October Voices - Our Convention Milestones
A Commonwealth That Works for Us All!
The 20th Annual Convention of the Green-Rainbow Party, September 25, 2021
SOUTH DEERFIELD, MA – The need for people-powered Green politics is more critical than ever! A quick summation of our inspiring “Zoom” day spent together
Backed up by a superb tech team and convention planning committee, the virtual convention started on time--with no glitches -- with gracious greetings to attendees from our 2020-2021 co-chairs. Lois Gagnon and Maha Vishnu Gray. They greeted us with a review of past years' accomplishments as well as inspiring us to build going forward. They reminded us of the critical importance of having a political party that owes its efforts to the people, not to corporate financial interests. Their efforts over this past year are greatly appreciated.
THE GREEN POLITICAL IMPERATIVE
As Empire, Climate & COVIDCrises Converge
Excerpts from the Keynote Address by DR. Jill Stein
“The parties of war and Wall Street continue to prove incapable of enacting real solutions to existential problems. The climate crisis is a case in point. Heatwaves, drought, fires, floods, and storms accelerate at the current 1.1 degrees C warming. Yet we’ll be at 1.5 degrees C in two decades! While developing nations suffer first and worst, even in the US the danger is off the charts, as, for example, the depleted Colorado River threatens California farms that produce half the nation’s fruits and vegetables – raising the specter of national food shortage. A rapidly developing Manhattan-size cavern in the West Antarctic ice sheet brings another danger into focus - namely ice sheet collapse, a civilization-ending event that could rapidly raise sea level up to 35 feet over just a few years, obliterating nearly all coastal cities. The recent IPCC report conceded that ice-sheet collapse this century cannot be ruled out.
Despite the looming danger, federal climate proposals are little more than window dressing. These existential threats are not the real problem, because they could be readily solved. The actual crisis is the hijack of our democracy by the rapacious oligarchy (aka end-stage capitalism, empire, etc.).
Greens have been leading the charge with real democracy solutions – from full public funding of elections to ranked-choice voting and proportional representation, ballot access, ending voter suppression and gerrymandering, and halting the bipartisan assault on speech, privacy, protest, and political opposition.
It’s a perfect storm for party-building, as the consequences of the ruling parties come home to roost and people are desperate for real solutions in our communities and in our politics. We have inspirational candidates to support, chapters to develop, and powerful alliances to build with inspired movements like those represented in today’s presentations. In short, it’s time to double down and build the party for people, planet, and peace like our lives depend on it! It is the imperative of our time.”
DR Jill Stein is a two-time GPUS Presidential candidate, physician, public health advocate, activist, and one of our own from here in Massachusetts.
Thank you, DR Stein, for your insights and ongoing commitment.
[Editor's note] Democrats have reintroduced the dubiously titled "Freedom to Vote Act"with the same poison pills included in HR1 that suppress third parties, including the Green Party. Democrats want to make sure that they have no third party challengers to their hold on power.
RACE AND RECONCILIATION IN MASSACHUSETTS
Insights from a major voice and hunger-striker for racial justice, Kevin Peterson, Founder of the New Democracy Coalition(NDC)
Kevin Peterson brought a sharp focus to the history and ongoing experience of racism in Boston and the resulting current-day wealth disparity between black and white Bostonians. (Average black family net worth in Boston: $8. Average white family net worth in Boston: $250,000) He shared with us the history of slave trading in Boston's Faneuil Hall (named for a wealthy Boston slave trader) and the ongoing effort to rename it so as to highlight its true history in the struggle for racial justice. He highlighted the fact that in two short years the public has transitioned from an 80% "No" to changing the name to now a majority who favor the name change. This indicates a growing sense of the people's willingness to engage in the cause for racial justice but shows the Boston political establishment has not yet caught up.
The campaign to rename Faneuil Hall is only one aspect of the NDC's efforts to expand civic awareness and participation at a grassroots level. In fact, the Green-Rainbow Party was part of an NDC-led coalition 10 years ago when they got the state legislature to realign Boston voting districts so that minorities and voters of color achieved greater representation at city hall. The NDC is promoting efforts in the Massachusetts legislature to create a racial reconciliation commission within the state.
Kevin Peterson, Founder and Executive Director of the New Democracy Coalition, Senior Fellow at UMass Boston, and columnist for the Boston Herald, has been leading hunger strikes to remove a slave trader’s name from Faneuil Hall. The GRP is proud to join your rally to Change the Name of Faneuil Hall from September 30 to October 3rd.
Thank you, Kevin Peterson, for your eloquent commitment to civic awareness and racial justice.
Grassroots organizing in Holyoke
Message from a Mayoral Candidate Who Believes in the Power of Grassroots Coalitions
Dr. Gloria Caballero Roca recently ran for mayor of Holyoke as a first-time candidate and as an Independent. DR Caballero Roca shares a commitment to our Party’s 10 Key Values. She spoke of the need to be connected to the people through grassroots organizing and coalitions for change. Unsurprisingly, she was endorsed by the GRP’s Pioneer Valley Chapter. Experienced political campaigners from the PVC collected signatures to help get her on the ballot. Subsequently, Greens became her Campaign Manager (Juan Sanchez) and Treasurer (Nate Fortune).
