Our nation was born as the first great experiment in modern democracy. We seek to rescue that heritage from the erosion of citizen participation. Moreover, we seek to dissolve the grip of the ideology, intoned by big-money interests for more than twenty years, that government is intrinsically undesirable and destructive of liberty and that elected officials should rightly “starve the beast” by slashing all spending on social program, in the name of freedom. We challenge that tactic by calling on all Americans to think deeply about the meaning of government of the people, by the people, and for the people. In a democracy, individuals come together to form structures of governance that protect and advance the common good. We the citizens are the government, and we the citizens can direct it to fulfill its finest goals and purposes. Our citizens must not permit usurpation of their authority by acts of individuals and government agencies that isolate or insulate government from their oversight and control. We, the People, have a responsibility to participate in self-government through all the means that our Constitution provides.
Citizens of a democracy must have the information and ability to determine the actions of their government. Vast concentrations of wealth and power that have occurred in recent years are inherently undemocratic. The deregulation of corporate activity and the decentralization and underfunding of the regulatory structures that remain—accompanied by the centralizing of big money —has been a disaster for our country. The true owners of the public lands, pension funds, and the public airwaves are the American people, who today have little or no control over their pooled assets or their commonwealth.
The power of civic action is an antidote to the corporate control of so much of our lawmaking and regulating. The pervasive abuse imposed by corporate power increasingly undermines our democracy, but the Green Party seeks to rekindle the democratic flame. As voting citizens, taxpayers, workers, consumers, and stakeholders, we unite to exercise our rights and, as Thomas Jefferson urged, to counteract the “excesses of the moneyed interests.” Toward this end, we consider serious reform of campaign funding to be essential, as well as curbs on the influence of corporations on lawmakers and regulatory agencies.
The Green Party considers American democracy to be an ongoing, unfolding project that is dynamic and creative in nature. We are committed to the strengthening of our civil society, including the many mediating institutions at the community level that have always characterized our democracy. We seek to heal the alienation and apathy that has been cultivated in the citizenry by the power brokers of the status quo. Righteous anger about the crippling of our democracy is rising in the land, and the Greens offer constructive alternatives. In addition, we seek to repair the plummeting opinion of the United States in the international community resulting from our arrogant, narcissistic foreign policy of recent years. A growing and grave imbalance between the citizens of this country and the interests that extract power from the citizens is an imminent danger to our security and national and global social stability. We strongly feel that our country should view itself as a member of the community of nations… not above it. The United States could well play a leadership role in that community but only if we become committed to an eco-social vision of peace, national self-determination, and international cooperation.
Our goal is to become an important political force in this country, and to present candidates for election at every level of government.
A. Political Reform
Greens will crack down on political corruption and strengthen the voice of the people at all levels of government.
Everyone deserves the opportunity to influence the governmental decisions that affect them. But the defining characteristics of modern politics in the United States are a corrupt campaign finance system that enables corporate and wealthy elites to purchase political outcomes; and an abundance of anti-democratic electoral, ballot access and debate rules designed to minimize participation and choice.
To achieve genuine citizen participation, citizens must share in the power of governing. Greens seek to bring vibrant grassroots democracy to every part of the United States.
Greens seek to repair U.S. electoral system, from how elections are financed, to conducting them in more fair and representative ways, to ensuring accountability and transparency on all levels of government. In particular, Greens believe that the U.S. winner-take-all voting system is fundamentally flawed, resulting in low voter participation, little choice or competition in countless elections, and far too few women and minorities in elected office.
The failure to fulfill the promise of democracy leaves millions of people in our country too discouraged to vote and others who chose to vote seemingly trapped among false and limited choices. A system that promotes full and fair representation would draw millions of people in the United States into civic life and could revive democracy in this country.
- Enact proportional representation voting systems for legislative seats on municipal, county, state and federal levels. Proportional representation systems provide that people are represented in the proportion their views are held in society and are based on dividing seats proportionally within multi-seat districts, compared to the standard U.S. single-seat, winner-take all districts. Forms of proportional representation include choice voting (candidate-based), party list (party-based) and mixed member voting (combines proportional representation with district representation).
- Enact Instant Run-off Voting (IRV) for chief executive offices like mayor, governor and president and other single-seat elections. Under IRV, voters can rank candidates in their order of preference (1,2,3, etc.) IRV ensures that the eventual winner has majority support and allows voters to express their preferences knowing that supporting their favorite candidate will not inadvertently help their least favored candidate. IRV thus frees voters from being forced to choose between the lesser of two evils, and saves money by eliminating unnecessary run-off elections.
- Provide full public financing of federal, state and local elections, including free and equal radio and television time on the public airwaves for all ballot-qualified candidates and parties.
- Prohibit corporations from spending to influence elections, preferably by constitutional amendment abolishing granting corporations constitutional rights guaranteed to natural persons, or as a condition of receipt of a corporate charter by federal chartering of corporations.
- Eliminate all ballot access laws and rules that discriminate against smaller parties and independents, and otherwise place undue burden on the right of citizens to run for office.
- Abolish the Electoral College and provide for the direct national election of the president by Instant Runoff Voting. As a step in that direction, support National Popular Vote legislation which would guarantee the Presidency to the presidential candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states (and the District of Columbia), which would take effect only when enacted, in identical form, by states possessing a majority of the electoral votes—that is, enough electoral votes to elect a President (270 of 538).
