Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Green Power 2019

Seen outside of the main gathering hall at Salem State University...

Green Power 2019
words and photos by C. A. Matthews 

Our first Green Party-US Annual Meeting has come and gone. As we made our way home, we contemplated what we've learned and experienced.The main impression we came away with as relative newbies to the national Green Party is how much of a "family" the party really is. And, like any family, it has its share of strengths and weaknesses. 
Voter Choice.org is working  hard to bring ranked choice voting to your state.

Perhaps its greatest strength is its commonality of purpose of saving the Earth from the ravages of capitalism. Eco-socialism is order of the day and was frequently mentioned during the weekend along with the importance of ranked choice voting laws. From championing the health of our citizens, land and water, to protesting the military industrial complex and demanding an end to all wars of colonization and imperialism, Greens do not hesitate to speak out singularly or communally. No matter what corporate propaganda the mainstream media spouts and what smears are directed at them, Greens will not swerve from their commitment to promote "people, planet and peace over profits."
Chris Blankenhorn gave a great talk on what eco-socialism means.

Hilary Tore presents how Toledoans for Safe Water took on BP and passed The Lake Erie Bill of Rights to protect the drinking water of millions.
It is this single-mindedness to save the world and all of its inhabitants and staying true to their principles that can also be construed as a weakness. Greens do not accept corporate money--which is a weakness when you read campaign finance reports and see how many millions of dollars the establishment parties have to advertise their candidates. It's amazing how well Green candidates actually do at the ballot box with so little money at their disposal. Ironically, this could be due to the fact that without huge campaign war chests Green candidates are forced to go door-to-door and talk to the voters in order to get their message out. Could real voter engagement be a more cost effective method than slick TV ads?
Ballot access challenges were addressed by Brendan Phillips and Tony Ndege.
Ajamu Baraka, Jill Stein and Howie Hawkins speak to the original "Green New Deal" espoused by Greens since 2010. The Greens' version calls for massive military spending cuts since it is the military that creates the majority of the greenhouse gas emissions.

Greens are egalitarians that will not allow one person or group of people to dictate terms to others without their consent; hence, there are many caucuses within the Green Party: Women's, Lavender (LGBTQ+), Youth, African-American, LatinX… If there is some way to categorize humanity, the Greens have a caucus for it--or are open to starting one. While this sounds great on paper and is truly something to be proud of, in the real world it can lead to "labels." Party members sometimes get into each other faces because of perceived or real slights by another who wears a different label. The temptation to produce a "learning moment" is often too good to miss, too. 
Diversity awareness panel led by G.P. co-chair Anita Rios.

Hard feelings don't exactly engender party unity or help create an atmosphere of trust. The family can become dysfunctional, and not happy or whole. Add to this the stress of stretched finances, and it's a miracle the "Green Family" has stuck together this long. It's a testimony to the awesome power of the Green Party's Four Pillars and Ten Key Values that Greens have weathered their storms. It's safe to say these guiding principles have prevented the party's members' weaknesses from overcoming its strengths.
Margaret Kimberly, editor of Black Agenda Report, and former G.P. presidential candidate Jill Stein moderate the presidential forum.

The countdown to the 2020 presidential campaign began in earnest with six presidential candidates at the forum table on Friday night. They answered questions about their platform positions and occasionally took a pot shot at the perceived front runner. These not-entirely-polite comments would seem tame in an establishment party debate, but at a Green Party candidate forum they come across about as pleasant as the sound of nails scratching across a blackboard.
G.P. presidential candidates fielding questions. From left to right: Howie Hawkins, Dennis Lambert, Ian Schlakman, Sedinam Moyowasiza-Curry, Dario Hunter, David Rolde.

"Hey, we're all family here, Greens!" you want to shout at the folks on stage. "Get along, please, for the sake of the people, planet and peace, will y'all?"

But it is exactly these outbursts of valued truths that demonstrate how well the Greens' unity in diversity strategy fares. There are no secrets or conspiracies kept hidden from other family members. Greens air their grievances and hopefully will work them out in time for the presidential election season with all hands on deck pulling together.
Ajamu Baraka, Jill Stein, and Cheri Honkala

In the spirit of their four pillars of grassroots democracy, social justice, peace and environmental wisdom, the Green Party presses on. Ballot access fights and struggles in many states loom on the horizon, but the family members will not give up or give in. It is the planet we're talking about saving after all. We don't have the option to stop fighting for our future. Green Power shall prevail.


