Tuesday, 2 October 2012

A Real Choice for the USA

Jill Stein - Green Party candidate for President of the USA
Throughout the western world, more and more people are switching off to politics as the mainstream becomes ever more centrifugally clustered around a narrow, pro-free market, capitalist consensus. At best, the choice of leaders and parties is about the same as choosing your corporate bank: variations on a theme. There may be a pseudo-democratic process of voting, but in truth there is no real choice. For all that the western media castigates the "managed democracy" of Putin's Russia, there is little effective long-term difference between Labour and Tory/Lib Dem in Britain, between CDU and SPD in Germany, or Republican and Democrat in the USA.

Sure, there is a lot of noise - a lot of anger and boiling debate - but the dissonance mask the ever smaller and smaller real differences. Tax policy, ownership, banking arrangements, the trade system, energy, outsourced and privatised state services...the practical differences are fewer and fewer. And with big business funding the parties (in some cases, companies even give money to more than one party), it is clear whose agenda is prioritised by the political elite.

But there are choices: the system is stacked against them, whether because of their exclusion from the mainstream media, or by the first-past-the-post voting system in Britain or the huge obstacles to democratic ballot access in many US states. But they are there.

This November, while the media and the money focus on Obama and Romney, Americans do have a real and very different third choice. A politician who stands for a very different, democratic system, one that challenges and tames the corporations, breaks down the influence of big money and big business, brings services back into public hands and takes action on clean energy.

Jill Stein is the Green Party candidate for President of the USA. Thanks to the undemocratic nomination system, she is not on the ballot in every state, even although it is a federal election. But she is mounting a challenge on the ballot in 38 states, as a write-in in a further 5 states and is litigating for access in 6 more. In only 2 - Oklahoma and Nevada - have the Greens no prospect of being a choice for voters.

Jill Stein is a physician, from a Jewish background and is a former candidate for Governor of Massachusetts. She advocates a return to public service and values, a "Green New Deal" to get ordinary people back to work in a more sustainable economy and a redistribution of wealth. She has marched with the Occupy Wall Street Movement, supporting its rebellion against the power of the 1% and criticised the brutal police crackdown on the protests. Last month, during a sit-in at a Philadelphia Bank to highlight housing repossessions, she and her running mate, Cheri Honkala, were arrested along with other Green activists. She has characterised Barak Obama as "a wolf in sheep's clothing" and Mitt Romney as "a wolf in wolf's clothing" - so similar are their agendas.

Cheri Honkala, VP candidate
In foreign policy, she has called for a big reduction in US military spending (which is currently more than all the rest of the world put together), and dialogue rather than confrontation with America's opponents. She opposes the drone strikes which have been used so massively and counter-productively by the Obama Administration in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Yemen. On Palestine/Israel, she has criticised the USA's favouring of Israel and called for diplomatic action to respect human rights, bring down the Separation Wall built by Israel, restore free movement for Palestinians and commit Israel to getting rid of its huge nuclear arsenal and banning its policy of assassination of its opponents. In the event of lack of action on these, she believes the US should apply economic and political sanctions.

In one mock election, at Illinois University, Stein polled 27% of the votes cast to 33% for Romney and 39% for Obama. In national surveys, over 90 million Americans have said they do not intend to vote for either Romney or Obama - if rather than sitting at home they came out and chose Jill Stein, they could really make history. 

Interview with Jill Stein here.

1 comment: