News for May from North Carolina
With the Chauvin conviction, class struggle must continue
Will Biden end the War on Terror?
Help get the NCGP back on the ballot
Join the new Young Ecosocialists Caucus of NC
PITTSBORO, NC – The North Carolina Green Party has several updates for you this month: An anticapitalist take on Derek Chauvin's conviction and the abolition of the police state, Biden's plan for Afghanistan must be full withdrawal, how you can help get the NCGP back on the ballot, and the Young Ecosocialist Caucus of NC officially forms.
Police Violence, Class Struggle, and the Chauvin Conviction — the Struggle Continues
"Abolishing" the police state and ending mass incarceration is not enough—well, it cannot exist independently of protracted class struggle. The class that rules the state is unbelievably ruthless. Think about what the Southern plantation aristocracy was willing to do to keep their system. This global ruling class is willing to go farther. We need a clear vision for social organization that we will replace all of this with. This is what will guide people to a new system that is levels above the one we have today. The rulers rule via the class relations of production. States come and go—as long as the dominant force of production is exploitative, the exploiters will chip and charge relentlessly to reconfigure those relations and appropriate and undermine every single victory for the masses. — Tony Ndege, NCGP cochair
The conviction of Derek Chauvin for the murder of George Floyd was a rare instance in which a police officer was held accountable for their actions. But during the course of the trial, police nationwide continued to shoot and kill. As of April 22, 72 people have been shot by police since the trial began on March 29. Six of those shootings happened in the 24 hours after the conviction of Chauvin on murder and manslaughter charges. One of them was in North Carolina's Elizabeth City, where Pasquotank County sheriff's deputies killed Andrew Brown Jr.
The Chauvin conviction, while proper, must not provide police and politicians a space in which to regroup and deflect attention away from the serious, fundamental problems with policing. Without ongoing concerted public pressure exerted on them, politicians and police will not act, and the culturally-conditioned militarized police will continue to prey on communities of color, low-income communities, and the homeless. The United States will remain on its present path of abuse, incarceration, and death. But society cannot allow that to continue, and the pressing question in front of us is how to change the nature and scope of policing in the US.
Municipalities across the country are grappling with this question, with mixed results. In North Carolina, NCGP member Joshua Bradley, in his campaign for Raleigh City Council at-large, has laid out a plan to eliminate the existing police structure and replace it with community-controlled public-safety units that are trained in the tactics of negotiation and de-escalation, and in responding to people with mental trauma and autism or who are under the influence of drugs.
"More than that," says Bradley, "we need to change two important things about police responses. Often the deaths that happen are in response to police trying to pursue people for low-level offenses, like possession of marijuana or small amounts of controlled substances, or even a minor motor vehicle violation like a broken tail light. We should stop trying to enforce compliance with presumed violations that hurt no one and can lead to an unintended death sentence. Second, we need to change the way we equip and train officers for use of force.
Bradley and his campaign collective propose that the majority of officers in community-controlled police units must not carry lethal weapons. If a situation is deemed to need the use of lethal weapons, only specialists who are vetted, trained, and highly monitored will respond. All of these ideas are worthy of public examination of policing today.
Tommie James, NCGP cochair, adds that "in addition to making essential reforms like removing lethal weapons from the majority of police, overturning Qualified Immunity restrictions imposed by the Supreme Court will allow civil rights lawsuits against abusive policing." Earlier this month, New Mexico approved House Bill 4 that will allow citizens and citizen groups to sue government agencies for violation of rights protected by their state constitution. Colorado and Connecticut are the other two states to pass similar remedies.
But there are social questions surrounding policing and incarceration in the US that require a deeper analysis to promote societal responses that eliminate both the police and the carceral state as we know it. History shows that police are a tool in the long-running class war that is the defining feature of capitalism. "The police today are a linear descendant of the structures put in place by the Southern plantation aristocracy to track and return runaway slaves, who were considered property," says NCGP cochair Tony Ndege. "And today's ruling classes in the US are linear descendants of people who considered slavery a path to profit. That mentality prevails today in the form of wage slavery and the commodification of labor. Policing and mass incarceration will continue until we develop a new and clear vision for social organization that will replace the capitalist tendencies that see the carceral police state as a weapon in the ongoing class war."