We can't allow Japan to kill hundreds more whales this year. Sign the petition.
It's whaling season again in Japan, but this year they've taken their annual massacre of whales to a new level. Rather than dodge the rules and exploit loopholes in the international ban on whaling, Japan simply left the International Whaling Commission altogether. Without this nominal oversight, their already legally dubious whaling operations will go unchecked.
Humans have already nearly hunted whales to extinction. That's why countries banded together 73 years ago to stop the industry before there were no whales left to kill. But Japan has lived on the edge. Each year, Japanese whaling vessels marked "RESEARCH" in all caps and English, have killed dozens of whales. This so-called "research" ends with whale meat being sold for profit, revealing itself for what it truly is: just another means of hunting.
Without the imprimatur of belonging to the International Whaling Commission, Japan has increased its commitment to kill whales. This year, they plan to kill 383 whales.
The international community can't allow Japan to put whales' survival at risk. Sign the petition to demand Japan end their annual whale hunts and recommit to a real ban on international whaling.
Thank you,
Emily V.
The Care2 Petitions Team


From Move to Amend:

As you may know, I have been in Washington, DC for the past few months, working to secure more support for the We the People Amendment

On Monday last week a friend let me know that the following day a group of brave young activists would be shutting down Congress to protest climate collpase inaction and calling on Congress to join the UK and Canada in declaring a Climate Emergency. 

But they were short one person because someone had a family emergency.
I decided to step up. 

I am terrified and so sorrowful for the world we are leaving for my 7 and 3 year old nephews. I am beside myself with grief at the extinction of animals and human suffering that climate collapse is already causing. 

And I am outraged that instead of protecting our future, Congress has spent the past 30 years doing the bidding of their corporate masters, at the expense of our planet.

So on Tuesday last week I joined 16 people affiliated with the climate action group Extinction Rebellion in supergluing ourselves to three underground tunnel entrances leading to the Capitol, blocking access to members of Congress who were heading to a regularly scheduled session.
Superglue has always really intimidated me, but my fear of a world wrought by climate collapse is much more terrifying. I was very afraid that police would rip our hands from the walls and cause us injury, and I knew that I would surely be arrested for the action -- but I am tired of inaction by our national leaders and I am tired of feeling powerless to save our planet!

It never occured to me that I should be more afraid of a member of Congress than the police! 

During the action Congressman Bob Gibbs (OH) ripped my glued hand from the glass and pushed past me. I'm relieved to say that his action didn't rip my skin off, but it sure did sting!

Capitol Police encouraged me to file charges and after input from a number of people I have decided to do so. 

Since 2009, Gibbs has received over $183,000 in campaign contributions from fossil fuel companies including American Electric Power, FirstEnergy Corporation, Marathon Petroleum, and Murray Energy. 

Murray Energy is known for filing Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation (SLAPP) lawsuits against critics when they speak out against their positions, including comedian John Oliver as well as several labor and environmental leaders who are also active local Move to Amend volunteers in Ohio. 

Our Representatives are not serving the American people, they are serving multinational corporations. This assault is a physical representation of the assaults waged against communities and people across the country every day by Congress’s cold and irresponsible inaction. Our leaders refuse to act because they take orders from fossil fuel corporations and the billionaires that own them.

I don't want to let Congressman Gibbs get away with this, just like I don't want to let any member of Congress get away with their crimes of inaction in the face of this disaster that was entirely preventable but is now on fast forward. 
What you can do:
  • Share the video of Rep Gibb's assault so that no matter what happens with my charges, the public knows what happened.
  • Join me on Thursday via Facebook or Twitter Live and I'll tell you the full story, answer questions and talk about how the We the People Amendment is essential to stop climate collapse.
  • Find ways to take bold action in the face of climate change. I was honored to be part of this action, you will feel better if you act too. September 20-27 is the Global Climate Strike, called by children and young people who are demanding we fight for their future. Find an action near you and be as bold as possible. You don't have to be arrested and spend 22 hours in police custody like I did, but it is a small price to pay given the urgency of the climate situation.
And finally, if this action inspired you, please make a donation to support our work at Move to Amend. 

