Tag Archives | Jill Stein

Sawant, Stein, and Post-2012 Left Strategy

With nearly 12,000 votes (a whopping 27% of the vote), the campaign of Socialist Alternative’s Kshama Sawant in Washington’s 43rd legislative district is a bright beacon of hope on the otherwise bleak horizon of the 2012 election for the American left, although you wouldn’t know it by reading the party-line and left-liberal news outlets. Both focus on praising/blasting the two major parties and take solace in a handful of progressive initiatives that passed in a few states while occasionally mourning the poor performance of third parties nationally.

The first presidential election since Occupy brings with it a few lessons that the left should take to heart concerning the long haul, short-term strategy, and sectarianism/left unity. Every experience, no matter how depressing, traumatic, or distasteful is an opportunity to learn and grow, and 2012 is no exception.

The Long View. The failure of voting for the Great Evil as a strategy to arrest Evil’s victorious march over the past 10 election cycles does not need to be reiterated here. Rest assured, President Obama will show his true colors soon when his tax cuts for the 1% expire again (they stopped being Bush’s tax cuts the moment Obama chose to extend them), giving him the opportunity to attempt a second drone strike on Social Security and/or other “entitlements” under the heady guise of a “Grand Bargain” (“kill list” would be more accurate). I can already hear liberals squirming, moaning, and making excuses for Obama’s Faustian bargain, just as they did when Bill Clinton razed the first rampart of the New Deal to the ground in 1996 when he ended welfare. Some things never change, no matter how long your long view is.

Voters who decided to reject seppukuas a lesser evil to beheading are understandably demoralized at the turnout for Jill Stein, the 2012 Green Party candidate, who came up far short of the 5% needed to secure $20 million in federal matching funds for 2016.

Party/Candidate 2000 2004 2008 2012
Democratic 50,999,897 (48.38%) 59,028,109 (48.27%) 69,456897 (52.92%) 60,674,557 (50%)
Republican 50,456,002 (47.87%) 62,028,285 (50.73%) 59,934,815 (45.66%) 57,836,867 (48%)
Nader 2,882,955 (2.74%) 463,647 (0.38%) 738,475 (0.56%)
Green Nader 119,862 (0.10%) 161,603 (0.12%) 408,568 (0.3%)
Peace and Freedom Nader 27,607 (0.02%) 49,508 (0%)
Justice Party 36,408 (0%)
Socialist 5,602 (0.00%) 10,822 (0.01%) 6,528 (0.00%) 3,924 (0.0%)
Socialist Workers 7,378 (0.01%) 11,119 (0.01%) 7,571 (0.00%) 3,509 (0%)
Workers World 4,795 (0.00%) 1,656 (0.00%)
Socialism and Liberation 6,808 (0.01%) 8,603 (0%)
Socialist Equality 1,857 (0.00%) 1,139 (0%)

A political machine that consistently gives parties of the 1% 99% of the vote and a party of the 99% 1% of the vote, without producing revolution, is an instrument unmatched anywhere in the world for maintaining the status quo. Until the left finds a way to break up, undermine, and successfully sabotage this machine, 1% rule in the United States will forever remain secure. This setup weathered the storms of the 1930s and the 1960s and emerged from both periods largely unscathed, with 1% rule firmly intact. Now that unions are on the endangered species list, our generation has been left with no institutional legacy or defensive position from which to successfully resist naked market forces and unchecked state power.

What does that have to do with Stein’s showing? She was up against this machine with little to no social/political forces behind her and almost zero name recognition of her own on a national scale. The Green Party’s support doubled compared to 2008 with Nader’s absence from the race, the activist resurgence sparked by Occupy, and Hurricane Sandy’s reminder that climate change is a serious problem, but doubling from 0.12% of the vote to 0.3% is a far cry from the 5.0% necessary to really begin to make a dent in the national political machine. The point here about the long haul is that it was totally unrealistic to expect Stein to do better than she did in the face of all of the above factors given that this was her first time on the national political stage. She was arrested repeatedly during the campaign and did not yield or bend a centimeter in the face of liberal hysteria about “the lesser evil.” In other words, she means business. The Green Party has come a long way from 2004 when David Cobb exploited the party’s undemocratic voting system to block the party’s popular choice (Nader/Camejo) from being nominated, a mistake Cobb himself came to regret.

