Jill Stein on Local Elections

Why a big win in Madison is a big win for us all

POSTED BY JILL STEIN FOR PRESIDENT ON JANUARY 27, 2013

jill-stein-victory.pngWhen Cheri and I ran for office last year, one of our main goals was to build the Green Party and to inspire new leaders to run for office as Greens. Great news! We are succeeding.

With at least eight candidates for office, Greens can gain a significant hold in Wisconsin’s capital city in elections these next two months. Two Greens are running for the Madison school board, at least six are competing for seats on the Madison city council, and the ranks of these endorsed Green Party candidates may soon be joined by several others.

What does this mean for Greens across the United States? Victories in Madison’s elections will show others what can be done. Your support right now can help make Madison an inspiration for Greens everywhere.

Green-Candidates-Madison-2013.gif One of the leading candidates is Sarah Manski, a teacher and businesswoman running for school board. She has already won the endorsements of elected officials ranging from school board members to Madison’s mayor, county officials, and progressives in the state legislature.

Sarah’s campaign is coordinating activities with other Greens and progressives running for office, and is raising money to hire a campaign manager for this effort.

Sarah’s Green running mate in this election is anti-poverty activist Dean Loumos. (Madison candidate pix in sequential order top to bottom above.)

Our Green candidates for the city council include neighborhood leader Ledell Zellers (District 2), environmental advocate Barbara Davis (District 3), student activist Christian Hansen (District 8), community activistLeslie Peterson (District 12), student leader Damon Terrell(District 13), and progressive business owner Hawk Sullivan(District 15). The local Green Party expects to make additional endorsements in the coming weeks.

To get SA to where Madison is NOW, WE must lay the foundation. Please consider filing for a Council or school board seat. Attend our meeting: 

BCGP monthly meeting 

March 3, 2013 @ 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm
Estela’s Restaurant, 2200 W Martin, SA TX
(first Sunday each month unless otherwise noted)
Will accept nominations for BCGP officers, consider 
endorsements in May 11 municipal elections, &
plan for our Mar 30th Campaign School
AND: RSVP now for our Campaign School on March 30th at Esperanza

green-campaign-school.png

Idle No More Solidarity Action!

 San Anto Says:
Protect Native Rights!
Protect the Rights
of Mother Earth!

  
Idle No More<br /><br />
              Logo
What? 

San Antonio Solidarity Action
for Idle No More Global Day of Action
Where?
Canadian Consulate
@ 106 S. St Mary’s Street, Suite 800

(corner of Commerce & St. Marys, across the Aztec Theater)


When?
January 28th @ 11am
Why?  
Idle No More is the name of an indigenous rights movement that began in December 2012, when the Canadian government passed Bill C-45. Promoted by Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s conservative administration as a jobs and economic stimulus initiative, this bill contains provisions that weaken treaty rights for First Nations peoples and national environmental protections, giving industry greater access to Native lands and to Canadian waterways. In response, First Nations people throughout Canada have protested this bill, with Attiwapiskat Chief Theresa Spence undergoing a 44-day hunger strike. According to the movement’s website, “the vision of Idle No More revolves around indigenous ways of knowing rooted in indigenous sovereignty to protect water, air, land, and all creation for future generations.” See here for more information on the movement.Since it began, numerous solidarity actions have taken place across the world, including here in San Antonio. January 28th is the next day of global action, coinciding with the return of Canadian MPs to the House of Commons, and calling for a peaceful protest of C-45’s attacks on democracy, indigenous sovereignty, human rights, and environmental protection.Locally, we are calling on all buena gente concerned about the rights of mother earth and all her peoples to convene at the Canadian Consulate on January 28th to send a message to the Canadian government that the world is watching how Canada responds to the message sent by INM and its supporters. 