My civil disobedience was not official Move to Amend business, I was acting as a concerned civillian. But one of the most important reasons why we must pass the We the People Amendment is to reign in corporate power so that climate change can be addressed.

Yours for the planet,
Kaitlin Sopoci-Belknap
National Director, Move to Amend

P.S. I again want to express my profound respect and admiration to the young people of Extinction Rebellion DC who organized this bold, strategic and critical action. We were covered in over 40 major media outlets and numerous Representatives have signed on to the Climate Emergency resolution since we told them to do so, face to face, as they passed us while we were glued to the walls.

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Stepping Into Our Power

Stepping Into Our Power
by C.A. Matthews

A headline screams: "Racists' Rally Cry: Send Them Home!" Embolden by a xenophobic leader, those who grasp tightly their hate-filled agendas fear no shame or ridicule. It becomes stylish to be narrow-minded. As like attracts like, so does hate attract hate.

There's got to be a better way dealing with the problems of dispossessed people than labeling them "animals" and locking them in cages. There's got to be a better way of conversing with others who hold a different worldview than yelling at them "Go home!" in a thinly disguised racist taunt. But nowadays it's all the rage--blind rage--to act like a Klansman. It's an eye for an eye making the whole world blind with hatred. There's nothing "great" about this behavior, so why bother to embroider it onto a red cap?

Rep. Ilhan Omar is correct in saying it's time we step into our power. We the People have always had the power to speak and act out against the injustices visited upon others because of their skin color or country of origin, but we seldom use it. We wait until things become so unsustainable, so unimaginably horrible that we can no longer put off considering change. Concentration camps along our border and Nazi-styled rallies are beyond horror. We must seize and wield our power now

We can't afford to hold back until some perfect time occurs or a charismatic leader in the manner of Martin Luther King Jr. arrives on the scene. The time will never be right. He's not coming. Armageddon is coming if we don't act decisively and soon. We must face facts and lead ourselves.

Fifty years ago, Americans came together and worked toward the common goal of putting a man on the moon before the end of the decade. If we had the knowledge, skills and ability to cooperate to bring a dream to life then, what's holding us back now? 

Fighting to end the irrational hatred of others with all our hearts and souls and minds… That's one small step for man--one giant leap for mankind.

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This coming week we're on the road to the Green Party National Meeting in Salem, Massachusetts. Next week's blog could be slightly delayed because of the trip. However, it should be filled with lots of interesting photos and insights as we'll get to mingle with American Greens and learn more about eco-socialism. In the meantime, here's an uplifting message from an environmental activist and former Green Party senatorial candidate followed by an update on the struggle to protect Lake Erie and the drinking water supply of millions from both the polluters and their enablers, i.e., the state of Ohio.

by Joe DeMare

July 20 is the 50th anniversary of the Apollo moon landing. Even though I was only seven at the time, that experience deeply moved me, as it did everyone living on Earth. I knew all the acronyms that NASA used, like LEM (Lunar Excursion Module). I also knew all the complicated steps and stages of the flight, and was able to follow along through the whole journey. 

It's difficult to convey to this generation just what a miraculous and wonderful experience the moon landing was for the entire human race. Yes, it was a product of the Cold War. There was an ideological battle being played out all over the globe to prove that elected democracy was a better way of governing ourselves than communist dictatorship. But, when we actually won the race, when we actually got to the moon, it was the entire human race that shared in that success. Everyone, everywhere was transfixed by the sight of two men matter-of-factly achieving what had only been the most outlandish fantasy for tens of thousands of years.

From the Apollo missions came the "Earthrise" photos. These were the photos that showed us that we are all living together on a beautiful, tiny little sphere, spinning all alone together in an unimaginably large universe. From the moon the Earth looks incredibly fragile and delicate with its wispy cloud systems and precarious mix of land and sea. We now know that it is. Traveling to the moon taught us how difficult it is to create and maintain the narrow range of conditions humans need to survive. Temperature, the mixture gasses in the air, water, food--having to create the systems that provided these things to the astronauts, even for a few days, required the combined expertise of tens of thousands of people and incredible amounts of resources. It's no coincidence that the Environmental Protection Agency was created a few years later.

