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Our nation was born as the first great experiment in modern democracy. We seek to rescue that heritage from the erosion of citizen participation. Moreover, we seek to dissolve the grip of the ideology, intoned by big-money interests for more than twenty years, that government is intrinsically undesirable and destructive of liberty and that elected officials should rightly "starve the beast" by slashing all spending on social program, in the name of freedom. We challenge that tactic by calling on all Americans to think deeply about the meaning of government of the people, by the people, and for the people. In a democracy, individuals come together to form structures of governance that protect and advance the common good. We the citizens are the government, and we the citizens can direct it to fulfill its finest goals and purposes. Our citizens must not permit usurpation of their authority by acts of individuals and government agencies that isolate or insulate government from their oversight and control. We, the People, have a responsibility to participate in self-government through all the means that our Constitution provides.
Citizens of a democracy must have the information and ability to determine the actions of their government. Vast concentrations of wealth and power that have occurred in recent years are inherently undemocratic. The deregulation of corporate activity and the decentralization and underfunding of the regulatory structures that remain - accompanied by the centralizing of big money - has been a disaster for our country. The true owners of the public lands, pension funds, and the public airwaves are the American people, who today have little or no control over their pooled assets or their commonwealth.
The power of civic action is an antidote to the corporate control of so much of our law-making and regulating. The pervasive abuse imposed by corporate power increasingly undermines our democracy, but the Green Party seeks to rekindle the democratic flame. As voting citizens, taxpayers, workers, consumers, and stakeholders, we unite to exercise our rights and, as Thomas Jefferson urged, to counteract the "excesses of the monied interests." Toward this end, we consider serious reform of campaign funding to be essential, as well as curbs on the influence of corporations on lawmakers and regulatory agencies.
The Green Party considers American democracy to be an ongoing, unfolding project that is dynamic and creative in nature. We are committed to the strengthening of our civil society, including the many mediating institutions at the community level that have always characterized our democracy. We seek to heal the alienation and apathy that has been cultivated in the citizenry by the power-brokers of the status quo. Righteous anger about the crippling of our democracy is rising in the land, and the Greens offer constructive alternatives. In addition, we seek to repair the plummeting opinion of the United States in the international community resulting from our arrogant, narcissistic foreign policy of recent years. A growing and grave imbalance between the citizens of this country and the interests which extract power from the citizens is an imminent danger to our security and national and global social stability. We strongly feel that our country should view itself as a member of the community of nations... not above it. The United States could well play a leadership role in that community but only if we become committed to an eco-social vision of peace, national self-determination, and international cooperation.
Our goal is to become an important political force in this country, and to present candidates for election at every level of government.
- 1. Political debate, public policy, and legislation should be judged on their merits, not on the quid pro quo of political barter and money.
- 2. We propose comprehensive campaign finance reform, including caps on spending and contributions, at the national and state level; and / or full public financing of elections to remove undue influence in political campaigns.
- 3. All viable candidates at the state and federal levels should have free and equal radio and television time and print press coverage.
- 4. We will work to ban or greatly limit political action committees and restrict soft money contributions.
- 5. We support significant lobbying regulation such as strict rules that disclose the extent of political lobbying via "gifts" and contributions. Broad-based reforms of government operations, with congressional reorganization and ethics laws, must be instituted. At every level of government, we support Sunshine Laws that open up the political system to access by ordinary citizens.
- 6. We support increasing the role of independent expository agencies, such as the General Accounting Office.
- 7. We recognize individual empowerment, full citizen participation, and proportional representation as the foundation of an effective and pluralistic democracy.
- 8. We demand choices in our political system. This can be accomplished by proportional representation voting systems such as
- Choice Voting (candidate-based),
- Mixed Member Voting (combines with district representation), and
- Party List (party based);
- and semi-proportional voting systems such as
- Limited Voting, and
- Cumulative Voting.
- All are used throughout the free world and by U.S. businesses, and community and non-profit groups to increase democratic representation. We call on local governments to lead the way toward more electoral choice and broader representation.
