Green Voices: Rally for Human Rights & Mother Earth
The Voice of Massachusetts Greens
COP-Out 26 and Environmental Survival
After 6 years of wrestling with the Paris Agreement to reduce fossil fuel consumption and in other ways stem the decline of life on Mother Earth, President Biden and his fellow leaders must again address the failure of major polluting nations to stem their toxic emissions. The Green-Rainbow Party has joined with other environmental activists to condemn the high-sounding rhetoric and the absence of real actions.
In Washington, before President Biden and his administration left for Glasgow and the COP-26 assembly, environmental groups, notably indigenous and youth movements, ringed the White House and other locations to demand real action. Over 650 protesters were arrested, despite the deafening silence of the mainstream media.
COP 26 reviews the status of promises made in the 2015 Paris Climate Accords and updates the commitment of each nation to meet the goal of no greater than a 1.5-degree temperature increase by 2030.
1) What does the US bring to the table at COP 26? Our delegation goes to Glasgow with what? We tried. We had a $3.5 trillion plan that included some progress towards climate stability, but that damn coal miner from West Virginia won't let us do it! Sorry world! Maybe we can pressure the global south into making a greater sacrifice by their people to cover our deficit.
2) With minimal coverage of COP 26 in the US, how do we raise public awareness and confront our government's complete lack of urgency? What coalitions should we be joining to organize the necessary momentum to change? After all, we are the only, truly environmental political party with a platform and program to stem climate extinction.
Indigenous Wisdom And Environmental Survival
by John Blumenstiel
After the webinar on "EcoAction and Climate" sponsored by GPUS EcoAction Committee on October 11, 2021, it has become clear to this writer that a successful defense of a life-supporting sustainable environment requires an integrated two-track approach, one legal/political (Western/Euro orientation) and the other, spiritual/cultural (Indigenous Wisdom orientation). This communication is an effort to create a viable synthesis between these two seemingly differing paradigms.
I am most aware of how we Anglo-American citizens attempt to bring about change. It entails educating and/or pressuring others to accept OUR belief system and values and OUR desired outcome. It is either speaking truth to power, or mobilizing to influence power, or organizing to gain power.
We can point to many successes that have been achieved by these means (legal/political/educational efforts). These include civil rights of the '50s and '60s, anti-war activism of the '60s and '70s, the feminist movement of the same era and continuing, environmentalism and success of the earlier period labor movement, etc, etc. All brought us an expanding period of democracy--not perfect, but progress.
However, at this point, we see these advances being crushed by an oppressive political, economic and legal system that functions out of the values of elite exceptionalism. No longer do we have the institutional structures that promote life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness for "we the people''. Nor do we have the ability, presently, to pressure/educate them to change our circumstances. We have instead a "winner take all" value that pits group against group, individual against individual and profit (materialism) against preservation and environmental survival. I use the term environmental survival as opposed to just human survival because this begins to move us towards the broader syntheses to which I have referred.
The survival of the human species is intrinsically dependent upon the survival of the environment in which it exists. From my limited understanding of indigenous culture and beliefs, this environmental survival is profoundly embedded in a deep sense of co-partnership with the environment, a familial relationship with "Mother Earth", as distinct from the Western notion of an intellectual/rational/scientific vessel in which humans reign supreme. Herein lies either a point of departure between two paradigms or, as I prefer, a necessary point of convergence.
Without any influencing factors, science can take us in almost any direction. Thus the need for syntheses: Modern science mediated by an underlying ethical/philosophical/moral system anchored in Indigenous Wisdom, respect for the earth, will provide us with a potential, life-sustaining direction forward. Science, disconnected from a reverent earth consciousness, will always be a mixed bag of progress and regression, too frequently driven by the profit motive. With such an un-tethered approach science can lead to the destruction of us all.
For decades now we have been witnessing an increasing convergence of Western thought and Indigenous Wisdom. Our task, as I see it, is to expand this effort, enhance and deepen our awareness and move ahead together to restore the world for all to participate and thrive.
Mass-Care Coalition testifies at Medicare for All Hearing on October 26th
We are the only “developed” nation without universal access to health care. Not only is US health care more expensive than all other industrialized nations, but we Americans are less healthy than citizens in more than half of countries worldwide as measured by the World Population Review.
Given the lack of support by President Biden for universal access to healthcare, Massachusetts is urgently proposing Medicare for All legislation (S.766 and H.1267) to extend healthcare for its residents.
As a member of the Mass-Care Coalition, the Green-Rainbow Party members submitted testimony for the October 26th hearing. Most addressed the social injustice of the current privatized system in Massachusetts. Others mentioned the excessive costs and inefficiencies of the current health care. (Losing access to employer-provided health insurance is especially painful during the pandemic.) But this is not a new challenge for citizens’ rights. Beacon Hill leadership has long ducked their obligation to worthy Bay Staters by claiming to “wait” for Congress to enact a federal plan.
