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II. SOCIAL JUSTICE
Historically, America led the world in establishing a society with democratic values such as equal opportunity and protection from discrimination. Today, however, our country is among the most extreme examples of industrialized nations that have a widening gap between the wealthy and the rest of its citizenry - the working poor, the struggling middle class, and those who increasingly cannot make ends meet.
Our public schools, from kindergarten through college, are forced to cut back countless programs and services. Fees for community colleges are up sharply, and many public universities must turn away qualified students. More than 43 million Americans have no medical insurance coverage. The crisis in publicly subsidized housing is intensifying, while publicly funded "corporate welfare" continues unabated. Our tax code favors the wealthy. Our criminal justice system assigns long prison terms to hundreds of thousands of perpetrators of victimless crimes, such as selling marijuana. Our civil liberties of privacy and free speech are impaired by the excesses of the USA PATRIOT Act and kindred new laws that use a national tragedy (the attacks on September 11, 2001) as an excuse to impose ubiquitous surveillance and control over citizens. In addition, discrimination based on gender, ethnicity, or race continues to sap the potential of our society and to violate personal dignity.
Feelings of isolation and helplessness are common in America today. Children are increasingly shaped by an "electronic childhood" with little direct experience of nature and free play. Our families are scattered, our popular culture is crassly manipulated by the profit motives of increasingly concentrated media conglomerates, and our sense of community is a pale shadow of what earlier generations of Americans knew.
The Green Party strongly believes that the quality of life is determined not only by material aspects that can be measured and counted but also by elements that cannot be quantified. We firmly support the separation of church and state, but we also acknowledge the spiritual dimension of life, and we honor the cultivation of various types of spiritual experience in our diverse society.
We believe that artistic expression and a thriving structure of art institutions are key to community well-being. We believe that a deep and broad embrace of nonviolence is the only effective way to stop cycles of violence, from the home to the streets to the international level. We advocate a diverse system of education that would introduce children early to the wonders of the Great School (Nature), and would cultivate the wisdom of eco-education, eco-economics, eco-politics, and eco-culture. We seek to protect our children from the corrosive effects of mass culture that trains them to regard themselves first and foremost as consumers.
We support the shift in modern medicine to include healing through complementary therapies and engagement with the Great Hospital (Nature). We seek, in short, to facilitate the healthy unfolding of the person within the unfolding story of the family, community, bioregion, state, nation, and Earth community.
One of our key values is respect for diversity. We are committed to establishing relationships that honor diversity; that support the self-definition and self-determination of all people; and that consciously confront the barriers of racism, sexism, homophobia, class oppression, ageism, and the many ways our culture separates us from working together. We support affirmative action to remedy discrimination, to protect constitutional rights and to provide equal opportunity under the law.
1. Women's Rights
Since the beginning of what we call civilization, when men's dominance over women was firmly established until the present day, our history has been marred with oppression of and brutality to women. The Green Party deplores this system of male domination, known as patriarchy, in all its forms, both subtle and overt - from oppression, inequality, and discrimination to domestic violence, rape, trafficking and forced slavery. The change the world is crying for cannot occur unless women's voices are heard. Democracy cannot work without equality for women that provides equal participation and representation. It took an extraordinary and ongoing fight over 72 years for Women to win the right to vote. However, the Equal Rights Amendment has still not been ratified.
We believe that equality should be a given, and that all Greens must work toward that end. We are committed to increasing participation of women in politics, government and leadership so they can change laws, make decisions, and create policy solutions that affect and will improve women's lives, and we are building our party so that Greens can be elected to office to do this. In July 2002 the Women's Caucus of the Green Party of the United States was founded to carry out the Party's commitment to women.
We also support, and call on others to support, the many existing and ongoing efforts for women:
- a. We support the equal application of the Constitution to all citizens, and therefore call for passage of the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA). We urge accelerated ratification by three or more of the remaining 15 states that are required to pass ERA into law and into the Constitution. We urge renewed efforts and campaigns to ratify the ERA. We support House Resolution 98, using the precedent of a three-state strategy for ratification.
- b. We call for equal representation of women in Congress instead of the current 13%.
- c. The Green Party calls for U.S. passage of CEDAW, the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women, which was adopted in 1979 by the U.N. General Assembly and ratified by 173 countries. The U.S. is one of the very few countries, and the only industrialized nation, that have not ratified it.
- d. The Equal Employment Opportunities Commission should actively investigate and prosecute sexual harassment complaints. Women who file complaints must not be persecuted and should be protected under federal and state law. We must enshrine in law the basic principle that women have the same rights as men, and promote gender equality and fairness in the work force to ensure that women receive equal pay for jobs of equal worth.
- e. We support the inclusion of an equal number of women and men in peace talks and negotiations, not only because these efforts directly affect their lives and those of their husbands, children and families, but also because when women are involved, the negotiations are more successful.
- f. Women's rights must be protected and expanded to guarantee each woman's right as a full participant in society, free from sexual harassment, job discrimination or interference in the intensely personal choice about whether to have a child.
- g. Women's right to control their bodies is non-negotiable. It is essential that the option of a safe, legal abortion remains available. The "morning- after" pill must be affordable and easily accessible without a prescription, together with a government-sponsored public relations campaign to educate women about this form of contraception. Clinics must be accessible and must offer advice on contraception and the means for contraception; consultation about abortion and the performance of abortions, and; abortion regardless of age or marital status.
- h. We endorse women's right to use contraception and, when they choose, to have an abortion. This right cannot be limited to women's age or marital status. Contraception and abortion must be included in all health insurance policies in the U.S., and any state government must be able to legally offer these services free of charge to women at the poverty level. Public health agencies operating abroad should be allowed to offer family planning, contraception, and abortion in all countries that ask for those services. We oppose our government's habit of cutting family planning funds when those funds go to agencies in foreign countries that give out contraceptive devices, offer advice on abortion, and perform abortions.
- i. We encourage women and men to prevent unwanted pregnancies. It is the inalienable right and duty of every woman to learn about her body and to be aware of the phases of her menstrual cycle, and it is the duty for every man to be aware of the functions and health of his and his partner's bodies. This information is necessary for self determination, to make informed decisions, and to prevent unintended consequences. Unplanned conception takes control away from individuals and makes them subject to external controls. The "morning-after" pill and option of a safe and legal abortion need to remain available.
- j. Since, nationally, women still earn only 70% of men's wages for equal jobs, the Green Party calls for the introduction and passage of federal and state laws to achieve pay equity, and funding for the enforcement of such laws.
- k. Single mothers are the largest and most severely impoverished group in the United States, which explains why 25% of the children in our country live below the poverty line. Welfare reform has forced mothers to abandon their children to travel to minimum wage jobs. With the extreme pay inequity, single mothers cannot afford child care, nurture their children, and move out of poverty.
- l. The Green Party supports real reforms to end poverty and return dignity and opportunity to all mothers. We call for implementing innovative programs that work with the particular and special needs of motherhood. We also support other programs such as a universal basic income (known also as a guaranteed income or Citizen Dividend, as described in True Cost Pricing and Tax Fairness ) that will provide for those who nurture the next generation - work that is of incalculable importance to our society.
Violence and Oppression
- m. Language is often used as a weapon by those with power, and women have traditionally borne the brunt of inflicted injuries. Freedom of speech is vital to democracy. However, we believe that this freedom should not be used to perpetuate oppression and abuse.
- n. Rape, domestic violence and other violence to women are increasing nationwide. We must address the root cause of all violence even as we specifically address violence to women. We cannot allow this to continue and call for increased funding for programs to address it.