- 9. We believe in majority rule and reject the present method of election without a majority. Accordingly, we call for the use of Instant Runoff Voting in chief executive races, (mayor, governor, president, etc.) where voters can rank their favorite candidates (1,2,3, etc.) to guarantee that the winner has majority support and that voters are not relegated to choosing between the lesser of two evils.
- 10. We believe in multi-party democracy for partisan elections as the best way to guarantee majority rule, since more people will have representation at the table where policy is enacted. We assert that introduction of a multi-party democracy is essential because
- The change in the structure of electoral politics will moderate the influence of extremist views and domination by the larger parties, and offer more fair representation to a greater number of citizens; and
- A third party can validate and raise other points of view that need to be heard.
- 11. The Electoral College is an 18th century anachronism. We call for a constitutional amendment abolishing the Electoral College and providing for the direct election of the president by Instant Runoff Voting. Until that time, we call for a proportional allocation of delegates in state primaries.
- 12. Using our voice to help others find their voice, a national Green Party should spring from many sources: state and local Green Party electoral efforts, individual efforts, political involvement and direction at every level. We look toward forming bioregional confederations to coordinate regional issues based on natural and ecosystem boundaries instead of traditional political ones.
- 1. To ensure transparency in government, lesser bodies such as neighborhood boards and county governments must have subpoena power over state governments, which, in turn, should have subpoena power over the national Congress.
- 2. Every jurisdiction should have a civilian complaint review board with subpoena power and the ability to order the dismissal of police officers who make false arrests and abuse those whom they arrest.
- 3. We call for more flexibility by states for local decision-making.
- 4. We advocate citizen rights to initiative, referendum and recall in all states. We believe that these tools of democracy should not be for sale to the wealthy who pay for signatures to buy their way onto the ballot. Therefore we call for a certain percentage of signatures gathered to come from volunteer collectors.
- 5. We call for citizen control of redistricting processes and moving the "backroom" apportionment process into the public light. Give the 10-year redistricting process to the Census Bureau or an independent agency. Minority representation must be protected and secured in order to protect minority rights.
- 6. We will act to broaden voter participation and ballot access. We advocate universal voter registration and an election day holiday and/or conducting elections over more than one day (say on a weekend).
- 7. We believe that a binding None of the Above option on the ballot should be considered.
- 8. We support statehood for the District of Columbia. The residents of D.C. must have the same rights and representation as all other U.S. citizens.
- 9. We advocate that all persons convicted of felonies shall regain full citizenship rights upon completion of their sentence, including the right to vote and to run for elected office.
- 10. We advocate that prisoners be granted the right to vote. [See section H.Prison Conditions on page 35 in chapter II]
- 11. Individual participation in the life of our local community - in community projects and through personal, meaningful, voluntary activity - is also political and vital to the health of community.
- 12. We support citizen involvement at all levels of the decision-making process and hold that non-violent direct action can be an effective tool.
- 13. We advocate maintaining and enhancing federal guarantees in the areas of civil rights protections, environmental safeguards, and social "safety net" entitlements.
- 14. We demand re-enforcement of our civil liberties of speech, assembly, association and petition. Citizens may not be denied the right to public, non-violent protest. Citizens who engage in protest may not be intimidated by government surveillance, repression or retaliation.
- 15. We call for the implementation of Children's Parliaments, whereby representatives are elected by students to discuss, debate and make proposals to their city councils, school boards, county legislative bodies on a local level, to state legislatures statewide, and to Congress nationally.
- 16. As legislatures are updating voting equipment in response to the federal Helping America Vote Act (HAVA) of 2001, we support the growing movement of citizens calling for a strict requirement of a voter-verified paper audit trail for all voting machines installed across the United States. Electronic voting machines must include a verifiable paper trail that allows every voter to verify that his or her vote was recorded and counted accurately, coupled with random audits based on the paper trail. Technology must be used that incorporates a voter-verified paper trail that is accessible to vision-impaired voters.
- 17. Vote-counting software codes manufactured by private corporations have been deemed proprietary, banning public review of the means by which elections are determined. Therefore, to protect against fraud, voting machine source code must be open for public inspection and verification before and after an election.