 

  
This action will be followed by teach-ins (date and location TBD) connecting the concerns of Idle No More to local environmental justice issues like the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline and the fracking boom in South Texas. 
valero protest

Stay tuned, gente, and let us know if you’d like to help with planning.
Please click here to join the Facebook event.
To learn more about the Idle No More movement, please visit http://idlenomore.ca/
For more information about the action and teach-in,
call Laura Rios @ 512-844-4107 or Saakred @ 210-607-3283

Esperanza Peace and Justice Center
922 San Pedro Ave  •  San Antonio TX 78212 
• 210.228.0201 

(entrance on W Evergreen, 1/2 mile north of downtown)


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Solidarity Action — stay tuned, there will be more! 

Honkala, Manski to r​un Housing, FEC?​

federal-agencies.jpgThe 100,000+ circulation New York CityIndypendent newspaper has chosen 2012 Vice Presidential nominee Cheri Honkala and campaign manager Ben Manski to serve as members of an alternative “Shadow Cabinet” for the coming session. Honkala will serve as HUD Secretary, and Manski as director the FEC. Write the editors of the Indypendent:

“As one presidential term ends and another begins, we want to take this opportunity to reject the pomp of inauguration and reignite the radical imagination. Instead of settling for empty suits and ugly compromisers, we’ve tossed Obama’s cabinet out of White House and reached out to thinkers and doers, those least likely to be nominated but most deserving of being heard and best qualified to make change, and nominated them to our own Shadow Cabinet.”

We have reproduced the changes that Honkala and Manski propose, below. Enjoy!

CHERI HONKALA: Empty the Shelters, Fill the Homes

My first order of business as the new Housing and Urban Development secretary will be to end homelessness and revamp the HOPE VI grant program. Currently, there are more abandoned properties in this country than there are homeless people, and the solution is obvious: combine the two. Dr. Jill Stein and I ran on a platform of the Green New Deal, which is based on the principle that all Americans have a right to safe, decent and accessible affordable housing. I will work to further this goal.

DOH-Final-Broken-Wall.jpg Current HUD programs are grossly inadequate and have massive undesirable consequences. A salient example is the failed HOPE VI program. This program, begun in 1993, was designed to revitalize and remedy problems with public housing by departing from the former “housing project” model and moving toward mixed-use development. While a laudable goal, the program has failed and has only made the housing crisis for America’s poor worse. Grants are being used to demolish existing public housing in order to rebuild new “mixed-use” units. There is, however, no requirement that the new construction have a “one-to-one” replacement of the former housing units. Additionally, “mixed use” has been used to develop mixed-income housing, which shrinks the number of units available to the poor and amounts to nothing less than the usurpation of housing from the poor to be given at subsidized rates to the middle class.

The result of this failed program, in cities from Louisville, Ky., and Columbus, Ohio, to the Bay Area in California, is the displacement of U.S. families who can least afford such a change. Families are being uprooted from communities they have lived in for generations and shipped to remote communities without access to transit or employment centers and in many cases left homeless. Rather than solving problems with low-income housing, the HOPE VI program merely hides the poor from the view.

I will immediately institute a moratorium on the disbursement of any further HOPE VI monies. The requirements for obtaining such a grant must be amended. In the first instance, the demolition of housing should be a last resort. Many units have been family homes for generations, and the immoral destruction of these homes must end. In those instances where rebuilding is the best option, the program must require a one-to-one replacement of any demolished unit. Furthermore, these new units must be reserved for low-income families who depend on public housing. Finally, the siting of additional or new units must be in urban centers with access to transit and jobs and not in undesirable and remote areas that burden residents with crippling commutes.

As my first order of business, I will END homelessness by housing our veterans, our seniors and our low-income families. We will empty the shelters and fill the homes!

The recommendations above are but the beginning: With the Green New Deal we could make all of this and more a reality. I invite you all to follow Jill Stein and me this year as we work with others to bring the Green New deal to life and make it a reality because the next generation deserves just that!

Cheri Honkala is a nationally known advocate for the poor and homeless, co-founder of the Kensington Welfare Rights Union and co-founder and National Coordinator of the Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign. She was the Green Party’s nominee for vice president in the 2012 U.S. presidential election.


