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Rwandan Green Party issues interim platform

The Democratic Green Party of Rwanda has issued it’s interim platform.

DEMOCRATIC GREEN PARTY OF RWANDA

INTERIM POLITICAL PLATFORM

Preamble

We, the founding members of the Democratic Green Party of Rwanda require that our Government operate within limits set forth in the Constitution of the Republic of Rwanda.

As Green Democrats, we believe :

1. Non-violence and peaceful means of conflict resolution are the best and only solution to national problems.

2. Social Justice and equal opportunity while focusing on personal and social responsibility guarantees a better future.

3. Participatory Democracy is rooted in community practice at the grassroots level. Citizens have the power and Government exists to serve them.

4. Unity and reconciliation of Rwandans should be promoted and ethnic politics be guarded against.

5. Balancing the interests of a regulated market economy and community-based economics with effective care for the ecosystems will lead to Ecological and Economic Sustainability.

6. Government must take special care to protect and defend the rights of the innocent and defenseless members of our society.

7. Government must practice fiscal responsibility, limit taxation and control spending.

8. No individual has special rights above another individual.

9. Government exists to protect and ensure the unalienable rights of the people, which include the right to life, liberty, peaceful assembly, expression, worship and the pursuit of happiness.

10. Our unalienable rights are granted to us by God.

Much more detail below the fold. Continue Reading

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Reparations: “No mere paycheck, but the whole enchilada”

The National Committee of the Green Party of the United States is currently debating proposed revisions to the national Party Platform. Among the changes under consideration is a proposal to strengthen existing langauge in support of Reparations which already exists in the document:

http://green.gpus.org/cgi-bin/vote/propdetail?pid=510

In response to a Delegate speaking in opposition to Proposal #510 fearing that “the tax burden will fall upon the shoulders” of those who did not benefit from slavery, Hugh Esco from the Georgia Green Party recently offered the following remarks to the National Committee. They are reprinted here by permission.

Dear Delegates:

Pigeon-holing reparations as a mere paycheck is a tactic of the banksters who’s interests are most directly threatened by the movement for Reparations and our unity on this issue.

A careful reading of #510 shows that it puts us on record for no new taxes, that it calls for a shift in existing spending:

“to end the criminalization of the Black and Brown
communities, to eradicate poverty, to invest in education,
health care and the restoration and protection of human
rights,”

and that the only new revenue source advocated in this language is with this language:

“We support the creation of a claim of action and a right
to recover inherited wealth and other profits accumulated
from the slave trade for the benefit of a reparations
trust fund.”

This language clearly says that the banks, insurance companies, railroads and related concerns which profited from the institution of slavery owe monetary restitution for that stolen labor and those stolen lives. The text of the amendment itself makes clear that we as a nation owe a debt as well. But Reparations is no mere paycheck. It is about repairing the fabric torn asunder by the crimes against humanity on which this nation’s wealth has been built.

At root of the myriad issues we face with respect to our nation’s institutional relationship with its Black, Brown, Native and Asian communities is our nation’s ongoing commitment to the ideology of white supremacy. Supporting Reparations for the descendants of enslaved Africans goes to the very heart of this ideologcal commitment built into the fabric of our governing institutions, and prepares the ground for future work to respect the Treaty rights of Native nations within our border, including those long violated tenets from the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo which made real the Gadsden Purchase and ended our 19th Century imperial war to extend the institution of slavery into Mexico.
Continue Reading

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Green Party National Committee Begins Voting on Platform Updates

Following the failed update of the Green Party (US) Platform in 2008, the Green Party National Committee adopted new rules allowing for mid-term updates to the National Party Platform by the National Committee beginning in 2010. The first batch of 14 Amendments to the platform (of a total of around 80) have been voted on, with 8 approved and 6 rejected. The first batch of Amendments were related to Chapter 1, “Democracy”, which will now be renamed “Grassroots Democracy” (Prop 463).

High Voter Turnout

Voting on the first week of platform amendments has been extremely high. On the first 14 amendments between 130-142 delegates from 44 affiliated state parties and caucuses voted on platform amendments. Never in (at least) the last 20 months have 44 affiliated state parties and caucuses submitted votes on a single proposal, and only 3 times since 2008 have over 130 delegates voted on a single proposal. (The three proposals eliciting this level of turn out dealt with the Fiscal Policy, approving the budget, and a Death Penalty resolution aimed at the Green Party of Mexico…)

Adopted

Platform Amendments according to the rules require a 2/3 approval to pass.

Platform Amendments that passed this first week included:
Renaming Chapter 1 “Grassroots Democracy” (Prop 463)
Updating the section “Free Speech and Media Reform: For a Better Democracy” (Prop 467)
Updating the section “Education: a Good Education for All Students” (Prop 468)
Updating the section “Foreign Policy: A Real Road to Peace in the Middle East” (Prop 471)
Updating the section “Foreign Policy: Human Rights” (Prop 472)
Updating the section: “Foreign Policy: Trade (Prop 474)
Updating the section: “Foreign Policy: Womens’ Rights” (Prop 476)
Adding the section: “Demilitarization of Space” (Prop 477)

Israel-Palestine Conflict

Of these amendments, probably the most contentious in terms of online debate among delegates both before and after the voting was Prop 471, which dealt specifically with Israel and Palestine. Prop 471 sought to put into the platform the language of a 2005 Resolution calling for “Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions” (BDS) against Israel, ending the occupation of Palestine, and essentially calling for a “single state solution” to the Israeli-Palestine conflict under a democratic and secular state.

The lobbying among National Committee Delegates both for and against adopting this platform amendment was intense, with terms like “Zionism” and “Islamophobia” tossed around like a salad. The amendment eventually passed 95-36, with 11 abstentions, a strong majority for passage.

The next batch of Amendments are currently being voted on, most from the chapter on Social Justice.

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Platform Amendments Proposed

The GPUS Platform Committee (PlatCom) is working now to prepare a 2008 Platform that will be voted on at the Green Party’s 2008 Convention in Chicago, July 10-12. The Committee is considering amendments to almost every section of the platform.

The wording of our platform is very significant. Our platform is the introduction many people have to our party. I have recruited a number of people to the Green Party by giving them copies of the platform. For this purpose, I have found the booklet with the entire 2000 platform to be a more effective handout than the smaller summary booklet of the 2004 platform. No one to whom I have given the 2004 booklet has responded with the enthusiasm I regularly received when I handed out the 2000 platform.

I am concerned about the amendments being considered for this year’s platform. The amendments currently proposed for the Democracy Section of the platform give a flavor of type of amendments being considered. The proposed amendment is significantly shorter and focuses on specific policy suggestions. The general, introductory language used in the 2004 Platform has been removed. Having a shorter version of the platform is a good idea, because it makes reproducing the entire platform less expensive, but I don’t think we should remove inspirational general statements about our goals from our platform. To do so, would remove the most powerful sections of the platform.

An index of all the amendments proposed is at the PlatCom web page