This time, there was no question of the Greens endorsing Obama and they managed to qualify for some federal matching funds in 2012 and got on the ballot in 43 states. This recovery after their near-death experience in 2004 was the result of a lot of thankless and hard work by Green Party cadres. However, hard work should not blind us to the sobering reality that the left-of-Democrat vote all but disappeared nationally in 2012 without Nader on the ballot. This is an indication of just how divided, weak, and unpopular the post-Nader American left is. A left presidential candidate to reaching the vaunted 5% popular vote threshold in 2016 or 2020 remains almost a pipe dream, given the current constellation of left forces that are badly divided, struggle hard just to survive, and survive to compete with rather than collaborate with one other.

There is no excuse for the Green Party, the Peace and Freedom Party, the Justice Party, the Socialist Party, the Socialist Workers’ Party, and the Party for Socialism and Liberation to fight over “their” sliver of 1% of the electorate. Their presidential campaigns are money, man-hours, and credibility wasted, and when the left has so little of all three, squandering any of it is criminal. The Green Party is the only rooted national force among these efforts, and the smart thing for non-Green forces to do would be to find ways to collaborate and work with the Green Party, strengthen their efforts, and weld an indivisible united electoral front against the two-party state. At a bare minimum, they should list the Green presidential candidate on their ballot lines in 2016 (barring any 2004-style Cobb-ery); 5% or bust is the name of the game if we’re serious about breaking the Democratic Party over the course of the coming decades.

Eugene Debs’ 1912 run where he garnered 6% of the vote on the Socialist Party ticket was his fourth attempt, something to keep in mind when assessing Stein’s first run. Furthermore, the Debs-era Socialist Party was the result of a few splits and many mergers of several national and dozens of local socialist groups that, by 1912, beat Democrats and Republicans to win local and state offices. Today, there are fewer organized socialists than the 6,000 there were in 1898, and we would do well to study our past if we want our future to look dramatically better than our present.

Short-Term Strategy: Lessons from Seattle. The contrast between Kshama Sawant’s and the Jill Stein’s vote totals could not be more stark, although comparing a district race for statewide office to a national fight for the most powerful political office in the world is a bit more than an apples and oranges comparison.

Nonetheless, Sawant nearly topped the combined national votes of all the socialist candidates in a single district! No segment of the American electorate has ever voted for a clear-cut revolutionary socialist against a powerful Democrat by anything close to 27% of the vote, and certainly not with the endorsement of a union local. Make no mistake: Sawant and Socialist Alternative made history in Seattle.

Socialism was on the ballot in Seattle’s 43rd district.

The race was highly unusual because there was no Republican in the running. This was a straight capitalism-versus-socialism contest, and Sawant’s 27% nearly matches the one-third of Americans who say they have a favorable view of socialism. It is proof positive that the potential for a mass-based socialist movement in America far outstrips the actually existing socialist movement’s capacity to translate that potential into something meaningful by at least several orders of magnitude.

So what are the strategic implications of all this? District and city races are where the action is at, or should be at, while presidential races are (almost) hopeless fights and should be de-prioritized for the time being, given the left’s meager resources and national unpopularity. The best way to get ready to fight for and win 5% of the vote national vote for a left candidate in 2016 and 2020 is to win some local or state races. Concentrating our attack where the enemy is strongest and where we are weakest is stupidity, a recipe for more decades marked b y failure, frustration, and powerlessness. Local races require a lot less money to win, and the danger of billionaires emptying their bank accounts into super PACs to defeat us is far lower than it is when governorships, Senate seats, and the presidency are up for grabs.

