Recent Green Party candidate for New York City mayor Reverend Billy has been working with a coalition of activists to pressure JP Morgan Chase to stop financing mountaintop removal mining. Rev. Billy declared victory yesterday in an email to supporters:
JP Morgan Chase Backs Down on Mountaintop Removal!
Reverend Billy and activist-singers succeed in campaign!
Chase bank officials agreed at their annual shareholder meeting to stop underwriting the strip-mining called “Mountaintop Removal (MTR).” Less than two years ago, the bank managed a $690 million bond offering with the top MTR mining company, Massey Energy.
Most environmental orgs, including Rainforest Action Network (RAN) and the Sierra Club, joined citizens’ coalitions, including “Alliance for Appalachia” as well as activists willing to block gates and tree-sit – our friends at “Climate Ground Zero.” RAN pressured the bank from within, buying shares and agitating at annual meetings, including the most recent meeting on May 18, 2010.
In New York, we at the Life After Shopping Church sculpted “mountains in lobbies” in branch banks throughout the city. This is the practice of leaving little peaks of damaged West Virginia mountain soil in front of ATMs with information sheets that describe the impact of MTR.
Our YouTube video of activist-customers closing their accounts while informing bank officers of the cancer, asthma and heart ailments among those who live in the valleys below MTR operations was a hit on the Net. Read the rest of this entry »
The articles include pieces on Rev. Billy Talen, Green Party candidate for Mayor of New York City; the Arkansas Greens ballot access petition drive; difficulties in the California Green Party; IL Gubernatorial candidate Rich Whitney; and finally a piece about Ken Adler, and his race for US House of Representatives.
I went to New York City and all I got was this awesome picture of me and Rev Billy Talen on Election Night:
(image courtesy of j.bucher productions)
Reverend Billy Talen, Green Party candidate for NYC Mayor, has written an election day blog that’s well worth reading. Enjoy:
I feel closer to solving the riddle of activism in 2009. We’ve known how conservative the Democrat/Working Families and the Republican/Independence Parties are. It’s Coke and Pepsi, it’s McDonalds and Burger King. The two party system enforces a strict censorship. We had to experience first-hand the harsh silence of it.
Stewart seems to get the ethos of both the campaign and the Green Party.
A Green Party representative—Billy is running on the Green Party ticket—plops a golden-arches paper bag on the table in front of her. “I’m sorry if I’m offending anyone with the McDonald’s,” she says. “I was hungry.” Bringing McDonald’s to a Rev. Billy meeting—a convocation of the anti-corporate—is like bringing a BLT to a mosque.
“We’re all sinners,” a man shouts reassuringly from the other end of the room.
The article does not forget that Rev Billy is running an issues based campaign. From gentrification
“Gentrification is the absence of God,”
to Mayor Bloomberg and the City Council’s decision to ignore the voter passed limit of two terms.
“Just two terms,” he adds, “I promise.”
In a message to supporters, Green Party candidate for mayor of New York CityRev. Billy Talen writes that New York City is the nation’s biggest consumer of rain forest timber.
This Tuesday Oct 27th Reverend Billy joins with RainForest Relief, NYC Climate Action Group and Friends of Brad Will for a parade through Washington Square Park to draw attention to continued and unnecessary use of tropical rain forest timber for our benches and boardwalks.
The complete message is under the fold.
Read the rest of this entry »
Those of us who are working on the campaign have the goal not only of getting our candidate elected, but also of bringing attention to important issues which are not being addressed by the main candidate and his Democratic challenger. (I say there is only one main candidate because most polling shows Thompson about twenty points behind in support, and tens of millions of dollars behind in fundraising.)
In what I think is a very wise comment, Baron points out
And, more importantly, the argument of a “wasted vote” falls immediately by the wayside: if the victory of one candidate appears inevitable, then the election serves largely as a means by which to express preferences — and why express any preference other than your actual preferences?
In a message to supporters sent Tuesday, Reverend Billy Talen encouraged his supporters push forward, with two weeks to election day. The campaign’s latest video is below, and the text of his message is below the fold.
In New York City, city council races used to be considered over after the Democratic primary. But this year, Green Party candidates are breathing some life into previously stagnant local politics.
Lynne Serpe of Astoria has been making the news regularly for campaigning hard and out-fundraising the incumbent. One voter who attended a candidate forum called Serpe the “clear winner of the event” and added “I was impressed to hear about her prior experience working on clean and fair elections, especially when the incumbent voted to extend term limits.”
