My apologies for the length of the “Green” posts, but brevity is clearly not a Green strong-suit.
-J

SOCIAL JUSTICE
Historically, America led the world in establishing a society with democratic values such as equal opportunity and protection from discrimination. Today, however, our country is among the most extreme examples of industrialized nations that have a widening gap between the wealthy and the rest of its citizenry – the working poor, the struggling middle class, and those who increasingly cannot make ends meet.

Our public schools, from kindergarten through college, are forced to cut back countless programs and services. Fees for community colleges are up sharply, and many public universities must turn away qualified students. More than 43 million Americans have no medical insurance coverage. The crisis in publicly subsidized housing is intensifying, while publicly funded “corporate welfare” continues unabated. Our tax code favors the wealthy. Our criminal justice system assigns long prison terms to hundreds of thousands of perpetrators of victimless crimes, such as selling marijuana. Our civil liberties of privacy and free speech are impaired by the excesses of the USA PATRIOT Act and kindred new laws that use a national tragedy (the attacks on September 11, 2001) as an excuse to impose ubiquitous surveillance and control over citizens. In addition, discrimination based on gender, ethnicity, or race continues to sap the potential of our society and to violate personal dignity.

Feelings of isolation and helplessness are common in America today. Children are increasingly shaped by an “electronic childhood” with little direct experience of nature and free play. Our families are scattered, our popular culture is crassly manipulated by the profit motives of increasingly concentrated media conglomerates, and our sense of community is a pale shadow of what earlier generations of Americans knew.

The Green Party strongly believes that the quality of life is determined not only by material aspects that can be measured and counted but also by elements that cannot be quantified. We firmly support the separation of church and state, but we also acknowledge the spiritual dimension of life, and we honor the cultivation of various types of spiritual experience in our diverse society.

We believe that artistic expression and a thriving structure of art institutions are key to community well-being. We believe that a deep and broad embrace of nonviolence is the only effective way to stop cycles of violence, from the home to the streets to the international level. We advocate a diverse system of education that would introduce children early to the wonders of the Great School (Nature), and would cultivate the wisdom of eco-education, eco-economics, eco-politics, and eco-culture. We seek to protect our children from the corrosive effects of mass culture that trains them to regard themselves first and foremost as consumers.

We support the shift in modern medicine to include healing through complementary therapies and engagement with the Great Hospital (Nature). We seek, in short, to facilitate the healthy unfolding of the person within the unfolding story of the family, community, bioregion, state, nation, and Earth community.

Civil Rights and Equal Rights
One of our key values is respect for diversity. We are committed to establishing relationships that honor diversity; that support the self-definition and self-determination of all people; and that consciously confront the barriers of racism, sexism, homophobia, class oppression, ageism, and the many ways our culture separates us from working together. We support affirmative action to remedy discrimination, to protect constitutional rights and to provide equal opportunity under the law.

1. Women’s Rights
Since the beginning of what we call civilization, when men’s dominance over women was firmly established until the present day, our history has been marred with oppression of and brutality to women. The Green Party deplores this system of male domination, known as patriarchy, in all its forms, both subtle and overt – from oppression, inequality, and discrimination to domestic violence, rape, trafficking and forced slavery. The change the world is crying for cannot occur unless women’s voices are heard. Democracy cannot work without equality for women that provides equal participation and representation. It took an extraordinary and ongoing fight over 72 years for Women to win the right to vote. However, the Equal Rights Amendment has still not been ratified.

We believe that equality should be a given, and that all Greens must work toward that end. We are committed to increasing participation of women in politics, government and leadership so they can change laws, make decisions, and create policy solutions that affect and will improve women’s lives, and we are building our party so that Greens can be elected to office to do this. In July 2002 the Women’s Caucus of the Green Party of the United States was founded to carry out the Party’s commitment to women.