BEN MANSKI: Unleash Democracy

“Did you, too, O friend, suppose democracy was only for elections, for politics, and for a party name? I say democracy is only of use there that it may pass on and come to its flower and fruit in manners, in the highest forms of interaction between [people], and their beliefs — in religion, literature, colleges and schools — democracy in all public and private life…”  ~ Walt Whitman

Until now, the United States has had no federal agency primarily responsible for the strengthening of domestic democracy. We therefore reform the existing Federal Elections Commission into a new Federal Democracy Commission, whose mandate is fourfold:

1. Convening of constitutional conventions at least once every 30 years so as to ensure that the basic law of these United States is the law of the living, not the dead. Currently, such a convention may be initiated at the request of the States. Until the Constitution may be amended so as to make constitutional reform a more regular practice, the role of the Federal Democracy Commission in the convening of constitutional conventions shall be to encourage and make transparent the existing amendment process.

2. The implementation and enforcement of the Voter Bill of Rights, as enacted by Congress, as well as existing voting rights and election law. The Voter Bill of Rights is a 10-point consensus platform of the modern day voting rights movement and may be read in its current incarnation at http://nomorestolenelections.org

3. Ensuring federal support for the principles of democratic federalism,in which environmental, human rights, education, and commercial laws and regulations enacted by our national government are understood to establish a floor, not a ceiling, to actions by our state and local governments. This means, for example, that the Federal Democracy Commission will intervene to ensure that the federal government will encourage local and state reforms such as public utilities, community wireless, wage and hour minimums, clean water, human rights, and standards and services that are more ambitious than those offered by higher levels of government.

4. Strengthening the practice of economic democracy through public education, publicity, training and direct financing for cooperative development and for democratic reforms intended to make government agencies, private associations, and business enterprises more participatory.

FDC-Federal-Democracy-Commission.jpgThe Federal Democracy Commission is an independent, nonpartisan regulatory agency. Its six commissioners are nonpartisan, meaning that those who have run for partisan office, worked for a political party, or served as an officer of a registered political party may not serve as commissioners.

The commissioners are nominated by a select committee that includes one representative of each political party that has won at least 1 percent of the national vote in the previous election cycle. Those nominated are then appointed by the President and approved by Congress.

Ben Manski is the executive director of the Liberty Tree Foundation for the Democratic Revolution, a pro-democracy strategy center he founded in 2004. He is a former co-chair of the Green Party of the United States, and this past year was Jill Stein’s presidential campaign manager. He is also a co-founder of Move to Amend. Manski will serve as the executive secretary of the Federal Democracy Commission, as he is disqualified from serving as a commissioner.

BCGP monthly meetings 

February 3, 2013 @ 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Estela’s Restaurant, 2200 W Martin, SA TX
(first Sunday each month unless otherwise noted)

Green Campaign School for Texas

Green Campaign School for Texas 

POSTED BY JILL STEIN FOR PRESIDENT ON JANUARY 16, 2013

green-campaign-school.pngThroughout the course of the campaign, our focus has been on expanding and deepening the Green movement and the Green Party itself.

Moving forward, one of the most important things we can do is to get our candidates elected in local and state elections. For this reason, Jill Stein for President is organizing campaign schools in several regions of the United States.

These Green Campaign Schools will focus on building skills at all levels, from assembling a campaign team, to creating effective campaign literature, raising money, handling and using voter data, financial reporting, media campaigns, the role of the candidate, and setting and working toward goals. These schools will be all day events, hosted by our campaign team together with Green leaders in your area. The idea is to provide lessons from the experience accumulated in our campaign.

Demand for these schools has been overwhelming!  Confirmed dates and locations include Northern and Southern California, Texas, Oregon, Minnesota, Maine and more.

We are happy to announce that our Green Campaign School will be headed to San Antonio, Texas on March 30, 2012. Any donation you can make to help us defray expenses would be appreciated.

Please read on to RSVP and for more details about the Green Campaign School in Texas.