- Create a new publicly-funded People’s Commission on Presidential Debates, and open its presidential debates to all candidates who appear on at least as many ballots as would represent a majority of the Electoral College and who raise enough funds to otherwise qualify for general election public financing. Any candidate who refuses to participate in such debates would lose general election public financing for their candidacy. Amend federal law to remove the non-profit tax exemption status that allows corporations to fund the existing Commission on Presidential Debates and other such exclusive privately controlled debate entities.
- Amend the Federal Election Campaign Act to change the percentage of the presidential popular vote required for a new party’s candidate to receive first time General Election public funding from 5% in the previous General Election to 1%; and change the percentage of the presidential popular vote required for a new party to receive public presidential convention funding from 5% for its candidate in the previous general election to 1%.
- Include the option to vote for a binding None of the Above (NOTA) on all party primary and general election ballots.
- Support the right to initiative, referendum and recall at all levels of government. Enact signature gathering standards that empower volunteer collection efforts and financial disclosure requirements that identify the sources of funding behind paid signature efforts
- Enact a national “right to vote” law or constitutional amendment to guarantee universal, automatic, permanent voter registration, along with fail-safe voting procedures, so that eligible voters whose names are not on the voter rolls or whose information is out-of-date can correct the rolls and vote on the same day
- Enact statehood for the District of Columbia. Ensure that residents of the District of Columbia have the same rights and representation as all other U.S. citizens.
- Restore full citizenship rights to felons upon completion of their sentence, including the right to vote and to run for elected office. Enable greater enfranchisement of overseas voters.
- Support strong enforcement of the Federal Voting Rights Act and, where applicable, state voting rights acts like the California Voting Rights Act.
- Make Election Day a national holiday and/or have weekend elections.
- Amend the U.S. Constitution to require that all vacancies in the U.S. Senate be filled by election rather than appointment.
2. Reducing corruption
- Develop publicly-owned, open source voting equipment and deploy it across the nation to ensure high national standards, performance, transparency and accountability; use verifiable paper ballots; and institute mandatory automatic random precinct recounts to ensure a high level of accuracy in election results.
- Establish guarantees that every citizen’s vote counts, and that all U.S. voting systems—including electronic ones—are verifiable, transparent and accurate.
- Establish a National Elections Commission with the mandate to establish minimum national election standards and uniformity, partner with state and local election officials to ensure pre-election and post-election accountability for their election plans, require nonpartisan election boards, and depoliticize and professionalize election administration across the United States.
- Establish independent and transparent non-partisan redistricting processes to stop partisan gerrymandering and protect minority rights and representation.
- Increase the number of polling places, and increase the pay for poll workers.
- Strengthen “sunshine laws” to provide citizens with all necessary information and access to their political system.
- Ensure that all important federal, state and local government documents are on the Internet, especially texts of bills, searchable databases of voting records, draft committee and conference reports, and court decisions.
- Reinvigorate the independent investigative agencies, such as the General Accounting Office and the inspectors general.
- In addition to allowing members of Congress to send mail to their constituents for free, letters from citizens to their members of Congress shall also be free.
- Enact tough new federal anti-bribery and gratuity laws to stop corporations and the wealthy from purchasing government action, and vigorously enforce of anti-corruption laws by the Justice Department.
- Prohibit members of Congress, Governors, state legislators and their staffs from accepting for their own personal benefit any gifts of any amount from lobbyists or the general public.
- Require outside counsel to investigate ethics complaints against members of Congress, and toughen punishments within the congressional ethics processes for corruption, abuse of power and other wrongdoing.
- Replace the Federal Election Commission with a vigorous watchdog empowered to enforce federal campaign finance laws.
- Expand revolving-door lobbying “cooling off” periods for members of Congress and their top staff to at least two years.
- Allow any member of Congress to require a floor vote on any congressional earmark, to stop wasteful spending.
- Support the ability of cities to establish civilian police review boards to increase understanding between community members and police officers, provide a public forum to air concerns on policy matters and to ensure public oversight and accountability of their local police department.
Community is the basic unit of green politics because it is personal, value-oriented, and small enough for each member to have an impact. Community involvement is a foundation for public policy.
Social diversity is the wellspring of community life where old and young, rich and poor, and people of all races and beliefs can interact individually and learn to care for each other, and to understand and cooperate. We emphasize a return to local, face-to-face relationships that humans can understand and care about. Among Greens, our guiding principle is to think globally and act locally. Community needs recognize a diversity of issues, and local control recognizes a variety of approaches to solving problems, ones that tend to be bottom-up not top-down. Green politics does not place its faith in paternalistic big government. Instead,
Greens believe face-to-face interactions are essential to productive and meaningful lives for all citizens.
The Green vision includes building communities that nurture families, generate good jobs and housing, and provide public services; creating cities and towns that educate children, encourage recreation, and preserve natural and cultural resources; building local governments that protect people from environmental hazards and crime; and motivating citizens to participate in making decisions.
The Green vision calls for a global community of communities that recognize our immense diversity, respect our personal worth, and share a global perspective. We call for an approach to politics that acknowledges our endangered planet and habitat. Our politics responds to global crises with a new way of seeing our shared international security.