We also support, and call on others to support, the many existing and ongoing efforts for women:

Social Equality

a. We support the equal application of the Constitution to all citizens, and therefore call for passage of the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA). We urge accelerated ratification by three or more of the remaining 15 states that are required to pass ERA into law and into the Constitution. We urge renewed efforts and campaigns to ratify the ERA. We support House Resolution 98, using the precedent of a three-state strategy for ratification.

b. We call for equal representation of women in Congress instead of the current 13%.

c. The Green Party calls for U.S. passage of CEDAW, the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women, which was adopted in 1979 by the U.N. General Assembly and ratified by 173 countries. The U.S. is one of the very few countries, and the only industrialized nation, that have not ratified it.

d. The Equal Employment Opportunities Commission should actively investigate and prosecute sexual harassment complaints. Women who file complaints must not be persecuted and should be protected under federal and state law. We must enshrine in law the basic principle that women have the same rights as men, and promote gender equality and fairness in the work force to ensure that women receive equal pay for jobs of equal worth.

e. We support the inclusion of an equal number of women and men in peace talks and negotiations, not only because these efforts directly affect their lives and those of their husbands, children and families, but also because when women are involved, the negotiations are more successful.
Reproductive Rights

f. Women’s rights must be protected and expanded to guarantee each woman’s right as a full participant in society, free from sexual harassment, job discrimination or interference in the intensely personal choice about whether to have a child.

g. Women’s right to control their bodies is non-negotiable. It is essential that the option of a safe, legal abortion remains available. The “morning- after” pill must be affordable and easily accessible without a prescription, together with a government-sponsored public relations campaign to educate women about this form of contraception. Clinics must be accessible and must offer advice on contraception and the means for contraception; consultation about abortion and the performance of abortions, and; abortion regardless of age or marital status.

h. We endorse women’s right to use contraception and, when they choose, to have an abortion. This right cannot be limited to women’s age or marital status. Contraception and abortion must be included in all health insurance policies in the U.S., and any state government must be able to legally offer these services free of charge to women at the poverty level. Public health agencies operating abroad should be allowed to offer family planning, contraception, and abortion in all countries that ask for those services. We oppose our government’s habit of cutting family planning funds when those funds go to agencies in foreign countries that give out contraceptive devices, offer advice on abortion, and perform abortions.

i. We encourage women and men to prevent unwanted pregnancies. It is the inalienable right and duty of every woman to learn about her body and to be aware of the phases of her menstrual cycle, and it is the duty for every man to be aware of the functions and health of his and his partner’s bodies. This information is necessary for self determination, to make informed decisions, and to prevent unintended consequences. Unplanned conception takes control away from individuals and makes them subject to external controls. The “morning-after” pill and option of a safe and legal abortion need to remain available.

Economic Equality

j. Since, nationally, women still earn only 70% of men’s wages for equal jobs, the Green Party calls for the introduction and passage of federal and state laws to achieve pay equity, and funding for the enforcement of such laws.

k. Single mothers are the largest and most severely impoverished group in the United States, which explains why 25% of the children in our country live below the poverty line. Welfare reform has forced mothers to abandon their children to travel to minimum wage jobs. With the extreme pay inequity, single mothers cannot afford child care, nurture their children, and move out of poverty.

l. The Green Party supports real reforms to end poverty and return dignity and opportunity to all mothers. We call for implementing innovative programs that work with the particular and special needs of motherhood. We also support other programs such as a universal basic income (known also as a guaranteed income or Citizen Dividend, as described in True Cost Pricing and Tax Fairness ) that will provide for those who nurture the next generation – work that is of incalculable importance to our society.
Violence and Oppression

m. Language is often used as a weapon by those with power, and women have traditionally borne the brunt of inflicted injuries. Freedom of speech is vital to democracy. However, we believe that this freedom should not be used to perpetuate oppression and abuse.

n. Rape, domestic violence and other violence to women are increasing nationwide. We must address the root cause of all violence even as we specifically address violence to women. We cannot allow this to continue and call for increased funding for programs to address it.

