2000 Platform Sumary
Summary of the U.S. GREEN PARTY PLATFORM
Ratified at the Green Party National Convention, June, 2000
TABLE OF CONTENTS
GREEN KEY VALUES
A. Political Reform
B. Political Participation
D. Foreign Policy
II. SOCIAL JUSTICE AND EQUAL OPPORTUNITY
B. Health Care
C. Economic Justice / Social Safety Net
D. Tax Justice / Fairness
E. Management-Labor Relations
F. Criminal Justice
G. Civil And Equal Rights
H. Free Speech
I. Native Americans
J. Immigration / Emigration
L. National Service
III. ENVIRONMENTAL SUSTAINABILITY
A. Energy Policy
B. Nuclear Issues
C. Waste Management
D. Fossil Fuels
E. Renewable Goods
F. Transportation Policy
G. Clean Air/Greenhouse Effect/Ozone Depletion
H. Land Use
K. Biological Diversity
IV. ECONOMIC SUSTAINABILITY
B. Re-asserting Local Citizen Control Over Corporations
C. Livable Income
D. Community Involvement
E. Small Business and Job Creation
G. Rural Development
H. Banking For People
I. Insurance Reform
J. Pension Reform
K. Anti-Trust Enforcement
L. Advanced Tech / Defense Conversion
M. The National Debt
The Green Party Platform is an evolving document, a living work-in-progress that expresses our commitment to creating meaningful and enduring change in the political process. Our Party’s first priority is to value-based politics, in contrast to a system extolling exploitation, consumption, and non-sustainable competition.
We believe in an alternative, independent politics and active, responsible government.
We believe in empowering citizens and communities.
We offer hope and a call to action.
In this platform we make our case to change the way our government operates – to change the quality of our everyday lives – to build a vision that brings new and lasting opportunities.
GREEN KEY VALUES
1. GRASSROOTS DEMOCRACY
We will work to increase public participation at every level of government.
2. SOCIAL JUSTICE AND EQUAL OPPORTUNITY
We must consciously confront barriers such as racism and class oppression, sexism and homophobia, ageism and disability, which act to deny fair treatment and equal justice under the law.
3. ECOLOGICAL WISDOM
We are part of nature, not separate from nature. We support a sustainable society, which utilizes resources so that future generations will benefit and not suffer from the practices of our generation.
We will work to demilitarize and to eliminate weapons of mass destruction, without being naive about the intentions of other governments. We promote non-violent direct action to oppose that with which we disagree.
We support a restructuring of social, political and economic institutions away from a system which is controlled by and mostly benefits the powerful few, to a democratic, less bureaucratic system. Decision-making should, as much as possible, remain at the individual and local level.
6. COMMUNITY-BASED ECONOMICS AND ECONOMIC JUSTICE
A successful economic system will offer meaningful work with dignity, while paying a living wage. Communities must use economic development that assures protection of the environment and workers’ rights; broad citizen participation in planning; and enhancement of our quality of life.
7. FEMINISM AND GENDER EQUITY
We call for the replacement of the cultural ethics of domination and control with more cooperative ways of interacting that respect differences of opinion and gender.
8. RESPECT FOR DIVERSITY
We believe that the many diverse elements of society should be reflected in our organizations and decision-making bodies, and we support the leadership roles for people who have been traditionally closed out of them. We encourage respect for other life forms and the preservation of biodiversity.
9. PERSONAL AND GLOBAL RESPONSIBILITY
We encourage individuals to act to improve their personal well-being and, at the same time, to foster peace, economic justice, and the health of the planet.
10. FUTURE FOCUS AND SUSTAINABILITY
We must counterbalance the drive for short-term profits by assuring that economic development, new technologies, and fiscal policies are responsible to future generations.
Democracy must empower all citizens to obtain timely, accurate information from their government. A growing and grave imbalance between the power of Big Business and Big Government and the citizens of this country has seriously damaged our democracy. We need to exercise our rights and, as Jefferson urged, counteract the “excesses of the monied interests.”
A. POLITICAL REFORM
We propose: Comprehensive campaign finance reform, including caps on spending and contributions, and/or full public financing of elections. Significant lobbying regulation. Proportional Representation, instant runoff voting and cumulative voting. Abolishing the Electoral College.