We will conceive a new era of international cooperation and communication that nurtures cultural diversity, recognizes the interconnectedness between communities, and promotes opportunities for cultural exchange and assistance.
We call for increased public transportation, convenient playgrounds and parks for all sections of cities and small towns, and funding to encourage diverse neighborhoods. [See section C.Transportation in chapter III] We support a rich milieu of art, culture, and significant (yet modestly funded) programs such as the National Endowment for the Arts and National Endowment for the Humanities. [See section E. Education and the Arts in chapter II]
1. Families and Children
- We call for social policies to focus on protecting families. The young— our citizens of tomorrow— are increasingly at risk. Programs must ensure that children, who are among the most vulnerable members of society, receive basic nutritional, educational, and medical necessities. The Green Party supports and seeks to expand Head Start and Pre- and neo-natal programs. A Children’s Agenda should be put in place to focus attention and concerted action on the future that is our children. [See section A.8. Youth Rights in chapter II]
- A universal, federally funded childcare program for pre-school and young schoolchildren should be developed.
- Family assistance such as the earned income tax credit, available to working poor families in which the parent supports and lives with the children, should be maintained and increased to offset regressive payroll taxes and growing inequalities in American society. [See section E. True Cost Pricing and Tax Fairness in chapter IV]
- A living family wage is vital to the social health of communities. [See section D. Livable Income in chapter IV]
- The actuarial protection of social security is essential to the well-being of our seniors, and maintenance of the system’s integrity is an essential part of a healthy community. We oppose privatization of social security, call for the program to remain under the aegis of the Federal Government, and seek to expand its effectiveness. [See section M. National Debt in chapter IV]
- We support the leading-edge work of non-profit public interest groups and those individuals breaking out of “careerism” to pursue non-traditional careers in public service.
2. Alternative Community Service
- We must create new opportunities for citizens to serve their communities through non-military community service. Alternative community service to the military should be encouraged.
- We advocate the formation of a Civilian Conservation Corps, with national leadership and state and local affiliates, to spearhead efforts to work on the tasks of environmental education, restoration of damaged habitats, reforestation, and cleaning up polluted waterways. Providing land and resource management skills will challenge young people while encouraging social responsibility.
C. Free Speech and Media Reform
Independent, critical media are essential to an informed and healthy democracy.
Citizens must have ready access to news and information to make responsible informed choices as voters and to carry out their other duties of citizenship.
The United States’ original communications policy was the 1st Amendment. Freedom of the press was guaranteed in the Constitution because an exchange of ideas and an unfettered debate were considered essential components of a democratic society. Today, however, government policy is designed less to enhance public deliberation than to boost the profitability of media corporations.
Our media laws and rules promote the formation of huge media conglomerates while discouraging competing voices. As a result, the mainstream media is increasingly cozy with the economic and political elites whom they should be investigating. Mergers in the news industry have accelerated, further limiting the spectrum of viewpoints in the mass media. With U.S. media overwhelmingly owned by for-profit conglomerates and supported by corporate advertisers, investigative journalism is in an alarming decline.
In response, Greens will strengthen citizens’ influence over the broadcast media, break up the dominant media conglomerates and boost the number of community and non-profit news outlets, all to fortify the media’s crucial watchdog function and to help create a more diverse and lively exchange of ideas in America.
Since governments too often have an interest in controlling the flow of information, we must constantly guard against official censorship. In our society however, large corporations are a far more common source of censorship than governments. Media outlets kill stories because they undermine corporate interests; advertisers use their financial clout to squelch negative reports; powerful businesses employ the threat of expensive lawsuits to discourage legitimate investigations. The most frequent form of censorship is self-censorship: journalists deciding not to pursue certain stories that they know will be unpopular with the advertisers.
- Return ownership and control of the electromagnetic spectrum to the public. We urge the public to reclaim the airwaves. The privatization of the broadcast airwaves, one of our most important taxpayer assets, has caused serious deformations of our politics and culture. End the privatization of broadcast frequencies and reserve them for the creation of new not-for-profit community broadcasters around the country and for broadband and wifi networks owned and operated by cities, counties and towns which want to deliver this vital tool to their people at reasonable cost.
- Enact tough new anti-trust laws for the media, carve up the big media conglomerates, and follow up with vigorous anti-trust enforcement.
- End commercial broadcasters’ free licensed use of the public airwaves. Require market-priced leasing of any commercial use of the electromagnetic spectrum. Revenues derived from these license fees should be used to fund the operation of community media. Tax electronic advertising to fund democratic media outlets.
- Reinstate and strengthen the Fairness Doctrine, to require that holders of broadcast licenses present controversial issues of public importance in an equitable and balanced manner.
- Establish substantial public interest obligations for broadcasters and hold them accountable, and revoke licenses from outlets that fail to satisfy these obligations.
- Support Public, Educational and Governmental (PEG) Access Television to ensure that citizens and community organizations have the opportunity to create and present their own programming on cable television.
- Expand the role of community radio, by expanding the licensing of new non-commercial low power FM radio stations.
- Promote greater opportunity for women and minority ownership of media outlets.
