I want to thank everyone who volunteered, donated, voted, and participated in the Green Party campaigns in Albany this year. After many years the Green Party in Albany is once again presenting a crucial challenge to the Democrats, however small its first steps might be. We offered alternatives to a status quo which offers no real economic, environmental, or political change for the working class in Albany.
If you did help out on the campaign or wanted to but couldn't - please stay engaged. Building a real alternative political party and movement takes time and effort. The serious issues facing this city, region, and country won't be solved in the short-term, and they won't be solved at all by the Democratic or Republican parties, which are fronts for the ruling class and its agenda of austerity - and in Albany, with 30% of the population below the poverty line, the status quo is always going to mean austerity.
Remember that every Green vote is a conscious vote, and votes for Democrats are by and large done by default in this town. When Greens do run long, grassroots campaigns here we are the second party. That was true in my race and, by and large given the short amount of time she had, Theresa Portelli's as well.
Voter turnout was very low this election - nearly 70% of eligible voters chose not to turn out to the polls. That should tell us a vast majority of Albany is searching for an alternative, but years of one-party rule have created enough demoralization to persuade them voting doesn't matter.
It's up to us to show them a real political party organized for the vast majority of working people in Albany exists and is worth their vote.
That means real grassroots efforts in the community building relationships, trust and goodwill. It means discussing why our platform of full employment at living wages via a Green New Deal, a democratized and cooperative economy, a zero-waste environmental policy, the need for 100% renewable energy to combat climate change, real electoral reform to empower citizens, the ending of racist policies towards minorities by the police, legalizing marijuana - which are by and large supported by the majority of citizens - are worth voting for and supporting the Green Party.
Mayor-elect Kathy Sheehan, a corporate lawyer by trade, and Councilperson-elect Judd Krasher, an employee of State Sen. Jeff Klein, won't address these issues. The Democratic Party, with its absolute control of city government, won't address them. If the power structure here wanted to, it already would have done so long ago. It's up to us.
I've got a lot of ideas on our next steps, and I'm sure many of you do, too. It's time to meet, plan, organize and move forward. Join us!
~ Peter LaVenia
Peter LaVenia was the Green Party candidate for Albany, New York Common Council