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Jill Stein, Greens Grapple with Vision of New Politics and the Economy

Greens have separate caucuses for LGBT, black, and women’s groups. Stein’s Vice Presidential pick is Ajamu Baraka, a black man who works extensively in the human rights field around the globe. He is the Founding Executive Director of the U.S. Human Rights Network, and coordinator of the U.S.-based Black Left Unity Network’s Committee on International Affairs.

by Kathryn Bullington

(IVN) – More media attention is creating an opening for Greens as an alternative to major parties. It is also highlighting controversy within the Green Party over the most important issues to voters: the economy, treatment of minorities, and terrorism.

Most voters are still unaware or uncertain about who the Greens are and what they represent. Getting a clear message across to voters is paramount to luring new support into the Greens’ camp.

Green Party Economics

Greens have detailed economic goals, housed under the fourth pillar of their platform, and guided by their 10 Key Values.

In June, the Greens adopted an amendment to Pillar IV that, according to author Michael Trudeau, purports an anti-capitalist economic system. Several prominent Greens, including Trudeau, platform co-chair Bud Dickinson, and treasurer for Jill Stein, Steve Welzer, affirm that Greens are anti-capitalist. The Green Party platform, and even the amendment itself, however, reserves private ownership of property, work, and wealth. It is difficult to reconcile this contradiction, which has caused some controversy within the Green Party, and also presents a confusing platform for voters to consider.

In an interview for IVN, Jill Stein said that at the core, Trudeau’s amendment protects private ownership and small businesses, and that people get caught up on definitions of what is or is not capitalism:

“It specifically disavows state socialism. It argues for local, democratic government. It includes working people having a voice in the workplace, having a finance system that makes capital available to small businesses, communities, worker cooperatives, and non-profits — as opposed to the system we have right now, which many people would describe as crony capitalism, and having sort of ended the free market, and ended individual opportunity, and really creat[ed] a corporate state. So, I try to avoid the isms, because I find it means different things to different people. But at the heart of it, we still have private ownership, we still have individual small businesses, as well as worker-run cooperatives, or community cooperatives. It creates a diverse economy, and it creates a financial system that can actually support it. It breaks up the big banks, and creates public community-based banks, so that finances are actually available to everyday people. And it gets the money out of politics, more importantly, so that our democracy isn’t run by the crony capitalists.”

What will happen to large corporations and international trade under a Stein presidency?

There is a place for international trade, says Stein. Under her leadership, she would restore accountability of corporations to their stated charters, and tighten anti-trust laws.

Treatment of Minorities

Greens have separate caucuses for LGBT, black, and women’s groups. Stein’s Vice Presidential pick is Ajamu Baraka, a black man who works extensively in the human rights field around the globe. He is the Founding Executive Director of the U.S. Human Rights Network, and coordinator of the U.S.-based Black Left Unity Network’s Committee on International Affairs.

The Greens commitment to inclusiveness has not shielded them from accusations of racism, or white privilege. In a recent interview for IVN, Sedinam Moyowasifza-Curry accused the Greens of excluding non-white leadership, not building or courting non-white membership, and intentionally excluding her from the California Presidential Forum in January 2016, to favor Jill Stein.

California Greens did not respond to inquiries on why they canceled the debate in January.

Dr. Stein responded, saying that she is on record insisting that Moyowasifza-Curry be included in the forum, and that she did not sign the petition to include Moyowasifza-Curry because of some language she thought should be changed:

“She was excluded by the state [Greens Party] because they had different rules for participation. She did not meet those rules, but she did meet the national rules, and my feeling is that we have to be inclusive, and that we have to err on the side of inclusion. So, she should have been included, and I made it clear that I was not going to participate unless she was.”

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