A blogger at the Daily Gotham, who is still bitter about Nader’s 2000 campaign, nonetheless admits that David Pechefsky would be better for Park Slope than the problematic incumbent: “Pechefsky, from what I can tell, fits the district perfectly in where he stands on issues. He is honest and up front and personable”. Pechefsky also took part in the Develop Don’t Destroy Brooklyn Walkathon, siding with a large number of residents who oppose undemocratic development. At a debate sponsored by the Brooklyn Paper, Pechefsky said he wouldn’t back a speaker who voted to overrule the voters’ decision on term limits, while the incumbent refused to take a clear position.
Walter Nestler of the Southeast Bronx has also made the news for out-fundraising the incumbent in his race. He has made improving environmental quality and getting city funding for local green jobs his main issues. When asked how the Bronx Green Party compares with the dominant Bronx Democratic Party, Nestler remarked, “Maybe the Green Party has no experience. No experience with indictments.”
Evergreen Chou of Flushing outlined his platform in a candidates forum at the Flushing library.
Rev Billy Talen, Green Party candidate for New York City Mayor, sent out this recap of the debate that wasn’t…
Three weeks to go to the election. Last night I interrupted Mike Bloomberg’s opening statement in the debate. We’re trying to poke through the $65 million TV screen that weighs down on us in Gotham City. My prayer for bravery was posted with you earlier yesterday, “…there is something powerful in a quiet voice when the words are whole.”
I warmed up my voice shouting in the street before they opened the El Museo del Barrio to those of us who had political connections or groundling tickets like me. The hour before the debate, on the edge of Central Park in the twilight, Savitri and I hosted a Coney Island sideshow – a shoe-tossing with an effigy of Mike Bloomberg. We had debated all week about throwing a shoe at him during the debate, or maybe even a light-weight not-injurious Chinese flat-heel, but lawyer friends explained assault charges and the likelihood of being shot before I could get my missile out of my hand.
I was stopped by cops as I walked from that human comedy into the stately Museo, but I had my ticket. We decided to dress me in the full costume and dare them to kick me out. The leader of the Campaign Finance Board, Amanda Konstam, approached with a “We’re glad to see you here Reverend!” …the dismay on her face betraying feelings of dread. Meanwhile, as I sat in my seat glowing in my suit and hair – the corrupt political class of New York City was preening and greeting all around me.
Read the rest of this entry »
At the NYC Mayoral Debate last night, the public were only allowed to hear from two candidates. Reverend Billy Talen, the Green Party candidate, took part in protests outside, before attending the function. Bloomberg got one sentence out before Rev Billy stood up and shouted out in a well heard “disruption” – caught at the beginning of this Youtube video.
At Independent Political Report, Kimberly Wilder has a great write up on the story with press coverage:
Billy Talen, an activist and performance artist who uses the name “Reverend Billy” is running for Mayor of New York City on the Green Party line. Reverend Billy and other third party candidates were excluded from the October 13th Mayoral debate. Reverend Billy attended, heckled, and was escorted out of the venue. A commenter at the NY Times site says that two supporters of the Party for Socialism and Liberation candidate Frances Villar were also thrown out. Reverend Billy received extensive press coverage, including: The NY Times; The Daily News; Gotham Schools and Ballot Access News.
Some press snips:
Thompson and Bloomberg spar over their education records in first mayoral debate
by Anna Phillips
“Nothing the candidates said during tonight’s mayoral debate was more surprising than the Rev. Billy Talen’s spirited heckling, but a few choice comments were made about the city’s schools and mayoral control…”
The New York Times:
Bloomberg and Thompson Spar in First Mayoral Debate
By Sewell Chan AND Michael Barbaro
A Heckler Interrupts [a Subheading of the article]
7:02 p.m. | Mr. Bloomberg’s opening statement was interrupted by a jeering heckler — later identified as the Rev. Billy Talen, a Green Party candidate for mayor — who shouted epithets attacking the mayor’s support of legislation last year extending term limits to allow himself to seek another term.
“Eight is enough” he shouted. “Mike, what are you doing here? We voted for term limits.”…
Also, on the NY Times blog, in the comment section, posted by reader “FrancesFan” was the following (thanks to Ballot Access News for the tip):
Also with Rev. Billy, two supporters of Frances Villar (the first woman of color on the ballot for mayor) were thrown out. The coverage of this debate and the 3rd party candidates in general have been so skewed. Stop ignoring the other candidates standing outside demanding their right to be part of the debate! Frances Villar for mayor of NYC!!
Mayor Bloomberg, Bill Thompson slug it out in first debate for Mayor of NYC
by Celeste Katz, Erin Einhorn and Adam Lisberg
[Note: The Daily News story includes a picture of Reverend Billy, dressed in his shocking blue suit with white collar, being dragged away by someone in a uniform.]
