State News Release - June 23, 2000

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Green Party of Colorado




Friday, June 23, 2000

Nancy Allen, Media Coordinator,
207-326-4576, nallen@acadia.net
Scott McLarty, Media Coordinator,
202-518-5624, scottmclarty@yahoo.com

Nader and LaDuke stress education, inclusion in the national debates, the proposed 7th Generation Amendment, Gore's role in Occidental Petroleum and Colombia, environmental responsibility and renewal

DENVER, COLORADO -- Green Party Presidential candidate Ralph Nader discussed the momentum building behind his campaign on the first morning of the Green National Nominating Convention at the Renaissance Hotel in Denver, Colorado. On Sunday afternoon, June 25, convention delegates will choose the national Green nominee.

At a press conference on Saturday morning, June 24, at which he was accompanied by running mate Winona LaDuke, Mr. Nader announced that on Friday, "I completed my 50 state tour of the United States.... It has been a great experience. I have come away from this tour with the distinct feeling that America wants a change -- a change from the dominance of the two major political parties which offer little more than band-aids for the nation's problems of health, child poverty, job security, and a multitude of other ills that linger from election to election without solution.... As a result, millions of Americans are turned off by the political process. Democracy is in peril, is at risk, when so many people drop out because they feel they have no power."

Ms. LaDuke talked about the need for community-based economic systems, especially as the only antidote for poor neighborhoods and Indian reservations otherwise at the mercy of developers and other wealthy interests.

An American Indian (Ojibwe) human rights and environmental activist, she noted that the Clinton Administration has been a disaster for many reservations, especially the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. Her own county in Minnesota, Shannon, is one of the poorest in the U.S., with probably the single most endangered ecosystem.

"I wish to stress reconciliation," Ms. LaDuke said. "We seek the end of an energy policy based on corporate profit ... and corporate welfare. We support the breaching of dams." She cited solar and wind energy as alternate sources of power.

Ms. LaDuke discussed the proposed "Seventh Generation Amendment" to the U.S. Constitution, under which "No private interest has the right to appropriate or destroy the commons." The amendment is based on the American Indian principle that "when you make a deliberation today, you must consider the impact on the seventh generation."

In response to a question about education, Mr. Nader dismissed the facile rhetoric and sloganeering of candidates Al Gore and George W. Bush, and recommended that schools teach civic skills and participation in a democratic society as basis from which a firm curricula covering reading, writing, math, etc. will emerge. He especially blasted the commercialization of education, citing Channel One, and inattention to school infrastructure.

Asked about his position on the death penalty, Mr. Nader said he has long opposed it, citing the numbers of innocent people executed. "We should apply the death penalty to corporate charters," he said, in cases of criminal corporate behavior.

A question on inclusion in the debates motivated Mr. Nader to throw the challenge back at the media. Rather than ask Ralph Nader himself whether he'll get to debate Gore and Bush, reporters should confront Democratic and Republican Parties and candidates about the policy of excluding serious third-party candidates, which allows them to narrow discussion and ignore concerns important to voters.

Ms. LaDuke condemned the massive military aid to Colombia, ostensibly to fight the "war on drugs" but more often used to further U.S. corporate interests there, especially Occidental Petroleum, whose interest in a rural area of Colombia threatens the U'wa tribe -- and in which the Gore family holds a financial interest.

Winona LaDuke, who is probably the only vice presidential candidate in history to be nursing a newborn baby, is one of many women whose activism and participation have driven the Green Party, at least as much as men have. Other women's voices in the development of the party include Carol Miller, Linda Martin, Dee Berry, Nancy Allen, Annie Goeke, Betty Zisk, and Starlene Rankin. Ms. Martin was one of the prime movers in the founding of the Association of State Green Parties, which organized this weekend's convention.

On Friday night, Ms. LaDuke addressed the Green Party in the Renaissance Hotel Ballroom and further elaborated the environmental basis of democratic reform, human rights, and other Green issues. "I am somebody who believes that cultural diversity is as important as biodiversity."

The theme of responsibility echoed throughout her remarks. "Public policies in this country should not be written for the richest people, but for the poorest." Commenting on America's failure to address racism, she noted that "[t]he difference between us and South Africa is that there is political will in South Africa to talk about reconciliation."

Ms. LaDuke also commented on the superficial rhetoric of Democratic and Republican politicians who limit discussion of abortion to once every four years. "Why don't these politicians talk about the number of chemicals that cross the trans-placenta [into bodies of the unborn]?"



State News Release - June 23, 2000

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