puerto Rico’s high electric bills and dirty air from burning oil must be resolved through alternative energy instead of burning another fossil fuel.

“Everything about the project is wrong, beginning with Gov. Fortuño’s Orwellian name for the pipeline — the ‘Green Way’ [Via Verde]. A pipeline that threatens people living nearby and damages green mountains is not green, by any stretch. The top contract for the $450 million pipeline has been awarded to a company with no experience constructing pipelines. It’s a corrupt deal to benefit a favored corporation,” said Rosa Clemente, the Green Party’s 2008 nominee for Vice President. Ms. Clemente is Puerto Rican.

The contractor, Gas Natural de Puerto Rico, is also seeking tax exemption, while the bill for the pipeline will be covered by Puerto Rican taxpayers (“Pide exención contributiva al Gobierno,” Perla del Sur, http://www.periodicolaperla.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=2585:pide-exencion-contributiva-futuro-usuario-del-gasoducto-del-norte&catid=81:locales&Itemid=198).

For more information on the serious risks of the pipeline, see “Casa Pueblo: scientific paper on the pipeline,” RedBetances.com (in Spanish) (http://www.redbetances.com/component/content/article/51-en-portada/390-casa-pueblo-html).

“Puerto Rico’s colonial status makes it especially vulnerable to the kind of corporate influence, official corruption, and disregard for the well-being of residents and the environment in evidence now with the pipeline proposal. Puerto Ricans were also forced to accept weapons testing by the US Navy on the island of Vieques, until widespread protests shut down the firing range in 2003. The Green Party supports the efforts of Puerto Ricans to stop this misnamed gas pipeline, and we support self-determination, independence, and democratic sovereignty for the people of Puerto Rico,” said Michael Canney, Florida Green and member of the Green Party’s International Committee (http://www.gp.org/committees/intl).

Green Party leaders said that the Puerto Rico’s energy problems must be solved by diversifying energy sources (excluding nuclear power), aggressive energy conservation and efficiency, and finding ways to reduce the island’s reliance on expensive fossil fuels. The top priority, in Puerto Rico and throughout the world, must be protection of the health of humans, other living beings, and ecosystems and action to curb the advance of global warming.

On May 9, the Jacksonville office of the US Army Corps of Engineers, in an unprecedented move, removed all documents related to the permitting process for the Via Verde pipeline from the Corps’ San Juan office and transferred jurisdiction to Florida. (http://www.facebook.com/note.php?created&&note_id=118899578193054&id=109915969091415) This decision leaves the San Juan Office, which has spent six months evaluating the project, without jurisdiction. It also distances the people of Puerto Rico from the permitting process. Greens urge the US Army Corps of Engineers to return jurisdiction to its Puerto Rico office, and to decline approval for the project.

“While Gov. Fortuño is promoting Via Verde, President Obama is calling for expanded domestic drilling for oil, with more drilling in Alaska, Atlantic coastal areas, and the Gulf of Mexico. The problem isn’t just dependence on foreign oil, as the President seems to think. The problem is the US’s addiction to fossil fuels regardless of their source, with a US energy policy driven by corporate greed rather than the public interest. Increased drilling and new pipelines are insane in the context of climate change and last year’s BP oil spill disaster,” said Hector Lopez, Connecticut Green and member of the International Committee.


Green Party of the United States http://www.gp.org
202-319-7191, 866-41GREEN


Green Party grows locally in the San Fernando Valley

The San Fernando Valley Green Party has seen a recent surge of outreach, networking, and coalition building; this is how a grassroots movement is built. Our principles of social justice, environmental responsibility, grassroots democracy, and non-violence will prove to be the way of the future if we are to build the party in the next few years, and I am confident people will not give up to reach an attainable goal of informing our fellow citizens about the importance of the Green Party and the voting power we all hold. So with that, here are some of the thing that we have been working on…

-The San Fernando Valley Green Party held a successful candidates forum on February 21st on the eve of the Los Angeles city elections. SFV Green Party leader Michael Mccue hosted the forum and led the proceedings throughout the event. The real winners here were the people who attended, who became informed about issues and their candidate’s stances concerning how the city of Los Angeles is being managed and (mis)managed.

