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THE ROAD IS FORWARD – WE LEARN AS WE GROW

By       Message Martin Zehr       (Page 1 of 1 pages)     Permalink    (# of views)   No comments

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THE ROAD IS FORWARD WE LEARN AS WE GROW

There is no future except that which we define for ourselves. Those who would have us live in this two party system would have the world pay the price. It can be said today that other options have been tried. It remains for the construction of a national independent third party to build a presence in all states and at all levels of government. It remains for us to determine our destiny.

This third party can and must be built from the ground up. Building upon successes it will bring new volunteers forward and deepen the ability of the people to be heard. It will provide a contrast to the corruption and sycophancy of the duopoly. It will bring forward the energy and understanding of the people whose humanity has been so callously disregarded.

In choosing the political arena as the battlefield, we look to our friends and neighbors to rally with us. We look at the concerns and needs of people so that we can win victories and redress the outrages and grievances that are so routinely dispensed. In working to deepen our base of support we must learn to listen and follow. We do not have the luxury of continuing as we have in the past. Symbolic opposition is no solution. Now we begin to see clearer who stands with us, and who stands against us.

Now we see new alternatives that have been buried beneath the tons of dollars used to sponsor the predation of the planet and its species and resources. Elections are presented not as beauty contests, but as political struggles that center around our future and our children's future. Policy alternatives are presented and debated and re-formulated to address real problems. No longer are sound bites and spin the masters of political debate. Substantive solutions evolve and demonstrate their potential.

By uniting, people learn who truly represents them and who uses them to enrich themselves. Participation reinvigorates the populace at large and engages those who had given up in the belief that things would always remain the same. Concessions give shape and strength in the struggle that creates its own movement and imagination.

Political parties are but one manifestation of organization. Other forms also take root and people find new ways of addressing the matters of our lives. Organization that is based on addressing the tasks of the day and the problems of yesterday will provide accountability, consistency and fairness. Empty rhetoric that attacks "leadership" or "hierarchy" seeks to tie the hands of political organization capable of working with people to win concrete concessions.


In between elections, third parties need to continue to represent their constituents. The party should speak for those without elected representatives in the securing of rights and liberties. It should address issues impacting on the general welfare of the community and promote the common good. It should go to elected officials and represent those who seek positive changes. It should promote public education that increases participation of the people. It should participate in planning processes that require input from diverse stakeholders and effectively present the interests and concerns of others so impacted. It should seek concessions, no matter how big its voter base, but never concede ground to the two parties by withdrawing candidates or playing hide-and-seek.

As the parties win elections, it is important that they initiate and support legislation that will open up the electoral system. It is important that they begin to provide new models that are environmentally friendly. And, it is important to get officials from the duopolies to join in and learn the value of the third party strategy to their communities. Already, many mayors in the US have united to implement Kyoto despite failure to do so by either Congress or the President.

By building this political movement, other things will begin to open up. But, as is being demonstrated in Latin America and elsewhere, the political strategy has the best chance of success and the biggest opportunity for significant change in 30 years. It is breaking new ground for the future and expanding the agenda.


TO GREEN OR NOT TO GREEN

As it stands the Green Party US stands as the popular vehicle for third party political movement for power and change. It alone represents a cohesive base that has built local campaigns through a concerted effort. It alone stands with the name that personifies opposition to current regime and can demonstrate a willingness to oppose collaborating with the duopoly. The Green Party US is the name associated with Nader. It is the name associated to opposition to the war. It is the name associated with ecological restoration.

It stands as an organization that has been built in states across the nation and has run candidates at all levels of government. In Alaska, to Maine to Florida, to California, to Minnesota its name rings out among the young and the restless. It has been heard of in San Francisco, Santa Fe, Portland, New Paltz and Minneapolis in local elections and campaigns. It has faced election laws and worked to change them throughout the US. San Francisco broke through the structural inequities and defeated the efforts to prevent IRV, and it has seen public campaign financing in Maine.

It stands as the voice of national opposition through the presidential campaigns in 2000 and 2004. It has run Presidential candidates since 1996 and increased its electoral space in the national constituency. It withstood four years of blistering criticism of it election efforts in 2000 by ABB apparatchniks. It remains able to create a new dynamic in the campaign of 2008.

It stands as the opposition to efforts by Democrats and Republicans to deny independents and third parties the right to ballot access and campaign finance. It has reached out to new blocs of voters in supporting electoral reform. It has worked with Republicans in opposing new regulations for major party status and voter identification in New Mexico and with Democrats in demanding a recount of the presidential election in Ohio and New Mexico.


Within the Green Party US lies the capability of expanding and building an independent third party. It has the potential of representing a broader base of voters and defining its platform without ideological pre-conceptions. The reality of the international ecological crises and the marginalization of significant segments of the American population present an opportunity to promote an agenda that corresponds with current political situation in the US.

As part of an international political movement, the Green Party US is a part of a dynamic within the international reality that has replaced prior leftist and socialist/communist political struggles. It has been able to introduce a post-industrial critique of society with a political strategy that is rooted in the defense of human rights and justice. It has adopted, in its name, an ecological foundation that surpasses those of other parties. It has the potential of learning from parliamentary parties around the world and their policy proposals for addressing matters of mutual concern.