Social diversity is the well-spring of community life where old and young, rich and poor, and people of all races and beliefs can interact individually and learn to care for each other, and to understand and cooperate. We emphasize a return to local, face-to-face relationships that humans can understand and care about.
Among Greens, our guiding principle is to think globally and act locally. Community needs recognize a diversity of issues, and local control recognizes a variety of approaches to solving problems, ones that tend to be bottom-up not top-down. Green politics does not place its faith in paternalistic big government. Instead, Greens believe face-to-face interactions are essential to productive and meaningful lives for all citizens.
The Green vision includes building communities that nurture families, generate good jobs and housing, and provide public services; creating cities and towns that educate children, encourage recreation, and preserve natural and cultural resources; building local governments that protect people from environmental hazards and crime; and motivating citizens to participate in making decisions.
The Green vision calls for a global community of communities that recognize our immense diversity, respect our personal worth, and share a global perspective. We call for an approach to politics that acknowledges our endangered planet and habitat. Our politics responds to global crises with a new way of seeing our shared international security.
We will conceive a new era of international cooperation and communication that nurtures cultural diversity, recognizes the interconnectedness between communities, and promotes opportunities for cultural exchange and assistance.
- 1. We call for increased public transportation, convenient playgrounds and parks for all sections of cities and small towns, and funding to encourage diverse neighborhoods. [See section C.Transportation on page 44 in chapter III]
- 2. We support a rich milieu of art, culture, and significant (yet modestly funded) programs such as the National Endowment for the Arts and National Endowment for the Humanities. [See section E.Education and the Arts on page 27 in chapter II]
Families and Children
- 3. We call for social policies to focus on protecting families. The young - our citizens of tomorrow - are increasingly at risk. Programs must ensure that children, who are among the most vulnerable members of society, receive basic nutritional, educational, and medical necessities. The Green Party supports and seeks to expand Head Start and Pre- and neo-natal programs. A Children's Agenda should be put in place to focus attention and concerted action on the future that is our children. [See section A.8. Youth Rights on page 23 in chapter II]
- 4. A universal, federally funded childcare program for pre-school and young schoolchildren should be developed.
- 5. Family assistance such as the earned income tax credit, available to working poor families in which the parent supports and lives with the children, should be maintained and increased to offset regressive payroll taxes and growing inequalities in American society. [See section E. True Cost Pricing and Tax Fairness on page 61 in chapter IV]
- 6. A living family wage is vital to the social health of communities. [See section D. Livable Income on page 61 in chapter IV]
- 7. The actuarial protection of social security is essential to the well-being of our seniors, and maintenance of the system's integrity is an essential part of a healthy community. We oppose privatization of social security, call for the program to remain under the aegis of the Federal Government, and seek to expand its effectiveness. [See section M. National Debt on page 70 in chapter IV]
- 8. We support the leading-edge work of non-profit public interest groups and those individuals breaking out of "careerism" to pursue non-traditional careers in public service.
Alternative Community Service
- 9. We must create new opportunities for citizens to serve their communities through non-military community service. Alternative community service to the military should be encouraged.
- 10. We advocate the formation of a Civilian Conservation Corps, with national leadership and state and local affiliates, to spearhead efforts to work on the tasks of environmental education, restoration of damaged habitats, reforestation, and cleaning up polluted waterways. Providing land and resource management skills will challenge young people while encouraging social responsibility.
In the area of trade, third- and fourth-world economies and resources are being ravaged, and our own economy and job security undermined, by global corporatization which concentrates greater power in the hands of fewer interests who are unaccountable to the vast majority of the world's people.
As we overcome continued conflicts and violence we realize the difficulties inherent in encouraging democracy and of advancing the cause of peace. We face a more complex set of challenges in how our nation defines its national security. Greens support sustainable development and social and economic justice across the globe. Reducing militarism and reliance on arms policies is the key to progress toward collective security.
1. Foreign Policy - Peace and Disarmament
- a. As one of the initiators and primary authors of the United Nations Charter, the United States is obligated to conform to the stipulations of the U.S. Constitution, which identifies all such agreements as treaties that hold the authority of U.S. law. The U.S. government is pledged to abide by its principles and guidelines in the conduct of foreign relations and affairs.