…”The debate went briefly awry during Bloomberg’s opening statement, when the Rev. Billy Talen, the Green Party’s mayoral candidate, jumped up from the audience and shouted at Bloomberg about term limits.”
The Village Voice (thanks KW) summed up the debate with the headline: “Bloomberg-Thompson Debate Blah Blah Blah Who Cares It’s Over We’re Fucked”. The VV said:
At least Green Party candidate Billy Talen heckled the Mayor from the audience: “What are you doing here, Mike? We voted for term limits!” In a statement Rev. Billy said, “The missing voice tonight was the voice of New York City’s neighborhoods, which Bloomberg and the Democrats have victimized in their lust for the bubble-based economies of tourism, chain stores and Wall Street…”
In a message today, the Reverend Billy Talen, who is running for Mayor of New York City on the Green Party line, had this to say about Barack Obama receiving the Nobel Peace Prize:
Now we have to change all our words around.
I never thought of Peace as a word that was moveable. All our words have been shifted by Consumerism and Militarism. Democracy is gone, America and Freedom are gone. Peace always stayed there in one place.
Peace patiently waited for us to notice the best things about ourselves. Peace always stayed with us. Peace was ignored by the governments and the powerful but it was still there – the monument that is made of the sky and the wind, our memories of a face and our loving touch. But now we have to change our words around. They have taken the word Peace and we’ll have to make up a new word, a secret signal.
Predator drones will be released tonight destroying the word we always depended on. The flying bomb will go out over the villages, sailing over the sleeping children and prayers and friends stopping for a laugh. The bombs will float and hesitate and change direction from computers in Florida and Missouri and the soldiers at the computers will know that Obama has been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. And so they will be consumers of a war that is now being marketed as a product named Peace.
So – it has come to this. War has finally captured Peace.
New York City politics have been a lot more lively this year thanks to Rev. Billy Talen’s campaign for mayor with the Green Party. Meanwhile, four hard-working Green candidates for NYC city council are hoping for a breakthrough in this overwhelmingly Democratic-voting city.
David Pechefsky, who spent twelve years working for the city council, is now running to represent District 39, Park Slope – Brooklyn. He has made a major issue out of reforming the city council so that the speaker doesn’t have all the power, as this short video explains nicely. To learn more about David Pechefsky and donate to his campaign, check out his website (donations to NYC candidates from residents of the 5 boroughs can be matched 6-1 by the city’s public funding program – so please help out NYC’s 5 excellent Green candidates!).
Evergreen Chou, a Green stalwart in Queens since the 1996 Nader campaign, is running to represent District 20, Flushing – Queens. Chou’s proposals include a requirement that 1/3 of new housing be allocated for low-income earners, a city survey of pollution-related conditions like asthma, new bike and pedestrian paths along Flushing’s waterfront, and posting the city budget online for greater transparency in how tax money is spent.
Lynne Serpe, an energy efficiency expert, community organizer and urban gardener, is running to represent District 22, Astoria – Queens. Her comprehensive platform focuses especially on the link between the environment and public health. Lynne Serpe is calling for sustainable development with thriving small businesses and green jobs; more public space, including community gardens and waterfront access for all; an improved transportation network; and energy-efficient, affordable housing. She recently penned an editorial for the New York Daily News calling for instant runoff voting in New York City.
Walter Nestler, a landscape architect who has served as an environmental watchdog on Community Board 9, is running to represent District 18 in the Southeast Bronx. He promises to fight the city’s habit of using the Southeast Bronx as a dumping ground for hazardous waste. Like Reverend Billy Talen, Nestler seeks to protect local businesses in a city that he sees as “becoming increasingly hostile towards” small business owners.
New York City – still the world’s leading example of strength through diversity – needs a strong Green Party to advance social and economic justice and sustainable development. With some innovative thinking, New York can lead the way to America’s future, but it is in mortal danger of succumbing to its worst demons – real estate speculation, disneyfication, and the Wall Street speculation that took down the global economy last year. By donating to Billy Talen, David Pechefsky, Evergreen Chou, Lynne Serpe, and Walter Nestler, you can help to turn the Big Apple Green.
(Pictured: L – Billy Talen and Lynne Serpe, R – Walter Nestler (L))
September 26, 2009
We’re flying home for a labor rally in front of Goldman Sachs as G-20 continues Friday afternoon. The last 24 hours in Pittsburgh leave me with a shudder. The miles of concrete and steel fencing, and the thousands of Robo-Cop imitators have come into all of us. We deal with the lock-down in Pittsburg with a mix of awe and comedy. And sadness: President Obama’s turn away from the leadership of peace has accelerated in these last days. He makes his graceful entrances, but he has disappeared into his 20 nations, throwing up hard walls as he retreats. Read the rest of this entry »