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Green Party United States' Convention 2016

Emily S. Chambers Photography
Emily S. Chambers Photography

By: Keli Yen, Coordinator, Global Greens

The Green Party United States' (GPUS) Convention was held in Houston, Texas on 4-7 August - I attended to learn about US politics, the GPUS, and to brainstorm ways for GPUS & the Global Greens community to support one another.

The convention was an impressive experience and there is much that Green parties globally can benefit learning from the GPUS!  I am committed to facilitating as many learning exchanges as possible at every level of our Greens movement through mutually supportive and collaborative relationships among grassroots activists, policy groups, campaigns and elected Greens around our Green globe.  That's what the Global Greens is for.  Your ideas are welcome and can best be communicated to the Global Greens through your Green Party's International Secretary. 

Green Parties around the world can learn from GPUS's success in integrating the politics and members of diverse civil society movements.

I observed GPUS's genuine solidarity with the Black Lives Matter, Occupy, anti-poverty, Peace, Bernie Sanders, and many other social and environmental justice movements. This solidarity is a fundamental part of how GPUS practices their "four pillars" of peace, ecology, social justice, and democracy.

I attended a workshop on community organising delivered by Cheri Honkala, GPUS 2012 Vice Presidential candidate, and Darlene Elias, Co-Chair of the Massachusetts Green-Rainbow Party, and would love to invite them to deliver it again at the Greens 2017 congress.  Cheri and Darlene have a wealth of experience in successfully partnering with individuals and communities who care about the same issues as the Green Party.  Watch this video biography of Chary Honkala’s work as a social justice organser for the homeless.  

The convention's capstone event was the Presidential candidate nomination.  The keynote speeches by Dr. Cornel West and YahNé Ndgo elicited exhuberant audience cheers - watch the speeches to feel the "wow!" for yourself.  

Here's a taste of Dr. Cornel West's lyrical speech:

“When it comes to ecological, political, psychological and spiritual catastrophy, the question is are you gonna be a blues [music] person which allows you to straighten your back up with a style and a smile and still bear witness to truth?  That’s what this election is all about!  It has to do with our common humanity.  If you’re committed to truth, and the condition of truth is to always allow suffering to speak, it has to be the suffering of everybody, no matter what corner of the globe or neighborhood you’re from. ...  Justice is what love looks like in public. That’s what we’re talking about, truth and justice! ... We’re internationalists!  We have to raise questions to ourselves about what kind of human beings we want to be as we participate in this movement. You can’t do it by yourself, it has to be collective, it has got to be organising and mobilising, it has got to be leadership all across the board, we don’t need one or two messiahs, no not at all, this is like a jazz band, lift every voice, every voice has a role!"

Following the keynotes, each state Green Party delegation announced their votes and elected Jill Stein and Ajamu Baraka as the GPUS 2016 President and Vice President candidates.  The audience roared with applause! In their acceptance speeches, Ajamu Baraka and Jill Stein introducted their policy platform beginning with cancelling student debt, noting that 42 million US citizens have student debt, and that 42 million votes is enough to win the presidential race.  

A Green New Deal would complement the debt cancellation to provide economic opportunity through an emergency jobs program that would create 20 million jobs by transitioning the nation to 100% clean renewable energy by 2030, and investing in public transit, sustainable agriculture, conservation and restoration of critical infrastructure, including ecosystems.

Further on social justice, President Stein would establish healthcare as a right through a “Medicare for All” policy.  Education as a right would be advanced through guaranteeing tuition-free, world-class public education from pre-school through university.  Ending poverty would be a priority.  Criminal justice reform would end the failed war on drugs, the prison-industrial complex and the death penalty.  Moreover, President Stein would establish police review boards, and truth and reconciliation commissions to address the roots of the conflicts in our communities.  Stein would also end persecution of whistleblowers, repeal the Patriot Act, and create a welcoming path to citizenship for immigrants.

On Foreign policy, Stein's policy would be based on diplomacy, international law, human rights, and nonviolent support for democratic movements around the world.  Stein would cut military spending by at least 50% and close the 700+ US foreign military bases globally, as well as denuclearise the US.  This and much more, read the full platform at: http://www.jill2016.com/platform

Jill Stein's speech concludes with the rallying cry "We are the ones we’ve been waiting for!” and the audience responds with a roar of joy.  

 

Suggestions to readers:

  1. Learn more about the GPUS at http://www.gp.org
  2. Learn more about Jill Stein at http://www.jill2016.com/about
  3. Watch Jill and Ajamu's Green Town Hall on CNN.
  4. If you have questions:
    1. Join the GPUS conversations on Facebook & Twitter
    2. Contact the International Steering Committee
    3. Contact one of the state Green parties: http://www.gp.org/state_parties
    4. Come to the Global & European Greens Congress, Liverpool, UK, 30 March - 2 April 2017, to meet, talk and take action with Greens around the world!
Emily S. Chambers Photography

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