- b. We recognize our government's obligation to take disputes with other nations or foreign bodies to the U.N. Security Council and General Assembly forum for negotiation and resolution. The U.N. and international laws, treaties and conventions that the U.S. has signed are the framework that controls U.S. military actions abroad.
- c. The U.S. must recognize the sovereignty of nation-states and their right of self-determination.
- d. We recognize and support the right of the U.N. to intervene in a nation-state engaged in genocidal acts or in its persistent violation and denial of the human rights of an ethnic or religious group within its boundaries, and the right to protect the victims of such acts.
- e. The U.S. is obligated to render military assistance or service under U.N. command to enforce a U.N. Security Council resolutions.
- f. The U.S. must recognize and abide by the authority of the U.N. General Assembly to act in a crisis situation by passing a resolution under the Uniting for Peace Procedure when the U.N. Security Council is stalemated by vetoes.
- g. We seek the permanent repeal of the veto power enjoyed by the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council.
- h. We urge our government to sign the International Criminal Court agreement and respect the authority of that institution.
- i. Our government does not have the right to justify pre-emptive invasion of another country on the grounds that the other country harbors, trains, equips and funds a terrorist cell.
- j. Our government should establish a policy to abolish nuclear weapons. It should set the conditions and schedule for fulfilling that goal by taking the following steps:
- Declare a no-first-strike policy.
- Declare a no-pre-emptive strike policy.
- Declare that the U.S. will never threaten or use a nuclear weapon, regardless of size, on a non-nuclear nation.
- Sign the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT). Our pledge to end testing will open the way for non-nuclear states to sign the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), which has been held up by our refusal to sign the CTBT. Honor the conditions set in the NPT for nuclear nations.
- Reverse our withdrawal from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty and honor its stipulations.
- End the research, testing and stockpiling of all nuclear weapons of any size.
- Dismantle all nuclear warheads from their missiles.
- k. We urge our government to sign the Toronto treaty banning the production, stockpiling, use and sale of land mines, and assist other nations in unearthing and disabling land mines buried in their lands.
- l. We urge our government to end all stockpiling of chemical and biological weapons and all research, use, and sale of such weapons; and sign the convention that will establish the decrease and inspection of all nations' stockpiles of such weapons, which the U.S. abandoned.
- m. The U.S. must allow foreign teams to visit the U.S. for verification purposes at least annually.
- n. Our defense budget has increased out of all proportion to any military threat to the United States, and to our domestic social, economic and environmental needs. The United States government must reduce our defense budget to half of its current size. The 2005 defense budget is estimated at around $425 billion, and that does not take into account military expenditures not placed under the defense budget.
- o. The U.S. has over 700 foreign military bases. We urge our government to phase out all bases not specifically functioning under a U.N. resolution to keep peace and bring home our troops stationed abroad, except for the military assigned to protect a U.S. embassy. Many of these bases are small and can be closed immediately. We advocate further reductions in U.S. foreign military bases at a rate of closure of 1/4 to 1/5 of their numbers every year.
- p. Close the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation, formerly known as the School of the Americas, in Ft. Benning, Georgia.
- q. The U.S. is the largest arms seller and dealer in the world. We urge our government to prohibit all arms sales to foreign nations and likewise prohibit grants to impoverished and undemocratic nations unless the money is targeted on domestic, non-military needs. In addition, grants to other nations may not be used to release their own funds for military purposes.
- r. The U.S. must not be a conduit for defense contractors to market their products abroad and must shift our export market from arms to peaceful technology, industrial and agricultural products, and education.
- s. The U.S. must prohibit all covert actions used to influence, de-stabilize or usurp the governments of other nations, and likewise prohibit the assassination of, or assistance in any form for the assassination of, foreign government officials.
- t. We must build on the Earth Charter that came out of the 1992 U.N. environmental Earth Summit. New definitions of what constitutes real security between nations must be debated and adopted by the foreign policy community.
2. A Real Road to Peace in the Middle East
The Green Party of the United States recognizes that our greatest contribution to peace in the Middle East will come through our impact on U.S. policy in the region.