If we win office at any level, we will be in a position to begin reversing neoliberalism, using Republican-style obstructionist tactics against Republican attacks, and begin undoing  the anti-democratic practices of the American electoral system. This is essentially how Hugo Chavez built massive popular support for smashing and grabbing (or “redistributing”) the wealth and power of Venezuela’s 1% to the 99% over the past decade one step at a time. Socialist Alternative’s call for Occupy candidates to run in local races is a big step in the right direction. SYRIZA’s near-win in the Greek elections earlier this year exposed the fact that many on the left internationally are deathly afraid of wielding state power within the framework of capitalism, as if there were some other way to stop 1% politicians from slashing and burning whatever is left of social safety nets and union rights (waiting for soviets to form or dual power to emerge has not stopped neoliberalism anywhere, sorry).

Modern protest politics — showing up at demonstrations with all kinds of clever and just demands — are insufficient for today’s class war; Greece has taken this brand of protest politics to extreme levels, where 16 general strikes have not stopped the austerity juggernaut. Until we recognize that we have to wrest as much political, economic, social, and cultural power from the 1% by any means necessary and act on that recognition, we won’t stand a chance at stopping them. 

Sectarianism/Left Unity. The other strategic lesson of the Sawant campaign concerns the problem of sectarianism/left unity. The International Socialist Organization’s (ISO) refusal to endorse and work with/for Kshama Sawant of Socialist Alternative materially weakened the campaign against the Washington legislature’s Democratic speaker, Frank Chopp. The ISO’s support could have brought much-needed publicity and funds to a dynamic and promising but under-funded campaign since the ISO is the largest revolutionary socialist organization in the country. Here was an exceedingly rare and golden opportunity to unite a fractured local left against the most powerful Democrat in state politics and instead of seizing the opportunity to weaken the Democratic Party, the ISO refused to get on board, preferring silence, inaction, and isolation while Chopp twisted the arms of unions and nonprofits alike to endorse him or stay neutral (as the ISO did). Sectarianism must be exposed to the light of day and combated in the here and now, while the stakes are low. When the stakes are high, we cannot afford the “luxury” of this kind of needless and counterproductive sectarianism. In Greece, the Communist Party’s (KKE) sectarianism towards the Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) gave the European Union’s banksters the security of knowing they would face a workers’ movement and a left unwilling to unite, and like Germany in the 1930s, the Communist Party’s unwillingness to unite has opened up the space for a menacing fascist movement, the Golden Dawn. What we really need is an American SYRIZA, not an American KKE in miniature. Creating one and overcoming the other remains our central task. Update 11/10/12: Sawant has 15,896, or 28.21%.

Third Party Candidates in Final Debate

Beyond the presidential debates there’s a whole other world of third party candidates like Rocky Anderson and Jill Stein.

Critics have called the Romney-Obama debates as narrow as they were shallow, but few have done more to try to broaden and deeper the national discussion than Amy Goodman and the Democracy NOW!  team, who have produced their “Expanding the Debate” series with third party candidates added to the pair anointed by the two parties’ debate commission.

For the final debate October 22, Democracy NOW! went on the air in front of a live audience at the Osher Marin Jewish Community Center in San Rafael, California, pausing the debate in progress to allow comments by two third-party presidential candidates who were excluded from the official debate: Dr. Jill Stein of the Green Party and Rocky Anderson of the Justice PartyLibertarian candidate Gary Johnson was invited, but he declined.

The first question at the Florida debate purported to be about “Libya,” but was really about the September 11 events in Benghazi and their aftermath, as Bob Schieffer asked it: “What happened? What caused it? Was it spontaneous? Was it an intelligence failure? Was it a policy failure?”  Neither candidate responded directly to the question as Gov. Romney mentioned Libya as well as Syria, Egypt, Mali and Iran, while President Obama said in passing, “your strategy previously has been one that has been all over the map….”