RSVP here: http://www.jillstein.org/school_texas

WHEN
March 30, 2013 at 9am
WHERE
Esperanza Peace and Justice Center
922 San Pedro Ave
San Antonio, TX 78212
United States
Google map and directions
CONTACT

Texas Campaign School

Green Campaign School San Antonio, Texas–just north of downtown in the heart of arguably SA’s principle Green voting base, at  Esperanza Peace & Justice Center

www.esperanzacenter.org/

Works to create a world where everyone has civil rights and economic justice, where the environment is cared for, and where cultures are honored.

922 San Pedro Avenue  San Antonio, TX 78212
(210) 228-0201 

Saturday, March 30 2013 (the day before Easter) 9am–6pm 

We’re now advised the School may NOT involve Dr Stein herself. Rather, it will be conducted by Ben Manski (Campaign Manager), Tia Nowack and Matt Kozlowski – the remaining staff and core cadre of the 2012 campaign.  
These Green Campaign Schools will focus on building skills at all levels, from assembling a campaign team, to creating effective campaign literature, raising money, handling and using voter data, financial reporting, media campaigns, the role of the candidate, and setting and working toward goals. These schools will be one-to-two day events, hosted by our campaign team together with Green leaders in your area. The idea is to provide lessons from the experience accumulated in our campaign.”

The first of this wave of Green Campaign Schools took place Sunday, January 13th, in Northfield, Minnesota, an hour south of the Twin Cities. Other Green Campaign Schools are planned for the California, the East Coast, the South, and other parts of the Midwest. Depending on interest, and our ability to raise funds, we will organize more of these schools over the course of 2013. We’ll keep the announcements coming.

Check back for more details soon. 

Photo: Jill's making her way around Texas! Here she is at San Pedro Park in San Antonio with students from UTSA and community members. Thanks to everyone who came out!
Jill Stein with Greens at San Pedro Pavilion, Oct 6 2012

Corporate police-state?

I had previously re-posted the Naomi Wolf link on our list-serves, but conclude it a grave enough matter that it should be a permanent part of BCGP archives.

Older activists will not be shocked. Some of us well recall the shadowy “joint task forces” & “organized crime units” of a previous era–police officers operating outside their jurisdictional lines with no clear authority or civil control, “deputizing” security personnel of private corporations, etc.

Teach your children well. Their fathers’ hell did slowly go by…”
And you, of tender years, can’t know the fears your elders grew by…”

Well, they know now.

I’d already seen the cited raw unclassified pages in “the cloud”. I wrote several peeps:

“FBI/OWS documents floating around indicate the Feds took more than a casual interest in the Dec 12, 2011 Occupy-ILWU Port Shutdown. As Wolf notes, the declassified material purports a pretext of investigation of some redacted right-wing plot to identify & assassinate Occupy leaders.”

https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/549518-fbi-ows-documents.html

Make what you want of that. But bottom line is: go to shut down ports, you’re playing in a big-kid arena. Of some particular interest to Occupy Austin, as well as to us here, is that before, during & after, the Feebs considered the desultory swipe at Port of Houston to be way big deal–rather more so than the movement saw it.

Houston tends to become a focal point in several venues.

Revealed: how the FBI coordinated the crackdown on Occupy

New documents prove what was once dismissed as paranoid fantasy: totally integrated corporate-state repression of dissent

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/dec/29/fbi-coordinated-crackdown-occupy

 wolf

Occupy Oakland clashes

Police used teargas to drive back protesters following an attempt by the Occupy supporters to shut down the city of Oakland. Photograph: Noah Berger/AP

It was more sophisticated than we had imagined: new documents show that the violent crackdown on Occupy last fall – so mystifying at the time – was not just coordinated at the level of the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security, and local police. The crackdown, which involved, as you may recall, violent arrests, group disruption, canister missiles to the skulls of protesters, people held in handcuffs so tight they were injured, people held in bondage till they were forced to wet or soil themselves –was coordinated with the big banks themselves.