Running against “machine politics” is always an uphill battle, said DR Caballero Roca. In reality, a win-or-lose vote count is secondary to pushing the peoples’ agenda front and center into the public debate.
Thank you, Dr. Caballero Roca, for your splendid coalition example. We Greens hope to work with you in further electoral campaigns. We are thrilled that you joined our convention.
Following these splendid examples of the peoples’ political activism, convention participants were provided a choice of two important workshops on how empowering people and their wellbeing can be accomplished through thoughtful planning and broad coalitions.
WORKSHOP # 1
What Cuba Can Teach Us About Health Care for the USA
Led by Don Fitz, Missouri Green Party Activist & Public Health Scholar
The slideshow presentation by this highly regarded student of the Cuban medical system demonstrated the ability to improve the health and well-being of Cubans and others in developing nations with minimal resources, despite the extreme economic and military threats from the United States and its allies. The heavy international sanctions continue apace under President Biden.
Considering this extreme international pressure and the ongoing consequences of these sanctions, the question becomes: How does Cuba do this? Don Fitz had the answer. A socialist government that from its inception committed to and ultimately codified in its 1976 constitution a guarantee of free education and healthcare as a basic human right for all people. Cuba's success in providing this has been a model for the world and should be an embarrassment to the US for-profit “supposed health care system”. The metrics shared by MR Fitz demonstrate the radical success of the Cuban efforts. From the post-revolution time, through the “special period” after the collapse of the Soviet Union’s support, to managing the current COVID pandemic the accomplishments of Cuban healthcare have been nothing short of miraculous. Don Fitz demonstrated that when a government prioritizes the well-being of all of its people, universal healthcare can be accomplished, not without struggle, but with true success. The effectiveness of the Cuban inclusive healthcare model is demonstrated by its successful exporting of its personnel and practices to other nations around the world. Read about this astounding story in the book: “Cuban Health Care: The Ongoing Revolution”
Thank you Don Fitz for a truly inspiring presentation of what can be accomplished when a society and its political leadership are committed to meeting the needs of all.
WORKSHOP # 2
Powering Up the Community: Climate Action, Justice And Equity
Led By Lynn Benander and Jill Stein
Climate deterioration is an obvious reality. However current federal solutions are wholly inadequate, hobbled as they are, by vested interests and false solutions. Lynn Benander, CEO of Co-op Power, and DR Jill Stein, advocate for the Real Green Deal, discuss innovative ways to return carbon-free energy to people at all levels, especially, low-income consumers.
Co-op Power tailors pathways to ownership and energy savings depending on each community's local circumstances. Her group proposes to form a Community Energy Coop in Boston, not unlike the highly successful model in Brooklyn, NY. There, members of Co-op Power won a bid to build on the Brooklyn Army Terminal and a separate bid to build on properties owned by the NYC Housing Authority. This allowed much of the funding and benefits of the project to return to the serviced communities, including an electricity discount of up to 20%. Co-Op Power proposes to build solar panels on Boston public schools as a Community Energy Coop, a collective solution for carbon-free energy justice and equity while building community power. Co-Op Power invited the Green-Rainbow Party, especially its Boston Chapter, to collaborate in this worthy project.
DR Jill Stein vigorously supported this collaboration and similar proposals.
Lynn Benander is President and CEO of Co-op Power a network of local energy cooperatives, incorporated as a consumer-owned energy cooperative in Massachusetts
DR Jill Stein is a nationally recognized leader for true green solutions at all levels of government while returning real choices to the people.
Thank you Lynn Benander and DR Jill Stein for showing us a way to moving the ball forward with our own People Power.
Newly Elected GRP Officers and Delegates for 2021
Female Co-Chair: Lois J. Gagnon
Thank you for electing me to a second term as your female co-chair. I promise to work hard on preparing our party to run candidates for statewide office next year.
I will also do my best to help our chapters and working committees attract new people by establishing better communication with the Administrative Committee.
I believe strongly in our platform and 10 Key Values. Let us all keep our values in mind as we seek to show the people of this commonwealth that electing GRP candidates to government is essential to meeting the challenges we all face. I look forward to working with all of you.
We can do this!
Male/Nonbinary Co-Chair: Rick Purcell
I look forward to working hard throughout the year with Lois Gagnon, as Male CoChair of the Green-Rainbow Party I want to get things done. I will not as Co-Chair be on a computer keyboard typing long essays about the problems facing the State of Massachusetts, the United States, and the world. I will however take to the streets to try and solve the problems. Believe it or not, we already know the answers on how to solve the problems of Climate Change, Stop participating in Wars, Universal Health Care, and raising up Humans to their full potential. We just have to stop the individuals and Corporations that are not allowing us to implement the solutions.
I urge you all to be part of the solution and not the problem that slows us down. It all starts with us working as a team. Adhering to our Ten Key Values should be our driving force. Thank you for your votes.