As it grows, it will learn. As it expands, its platform will begin to be deepened by language that demonstrates directness with voters' concerns. It will begin to address the obstacles and develop tactics capable of overcoming or circumventing them. Its own self-definition will emerge as more individuals come forward and new constituencies are won in partisan elections. It will grow beyond the narrow viewpoints of activists and encompass a broad base and variety of positions. Progressive is insufficient in defining our tasks ahead.

It remains the task of the organization of the GPUS to provide coherent and effective leadership and support. The GPUS has the potential to demonstrate the engagement of the grassroots while developing the ability to stand on the national stage that no other party or organization has. The GPUS can avoid the errors of prior third parties, such as fusion or acting as a support group. It stands on its own and it can give shape to the future through its own initiative and independence.


EVERY ELECTION IS A CHALLENGE FOR CHANGE


The opportunities for waging campaigns to promote change are endless. At every level of government and in every election there are opportunities that cry out for a party bold enough to transform the political landscape. In partisan and non-partisan elections, in charter change resolutions and bond issues, in planning commissions and zoning regulations there lies the potential for change that will benefit an anti-corporate constituency and empower them to further political activity.

Self-rule city charters have the potential for addressing the corporate domination. Porter Township passed the measure to deny corporate personhood. All city charters are open to change and the effort to change them can begin to formulate working alliances and coalitions. These initiatives and resolutions can promote those values of direct democracy, proportional representation and open access that can begin to break the control by the vested corporate interests. Unification of city and county governments represents a forum for needed changes to be included in the discussion.

Urban and resource regional planning efforts that are authorized and empowered by the respective states or municipalities represent another opportunity to promote needed changes and to support smart growth policies and redefine water management policies in the context of sustainability. It provides a third party with the option of leading local support for holistic models for economic development and planning. It enables a more sophisticated focus on the character of the politics of developers, realtors and the home construction industry. Regional planning facilitates a bioregional approach that goes beyond the existing municipal entities and provides coordination.

Actively working with the City Council, a third party can unify and support efforts that promote brownfield re-development and protect Native American sacred spaces. Redefining traffic patterns through toll roads, carbon taxes to support public transportation, and building moratoriums increase the relevance of third parties to the local communities. Redefining electoral regulations will increase the opportunity for third parties to engage in campaigns for public office and efforts to increase the space for additional constituencies to be represented.

County Commissions provide an additional venue to promote anti-sprawl ordinances and build opposition to developers through supporting rural unincorporated areas in their efforts to protect their quality of life. It is vital for an active third party to support rural interests, whether in land-use or in water use. By so doing it can begin to minimize the existing political dominance of the development industry that seeks to manipulate political bodies for their own economic interests.

City-County water utility authorities represent a significant opportunity to establish water budgets and implement bioregional water planning recommendations. It presents yet another venue in which developers' influence can be effectively minimized.

Third parties can support electoral reforms in state legislatures that are dominated by the Democratic Party or the Republican Party by building working alliances with the minority party. Becoming a fulcrum between the two parties by electing a swing vote within the state legislatures presents new possibilities.

State constitutional amendments and referenda present opportunities for a third party to establish working relations with new groups of actively engaged voters. Forums and panel discussions presenting differing perspectives will begin to demonstrate new working alliances.

Congressional races present new opportunities for alternatives to the policies of war and planetary destruction. They enable a third party to present alternatives that focus on a transition to a peace-based and sustainable economic foundation.

The presidential race remains the most important race for demonstrating the effectiveness and engagement of an opposition party that is prepared for power and willing to engage both parties in policy debate. It provides the opportunity for increasing the local bases of support for a third party and connects them with relevant domestic and international issues of concern creating its own social momentum. It establishes a party that will represent those with no representation who have been marginalized.

WE CAN'T BE TRAPPED BY WHAT WE CAN AVOID

The two-party system is a no-gainer in which the loser remains those who have no voice. It is better to create our own party that promotes our own interests then attempt to restructure parties that have entrenched interests. It is better to define constituents as our priority, rather than contributors, and bring them forward as we exercise our Constitutional rights. We have nothing to gain by trying to redefine the other parties. We need an organization of our own; we need a strategy of our own. We already have a vision of our own. Its time to make it a reality and stop propping up others who fail to represent us. It is time to give up on strategies that deliver nothing, and try something new.

In organization we can multiply our influence. We can provide innovative leadership for others. We can establish our own priorities and agendas. We can shape the future through our own efforts. Every step forward will give us strength and teach us new lessons that will define us and divorce us from the duopoly. We have the opportunity; the question is do we have the audacity. We travel the road less traveled to gain the victories that are more difficult to accomplish. The road to victory is forward. The Democrats have no leadership, the Republicans have only mis-leadership. It's past time to build our own ship.

 

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Martin Zehr is an American political writer in the San Francisco area. He spent 8 years working as a volunteer water planner for the Middle Rio Grande region. http://www.waterassembly.org His article on the Kirkuk Referendum has been printed by the Kurdish Regional Government, http://www.moera-krg.org/articles/detail.asp?smap=01030000&lngnr=12&anr=12121&rnr=140 Another article was reprinted in its entirety by the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) http://www.puk.org/web/htm/news/nws/news070514.html He is a Contributing Writer to Kurdish Aspect more...)
 

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