The Partnership for Civil Justice Fund, in a groundbreaking scoop that should once more shame major US media outlets (why are nonprofits now some of the only entities in America left breaking major civil liberties news?), filed this request. The document – reproduced here in an easily searchable format – shows a terrifying network of coordinated DHS, FBI, police, regional fusion center, and private-sector activity so completely merged into one another that the monstrous whole is, in fact, one entity: in some cases, bearing a single name, the Domestic Security Alliance Council. And it reveals this merged entity to have one centrally planned, locally executed mission. The documents, in short, show the cops and DHS working for and with banks to target, arrest, and politically disable peaceful American citizens.

The documents, released after long delay in the week between Christmas and New Year, show a nationwide meta-plot unfolding in city after city in an Orwellian world: six American universities are sites where campus police funneled information about students involved with OWS to the FBI, with the administrations’ knowledge (p51); banks sat down with FBI officials to pool information about OWS protesters harvested by private security; plans to crush Occupy events, planned for a month down the road, were made by the FBI – and offered to the representatives of the same organizations that the protests would target; and even threats of the assassination of OWS leaders by sniper fire – by whom? Where? – now remain redacted and undisclosed to those American citizens in danger, contrary to standard FBI practice to inform the person concerned when there is a threat against a political leader (p61).

As Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, executive director of the PCJF, put it, the documents show that from the start, the FBI – though it acknowledgesOccupy movement as being, in fact, a peaceful organization – nonetheless designated OWS repeatedly as a “terrorist threat”:

“FBI documents just obtained by the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund (PCJF) … reveal that from its inception, the FBI treated the Occupy movement as a potential criminal and terrorist threat … The PCJF has obtained heavily redacted documents showing that FBI offices and agents around the country were in high gear conductingsurveillance against the movement even as early as August 2011, a month prior to the establishment of the OWS encampment in Zuccotti Park and other Occupy actions around the country.”

Verheyden-Hilliard points out the close partnering of banks, the New York Stock Exchange and at least one local Federal Reserve with the FBI and DHS, and calls it “police-statism”:

“This production [of documents], which we believe is just the tip of the iceberg, is a window into the nationwide scope of the FBI’s surveillance, monitoring, and reporting on peaceful protestors organizing with the Occupy movement … These documents also show these federal agencies functioning as a de facto intelligence arm of Wall Street and Corporate America.”

The documents show stunning range: in Denver, Colorado, that branch of the FBI and a “Bank Fraud Working Group” met in November 2011 – during the Occupy protests – to surveil the group. The Federal Reserve of Richmond, Virginia had its own private security surveilling Occupy Tampa and Tampa Veterans for Peace and passing privately-collected information on activists back to the Richmond FBI, which, in turn, categorized OWS activities under its “domestic terrorism” unit. The Anchorage, Alaska “terrorism task force” was watching Occupy Anchorage. The Jackson, Mississippi “joint terrorism task force” was issuing a “counterterrorism preparedness alert” about the ill-organized grandmas and college sophomores in Occupy there. Also in Jackson, Mississippi, the FBI and the “Bank Security Group” – multiple private banks – met to discuss the reaction to “National Bad Bank Sit-in Day” (the response was violent, as you may recall). The Virginia FBI sent that state’s Occupy members’ details to the Virginia terrorism fusion center. The Memphis FBI tracked OWS under its “joint terrorism task force” aegis, too. And so on, for over 100 pages.

Jason Leopold, at Truthout.org, who has sought similar documents for more than a year, reported that the FBI falsely asserted in response to his own FOIA requests that no documents related to its infiltration ofOccupy Wall Street existed at all. But the release may be strategic: if you are an Occupy activist and see how your information is being sent to terrorism task forces and fusion centers, not to mention the “longterm plans” of some redacted group to shoot you, this document is quite the deterrent.

There is a new twist: the merger of the private sector, DHS and the FBI means that any of us can become WikiLeaks, a point that Julian Assange was trying to make in explaining the argument behind his recent book. The fusion of the tracking of money and the suppression of dissent means that a huge area of vulnerability in civil society – people’s income streams and financial records – is now firmly in the hands of the banks, which are, in turn, now in the business of tracking your dissent.

