"Vision is essential," McLaughlin said. "We are not only in a political crisis because of the two-party system, because the Democratic Party leads movements into dead ends, but we are in a cultural crisis. We are dominated by corporate culture. We need our artists. They are not valued, especially our working-class artists. In all revolutionary moments there are collaborations between art and politics. There is an intersection of politics and culture, which addresses social ills and also inspires movements. Art can do what political ideologies often cannot."
The state is acutely aware of our rights, needs, frustrations and aspirations. It manipulates them with appalling cynicism. This is how Barack Obama got elected. And it is why the Democratic Party -- which has carried out an economic and political assault against working-men and -women, obsequiously served the demands of the merchants of death that manage empire, assisted in the building of our vast system of mass incarceration, expanded the assault on the ecosystem by the fossil fuel industry and revoked most of our civil liberties -- tolerates Bernie Sanders. It can force him, in the end, to play by its rules. It will demand that Sanders become its propagandist, which he has agreed to do if he is not the Democrats' presidential nominee, in the battle with corporate Republicans to control the perks and financial rewards that come with political power.
"The enthusiasm around Bernie Sanders' campaign is like the enthusiasm around Barack Obama's 2008 campaign," Stein said. "And in the Obama campaign, people were betrayed. We have to lift up an alternative, outside a corporate party, that will not be about betrayal."
"On a national level it is certainly gamed," Stein said of the presidential campaign. "But there are many purposes that the national race serves. One is to build a structure through which, eventually, circumstances may permit a victory [for progressive change]. This may not be now, but we have to build it. Social change happens because of social movements, but political and electoral movements can help amplify that. It can help fan the flames."
"If you look at, for example, the labor movement in the U.S. in the early 1900s, there was a proliferation of small independent parties that applied a lot of pressure and gave rise to a national voice in the form of Eugene Debs' presidential campaigns," Stein said.
"When we run for higher office we have to stand outside the two-party system," said McLaughlin, "but when we do this we have the situation Jill is facing [as a presidential candidate]. We are not getting heard enough. We are not getting into the debates."
"We need a new third party," she went on. "We need to connect Greens with other third parties and independently thinking people. We need a reciprocity relationship with movements such as Black Lives Matter."
All those who stand outside the system to denounce and defy corporate power, marginalized though they are, give us hope. There are rumblings of rebellion that already frighten the corporate state. The corporate state will seek to use all of its resources to funnel us back into its embrace, to attempt to make us believe that the options it offers are the only options. It is time to break free. It is time to refuse to cooperate. It is time to do what is right. If we follow our consciences, if we dismantle corporate power in community after community, perhaps we have a chance.