19 states, including Massachusetts, are proposing a variation of the vastly popular “single-payer health insurance.” US Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis opined in 1939 that "a single courageous State may, if its citizens choose, serve as a laboratory; and try novel social and economic experiments without risk to the rest of the country."
Greens, who support social justice and healthcare for all, are in the ideal position to support the single-payer healthcare system. There is still time to contact your state Senator and Representative. Keep up to date with Mass-Care.
Greens Rally for Reproductive Rights
On October 2nd, Greens and their allies rallied in parks around the state for women's reproductive rights. They were part of the massive national mobilization of Americans sparked by the passage of a Texas law that deputizes private citizens to sue anyone believed to "aid and abet" an abortion, collecting a bounty of $10,000 from the victim of such a lawsuit.
At Franklin Park in Boston, an estimated 2500 activists showed up to hear from Congress members Ayanna Pressley and Edward Markey. They hailed the Women's Health Protection Act that the House of Representatives passed on September 24 (https://pai.org/news/house-passes-womens-health-protection-act-h-r-3755/).
At Buttonwood Park in New Bedford, over 300 activists, including members of the SouthCoast Greens Chapter, heard from local women’s rights activists including retired Judge Bettina Borders, well-known for her support of women’s rights to choose. As she told us, “We in Massachusetts feel safe. But we are not if the national agenda is against us. Remember, it is no coincidence that Margaret Atwood set the Handmaid’s Tale in Cambridge. To remind us.”
In 1973, the Supreme Court recognized abortion as covered by the basic constitutional right of privacy. However, the newly constituted Supreme Court recently declined to overturn the Texas outrage of banning abortions after a mere 6 weeks of pregnancy (when most women don’t even know they are pregnant) and even offering bounties paid to their predators. It has thus opened the way for states or other entities to dismantle the constitution under the pretext of enabling lawsuits against persons exercising their rights.
It seems likely that the foolishness invited by the Supreme Court will not stand, since those in power in Washington do claim that the US is governed under a Constitution. So, the most likely course is for the Court to reverse the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, overturning for the first-time rights previously recognized for an entire half of the population. The Green Party of the US is on record that "Women's right to control their bodies is non-negotiable. It is essential that the option of a safe, legal abortion remains available" (https://www.gp.org/social_justice#rr).
Dear Secretary Blinken, Palestinian Civil Rights Groups are not Terrorists
Question: When are human rights groups labeled “terrorists” and their members subject to imprisonment or worse?
Answer: In Israel, according to Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, the Sunrise Movement, and the Green-Rainbow Party.
More than 280 US organizations have supported a letter, sent to Secretary of State Antony Blinken, on October 29th. They express solidarity with Palestinians, whose fight for liberation, it says, is linked to movements for social justice across the world: “While our government has long offered unconditional support to the Israeli government, our movements and organizations will always stand first and foremost with the rights and safety of people.”
"The six organizations targeted by Israel, which the letter describes 'as part of the bedrock of Palestinian civil society,' are Defense for Children International - Palestine, Al-Haq, Addameer, Bisan Center for Research and Development, Union of Agricultural Work Committees, and Union of Palestinian Women’s Committees."
The Center for Constitutional Rights
These human rights organizations now face possible mass arrest and being shut down by the Israeli government, and anyone identifying with the groups can also be subject to imprisonment, according to Israel’s draconian 2016 counter-terrorism law.
Concurrently, progressive members of Congress just introduced the #StandWithThe6 resolution, H.Res. 751, to defend these six esteemed organizations, which are known for powerfully documenting Israeli human rights abuses.
Co-chairs Lois Gagnon and Rick Purcell stated on October 28, 2021, “The Green-Rainbow Party is proud to stand with our fellow human rights organizations in demanding the Biden Administration must cease its uncritical support for Israel as it violates international law. A threat against the Palestinian human rights movement is a threat against movements for social justice everywhere”.
The Pioneer Valley Green-Rainbow Chapter Has Changed its Name to Western Mass Green-Rainbow Regional
Blessings to all who observe Indigenous People's Day! In an effort to decolonize our name, our chapter voted tonight to become a regional, but also to drop the offensive and colonial reference to "Pioneer" and become the Western Mass Regional Chapter! In the coming months, we will do outreach to members in all of Western Mass and will be planning a celebratory event either in-person or virtually. We hope to see you there and hear about efforts all over the state to change names, mascots, and other ways people are attempting to decolonize with guidance from the local Indigenous community.
St. Vincent Nurses Strike Oct. 24, 2021 followup
by Jaime Guerin
Thank you to all who came out to support the nurses at St. Vincent. I was going to bring my kids, but at the last moment decided to leave them at home as it was a lazy Sunday for them. I remember the day before, when they assumed they would be going, they had all sorts of questions about what a strike is, how long it lasted, why were they on strike, and so on. If you want to understand the youth perspective of kids whose parents are presently striking here is an article in Teen Vogue that highlights the Nurses' strike at St. Vincent's Hospital in Worcester.