Remember that only 10% of the money donated to WikiLeaks can be processed – because of financial sector and DHS-sponsored targeting of PayPal data. With this merger, that crushing of one’s personal or business financial freedom can happen to any of us. How messy, criminalizing and prosecuting dissent. How simple, by contrast, just to label an entity a “terrorist organization” and choke off, disrupt or indict its sources of financing.

Why the huge push for counterterrorism “fusion centers”, the DHS militarizing of police departments, and so on? It was never really about “the terrorists”. It was not even about civil unrest. It was always about this moment, when vast crimes might be uncovered by citizens – it was always, that is to say, meant to be about you.

Struggle in Houston

“We Demand to Know What You Are Forcing Us to Breathe!”

Posted on Jan. 2, 2013, 1:07 p.m. EST by OccupyWallSt

Follow this link to background information on Houston’s toxic East End, more info on projects going on in Manchester such as the Free Store, and photos from other events. For more information contact greencircleas@riseup.net

On Thursday, December 27th, in Houston, TX residents of the Manchester neighborhood joined in unity with anarchist community organizers, Tar Sands Blockaders, Occupiers, leaders from TEJAS (Texas Environmental Justice Advocacy Services), and hunger strikers Diane Wilson and Bob Lindsey, now in their 33rd day of a sustained hunger strike to protest Valero’s involvement with the Keystone XL Pipeline and ultimately their presence in this community. Movements like Occupy Wall Street have given rise to resistance movements that aim to prove that another world is possible.

Anarchists and Tar Sands Blockaders have been organizing in Houston’s toxic East End. For the past two months they have been working to cultivate a community of resistance in the fence-line neighborhood of Manchester. This was most recently displayed when residents of Manchester cheered on Diane Wilson and Bob Lindsey, after they chained their necks to industrial trucks outside this Valero refinery during a TSB action. People came out into the streets and began chanting, “Shut down Valero! Protect Manchester” and, “What do we want? Clean air! When do we want it? NOW!” Diane and Bob began a hunger strike immediately after being arrested for their actions. They were taken to the Harris County Jail where they were made to endure torturous and illegal conditions.

Anarchists and Tar Sands Blockaders helped to facilitate the gathering based on principles of mutual aid and solidarity. A barbecue was held less than one block away from the Valero refinery that poisons the neighborhood.

A sign proclaimed, “EVERYONE WELCOME! TODⒶS BIENVENIDⒶS!” and was accompanied by a free store containing many warm clothing items, books from Tony Diaz’s project, Librotraficante, live music from an Occupy Wall Street member, and toys for children collected and donated by Cherri Foytlin.

Cherri, an indigenous woman, and mother of six from Louisiana, chained herself to a Keystone XL Pipeyard gate on October 24th, a Tar Sands Blockade action.

“From destructive tar sands development that destroy indigenous sovereignty and health at the route’s start to the toxic emissions that will lay further burden on environmental justice communities along the Gulf of Mexico, this pipeline not only disproportionately affects indigenous frontline communities but its clear that it will bring death and disease to all in its path.”

-Cherri Foytlin

 Residents and allies marched the half block to the neighborhoods only park sitting in the shadow of the Valero refinery and it’s insidious smokestacks to issue new demands on the corporate giant. “We demand to know what you are forcing us to breathe! ¡Exigimos saber lo que nos están obligando a respirar!” The community came together in a celebration of unity and strength. The following day, a young woman from the community who helped to write a demand letter to amplify the all too often silenced voices of Manchester, made her way to San Antonio. The president and CEO of Valero, William Kleese, lives there in a multi-billion dollar home in a gated community with a security check point. The young woman, Yudith, intended to speak directly to Kleese but no one came to the door. Yudith left a copy of this letter on the holiday wreath on Kleese’s door.

http://occupywallst.org/article/we-demand-to-know/


#Occupy Votes

Looking toward the 2013 local elections, discussion of certain general principles is in order. IMO, Green Party efforts detached from the mass movement–from labor & environmental activism in particular–would consign us to petty-bourgeois irrelevance.

