By Andrew Steward
November 29 2018
The Green Party has been advocating for a massive jobs and public works program to transition our energy infrastructure rapidly over to renewable energy for more than a decade . The project truly began with a Global Greens ‘Green New Deal Task Force’, first formulated in 2006. It was brought into American Green political campaigns by Howie Hawkins when he ran for governor in 2014 . Next Jill Stein and Ajamu Baraka highlighted it in their 2016 presidential campaign  while many more American Green candidates have run campaigns using it since that time.
Our Green New Deal is formulated as a transitional set of demands in a Four Point program with the understanding that fundamental structural change, moving our society away from the inhumane, imperial logic of a capitalist market system and towards a radical democratic reconfiguration of forces in the United States, is the only way that a popular program for change can occur.
Unlike the model advocated by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez , the Green Party proposal emphasizes public programs, not those created by Wall Street. It calls for a transformational change in energy production as well as the structure of the economy based in grassroots democracy.
We are in an ecological and economic emergency that requires fundamental system change. In 2016 our party officially adopted ecosocialism to create a truly equitable ecological economy and grassroots democracy with an intersectional lens to properly encounter this challenge. Our platform now reads:
The Green Party seeks to build an alternative economic system based on ecology and decentralization of power, an alternative that rejects both the capitalist system that maintains private ownership over almost all production as well as the state-socialist system that assumes control over industries without democratic, local decision making. We believe the old models of capitalism (private ownership of production) and state socialism (state ownership of production) are not ecologically sound, socially just, or democratic and that both contain built-in structures that advance injustices.
Instead we will build an economy based on large-scale green public works, municipalization, and workplace and community democracy. Some call this decentralized system ‘ecological socialism,’ ‘communalism,’ or the ‘cooperative commonwealth,’ but whatever the terminology, we believe it will help end labor exploitation, environmental exploitation, and racial, gender, and wealth inequality and bring about economic and social justice due to the positive effects of democratic decision making.
Production is best for people and planet when democratically owned and operated by those who do the work and those most affected by production decisions. This model of worker and community empowerment will ensure that decisions that greatly affect our lives are made in the interests of our communities, not at the whim of centralized power structures of state administrators or of capitalist CEOs and distant boards of directors. Small, democratically run enterprises, when embedded in and accountable to our communities, will make more ecologically sound decisions in materials sourcing, waste disposal, recycling, reuse, and more. Democratic, diverse ownership of production would decentralize power in the workplace, which would in turn decentralize economic power more broadly.
The American financial system is deeply connected to the multinational fossil fuel industry in ways that go well beyond the realm of what is attainable within the Democratic Party without a third party movement creating external grassroots pressure on elected officials. For instance, the American dollar is linked to the Saudi Arabian oil barrel via a process known as petrodollar recycling , a complex system that came into existence when America went off the gold standard in the 1970s. Taking the American dollar out of this system will be a complicated and intricate process that would fundamentally dismantle much of the economic landscape that we occupy currently. When we say we need system change, we mean it and this is part of the reason why.
Neither of the duopoly parties will take on this challenge without an external pressure being created by a third party because it is in their vested material interests not to do so. As Saudi Arabia continues to be a feature of the news cycle in relation to the war on Yemen and the brutal killing of reporter Jamal Khashoggi, we regretfully keep this aspect of American political economy in mind and see it as an insurance policy that will maintain the security of the Saudi royal family regardless of humanitarian protests.
Historically, third parties have always been the location that progressive political projects have been incubated within before the mainstream has been forced to adopt them. As example, consider single payer healthcare. Ralph Nader had this as part of his agenda in the 2000 presidential campaign and it has been part of the Green Party US platform since then. Every year since this 25,000 to 30,000 people have died because they do not have access to healthcare, i.e. do not have insurance. The lack of access to healthcare is an urgent national crisis. The Democrats are finally catching on to this as well, with 123 Democrats co-sponsoring the Expanded and Improved Medicare for All Act, HR676, which is a superior bill to the compromised one being proposed by Sen. Bernie Sanders. The sooner HR676 becomes law, the sooner people will stop dying.
We hope the wider public will take other parts of the Green agenda as well and make them materialize in policy and action. Green candidates have been calling for a 50% reduction in the budget of the Pentagon, the world’s largest polluter , since the beginning of this century while the duopoly has expanded military spending now to 64% of the Federal Discretionary Spending budget. We also opposed the Iraq, Afghanistan, Libyan and Syrian wars.
On November 29, 2018, a delegation led by the Green Party went to the International Criminal Court to urge a full investigation of crimes by Israel, against Palestinians (read about the Green Party US’s letter to the International Criminal Court outlining the history of the Israeli occupation of Palestine and requesting that alleged war crimes by Israel that have been reported since June 2014 be investigated by the ICC ), and a foreign policy of diplomacy as opposed to militarist interventionism.
The duopoly War On Terror has cost the United States $6 trillion at a time when our infrastructure is failing and we need to invest in a transition to a clean energy economy. Neither the Democrats or Republicans are willing to cut the military budget or end foreign policy based on militarism.
Even while some Democrats are taking on some of our issues, we do not expect either party to adopt a Green New Deal, Improved Medicare for All or seriously curtail militarist policy unless they are pressured by a grassroots movement and by a third party that gains political support.