- o. The Green Party has zero tolerance for the illegal international trafficking in humans. Of the millions of humans trafficked worldwide, the large majority are women and children who are bought and sold as slaves and forced to labor against their will primarily in prostitution, but also in agriculture, sweat shops, domestic service and in other forms of servitude. According to Human Rights Watch, in all cases coercive tactics - including deception, fraud, intimidation, isolation, threat and use of physical force, or debt bondage - are used to control women. Figures from 2003 show 50,000 victims, both women and children, were trafficked to the U.S.
- p. The Green Party supports all efforts to eradicate this extreme abuse of human rights, including but not limited to enforcement of existing laws and passage of tough new ones, punishing traffickers, aiding victims, increasing public awareness, reforming immigration laws, supporting existing programs and creating new ones.
- q. We support the State Department's annual Trafficking in Persons Report as an important document to begin to combat this abuse. We support and urge enforcement of the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act (HR 3244) signed into law on October 28, 2000. This Act authorizes funding for the prevention of trade in human beings and for protecting victims. It gives the State Department a historic opportunity to create an office with the exclusive responsibility of ending traffic in humans and protecting the victims of this world-wide trade. We urge committed political support to achieve the cooperation of all different levels of government.
2. Racial Discrimination
The development of the United States has been marked by conflict over questions of race. Our nation was formed only after Native Americans were displaced. The institution of slavery had as its underpinnings the belief in white supremacy, which we as Greens condemn. In slavery's aftermath, people of color have borne the brunt of violence and discrimination. The Green Party unequivocally condemns these evils which continue to be a social problem of paramount significance.
- a. We support efforts to overcome the effects of over 200 years of racial discrimination.
- b. We call for an end to official support for any remaining symbols of slavery and specifically call for the removal of the Confederate battle flag from all government buildings.
- c. People of color in this country have legitimate claims to reparations in the form of monetary compensation for centuries of discrimination. We also uphold the right of the descendants of African slaves to self-determination, as we do for all indigenous peoples.
- d. We condemn the practice of racial profiling by law enforcement agencies, which are guilty of stopping motorists, harassing individuals, or using unwarranted violence against suspects with no other justification than race or ethnic background.
- e. We favor strong measures to combat official racism in the forms of police brutality directed against people of color.
- f. We support effective enforcement of the Voting Rights Act, including language access to voting.
- g. We oppose discriminatory English-only pressure groups. We call for a national language policy that would encourage all citizens to be fluent in at least two languages. [See section K. Immigration / Emigration in this chapter]
- h. We strongly support the vigorous enforcement of civil rights laws, the aggressive prosecution of hate crimes, and the strengthening of legal services for the poor.
3. Indigenous Peoples
We have great respect for Native American cultures, especially their deference for community and the Earth.
- a. We recognize both the sovereignty of Native American tribal governments and the Federal Government's trust obligation to Native American people. Native American nations are just that - nations - and should be treated in like fashion, with the special circumstance that they are located within the United States.
- b. The federal government is obligated to deal in good faith with Native Americans; honor its treaty obligations; adequately fund programs for the betterment of tribal governments and their people; affirm the religious rights of Native Americans in ceremonies (American Indian Religious Freedom Act); provide funds for innovative economic development initiatives, education and public health programs; and respect land, water and mineral rights within the borders of reservations and traditional lands.
- c. We support efforts to broadly reform the Bureau of Indian Affairs to make this vast agency more responsible and more responsive to tribal governments.
- d. We support the just settlement of the claims of the thousands of Native American uranium miners who have suffered and died from radiation exposure. We condemn the stance of secrecy taken by the Atomic Energy Commission during this era and its subsequent claim of government immunity, taken knowingly and immorally at the expense of Native people. We support the complete clean-up of those mines and tailing piles, which are a profoundly destructive legacy of the Cold War.
- e. Native American land and treaty rights often stand as the front line against government and multinational corporate attempts to plunder energy, mineral, timber, fish, and game resources; pollute water, air, and land in the service of the military; expand economically; and consume natural resources. We support legal, political, and grassroots efforts by, and on behalf of, Native Americans to protect their traditions, rights, livelihoods, and sacred spaces.
4. Justice for Native Hawaiians: Kanaka Maoli
Since illegal annexation in 1898, the Federal and State governments have cheated and neglected the native Hawaiian people. In 1993, the U.S. Congress passed, and President Clinton signed into law, the "Apology Bill" (U.S. Public Law 103-150). This admission of crime states in part, "the native Hawaiians have never lost their inherent sovereignty nor their national home base."
The Green Party demands justice for kanaka maoli. We support the following:
- a. Protecting sacred and culturally significant sites.
- b. Efforts to nurture native Hawaiian culture.
- c. Kanaka maoli leadership and guardianship in protecting gathering rights, and lobbying the legislature to safeguard these rights without interference.
- d. Return of, or fair compensation for, ceded lands.
- e. Immediate distribution of Hawaiian Homelands, with government funds allocated for the necessary infrastructure.
- f. Prohibition of future sale or diminishments of the Ceded Land Trust.
- g. A call for open dialogue among all residents of Hawai'i on the sovereignty option of full independence.
- h. Hawaiian sovereignty in a form that is fair to both native Hawaiians and other residents of Hawai'i.
- i. We acknowledge and actively endorse the inherent and absolute right of indigenous nations to self-determination, and thereby call upon the U.S. government to reverse its opposition to enactment of the proposed United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in its entirety.
5. Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity
In keeping with the Green Key Values of diversity, social justice and feminism, we support full legal and political equality for all persons, regardless of sex, gender, or sexual orientation.
- a. The Green Party affirms the rights of all individuals to freely choose intimate partners, regardless of their sex, gender, or sexual orientation.
- b. We support the recognition of equal rights of persons gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender to housing, jobs, civil marriage, medical benefits, child custody, and in all areas of life provided to all other citizens.
- c. We support the inclusion of language in state and federal anti-discrimination law that ensures the rights of intersex individuals and prohibits discrimination based on gender identity, characteristics, and expression. We are opposed to intersex genital mutilation.
- d. We support the right of all persons to self-determination with regard to gender identity and sex. We therefore support the right of intersex and transgender individuals to be free from coercion and involuntary assignment of gender or sex. We support access to medical and surgical treatment for assignment or reassignment of gender or sex, based on informed consent.
- e. We support legislation against all forms of hate crimes, including those directed against people who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, queer, transgender, and intersex.
6. Rights of the Disabled
We support the full enforcement of the Americans with Disabilities Act to enable all people with disabilities to achieve independence and function at the highest possible level. Government should work to ensure that children with disabilities are provided with the same educational opportunities as those without disabilities.
The physically and mentally challenged are people who are differently-abled from the majority, but who are nevertheless able to live independently. The mentally ill are people with serious mental problems who often need social support networks. Physically and mentally challenged people have the right to live independently in their communities. The mentally ill also have the right to live independently, circumscribed only by the limitations of their illness. These people are their own best advocates in securing their rights and for living in the social and economic mainstream.
Current Medicaid policy forces many challenged people to live in costly state-funded institutions. Excluding these people from society alienates them; excluding them from the work force denies them the chance to use their potentials.
The diminishing funds available to provide care for the growing number of the mentally ill often result in their homelessness, vagrancy and dependence on short-term crisis facilities. Lack of funding also increases the necessity of placing them in long-term, locked facilities.
The Green Party urges the government to:
- a. Increase rehabilitation funding so that persons with disabilities can pursue education and training to reach their highest potential. The differently-abled should participate fully in the allocation decisions of state rehabilitation departments' funds.
- b. Aggressively implement the Americans with Disabilities Act.
- c. Fund in-home support services to allow the differently-abled to hire personal care attendants while remaining at home.
- d. Allocate adequate funding to support community-based programs that provide out-patient medical services, case management services and counseling programs. We should provide a residential setting within the community for those who do not need institutional care but who are unable to live independently.