We encourage building alternative, grassroots institutions that support participatory and direct democracy at the local level; and forming bioregional confederations to coordinate regional issues based on natural and ecosystem boundaries.
B. POLITICAL PARTICIPATION
We advocate: Decentralizing state functions to the county and city level and expanded roles for neighborhood associations. Citizen referendum with a percentage of signatures gathered by volunteer collectors. Broadening voter participation and ballot access, universal voter registration, an election day holiday and citizen control of redistricting. Free television and mail for every qualified statewide, congressional, and presidential candidate. Statehood for the District of Columbia. Non-violent direct action.
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. Solving problems tends to be “bottom up” not “top down.” We do not place faith in paternalistic “big government.” Face-to-face interactions are essential to productive and meaningful lives for all citizens.
D. FOREIGN POLICY
The Green Party calls for: Military spending to be cut by 50% over the next 10 years, with increases in spending for social programs. Preventive diplomacy, a strong economy and humane trade relations, as our best defense. An end to support for repressive regimes. Abolishing nuclear weapons and converting to a peacetime economy. A viable American military force, prudent foreign policy doctrines, and readiness strategies that take into account real, not hollow or imagined threats. We strongly oppose putting nuclear weapons, lasers and other weapons in space.
Non-violence provides a road to peace. We understand the right of self-defense, yet believe we must move beyond behavior that perpetuates violence. The support of democracy, human rights and respect for international law should be the cornerstone of American foreign policy. We believe the United States and all nations should abide by World Court decisions.
The massive debt owed by the Third World is causing immense misery and environmental destruction. Foreign aid must address the retiring this debt and not force “structural adjustments” via the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. Domestic and international regulation must protect the global ecology, utilizing the UNITED NATIONS and related agencies. We believe in the core right of self-determination and the special character and needs of indigenous peoples.
II. SOCIAL JUSTICE AND EQUAL OPPORTUNITY
A. EDUCATION AND THE ARTS
We advocate: Creative and noncompetitive education at every age level. Inclusion of cultural diversity in all curricula. Hands-on approaches that encourage a multitude of individual learning styles. After-school programs for “latchkey” children. State funding for day care that includes school children under the age of ten when after-school programs are not available. Teaching of non-violent conflict resolution. Tuition-free post secondary (collegiate and vocational) public education. Educational funding formulas that avoid gross inequalities between districts and schools. We are deeply concerned about the intervention in our schools of corporations.
The Green Party supports eliminating all laws which seek to restrict or censor artistic expression and incorporating arts education studies and activities into every school curriculum.
Learning is a lifelong and life-affirming process. In learning, and openness to learning, we find the foundation of our Platform.
B. HEALTH CARE
Health care is a human right. Successful reform must start with wellness education.
We support universal health care and a single-payer insurance program, that is publicly financed at the national level, administered locally, and privately delivered with freedom of choice of provider. It would cover all standard medical procedures, as well as drug treatment, dental care, medication for chronic and terminal illness, equal coverage of mental illness, and abortion. All Americans must be covered regardless of employment, income, housing, age, or prior medical condition. We support a wide-range of health care services, including complementary and alternative therapies such as herbal medicines, homeopathy, and acupuncture.
We oppose harassment or prosecution of anyone involved in any aspect of medicinal marijuana. An all out campaign must be waged against AIDS and HIV.
C. ECONOMIC JUSTICE/SOCIAL SAFETY NET
We take an uncompromising position that the care and nurture of children, elders and the disabled are essential to a healthy, peaceful and sustainable society. The work of their caregivers is of value, and we should reward it accordingly. Our foundation is healthy, educated children who are raised with love and security. All people have a right to food, housing, medical care, a living wage job, education, and support in times of hardship.
We call for restoration of a federally funded entitlement program to support children, families, the unemployed, elderly and disabled, with no time limit on benefits. We call for a graduated supplemental income (negative income tax) that would maintain all adult incomes above the poverty level.
We support: Public funding for living wage jobs. Tax incentives for businesses that apply fair employee wage standards, and income tax policies that restrict the accumulation of excessive wealth.
