Friday, August 20, 2010
I mentioned Green Party values yesterday and I want to share a list of 10 that the Green Committees of Correspondence for the US developed in 1989. As you can see, rather than Greens telling people what or how to do things it is instead assumed that we must all work together to answer these questions;
1. ECOLOGICAL WISDOM
How can we operate human societies with the understanding that we are part of nature, not on top of it?
How can we live within the ecological and resource limits of the planet, applying our technological knowledge to the challenge of an energy efficient economy?
How can we build a better relationship between cities and countryside?
How can we guarantee the rights of non-human species?
How can we promote sustainable agriculture and respect for self-regulating natural systems?
How can we further biocentric wisdom in all spheres of life?
2. GRASSROOTS DEMOCRACY
How can we develop systems that allow and encourage us to control the decisions that affect our lives?
How can we ensure that representatives will be fully accountable to the people who elected them?
How can we develop planning mechanisms that would allow citizens to develop and implement their own preferences for policies and spending priorities?
How can we encourage and assist the “mediating institutions”—family, neighborhood organization, church group, voluntary association, ethnic club—to recover some of the functions now performed by the government?
How can we relearn the best insights from American traditions of civic vitality, voluntary action and community responsibility?
3. SOCIAL JUSTICE
How can we respond to human suffering in ways that promote dignity?
How can we encourage people to commit themselves to lifestyles that promote their own health?
How can we have a community controlled education system that effectively teaches our children academic skills, ecological wisdom, social responsibility and personal growth?
How can we resolve personal and intergroup conflicts without just turning them over to lawyers and judges?
How can we take responsibility for reducing the crime rate in our neighborhoods?
How can we encourage such values as simplicity and moderation?
How can we develop effective alternatives to our current patterns of violence at all levels, from the family and the street to nations and the world?
How can we eliminate nuclear weapons from the face of the Earth without being naive about the intentions of other governments?
How can we most constructively use nonviolent methods to oppose practices and policies with which we disagree, and in the process reduce the atmosphere of polarization and selfishness that is itself a source of violence?
How can we reduce power and responsibility to individuals, institutions, communities and regions?
How can we encourage the flourishing of regionally-based culture, rather than a dominant mono-culture?
How can we have a decentralized, democratic society with our political, economic and social institutions locating power on the smallest scale (closest to home) that is efficient and practical?
How can we redesign our institutions so that fewer decisions and less regulation over money are granted as one moves from the community to the national level?
How can we reconcile the need for community and regional self-determination with the need for appropriate centralized regulation in certain matters?
6. COMMUNITY BASED ECCONOMICS
How can we redesign our work structures to encourage employee ownership and workplace democracy?
How can we develop new economic activities and institutions that will allow us to use our new technologies in ways that are humane, freeing, ecological and accountable, and responsive to communities?
How can we establish some form of basic economic security, open to all?
How can we move beyond the narrow “job ethic” to new definitions of “work,” jobs” and “income” that reflect the changing economy?
How can we restructure our patterns of income distribution to reflect the wealth created by those outside the formal monetary economy: those who take responsibility for parenting, housekeeping, home gardens, community volunteer work, etc.?
How can we restrict the size and concentrated power of corporations without discouraging superior efficiency or technological innovation?
How can we replace the cultural ethics of dominance and control with more cooperative ways of interacting?
How can we encourage people to care about persons outside their own group?
How can we promote the building of respectful, positive and responsible relationships across the lines of gender and other divisions?
How can we encourage a rich, diverse political culture that respects feelings as well as rationalist approaches?
How can we proceed with as much respect for the means as the end (the process as much as the product of our efforts)?
How can we learn to respect the contemplative, inner part of life as much as the outer activities?
8. RESPECT FOR DIVERSITY
How can we honor cultural, ethnic, racial, sexual, religious and spiritual diversity within the context of individual responsibility toward all beings?
How can we reclaim our country’s finest shared ideals: the dignity of the individual, democratic participation, and liberty and justice for all?
9. GLOBAL RESPOSIBILITY
How can we be of genuine assistance to the grassroots groups in the Third World? What can we learn from such groups?
How can we help other countries make the transition to self-sufficiency in food and other basic necessities?
How can we cut our defense budget while maintaining an adequate defense?