Biden's Progressive Path Through Afghanistan
No greater bleeding wound exists for the United States in the world than the unending Global War on Terror
By Matthew Hoh, NCGP Member.
First published in Common Dreams, April 20, 2021
Much was to be made in the 2020 campaign about Joe Biden's promise to be the most progressive president since Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Most of that commentary was centered around his domestic programs, but some discussion was given to foreign policy—particularly promises to rejoin the Paris Climate Accords, renew the START nuclear arms control treaty with Russia, and re-enter the nuclear agreement with Iran.
While the US will resume participation in the Paris Climate Accords, most climate scientists believe the Paris Accords are not enough to sufficiently mitigate climate change. President Biden renewed the START agreement, but any commitment to nuclear disarmament is belied by his continuation of a $1.5 trillion US nuclear arms build-up and bellicose rhetoric and actions towards China and Russia—including the construction of new nuclear capable American missile bases within a ten minute flight time of Chinese and Russian cities. The Biden team's decidedly hostile approach towards restarting negotiations with Iran—an approach which received applause from Jared Kushner—along with airstrikes on Iranian-linked militiamen in Syria, hardly signals a progressive transformation of the disastrous US policies in the Muslim world.
These are real disappointments for those of us who experienced, and recognize, continued US foreign policy as inept, fiscally ruinous, morally bankrupt and existentially dangerous. To that, no greater bleeding wound exists for the United States in the world than the unending Global War on Terror. Here, President Biden has an opportunity to not only realize progressive change, but begin a new era of US leadership that accepts the failure of American warfare, atones for imperial hubris, and instead leads the world cooperatively. Such leadership is needed to confront truly urgent threats like pandemics, climate change, and nuclear annihilation, and to address the mass inequality, poverty, misogyny, corruption and other societal harms that devastate and oppress billions. President Biden can start with Afghanistan.
The war in Afghanistan has been ongoing for more than forty years. For nearly half of that, the US has had ground soldiers in Afghanistan, killing and being killed. Any objective observer, meaning anyone without ties of legacy, career or money to the war or war industry, will acknowledge the campaign has not only failed, but has been counterproductive. Consider just two demonstrative facts: In the years prior to the US invasion in 2001, Afghanistan (and Pakistan) were home to four international terror groups. Now, the Pentagon testifies that the number of such terror groups has grown to twenty or more. Also, when the US first invaded Afghanistan, al-Qaeda counted around 400 total members. Al-Qaeda has since spawned branches and off-shoots—including the Islamic State—in dozens of countries, with total memberships in the tens of thousands, and have, at times, controlled entire cities in multiple countries.
Meanwhile, the Afghan people have suffered through a living nightmare unimaginable to most Westerners. The U.S. has poured trillions of dollars and thousands of lives into the Afghan War with no success other than the promotions of generals and the profits of weapons companies. The prospect of wasting more lives in pursuit of this war should sicken all but the select few with vested interests—of money, legacy or career—in the status quo.
President Biden has announced US forces will leave Afghanistan by the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. The Taliban have already stated they will not proceed with negotiations as the May 1 deadline agreed to by President Trump to withdraw US forces will not be met. However, clear and transparent communication between the US, the Afghan and the Taliban may help mitigate this violation. The Taliban are looking for an assurance that foreign forces will leave and will undoubtedly take a delayed withdrawal of several months rather than risking a resumption of US military commitment to Afghanistan that would be the product of renewed Taliban attacks against foreign military forces and a dissolution of the peace process.
Such renewed violence will only serve those who gain fiscally and politically from this war. If US-Taliban fighting begins again, the violence will only escalate and yield unintended and unpredictable consequences. If the Global War on Terror has taught us anything, it is that the ancient aphorism of "violence begets violence" remains true. For this reason President Biden, regardless of what occurs in the next several months, must stay committed to full withdrawal. This will force the Afghan government to continue negotiations, which is necessary, while providing the Taliban with reason to continue as well. The Afghan people, after more than 40 years of war, need and deserve this peace process.
President Biden may not get such an opportunity to begin the long process of harm reduction in US foreign policy as he does with Afghanistan. Embracing peace, particularly by leading a diverse grouping of nations, including Russia, China and Iran, in assisting the Afghan peace process, can be the first of many achievements he has in the White House to undo military catastrophe, bring reconciliation and stability to broken nations, and actually strengthen America's standing in the world. Now that would be the mark of a progressive president.