- Greens welcome the continuing and evolving potential of the Internet to build communities, educate, inform, and promote free speech and artistic expression.
- Provide broadband Internet access for all residents of this country, so that access to information is a right, not a commodity.
- We call for the Federal Communications Commission to consistently classify all Internet service providers, regardless of the type of service (cable, dial-up, satellite, etc.), as telecommunications services.
- We call for the specific classification of all Internet service providers as common carriers as used in Title II of the Communications Act.
- We support all efforts to achieve net neutrality. Internet users should be able to access any lawful web content they choose and use any applications they choose, without restrictions or limitations imposed by their Internet service provider or government, except for restrictions that exist to prevent spam e-mail, viruses, and similar content that will harm the providerís network or internet access devices.
- Ensure free and equal airtime for all ballot-qualified political candidates and parties on radio and television networks and stations.
- Provide public funding for independent nonprofit broadcasters’ to ensure high-quality news and cultural programming with the widest possible range of viewpoints.
- Prohibit commercial advertising targeted to children less than 12 years old, as well as advertising in public places such as schools, parks, and government buildings.
- Oppose censorship in the arts, media, press and on the Internet.
- Reform the Federal Communications Commission so that it is responsive and accountable to the public at large, not just to lobbyists and commercial interests.
- Repeal the Telecommunications Act of 1996.
- Reduce mailing costs for non-profit and independent magazines and journals, and eliminate them for those that receive less than 20% of their revenues from advertising.
- Promote policies to expand investigative reporting on federal, state and local issues.
- Promote policies to encourage the people of the United States to watch less television, and instead to spend time with their families, friends and neighbors, and to engage in myriad other constructive, artistic or healthful pursuits.
- Create a publicly-controlled “Audience Network” empowered to take airtime from commercial television and radio stations, to broadcast a variety of non-commercial cultural, political, entertainment, scientific or other high-quality programs.
D. Foreign Policy
At the start of a new century, we stand poised between the geopolitical conflict of East versus West; a future marked by the aftermath of the catastrophic events of September 11, 2001; the dangers of global terrorism; the U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan followed by the unprovoked invasion and occupation of Iraq; the escalation of conflict in the Middle East; and the continued research and development of nuclear weapons and the stockpiling of bio-chemical weapons.
In the area of trade, third- and fourth-world economies and resources are being ravaged and our own economy and job security undermined by global corporatization, which concentrates greater power in the hands of fewer interests who are unaccountable to the vast majority of the world’s people.
As we overcome continued conflicts and violence, we realize the difficulties inherent in encouraging democracy and of advancing the cause of peace. We face a more complex set of challenges in how our nation defines its national security. Greens support sustainable development and social and economic justice across the globe. Reducing militarism and reliance on arms policies is the key to progress toward collective security.
1. Foreign Policy—Peace and Disarmament
- As one of the initiators and primary authors of the United Nations Charter, the United States is obligated to conform to the stipulations of the U.S. Constitution, which identifies all such agreements as treaties that hold the authority of U.S. law. The U.S. government is pledged to abide by its principles and guidelines in the conduct of foreign relations and affairs.
- We recognize our government’s obligation to take disputes with other nations or foreign bodies to the U.N. Security Council and General Assembly forum for negotiation and resolution. The U.N. and international laws, treaties and conventions that the U.S. has signed are the framework that controls U.S. military actions abroad.
- The U.S. must recognize the sovereignty of nation-states and their right of self-determination.
- We recognize and support the right of the U.N. to intervene in a nation-state engaged in genocidal acts or in its persistent violation and denial of the human rights of an ethnic or religious group within its boundaries, and the right to protect the victims of such acts.
- The U.S. is obligated to render military assistance or service under U.N. command to enforce U.N. Security Council resolutions.
- The U.S. must recognize and abide by the authority of the U.N. General Assembly to act in a crisis situation by passing a resolution under the Uniting for Peace Procedure when the U.N. Security Council is stalemated by vetoes.
- We seek the permanent repeal of the veto power enjoyed by the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council.
- We urge our government to sign the International Criminal Court agreement and respect the authority of that institution.
- Our government does not have the right to justify preemptive invasion of another country on the grounds that the other country harbors, trains, equips and funds a terrorist cell.
- Our government should establish a policy to abolish nuclear weapons. It should set the conditions and schedule for fulfilling that goal by taking the following steps:
- Declare a no-first-strike policy.
- Declare a no-pre-emptive strike policy.
- Declare that the U.S. will never threaten or use a nuclear weapon, regardless of size, on a non-nuclear nation.
- Sign the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT). Our pledge to end testing will open the way for non-nuclear states to sign the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), which has been held up by our refusal to sign the CTBT. Honor the conditions set in the NPT for nuclear nations.
- Reverse our withdrawal from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty and honor its stipulations.
- End the research, testing and stockpiling of all nuclear weapons of any size.
- Dismantle all nuclear warheads from their missiles.
- We urge our government to sign the Toronto treaty banning the production, stockpiling, use and sale of land mines, and assist other nations in unearthing and disabling land mines buried in their lands.
- We urge our government to end all stockpiling of chemical and biological weapons and all research, use, and sale of such weapons; and sign the convention that will establish the decrease and inspection of all nations’ stockpiles of such weapons, which the U.S. abandoned.