-Green Party activist Eugene Hernandez gives pep talks to local Mission college students, informing them about the Green Party and encouraging students to consider the Green Party as their alternative for the future. Eugene was allowed to speak inside various classrooms, which allowed him to reach a minimum of 200 students who heard his Green Party war-cry. Students, being open to this new and vibrant party, gave him their email in order to become volunteers for the party. Constant tabling every week, in addition, gave him the chance to register people as Greens.

-San Fernando Valley Green Party table 3 booths around the valley on St. Patrick’s Day, with all participating members commencing at a St.Paddy’s day-centered event in Canoga Park.

– 22 year old Green Party activist Edy Alvarez begins campaign on mutiple fronts. The campaign to have Green Party chapters rename their Facebook pages to include “Partido Verde” in their title. Networking at Los Angeles Valley college with tabling, registering, fundraising, and speaking to students about the Green Party. The campaign to have longtime Greens re-consider running this election cycle, as the only way to build the movement as the German and Canadian Greens have is to have people running for all districts. This includes encouraging independents who like Green Party politics but have never considered running. The creation of 3 new facebook pages, with the goals of informing Democrats, Republicans, and Independents as to why they should consider the Green Party as their new party. Encouraging new changes to be made at GreenPartyWatch.

-San Fernando Valley Green Party activist Robin Gilbert leads local petitioning on the “Yes on H” campaign for clean and honest Los Angeles city elections. With Los Angeles voters on board, the measure is approved, leading the way for cleaner and honest elections.

-San Fernando Valley Green Party members and California Libertarians take part of mutual softball game in hopes of working together in the future on key issues of agreement. The way forward is to work with activists, third party activists, who wish to see the elelctions open up to third parties. The first step is to hold our own debates and hold the Democrats and Republicans accountable. The process has already begun to hold our own debates at CSUN.

-Tia Chucha’s-sponsored event at Mission college gives SFV Greens tabling booth, increasing awareness for the Green Party.

-San Fernando Valley Green Party sets up booth at Worldfest on May 22nd, with Green Party California Gubernatorial candidate Laura Wells, former Green Party Santa Monica Mayor Mike Feinstein, and Green Party activists speaking to event goers about the future and how the Green Party is the imperative if we are to have a sustainable world to hand off to our future generations. With people genuinely wanting a better world, they changed their registration and were welcomed into the Green Party.

-Talks for systemic networking and participation from Valley registered Green Party members who perhaps have never participated in local membership-building, but might be willing to become active. This includes fundraising, tabling, merchandise, internet, and running in local races.

Well, to all those that managed to read through, I could have written more, but I could go on and on. I hope this inspires you to stay active in the Green Party as we have seen the Green Party grow immensely around the world in the last ten years, and the change we want to see will begin if we become active. Let’s do it, together! Here’s for the Green Party in 2012!

If you or someone you know is interested in the Los Angeles Green Party, leave a message here with your email and I will gladly add you to our Facebook and email list.


Green Party of New York State rejects fusion, chooses peace sign as ballot symbol

Press release from the Green Party of New York:

New York’s Green Party state committee adopted rules over the weekend that affirmed the party will run its own candidates on its own Green Party line. Meeting in a Rensselaer church on Saturday, May 21, the Greens ruled out running fusion candidates who appear on the ballot lines of more than one party.

The practice of fusion or cross-endorsement is common among the other five ballot qualified parties – Democratic, Republican, Conservative, Working Families, Independence. The three minor parties usually nominate major party candidates to run on their ballot lines.

The Green Party also voted to make the peace sign their official ballot symbol to highlight their status as the only peace party on the ballot. The Greens have actively organized against the ongoing wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Libya and call for a 50 to 75% cut in the military budget. Nonviolence is a core principle of the Green Party and was adopted as part of the party’s official principles, along with grassroots democracy, ecology and social and economic justice.

The Green Party’s rules also bar its candidates from accepting campaign contributions from for-profit businesses and their trade associations and PACs (political action committees).