D. TAX JUSTICE / FAIRNESS
The high price of corporate welfare corrupts the political process. Corporate tax breaks are ultimately paid for by higher taxes on the middle class. Tax policy should encourage small and socially responsible business. Where corporations act responsibly and include the interests of their community and employees, we support appropriate tax incentives.
We call for environmental taxes, e.g., taxing industrial pollution, as a partial substitute for income taxes. We would raise corporate taxes. The corporate share of taxes has fallen from 33% in the 1940s to 15% today. We support progressivity in taxation. A central goal of tax policy should be “transparency,” that is, a simple and understandable system which is resistant to the machinations of special interests. We oppose the “privatization” of Social Security.
E. MANAGEMENT-LABOR RELATIONS
The concepts of economic and workplace democracy must be expanded in management-labor negotiations. We support employee stock ownership plans. We endorse federal legislation to address problems associated with large plant closings and legal rights to organize and join unions. We encourage the use of mediation. We support the right to strike without being permanently replaced.
F. CRIMINAL JUSTICE
Any attempt to combat crime must begin with restoration of community and positive approaches that build hope, responsibility and a sense of belonging, as well as addressing the economic and social root causes of crime. These should get priority over proposals to put more firepower on the streets; threatening criminals with harsher sentences; and building more prisons. Yet, we support law enforcement approaches that are firm and directly address violent crime, street crime, and trafficking in hard drugs.
We support independent civilian review of police misconduct and carefully considered gun control. We oppose the death penalty; the privatizing of prisons; and mandatory drug testing. .
We call for: Judicial reform that opens up the court system, making it affordable and convenient to ordinary citizens. Decriminalization of “victimless” crimes, for example, the possession of small amounts of marijuana. Legalization of industrial hemp. An end to the “war on drugs.” Expanding drug counseling and treatment. Innovative sentencing and punishment options, including community service for non-violent crimes.
G. CIVIL AND EQUAL RIGHTS
We condemn discrimination and violence against anyone but also recognize that people of color have borne the brunt of racial violence and discrimination throughout the history of the United States. We support affirmative action and reparations for people of color in the form of monetary compensation. We support: Effective enforcement of the “Voting Rights Act,” including language access to voting. Vigorous enforcement of civil rights laws. Aggressive prosecution of hate crimes. Strengthening of legal services for the poor. Recently bills that encroach on civil liberties are of special concern.
We affirm the right to openly embrace sexual orientation. We support the rights of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered people in housing, jobs, civil marriage and benefits, and child custody. Women’s rights must be protected and expanded to guarantee each woman’s right to be a full participant in society, free from sexual harassment and with choice about whether to have a child. We support the Equal Rights Amendment.
We support the creation of consumer advocacy agencies; reforms to better inform consumers about the products they are buying; and “whistleblower rights” laws.
H. FREE SPEECH
The scope of the First Amendment is extensive and prohibits any law which would abridge the freedom of speech or press, most clearly in reference to political matters. Our legal right to criticize government is essential to the effective working of democracy.
The privatization of the broadcast airwaves – one of our most important taxpayer assets – has caused serious deformations of our politics and culture. Private broadcasters control what the public owns. The concentration of power that has characterized the telecommunications industry must be limited.
I. NATIVE AMERICANS
We recognize the sovereignty of Native Americans. We support reform of the Bureau of Indian Affairs to make it more responsive to tribal governments. We support efforts to protect their traditions, rights, livelihoods, and sacred spaces.
J. IMMIGRATION / EMIGRATION
We must respect the contributions and the rights of our immigrants. We oppose those who seek to divide us for political gain by raising ethnic and racial hatreds.
Government should play an activist role in the availability of housing. We encourage low-impact site-specific designs that encourage human-scale development. Pension funds and community development banks can be targeted for new funding. Subsidies, trade-offs with developers, and the creative use of zoning ordinances should be emphasized to increase affordable housing.
L. NATIONAL SERVICE
Alternative service to the military should be encouraged…We advocate the formation of a Civilian Conservation Corps.
III. ENVIRONMENTAL SUSTAINABILITY
A. ENERGY POLICY
Investing in energy efficiency and renewable energy is key to sustainability. Energy management must be governed by the principle of Conservation, Efficiency, and Clean Renewables. We call for state energy policies that include taxes and fines on energy waste; the funding of energy research; and credits for alternative energy use such as solar, wind, hydrogen and biomass. We urge that new construction be required to achieve substantial portions of its heating energy from the sun.
