As a progressive, politically active American, I frequently take part in discussions about how to realize progressive ideals in American politics. These discussions, naturally, turn to strategy, and often turn into heated arguments about the merits of voting for Green Party candidates. However, the Green Party strategy discussion usually arises in reaction to another topic; I have rarely seen a discussion that is dedicated to the subject of whether the Green Party offers a viable progressive strategy, though I have seen editorials on progressive sites railing against any strategy that veers from the orthodox progressive Democrat strategy.
As a progressive who has become an advocate for the Green Party as the most viable vehicle for progress, I would like to open serious discussion on this topic among the community of progressives. I ask that you approach this discussion with an open mind and a respect for open debate, and that you read the entire piece before responding. I'll try to make this comprehensive yet concise. Without further ado:
A Progressive's Case for a Green Party Strategy
1. The State of Politics in America
The current political state of affairs in the United States is alarming. The global financial collapse has brought us the worst economic crisis of our lifetimes. The super-rich are getting richer and more powerful, while the vast majority are getting poorer. The US is mired in two expensive, bloody wars with no end in sight. The scientific evidence about the state of our planet grows steadily worse, yet politicians take no action. Our civil liberties are being revoked by a growing police state. On measures from poverty to life expectancy, the US standard of living is quickly dropping on the charts, aided by our expensive but ineffective health care system.
Progressives have solutions to these problems, but have been unable to turn their solutions from ideas into public policy. For the purposes of this article, "progressives" are defined as people who generally support democratic regulation of the economy, progressive taxation, fair trade, a strong social safety net, single-payer health care, a more peaceful foreign policy, action to protect the environment and prevent global climate change, protection of civil liberties, and human rights.
Many progressives hoped that Barack Obama would turn US policy in a progressive direction once elected president. Although Obama has pursued the agenda of corporate and military elites less brazenly than his predecessor, the direction taken by the ship of state is still very much the same. Obama and the Democratic-controlled Congress supported the Wall Street bailout, the largest upward transfer of wealth in history. His economic advisors, led by Larry Summers and Tim Geithner, have continued to implement the neoliberal economic ideology that has concentrated America's wealth in ever-fewer hands while bringing the real economy to its knees.
Obama has continued Bush's wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the "graveyard of empires" and now host to the longest war in US history. He has escalated not only the war on Afghanistan, but also the war on the US Constitution, both defending and expanding on his predecessor's dictatorial claims of executive power, as Glenn Greenwald has so ably documented. Obama refused to join the global community in condemning the Israeli military's massacre of activists in international waters or the military coup in Honduras, a nation that still bears deep scars from US government intervention. Obama's retention of Bush's Secretary of Defense was no mistake he plays by the rules of the military industrial complex.