How can we promote these ten Green values in the reshaping of our global order?
How can we reshape the world order without creating just another enormous nation-state?
How can we induce people and institutions to think in terms of the long range future, and not just in terms of their short range selfish interest?
How can we encourage people to develop their own visions of the future and move more effectively toward them?
How can we judge whether new technologies are socially useful, and use these judgements to shape our society?
How can we induce our government and other institutions to practice fiscal responsibility?
How can we make the quality of life, rather than open-ended economic growth, the focus of future thinking?
Hmmm, we can start by voting for and helping build the Green Party along with all the many other things people are doing all around the world to advance a new Green way of life in the world, one with compassion for all things, broadly diverse but living in a harmonious balance with universal principles.
wolakota wa yaka cola - Lakota ...peace without slavery
Thursday, August 19, 2010
Running for governor has me getting lots of questionnaires from various organizations, I've gotten them from the NRA, The Abigail Adams Project, Americans for Tax Reform, Project Vote Smart, another organization concerned with mental health, another with intellectual and developmental disabilities and more. I've also gotten some invitations to come speak or debate, like the one in Nashville I told you a little about There is another debate to be in Chattanooga on October 14th. I'll be visiting with three high school classes in Maryville, TN, the next day and there will be a campaign event in Knoxville that night. I also just got a call from a friend in Memphis who said there had been a mention of my campaign in a local paper (thank you Bernie) and he wants to throw a campaign party for me. He did that for me in 2006 as well and we met some great folks over there.
I prefer events where I can speak to filling out questionnaires, which I admit I seldom do because of the time involved and I can never comfortably answer their carefully crafted questions designed to pin you down on their favorite issue or issues which they are very keen and up-to-date on. The problem I have is they often assume only two positions and usually leave no room to explain a third way. Some of them come from right-wing groups concerned with guns, abortions and taxes and wonder how much those issues really affect most people's lives. I agree we pay too much in taxes for what we get from it as most of it is wasted on the military industrial complex. Yeah, they provide jobs, but so does a pimp or a drug king-pin. The A.T.R. questionnaire included a Pledge I was to sign saying I would oppose any new taxes but insisting that there be "No new taxes" seems to be a thin cover for protecting the wealthy corporations rather than reforming our tax system to make it more fair. I'm not convinced they care what fair is.
Katey saw a spot showing some kids campaigning for class president, she said, and each held up a sign stating their respective positions, going down the row of candidates the last kids sign read "All of the above." It was a reversal of David "None of the above" Gatchel's campaign. What I liked about the kids sign was that "All of the Above" could be construed as "Let's all work together." Looking at the enormous issues facing us, that our leaders have not yet begun to face, we really do all need to work together. Obviously in a culture where what is said on TV seems to carry more weight than even one's own experience, it may be difficult getting that started. We may have to wait until oil production gets so expensive it can no longer keep the tractors and trucks rolling, until climate change is fries us to a crisp or washes us a way in one of the increasingly common freak storms.
I want to briefly mention my platform, or ...my stool. I've identified 5 legs for my stool in this campaign. They are Security, Economy, Ecology, Health, Education. While it is just 5 catagories I can see how most concerns will fit within one or more of them. I should say too that I support the platform of the Green Party of the US too, most of it anyway. It is a living document so its always being discussed, revised and expanded which is how it should be as more facets of our circumstances are revealed over time.
Security: I don't know about you but my community is pretty heavily armed, I expect yours is too as U.S. citizens own a lot of weaponry. In the gun's department we are covered but I'm not sure how much real security that gives us. If we are ever invaded I expect we'll be ready for them. And too, we have a heavily armed police force ready to take care of all the criminals, despite the fact that crime rates have been going down for 30 years. I guess that is why they keep making more laws, got to keep the customers flowing into the prison industry to assure more prison profits. But when the trucks stop rolling how much security will you have? You could hunt food with it but having lost much natural habitat the local ecology may not have enough to feed everyone. But as the old saying goes, 'there is safety in numbers.' Biologists have been discovering that nature's success depends more on cooperation than it does on competition and we, my friends, despite what you've been told, are a part of nature. Without an evolutionary effort at cooperation with one another and our planetary environment, our security could be fatally compromised. Why?