o. The Green Party has zero tolerance for the illegal international trafficking in humans. Of the millions of humans trafficked worldwide, the large majority are women and children who are bought and sold as slaves and forced to labor against their will primarily in prostitution, but also in agriculture, sweat shops, domestic service and in other forms of servitude. According to Human Rights Watch, in all cases coercive tactics – including deception, fraud, intimidation, isolation, threat and use of physical force, or debt bondage – are used to control women. Figures from 2003 show 50,000 victims, both women and children, were trafficked to the U.S.

p. The Green Party supports all efforts to eradicate this extreme abuse of human rights, including but not limited to enforcement of existing laws and passage of tough new ones, punishing traffickers, aiding victims, increasing public awareness, reforming immigration laws, supporting existing programs and creating new ones.

q. We support the State Department’s annual Trafficking in Persons Report as an important document to begin to combat this abuse. We support and urge enforcement of the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act (HR 3244) signed into law on October 28, 2000. This Act authorizes funding for the prevention of trade in human beings and for protecting victims. It gives the State Department a historic opportunity to create an office with the exclusive responsibility of ending traffic in humans and protecting the victims of this world-wide trade. We urge committed political support to achieve the cooperation of all different levels of government.

2. Racial Discrimination
The development of the United States has been marked by conflict over questions of race. Our nation was formed only after Native Americans were displaced. The institution of slavery had as its underpinnings the belief in white supremacy, which we as Greens condemn. In slavery’s aftermath, people of color have borne the brunt of violence and discrimination. The Green Party unequivocally condemns these evils which continue to be a social problem of paramount significance.

a. We support efforts to overcome the effects of over 200 years of racial discrimination.

b. We call for an end to official support for any remaining symbols of slavery and specifically call for the removal of the Confederate battle flag from all government buildings.

c. People of color in this country have legitimate claims to reparations in the form of monetary compensation for centuries of discrimination. We also uphold the right of the descendants of African slaves to self-determination, as we do for all indigenous peoples.

d. We condemn the practice of racial profiling by law enforcement agencies, which are guilty of stopping motorists, harassing individuals, or using unwarranted violence against suspects with no other justification than race or ethnic background.

e. We favor strong measures to combat official racism in the forms of police brutality directed against people of color.

f. We support effective enforcement of the Voting Rights Act, including language access to voting.

g. We oppose discriminatory English-only pressure groups. We call for a national language policy that would encourage all citizens to be fluent in at least two languages. [See section K. Immigration / Emigration in this chapter]

h. We strongly support the vigorous enforcement of civil rights laws, the aggressive prosecution of hate crimes, and the strengthening of legal services for the poor.

3. Indigenous Peoples
We have great respect for Native American cultures, especially their deference for community and the Earth.

a. We recognize both the sovereignty of Native American tribal governments and the Federal Government’s trust obligation to Native American people. Native American nations are just that – nations – and should be treated in like fashion, with the special circumstance that they are located within the United States.

b. The federal government is obligated to deal in good faith with Native Americans; honor its treaty obligations; adequately fund programs for the betterment of tribal governments and their people; affirm the religious rights of Native Americans in ceremonies (American Indian Religious Freedom Act); provide funds for innovative economic development initiatives, education and public health programs; and respect land, water and mineral rights within the borders of reservations and traditional lands.

c. We support efforts to broadly reform the Bureau of Indian Affairs to make this vast agency more responsible and more responsive to tribal governments.

d. We support the just settlement of the claims of the thousands of Native American uranium miners who have suffered and died from radiation exposure. We condemn the stance of secrecy taken by the Atomic Energy Commission during this era and its subsequent claim of government immunity, taken knowingly and immorally at the expense of Native people. We support the complete clean-up of those mines and tailing piles, which are a profoundly destructive legacy of the Cold War.

e. Native American land and treaty rights often stand as the front line against government and multinational corporate attempts to plunder energy, mineral, timber, fish, and game resources; pollute water, air, and land in the service of the military; expand economically; and consume natural resources. We support legal, political, and grassroots efforts by, and on behalf of, Native Americans to protect their traditions, rights, livelihoods, and sacred spaces.

