Green Party Candidate Jill Stein: 'Political Silence Has Not Been an Effective Strategy'
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I think people are seeing this right and left. There are no signs out there that the political establishment is turning this around. There are no good proposals out there even from the Democrats. They tend to be less bad versions of what Republicans are giving us. What they’re not giving us is the good solutions that we need for single payer healthcare as a human right, for creating free public higher education and forgiving student debt, for actually ending unemployment and creating the jobs that we deserve. If we simply redirected the trillions that are being squandered on wars, Wall Street and tax breaks for the wealthy we could not only do the right thing, but we would have the numbers do it.
We are the majority. Poll after poll shows that people of conscience and conviction are out there and see the way forward. The trick is getting ourselves past this politics of fear and standing up with the politics of courage and moving forward, as progressive movements have always done – as movements out on the street, but which also have an independent political, electoral voice that drives that agenda into the process.
JH: One thing that’s always struck me is that if we were to send Greens to Congress they would face the same challenges that liberal Democrats do. There are 80 members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus who I imagine are very close to you and I on the nuts and bolts of policy. What they face is this massive structural barrier to get a progressive agenda passed. I’ve spoken to lawmakers who went in as a freshman and were told that they had to start dialing for dollars on their first day of office. They didn’t get to look around and get acquainted; they were already dialing for dollars. You have this structural issue in the Senate where very small states in the South have the same two votes that populated coastal states have. We basically have an effective requirement that you have to get 60 votes in the Senate to pass anything nowadays.
Wouldn’t you face the same problems? Wouldn’t Greens face the same problems that Congressional Progressive Caucus members face?
JS: Yes and no. This to me is why a party makes a big difference because the Green Party doesn’t dial for dollars. We are not creatures of corporate sponsorship and we also don’t take marching orders from leadership that is making you toe the corporate lines.
To my mind that is definitely an argument for a different political party. A party that is not hijacked and essentially kidnapped by the big money that prevails in the current mainstream political parties.
Back to your question about how do you ever move forward when you’re just one of many, when you’re a lone voice in the wilderness on behalf of a people’s politics. Keep in mind this is where executives really do come in, whether they are the mayor of a city, a governor, or the president. Being president is not being commander-in-chief only, it is also being organizer-in-chief.
Right now we fly blind as a democracy, and ordinary citizens are the ones who should be the drivers of our political process, but they are completely blind. They don’t know what’s coming up and when it’s coming up, and what the real story is on those bills. We don’t have a real free press, with notable exceptions such as the alternative press.To my mind, the opportunity and responsibility of an executive like a president is to inform people. To truly have a liberated moveon.org telling people what’s coming up, when it’s coming up, and here are the three talking points, now go to it with your congressmen so that they know you’ve got your eye on their vote, and if they want your vote in November you need their vote now. Whether it’s for healthcare as a human right under a Medicare for all system, whether it is for a Green New Deal which will eliminate unemployment and put 25 million people back to work, whether it’s for downsizing the military and bringing the troops home from these illegal and immoral wars.