Green Imagination

Your Blog for Sharing Green Ideas.

Monday, August 30, 2004

Do protestors have a party

Tonight during the "Brooks & Shields" portion of PBS' Jim Lehrer Newshour (my favorite TV news program), David Brooks commented that protestors against the war in Iraq have no party. By extension, they also have no candidate.

It's clear he's doubly wrong. Both David Cobb and Ralph Nader are, and have always been, against the war.

Land of Opportunity

Many Americans are proud this week, having seen our Olympic athletes' proficiency and flair in the international competition. The swift runners and swimmers and the graceful gymnasts enhance our country’s image and our sense of well-being. The knowledge that these athletes have trained for years to achieve their goals only increases our esteem and awe of them. Then there’s the compassionate example of Michael Phelps, stepping aside to share the glory of gold with a teammate.

Can you imagine having political leaders of whom we can be equally proud? Leadership that is as focused, disciplined, and strong, that engenders as much admiration and respect, and sets the best possible example for all our citizens?

A disciplined and compassionate administration would take care of peoples’ needs first, before spending money on tax credits for its wealthiest citizens. Health care, housing, day care, food, and education for all Americans would be priorities. Deficit spending would be most unusual, occuring only in emergency situations. Planning for the future would include research into and incentives for sustainable energy sources, and conservation of limited fossil fuels.

Rich in the earth’s natural resources, and in our diverse mix of abilities, ideas and cultures, the United States could lead the world in tolerance and understanding, instead of weapons production. Our ingenuity is historical, and generations of new Americans have worked long and hard to give their families a better life than they lived. The American dream no longer seems possible, as only the most priviledged are advancing toward their goals, the rest of us struggling to maintain our standard of living, while our government spends billions of our dollars engaging in preemptive warfare.

America deserves a government that lives up to the Green ideals of democracy, equal opportunity, and environmental and economic sustainability. Making the most of our gifts and opportunities is the American dream.

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Not the only game in town

We have certainly hit the start of the presidential campaign season and it's already down and dirty. Well, whopdi-do. I'm so tired of hearing about swift boat veterans that my eyes are going to pop out.

Fortunately, although it's certainly important, the presidential election isn't the only game in town! At least, not here in MD. We've got a ton of great candidates just dying for some media exposure...and they should be getting it pretty soon! Keep an eye out for a big article about the Green congressional candidates in the Sun this weekend (hopefully). I'll link to it and discuss it once it's available.

Also, keep an eye out on this blog for some guest bloggers! Several of the congressional & city candidates will be appearing regularly throughout the next few months on this site (again hopefully--there's some technical kinks to work out).

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Another Protest Worth Attending

Here's another example of a protest that gives me hope. Last week, a man who worked at a Frederick ad agency was fired from his job for heckling Bush at a rally in W. VA. Interestingly, he says he understood why he was fired and then later asked the protestors not to protest directly in front of the business. He felt it was "unfair" to disrupt their business.

GIVE ME A BREAK! Isn't the goal of a protest to cause disruption so that people pay attention to an issue? Moreover, doesn't this guy seems not to value his freedoms, as he didn't mind being fired. Who knows, maybe he hates his job.

What this points to, of course, is not just our diminishing rights as US citizens, but the subjugation of our rights to corporations. Businesses aren't democratic, many of them try to avoid taking a political stance on issues (at least publicly--let's not go into lobbyists now). The point is that when people go to work, they are often expected to leave their politics at the door. Conversely, constitutionally protected rights are also left at the door. This is particularly true in terms of the first amendment. (In fact, I'm really glad people can't bring guns to work.)

However, is it fair, as in this case, for an employee to be simultaneously silenced and forced to attend a political rally? Isn't that essentially an attempt to indoctrinate by a supposedly non-political entity?

Of course, this was an ad agency, so they may have been hired by Bush Co. There's probably a number of details of this story that's not being shared. All the same, the fact that he was fired just for heckling the President, however inappropriate his timing might've been (according to his boss--I can't imagine a time when it would be inappropriate to heckle Bush), illustrates how much individual power we've given away to corporations. And the fact that this situation doesn't bother the victim at all is a true example of what Herbert Marcuse called "surplus repression."