4. Justice for Native Hawaiians: Kanaka Maoli
Since illegal annexation in 1898, the Federal and State governments have cheated and neglected the native Hawaiian people. In 1993, the U.S. Congress passed, and President Clinton signed into law, the “Apology Bill” (U.S. Public Law 103-150). This admission of crime states in part, “the native Hawaiians have never lost their inherent sovereignty nor their national home base.”

The Green Party demands justice for kanaka maoli. We support the following:

a. Protecting sacred and culturally significant sites.

b. Efforts to nurture native Hawaiian culture.

c. Kanaka maoli leadership and guardianship in protecting gathering rights, and lobbying the legislature to safeguard these rights without interference.

d. Return of, or fair compensation for, ceded lands.

e. Immediate distribution of Hawaiian Homelands, with government funds allocated for the necessary infrastructure.

f. Prohibition of future sale or diminishments of the Ceded Land Trust.

g. A call for open dialogue among all residents of Hawai’i on the sovereignty option of full independence.

h. Hawaiian sovereignty in a form that is fair to both native Hawaiians and other residents of Hawai’i.

i. We acknowledge and actively endorse the inherent and absolute right of indigenous nations to self-determination, and thereby call upon the U.S. government to reverse its opposition to enactment of the proposed United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in its entirety.

5. Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity
In keeping with the Green Key Values of diversity, social justice and feminism, we support full legal and political equality for all persons, regardless of sex, gender, or sexual orientation.

a. The Green Party affirms the rights of all individuals to freely choose intimate partners, regardless of their sex, gender, or sexual orientation.

b. We support the recognition of equal rights of persons gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender to housing, jobs, civil marriage, medical benefits, child custody, and in all areas of life provided to all other citizens.

c. We support the inclusion of language in state and federal anti-discrimination law that ensures the rights of intersex individuals and prohibits discrimination based on gender identity, characteristics, and expression. We are opposed to intersex genital mutilation.

d. We support the right of all persons to self-determination with regard to gender identity and sex. We therefore support the right of intersex and transgender individuals to be free from coercion and involuntary assignment of gender or sex. We support access to medical and surgical treatment for assignment or reassignment of gender or sex, based on informed consent.

e. We support legislation against all forms of hate crimes, including those directed against people who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, queer, transgender, and intersex.

6. Rights of the Disabled
We support the full enforcement of the Americans with Disabilities Act to enable all people with disabilities to achieve independence and function at the highest possible level. Government should work to ensure that children with disabilities are provided with the same educational opportunities as those without disabilities.

The physically and mentally challenged are people who are differently-abled from the majority, but who are nevertheless able to live independently. The mentally ill are people with serious mental problems who often need social support networks. Physically and mentally challenged people have the right to live independently in their communities. The mentally ill also have the right to live independently, circumscribed only by the limitations of their illness. These people are their own best advocates in securing their rights and for living in the social and economic mainstream.

Current Medicaid policy forces many challenged people to live in costly state-funded institutions. Excluding these people from society alienates them; excluding them from the work force denies them the chance to use their potentials.

The diminishing funds available to provide care for the growing number of the mentally ill often result in their homelessness, vagrancy and dependence on short-term crisis facilities. Lack of funding also increases the necessity of placing them in long-term, locked facilities.