We support efforts to develop inexpensive solar cells. Photovoltaic cells cost one-tenth what they did 20 years ago and wind power one-fifth what it did 10 years ago. Total renewable contribution to our nation’s energy use could be 10% by 2010 and 20% by 2020. Incentives should be put in place to move utilities toward establishing solar power stations to supplant fossil-fuel generated electricity.
B. NUCLEAR ISSUES
There is no such thing as nuclear waste “disposal.” All 6 of the “low-level” nuclear waste dumps in the United States have leaked. Generation of additional nuclear wastes must be stopped. We call for the early retirement of nuclear power reactors as soon as possible (in no more than 5 years); for a phase-out of other technologies that use or produce nuclear waste; and for an intensive campaign to educate the public about nuclear problems, including disposal, clean-up and long-term dangers.
C. WASTE MANAGEMENT
Those responsible for toxic waste contamination on or off their sites should be responsible for costs of complete clean-up. We support recycling at every level of the economy; source reduction and municipal programs that focus on household recycling. We oppose incineration of solid waste, sewage, non- biological medical waste, and toxic waste and support rapid shutdown of existing such incinerators.
D. FOSSIL FUELS
We call for transition energy strategies, including the use of relatively clean-burning natural gas, as a way to reorder our priorities and for a phase-out of other fossil fuels. We oppose oil drilling or exploration in our nation’s outer continental shelf. We support public ownership of utilities; strong regulation of private utilities; and tax-exempt bonds to finance public ownership, conservation, and renewable energy.
E. RENEWABLE GOODS
It is essential that alternative systems be put in place that produce goods that are durable, repairable, reusable, recyclable, and energy-efficient, using non-toxic materials and nonpolluting production methods.
We encourage a broad range of incentives for alternative transportation, including natural gas vehicles, solar and electric vehicles, bicycles and bikeways, and mass transit. We must push for motor vehicle fuel efficiency and raising the standard to a minimum of 45 miles per gallon by 2005. Our weapons complex and labs should be converted to create breakthrough battery technology for electric cars and solar electric applications.
G. CLEAN AIR / GREENHOUSE EFFECT / OZONE DEPLETION
The strict, comprehensive protections of the Clean Air Act must be maintained and enhanced. State and local clean air initiatives should improve on national efforts.
Chloro-fluorocarbons (CFCs) and other related ozone-depleting substances should be banned. Greenhouse gases and the threat of global warming must be addressed with the industrial nations at the forefront of this vital effort.
H. LAND USE
Greens are advocates for the Earth. This is our home. We encourage social ownership and use of land, for example, land trusts under ecological covenants. We demand a halt to federal resource giveaways, royalty holidays, and flagrant concessions to the mining, energy and timber industries. The impacts of resource extractions should be minimized and the land restored to a healthy state.
We support mandated sustainable forestry practices that promote biodiversity. We urge protection of “old growth” forests; a ban on industrial timber harvest on public lands; a ban on all clear-cutting; a reduction of road building on public lands; and public involvement in decision-making via active and well-funded resource management districts.
We advocate raising grazing fees on public land to fair market value. We oppose any selling of our national parks; the commercial “privatizing” of public lands; and cutbacks of or exploitation in our national wilderness areas.
We must control urban sprawl and promote urban design that does not alienate, but fulfills, the spirit. Rural areas and farmland should be preserved.
Our right to clean water is non-negotiable. We support: The federal Clean Water Act setting strict requirements for sewage discharges, wetland protection and water quality standards; Establishment of federal, state, and local groundwater protection agencies with authority to establish standards for the use of water; Alternative solutions to water treatment and clean-up, for example, constructed wetlands and biological remediation; Elimination of wasteful subsidies of agricultural water use; and Municipal water rates high enough to discourage wasteful use.
Family farms are essential to rural development and a healthy, diverse economy. The Green Party strongly opposes the rampant and damaging policies of corporate industrial farming and calls for a national shift away from these practices.
