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Op-Ed Political Organizing

A vision for the midterm


A vision for the midterm

Stage is set for Green breakthrough
by Brent McMillan, Green Party of Washington State and Green Party Political Director

We are well positioned going into the 2010 mid-term, but without the accompanying work this is meaningless. Just having the right message is not enough. The 2006 mid-term was the second strongest for independents and third-party Candidates since 1934. This year could be even bigger, as there is great dissatisfaction with both Democrats and Republicans.

On the movement side the emphasis is more on building resilience in our communities as opposed to ìsustainable development,î which can be seen as an oxymoron. The Post Carbon Institute and the Transition Town Movement are both doing great work and have merged organizationally. The emerging localization efforts are a breath of sanity in an otherwise insane world. Food, Inc. and other documentaries are having an impact.

The recent Supreme Court decision on Citizenís United v FEC will most likely have a significant negative impact on our elections. It opens up the floodgate of corporate money and influence. I have been referring to Washington, DC as occupied territory; now it is even more so. Welcome to Occupied USA. How can we become a part of this? It seems that more and more our message needs to be one of resistance!

The Health Care Reform fiasco is an important focus in this election. At the Annual National Meeting in Durham, NC last summer the number one issue that greens attending supported was Universal Single-Payer Healthcare. We need to continue to educate the general public about this sane solution to our national healthcare mess.

With the announcement of the troop expansion in Afghanistan, many voters have finally had enough of the Democrats and are looking for a new home. The message of Hope turned out to be Hype (many of us were not surprised, but we had to wait for others to find out for themselves). The Nobel Peace Prize has become meaningless. I remember when it meant something. One of my mentors was Rocki Bauer, who was a human shield to Rigoberta Menchu. He helped keep her alive long enough to where she was able to receive the Nobel Peace Prize, back when it meant something.

We need to focus on services. People are hurting. The cynical bailout of Wall Street by the Democrats has left many people abandoned in their time of need. We need to build a presence at the grassroots level relevant to those who lack the political influence to get the attention of the largely white male millionaires in Congress.

We are in what I believe is a false bottom economically, for a year or two. I suspect that things are going to get worse. We are still creating money through debt. We are still trying to grow our economy to cover this debt. We were able to do this in the past with an economy based on cheap fossil fuels. Those days are gone. The USA is an experiment in how long you can remain a superpower while living on credit. How long do you think that this is going to last? Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman gives us less than five years. The national debt compared to the GNP is now the highest it has been since the end of World War II.

We have some great candidates leading our ticket. Rich Whitney is running for Governor in Illinois. Lynn Williams is running for Governor in Maine. Laura Wells is running for Governor in California. Jill Stein is running for Governor in Massachusetts.

The Green Senatorial Campaign Committee (GSCC) is working to coordinate our federal level races. There is also the Green House Campaign Committee (GHCC) and the Coordinated Campaign Committee (CCC). They need members. Please consider serving on these committees.

Finally, we need to fill out our ticket. We need more candidates running at the municipal level. Our tickets have been very top-heavy in recent years; I have been working on recruiting candidates to run for entry-level positions. In the District of Columbia this is Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner. In Virginia this is Soil and Water District Commissioner. What is the entry level in your area? What do you have a good chance of getting elected to? Last year we won 37 percent of our municipal-level elections! The general public is very accepting of Greens running for local office.

There are several Campaign Schools being planned ñ we held one in Baltimore at the end of January and one in Little Rock, Arkansas, the weekend of February 19-21. There was also one in Philadelphia the same weekend. There are others in the planning stages. We need to build our bench. We are still struggling to fill out our campaign teams, especially Campaign Managers.

Now is a great time to be reaching out. I put out personalized prospect letters, continually testing audiences and messages. I noticed a significant increase in the number of donations from these letters after President Obama announced the troop expansion in Afghanistan. My lead issue in these letters has become greens support for Universal Single Payer Healthcare. People are responding. We have work to do. Now is the time to make hay.

Nicholas Ruiz III for Congress 2010, FL-24

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