Green-Rainbow Party Newsletter
War Cost vs Human Costs
The Pakachoag Center in Auburn, MA resonated on Saturday, October 14th with songs and strategies for empowering people and fighting for justice.
Tom Neilson, a well-known performer/activist, led the group with his songs and poems of protest. He said he was very sad he had to replay a song written in 2014 entitled GAZA. Tragically, the number of dead Palestinians has skyrocketed in the 2023 assault on the Gaza Strip.
Green-Rainbow [Party (GRP)] activists met Saturday to focus on building a greener government from the local level up and to raise funds for the coming election season. [GRP] Co-Chair Mike Pascucci interviewed two municipal leaders, Gloria Caballero Roca of Holyoke and Michael (Mike) Lavery of Becket to describe how their backgrounds and experience gave them a reason to fun for office--each in very different ways.
Gloria is running for School Committee in a city where the schools have languished in receivership for almost eight years. She described her school days in Cuba where students were taught self-reliance and respect for the land through farm programs (escuelas al campo) for 45 days a year and boarding schools in the countryside where they worked the land while doing their junior and high school studies. She used these insights as she emigrated to the United States, learned several languages, and acquired two PhDs on the way.
Mike came from a politically active family and became very aware of the mounting injustices, not only to citizens but also to the environment. As a Selectman in Becket, he worked to ban plastic shopping bags, to place 3 electric vehicle charging stations at town hall, and to create a public trail named Esau’s Heel. Last year he ran for State Representative against a long-term incumbent and, with an impressive showing, is planning his next campaign to give the region a more effective vote in state government.
The audience thanked Green-Rainbow volunteers who produced the pleasant afternoon, including Brian Cady, Treasurer, and Chief Organizer, Jack Swindlehurst, who opened the event with songs of life and love, as well as Maureen Doyle, who offered locally sourced soups presented in real pumpkins.
A Trillion Dollars For War Does not Teach Our Kids to Read
by John Blumentsteil
There is a great disconnect in our politicians' thinking. That disconnect is the failure to see that our military budget ($860 Billion +) is not just some amount that magically appears to promote America’s wars. It comes out of the pockets of the struggling working class and poor and it comes at the expense of our civic needs for education, healthcare, housing, and much more. When you follow the budget process it is Priority Numero Uno and supported enthusiastically by both our major political parties. Just listen to the discussion. As all jump on board for more military spending, Republicans are carrying the torch for cutting the social safety net. This is nothing new. The Dems cry foul but go along.
Here's a working example of this impact on our local lives. On October 4th, The Boston Globe carried a lengthy article, Lost in a World of Words, on the failure of Massachusetts public education to teach our students to read. According to the Globe, in Massachusetts, only 36% of our 4th graders are reading at grade level. By the time they reach 8th grade only 37% are reading at grade level. Why is this? Money and will. Over the past 30 years great advances have been made in understanding the process of learning to read New science-based strategies to develop basic literacy skills have been developed but not integrated into the basic curriculum of our schools. Training teachers to effectively teach reading takes money. So back to the basic questions of where does our money go?
In 2019 Massachusetts sent to the federal government approx $120,000,000,000 (that's billion dollars) to the federal treasury. The federal budget that year was $4.4 trillion and of that $676 Billion was budgeted for military spending. This is approximately 6.6% of our total federal budget for the year 2019. Therefore 6.6% of the Massachusetts federal taxes went to military spending. Or the Massachusetts share of national military spending is approx. $8 Billion dollars. With a 30% cut in our military spending and those funds being returned directly to the states, Massachusetts would have approximately an additional $2.4 Billion dollars annually to spend on our citizens. That could help a lot of our children learn to read, a lot of our homeless provided affordable housing, and a lot of medical services made available to our people.
We are living through a massive raking off of our wealth to corporate elites and the war machine while impoverishing the people.
The moral of this story: It is better to teach our children to read than to fund expanding global wars that destroy the lives of millions.
Connecticut River Defenders
by Lois Gagnon
Firstlight Power, a Canadian-financed company, has built a pumped hydro storage station on Northfield Mountain along the Connecticut River and is seeking to extend its license. Extensive research shows that its method of pumping river water up a mountainside and releasing it to generate electricity kills the fish and devastates other life forms.
The hearing on November 18 will allow experts from many fields to support the revoking of Firstlight's license. All are encouraged to attend. Please note that Great Falls is the indigenous name for what colonial settlers renamed Turner Falls. Those using GPS will have to use "Turner Falls" to find the venue.
A Coalition is Building in Boston
by David Keil
I attended a rally of several thousand a week ago (Sunday, October 22) at Copley Square, for Gaza. It appeared to me to be organized by Palestinian House among others and was facilitated by a young Egyptian woman, Fatema Ahmad, Executive Director of the Muslim Justice League. It began with several chants, including "Free, free Palestine," and "From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free."
Other speakers included Imam Abdullah Farouk of Boston; Bishop FelipeTexeira of Brockton; Elie Gerzon of Jewish Voice for Peace; Steve Kirschbaum of the Steelworkers Local 8751; Amr Ahmed of the Palestinian House New England; a Jewish speaker with Hassidic attire; a young woman who lost 36 family members to the bombing in Gaza that week; and another young woman who lost 17 family members who said, "We are the grandchildren of '48." She was referring to the expulsion of Palestinians that accompanied the founding of the state of Israel.The rally was followed by a march that was reported to take 20 street blocks.
Greens Run for Local Office
Gloria Caballero Roca, Ph.D., will be on the November 7th ballot in Holyoke for School Committee. She brings decades of teaching and consulting experience to help bring the Holyoke schools out of receivership.
Michael Lavery will come before a joint meeting of the Becket Select and Planning Boards on November 15th for appointment to the Planning Board. As a former Select Board member, Michael offers respected leadership, especially in areas of environmental
In 2024, the Green Party will nominate its candidate for President of the United States. Delegates from each state party will be selected to vote for the candidates.
Green Voices will bring our dear readers information about these candidates as the race progresses.