Genetically engineered and irradiated food should be clearly labeled. It is unacceptable that consumers do not know whether they are eating or drinking genetically modified organisms. We stand in opposition to a gen-food future as delivered by unaccountable mega-transnational corporations.
We call for the establishment of an ecologically based, sustainable agricultural system that moves as rapidly as possible towards bioregional self-reliance. World hunger can be best addressed by food supply independence. Man-made pesticides and artificial fertilizers should be phased out and research funded to find acceptable alternatives. We oppose the patenting of life forms.
We support the strongest organic standards and an end to government price supports which aid in non-organic food production.
K. BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY
Ecological systems are diverse and interlocking. Nature’s survival strategy can best be found in the adaptability that comes as a result of biological diversity.
The Green Party supports a strong, enforceable Endangered Species Act and the Convention on Biological Diversity. We oppose international trade agreements which have provisions protecting transnational, corporate control of the “intellectual property” of genetic material, hybrid seeds and proprietary products.
Greens envision a healthy and sustainable food system, based on crop diversity, community empowerment, self-sufficiency, cooperative marketing, recycling, seed saving, local (and fresh) production, and organic methods.
Cloning is a challenge to basic Green philosophy. To classify a human as a commodity is to turn human beings into property. We call for an intelligent, compassionate approach to the treatment of animals.
IV. ECONOMIC SUSTAINABILITY
Community-based economics constitutes an alternative to both corporate capitalism and state socialism. We can learn from indigenous people. The earth and its natural systems are to be respected and cared for. Concepts of ownership should be employed in the context of stewardship and social and ecological responsibility. To create an enduring society, we must devise a system of production and commerce where every act is sustainable and restorative.
Greens call for an economic system that is based on a combination of private businesses, decentralized democratic cooperatives, publicly owned enterprises, and alternative economic structures, all of which put human and ecological needs alongside profits to measure success, and are accountable to the communities in which they function. Recognition of limits is central. The drive to accumulate power and wealth is pathological. We advocate economic relations that are more direct, more cooperative, and more egalitarian.
Greens support a major redesign of commerce. Everything recycles, there is no waste. Consumables need to be designed to be thrown into a compost heap or eaten. Durable goods would be designed in closed-loop systems, ultimately to be disassembled and reassembled. Toxics would be safeguarded and have markers identifying them as belonging, in perpetuity, to their makers.
B. CITIZEN CONTROL OVER CORPORATIONS
Corporations possess more rights and freedoms than natural human persons. Through a series of judicial rulings and their ability to control governments and economies, corporations have rewritten our Constitution and have emerged as unaccountable governments. Investment and production decisions that can shape our communities and lives should not be made from afar in boardrooms, closed-door regulatory agencies, and prohibitively expensive courtrooms. Officers of corporations should be directly liable for harm they cause.
We challenge the propriety and equity of corporate welfare in the form of tax breaks, subsidies, grants, bailouts, giveaways, unenforced laws and regulations; and continuing access to our public resources, including land, forests, minerals, intellectual property rights, and government-created research.
It is time to support government attempts to define corporations and to prevent these entities from exercising democratic rights which are uniquely possessed by the citizens of the United States. It is unacceptable to have the level of influence now being exerted by corporate interests over the public interest.
C. LIVABLE INCOME
We affirm the importance of access to a livable income. People who are unable to find decent work in the private sector should have options through publicly funded opportunities. A “living wage” standard will go a long way toward achieving this goal.
D. COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT
Reforms to allow communities to have influence in their economic future should be implemented, including: Locally owned small businesses, which are more accessible to community concerns. Local production and consumption. Consumer co-ops, credit unions, micro-loan funds, local currencies, and other institutions that help communities develop economic projects. We endorse direct democracy through town meetings.
E. SMALL BUSINESS AND JOB CREATION
We support initiatives for forming small enterprises that together can become an engine and a model of job creation, prosperity and progress. Over the past decade and a half, all new net job growth has come from the small business sector. We oppose arbitrary or discriminatory practices which act to deny small business access to credit. The tax system needs a major overhaul, since current tax policies often act to unfairly penalize small business. Government should reduce wherever possible unnecessary restrictions, fees, and red tape.
We support the full deductibility of health insurance premiums paid by the self-employed. Insurance costs need to be brought down. Home-based businesses and neighborhood-based businesses need to be assisted, not hurt by out-of-date zoning ordinances. “Telecommuting” and “home offices” should be aided by government.