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

The Future of Politics is GREEN

A friend of mine, a staunch Democrat, sent me this article from Steve Gillard's blog after a rather heated debate over this year's presidential election and the politics surrounding it.

I don't have to tell readers of this blog (bless your heart, the few of you regulars) that some of this material is just plain wrong:
The last vestiges of upper middle class radicalism, which values issues
over results. Just look at the energy of the Greens into IRV. Not wage
increases, not safer working conditions, not even a boycott of Wal-Mart, one of
America's evilest corporations, but IRV, which will change almost nothing for
most people. Not even weekend voting.

I'm sure many of you can point to several cases where IRV was indeed used successfully. More importantly, Gilliard characterizes what he calls "the new left" as "resolutely middle class and moderate." There's much in that tiny fragment to be picked apart. For one, he's calling anyone who is working for the Dems this year as a "new left." He particularly points to Deaniacs and the like who are using the Internet to effectively organize and raise money. Of course, organizing and raking in cash online have little to do with a person or group's politics. It has to do with their effectiveness and their re-investment of some funds into furthering their online presence and organizing mechanisms.

What's more, how can there be a "new left" if it is moderate? This implies what political commentators have been saying since Bush took office: the overall political attitudes of this country have shifted, or been dragged, to the right. If this is true, then people aren't become more politically polarized, their only being polarized in their loyalty to a particular candidate. It says nothing of their politics. After all, how can you be both "left" and "moderate?"

Indeed, Gilliard seems to miss the point of the entire Green Party and its movement:

What many on the Green left don't get is that Americans hate politics.

Isn't that why the Green Party exists? To reinvigorate politics? And here's a contradiction:

The Green left may never accept this as a model [the leader-centered model, as he calls it] of reform, but what have their methods gotten them? Candidates who can't get five percent of the vote in a national election, limited power, if any, in America's largest cities. We've tried their "everyone has a voice" model and it leads to petty politics and inaction because the loudest voice wins or bitches so much no one can do
anything. When you have an organization like Move On or ACT, with clear goals,
it is far easier to organize people to carry them out.

So, instead of having a single person to rally around, a Nader or Cobb for example, groups like Move On and ACT dictate the ways in which people get involved. Again, this is just effective organizing, not some wild uprising of the left that's about to storm the Whitehouse with Kerry. (I should point out that groups like Move On are generally funded by and lead by incredibly rich democrats like George Soros, and they are not an "open governing body" in any way that remotely resembles a democratic organization--a clear contrast with our own Coordinating Committee).

Gilliard clearly misunderstands the Green Party movement. Whether it's out of a lack of knowledge or an unwillingness to engage Greens is not for me to say. What's important, though, is his focus on the use of technology to better organize. Ironically, he calls ANSWER ineffective, although much of their organizing is structured very similarly to Move On's. That is, Gilliard emphasizes the form over content of Internet organizing, placing groups with which he is politically aligned on a higher level than those he is not. For Gilliard, the medium is the message.

What's the lesson here? I have urged it many times: Greens need to be more effective online. Simple as that. We need more sophisticated ways of reaching the key people who would naturally be attracted to our movement if a) they knew about us, b) it wasn't a presidential election year. Essentially, we need a stronger online community.

This begs the question of the digital divide, to which I have no answer, and which is also a different blog topic.

Saturday, August 14, 2004

New Look

By the way, check out the new mint-green look!

Fresh and effervescent!


Occasional readers of this blog will notice that my occasional postings have become severely less occasional. Alas, I've found a job! It's great: small company, lots of interesting things to learn and do, overall a bunch of great people to work with. It seems like this is the ideal job (at least for me).


They don't recycle!!! This drives me nuts. My new company produces two magazines, one quarterly and one bi-monthly. Those of you who have worked in the magazine industry or know anything about publishing know that it takes a hell of a lot of paper to come up with a decent-looking final copy. Fine. But at least recycle! It's easy and I think (or at least hope) Baltimore City would provide curbside pickup even for businesses. To be sure, I'll be looking into this in more detail.

Anyway, with my new job, I have less energy and time. But fret not! Starting shortly, our great Baltimore City and Maryland Congressional Candidates will be posting here! That's right, Green Imagination will be the home to a host of new bloggers...all GREEN CANDIDATES.

So look out cyberspace, we're getting' serious.