Jill Stein on Principles & Values
Green Party presidential nominee; Former Challenger for MA Governor
But while the two-party system may be deeply unpopular, it's also deeply entrenched. Greens and Libertarians have both spent tremendous resources to overcome laws designed by Democrats and Republicans to keep competition off the ballot. Yet despite this milestone, the mainstream media have given us less than 1% of the coverage they've given Trump & Clinton. Of the relatively tiny amount of coverage we get, most is either openly hostile or subtly negative
What would our history look like if another challenger to the two-party system, Abraham Lincoln, had been locked out of debates by the dominant parties of his time, the Democrats and the Whigs? The Republican Party was an upstart in a time of discontent. Today our country is once again mired in discontent.
Hillary Clinton: It was a master class watching President Lincoln get the Congress to approve the 13th Amendment. President Lincoln was trying to convince some people, he used some arguments; convincing other people, he used other arguments.
Jill Stein: Hillary's public statement is that she is the friend to women and children, but, in fact, her actual track record is to dismantle Aid to Families with Dependent Children, to have supported NAFTA and the offshoring of our jobs, to support the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
Despite her outreach to Sanders' supporters, Stein has been largely ignored--even after years' worth of effort--by Sanders himself. With that in mind, Stein and Baraka spent Wednesday evening hoping to win over a national audience.
She implied Clinton was so well-connected as to be above the law. With regard to the former secretary of state's email controversy, Stein called Clinton "too big to jail."
Compounding her concerns with Clinton's character and alleged impropriety, Stein hit Clinton's record on foreign policy. "I do have serious questions about Hillary's judgment, her safeguarding of national security information and above all, her trustworthiness in the job where she will have her finger on the button," Stein said.
The policies she fought for--along with her husband and political partner, Bill Clinton--have been foundations of the economic disaster most Americans are still struggling with: the abuses of deregulated Wall Street, rigged corporate trade agreements, racist mass incarceration, and the destruction of the social safety net for poor women and children. The consistent efforts of the Democratic Party to minimize, sideline, and sabotage the Sanders campaign are a wake up call that we can't have a revolutionary campaign inside a counter-revolutionary party. I call on the tens of millions inspired by Bernie Sanders' call for political revolution.
The only "news" that matters to the mainstream media is how their presence in the race affects Hillary vs. Trump--in other words, could Dr. Stein get enough votes in Massachusetts to hurt Hillary, or could Gov. Johnson do the same to Trump in New Mexico?
If Jill Stein were running as a Democrat, she would get as much coverage as Sen. Bernie Sanders (D, VT) got--googling Jill Stein in late May 2016 brings up fewer than 39,000 results, whereas googling Bernie Sanders brings up 39 million results. In other words, by switching from Independent to Democrat, Sanders increased his coverage by more than 1,000-fold.
STEIN: There has been a long and valiant effort for many decades to reform the Democratic Party. But the party has a built-in kill switch that it created in 1972 after George McGovern won the primaries as a peace candidate. They changed the internal party system to insure that grassroots candidates would never be elected again. This included creating the superdelegates in order to empower the party insiders to call the shots. The superdelegates are about 30% of the total needed to win the nomination, so it's a very powerful firewall. Likewise with the Super Tuesday primaries. So it's a doomed struggle, right from the outset, to try to reform the party.
Thankfully, these crises are still eminently solvable. With a majority of Americans disapproving of both establishment parties, there is unprecedented momentum for a new way forward, based on principles of democracy, justice and peace, towards an America and a world that works for all of us.
Stein: We don't live in a religious country--in the sense of having no national religion, and instead the separation of church & state--so faith should not be a public issue. But, yes, it tends to be something that people are interested in. I'm not comfortable with any narrow religious or secular view of the world. Religious societies where religion is enshrined in government are extremely problematic. I respect every faith and look for a moral and ethical foundation of how society works--but that is independent of faith or whether one has a religion at all. And that needs to be reflected in our government. Failing to separate church and state is a bad prescription.
Stein: I was brought up in a reform Jewish family--where the key [aspects of faith] are community and social responsibility--I did not come away with a sense of "Jewish right & wrong" that is different from "right & wrong" period. My husband was brought up Protestant but is a practicing atheist--I bring that perspective of religious neutrality--we need to be a diverse society--that's just a condition of the modern world.
STEIN: Into a dark site, actually. Handcuffed to a metal chair for eight hours, surrounded by 16 police and Secret Service. I mean, this is how afraid they are that word gets out that people have a choice.
Q: Tell the story, how you got there.
STEIN: So, my running mate and I were at the debate because we were on the ballot for over 85% of voters. And if the League of Women Voters were still in charge of the commission on presidential debates, if it were truly a public interest institution--which the public thinks it is, but which it's actually not--it's now run by the Democratic and Republican parties--we would have been in the debate. And we should have been in the debate. Gary Johnson should have been in the debate as a libertarian. We were arrested trying to get in, and we were handcuffed and taken by police & Secret Service to a dark site. The facility itself was a secret.
STEIN: I find the term "win" is very confusing. To my mind it is a win to--
Q: I mean get enough votes to become the president.