Economy: Because the growth economy has hit the wall, that's why, and we hippies have known it would all along. Our economy is critically linked to our security as we can see. In a pyramid scheme the base has to keep getting wider or it can't continue, and the base of this pyramid has gone round the world and there is now no room to expand further. So, now what? We've got to build a new economy, one that is state of the art and steady state. It is not hard to imagine and it is not that hard to build but it does require broad based cooperation because each community member must be involved in their economy. We have the resources and the talent to do it in this state, we can access the necessary technologies, we have everything we need except the cooperation. The cooperation of government, business, communities and individuals will be required to build a decentralized and localized food, fuel and fiber, growing and processing network better than the one America grew up on. It is clear the basics come from the soil and require water and sunlight as we all do. We have a critical relationship with these things as the human beings and the other 30 million species on this planet are interdependent. We all should now know what that relationship is called, right?
Ecology: Each of us is a whole being and each of us is a part of a greater being, and by us I mean all us beings, trees, toads, shrooms and monkeys, water and air, the soil, we all live together and have important relationships with other species. All the basics for our life come from this larger community of beings. Apocalypse I'm told literally means, translated from the Greek, 'the lifting of the veil' so as to now see what has been obscured. Apocalypse is what I see happening nearly everywhere as people are realizing their connection to one another, our history, the earth and all its systems, all its beings. More and more people are beginning realize that we have to change direction to at least lessen if not avoid catastrophe. Many know we need change but only a few know what changes are required, so ask a hippy, not a suit. Our ecology is critical to our...
Health: This is because, as we all know, our food, our water, our air is all critical to our health. If is is not clean and healthy we will not be clean and healthy. Any health care system truly interested health will be heavily invested toward preventative measures as much as fix-it measures. It is easier to maintain health than it is to rebuild it when it has been destroyed. So first order for health is to do no harm, then clean and protect our ecology, but then we might want to have primary health clinics in every community to handle the day to day exams, maintenance and emergency patch up jobs, etc. all perhaps connected to a state wide data base so as to track any disease that might spread and to keep track of what works and what doesn't. The profit motive has to be removed from health care as it only encourages dishonesty and isn't very caring along with many grave and expensive inefficiencies. Time to grow up and take care of ourselves better. Its a shame that people aren't really given the tools needed to grow up in our schooling system and instead are dumped into the economy ill prepared to swim in a system designed cheat them out of most, if not all, of their life. Instead of schools we need...
Education: A well educated people cannot be easily controlled, a well schooled people are easily controlled. We all need to understand the difference. We need real life education for our children instead of locking them up in windowless jail-like buildings all day with well meaning babysitters. Young children should be with their parents learning what parents have to do to take care of their child, to take care of their family, to take care of their responsibilities to their community etc.. Our way to doing things needs to change so as to accommodate children in many areas of the economy. The root word for education means "to draw one out." How many of us ever experienced that with a teacher in school? When it is connected to those who love us in real life circumstances things like math, science, reading, etc. all become tools we want for life, tools for enhancing our experience, tools for doing a job better or easier, creating a way to live in harmony.
All of you who know what I'm talking about, agree and want to make a little noise can help me by spreading the word on the web. If any of you have experience with the tools for running a strong internet campaign, and have nothing else to do, drop me a line. Money would be okay too as it can buy talent but if you are like me, and I expect you are, that stuff is hard to come by these days and you have to be careful what you do with it.
Pelimayahe (thank you ...in Lakota)
Sunday, August 8, 2010
I like running for Governor partly because it gets me to focus on articulating a Green Vision for the future, something I'm not sure has been done very well yet. Partly it is because it will require many people in many places participation to really design and build the diversified system I'm talking about. Someone said I was suggesting isolationism by focusing on the community but nothing could be farther from the truth. It is true that life's essentials will need to be produced locally for the most part in order to be sustainable, but it is also vital to re-establish social relations within communities and to re-establish critical trade networks with other communities. The current system relies on oil powered systems of distribution from centralized locations for food, fuel, medicine, clothing, for some even water, and over the last 100 years has destroyed the older critical life supporting networks of communities. The current system is vast and complex but could fail with even small reductions in fuel accessibility. We can redesign the system before we run out which will make it much easier to get systems in place for the long haul. We can do it in any case but we might loose a bunch of us in the process if we don't begin soon. Cuba managed to make the change when their oil supply was abruptly ended, bicycles and organic food production everywhere, but they are a relatively small island.