- The U.S. must allow foreign teams to visit the U.S. for verification purposes at least annually.
- Our defense budget has increased out of all proportion to any military threat to the United States, and to our domestic social, economic and environmental needs. The United States government must reduce our defense budget to half of its current size. The 2012 defense budget exceeded $700 billion, and that does not take into account military expenditures not placed under the defense budget.
- The U.S. has over 700 foreign military bases. We urge our government to phase out all bases not specifically functioning under a U.N. resolution to keep peace and bring home our troops stationed abroad, except for the military assigned to protect a U.S. embassy. Many of these bases are small and can be closed immediately. We advocate further reductions in U.S. foreign military bases at a rate of closure of 1/4 to 1/5 of their numbers every year.
- Close the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation, formerly known as the School of the Americas, in Ft. Benning, Georgia.
- The U.S. is the largest arms seller and dealer in the world. We urge our government to prohibit all arms sales to foreign nations and likewise prohibit grants to impoverished and undemocratic nations unless the money is targeted on domestic, non-military needs. In addition, grants to other nations may not be used to release their own funds for military purposes.
- The U.S. must not be a conduit for defense contractors to market their products abroad and must shift our export market from arms to peaceful technology, industrial and agricultural products, and education.
- The U.S. must prohibit all covert actions used to influence, de-stabilize or usurp the governments of other nations, and likewise prohibit the assassination of, or assistance in any form for the assassination of, foreign government officials.
- We must build on the Earth Charter that came out of the 1992 U.N. environmental Earth Summit. New definitions of what constitutes real security between nations must be debated and adopted by the foreign policy community.
2. A Real Road to Peace in the Middle East
The Green Party of the United States recognizes that our greatest contribution to peace in the Middle East will come through our impact on U.S. policy in the region.
Our commitments to ecological wisdom, social justice, grass-roots democracy, and non-violence compel us to oppose U.S. government support for “friendly” regimes in the region when those regimes violate human rights, international law, and existing treaties. We call on congressional intelligence committees to conduct comprehensive public hearings on the development and deployment of weapons of mass destruction by all states in the region.
U.S. policy should support the removal and/or destruction of all such weapons wherever they are found there.
The Green Party supports the “joint comprehensive plan of action” signed in July, 2015 by Iran and the P5+1 (five permanent members of the UN Security Council: China, France, Russia, United Kingdom, United States plus Germany), and the European Union, which confirms Iran’s status as a zone free of nuclear weapons. According to the United States National Intelligence Estimate, Iran halted an alleged active nuclear weapons program in the Fall of 2003. Iran, which has signed the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty, has consistently called for a nuclear-free zone in the entire Middle East.
The “joint comprehensive plan of action” provides that in return for Iran upholding its agreements to rid itself of nuclear material as verified by inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), current economic sanctions by the US, European Union and UN Security Council will be lifted. The Green Party supports the swift elimination of these economic sanctions on Iran and looks to the normalization of relations between Iran and the United States. In keeping with UN resolutions call for a nuclear-free Middle East, the Green Party also calls on Israel, the only nuclear power in the Middle East with at least 200 nuclear warheads, to dismantle its nuclear weapons program and sign on to the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty.
The Palestinian-Israeli Conflict
Our Green values oblige us to support popular movements for peace and demilitarization in Israel-Palestine, especially those that reach across the lines of conflict to engage both Palestinians and Israelis of good will.
- We reaffirm the right of self-determination for both Palestinians and Israelis, which precludes the self-determination of one at the expense of the other. We recognize the historical and contemporary cultural diversity of Israeli-Palestinian society, including the religious heritage of Jews, Christians, Muslims and others. This is a significant part of the rich cultural legacy of all these peoples and it must be respected. To ensure this, we support equality before international law rather than appeals to religious faith as the fair basis on which claims to the land of Palestine-Israel are resolved.
- We recognize that Jewish insecurity and fear of non-Jews is understandable in light of Jewish history of horrific oppression in Europe. However, we oppose as both discriminatory and ultimately self-defeating the position that Jews would be fundamentally threatened by the implementation of full rights to Palestinian-Israelis and Palestinian refugees who wish to return to their homes. As U.S. Greens, we refuse to impose our views on the people of the region. Still, we would turn the U.S. government towards a new policy, which itself recognizes the equality, humanity, and civil rights of Jews, Muslims, Christians, and all others who live in the region, and which seeks to build confidence in prospects for secular democracy.
- We reaffirm the right and feasibility of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes in Israel. We acknowledge the significant challenges of equity and restitution this policy would encounter and call on the U.S. government to make resolution of these challenges a central goal of our diplomacy in the region.
- We reject U.S. unbalanced financial and military support of Israel while Israel occupies Palestinian lands and maintains an apartheid-like system in both the Occupied Palestinian Territories and in Israel toward its non-Jewish citizens. Therefore, we call on the U.S. President and Congress to suspend all military and foreign aid, including loans and grants, to Israel until Israel withdraws from the Occupied Territories, dismantles the separation wall in the Occupied West Bank including East Jerusalem, ends its siege of Gaza and its apartheid-like system both within the Occupied Palestinian Territories and in Israel toward its non-Jewish citizens.