Jill Stein, having audio problems at the start, did not answer the question either, but said in part:  “…it’s very clear that there is blowback going on now across the Middle East….  in many ways, we’re seeing a very ill-conceived, irresponsible and immoral war policy come back to haunt us, where United States foreign policies have been based, unfortunately, on brute military force and wars for oil. Under my administration, we will have a foreign policy based on international law and human rights and the use of diplomacy. And instead of fighting wars for oil, we will be leading—as America, we will be leading the fight to put an end to climate change.”

Rocky Anderson said in part: “The question was whether the killings at the embassy in Libya… reflected a policy failure. And it is so clear to everyone that the policy failure has been in the way the United States has treated so many nations in the Middle East….  We invaded Iraq and occupied that country. It was completely illegal. Two United Nations secretaries-general declared that it was illegal. It was a war of aggression, and it was all done on a pack of lies. Now, we aggravate the situation by keeping bases in so many other nations,… engaging in direct, unmanned drone strikes in at least four sovereign nations, killing, in the process, hundreds, if not thousands, of innocent men, women and children. That is the policy failure: our belligerence, our efforts to control, to dominate and to make certain that we will always have that control over the resources in these nations.”

The second question asked by Schieffer was about Syria:  “30,000 Syrians have died. We’ve had 300,000 refugees. The war goes on. [Assad is] still there.  Should we reassess our policy and see if we can find a better way to influence events there? Or is that even possible?”

President Obama, in effect, said “No.”Gov. Romney said, with creative geography, that: “Syria is an opportunity for us, because Syria plays an important role in the Middle East, particularly right now. Syria is Iran’s only ally in the Arab world. It’s their route to the sea….  [But] we don’t want to have military involvement there.”  In a round about way he went on to say, in effect, he’d pretty much follow the President’s policy.

Rocky Anderson responded: “ We probably just heard the greatest example of why we need to open up these presidential debates, because the premises under which both of these candidates are operating…. We hear President Obama say we’ve got to do everything we can to help the opposition, and Mitt Romney is saying we ought to be shipping them heavy arms. This is a call for a bloodbath in Syria….  you’re not going to get any democratic advances through more violence in Syria.”

Jill Stein said:  Yes, and it’s as if there’s collective amnesia here, as if we didn’t just go through a decade, $5 trillion and thousands of U.S. soldiers whose lives have been sacrificed, and far more civilians whose lives have been lost, in an attempted military resolution to these civil and religious strife….  we have not, with all the power of that force, been able to resolve these conflicts on the ground in Iraq and in Afghanistan. So, how in the world… are they thinking that a lesser degree of military intervention is going to solve the problem?

Rocky Anderson: “I don’t think that the problem here is that we failed. I think the problem is that we’re trying to assert our will and dictate the result. Can you imagine if there were Muslim countries coming into the United States and occupying us, invading us, telling us how—where to run our government and then running unmanned drones over Canada, Mexico, the United States, determining who is going to live and who’s going to die?… It’s an outrage. And our national security is at risk long-term, because of the hostility and hatred that we’re generating throughout that part of the world.”

Jill Stein:  “Absolutely. And… with arms flowing in to both sides in Syria, you have really a catastrophe in the making. We need to stop the flow of the arms….  the United States and the Obama government, in fact, undermined an international treaty that would have begun to slow down the international flow of arms. So the American role here has actually been to throw gasoline on the fires of virtually every ethnic, religious and national conflict around the Middle East….”

The next question from Bob Schieffer related to Israel and Iran:  “Would either of you be willing to declare that an attack on Israel is an attack on the United States?” Neither candidate made such a statement, though both tiptoed close to it. President Obama said, “I will stand with Israel if they are attacked” and Gov. Romney added, “I want to underscore the same point the president made, which is that if I’m president of the United States… we will stand with Israel. And if Israel is attacked, we have their back, not just diplomatically, not just culturally, but militarily.”

The President also said of Iran, “And they have said that they want to see Israel wiped off the map.”  This is a false statement, but it has also appeared on the Iranian President’s website in English.