The Green Party urges the government to:

a. Increase rehabilitation funding so that persons with disabilities can pursue education and training to reach their highest potential. The differently-abled should participate fully in the allocation decisions of state rehabilitation departments’ funds.

b. Aggressively implement the Americans with Disabilities Act.

c. Fund in-home support services to allow the differently-abled to hire personal care attendants while remaining at home.

d. Allocate adequate funding to support community-based programs that provide out-patient medical services, case management services and counseling programs. We should provide a residential setting within the community for those who do not need institutional care but who are unable to live independently.

e. Make it easier for the chronically mentally ill to apply for and receive Supplemental Security Income.

f. Mainstream the differently-abled. Increase the training of teachers in regards to the needs of differently-abled students.

g. Discourage stereotyping of the mentally and physically challenged by the entertainment industry and the media.

h. Fund programs to increase public sensitivity to the needs of the mentally ill and differently-abled.

7. Religious Freedom and Secular Equality
The United States Bill of Rights guarantees freedom of religion. We affirm the right of each individual to the exercise of conscience and religion, while maintaining the constitutionally mandated separation of government and religion. We believe that federal, state, and local governments must remain neutral regarding religion.

We call for:

a. Ending discriminatory federal, state, and local laws against particular religious beliefs, and non-belief. The U.S. Constitution states that there shall be no religious test for public office. This requirement should apply to oaths (or affirmations) for holding public office at any level, employment at all government levels, oaths for witnesses in courts, oaths for jury membership, and the oath for citizenship.

b. Prosecution of hate crimes based on religious affiliation or practice.

c. Elimination of displays of religious symbols, monuments, or statements on government buildings, property, websites, money, or documents.

d. Restoration of the Pledge of Allegiance to its pre-1954 version, eliminating the politically motivated addition of “under God.”

e. Ending faith-based initiatives and charitable choice programs, whereby public funds are used to support religious organizations that do not adhere to specified guidelines and standards, including anti-discrimination laws.

f. Ending school vouchers whereby public money pays for students in religious schools.

g. Ending governmental use of the doctrines of specific religions to define the nature of family, marriage, and the type and character of personal relationships between consenting adults.

h. Ending religiously-based curricula in government-funded public schools.

i. Ending the use of religion as a justification to deny children necessary medical care or subject them to physical and emotional abuse.

j. Ending the use of religion by government to define the role and rights of women in our society.

k. Revocation of the Congressional charter of the Boy Scouts of America. Any private organization that practices bigotry against certain religious beliefs and classes of people should not have a Congressional endorsement or access to public property and funds.

8. Youth Rights
All human beings have the right to a life that will let them achieve their full potential. Young people are one of the least protected classes of human beings, yet they represent our future. We must ensure they have an upbringing that allows them to take their place as functioning, productive, and self-actualized members of their community.

a. Youth are not the property of their parents or guardians, but are under their care and guidance.

b. Youth have the right to survive by being provided adequate food, shelter and comprehensive health care, including prenatal care for mothers.

c. Youth have the right to be protected from abuse, harmful drugs, violence, environmental hazards, neglect, and exploitation.

d. Youth have the right to develop in a safe and nurturing early environment provided by affordable child care and pre-school preparation.

e. Youth have the right to an education that is stimulating, relevant, engaging, and that fosters their natural desire to learn.

f. Young people’s creative potential should be encouraged to the greatest extent possible.

g. Young people should have input into the direction and pace of their own education, including input into the operation of their educational institutions.

h. Young people should be provided with education regarding their own and others’ sexuality at the earliest appropriate time.

i. Young people should be provided the opportunity to express themselves in their own media, including television, radio, films and the Internet. Young people should also be given skills in analyzing commercial media.

j. Young people should be kept free from coercive advertising at their educational institutions.

9. Veterans’ Rights
Support for men and women in the armed forces must go far beyond the rhetoric used to discredit the peace movement in the U.S. today. We believe that the ill-advised and illegal actions of the U.S. administration have unnecessarily put our troops in harm’s way. We further believe that the dangerous burden of fighting the unnecessary war in Iraq, and the wars that may follow, due to the administration’s overly narrow and militaristic response to terrorism is disproportionately borne by families of lesser means. Those who are required to carry out militaristic policies, often with great hardship to themselves, their families, and even the risk of their lives, deserve our respect and our commitment to adequate compensation and benefits.

