August 24, 2001: Green Party Blasts Bush's Reckless Agenda, But See Little Challenge From Democrats on Major Issues.
An end-of-summer Green review of major Bush policies
and Democratic complicity: the threat to raid Social Security, missile
defense fraud, spoiling the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, etc.
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Green Party organizers and activists call the policies of the Bush Administration irresponsible and reckless, and warn of severe damage to the world environment, to the U.S. economy, and to the role of the U.S. in international relations. But Greens say that the lack of a strong, unified response from Democrats in Congress on many of these policies -- and Democratic collusion in their introduction and passage -- shows the urgent need for a progressive third party.
"When Clinton adopted the Republican Party's rhetoric about 'big government,' it gave Republicans an excuse to call for even more deregulation and privatization," said Jo Chamberlain, member of the steering committee of the Green Party of the United States and a California Green. "These extremes come out of the Bush White House on a daily basis, schemes like the privatization of Social Security and the halt on federal prosecutions for violations of the Clean Air Act."
"Both Democratic and Republican Parties have been using the rhetorical threat of 'big government' as an excuse to raid essential public services and resources. At the same time, they're beefing up the power and wealth of corporations, through deregulation and privatization, through tax breaks and bail-outs, through military ventures and foreign policy designed to benefit corporate interests. We call that corporate welfare - big government for the benefit of the wealthy."
The California blackouts have angered many Americans over energy deregulation. The stock market's instability has made working Americans uneasy about the dangerous plan to privatize Social Security. They realize that if the economy plummets, the least secure place to stow one's retirement money is Wall Street.
"Greens oppose 'big government' too," added Ben Manski, another member of the Green Party Steering Committee and a Green from Wisconsin. "We oppose the big government that invades our privacy, seeks to roll back abortion rights, maintains the War on Drugs, dumps our tax money into dangerous military ventures and contracts, and gives corporations the means to trample our rights and well-being."
The common policy of the Clinton and Bush Administrations in support of secretive international negotiations at the G8 Summit in July, supporting the exploitative manipulation of the global economy by the World Bank and IMF and unelected "free trade" authorities (WTO, NAFTA, FTAA, etc.), draws special criticism from Greens. Party members have participated in protests against all of these and have condemned the police provocation and abuse against peaceful demonstrators in Genoa, the site of the G8 meeting, and Quebec, at the FTAA meeting. Thousands of Greens will join the protests against the IMF and World Bank in Washington, D.C. in late September.
Green Party - Page 2, August 24
"Bush has been reckless as the leader of the only global superpower," said Ben Manski. "Bush refuses to sign agreements establishing the international ban on biological warfare which updates the 1972 Biological Weapons Convention, a United Nations proposal to curb the international sale of small arms, an international court to investigate and prosecute genocide and war crimes, and the Kyoto Treaty committing the U.S. to a first step in slowing global warming. With the same irresponsibility, Bush is enacting national missile defense, a pipedream of Ronald Reagan, revived by Bill Clinton, which will gut the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty."
The public has now learned -- through the admissions of high level defense officials -- that the July 14, 2001 test of an anti-missile weapon was rigged, with an electronic beacon in its target that signaled the target's location.
The White House also intends to withdraw the U.S. from the U.N. Conference Against Racism planned for Durban, South Africa on August 31, a move that's especially unconscionable in light of a report from the U.N. Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination criticizing racially biased practices in the U.S., including the application of the death penalty, incarceration rates, and police brutality.
"How much can Americans trust the Democrats to put up a fight against Bush's destructive and regressive White House policies?," asked Jo Chamberlain. "36 Democratic members of the House joined with Republicans to allow Bush to open Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling. Democrats in Congress blocked Bush's proposed $1.6 billion tax break that benefits the rich and which will cut the safety net for the poor -- by okaying a $1.35 billion tax break, which is already erasing the budget surplus and threatening to dip into Social Security funds. Sen. Hillary Clinton, the darling of liberals, voted for a bankruptcy bill that enriches credit card companies and hurts Americans in a financial crisis because of job loss or medical bills. Sen. Russ Feingold, who's considering a White House run in 2004 as a progressive, helped Bush install John Ashcroft and Gail Norton."
"The Green Party is now the party of the newly emerging center, said Carol Miller, New Mexico Green Party member. "We're the party that supports neither the military-industrial corporate welfare big government that the two major parties now favor, nor a return to the old social welfare big government of New Deal Democrats. Instead, we demand government that's locally based and which advances environmentally healthy sustainable economies, democratic workplaces, human rights, and a strong social safety net."