Editorial apologies–there is a lot going on and we had overlooked Dr Stein’s timely condolences. But it is important those who counsel capitulation get clear where we stand in the spectrum of global concerns.
Dr. Jill Stein, the 2012 Green Party presidential nominee, just now issued the following statement on the death of Hugo Chávez Frías, president of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela:
“I share great sadness with so many people around the world who are mourning President Hugo Chávez Frías’ untimely death. He died too young, and leaves this world too soon. Some have called him the first democratically elected leader of Venezuela, and it is without question that because of the role he played in history, tens of millions of the poorest and most oppressed people of his country are today participants in their own government. Hugo Chávez led a hemispheric struggle for social justice, democracy, peace, and sustainability, and his influence across the Americas will be felt for decades to come. I wish the people of Venezuela continued success in their struggles for self-determination and a more equitable society.”
The last really large Occupy action was ten months ago–the NATO protests in Chicago in May where, among other epiphanies, the Movement evoked historical memory of 1968 & definitively rejected the Democratic Party and all their works.
In August, the OccupyCampuses focus formally merged with the newSDS. Though short of the overwhelming victory won by Québécois students, SDSers were prominent in the Chicago actions. (By virtue of that merger,SUSJ, aka OccupyUTSA, technically acquired the status of an SDS chapter.)
The students, along with Stein-Honkala campaigners, PPEHRC, Workers World & other activist orgs, carried much of the weight through the fall–the convention protests, etc. Jill Stein & Cheri Honkala addressed the Movement in front of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court at Bowling Green, the site of Occupy Wall Street’s first assembly, on S-17.
S-17 proved much more of a “national gathering” than an over-hyped event in Philly during the summer. By that one-year anniversary had the Occupy-phase of the Movement effectively concluded?
Not quite so simple, of course: in the hubs of NYC, Chicago & Oakland, the occupation remains visibly in the streets–following the “Chicago model”, in a more targeted fashion, in fusion with community-based activism. Significant actions, like “Occupy Sandy”, continue. Even some smaller occupations persist with strike support & a few, like Denver, play an important political role.
If the occupation phase is not wrapped, it has definitely clarified. Occupy was never a 1960s-70s sort of movement. Though styled after the most recent revolutionary experience, Occupy’s fundamentals were always more akin to the 1920s-30s.
Still, the next phase was already gestating in the Tar Sands Blockade–in Houston and the Gulf Coast intimately linked with the occupation. And in a cold November far to the North, at Station 20 West on the South Saskatchewan River, four women declared “We are Idle No More!”
Democrats, through their “environmentalist” camp followers, sought to avoid the failure they’d registered with Occupy and last month attempted a head start on co-optation. But Indigenous Leadership will shrug off those machinations. Ain’t so easy to pull the woolly-woolly on folks who know you remain bent on exterminating them as a people.
That ethic has propagated, as in the immediate actions versus Keystone, Enbridge, Valero et al–where those engaged recognize as secondary which opposition flag flies over a action. The point should now have been made to even the most obtuse–we have come again to an era of Movement with a capital “M“.
History is unequivocal: Movement does not conform to party–party conforms to Movement. Parties who get that may succeed; those who don’t will certainly fail.
– 20-20 hindsight by Paul Pipkin
Jill Stein with SUSJ and Greens at San Pedro Pavilion, Oct 6 (Right front, Antonio Diaz, Texas Indigenous Council–our 2013 candidate for City Council District 2.)
HB 824 should be rejected so let your State representative hear from you
Dear GEAA members and friends,
Heads up on bad bill filed last Friday: H.B. 824 – Callegari would triple the volume of sewage spills that require reporting from the current 500 gallons to 1,500 gallons. It would also exempt from reporting a spill that “does not reach waters of the State”. We read this to mean that many spills occurring in the extremely porous karst of the Edwards Aquifer Recharge Zone would be exempt from reporting. The bill also gives the Texas Commission for Environmental Quality (TCEQ) more latitude in determining which spills are considered harmful to public health.
GEAA’s recently released studies on sewage spills within the Hill Country would have painted a completely different picture of the condition of our sewage infrastructure had the reporting requirements proposed by HB 824 been in effect. We can’t let the Legislature just sweep problems with wastewater infrastructure under the rug.
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.
Last year, as Americans took time for the winter holidays, President Obama used the pres-Christmas lull to release his plans to speed up the Keystone XL pipeline, rollback health care, and undermine civil liberties. Jill Stein responded with this video message.
President Obama has done it again. And again, we are responding. Please read and forward our public statement (below) about how the President and his GOP allies have thrown working Americans under the bus, once again.
Ending the Great Recession, not the deficit, is nation’s top priority
2012 Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein said today that the so-called Fiscal Cliff Talks “need to focus on putting Americans back to work while creating a sustainable economy,” and that the U.S. can do that and end the deficit by:
Restoring progressive taxes on wealthy Americans and corporations, comparable to rates in the Eisenhower and Nixon eras.
Cutting the waste and excess in the military budget.
Curtailing rising health care costs by transitioning to a Medicare for All insurance system.
Investing in a “Green New Deal” that would create the foundation for sustainable prosperity for the 21st Century.
Stein criticized Obama’s latest proposals as, “throwing ordinary Americans under the bus while continuing to reward the economic elite.” These proposals cut the cost of living adjustments for Social Security, seek $400 billion in unspecified cuts to Medicare and other health care programs, extend the Bush tax cuts for households making as much as $400,000, and fast track changes to the corporate tax code.”
