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Wednesday, July 11, 2012

“What does ‘winning’ mean” IT Times asks Fletcher, Hirsch, Stein

“Winning” means securing a place on the platform, on air, at tables of power and influence, to contribute ideas equally, uncensored, unencumbered by overt or subliminal, insidious mandate to pander to PAC, corporate media, lobbyist, campaign-contributor paymasters

Re-reporting, editing by Carolyn Bennett

Alternative: “Power of a people’s movement impassioned by the issues.”

Jill Stein

A 2012 candidate for the U.S. presidency, Jill Stein is a Midwest born-New England physician, environmentalist and health expert, political leader, activist and writer who two years ago, along with her routine responsibilities, was active in implementing the Massachusetts “Secure Green Future” ballot initiative that earned high percentage points in voter returns. The measure called on legislators to accelerate efforts to make development of green jobs a priority and move the State economy to renewable energy.

Leader in politics and public health
In 2002, Jill Stein ran for the office of Governor of Massachusetts under the Green-Rainbow Party banner. In 2003 through 2006, she represented Greens or Green ideals in cofounding the Massachusetts Coalition for Healthy Communities, a non-profit organization addressing a variety of issues that are important to the health and well-being of Massachusetts communities: health care, local green economies, grassroots democracy. She represented the Green-Rainbow Party in  races for State Representative (2004) and for Secretary of State (2006), garnering the greatest number of total votes ever received by a Green-Rainbow candidate.

Jill Stein’s environmental advocacy “as a human health issue” began in 1998 “when she realized that politicians were failing to take action to protect children from the toxic threats emerging from current science.” Over the years, she has provided services to parents, teachers, community groups and a Native American group seeking to protect their communities from toxic exposure. She has offered expert advice on television programs and testified before numerous legislative panels and local and state governmental bodies. Her testimony on the effects of mercury and dioxin contamination from the burning of waste helped preserve the Massachusetts moratorium on new trash incinerator construction in the state.

She has been on Massachusetts and national boards of directors of the Physicians for Social Responsibility; and has won the Clean Water Action’s award, Not in Anyone’s Backyard Award, the Children’s Health Hero Award, and the Toxic Action Center’s Citizen Award, among others.

Jill Stein is coauthor of two widely-praised reports aimed at promoting green local economies, sustainable agriculture, clean power, and freedom from toxic threats: “In Harm’s Way: Toxic Threats to Child Development (2000, translated into four languages and used worldwide); and Environmental Threats to Healthy Aging (2009). 

Her “Healthy People, Healthy Planet” teaching program makes clear the critical connections of human health, climate security, and green economic revitalization. Her body of work has been presented at government, public health and medical conferences, and has been used to improve public policy.

Born in Chicago, raised in suburban Highland Park, Illinois, Jill Stein took her academic credentials at Harvard College (1973) and Harvard Medical School (1979). She is married and a mother living in Massachusetts. http://www.jillstein.org/bio

More than one
More than two
Constitutes Electoral Choice
Bill Fletcher

Bill Fletcher Jr is board chair of the International Labor Rights Forum, executive editor of The Black Commentator and founder of the Center for Labor Renewal. Fletcher is a longtime labor, racial justice and international activist; and is immediate past president of TransAfrica Forum, a national non-profit organization organizing, educating and advocating for policies in favor of the peoples of Africa, the Caribbean and Latin America. Fletcher is also a founder of the Black Radical Congress and is a Senior Scholar for the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington, D.C.

Bill Fletcher is coauthor (with Fernando Gapasin) of Solidarity Divided: the Crisis in Organized Labor and a New Path toward Social Justice. He is a former vice president of the International Trade Union Development Programs for the George Meany Center of the AFL-CIO. Before working with the George Meany Center, Fletcher was education director and later assistant to the president of the AFL-CIO, http://www.opednews.com/Podcast/Bill-Fletcher-activism-02-by-Rob-Kall-100218-294.html

Michael Hirsch

Michael Hirsch is a labor writer on the staff of the New York Teacher, a newspaper of the United Federation of Teachers.