We will need to raise the standards for corporate behavior on our state barring certain activities. Just as our climate and weather patterns have been destabilized by unwise and unregulated practices so has our economy, so has our food, fuel and fiber systems, our access to clean water too is being threatened. So the challenge is to design a balanced system, one that can provide for our needs as well as for the needs of our ecology. It should not be that complicated as it is in our genetic memory, we used to do it. Now we prodce 20 times the carbon emissions as the rest of the world, we need to take responsibility for our actions at a personal and community level as well as for the actions of US based corporations.
The five planks I mentioned are my platform and in the coming posts will attempt to lay out a Green Vision of each; Security, Economy, Ecology, Health, Education, to further explain myself. Please feel free to ask questions in the comment section below.
Good day all,
Friday, August 6, 2010
We came back from our trip to Pine Ridge Reservation just in time to participate in a gubernatorial debate. Having not been invited to the debate with all the corporate-funded candidates I had hoped there would be at least one debate with the independent and third party candidates. Tennessee has a tradition of colorful candidates for governor and this debate was between three of them. It was organized by the Basil Marceaux campaign, of Colbert Report fame, and besides yours truly, stage center, there was June Griffin of Daily Show fame ...from Dayton, TN, of monkey trial fame. So there I was, sandwiched between all this fame. Basil was a likable buffoon who paid for the hall and whose antics had drawn the audience there, largely for the entertainment it would provide. June Griffin was an angry, and somewhat scary, fundamentalist. Despite her claim of supporting the Constitution it became clear to me that our Constitution was written to protect us from people with ideas like hers. Pursuit of happiness was not part of her program but Basil was all for it.
It was difficult to get the conversation focused on things that we could do to really help people's lives. They were both big second amendment supporters opposed to regulation. I pointed out that it was the first amendment that was being threatened not the 2nd amendment...that this whole gun flap is to stir the fear and sell more guns all while crime figures have been going down for 30 years. I guess that is why crime reporting is up over 1000%, atrocity sells guns. I asked, why are we so afraid that we feel the need to carry a gun? ...and shouldn't we be addressing that issue? At one point I had to admit to the audience that much of what I was hearing sounded pretty crazy.
It is difficult for a Green to get their ideas out and understood in a society guided by two polarized philosophies; individualism and socialism. Despite their differences, the two dominant philosophies are both human-centric and industrial. Green political thought is based on a philosophy that includes the 30 million other species our existence is interwoven with, and on which we depend for food, water and the other necessities of life. The current economy is parasitic, turning the biomass of other species into more human biomass as industrial activities propel extinctions of others at an accelerating rate. The writing is on the wall, our planet is finite, and while only a minority are seeing it Greens have a plan to repair the damage.
We would begin with redirecting the state's priorities away from service to extractive corporate clients to re-establishing viable, resilient and self reliant, self-governing, sustainable communities, organized by watersheds. We would proliferate facilitated Community Dialogue Projects so people could come together to get to know one another again to research and discuss what was best for their community. Communities would be helped with Community Resource Assessments to determine the talent, ideas and materials available to them for building a resilient local economy. We would pursue equipping communities with community scale technologies for food, fiber, fuel and energy as well as regional manufacturing of essential tools and equipment for them. Our five priorities would be 1. economy 2. ecology 3. health 4. security 5. education. In green philosophy these are all connected and are the primary concern of all living things, all communities. Communities would design their systems so that all nutrient and material loops would be closed, wasting nothing, operating within the limits of their environment and in harmony with it. Solar resources would be utilized to the max, directly or indirectly. Science would be freed from only experts to encourage innovation and invention. We would establish community banks and a state bank as a bulwark against the funny money of Wall Street. Education would be integrated into the fabric of the community teaching real skills as well as critical thinking and problem solving. We would be designing a stable decentralized system, one with plenty of redundancy for security. A centralized system is vulnerable at its center, with no center to attack a decentralized system is much more stable and secure. Its the difference between a one legged stool and a 5 legged stool.