“We intend to elect Greens with votes on the Green Party line. We are not another ballot line for the other parties. We are different. We are the alternative. We are challenging the two major corporate-funded parties as well as the minor parties that are satellites of the corporate parties through the practice of fusion,” said Howie Hawkins, a co-chair of the Green Party and its 2010 gubernatorial candidate.

“We believe our political independence builds more power to advance our policies than helping to elect the candidates of other parties. Running our own candidates makes the candidates of the other parties compete for Green votes. That gives us far more power to set the policy agenda than giving our votes away to other parties through fusion,” Hawkins added.

“Minor party advocates of fusion say voting for a major party candidate on their line shows support for their minor party’s policies. We believe the real message to the major party candidates is that the minor party’s members’ votes can be taken for granted because they will vote for them anyway on another line,” said Peter LaVenia, the other co-chair of the party.

“Minor party advocates of fusion also say that they cross-endorse the lesser evil of the major party candidates in order to stop the candidate they most fear. We have three answers for that. First, we intend to become a major party that elects its own candidates on its own line,” LaVenia said.

“Second, minor parties cross-endorsing lesser evils advance the lesser evil’s platform, not their own. Third, if minor parties are worried about how winner-take-all, single-member-district elections encourage voters to vote for lesser evils rather than their first choice, we want to work with them for a real solution to that problem: a system of proportional representation,” LaVenia said.

LaVenia explained that “under proportional representation, every party gets representation in legislative bodies in proportion to the vote they receive. Every vote counts toward election of the candidates of one’s preferred party. No votes are wasted on losers. This system is practiced by most democracies around the world and it results in higher voter turnouts and more women and more minorities, political as well as ethnic, being elected to legislatures.”

For single-member executive offices, LaVenia added, instant runoff voting where voters rank their choices in order of preference is a system that eliminates the incentives for lesser evil voting while insuring that the most preferred candidate is elected.

The Green Party’s rules do allow for fusion among independent progressive candidates and parties. The rules allow independent candidates who are not enrolled in any party to receive the Green Party nomination. The Green rules also permit fusion with other parties that share policy goals and political independence from the corporate parties and their fusion satellite parties. Such candidates, who would not be from any of the current parties with a ballot line in New York State through 2014, could receive the Green Party nomination and put their own line on the ballot by independent nominating petition.

The Green Party established themselves as a ballot line party in New York State when its gubernatorial ticket of Howie Hawkins for Governor and Gloria Mattera for Lt. Governor received nearly 60,000 votes in 2010. Under New York’s election law, parties need at least 50,000 votes for the gubernatorial ticket secure a ballot line for the next four years.

Since receiving the ballot line, Greens have run in three elections. Alex White received 9 percent of the vote in a three-way special election for Mayor of Rochester on March 29. Jason West, a Green Party member running on the village party Cooperative line, recaptured his position on May 3 as Mayor of New Paltz after a four years out of office. Ian Murphy, who received national attention for posing as Tea Party funder David Koch in a phone call to Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, was the Green Party candidate in the special election of May 24 for the 26th congressional district.


Two Green Party victories- In the UK and in Germany


Green Party takes control of Brighton and Hove

Brighton and Hove City Council has become the first local authority in the country to be run by the Green Party

The Green Party now has 23 seats on the council, while the Conservatives, who are now the official opposition have 18 seats, and Labour have 13.



…German Green celebrate as they pass Merkel’s CDU in German State elections

…The Greens surged from 6% to 22.5%, who are now in a coalition with the Social Democrats. The Social Democrats and the Greens handed another painful defeat to German’s chancellor.



“Dear Democrats: Think Green Party”

So I have concluded that I will go ahead and make the following three facebook pages.

“Dear Democrats: Think Green Party”
“Dear Republicans:Think Green Party”
“Dear Independents: Think Green Party”

My only concern is that I would like some people to help me be facilitators of the page. These pages could possibly become huge with lots of traffic, but until that time, I would like 2 people to help me facilitate the pages. Reply with your email if you are interested in helping. Here’s your chance to show the world what the Green Party is about!  Thanks!