Our commitments to ecological wisdom, social justice, grass-roots democracy, and non-violence compel us to oppose U.S. government support for "friendly" regimes, both in Israel and in the Arab world, whenever those regimes violate human rights, international law, and existing treaties. Those same values compel us to support popular movements for peace and demilitarization, especially those that reach across the lines of conflict to engage both Palestinians and Israelis of good will.
- a. We reaffirm the right of self-determination for both Palestinians and Israelis, which precludes the self-determination of one at the expense of the other. We recognize the historical and contemporary cultural diversity of Israeli-Palestinian society, including the religious heritage of Jews, Christians, Muslims and others. This is a significant part of the rich cultural legacy of all these peoples and it must be respected. To ensure this, we support equality before international law rather than appeals to religious faith as the fair basis on which claims to the land of Palestine-Israel are resolved.
- b. We recognize that Jewish insecurity and fear of non-Jews is understandable in light of Jewish history of horrific oppression in Europe. However, we oppose as both discriminatory and ultimately self-defeating the position that Jews would be fundamentally threatened by the implementation of full rights to Palestinian-Israelis and Palestinian refugees who wish to return to their homes. As U.S. Greens, we refuse to impose our views on the people of the region; rather, we would turn the U.S. government towards a new policy, which itself recognizes the equality, humanity, and civil rights of Jews, Muslims, Christians, and all others who live in the region, and which seeks to build confidence in prospects for secular democracy.
- c. We reaffirm the right and feasibility of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes in Israel. We acknowledge the significant challenges of equity and restitution this policy would encounter and call on the U.S. government to make resolution of these challenges a central goal of our diplomacy in the region.
- d. We reject the U.S.' unbalanced financial and military support of Israel while Israel occupies Palestinian lands. We call on the U.S. President and Congress to end all military aid to Israel, shifting much of that aid to ecologically appropriate local projects for economic and social development for Palestinians as well as Israelis. Until Israel withdraws from the Occupied Territories and dismantles the separation wall, we call on our government to suspend all other foreign aid to Israel as well.
- e. We demand that the U.S. government end its veto of Security Council resolutions pertaining to Israel. We urge our government to join with the U.N. to secure the withdrawal of Israel to the 1967 boundaries and to withhold its grants and loans to Israel until this withdrawal is undertaken.
- f. We recognize the limited natural resources in Palestine-Israel and the necessity of creating an Arab/Israeli commission to negotiate the sharing of water by both nationalities.
- g. We support a much stronger and supportive U.S. position with respect to all United Nations, European Union, and Arab League initiatives that seek a negotiated peace, and we support significantly greater U.S. financial support for such non-military solutions. We call for an immediate U.N.-sponsored, multinational peacekeeping and protection force in the Palestinian territories with the mandate to initiate a conflict-resolution commission.
- h. We call on the foreign and military affairs committees of the U.S. House and Senate to conduct full hearings on the status of human rights and war crimes in Palestine/Israel.
- i. We call on congressional intelligence committees to conduct full and public hearings on the development and deployment of weapons of mass destruction, whether by the Israeli military, irregular militias, or Arab states. It should be U.S. policy to seek the removal and/or destruction of all such weapons of mass death wherever they are found.
- j. We call for the complete dismantling of the Israeli separation wall in the occupied West Bank. A Green policy toward Israel and Palestine would offer such incentives for peace and mutual security that the wall would be unnecessary, and seen for what it is... an obstacle to peace and a unilateral escalation of conflict.
- k. We know that significant international opinion is committed to a two-state solution. Yet, we recognize that the two-state solution may be increasingly unrealistic in the face of economic and social conditions in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. Given this reality, we would consider support for a U.S. foreign policy that promotes serious reconsideration of the creation of one secular, democratic state for Palestinians and Israelis on the land between the Mediterranean Sea and the River Jordan as the national home of both peoples, with Jerusalem as its capital. We encourage a new U.S. diplomatic initiative to begin the long process of negotiation, laying the groundwork for such a single-state constitution.