“The bipartisan policies of recent decades made the rich a lot richer, pushed millions into poverty and insecurity, and created a 16 trillion dollar national debt. Now both establishment parties are using the national debt as a concocted excuse to cut critical services including Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, unemployment insurance and food stamps. While their proposals differ around the margins, both Democrats and Republicans are promoting austerity budgets that are highly likely to deepen and extend the Great Recession. We need a prosperity budget not an austerity budget. By redirecting trillions of dollars being wasted on the bloated military, Wall Street bail outs, health insurance profiteering, and tax breaks for the wealthy, we have more than enough money to fund our real urgent needs – job creation, infrastructure investments, reducing mortgage and student debt, health care as a human right, and aggressive action against climate change,” said Dr. Stein.
Cheri Honkala, the Green’s 2012 vice-presidential candidate, added “Obama’s token tax hikes of a few percent on high incomes won’t raise significant revenue and are being used as a phony progressive cover to sell the public on Wall Street’s program of cutting social insurance and public services so the super-rich won’t have to pay their taxes. The Fix the Debt crowd are willing to use their small hit on personal income taxes in order to get big cuts on their corporate tax rates, including a ‘territorial tax system’ that enables them to repatriate profits from abroad at no or very low tax rates.”
According to Stein, an array of progressive tax proposals should be implemented including: taxing capital gains at the same rates as wages, ending off-shore tax havens, and enacting a ½% financial transaction tax that could raise over $800 billion in a decade.
Stein also called for a carbon tax on fossil fuel companies to pay for hundreds of billions of dollars every year in military expenditures, health injuries and environmental damage. Billions could also be saved enacting a windfall profits tax and ending tax subsidies for fossil fuels and nukes.
“We reject the austerity policies being foisted on us by both parties, which will hurt everyone, especially working people and the poor. It’s time to stand up for real solutions that will fix the deficit by creating an economy that works for everyday people,” added Honkala.
As the votes are counted and reported, our numbers are rising. As of today, Monday, November 12th, the total number of votes reported for Jill Stein for President are 422,017. This total does not include roughly 5,000 votes projected but still unreported by state officials. And it does not include write-in votes in six states. When all is said and done, the total reported vote should be between 430,000 and 440,000 nationwide.
The states with the highest vote percentage for Jill Stein and Cheri Honkala were Maine (1.30%), Oregon (1.03%), Alaska (1.0%), Arkansas (.87%), Idaho, Hawai’i, and West Virginia (each with .70%). California and New York both reported 0.6% of the vote for the Green ticket.
Overall, this performance means that just over one out of three hundred voters voted Green in this election, or .35%. This total is almost exactly three times the performance of the Green ticket in 2008 as measured by vote percentage.
That is very cool, though perhaps not the perfect way to frame it. To speak of voters who “voted Green“, one must also consider down-ballot votes.
In Bexar Co, for example, there were 826straight Green ballots–one of them was mine… Overall, Jill & Cheri garnered 1765 (.34%). Yet 8460 (1.68%) voted Green for the Tax Assessor–6695 more than voted for the National Ticket. And even more in races lacking a Demo or Repub opponent.
Granted that the scope of fleshed-out 2012 Green slates was limited and not anywhere near the 85% with opportunity to vote the National Ticket, I would still bet there were well in excess of half a million “Green votes” if all the down-ballot races were considered.
Bexar Green Candidates: You can attend the canvassing meeting held on Monday, November 19 at 8:30 am at the Paul Elizondo Tower, 101 W. Nueva 10th floor. This is an open meeting. Should you have any questions about your returns, you would ask at this meeting. For more info on any Election matter, call Jacque Callanen at 335-0362.
Nov 26, Wikipedia tabulated:
“On Election Day, Stein received 445,247 votes (0.35% of the popular vote). Stein received twice the amount of votes Cynthia McKinney received in 2008 and triple the amount of votes David Cobb received in 2004. Stein is the most successful female presidential candidate in U.S. history.”
This is a VIMEO link to the League of Women Voters senatorial forum, Houston cablecast 12 October. It was originally going to feature all four candidates on the Texas ballot for the open US Senate seat, but the two “major-party” candidates declined to appear because…
After a brief introductory civics lesson, the next 25 minutes or so is Libertarian candidate John Jay Myers, followed by 25 minutes of David B. Collins, candidate of the Green Party.
* * * * *
ALSO, from Fort Worth: :
Fort Worth has already won the battle for the 33rd Congressional District
FORT WORTH — No matter what happens on Election Day, the newly drawn congressional district that stretches from Fort Worth’s Stockyards to Dallas’ Oak Cliff neighborhood will be represented by a Fort Worth man.
The question now is which one.
After fierce primary battles earlier this year, the race for the 33rd Congressional District — which pits Democrat state Rep. Marc Veasey, Republican Chuck Bradley and Green Party candidate Ed Lindsay against each other…
The 73-year-old retired educator and part-time insurance broker said he jumped in this race as a member of the Green Party “to make the real changes that are needed for our country.”
The Fort Worth man said the biggest issues in the race include Social Security, Medicare, the economy, the federal debt, the employment rate, individual rights and closing tax loopholes.
He said he’s busy talking to voters, sending campaign e-mails and putting out campaign signs.
Lindsay said he wants voters to know “that I am honest, that I don’t accept corporate money, that I am a true representative of the people and that I am highly educated and knowledgeable about how to solve the problems facing this country.”
Overall, if elected, he said his goal is to “end corporate welfare, ensure Social Security and Medicare are protected, stop deficit spending, end subsidies to oil companies, protect individual rights, stop sending our troops to war without a declaration of war, support our men and women in uniform, especially, veterans, and use my knowledge and 40 years experience in education to solve the nation’s education problems.”
He has run for one other public office, Texas comptroller, in 2010, and he received more than 250,000 votes, or 6.34 percent.