Rocky Anderson:  “This is so predictable. Once again, President Obama repeats the lie that President Ahmadinejad in Iran stated that he wanted to wipe Israel off the map. He never said it…. It was a misinterpretation, and it is so warmongering of both of these candidates to talk about how they will basically blow Iran away.

Romney wants to impose crippling sanctions. Who would he be crippling? He’d be crippling, among others, some of the hundreds of thousands of people who stood in Tehran in a candlelight vigil in sympathy for the victims of the 9/11 attacks on the United States….  it’s the United States who has led the way for other nations to build up their nuclear armaments. And if Iran feels like they’re going to be attacked—and that’s all they’re hearing nowadays—of course they’re going to consider building a nuclear capability to deter an attack.”

Jill Stein:  And here again, we’re seeing the candidates very similar to each other. They’re both saber-rattling about Iran. They’re both vowing their obedience to the right-wing government in Israel. And they are both saying that they will stop at nothing, but that war will be the last resort…. In fact, Iran recently hosted the non-aligned nations… all the non-aligned nations —Brazil and Argentina and many others—that together put forward a proposal for eliminating nuclear weapons throughout the Middle East and, in fact, eliminating nuclear weapons throughout the world. That is the true solution that we should be getting behind…. this slave-like mentality towards Israel is absolutely unjustified. We need to start raising the bar for Israel and holding them to an equal standard for supporting human rights and international law and ending occupations and illegal settlements and apartheid.

Bob Schieffer’s next question addressed the U.S. military budget:  “Governor, you say you want a bigger military….  Where are you going to get the money?”   The Governor did not answer the question.   The President rambled around the question, noting at one point that “our military spending has gone up every single year that I’ve been in office. We spend more on our military than the next 10 countries combined—China, Russia, France, the United Kingdom, you name it, next 10.”

Jill Stein: “We cannot continue spending a trillion dollars a year on this bloated military-industrial-security complex without having to really pay the price here at home…. We are spending trillions every year not only on the bloated military budget, but on the wars for oil as part of that, as well as the bailouts for Wall Street and tax breaks for the very wealthy….  It’s time to be breaking up the big banks and bailing out the students instead….  Likewise, we are squandering trillions of dollars over the coming decade on a massive, wasteful private health insurance bureaucracy. And the alternative to austerity is actually moving to a Medicare-for-all, single-payer system, which makes austerity unnecessary. So, in fact, by moving to a single-payer, Medicare-for-all system, we get a system that people are happy with, that they love and want to defend from government tampering, in fact, and that system covers everyone comprehensively, puts you back in charge of your healthcare, and, in addition, it actually saves us trillions over the coming decade….by conserving those dollars instead of squandering them, we can actually spend them on the things that we need, on bailing out the students and on creating public higher education, which is free, tuition-free, the way that it should be.”

Rocky Anderson:  “Well, we’ve heard another great example of how the Republican and Democratic candidates for president, just like their cohorts in Congress, are basically one and the same in terms of their corporatism and their militarism. It’s just a matter of degree. Anderson then described the military-industrial-congressional complex that puts defense contractors in as many districts as possible to get votes in Congress, saying: “That is treasonous conduct, when people are looking out for their own political interests and hammering the American people, especially when there are so many unmet needs in this country….  Now, in terms of jobs, our employers in this country are at a huge competitive disadvantage with their competitors overseas, because we are the only nation in the entire developed world that doesn’t provide insurance coverage for everyone, and we’re paying more than twice the average of the rest of the industrialized world. And we’re getting far worse medical outcomes. More than 70 percent of the American people and the majority of doctors during the healthcare debate said they wanted to see a single-payer, Medicare-for-all system in place. And this president wouldn’t even let the proposal see the light of day, because he, like the rest of the members in Congress, with the exception of a handful,… caved in to the for-profit insurance industry and the pharmaceutical companies. And once again, we end up getting shafted, the American people, again.”