- e. Make it easier for the chronically mentally ill to apply for and receive Supplemental Security Income.
- f. Mainstream the differently-abled. Increase the training of teachers in regards to the needs of differently-abled students.
- g. Discourage stereotyping of the mentally and physically challenged by the entertainment industry and the media.
- h. Fund programs to increase public sensitivity to the needs of the mentally ill and differently-abled.
7. Religious Freedom and Secular Equality
The United States Bill of Rights guarantees freedom of religion. We affirm the right of each individual to the exercise of conscience and religion, while maintaining the constitutionally mandated separation of government and religion. We believe that federal, state, and local governments must remain neutral regarding religion.
We call for:
- a. Ending discriminatory federal, state, and local laws against particular religious beliefs, and non-belief. The U.S. Constitution states that there shall be no religious test for public office. This requirement should apply to oaths (or affirmations) for holding public office at any level, employment at all government levels, oaths for witnesses in courts, oaths for jury membership, and the oath for citizenship.
- b. Prosecution of hate crimes based on religious affiliation or practice.
- c. Elimination of displays of religious symbols, monuments, or statements on government buildings, property, websites, money, or documents.
- d. Restoration of the Pledge of Allegiance to its pre-1954 version, eliminating the politically motivated addition of "under God."
- e. Ending faith-based initiatives and charitable choice programs, whereby public funds are used to support religious organizations that do not adhere to specified guidelines and standards, including anti-discrimination laws.
- f. Ending school vouchers whereby public money pays for students in religious schools.
- g. Ending governmental use of the doctrines of specific religions to define the nature of family, marriage, and the type and character of personal relationships between consenting adults.
- h. Ending religiously-based curricula in government-funded public schools.
- i. Ending the use of religion as a justification to deny children necessary medical care or subject them to physical and emotional abuse.
- j. Ending the use of religion by government to define the role and rights of women in our society.
- k. Revocation of the Congressional charter of the Boy Scouts of America. Any private organization that practices bigotry against certain religious beliefs and classes of people should not have a Congressional endorsement or access to public property and funds.
8. Youth Rights
All human beings have the right to a life that will let them achieve their full potential. Young people are one of the least protected classes of human beings, yet they represent our future. We must ensure they have an upbringing that allows them to take their place as functioning, productive, and self-actualized members of their community.
- a. Youth are not the property of their parents or guardians, but are under their care and guidance.
- b. Youth have the right to survive by being provided adequate food, shelter and comprehensive health care, including prenatal care for mothers.
- c. Youth have the right to be protected from abuse, harmful drugs, violence, environmental hazards, neglect, and exploitation.
- d. Youth have the right to develop in a safe and nurturing early environment provided by affordable child care and pre-school preparation.
- e. Youth have the right to an education that is stimulating, relevant, engaging, and that fosters their natural desire to learn.
- f. Young people's creative potential should be encouraged to the greatest extent possible.
- g. Young people should have input into the direction and pace of their own education, including input into the operation of their educational institutions.
- h. Young people should be provided with education regarding their own and others' sexuality at the earliest appropriate time.
- i. Young people should be provided the opportunity to express themselves in their own media, including television, radio, films and the Internet. Young people should also be given skills in analyzing commercial media.
- j. Young people should be kept free from coercive advertising at their educational institutions.
9. Veterans' Rights
Support for men and women in the armed forces must go far beyond the rhetoric used to discredit the peace movement in the U.S. today. We believe that the ill-advised and illegal actions of the U.S. administration have unnecessarily put our troops in harm's way. We further believe that the dangerous burden of fighting the unnecessary war in Iraq, and the wars that may follow, due to the administration's overly narrow and militaristic response to terrorism is disproportionately borne by families of lesser means. Those who are required to carry out militaristic policies, often with great hardship to themselves, their families, and even the risk of their lives, deserve our respect and our commitment to adequate compensation and benefits.
We recommend the following actions:
- a. Increase the current pay levels, monthly imminent danger pay, and family separation allowances for those risking their lives in combat zones.
- b. Ensure that all pre-deployment physicals are completed and carried out within the standard allotted time period and that medical follow-ups are routinely done on all soldiers.
- c. Establish a panel of independent medical doctors to examine and oversee the policies of the military regarding forced vaccinations and shots, often with experimental drugs.
- d. Honor all laws concerning time limits on deployments.
- e. Provide better care for the wounded, sick, and injured soldiers returning home. The Pentagon must take all steps necessary to fully diagnose and treat both physical and mental health conditions resulting from service in all combat zones.
- f. Ensure a smooth transition from active military service to civilian life by providing counseling, housing, emergency management, job protection, and other support systems.
- g. Restore full funding for veterans' health programs.
- h. Request Congress to enact a new GI Bill, similar to the one that began after World War II and ended in 1981, to provide the following benefits:
- Tuition grants for four years of college or other educational opportunities.
- Low interest loans for housing or business start-ups.
- Free medical care for military personnel and their families for ten years following separation from the armed forces - until universal health care becomes a reality.
- i. Support and respect Conscientious Objector status during all phases of the process. We fully support the right of individuals in the military service to modify or completely separate from military involvement because of conscientious objection. We call upon all military entities and officers to support a transparent and democratic conscientious objection process free of harassment, imprisonment, or deployment to war zones for those pursuing the conscientious objection process.
- j. Recognized, independent veteran organizations must have access to military personnel to ensure they are being informed of their rights. This is especially true for those who are hospitalized due to service related injuries or illnesses.
10. Consumer Protection
Consumers have the right to adequate enforcement of the federal and state consumer protection laws. Health and safety are of paramount importance, so we oppose lax or inappropriate regulatory actions.
- a. Consumers should have the right to participate in decisions that affect their lives and protect their interests, beyond simply voting on election day.
- b. We support the creation of consumer advocacy agencies in order to protect the interests of consumers against corporate lobbyists who have too often successfully argued before regulatory agencies against consumer rights. We would require legal monopolies and regulated industries (including electric, gas, water, and telephone utilities) to set up statewide consumer action groups to act on behalf of and advocate for consumer interests.
- c. We call for better information for consumers about the products they buy, and where and how they are made. We endorse truth in advertising, including the clear definition of words like "recycled" and "natural."
- d. We defend the rights of individuals to participate in class action lawsuits against manufacturers of unsafe products. We call for restrictions on secrecy agreements that may prevent lawsuits by not revealing damaging information.
- e. We support laws to protect "whistle blowers."
11. War on Terrorism
See also section D. Foreign Policy and E. Domestic Security in chapter I.
The so-called war on terrorism must not become an assault on the civil liberties that are enshrined in our Constitution. The price of freedom is not the loss of liberty. Constitutionally protected rights - fought for by American patriots - are rights the Green Party patriotically holds in the highest regard. Greens demand that the Justice Department cease and desist its wholesale rollback of constitutional protections and its daily dismantling of legal safeguards.
The use of Homeland Defense monies to spy on citizens exercising First Amendment rights is particularly onerous, as are "sneak and peek" provisions of the U.S.A.P.A.T.R.I.O.T. Act that allows surveillance of libraries, readers, the Internet, and computer users. Basic rights ensuring individual privacy are under attack. The U.S. government's use of high tech tools, including intrusive monitoring, data mining and analysis to identify and disrupt citizen activists, should be seen as an attack on fundamental rights of an engaged, active citizenry.
The Green Party calls on Congress and the courts to reign in constitutional and civil liberties abuses that have become prevalent in the Bush administration and the John Ashcroft Justice Department.
Low-income citizens and minorities suffer disproportionately from environmental hazards in the workplace, at home, and in their communities. Inadequate laws, lax enforcement of existing environmental regulations, and weak penalties for infractions undermine environmental protection.