Matthew Hoh is a Senior Fellow with the Center for International Policy and a member of the Eisenhower Media Network (EMN). He is a 100% disabled Marine combat veteran and, in 2009, he resigned his position with the State Department in Afghanistan in protest of the escalation of the war. He is a member of the NCGP.
Help the NC Green Party Get Back on the Ballot
The NC Green Party is required to petition North Carolina registered voters in order to get back on the ballot and retain our Green Party voter registration status. If we collect 14,000 approved signatures from NC registered voters by early June, we will retain our party registration and regain our Green Party ballot line.
HOW YOU CAN HELP
- Sign up to petition on our Petitioning Page and share it with your friends and family and ask them to sign up too. When you sign up to petition, we'll invite you to join our Slack workspace for petitioners.
- Download and print the NCGP Ballot Access Petition. An easy start is by signing it yourself and asking friends and family to sign.
Read our Tips, Instructions, and Script for collecting signatures. It is very important that you follow the instructions. For example: You need to write the relevant county name at the top of each petition sheet, in pen, and then signers of that sheet must be registered to vote in that county—so you will need several sheets and will need to write different county names at the tops, depending on who signs the petition.
Send a prewritten email to Gov. Cooper, asking him to grant us petitioning relief during Covid if you haven't already. Because we shouldn't have to petition during a global pandemic in the first place.
Make a donation toward our petitioning drive. We've received a $5,000 grant from the Green Party of the United States, but we'd like to double it to pay for materials and stipends for petitioners who will commit to gathering 150 or more signatures. Can you commit to 150 or more signatures or other volunteer work for a stipend? Make sure you sign up at our Petitioning Page to let us know, or email us at [email protected].
Order NCGP merchandise to look like a pro while petitioning. We have baseball-style caps and T-shirts available soon. Our T-shirts will be online soon. Want one now? Please email us.
- Attend one of our next organizing meetings! NCGP members and volunteers who have joined our Slack workspace will get notifications of our next meetings.
Once you have collected your signatures, please mail the petition sheets to:
NCGP Petition Drive
PO Box 6022
Cary, NC 27519
With your help we can get the NC Green Party back on the ballot and run more candidates to challenge the two-party capitalist system.
Young Ecosocialist NC Caucus Is Now Official
In March, the Young Ecosocialist Caucus of North Carolina (YES NC) was officially accredited as a caucus of the North Carolina Green Party! If you are between the ages of 14 and 35 and a member of the NCGP, then you are eligible to join. Interested?
The next YES NC meeting is on Zoom on May 7 at 7:00 p.m. Email your interest and questions to [email protected].
Objectives of the YES Caucus of NC:
- To support and elect candidates in line with the values of the Green Party for public office.
- To widen the grasp of political knowledge, amount of political participation, and scope of political interest of young people in government, civic, and political affairs.
- To develop leadership skills in its members.
- To serve members' communities.
- To support the development of the activism of young people.
- To uplift and empower underrepresented groups within the Green Party and US politics.
- To provide opportunities for young people to network and socialize.
Follow YES NC on social media:
Become a Member!
The North Carolina Green Party refuses all corporate contributions, so dues-paying members play a vital role ensuring our state and local organizations have the resources needed to build an independent party for people and planet free from the influence of the 1 percent.
Who can Become a Member of the North Carolina Green Party? North Carolina residents who are registered to vote as "Green" (or registered as "unaffiliated" when the state does not allow Green registration) are eligible to become members of the NCGP after they have affirmed Green Party principles (see our 10 Key Values and platform), set their own dues rate using a budget-friendly sliding scale, and initiated payment of those dues. You choose your own dues level on the honor system, based on what you can pay. Note: Residents who are ineligible to vote due to state disenfranchisement (including but not limited to reasons such as age, criminal record, or noncitizen/undocumented status) may also become members. Email the NCGP secretary at [email protected] if you feel you are ineligible to vote due to state disenfranchisement. All NCGP members, with the exception of noncitizens, pay modest annual dues.
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In solidarity with people and planet against profits,
The North Carolina Green Party