- We also reject U.S. political support for Israel and demand that the U.S. government end its veto of Security Council resolutions pertaining to Israel. We urge our government to join with the U.N. to secure Israel’s complete withdrawal to the 1967 boundaries and its compliance with international law.
- We support a much stronger and supportive U.S. position with respect to all United Nations, European Union, and Arab League initiatives that seek a negotiated peace. We call for an immediate U.N.-sponsored, multinational peacekeeping and protection force in the Palestinian territories with the mandate to initiate a conflict-resolution commission.
- We call on the foreign and military affairs committees of the U.S. House and Senate to conduct full hearings on the status of human rights and war crimes in Palestine-Israel, especially violations committed during Israel’s 2008-2009 invasion of Gaza (“Operation Cast Lead”) as documented in the 2009 “UN Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict”(“The Goldstone Report”) authorized by the UN Commission on Human Rights.
- We recognize that despite decades of continuous diplomatic attempts by the international community, it has failed to bring about Israel’s compliance with international law or respect for basic Palestinian human rights; and that, despite abundant condemnation of Israel’s policies by the UN, International Court of Justice, and all relevant international conventions, the international community of nations has failed to stop Israeli violations of Palestinian human rights in Israel and the OPT, while Israeli crimes continue with impunity. We recall that ending institutionalized racism (apartheid) in South Africa demanded an unusual, cooperative action by the entire international community in the form of a boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) campaign against apartheid South Africa, and that BDS can become the most effective nonviolent means for achieving justice and genuine peace between Palestinians and Israelis, and for the region, through concerted international pressure as applied to apartheid South Africa; and that Palestinian resistance to ongoing dispossession has mainly been nonviolent, including its most basic form—remaining in their homes, on their land; and that while Palestinian armed resistance is legitimate under international law when directed at non-civilian targets, we believe that only nonviolent resistance will maintain the humanity of Palestinian society, elicit the greatest solidarity from others, and maximize the chance for future reconciliation between Israelis and Palestinians. However, we also recognize that our appeal to Palestinians to continue to resist nonviolently in the face of ongoing existential threats from Israel is hypocritical unless accompanied by substantial acts of international support. We recall that in 2005, Palestinian Civil Society appealed to the international community to support a BDS campaign against Israel, and that in response the Green Party of the US endorsed this BDS campaign in 2005. Therefore, we support the implementation of boycott and divestment initiatives against Israel similar to those applied to South Africa in the apartheid era, which includes pressuring our government to impose embargoes and sanctions against Israel; and we support maintaining these nonviolent punitive measures until Israel meets its obligation to recognize the Palestinian people’s inalienable right to self-determination and fully complies with the precepts of international law by
- Ending its occupation and colonization of all Palestinian lands and dismantling the Wall in the West Bank
- Recognizing the fundamental rights of Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality; and
- Respecting, protecting and promoting the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN resolution 194.
- We recognize that international opinion has been committed to a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Yet, we view the two-state solution as neither democratic nor viable in the face of international law, material conditions and “facts on the ground” that now exist in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories. Given this reality, we support a U.S. foreign policy that promotes the creation of one secular, democratic state for Palestinians and Israelis on the land between the Mediterranean Sea and the River Jordan as the national home of both peoples, with Jerusalem as its capital. We encourage a new U.S. diplomatic initiative to begin the long process of negotiation, laying the groundwork for such a single-state constitution.
- We recognize that such a state might take many forms and that the eventual model chosen must be decided by the peoples themselves. We also acknowledge the enormous hostilities that now exist between the two peoples, but history tells us that these are not insurmountable among people genuinely seeking peace.
- As an integral part of peace negotiations and the transition to peaceful democracy, we call for the establishment of a Truth and Reconciliation Commission whose inaugurating action would be mutual acknowledgement by Israelis and Palestinians that they have the same basic rights, including the right to exist in the same, secure place.
3. Foreign Policy—Trade
We urge our government to do the following:
- Re-formulate all international trade relations and commerce as currently upheld by the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the World Trade Organization (WTO), the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank (WB) to protect the labor, human rights, economy, environment and domestic industry of partner and recipient nations so that the growth of local industry and agriculture has the advantage over foreign corporate domination. The U.S. government should call for replacing the WTO, IMF, and World Bank with new institutions that are democratic, transparent, and accountable to the citizens of all nations.
- While the IMF and World Bank still exist in their current forms, re-structure the rules of performance of the IMF/WB to end the debts of recipient nations, prohibit the use of IMF/WB loans to impose structural adjustment programs that emphasize debt service and export-led development at the expense of social needs, and to install strict standards in the IMF/WB that control the use of grants or loans to prevent fraud, misuse, and subversion of funds by recipient governments.
- Re-write the rules for investment of corporate capital in projects operated under the IMF/WB to guarantee the rights of the citizens of the nations receiving the investment and their right to public ownership and control of their own resources.
- Mandate and protect labor’s right to organize, create unions and negotiate with management in all countries receiving U.S. investment, and require U.S. corporations that operate in other countries to adhere to the core labor standards established by the International Labor Organization (ILO) Declaration of the Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work.
- Legislate and enable oversight by an independent agency or a labor union to verify that foreign workers’ rights are protected.