Therefore, the Green Party advocates:
- 1. Devoting greater efforts to full enforcement and prosecution of environmental crimes.
- 2. Funding environmental crime units for district attorneys in counties with significant pollution problems.
- 3. Imposing a moratorium on siting new toxic chemical or waste facilities in those counties with the highest percentage exposure to hazardous substances.
- 4. Not forcing workers to choose between a hazardous job or no job at all.
- 5. Preventing communities, especially low-income or minority communities, from being coerced by governmental agencies or corporations into siting hazardous materials, or accepting environmentally hazardous practices in order to create jobs.
- 6. Preceding the siting of hazardous materials or practices with public hearings, conducted in the language of those community members who will be directly affected.
We have a special responsibility to the health and well-being of the young. Yet we see the federal safety net being removed and replaced with limited and potentially harsh state welfare programs. How will social services be adequately provided if local resources are already stretched thin?
We believe our community priorities must first protect the young and helpless. Yet how will state legislatures and agencies, under pressure from more powerful interests, react? We believe local decision-making is important, but we realize, as we learned during the civil rights era, that strict federal standards must guide state actions in providing basic protections. As the richest nation in history, we should not condemn millions of children to a life of poverty, while corporate welfare is increased to historic highs.
The Green Party opposes the privatization of Social Security. It is critical that the public protections of Social Security are not privatized and subjected to increased risk. The bottom 20% of American senior citizens get roughly 80% of their income from Social Security, and without Social Security, nearly 70% of black elderly and 60% of Latino elderly households would be in poverty.
It is time for a radical shift in our attitude toward support for families, children, the poor and the disabled. Such support must not be given grudgingly; it is the right of those presently in need and an investment in our future. We must take an uncompromising position that the care and nurture of children, elders and the disabled are essential to a healthy, peaceful, and sustainable society. We should recognize that the work of their caregivers is of social and economic value, and reward it accordingly. Ensuring that children and their caregivers have access to an adequate, secure standard of living should form the cornerstone of our economic priorities. Only then can we hope to build our future on a foundation of healthy, educated children who are raised in an atmosphere of love and security.
- 1. All people have a right to food, housing, medical care, jobs that pay a living wage, education, and support in times of hardship.
- 2. Work performed outside the monetary system has inherent social and economic value, and is essential to a healthy, sustainable economy and peaceful communities. Such work includes: child and elder care; homemaking; voluntary community service; continuing education; participating in government; and the arts.
- 3. We call for restoration of a federally funded entitlement program to support children, families, the unemployed, elderly and disabled, with no time limit on benefits. This program should be funded through the existing welfare budget, reductions in military spending and corporate subsidies, and a fair, progressive income tax.
- 4. We call for a graduated supplemental income, or negative income tax, that would maintain all individual adult incomes above the poverty level, regardless of employment or marital status.
- 5. We advocate reinvesting a significant portion of the military budget into family support, living-wage job development, and work training programs. Publicly funded work training and education programs should have a goal of increasing employment options at finding living-wage jobs.
- 6. We support public funding for the development of living-wage jobs in community and environmental service. For example, environmental clean-up, recycling, sustainable agriculture and food production, sustainable forest management, repair and maintenance of public facilities, neighborhood-based public safety, aides in schools, libraries and childcare centers, and construction and renovation of energy-efficient housing. We oppose enterprise zone give-aways which benefit corporations more than inner-city communities
- 7. The accumulation of individual wealth in the U.S. has reached grossly unbalanced proportions. It is clear that we cannot rely on the rich to regulate their profit-making excesses for the good of society through "trickle-down economics." We must take aggressive steps to restore a fair distribution of income. We support tax incentives for businesses that apply fair employee wage distribution standards, and income tax policies that restrict the accumulation of excessive individual wealth.
- 8. Forcing welfare recipients to accept jobs that pay wages below a living wage drives wages down and exploits workers for private profit at public expense. We reject workfare as being a form of indentured servitude.
- 9. Corporations receiving public subsidies must provide jobs that pay a living wage, observe basic workers' rights, and agree to affirmative action policies.
Access to quality education for all Americans is the difference that will lead to a strong and diverse community. Fundamental changes in our priorities are needed at the national and local levels, within the public and private sectors, in the classroom, and at home to make education our first priority.
Greens support educational diversity. We hold no dogma absolute, continually striving for truth in the realm of ideas. We open ourselves, consciously and intuitively, to truth and beauty in the world of nature. We view learning as a lifelong process to which all people have an equal right.
Education starts with choice, and within public education we believe in broad choices. Magnet schools, Site-based Management, Schools within Schools, alternative models, and parental involvement are ways in which elementary education can be changed to make a real difference in the lives of our children. Curricula should focus on skills - both basic skills that serve as a solid foundation for higher learning, and exploratory approaches that expand horizons, such as distance learning, interactive education, computer proficiency, perspectives that bring an enriched awareness of nature (biological literacy), intercultural experiences, and languages.
Greens view learning as a lifelong and life-affirming process. In learning, and openness to learning, we create the foundation of our platform.
- a. We advocate creative and noncompetitive education at every age level, and the inclusion of cultural diversity in all curricula. We encourage hands-on approaches that promote a multitude of individual learning styles.
- b. Parental responsibility should be encouraged by supporting parenting, as more families confront economic conditions that demand more time be spent away from home. Parents should be as involved as possible in their children's education; values do start with parents. Teaching human sexuality is a parental and school responsibility.
- c. Student responsibility is a key to developing capabilities. Greens hold strongly to the empowerment of individuals. Students should recognize their own personal responsibilities and strive to achieve their fullest potential as individuals.
- d. Federal policy on education should act principally to ensure equal access to a quality education.
- e. Educational funding formulas at the state level need to be adjusted as needed to avoid gross inequalities between districts and schools. Educational grants should provide balance to ensure equal educational access for minority, deprived, special needs, and exceptional children. In higher education, federal college scholarship aid should be increased and offered to any qualified student.
- f. Our teachers are underpaid, overworked and rarely supplied with the resources necessary to do their work. It is time to stop disinvesting in education, and start placing it at the top of our social and economic agenda.
- g. We call for equitable state and national funding for education and the creation of schools controlled by parent-teacher governing bodies.
- h. We oppose vouchers, or any scheme that will transfer money out of the public school system. That course only leads to a separate and unequal educational system. We also oppose charter schools or the administration of public schools by private, for-profit entities.
- i. We support after-school programs for "latchkey" children.
- j. We advocate state funding for day care that includes school children under the age of ten when after-school programs are not available.
- k. Classroom teachers at the elementary and high school levels should be given professional status and salaries comparable to related professions requiring advanced education, training and responsibility.
- l. Principals are also essential components in effective educational institutions. We encourage state Departments of Education and school boards to deliver more programmatic support and decision-making to the true grassroots level- the classroom teacher and school principal.
- m. Use of computers in the early grades should not supplant the development of basic interpersonal, perceptual, and motor skills as a foundation for learning.
- n. Dispute resolution is an important part of resolving classroom or after-school disputes, and a life skill that all children should learn. We call for the teaching of non-violent conflict resolution at all levels of education.
- o. We recognize the viable alternative of home-based education.
- p. We support a host of innovative and critical educational efforts, such as bi-lingual education, continuing education, job retraining, mentoring and apprenticeship programs.
- q. We are deeply concerned about the intervention in our schools of corporations that promote a culture of consumption and waste. Schools should not be vehicles for commercial advertising. Schools must safeguard students' privacy rights and not make private student information available on corporate (or federal government) request.
- r. Within higher education, we oppose military and corporate control over the priorities and topics of academic research.
- s. We support tuition-free post secondary (collegiate and vocational) public education.
- t. In an economy that demands higher skills and a democracy that depends on an informed, educated electorate, opportunities for universal higher education and life-long learning must be vastly expanded.