- l. We recognize that such a state might take many forms, such as what might emerge from careful consideration of the Swiss model. The eventual model that is chosen must be decided by the peoples themselves. We realize the enormous hostilities that now exist between the two peoples, but history tells us that these are not insurmountable among peace-seeking people.
- m. As an integral part of peace negotiations and the transition to peaceful democracy, we call for the establishment of a Truth and Reconciliation Commission whose inaugurating action would be mutual acknowledgement by Israelis and Palestinians that they have the same basic rights, including the right to exist in the same, secure place.
3. Foreign Policy - Trade
We urge our government to do the following:
- a. Re-formulate all international trade relations and commerce as currently upheld by the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the World Trade Organization (WTO), the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank (WB), and the nascent Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) to protect the labor, human rights, economy, environment and domestic industry of partner and recipient nations so that the growth of local industry and agriculture has the advantage over foreign corporate domination.
- b. Re-structure the rules of performance of the IMF/WB to end the debts of recipient nations, and to install strict standards in the IMF/WB that control the use of grants or loans to prevent fraud, misuse, and subversion of funds by recipient governments.
- c. Re-write the rules for investment of corporate capital in projects operated under the IMF/WB to guarantee the rights of the citizens of the nations receiving the investment and their right to public ownership and control of their own resources.
- d. Mandate and protect labor's right to organize, create unions and negotiate with management in all countries receiving U.S. investment, and require U.S. corporations that operate in other countries to guarantee those workers the same rights that American workers enjoy.
- e. Legislate and enable oversight by an independent agency or a labor union to verify that foreign workers' rights are protected.
- f. At home, secure the rights of our states to establish stricter standards for health, safety, and for the environment than those of our national government, and to protect themselves against substandard, imported goods.
- g. Secure the right of states and municipalities to refuse to invest in foreign businesses that do not abide by their standards for imported goods, fair trade, and environmental protection.
- h. Prohibit U.S. corporations from avoiding or evading payment of their taxes by banking abroad or locating their charters offshore.
- i. Every day over $1 trillion dollars circles the globe in currency trade - wreaking havoc on low-economy nations - without obligation to sustainable investment. We seek to restrict the unfettered flow of capital and currency trade, and levy the Tobin tax of .05% on cross border currency transactions. [See section E. 2. Fair Taxation on page 62 in chapter IV]
- j. We support the funding and expansion of non-government organizations (NGOs) in their missions to educate and train people of less developed nations in initiating local business and economic development, and in providing health care and family planning.
- k. Under the agency of the United Nations, we demand that our government renew and initiate government funding and support for family planning, contraception, and abortion in all countries that request it.
- l. We reject the U.S. government's economic blockade of Cuba. We ask the U.S. Congress to lift the embargo and restore normal diplomatic relations and respect for national sovereignty, and demand that the U.S. government end its veto of U.N. resolutions pertaining to Cuba.
We call for the repeal of the USA PATRIOT Act. Many of its provisions, along with many of the other so-called National Security Acts, undermine and erode our Bill of Rights, and contribute to the destruction of the democratic foundation of checks and balances between the branches of government.
The Greens believe that all such systematic degradation or elimination of our constitutional protections must stop, and that corrective measures need to be taken in a timely manner by Congress to fully reinstate all such losses of guaranteed citizen protections.
The peaceful exploration of Space has been usurped by the militarization of Space. The last four
U.S. - backed military conflicts have used space-based technology to disrupt the computer and communication systems of sovereign states. The funds required for continuing peaceful Space exploration have been used, instead, for the design, implementation and deployment of wasteful and dangerous Space hardware, such as the Strategic Defense Initiative.
- 1. The Green Party calls for the end of Space militarization and opposes any form of space-based military aggression. We embrace peaceful Space exploration as a means for all people on this planet to work together. The benefits of inspired education are well worth the investment in peaceful Space exploration.
- 2. The Green Party supports only the peaceful and sustainable exploration of Space, on a case by case, mission-specific basis, including the signing of the International Treaty for the Demilitarization of Space. The Green Party advocates a reduction of human-staffed space flight due to the high cost and risk for human life and the availability of automated technology that can perform necessary functions in space-based research.