These excerpts come from the Democracy NOW! one-hour broadcast of October 23.  The full debate, three-and-a-half hours with all four candidates is on the website.

Roseanne Barr brings attention to Green Party presidential race

Jill Stein is heavily favored to win the Green Party nomination for president. However, Roseanne Barr, famous for her 1980’s sitcom “Roseanne,” is also a candidate and her name recognition is bringing much needed attention and media focus to the race. This highlights a continuing problem that third parties and independents have. How do you get media attention and create buzz? Having a well-known actress like Roseanne Barr as a candidate certainly helps.

The Green Party presidential debate last week in San Francisco was more of a joining together than a traditional debate. Roseanne Barr and Jill Stein agreed on most everything.

Barr was controversial a few years back due to her radio show on Los Angeles radio station KPFK, a Pacifica affiliate, as some thought she focused far too much on conspiracy theories. She did not speak on those topics at the debate.

Roseanne Barr is to be congratulated for playing this campaign straight and for bringing it welcome visibility. She isn’t really running against Jill Stein and will certainly support Stein in the general election.

More about Roseanne Barr and her Green Party presidential run at IVN.

The most important issue this presidential election? It’s not a single “issue” at all

In the streets of Manhattan, during a weekend in late September, the faces of steel and concrete behemoths staring down at me, I quickly weaved my way through stopped cars.  I moved with several thousand others.  A collective elation filled the air, surrounding us as we sped forward.  Cars honked in support, cab drivers flashed peace signs.  Our signs read, “I can’t afford a lobbyist,” and, “We are the 99 percent.”  We chanted, “How do you end the deficit?  End the wars, tax the rich,” and, “Whose streets?  Our streets!”  And with genuine surprise and delight I knew, I saw, I felt that we really had taken – for that moment of that day – these streets in New York City.

That day in late September I was among the participants in one of Occupy Wall Street’s early marches.  It was the first I know of during which, even with an absurdly large police presence, we walked and ran and danced off from the sidewalks onto the streets.  Now, after being apprehended in a mass arrest later that day and sleeping on Wall Street and organizing at my college and watching hundreds of camps get evicted and truly feeling and knowing and acting on solidarity, everyone is wondering where the Occupy movement will go from here.  As just a single person in the infinitely large mosaic of people and ideas and creations and action that makes up the movement, of course I can’t answer that anywhere close to fully.  But there exists an undeniable reality of heightened awareness and vocalization among the American public of one issue which affects everyone here and all people around the world:  the seizure of political and economic power by a tiny elite.

This will be the most important issue in the upcoming presidential election.  It will be the most important issue of this generation.  It is the most important issue currently facing humanity, precisely because it is not just another “issue.”  There is no place where a separation can be made between the top-heavy accumulation of power in our society and industry’s destruction of the environment or poverty in the United States and abroad or immigration or unemployment.  When several hundred people control as much of the resources and political representation of a nation as several hundred million, decisions in places ranging from the boardroom to local government to the White House to the classroom to the police department will inevitably favor that small, powerful group.  Nearly every decision a president must make is affected by this corporate hijacking of our society.  Whether it’s Barack Obama or Mitt Romney or Ron Paul or Rocky Anderson or Jill Stein or Gary Johnson or whoever in office, they will all face incredible pressure at every turn from powerful interests pushing them to make decisions not for the public good, but for the good of the profits of corporations, profits which will undoubtedly go into the pockets of executives rather than workers.

How will each of these candidates react to the opposing forces of calcification of corporate, wealth-driven power and organized popular resistance to the gutting of American society?  As more people wake up and react to their position in the eyes of an increasingly powerful elite as disposable units in the globalized capitalist machine, how will presidential candidates react to being part of this dynamic which is so much greater than any one of them?  Popular opposition to a top-down society is already influencing the presidential election.