- u. Until tuition-free schooling is available to all, student loans should be available to all students attending college, and should be repayable as a proportion of future earnings rather than at a fixed rate.
- v. Individualized training accounts should be made available to students who choose to pursue vocational and continuing education.
- w. The Leave No Child Behind Act must be repealed, especially the section that gives the military access to student records.
2. The Arts
Freedom of artistic expression is a fundamental right and a key element in empowering communities, and in moving us toward sustainability and respect for diversity. Artists can create in ways that foster healthy, non-alienating relationships between people and their daily environments, communities, and the Earth. This can include both artists whose themes advocate compassion, nurturance, or cooperation; and artists whose creations unmask the often-obscure connections between various forms of violence, domination, and oppression, or effectively criticize aspects of the very community that supports their artistic activity. The arts can only perform their social function if they are completely free from outside control.
The Green Party supports:
- a. Alternative, community-based systems treating neither the artwork nor the artist as a commodity.
- b. Eliminating all laws that seek to restrict or censor artistic expression, including the withholding of government funds for political or moral content.
- c. Increased funding for the arts appropriate to their essential social role at local, state and federal levels of government.
- d. Community-funded programs employing local artists to enrich their communities through public art programs, including public performances, exhibitions, murals on public buildings, design or re-design of parks and public areas, storytelling and poetry reading, and publication.
- e. The establishment of non-profit public forums for local artists to display their talents and creations. Research, public dialogue, and trial experiments to develop alternative systems for the valuation and exchange of artworks and for the financial support of artists. Some examples include community subscriber support groups, artwork rental busts, cooperative support systems among artists, legal or financial incentives to donate to the arts or to donate artworks to public museums.
- f. Responsible choices of non-toxic, renewable, or recyclable materials. Funding sources not connected with social injustice or environmental destruction.
- g. Education programs in the community that will energize the creativity of every community member from the youngest to the oldest, including neglected groups such as teenagers, senior citizens, prisoners, immigrants, and drug addicts. These programs would provide materials and access to interested, qualified arts educators for every member of the community who demonstrates an interest.
- h. Funding and staffing to incorporate arts education into every school curriculum. We encourage local artists and the community to contribute time, experience, and resources to these efforts.
- i. Diversity in arts education in the schools including age-specific hands-on activities and appreciative theoretical approaches, exposure to the arts of various cultures and stylistic traditions, and experiences with a variety of media, techniques and contents.
- j. The integration of the arts and artistic teaching methods into other areas of the curriculum to promote a holistic perspective.
The United States must respect the measures other nations take to ensure public health, and must not use medication, medical equipment, and other medical necessities, or threats of withholding them, as leverage for political reasons or as extortion for the sake of commercial profit. We oppose any embargo or economic sanction that would cause the suffering or death of civilians.
- 1. Medicare, which provides health care for over 40 million Americans, is at risk. We would vigorously pursue savings and cuts from abundant waste and fraud, eliminate unnecessary services that benefit providers more than patients, and rein in pharmaceutical industry price-gouging.
- 2. 70% to 85% of illness in America is due to unmanaged stress. This means that national measures to reduce work hours, promote cyber-commuting for work, and increased vacation time for workers will significantly improve the public's health. We advocate access for all, irrelevant of income, to stress management training such as meditation techniques, yoga, tai chi, qigong, and biofeedback.
- 3. A large percentage of illness is diet-related; therefore, improving the quality of our nation's food supply and our personal eating habits will lessen the strain on our health care system. We advocate subsidies for organic foods, as well as removing sugar/caffeine snacks from schools. This could save our nation as much as $700 to $850 billion of the $1 trillion annual health costs.
- 4. We support the teaching of holistic health approaches and, as appropriate, the use of complementary and alternative therapies such as herbal medicines, homeopathy, acupuncture, and other healing approaches.
- 5. We call for wider implementation of hospice care.
- 6. We oppose the arrest, harassment or prosecution of anyone involved in any aspect of the production, cultivation, transportation, distribution or consumption of medicinal marijuana. We also oppose the harassment, prosecution or revocation of license of any health-care provider who gives a recommendation or prescription for medicinal marijuana.
- 7. We support informed consent laws to educate consumers to potential health impact of types of treatment. For truly informed consent, a professional must explain the limitations of his or her professional training, and make the patient aware of what other professionals could offer differently or in addition.
- 8. Primary care, through a renewed attention to family medicine as opposed to increased medical specialization, is necessary.
- 9. We unequivocally support a woman's right to reproductive choice, no matter her marital status or age, and that contraception and safe, legal abortion procedures be available on demand and be included in all health insurance coverage in the U.S., as well as free of charge in any state where a woman falls below the poverty level. [See section A.1. Women's Rights in this chapter]
- 10. Medical research must be increased, and alternative therapies actively sought, to combat diseases and eliminate their causes, especially cancer and HIV/AIDS.
- 11. We call for competent social and health services for those who have special needs: the mentally ill, the handicapped, and those who are terminally ill.
- 12. Public policy needs to move in the direction of a voluntary, community-based mental health system that safeguards human dignity, respects individual autonomy, and protects informed consent. A wide variety of humane, effective, and empowering alternative and complementary approaches should be available for anyone who experiences a psychiatric problem or mental disability.
1. Universal Health Care
The United States is the only industrialized nation in the world without a national health care system. The current system's high costs and widely recognized failures demand that bold steps be taken. The Green Party supports a universal, comprehensive, national single-payer health insurance program as the only solution to the current disastrous for-profit system.
Under a universal national single-payer health care system, the administrative waste of private insurance corporations would be redirected to patient care. If the U.S. were to shift to a system of universal coverage and a single payer plan, as in Canada, the savings in administrative costs would be more than enough to offset the cost. Expenses for businesses currently providing coverage would be reduced. State and local governments would pay less because they would receive reimbursement for services provided to the previously uninsured, and because public programs would cease to be the "dumping ground" for high-risk patients and those rejected by HMOs when they become disabled and unemployed.
Most importantly, the people of America will gain the peace of mind in knowing that needed health care will always be available to them. No longer will people have to worry about facing financial disaster if they become seriously ill, are laid off their jobs, or are injured in an accident.
The Green Party supports a universal, comprehensive, national single-payer health plan that will provide the following with no increase in cost:
- a. A publicly funded health care insurance program, administered at the state and local levels.
- b. Lifetime benefits for everyone. No one will lose coverage for any reason.
- c. Freedom to choose the type of health care provider, with a wide range of health care choices.
- d. Decision-making in the hands of health providers and their patients.
- e. Comprehensive benefits, as good or better than existing plans, including dental, vision, mental health care, hospice, long-term care, substance abuse treatment and medication coverage.
- f. Participation of all licensed and/or certified health providers, subject to standards of practice in their field.
- g. Portable health plan benefits.
- h. Primary and preventive care as priorities, including wellness education about diet, nutrition and exercise.
- i. Greatly reduced paperwork for both patients and providers.
- j. Fair and full reimbursement to providers for their services.
- k. Preservation of all health care services currently available.
- l. Cost controls via streamlined administration, national fee schedules, bulk purchases of drugs and medical equipment, and coordination of capital expenditures. Prices of medications must be publicly supervised.
- m. Hospitals that can afford safe staffing levels for registered nurses.
- n. Establishment of national, state, and local Health Policy Boards consisting of health consumers and providers to oversee and evaluate the performance of the system, expand access to care, and determine research priorities. All meetings of the boards shall be open to the public.
- o. Establishment of a National Health Trust Fund that would channel all current Federal payments for health care programs directly into the Fund, in addition to employees' health premium payments.
2. AIDS / HIV
We call for comprehensive, humane, and competent care of all people with AIDS/HIV.