Sit at home, let MSM persuade us there is no mass movement, all that’s left is to beg favors from the establishment, seek to “influence” Democrats over corporate cocktails. That, my friends, is a lobby, not a party. Want to play that game, better get ourselves a Super-PAC, hunh?

That is not to say the movement is without confusion & contradictions per political mobilization. Austin Occupier Kit O’Connell reflected on FireDogLake after the Nov election, beginning with a clip from Russia Today who, like the FBI, seem to regard movement electoral activity in Texas as important:

Tuned Out Hippies?

Since the Occupy movement began, many have attempted to position the group in opposition to electoral politics. Occupy in its purest form is nonpartisan, and since the beginning of the movement this has been a source of criticism.

If we want to really make a difference, we were told time and again, we should organize similarly to the Tea Party and begin to field candidates for office. When occupiers protested Mitt Romney or other hyper-conservative politicians, they’d be accused of being in bed with Barack Obama. If the movement protested neo-liberals like Obama, we were accused of being traitors to all that was good in the world because we obviously wanted Romney to win (Carnacing is not limited to blogs). Most of all, occupiers got accused of being disconnected from what their critics perceive to be real politics — we were lazy hippies who didn’t understand how the world works and worst of all we don’t vote.

Occupy and many allied activist groups stand in opposition to the idea that electoral politics should be the focus of American political engagement. It is especially opposed to the idea that just voting out one plutocrat and replacing him with a new one will fix our problems — even if that new plutocrat is a woman, from a racial minority, or practices an alternative religion or sexuality. Its ranks are full of activists who supported Obama with hours of hard work in the run-up to the 2008 election, only to “wake the eff up” over the succeeding years and realize real change doesn’t come from far-away leaders.

It’s my experience that occupiers are far more engaged with mainstream politics than mainstream America, which for the most part unthinkingly abstains from participating at all. While the average American simply does not vote, the question of whether to vote and how was an important concern to OWS. Members of Occupy Chicago spent hours in a heated debate over whether it was ethical to burn voter registration cards as a form of protest. Occupiers created street theater around the election: Occupy Chicago members took coffins to the Obama headquarters and launched Revs4Romney. On election day, Occupy the Stage in New Orleans protested the fact that Louisiana is one of eight states which disallow write-in candidates for President by performing a puppet show about the 2-party system at a polling place then accepting symbolic write-in votes (I voted via Twitter for Vermin Supreme). Occupiers held public debate-watching parties, helped Anonymous trend the hashtag #StopNDAA and livetweeted the elections.

Occupy groups also became closely involved in local issues at multiple elections since last September. Here in Austin, one Occupier made an unsuccessful bid for city council, while others became involved in the successful bid to make the city council itself more accountable. Austin will change from one of the country’s only completely at-large city councils to one where each council member represents part of the city. The Occupy AISD working group fought new in-district charter schools by, in part, helping to unseat charter-supporter Sam Guzman. His replacement, Dr. Rev. Jayme Mathias, will be the first openly gay member of Austin’s school board. One of the Gulf Port 7, Ronnie Garza, is featured in the video at the top of this post. Another, Remington Alessi, ran for sheriff as a Green Party candidate. San Antonio’s Meghan Owen took 1.5% of the vote for the Greens in a bid to unseat NDAA-supporting Democrat Representative Lloyd Doggett.

Of course, many see Elizabeth Warren as a massive win for the goals of Occupy Wall Street.

An Ethical Dilemma At the Voting Booth

The larger struggle over the meaning and effectiveness of our democratic system was reflected in the personal choices of Occupiers I spoke with while writing this story. Many expressed support for Dr. Jill Stein — she won my vote the moment I saw her and running-mate Cheri Honkala in person at Occupy Wall Street on September 17, 2012. Occupier Liberty Herbert voted for Stein but expressed half-serious concern over whether her recent arrest at the Tarsands Blockade was a way of pandering to activists. “It’s great to know I’m finally a demographic,” she told me with a laugh.

http://my.firedoglake.com/kitoconnell/2012/11/08/occupy-votes/