- At home, secure the rights of our states to establish stricter standards for health, safety, and for the environment than those of our national government, and to protect themselves against substandard, imported goods.
- Secure the right of states and municipalities to refuse to invest in foreign businesses that do not abide by their standards for imported goods, fair trade, and environmental protection.
- Prohibit U.S. corporations from avoiding or evading payment of their taxes by banking abroad or locating their charters offshore.
- Every day over $1 trillion dollars circles the globe in currency trade—wreaking havoc on low-economy nations —without obligation to sustainable investment. We seek to restrict the unfettered flow of capital and currency trade, and levy the Tobin tax of .05% on cross border currency transactions. [See section E. 2. Fair Taxation in chapter IV]
- We support the funding and expansion of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in their missions to educate and train people of less developed nations in initiating local business and economic development, and in providing health care and family planning.
- Under the agency of the United Nations, we demand that our government renew and initiate government funding and support for family planning, contraception, and abortion in all countries that request it.
- We reject the U.S. government’s economic blockade of Cuba. We ask the U.S. Congress to lift the embargo and restore normal diplomatic relations and respect for national sovereignty, and demand that the U.S. government end its veto of U.N. resolutions pertaining to Cuba.
4. Human Rights
We propose the following amendment to the Constitution of the United States:
- The rights established by this Constitution and the laws of the United States of America are exclusively the rights of living, breathing humans, citizens of this country or residing therein. No corporation or other type of association or organization can have the status of a “legal person” and thus cannot derive rights from such status.
- These organizations have no permanent, constitutionally protected rights, though they may have such powers or immunities as are explicitly granted to them by legislative actions at either the federal or the state level. These powers or immunities may be modified or removed by later action of the same legislative bodies. In no case can these powers or immunities override the constitutionally protected rights of human beings.
5. Women’s Rights
- The Green Party makes a strong and urgent call for U.S. passage of CEDAW, the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women, which was adopted in 1979 by the UN General Assembly and ratified by 173 countries. It is also known as the Women’s Convention, the Women’s Bill of Rights, and an International Bill of Rights for Women. The United States is one of a very few countries and the only industrialized nation that has not ratified it.
- The illegal international trafficking in humans, primarily women, has reached staggering numbers and consequences around the world. The Green Party supports the UN Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking In Persons, Especially Women and Children, which supplements the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime adopted by the UN General Assembly in November 2000 as an important tool to facilitate international cooperation. The U.S. and 80 other countries signed the Protocol in December 2000 and by doing so have made a commitment to criminalize trafficking and to protect its many victims. We call for effective collaborative relationships between sending and receiving countries, including the U.S. We also call for studies analyzing and connecting the role of globalization in trafficking.
6. Puerto Rican Independence
In 1898, Puerto Rico was invaded by the United States and has been held by the U.S. in the form of a colony ever since. In response to international pressure, in 1952, the U.S. established the “Free Associated State” status for Puerto Rico but continued to claim that Puerto Rico belongs to, yet is not a part of, the United States. The root of the crisis is the colonial status of Puerto Rico as echoed in the UN Decolonization committee resolution on Puerto Rico adopted on June 22, 2015 which states ñthe condition of political subordination prevents Puerto Rico from taking sovereign decisions to attend to its serious economic and social problems including unemployment, marginalization and poverty (Olga Sanabria Davila, Crisis and Colonialism in Puerto Rico, 10/26/15).
Greens support the right of the people of Puerto Rico to self-determination and independence in conformity with United Nations Resolution 1514(XV) of 1960. Greens call for the release of all Puerto Rican political prisoners, such as Oscar Lopez Rivera, who has been held in U.S. prisons since 1981.
Greens call for the appropriate environmental clean-up and sustainable development of Vieques, the island that was used as a firing range by the U.S. military. Greens oppose recruitment of the youth of Puerto Rico into the U.S. armed forces and their deployment to U.S. wars abroad, and denounce recruitment attempts at educational institutions.
Further, Greens recognize that:
– Puerto Rico’s debt is unpayable.
– That in the last 20 years alone, foreign corporations operating in Puerto Rico have reaped over 600 billion dollars in tax free profits, 10 per cent of which would suffice to pay its current otherwise unpayable debt.
– Austerity measures like a “Financial Control Authority,” which have proven to exacerbate economic suffering and strip away democratic rights to self-determination, must be opposed.
– The social cost of increasing the sales tax, of reducing workers’ pay, education and health services, of eliminating labor rights gained and the dismantling of the retirement system among other recessionary measures, are a detriment to the quality of life of the people of Puerto Rico and to the strategic development of the country’s economy.
Thus, these measures are not a solution.
The present fiscal and economic crisis in Puerto Rico is largely due to the United States’ colonial power and exploitation in Puerto Rico. Further, although Puerto Rico is a tropical island country seriously being affected by climate change, it is powerless to participate in initiatives and international negotiations to control and mitigate climate change and global warming.
As as a colony of the United States, Puerto Rico’s position of political subordination cuts across the problem and independence would break the stalemate and create the possibilities of a solution.
Commitment to grassroots democracy is totally consistent with support for the decolonization of Puerto Rico as colonialism is contrary to democracy. For the country ruled, democracy is non-existent where one country rules over another, even if there are elections every four years to elect local authorities.