An all-out campaign must be waged against AIDS and HIV. The AIDS epidemic has not been adequately addressed at the local, state, federal, or international levels. All people in all countries, including those with AIDS/HIV, have a right to medical care, protection from discrimination, and confidentiality.
Drug corporations have a strong profit motivation to make this disease a manageable one (like diabetes) with guaranteed sales of very expensive drugs, in the billions of dollars every year. Drug companies have not emphasized research that targets a cure. While new drugs have dramatically saved lives, many have side effects so debilitating that the quality of life is poor, if not intolerable during the extended lifetime of the patient. But even these need to be produced generically to stop the devastation resulting from corporate refusal to provide these drugs to the millions dying throughout the world who cannot afford these basic lifesaving drugs. Drug researchers should have a cure for AIDS as their ultimate goal.
The Green Party calls for:
- a. Increased funding for AIDS education and patient care.
- b. Increased funding for comprehensive sex education that includes AIDS education.
- c. Increased funding for research focusing on a cure, methods of prevention, and on bolstering the immune system.
- d. Improved technology, facilities, laboratories, researchers, staff and personnel to cure AIDS/HIV. A "Manhattan Project" for a cure is required.
- e. Complete sharing of information between researchers, funding agencies (including corporations), and the public on AIDS/HIV before awarding the next research grant.
- f. More research into better methods of prevention of HIV infection. While we support condom use, better condoms are also required. We support more vaccine research.
- g. Equal access to AIDS education, treatment and medications for all affected. Accordingly, funding and accountability should be increased.
- h. Allowing all prisoners affected with AIDS/HIV in all countries to have the same access as free citizens to education, treatment, preventive measures (including condom use), and medical care.
- i. A uniform international definition of AIDS.
- j. Protecting the confidentiality of all people diagnosed with AIDS/HIV or tested for HIV.
- k. More careful and timely approval of effective AIDS drugs by the FDA.
- l. Production of affordable and available versions of patented medicines in all countries.
- m. Targeting the young for age-appropriate education about AIDS/HIV and appropriate methods of prevention. We support sex education and the distribution of condoms in schools.
- n. Prevention awareness and access to condoms to prevent the spread of AIDS. We condemn HIV-related discrimination.
- o. Make drug treatment and other programs available for all addicts who seek help.
- p. Expand clinical trials for treatments and vaccines.
- q. Speed-up the FDA drug approval process.
- r. Providing housing for homeless and poor people with AIDS/HIV.
- s. Providing treatment for homeless people with AIDS/HIV.
- t. Support for needle exchange programs and for programs to help drug addicts.
- u. No mandatory screening for AIDS/HIV; anonymous screening must be available.
- v. Lifting the ban prohibiting HIV positive people from entering the U.S. as visitors or as immigrants.
And as union membership falls, so do the wages of all working people, union and non-union alike. We support efforts to overcome these legal handicaps, especially in the South and Southwest where the laws are most hostile. We also must dedicate ourselves to fighting for a complete overhaul of this country's labor laws.
- 1. We support the irreducible right of the working people in a company, without hindrance, to form a union and to bargain collectively with their employer. This right was guaranteed under The Fair Labor Standards Act of 1936.
- Furthermore, we support the right of workers, without penalty, to inform other workers on the premises of a union being formed. This includes advertising and recruiting.
- The 1936 Act has been eroded and diluted over the years by incremental infringements and restrictions, especially by the Taft- Hartley Act of 1947 (which includes the union shop) passed over President Truman's veto. We stand for repeal of the Taft-Hartley Act.
- 2. It is imperative that employees in a company or business enjoy workplace democracy, which includes the following:
- The right to elect representatives to sit equally with management on the Board of Directors.
- The right to fair and democratic elections of their own union officers.
- No permanent replacement of striking workers.
- No forced overtime.
- Encourage flexible working schedules so employees can arrange our own time to deal with personal and family concerns
- All workers, temporary or permanent, must be paid a living wage.
- All workers must have health care coverage, at least half paid by employer, until the passage of universal health care.
- All workers must have unemployment insurance, workers' compensation, and access to a jobs search program when they are unemployed. This security applies to farm workers as well.
- Require minimum pensions for all workers, fully vested and portable, that do not reduce social security benefits
- Mediation must be the first available solution to labor - management disputes with an agreed-upon time limit.
- New union members must have the right to submit a first contract to binding arbitration at the request of the union.
- Labor has the first right to buy out a company that is for sale or is going bankrupt, or being outsourced to another state or another country.
- We support a law requiring employers who purchase or merge with other companies to honor all existing collective bargaining agreements and contracts.
- Labor has the right to stock ownership and oversight of the investment of its own funds in the company where it works.
- 3. We support the enactment of living wage laws that apply to all workers. A major consequence of this law will be the lessening of the ever-widening gap between CEOs' income and workers' pay.
- 4. Agricultural and other excluded workers must be covered by federal labor laws, except where existing state laws offer more protection.
- 5. We encourage cooperative ownership and management of enterprises whenever a buy-out is possible.
- 6. We support day-care service offered at every workplace when feasible, or reasonably near-by when not feasible at the workplace.
- 7. Management's unhindered right to close its workplace and move to a lower-pay locale must be circumscribed to the degree that it protects the local workforce and their job security.
- 8. We support the establishment of a reduced-hour work week and at least one month of vacation per year for all workers.
- 9. The ever-widening gap between rich and poor is destructive of democracy and creates an uneven playing field for economic opportunity. Public welfare that depends on hand-outs from the corporate rich reduces democracy by that same amount. Every citizen must have the leverage necessary to become a productive member of the economy and the society in which we live.
- 10. All workers have a right to a safe and humane working environment. A lack of adequate enforcement of Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) laws and/or insufficient standards put many workers at risk.
- We support the following safety policies:
- Protect and enforce OSHA laws. We insist on adequate testing of equipment and funding of enforcement procedures.
- Inform workers of workplace hazards. Employers have a responsibility to protect workers from those hazards.
- Legislate full funding for worker safety programs at both the state and federal levels.
- Insist on agricultural practices that don't endanger farm workers. Put agricultural practices under the jurisdiction of OSHA.
- 11. We stand firmly opposed to privatization and contracting-out of public services. A government that works for us would provide critical goods and services that should not be run for profit.
The effects of imprisonment are largely negative. Prisoners are increasingly isolated from the communities they came from and are often denied contact with the outside world or the media. Access to educational and legal materials is disappearing. Boredom and hopelessness prevail. The United States has the highest recidivism rate of any industrialized country. Rape is a serious problem in prison. The increasingly widespread privatization of prisons renders some prisoners virtual corporate slaves.
Law enforcement is placing too much emphasis on drug-related and petty street crimes, and not enough on prosecution of corporate, white collar, and environmental crimes. Defrauding someone of their life savings is the same as robbery. Spraying pesticides while workers are in the fields, negligently maintaining dangerous workplaces that result in death or maiming, or dumping toxic substances should be treated the same as other crimes.
At the same time, we must develop a firm approach to law enforcement that directly addresses violent crime, including trafficking in hard drugs. Violence that creates a climate of further violence must be stopped.
Police brutality has reached epidemic levels in the United States and we call for effective monitoring of police agencies to eliminate police brutality.
We support a citizen's right of access to justice. Our system of justice must be made convenient to rich and poor alike, guarding it against big business' attempts to regulate and, in effect, control our civil justice/civil jury system.
The Green Party proposes the following policies:
Alternatives to Incarceration
- 1. Any attempt to combat crime must begin with restoration of community. We encourage positive approaches that build hope, responsibility and a sense of belonging. Prisons should be the sentence of last resort, reserved for violent criminals. Those convicted of non-violent offenses should be handled by other programs including halfway houses, electronic monitoring, work-furlough, community service and restitution programs. Substance abuse should be addressed as a medical problem requiring treatment, not imprisonment, and a failed drug test should not result in revocation of parole. Incarcerated prisoners of the drug war should be release to the above programs.