The moon landing brought us together in a way nothing ever had before. The United States did not claim the moon as its territory. It was incredibly important that Neil Armstrong stated that we had come in peace, "for mankind," and not for the benefit of any one group of us. Even though we were then, as now, embroiled in wars and many other kinds of conflicts, for that moment we realized that we were all one race. That awareness was reinforced during the Apollo 13 mission when we were united again in praying for the safe return of the astronauts in danger of dying in space.

So, I grew up blessed and cursed with the knowledge that we, as a race, can do almost anything we set our minds to. We can provide food, shelter, and education to everyone on Earth. We can prevent the destruction of the planet and the death of our beautiful biosphere. Humans can colonize the Moon and Mars. We have the intelligence, technology, and determination. Let's do it.

BIO: Joe hosts the "For A Green Future"  environmental activism radio show on WSPD-FM. The show is also available online at You Tube and in podcast form. Check out the For A Green Future Facebook page for more info: https://www.facebook.com/For-A-Green-Future-640958893006838/


Ohio Legislature Attacks Rights of Nature, Protects Polluters in Budget Bill

Toledo, OH: Ohio Governor Mike DeWine has signed a 2500+ page state budget bill which not only includes provisions attempting to abolish Rights of Nature law in the state of Ohio, but also contains hidden language to enhance protections for industrial agricultural operations, including animal factories and water privatization corporations. 

The Ohio legislature and Governor have opted to protect industry and the ‘rights’ of corporate constituents to pollute while simultaneously stripping the people of their rights to pass local laws and protect the rights of ecosystems that sustain their community. The budget bill also includes statutory provisions that permit and legalize the theft of a community water supply in the interest of corporate profit. 

The budget bill states: 

Nature or any ecosystem does not have standing to participate in or bring an action in any court of common pleas;
No person, on behalf of or representing nature or an ecosystem, shall bring an action in any court of common pleas;
In a civil action for nuisances involving agricultural activities, it is a complete defense if: 

The agricultural activities were conducted within an (...) agricultural district or on land devoted exclusively to agricultural use (...); 
The agricultural activities were established within the agricultural district prior to the plaintiff’s activities or interest on which the action is based; 
The plaintiff was not involved in agricultural production; and 
The agricultural activities were not in conflict with federal, state, and local laws and rules relating to the alleged nuisances or were conducted in accordance with generally accepted agriculture practices

Markie Miller of TSW stated, “this sneaky and seemingly innocent language values, above everything, corporate 'rights' to destroy the natural life sources we all depend on, for immediate profit, the consequences be damned."

In addition, the General Assembly has quietly installed significant new statutory powers in the Ohio Dept of Natural Resources to issue permits legalizing the theft of aquifer water, which when combined with the destruction of the rights of nature, seriously cripples a community’s only avenue to exert any control or protection over the privatization of their water source.

“Do legislators and the governor understand what they’re doing by siding with corporations and making it illegal for people to protect the systems that support all life? The so-called 'right to farm' part of this bill has nothing to do with farming and everything to do with letting animal factories continue using Lake Erie as a free toilet. The stakes are high and we will defend the only Earth we have” said Mike Ferner of Advocates for a Clean Lake Erie. 

These legislative actions demonstrate the recent pattern in Ohio of revoking the democratic rights of citizens while legalizing destructive corporate harms. 

Hilary Tore of TSW commented, “this budget bill is a clear violation of Ohio’s single-subject law, yet the legislature continues to cherry-pick which laws they want to follow. A government is created by the people to protect the people and their rights. We don’t create government to harm us, yet that is what we have.”

Tell evil corporation Palantir:
"Stop profiting from the suffering of migrants and asylum-seekers. Drop your contracts with ICE."
CIA-funded tech giant Palantir is one of the biggest cogs in ICE's deportation machine.

Their shadowy collaboration needs to be dragged out into the light, and Palantir needs to be shamed into dropping their contracts with ICE.

Tech workers, immigrants and immigrant rights activists are demanding that the company break ties with ICE. We must add our voices to their call now before the crisis at the border and in our communities gets worse. Exposing and putting pressure on Palantir to end its ICE contracts is critical to blocking Donald Trump's racist agenda and protecting our communities. Our friends at CREDO are organizing a mobilization against Palantir. Join us!