In These Times staff writer Bhaskar Sunkara led the July 4 interview with this frame:  

“Every four years, the election season finds many on the political Left agonizing over whether to make a pragmatic choice and vote for the better of the two major-party candidates—or to vote for an individual who most closely matches their political principles, ‘regardless of that campaign’s relevancy.’
In These Times convened three progressive voices to debate how the Left should be organizing this election cycle.”

Fletcher, Hirsch, Stein’s responses to In These Times

Bill Fletcher: “The Democrats and the Republicans are fundamentally corporate parties—everyone knows that. The Republicans have now become much more consolidated as a hard-right coalition. Democrats are not as consolidated at the broad level but have embraced neo-liberalism at the top.

“Part of the problem is that within the Democratic Party constituency, there is a very poorly organized progressive bloc. I’m not just talking about the Congressional Progressive Caucus. The broad progressive forces that will tend to vote Democratic do not have a very clear vision, organization and strategy.

More than one
More than two
Constitutes Electoral Choice
“So we have repeatedly been in a trap of every four years, people as individuals—sometimes as organizations—start an electoral campaign, get people engaged in it, and at the end of the campaign, nothing changes.

“Without any discussion about strategy, where are we going in the next five to 10 years?”

Jill Stein: Because [U.S. President] Barack Obama has adopted so many of the positions of [former president] George W. Bush and in fact gone beyond him, it is hard to discern the impact of one party over the other.

“Young people, who are always the engine of real change and the engine of social movements, have been left behind by all parties in the political establishment.

Nine political parties
“The young have a very bleak future right now and they are hungry for a vehicle that is really principled and has a broad and comprehensive strategy, vision, agenda and game plan.”

Bringing into the Green Party labor, people of color, key constituencies of the Left, the Green Party is working to ensure placement on the ballot in 42 to 48 states. An important, necessary focus of the Greens “is our infrastructure and to make sure we are a visible part of the discussion—the ultimate stake in this election, in terms of impact on policy outcomes and on social movements.”

From Democratic Party candidates, we’ve seen a consistent folding to the money that sponsors them.

The Greens do not accept corporate campaign contributions. We do not accept money from lobbyists and are therefore insulated from those pressures. “We have nothing but the power of a people’s movement and of volunteers and of people who are impassioned by the issues.”
Many voices
Many choices

Michael Hirsch: “The way Obama has run his administration has been deadly to our class—deadly—and the Left’s got to say that. Will we be in any better position in 2012, after the election, than we were in 2008?

“The question is not just how we vote; it is how we organize.”

Sources and notes

“The Season of Electoral Angst—in election 2012, what does ‘winning’ mean for the Left?” (Bhaskar Sunkara), In These Times, July 4, 2012, http://inthesetimes.com/article/13348/the_season_of_electoral_angst/

Accompanying photo image: Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein speaks in March at the Left Forum in New York. (Photo via Jillstein.org)

Bhaskar Sunkara is founding editor of Jacobin, blogs at Uprising, and is a staff writer at In These Times, http://inthesetimes.com/community/profile/74175


Bennett's books are available in New York State independent bookstores: Lift Bridge Bookshop: www.liftbridgebooks.com [Brockport, NY]; Sundance Books: http://www.sundancebooks.com/main.html [Geneseo, NY]; Mood Makers Books: www.moodmakersbooks.com [City of Rochester, NY]; Dog Ears Bookstore and Literary Arts Center: www.enlightenthedog.org/ [Buffalo, NY]; Burlingham Books – ‘Your Local Chapter’: http://burlinghambooks.com/ [Perry, NY 14530]; The Bookworm: http://www.eabookworm.com/ [East Aurora, NY] • See also: World Pulse: Global Issues through the eyes of Women: http://www.worldpulse.com/ http://www.worldpulse.com/pulsewire http://www.facebook.com/#!/bennetts2ndstudy


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