- 2. Prisons are presently serving some of the population formerly held in the mental health system. Ninety-five percent of those who commit suicide in jail or prison have a diagnosed mental disorder. Mentally ill prisoners need separate psychiatric facilities providing psychological and medical care, rehabilitation, and release to appropriate community mental health facilities.
- 3. The aging of our prison population will lead to huge needless expenditures in the next decade. Prisoners too old and those too infirm to be a threat to society should be released to less expensive, community-based facilities.
- 4. Juvenile offenders must not be housed in needlessly restrictive settings. They must never be housed with adults. Their education must continue while in custody. A single judge and a single caseworker should be assigned to oversee each juvenile's placement and progress in the juvenile justice system.
- 5. Our parole system is a failure. Reduction of recidivism should be a goal of parole. Parole should be treated as a time of reintegration into the community, not as a continuation of a person's sentence. Parolees need community reentry programs before release. Paroled prisoners should have access to education, drug treatment, psychological treatment, job training, work and housing. Their persons and homes should not be subject to search without reasonable cause. Appropriate services should also be available to the members of a parolee's family, to help them with the changes caused by the parolee's return.
- 6. We call for more funding for rape and domestic violence prevention and education programs, and stiffer sentences for people convicted of domestic violence.
- 7. Private prisons should be illegal. Corrections Corporation of America ranks among the top five performing companies on the New York Stock Exchange during the late 1990's, and operates the sixth largest prison system in the country. These prisons treat people as their product, and provide far worse service than government-run prisons. Profits are derived from understaffing, which severely reduces the acceptable care of inmates.
- 8. Prison conditions must be humane and sanitary and should include heat, light, exercise, clothing, nutrition, libraries, possessions, and personal safety. Prisoners are entitled to psychological, drug, and medical treatment, including access to condoms and uninterrupted access to all prescribed medication. Isolation of prisoners from staff and one another should be minimal and only as needed for safety.
- 9. Prison officials must institute and enforce policies that discourage racism, sexism, and homophobia in prison. End racially segregated housing.
- 10. The First Amendment rights of prisoners must not be revoked. Prisoners have the right to talk to journalists, write letters, publish their own writings, and become legal experts on their own cases.
- 11. Encourage all prisoners to have the opportunity to obtain a G.E.D. (high school equivalency diploma) and higher education. Inmates who earn a diploma have a recidivism rate of 10%, compared with 60% for other inmates.
- 12. Prisons should be community-based where possible. Where they are not, transportation for visits should be made available and subsidized. Unless the reason for imprisonment indicates otherwise, parents should have access to their children if it is in the interest of the child.
- 13. Incarcerated individuals should retain the right to vote by absentee ballot in the district of their domicile, and should retain the right to vote during parole. [See section B. Political Participation in chapter I]
- 14. We support the reinstatement of voting rights and the right to hold public office to ex-felons who have completed their prison sentence.
- 15. Establish programs to strengthen self-help and community action through neighborhood centers that provide well-funded legal aid, alternative dispute-resolution practices, mediated restitution, community team policing, and local crisis/assault care shelters.
- 16. Establish elected or appointed independent civilian review boards with subpoena power to investigate complaints about prison guard and community police behavior.
- 17. Maximize restrictions on police use of weapons and restraining techniques such as pepper spray, stun belts, and choke holds.
- 18. Abolish the death penalty.
- 19. Repeal state "Three Strikes" laws. Restore judicial discretion in sentencing, as opposed to mandatory sentencing.
- 20. Freedom on bail must be the right of all defendants charged with non-violent crimes. Mental health and social services should be incorporated in the bail agreement. Laws giving prosecutors the power to deny defendants the right to remain free on bail must be repealed.
- 21. Stop forfeiture of the property of unconvicted suspects. It is state piracy and denial of due process.
- 22. Implement a moratorium on prison construction. The funds saved should be used for alternatives to incarceration.
- 23. Compensation for jurors should be increased and child care provided for those serving on a jury. Employers should be encouraged to continue paying an employees' wages while they serve.
- 24. Thoughtful, carefully considered gun control laws such as the "Brady Bill" and the waiting period for record search before gun dealers may sell a gun should be supported.
- 25. Enact tough DWI (driving while intoxicated) laws.
- 26. A consistent policy of protection against violence in schools should be developed and enforced.
- 27. Victims' rights must be guarded and protected. Victim-impact statements are a method for achieving full justice, and restitution should be considered in many cases.
- 28. We call for decriminalization of victimless crimes. For example, the possession of small amounts of marijuana.
- 29. We call for legalization of industrial hemp and all its many uses.
- 30. We call for an end to the "war on drugs." We support expanded drug counseling and treatment.
Limiting the discussion to population numbers and birthrates diverts attention from over-consumption in the industrial world and historic patterns of exploitation of developing countries. Consumption-oriented lifestyles that have evolved in the industrial world have resulted in a minority of people consuming a majority of resources. This is as significant a threat to the Earth's carrying capacity as the high birth rates in low-consumption countries.
Current global demographics demonstrate that economic well-being promotes low birthrates. Any discussion of population must also be a discussion of women throughout the world. There is documented evidence that the economic and social status of women is a primary factor in birthrates - when women have control over their lives, birthrates decrease. Also, a major barrier to the improvement of women's reproductive health is a lack of shared responsibility between men and women in family planning. A combination of male attitudes and cultural traditions have resulted in most men being under-educated and uninvolved in the planning of their families.
Globally, human population is increasing while food production has leveled off. When population increases faster than the economy grows, the disparity between rich and poor also increases. Higher human consumption rates and populations increase the pressure on the environment in every ecological problem area.
- 1. Those living in the industrialized world must end the habits of waste and over-consumption that place as much stress on the environment as does population growth in developing nations.
- 2. We must remove the political and economic barriers that prevent women around the world from having all the resources necessary to become skilled family planners.
- 3. Funds must be allocated for expanded scientific research into safer and more effective birth control techniques and devices. We demand better-than-adequate health care for women and children--especially prenatal care. [See section D. Foreign Policy in chapter I and section A.1. Women's Rights in this chapter]
- 4. There must be access to free birth control devices, information counseling, and clinics to all who desire them. We call for implementation of family planning education for both genders in all levels of the state school system. [See section D. Foreign Policy in chapter I and section A.1. Women's Rights in this chapter]
- 5. We must promote new traditions and images of men becoming fully involved in all aspects of the family planning process.
Free speech and free press are constitutionally and politically guaranteed rights. Democracy requires a wide variety of opinions and information, which is not currently provided by corporate controlled media outlets. The Green Party calls for the establishment of citizen initiated and controlled radio and television stations. These citizen-managed media networks would be financed by requiring corporations to pay for the right to use our publicly owned air waves. Mechanisms must be established to prevent political manipulation and exploitation of this essential and valuable resource, so that all citizens are adequately informed.
The Green Party supports:
- 1. Returning ownership and control of the electromagnetic spectrum to the public. We urge the public to reclaim the public airwaves. The privatization of the broadcast airwaves - one of our most important taxpayer assets - has caused serious deformations of our politics and culture.
- 2. The problem is that private broadcasters control what the public owns. In return for free licenses to use taxpayer property, broadcasters give us a steady stream of increasingly coarse, redundant, superficial programming, and exclusively decide who says what on our public airwaves.
- 3. Market-priced leasing of any for-profit use of the electromagnetic spectrum.
- 4. Reasonable restriction on media consolidation, using a public interest standard.