We reject trade agreements negotiated in secret and unduly influenced by corporate representatives. We oppose the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), and its progeny, the World Trade Organization (WTO). We demand that these agreements be updated to include more specific environmental, worker, health and safety standards in the text itself, not as “side agreements.” We reject any agreement which threatens the authority of states and local communities to establish more stringent standards.
The Green Party urges a Tobin tax, a small tax on cross border currency transactions ($1.8 trillion daily). It would cool the dangerous speculative fever and raise up to $250 billion annually, which could be devoted to world poverty, international peacekeeping, and environmental problems.
G. RURAL DEVELOPMENT
Rural development policy should begin with local people, who are more likely to follow ecological practices than corporate agribusiness. Governments should provide financial assistance to small farmers to help them compete against agribusiness; encourage bank policies that spread loan portfolios beyond corporate agriculture and ranching; and aggressively confronted anti-competitive actions of the corporate giants. We support cooperative ventures to broaden markets of local producers; state-assisted product marketing efforts; and rural development banks.
H. BANKING FOR PEOPLE
The government should take serious steps to ensure that all have access to banking services, affordable loans and small-business capital. We support the extension of the Community Reinvestment Act and its key performance data provisions to provide public and timely information on affordable housing and small business loans, loans to minority-owned enterprises, and investments in community development projects. Congress should act to charter local community development banks, which would be publicly capitalized.
I. INSURANCE REFORM
We call for insurance industry regulation to reduce the cost of insurance and to rein in bad faith insurance actions, including the widespread practices of legal avoidance of obligations and price fixing. Health insurance must be fully transportable from job to job. We support initiatives in secondary insurance markets to expand credit for development in inner cities, affordable housing, sustainable agriculture, and family farms.
J. PENSION REFORM
Pension funds (over $3 trillion total) are gigantic capital pools that can be used to meet community needs and benefit workers and their families directly. The current system allows the squandering of vast amounts of American workers’ hard-earned money on job-ending, plant-moving, and corporate downsizing. Corporate-sponsored funds (the biggest category) should be jointly controlled by management and workers, not just management. Also, federal law must be changed so that pension funds need not seek the prevailing market rate, but simply a reasonable rate. A secondary pension market should be set up by the government to ensure that pension investments are made in socially beneficial programs, based on the model of federally insured and subsidized mortgage lending.
K. ANTI-TRUST ENFORCEMENT
We support strong and effectively enforced anti-trust regulation to counteract the concentration of economic power. Unchecked market power leads to corruption, self-serving abuse of the democratic political process, price gouging, loss of productivity and jobs, reduced competitiveness, and an array of predatory market practices that history has documented. Media mergers, especially, have been ineffectively challenged.
L. ADVANCED TECHNOLOGY AND DEFENSE CONVERSION
Greens generally support defense technology transfer efforts, particularly new industrial applications and developments in the areas of advanced communications, alternative energy, and waste management. We support space programs and research initiatives in transportation, advanced products and manufacturing, environmental sampling and monitoring, laser communications, high speed computers; and genetic mapping (with “Genome” project results in the public domain).
We should move our nation’s research and development budget, both private and public, toward civilian use and away from military use. The Internet holds great promise for education, decentralized economies, and local control of decision-making. The public airwaves that will accommodate the new generation of telecommunications technology should not be giveaways to media giants. A federal Technology Assessment Office should examine how technology fits in with life on Earth, in our neighborhoods and in the quality of our daily lives.
M. THE NATIONAL DEBT
For many years the federal government borrowed hundreds of billions of dollars. Money that should have been going into a better “safety net” for the poor, homes for the homeless, new business and jobs, research and development, roads and bridges, schools and the technologies of tomorrow, has been lost to servicing the national debt. We must continue to move toward reduction in the national debt and we must make up for the neglect that the deficits caused.
Working people and the small business community are shouldering a disproportionate amount the debt burden. To help make up for our nation’s neglect, we support tax increases on mega-corporate and wealthy interests; defense budget reductions (see FOREIGN POLICY); and entitlement reductions to those who can afford reductions most (by “means testing,” etc.).