Peace and Love is the answer
Secretary: Sean Connell
Thank you all so very much for your vote of confidence. I am deeply honored and humbled that I have this opportunity to serve as the GRP’s new Secretary.
I look forward to being a very active member of this party. I will do all I can to streamline services and help make us a real force to be reckoned with.
I intend on serving with honesty, transparency, and integrity. I am going to bring all of the skills I’ve learned in my professional life into the fold.
I look forward to getting started and meeting all of you along the way.
Treasurer: Brian Cady
Thank you for the honor of receiving the opportunity to serve the Green-Rainbow party again as treasurer for 2021-22.
Communications Director: Eileen Wheeler Sheehan
It is exciting and rewarding to build such a vital piece of the Green-Rainbow Party with such an outstanding Communications Team, especially our Co-Chair, Jack Swindlehurst. I look forward to expanding our reach in the coming election year.
Fundraising Director: Mike Vaglica
Thank you all so much for your votes, but even more importantly for your commitments and advocacy for strengthening our state party. Our numbers are small, but the work still needs to be done so that we can stand up against the big corporations.
I like to work, and I’m pleased to be surrounded by comrades with similar political interests, and since I’m new to the party as a young person, I’m learning! I also like numbers and have special ways of interpreting them, which polishes my position as the fundraising director.
I’m, also working as a sidekick, on coordination with our treasurer, Brian.
Membership Director: Juan Sanchez
I am humbled by your trust in me as your next membership director. My goals this year include changing the party narrative around being a third party, empowering the diversity committee, and working closely with the Communications Committee to come up with a doable strategic plan to grow our party. Being Bilingual latinx and a member of the lgbtq+ community places me in a unique position to reach communities that are marginalized and underrepresented and I will bring all my years of relationships building and networking to reach these communities and more throughout the Commonwealth. We aren't a third party we are a party of firsts. Let's reenvision what being a member means and re-engage our neighbors in our message of people planet and peace.
Female GPUS Delegate: Jamie Guerin
Thank you for electing me as a national Delegate. I am honored and grateful for the privilege of working with this excellent and inspiring team of delegates and officers as we move the GRP and our society forward and out of these dark times.
I promise to represent the GRP well on the National Stage and serve with compassion, integrity, transparency and courage in order to be an example of the type of leadership we wish to see in government.
It's been so amazing getting to know the many members and candidates who have been diligently volunteering their time and working with me in my local chapter, in coalitions, in campaigns, on the streets, and on various GRP committees. I'm excited to work with you ALL as we carry this party into the future and become an effective force in opposition to the status quo. I've got your back!!!
Female GPUS Delegate: Carole Oyler
Thank you for having the trust in me to represent our Green-Rainbow Party at the national level.
I am humbled and honored. I will bring transparency, input from state members on national issues, and the value of cohesiveness while working with my fellow Green-Rainbow Party delegates.
Female GPUS Alternate: Lois J. Gagnon
Thank you for electing me as your alternate delegate to National Committee. I will be sure to stay on top of news and votes and report accurately to the GRP. I take this position seriously and will always keep in mind that I represent not just myself, but the party as a whole at the national level.
I am deeply grateful for your vote of confidence in my abilities to represent you and will do my best to continue to earn that trust.
Female GPUS Alternate: Elizabeth Humphrey
Thank you for your vote of confidence!
I am honored to have the opportunity to represent the GRP on the GPUS national committee and collaborate with other Greens around the country to continue, strengthen and grow our GPUS.
I promise to be forthright and transparent in my dealings and communications as I support my fellow GRP delegates and will endeavor to make the GRP a shining example of an accredited state party in the GPUS Federation of States.
Thank you again and I hope to see you all on the GRP campaign trail next year!!
Male/Nonbinary GPUS Delegate: Mike Pascucci
Thank you for your vote of support in electing me as one of the male / non-binary delegates to the GPUS National Committee! I promise to approach NC business with compassion, integrity, and intelligence for fact-based problem-solving.
I also want to reiterate my strong commitment to the oppressed and marginalized. Putting people over profit must include ensuring that targeted communities have a home in our party as we work toward a
more just and equitable world.
Male/Nonbinary GPUS Delegate: Maha Visnu
Maha Visnu Gray, having complete his term as CoChair of the Green-Rainbow Party has accepted the role of National Delegate to the GPUS.
Male/Nonbinary GPUS Alternate: David Gerry
David Gerry, after serving as Treasurer of the Green Party of the United States, has accepted the role of Alternate Delegate to the National Committee.
Male/Nonbinary GPUS Alternate: Elie Yarden
I am grateful for the permission to continue the research into the problems of Green Party praxis (‘ecological politics’) in the political structures peculiar to the USA. The successes of the Greens in Germany, and elsewhere threaten the rigid and fragile duopoly, its market control of media, and claims to hegemony backed by military force. I will be fully available together with David Gerry to fulfill the duties of the office, and seek the participation of Maureen Doyle.