- 5. Restoring of full public funding of the National Public Broadcasting System to provide in-depth coverage of issues and the widest possible range of viewpoints.
- 6. Community ownership of broadcast outlets and public oversight of licensing.
- 7. Free and equal airtime for political candidates on radio and television networks. [See section A.Political Reform in chapter I]
- 8. Taxing electronic advertising sales to fund democratic media outlets.
- 9. The repeal of the Telecommunications Act of 1996.
- 10. The prohibition of commercial advertising in public places such as schools, parks, and governmental buildings.
- 11. Developing community radio, particularly those rule-making petitions before the FCC that allow for a new service of small, locally-owned FM stations.
- 12. Limiting the concentration of power that has characterized the telecommunications industry. We need a wide span of programming and information, genuine citizen access, diversity of views, respect for local community interests, news, public affairs and quality children's programming. The FCC should closely monitor applications for license renewals to the public airwaves to ensure that these public interest criteria are met.
- 13. Opposing censorship in the arts, media (including the World Wide Web and Internet), and press. We encourage individual and social responsibility by artists, creative media, writers and all citizens.
While it would be ideal to erase borders between countries, that would be impractical without reciprocity between nations. We seek that reciprocity as a practical goal. While we recognize that there must be some controls on immigration, if only for the sake of national security, the Green Party would endorse a friendlier (less intimidating) attitude towards immigration in all nations within certain guidelines.
The Green Party must consider immigration issues from an international standpoint, taking into account international labor and environmental standards, and human rights.
- 1. Preferential quotas based on race, class, and ideology should be abandoned for immigration policies that promote fairness, non-discrimination and family reunification.
- 2. We support policies that reflect our constitutional guarantees of freedoms of speech, association, and travel.
- 3. Particular attention should be given to those minorities who are political exiles and refugees.
- 4. Our relationship with our neighbor to the south, Mexico, needs to be given added attention due to the special historical and cultural relation it has with the southwest portion of the United States. Our border relations and reciprocal economic opportunities should be a central concern of a government that is looking to improved economic, environmental, and social conditions for both peoples.
- 5. The Green Party calls for permanent border passes to all citizens of Mexico and Canada whose identity can be traced and verified. Work permits for citizens of Mexico and Canada must be easily obtainable, thereby decriminalizing the act of gainful employment. This action would help eliminate exploitation of undocumented persons by criminals engaged in human contraband (coyotes) and unethical employers. It would also help ensure that taxes will be paid in each corresponding nation per its laws. These measures will also help temporary residents from Mexico and Canada to secure driving privileges and liability insurance.
- 6. Labor laws must be adjusted to take into account seasonal foreign workers. Employers must provide full rights to wages and health benefits to immigrant workers who make voluntary contributions to pension plans and pay Social Security taxes.
- 7. We advocate an end to employer sanctions, which have been shown to hurt not only undocumented workers but also U.S.-born workers (especially those of color). A fair and equitable legalization program will provide equal access to working people of all nationalities, not tied to a specific employer or guest worker program. Programs involving temporary worker status must include the option of permanent residency for immigrants already in the U.S. and protection of migrant worker savings.
- 8. Greens oppose "English-only" legislation. We would advocate legislation to ensure that federal funds marked for communities to provide ESL (english as second language) training, and health and social support services to immigrants actually go to them. When funds are spent in other areas, immigrants are being deprived of benefits that they earn as productive workers in their communities.
- 9. We oppose the use of racial profiling. We are concerned about reports of illegal raids and traffic stops based on ethnic appearance and not probable cause of a traffic violation. We would further advocate funding or education programs designed to reduce racism and bias against ethnic minorities. [See section A. 2. Racial Discrimination in this chapter]
- 10. We advocate adoption of certification standards for translators.
- 11. We oppose those who seek to divide us for political gain by raising ethnic and racial hatreds, and by blaming immigrants for social and economic problems.
Rents have soared due to real estate speculation. One out of five renters pays more than fifty percent of their income for housing. Fewer than one in ten renters can afford to buy a median-priced house in the area where they live. In an era of deregulation, tenants have had few legal protections, and those that exist have begun to erode. Rent control and eviction protection for tenants does not exist in most jurisdictions, and where it does, it is usually inadequate and under attack. Landlords who, in violation of housing code requirements, fail to keep their property in habitable condition are tolerated, or at most given lenient penalties. Housing discrimination remains rampant against people of color, immigrants, disabled, single people, gays and lesbians, and families with children.
It is conservatively estimated that one million people are homeless. Today, homeless people are hounded, threatened, and often can not obtain badly needed services. Though affordable housing could help alleviate the problem of homelessness, the homeless have needs that go beyond housing.
The twenty-year decline in real wages for workers is also a major contribution to the current crisis in housing availability and affordability. Certain laws have also contributed to the problems of housing supply and cost, and are in some cases consciously used to exclude households with lower incomes from higher income communities.
Areas of local law that should be revisited include: ordinances that prohibit a shift toward co-housing; land use plans that provide excessive amounts of land for industrial and commercial use; and inflexible building codes that prevent alternative (often less expensive) construction approaches that still meet health and safety requirements.
The Green Party recognizes housing as a human right, and will work toward eliminating economic and other forms of discrimination in the construction and use of housing through the following policies:
- 1. Protect tenants with rent control laws, including vacancy control.
- 2. Prevent evictions without just cause. Restrict owner move-in evictions of long-term tenants, the elderly, and disabled persons.
- 3. Crack down on landlords who refuse to maintain their properties in habitable condition, or who engage in illegal evictions, with hefty fines and, in extreme cases, jail terms.
Increase Affordable Housing Supply
- 4. Enforce laws against illegal hotel conversions.
- 5. Use vacant housing - whether at closed military bases, housing kept off the market by speculators, or landlords delinquent in taxes - to shelter homeless persons.
- 6. Build human-scale, low income housing (as does Habitat for Humanity).
- 7. Pursue more efficient use of our existing housing supply, such as home-sharing and cooperative conversions of existing dwellings.
- 8. Subsidies, trade-offs with developers, and the creative use of city and county zoning ordinances should be used to increase affordable housing.
Measures to Help Homeless Persons
- 9. Expand community-based services for homeless persons and make them more readily available.
- 10. Repeal all laws that criminalize any facet of homelessness or helping homeless persons.
- 11. Abolish anti-sleeping laws, especially in areas which don't have adequate open space, shelter and sleeping areas for homeless persons.
- 12. Strictly enforce all the laws that are designed to provide for the homeless, such as the laws that require opening National Guard armories to homeless persons during inclement weather.
- 13. Allow homeless people to take part in decisions about long- and short-term solutions to their situation.
- 14. Strengthen and increase funding of mental health and drug rehabilitation systems.
Strong Fair-Housing Laws
- 15. Strengthen and enforce fair-housing laws against discrimination based on race, sex, familial status (children), marital status, disability, or sexual orientation.
- 16. Fully fund the Fair Employment and Housing Commission and provide generous government funding to non-profit organizations engaged in fair housing monitoring and enforcement.
- 17. Insist that architectural review boards and planning commissions represent the concerns of citizens, rather than the concerns of economic segments of the community.
Reform Zoning and Building Codes
- 18. Implement low-impact, site-specific designs that encourage human-scale development and environmentally sensitive planning. Promote development that encourages urban density - with green spaces - and that discourages urban sprawl.
- 19. Remove restrictions on converting large, single family homes to multi-family use. Families of today are smaller and there are more single-parent households.
- 20. Allow industrial and commercial developers to provide housing instead of parking spaces in new developments, and permit housing development in existing industrial and commercial zones.
- 21. Reform zoning, occupancy, and building ordinances so that residential needs can exist in balance with commercial and industrial needs, and so that alternative approaches are encouraged rather than restricted.