Statehood Green Party activist David Schwartzman testified in support of the “Statehood or Else” Signature Campaign Resolution on Tuesday. The campaign seeks to gather one million signatures backing statehood to be delivered to the White House, every member of the Senate and House, and party leaders at the 2016 Democratic and Republican national conventions.
Schwartzman said, “As the local affiliate of the Green Party of the United States which has long supported D.C. statehood in its platform, unlike the national Democratic and Republican parties, we are committed to energize our national party and Global Greens, to support D.C. statehood nationally and internationally. … But what is the ‘else’ in ‘Statehood or Else’? The only alternative is a commitment to create mass resistance to our present neo-colonial status, including civil disobedience on a scale not yet witnessed in the District of Columbia. But the challenge is to make this resistance possible by raising the morale of our residents in a city with very high income inequality, income insecurity and poverty, while simultaneously improving the quality of life for our residents by addressing these realities of everyday life.”
Residents of the District of Columbia do not have representation in the Senate or House. Even though D.C. residents pay the highest overall rate of federal income taxes in the nation, and even though more people live in D.C. than in Vermont or Wyoming, and even though more than 200,000 have fought in America’s wars and 5,000 never came home, they have no voice in the federal legislature. D.C. does have a delegate to the House who has limited rights in committees, but no guaranteed vote on legislation. In the Senate, D.C. has no representation at all.