Barack Obama’s rhetoric certainly has a populist tone to it these days, but words are cheap.  At the same time that he invoked Teddy Roosevelt, Obama sought to undermine Social Security, one of the fundamental social safety net programs in this country.  Ron Paul and the newly Libertarian Gary Johnson, on the other hand, provide adequate solutions to some of the symptoms of this greater problem.  Both are opposed to the race-driven drug war and the military-industrial complex and the empire which sustains it.  They are even opposed to our modern “crony capitalism,” and in my eyes they are certainly better choices than any of the offerings of the major parties, yet their libertarian ideologies encourage corporate greed and power in some nasty ways.  Actual solutions, or at least the first steps toward actual solutions, to our systematic socioeconomic inequality are present in the campaigns of the Green Party’s Jill Stein and the Justice Party’s Rocky Anderson.  Stein’s campaign is centered on the idea of a “Green New Deal,” providing employment and a fair, democratic redistribution of wealth while jump-starting American environmental efforts.  Anderson, the former mayor of Salt Lake City, recently formed the Justice Party and the central theme of his candidacy is, in his words, “to change the system and get the corrupting influence of corporate and other concentrated wealth out of our electoral system and out of our system of governance.”

It is truly exciting to see candidates so adamantly opposed to the corrupt status quo.  Yet no single candidacy and no single presidency and no government at all can sufficiently address this issue of power and wealth inequality.  I’m coming to believe that the only way to work out all of these problems is the messy, exhausting, unpolished democratic processes we’ve seen at work in the Occupy movement.  As they continue to flourish in the various situations where they’ve been tried so far, ideas will grow into organizing which will bloom into action which will ripen into sustained democratic solutions to our problems.  And as those continue, as they affect many people in countless places, the seeds of new ideas to sustain and reinvigorate this process when it falters will be planted.  At Liberty Plaza in Manhattan, as well as in many other cities, food and information distribution systems were designed and implemented in a highly democratic fashion as they were needed.  Similar systems were established so that the Occupy community could use monetary and other resources, and consensus-based general assemblies are used to plan actions and make innumerable other decisions.  Any person who so desires can address an assembly, and anyone who feels it necessary can block a group decision.  It is a radical experiment in democracy and empowerment of the majority, rather than an elite few.  The spirit of collective will and mutual responsibility and communal fulfillment embodied in this process offers more hope in the face of a bleak future dominated by globalized corporate power, war, and ecological collapse than any candidate ever could.

This blog entry is part of a scholarship contest:  “This is an official blog entry for the Blogging Scholarship. If selected, I’ll receive $1000 towards my college expenses in 2012. This scholarship is sponsored by

Commonalities between Green Party, Tea Party, Ron Paulites

Libertarian W.E. Messamore interviews Green Party candidate Jill Stein for CAIVN and finds much common ground.


CAIVN: You have shown a lot of sympathy for the grievances of the Occupy Wall Street protesters. In 2009 a lot of the Tea Party protesters were extremely opposed to the Wall Street bailouts. How central of an issue are you going to make corporate welfare in your campaign, and what would you say to Tea Party supporters to get them to consider supporting your candidacy?

Jill Stein: It’s a central issue of my campaign and it’s not just something that happened in the past. It’s still going on now. First there was TARP– and it wasn’t only the Tea Party who opposed it. Most Americans were strongly opposed to it. There were so many people calling in to Congress, and there were reports that the calls were opposed to the bailouts by a ratio of 10 to 1. But the lobbying effort got it passed anyway. And I’m sure you’ve heard about this, but the Fed has doled out $16 trillion since then in essentially zero interest loans, so this is still happening right now.

As for the Tea Party, unfortunately it has been manipulated and hijacked and misdirected by the very corporate interests that it was opposed to, and some racism got folded into it as well. But I think a lot of Americans, including some who support the Tea Party are just frustrated by what’s going on in the economy, what the banks are doing. At the end of the day, I do think we can get beyond ideology, and do what’s best for the community.

Greens, the original Tea Parties, and Ron Paul supporters are united in opposition to the bailout of corrupt failing banks by a complicit, captured government.