We recommend the following actions:

a. Increase the current pay levels, monthly imminent danger pay, and family separation allowances for those risking their lives in combat zones.

b. Ensure that all pre-deployment physicals are completed and carried out within the standard allotted time period and that medical follow-ups are routinely done on all soldiers.

c. Establish a panel of independent medical doctors to examine and oversee the policies of the military regarding forced vaccinations and shots, often with experimental drugs.

d. Honor all laws concerning time limits on deployments.

e. Provide better care for the wounded, sick, and injured soldiers returning home. The Pentagon must take all steps necessary to fully diagnose and treat both physical and mental health conditions resulting from service in all combat zones.

f. Ensure a smooth transition from active military service to civilian life by providing counseling, housing, emergency management, job protection, and other support systems.

g. Restore full funding for veterans’ health programs.

h. Request Congress to enact a new GI Bill, similar to the one that began after World War II and ended in 1981, to provide the following benefits:

Tuition grants for four years of college or other educational opportunities.

Low interest loans for housing or business start-ups.

Free medical care for military personnel and their families for ten years following separation from the armed forces – until universal health care becomes a reality.

i. Support and respect Conscientious Objector status during all phases of the process. We fully support the right of individuals in the military service to modify or completely separate from military involvement because of conscientious objection. We call upon all military entities and officers to support a transparent and democratic conscientious objection process free of harassment, imprisonment, or deployment to war zones for those pursuing the conscientious objection process.

j. Recognized, independent veteran organizations must have access to military personnel to ensure they are being informed of their rights. This is especially true for those who are hospitalized due to service related injuries or illnesses.

10. Consumer Protection
Consumers have the right to adequate enforcement of the federal and state consumer protection laws. Health and safety are of paramount importance, so we oppose lax or inappropriate regulatory actions.

a. Consumers should have the right to participate in decisions that affect their lives and protect their interests, beyond simply voting on election day.

b. We support the creation of consumer advocacy agencies in order to protect the interests of consumers against corporate lobbyists who have too often successfully argued before regulatory agencies against consumer rights. We would require legal monopolies and regulated industries (including electric, gas, water, and telephone utilities) to set up statewide consumer action groups to act on behalf of and advocate for consumer interests.

c. We call for better information for consumers about the products they buy, and where and how they are made. We endorse truth in advertising, including the clear definition of words like “recycled” and “natural.”

d. We defend the rights of individuals to participate in class action lawsuits against manufacturers of unsafe products. We call for restrictions on secrecy agreements that may prevent lawsuits by not revealing damaging information.

e. We support laws to protect “whistle blowers.”

11. War on Terrorism
See also section D. Foreign Policy and E. Domestic Security in chapter I.

The so-called war on terrorism must not become an assault on the civil liberties that are enshrined in our Constitution. The price of freedom is not the loss of liberty. Constitutionally protected rights – fought for by American patriots – are rights the Green Party patriotically holds in the highest regard. Greens demand that the Justice Department cease and desist its wholesale rollback of constitutional protections and its daily dismantling of legal safeguards.

The use of Homeland Defense monies to spy on citizens exercising First Amendment rights is particularly onerous, as are “sneak and peek” provisions of the U.S.A.P.A.T.R.I.O.T. Act that allows surveillance of libraries, readers, the Internet, and computer users. Basic rights ensuring individual privacy are under attack. The U.S. government’s use of high tech tools, including intrusive monitoring, data mining and analysis to identify and disrupt citizen activists, should be seen as an attack on fundamental rights of an engaged, active citizenry.

The Green Party calls on Congress and the courts to reign in constitutional and civil liberties abuses that have become prevalent in the Bush administration and the John Ashcroft Justice Department.

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