STEIN: Yes, right. But the real win is about bringing that voice to the social movements that are vibrant and alive and growing and which deserve to be front and center in the political dialog and need a national voice.
Q: And why do you think they would want the Green Party to be their voice?
STEIN: Well, it just so happens that the Green Party is the one non-corporate national electoral party that has a fighting chance, because we have a base which is national, we can get on the ballot in enough states that we can contest to be in the debates, we can contest for coverage. We are the one infrastructure that's available nationally.
STEIN: That's right. I grew up in the suburbs north of Chicago.
Q: And you started off early with a science bent?
STEIN: Yes, definitely. I loved to go collecting butterflies with my father in suburban Highland Park. Growing up as a kid, I had a family that was very securely middle-class in the 1950s, growing up with all the privileges of being white.
Q: Is that middle class that they were professionals?
STEIN: My father was a professional, and my mother was able to stay home and raise the kids. He was a small business attorney.
Q: Corporate law, that kind of stuff?
STEIN: Yes, exactly, that's right. And I grew up in a household that was largely apolitical but very sympathetic and interested in the civil rights movement. I became very involved in the antiwar movement in high school and sort of had that combat in my household. They weren't quite ready to go there.
Both Democrats and Republicans are making it worse: imposing austerity on the everyday people of this country while they continue to squander trillions on wars for oil, Wall Street bailouts and tax breaks for the wealthy.
The American people are at the breaking point, and we can use this election to turn that breaking point into a tipping point, to take back our democracy and the peaceful, just, green future we deserve. We're at the breaking point not only for people, but the planet, for the economy, and for our democracy. So, it's very important that we have a real change in course.
A. Occupy is very much a part of a broader move for democracy and economic and social justice. That is alive and well around the world. Just look at what is going on in Wisconsin which is directly linked to Occupy. It doesn't have the name of Occupy, but they slept for three weeks in the statehouse. If that's not Occupy, what is? The Occupy movement, beneath the surface, represents a political coming of age of a younger generation who have been on the receiving end of a generally exploitative economy. One of those groups to exploit has been young people. They have been exploited in education. The unemployment crisis hits them the hardest. They are bearing the burden for the climate disruptions that are coming down the pike.
A. You might look at one party as a rapidly sinking ship and say we're going to vote for the other guy because the ship's not going down so fast. We don't like him but he's not sinking the ship so fast. But the real question is, if both of those ships are heading for the bottom of the ocean, do you want to be on either of them? No. There's no question about where those ships are heading if you are looking at the economy.
A: I wanted to help the Green Party find someone who could run and there weren't a lot of campaigns that could ramp up, and having run for state office multiple times...
Q: In Massachusetts?
A: I ran for governor in 2010; I also ran for governor in 2002, and I also ran for secretary of state in 2006. Everyone is upset out there. People are really upset and we have no politics to attach it to.
Q: Electoral politics?
A: Exactly. There is not a political vehicle for this and it was going to be the Greens or nobody because Nader, for a variety of reasons, is not going to run, and if you're not Nader, it takes a political party. Nader is just about the only person who can run a non-corporate campaign without having an expensive electoral organization. It's impressive that the Greens have survived when the Progressive Party and the Socialist Party as electoral organizations have all folded.
A: After Nader, I think Greens feel so vindicated right now. We've had this experience over the past 8 years where we've been told to silence ourselves, muzzle yourselves, shut up, hold your nose, vote for the "lesser evil." Now people really have the evidence that silence is not an effective political strategy, and what we do if we silence the public interest, is that we silence ourselves and then we do not have a democracy. Witness what just happened with the Defense Authorization bill. We cannot go there and we need to do something. It just doesn't pass the "laugh test" anymore, and silence just is not working, nor is the politics of fear. The politics of fear has brought us everything we are afraid of, including the endless wars, the collapsing economy--all the rest. Two ships are going down--Democrats and Republicans are both going down. Historically, we've said the Republican ship is going faster. I think that's debatable right now.
But the truth is both sides--despite the rhetoric--are responsible for the harsh policies driving our economy and our democracy into deep crisis. Simply put, they place the interests of Wall Street ahead of the needs of everyday people and the long term welfare of our nation.
[I want] to talk about the major problems that are not being solved by the political establishment. And focus on key game-changing solutions that have been kept off the table for too long.
The Green New Deal is an emergency four part program of specific solutions for moving America quickly out of crisis into the secure green future.
A: The chemistry between our campaign and the Occupy movement is a fruitful dialog. They came from a place that we completely agree with. American politics is predatory; we agree with them 100% on that issue. They largely aren't aware of alternative politics.
Q: Do you see an electoral future for the Occupy movement like the Tea Party took up?
A: As I've gone around and introduced myself, we've been welcomed with open arms and established a very good relationship with each of the Occupy sites we visited. As they increasingly are forced out of public spaces and have to use other tools, they are indeed looking more closely at electoral politics. I've been very gratified to see them on several occasions taking a stand on disavowing any interest in the corporate-sponsored Democratic and Republican Parties.
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