Green Party 2012


We need the creation of Facebook pages to attract Democrats, Republicans, and Independents

The Green Party has not been able to appeal to Americans at large, plain and simple. The spoiler argument, wasting your vote, The Green Party who, What the hell is the Green Party, are the Green Party environmental freaks, does the Green Party have elected members, can I purchase any Green Party merchandise, what is their platform, etc. etc. You guys get the idea. That’s why I propose the following: the creation of 3 brand new Facebook pages to be headed by Green Party members who happen to have a little extra time on their hands. This is what I would ideally like to name the pages…

“Democrats for the Green Party”
“Republicans for the Green Party”
“Independents for the Green Party”

I really believe this idea could take off because we could present the Green Party platform to up to 500 million facebook users. Just think of all the exposure and possibilities. The Democrats and Republicans have been ripping apart the Green Party for too long, so we are going to push back with the power of the written word! Now is the time guys! Don’t wait. How much longer are we going to sit around and do nothing?


Cornel West and Cynthia Mckinney for the Green Party Presidential nomination in 2012?

Cornel West: ‘We’ve got to think seriously of third-party candidates, third formations, third parties’

From Chris Hedges’ column this week at Truthdig:

“We have got to attempt to tell the truth, and that truth is painful,” [Professor Cornel West] says. “It is a truth that is against the thick lies of the mainstream. In telling that truth we become so maladjusted to the prevailing injustice that the Democratic Party, more and more, is not just milquetoast and spineless, as it was before, but thoroughly complicitous with some of the worst things in the American empire. I don’t think in good conscience I could tell anybody to vote for Obama. If it turns out in the end that we have a crypto-fascist movement and the only thing standing between us and fascism is Barack Obama, then we have to put our foot on the brake. But we’ve got to think seriously of third-party candidates, third formations, third parties.”


More donors needed for the Green Party!!!

We need to hold the Green Party of California accountable in raising more money! Here, a concerned Facebook user asks why the Green Party does not require it’s registered members for monthly donations…(Some of the numbers are not exact, but hey, it gets the conversation going)

Someone asked me to explain what I meant by how small membership donations by the Green Party could result in more effective third party runs. So here it is:

This all began when I outlined something called the 5/25 plan which I thought the Green Party, or any other ambitious third party, should adopt. Your goal shouldn’t be too ambitious or based on something approaching the Rapture. (“People will just realize that the Green Party is right and the voters will be swept up into the sky and onward resulting in Green Party victory!”) I do think that the Rapture strategy is the operational strategy for the Green Party which is probably why they weren’t able to mount a very effective challenge against Alvin Greene, of all people.

But to not get too far off track, the 5/25 plan simply means walking before running. Let’s see if you can raise 35 million dollars to contest 5 senate seats and 25 house seats. From online sources I estimated that there were at least 300000 Americans who identified themselves as Green Party members. If all those Green Party members gave 10 dollars a month, then that would amount to 3 million dollars a month or 36 million dollars a year. You need at least 2 million to contest a senate seat in the average state, about 200000 to contest a US house seat. Those are minimums. If you can find someone who spent less money and won a house and senate seat please point that out to me. Keep in mind that Meg Whitman spent over a 100 million and lost the Governor’s race.

Well what does this mean for California Greens? I’ve been told that there are an estimated 50000 Greens in California. Ask them to commit to 10 dollars a month. This would mean 500000 a month or 6 million a year. This means you can run real races in California. If you can’t give that amount, which I can give even when I’m poor as dirt, then you’re not committed to change. Or at least committed to 10 dollar a month change. I should also point out that once it became clear that you were running real campaigns–with ads and dirt cheap field canvasses–then you would probably get more traction from small donors outside the Green Party. With that kind of money you could seriously contest several house seats and I would take a look at other seats if they’re available. A green Attorney General would be nice for those of us who would long for the day when corporations and fat cats might actually have to abide by the Rule of Law.

California could lead the way. I guarantee that after two years of actually contesting elections you will be much more successful than the national Green Party and their apparent wishful thinking strategy where Green Party candidates win without money and just because they’re right. Who knows. They might even make the Californian strategy a national strategy.

See the original post here: http://mirroruniverse.blogspot.com/2011/05/theory-behind-green-party-membership.html