Taking into account that in Puerto Rico the United States controls commerce, international relations, immigration, monetary issues, communications, postal matters, defense, labor relations, and others, to truly support democracy in Puerto Rico, its decolonization has to be supported as the first step for the Puerto Rican people to live in a democracy.
The Kurdish people are the largest ethnic group in the world that is without an independent state. As a result, Kurdish people have historically suffered persecution and injustice. The Kurdish people have been besieged to the point of a current humanitarian crisis in towns such as Kobani, Syria. The GPUS expresses solidarity for and affirms the right to self-determination, self-defense, communal autonomy, freedom from persecution, and release of political prisoners for the Kurdish population.
E. Domestic Security
Greens want to stop the assault on our civil liberties that intensified after the attacks of September 11, 2001, and restore these and other freedoms to all people.
During the last several decades, there has been an erosion of freedom in the United States. This has come from many sources and takes many forms, including the war on drugs and widespread imprisonment of nonviolent drug offenders; the increased use of personal identification, surveillance of employees at work, and the growing use of private security forces by corporations; restrictions on the speech of protesters and students; and random traffic stops of persons of color and the commonplace use of roadblocks.
Since 9/11, this erosion has turned into a collapse of our freedoms, as then President Bush authorized torture, illegal wiretapping, indefinite detention without trial, and widespread government surveillance.
Greens believe that all such systematic degradation or elimination of our constitutional protections must stop, and that corrective measures need to be taken in a timely manner by Congress to fully reinstate all such losses of guaranteed citizen protections.
- The Green Party calls for a complete, thorough, impartial, and independent investigation of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, including the role of the administration of George W, Bush, various U.S. based corporations and interests, and other nations and third parties.
- We call for the repeal of the USA PATRIOT Act. Many of its provisions, along with many of the other so-called National Security Acts, undermine and erode our Bill of Rights, and contribute to the destruction of the democratic foundation of checks and balances between the branches of government.
- Strictly enforce our First Amendment rights of speech, assembly, association and petition. Federal, state and local governments must safeguard our right to public, non-violent protest. It is intolerable that law enforcement agencies intimidate lawful protesters with brutality, surveillance, repression and retaliation.
- End torture, such as in prisons like Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo Bay and other U.S.-controlled facilities. Ensure those guilty of ordering or executing torture are held accountable for violations U.S. and international law.
- Restore habeas corpus, a legal action to obtain relief from illegal detention. End the use of indefinite detention without trial.
- Revoke the 2011 re-authorization of the Patriot Act, including “John Doe” roving wiretaps and the “library records” provision.
- End the abuse of National Security Letters, which the FBI uses to force Internet service providers, libraries, banks, and credit reporting companies to reveal sensitive information about their patrons.
- End illegal government spying, including the use of warrantless wiretaps. Three federal judges have ruled that President Bush’s National Security Agency warrantless wiretaps violated the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which contains criminal sanctions. Ensure that anyone who violated the FISA is held accountable for crimes committed.
- Enact a constitutional amendment affirming that the rights outlined in our Bill of Rights are human rights and do not apply in any way to corporations.
- Support U.S. constitutional guarantees for freedom of religion, separation of church and state, and that there shall be no religious test for public office. Eliminate federal, state, and local laws that discriminate against particular religious beliefs or non-belief. End faith-based initiatives and charitable choice programs, whereby public funds are used to support religious organizations that may not adhere to specified guidelines and standards, including anti-discrimination laws.
- Oppose the death penalty in the United States and worldwide.
- Support students’ constitutional rights to free speech.
- Ensure that government actions towards immigrants comply with our Constitution and universal human rights principles.
- Support strict Fourth Amendment protections against illegal search and seizure.
- Recognize that the privacy protections of the 4th amendment extend to the Internet. Demand the elimination of bulk Internet data collection by our government. Fund and promote research into alternate Internet structures that would build in privacy. Hold criminally accountable all government officials, employees and contractors who illegally spy on Americans, and who provide false, misleading or incomplete testimony to Congress about surveillance of American communications by law enforcement and intelligence agencies.
F. Demilitarization and Exploration of Space
The Green Party recognizes the need for the inspiration and education that the peaceful exploration of Space provides; the need for space-based systems to monitor environmental conditions on Earth; the many advances in space technology that benefit all people on Earth; and the inspiration provided to children by Space exploration can prompt them to pursue math, science, and other important courses of study.
The peaceful exploration of Space has been usurped by the militarization of Space. The last four U.S.—backed military conflicts have used space-based technology to disrupt the computer and communication systems of sovereign states. The funds required for continuing peaceful Space exploration have been used, instead, for the design, implementation and deployment of wasteful and dangerous Space hardware, such as the Strategic Defense Initiative.
- The Green Party calls for the end of Space militarization and opposes any form of space-based military aggression. We embrace peaceful Space exploration as a means for all people on this planet to work together. The benefits of inspired education are well worth the investment in peaceful Space exploration.
- The Green Party supports only the peaceful and sustainable exploration of Space, on a case-by-case, mission-specific basis, including the signing of the International Treaty for the Demilitarization of Space. The Green Party advocates a reduction of human-staffed space flight due to the high cost and risk for human life and the availability of automated technology that can perform necessary functions in space-based research.