With Congress approving funding to expand border concentration camps and ICE set to launch mass raids as early as next week, Trump's racist deportation and criminalization nightmare is becoming a reality right before our eyes.

Palantir is an important target. Its technology allows ICE to fine tune its operations by giving its agents the data to rapidly identify, hunt down and imprison immigrants en masse. Through Palantir contracts, ICE has access to:

  • A nationwide license plate location database, which it uses to conduct surveillance and reconstruct an individual's private life, threatening the civil liberties and privacy of all drivers.
  • A database where ICE agents store information and build profiles of undocumented immigrants, including their home address, work address, children’s school, finances and social media profiles.

When ICE took unaccompanied minors crossing the border into custody last year, agents used Palantir software to build profiles of these children and their families, arresting undocumented people they came across in their investigations. That included people who came forward to claim their children. Arresting these family members significantly increased the number of children ICE and CBP agents threw into camps. This needs to stop now.

For years, Palantir claimed that its contracts with immigration enforcement did not fuel the deportation machine. We now know that the company lied. It's up to us to bring Palantir's dangerous collaboration with ICE out from the shadows and demand that it stop supercharging mass deportations and mass incarceration.

Thanks for fighting with us.

Mike Phelan
Progress America
From Credo:

Rep. Rashida Tlaib has a bold and uncompromising anti-poverty plan that respects the ability of low-income people to make their own choices.

Her BOOST Act would give $3,000 in cash annually to every low-income adult and $6,000 to low-income families.1 But the right wing is already on the attack, with conservative leaders and pundits declaring her plan "deeply immoral" and "disastrous."2,3

The radical right never misses an opportunity to criticize progressive women of color. We need to show just how many people stand alongside Rep. Tlaib.
Stand with Rep. Rashida Tlaib: Create a cash-based safety net. Click here to sign the petition.

Conservatives want people to live at the mercy of corporate bosses. It is why they insist on strict so-called work requirements that micromanage the lives of the poorest Americans. It is an ideology rooted in often-racist assumptions that people will only work if someone threatens them with poverty. In fact, studies in Alaska ‒ where every resident receives an unconditional cash transfer every year ‒ found no effect on work. More importantly, children, students, caretakers, the elderly and the disabled, who do not work in wage labor, make up about 90% of people in poverty.4

Rep. Tlaib's plan is bolder than similar plans from many 2020 candidates. Those proposals are essentially expansions of the Earned Income Tax Credit ‒ a great idea, but one that leaves out the more than 2 million Americans with no income and does little for the 10 million with less than $5,000 in annual income. Tlaib's proposal, in contrast, universally helps all low-income Americans.5

This plan is a scaled-down version of a "universal basic income": a regular cash transfer sufficient to cover basic subsistence needs. It is an idea that is growing in popularity as more Americans realize that the existing safety net leaves people with little dignity and control over their lives, at the mercy of corporate bosses and at risk of losing jobs to automation.

Just as she did on impeachment, Rep. Tlaib is showing what courageous progressive leadership looks like ‒ and once again, the far right is doing everything it can to demonize a progressive woman of color. Let's raise our voices and make it clear that Americans support bold progressive ideas and bold progressive leaders.

Stand with Rep. Rashida Tlaib: Create a cash-based safety net. Click below to sign the petition:

Thank you for speaking out,
Heidi Hess, Co-Director CREDO Action from Working Assets

Add your name:

Sign the petition ►

  1. Jeff Stein, "Rep. Rashida Tlaib introduces closest plan in Congress to universal basic income," The Washington Post, June 6, 2019.
  2. Scott Morefield, "Dan Crenshaw says Rashida Tlaib's ‘deeply immoral’ cash giveaway plan is a basic ‘misunderstanding of economics,'" The Daily Caller, June 10, 2019.
  3. Justin Haskins, "Democrat Rashida Tlaib proposes disastrous cash giveaway -- guess who’s going to pay for it?" Fox News, June 9, 2019.
  4. Stein, "Rep. Rashida Tlaib introduces closest plan in Congress to universal basic income."
  5. Ibid.