Green Party Political Director Brent McMillan addressed the† Parliamentary Assembly of the Organization for Security and Cooperation† in Europe (OSCE.) on Friday, October 31st.† According to Brent:
Approximately 100 Parliamentarians from Europe and† Central Asia are about to disembark around the country to observe the† U.S. Elections over the next several days (Nov. 1 – 4.) Joao Soares,† President of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly, Head of the Election† Observation Mission to the U.S. was quite struck by what I had to say in† September and this time I was invited back with a much larger time slot.† (He is also a member of the Portuguese Parliament.)
What follows is the text of Brent’s speech:
OSCE PA Observers ñ Election Briefing
Oct. 31, 2008
Presentation by Brent McMillan
Good Evening Ladies and Gentlemen, thank you for this opportunity to
address the Parliamentary Assembly.
The Green Party of the United States is a relatively young party. On
November 08, 2001 The Federal Election Commission (FEC) issued a
unanimous opinion recognizing the Green Party of the United States as
the National Committee of the Green Party.
I have been in my current position as political director since Feb. 11
of 2004. I am a co-founder of the Green Party of Seattle (1997) and the
Green Party of Washington State (2000). I have been engaged in Green
Party organizing since 1991.
We currently have about 230 elected officeholders.
We are running approximately 300 candidates this year.
We have state committees in most, but not all states.
So far we have won over 50% of our elections this year which is
outstanding for a ëthird party.í This is the farthest into an election
cycle that we have gone with over a 50% win rate.
We face many challenges as a third party in a winner take all system.
The Media white-out has been especially troubling in this election
cycle. A recent example is The Washington Post. On their online DC Voter
Guide they didnít even mention our Presidential and Vice-Presidential
candidates, Cynthia McKinney and Rosa Clemente were on the ballot in the
district (but listed the libertarian candidate who didnít make the
ballot.) We finally got that changed this afternoon after several phone
calls and messages over the last two days.
We face an uphill struggle when it comes to fundraising. What I tell
potential candidates in my basic campaign workshop is that you can be
outspent 10 to 1 and still be competitive but at 100 to 1 youíll never
have the chance, youíll be washed away by money.
We face onerous ballot access laws which are different for each state.
There are different classes, itís much tougher for parties that arenít
either Republican or Democrat. It uses up a large amount of our energy,
meaning less energy to actually run for office. We currently have 32
ballot lines, up four ballot lines from 2004.
We are actively involved in resisting and turning back the privatization
of our public election system. We are fighting a for-profit partisan
takeover. In 2004 Greens, along with Libertarians, were very active in
the Ohio Recount. We turned over a large amount of evidence to the U.S.
Justice Department. Several people should have gone to jail by now but
they have been slow to act. Many cases have not even been brought to
trial yet and here we are on the eve of the 2008 election with many of
the culprits not having been called to account.
Pre-election disenfranchisement and rigged electronic vote counts plague
the 2008 election.
A current example of the work that greens are doing is Bob Fitrakis who
was the 2006 Green Party Candidate for Governor in Ohio. He is an
attorney, along with Cliff Arnebeck for a civil rights lawsuit, The
King-Lincoln-Bronzeville Neighborhood Association vs. Blackwell, a case
against the State of Ohio. The suit aims to expose and dismantle the
GOP’s ‘Man-in-the-Middle’ computer system set up by Karl Rove to steal
Ohio’s elections. It appears that the highest ranks of the Republican
Party, including White House counselor Karl Rove, and a handful of the
partyís most tech-savvy computer gurus and the former Ohio Secretary of
State, created, owned and operated the vote-counting system that
reported George W. Bushís re-election to the presidency. Michael
Connell, Karl Roveís IT guy is a key witness. He has been an instrument
in nearly every aspect of the activity that Rove put together in the
conspiracy that started in 2000 and continues to this day. They have
issued and served a subpoena on Michael Connell. He has engaged several
attorneys to avoid deposition and production.
In the words of Bob Fitrakis, ìPublic vote counts on private, partisan
servers and secret proprietary software have no place in a democracy.î
The Republicans are waging an all-out war to purge hundreds of thousands
of Democrats from the voter rolls. The now-familiar attacks on ACORN are
a smokescreen to cover highly effective state-by-state assaults on
computerized registration lists. These lists are often privatized and
run by Republican-connected companies like Triad in Ohio.
The same people that were involved in the election theft of 2000 and
2004 are still in place and are actively involved in stealing 2008.
2006 was the second strongest mid-term for independents and third party
since 1934. Zogby Exit polling of the issues most important to the
American people looked like the Green Party platform.
1) Get the U.S. out of Iraq
2) Global Warming
3) Universal Single-Payer Health Care.
The US has become addicted to energy consumption. Greens understand that
the long emergency, as we work to stop wars of Imperialism, global
warming and climate change will require serious curtailment of energy
consumption by U.S. citizens. Just switching from one form of energy
production to another is not going to solve this crisis, nor is greater
efficiency. (Jevonsí Paradox: consumption increases as efficiency
improves). Drilling in the ANWAR, drilling offshore, building Nuclear
Power Plants is not going to solve this crisis.
Greens support Universal single-payer Health Care. Itís a shame that
such a wealthy country refuses to take care of its own citizens.
The Green Party of the United States has endorsed the Standing for
Voters Pledge. Our Presidential and Vice-Presidential candidates,
Cynthia McKinney and Rosa Clemente along with many of our candidates
have signed onto the pledge. The pledge is basically, ìI will officially
challenge the results of the election as provided by law if the
combination of election conditions, incident reports, and announced
election results calls into question the reliability of the official
After the election there may be an opportunity. Among the possibilities
that greens could work in coalition for are:
Reinstating the Whistle Blower Act. Under this administration our State
Dept. has been gutted. We need to attract back good, competent people.
Reinstate the Inheritance Tax.
Restore Civil Liberties, repeal the Patriot Act which arguably has been
used more for the suppression of political dissent that it has been for
Re-establish Habeas Corpus as the fundamental foundation of Law.
Re-establish the balance of powers. Move power back from the Executive
A possible vehicle for bringing about these changes includes:
I serve on the Board of Advisors to the Transpartisan Alliance. They are
convening The American Citizenís Summit in Denver, Colorado Feb. 11 ñ
15, 2009. There will be 1,500 delegates from all over the country,
across the political spectrum in a safe environment for a civil
discussion about what is important, not manipulated by the two major
parties or the corporate owned media.
At 100 days we expect that there may be a lot of disappointment and we
see this as an opportunity as well.
Out of the pain and frustrating dysfunction of the current win-lose political drama, a serious constituency is growing for a political system based in well tested win-win principles and practices (similiar to those adopted by large businesses over the past couple decades to reconcile the divergent interests of management, labor, and other “stakeholders.”) This constituency isn’t waiting for the political professionals to agree — its unlikely they ever will — it’s being driven by citizen leadership.
My faith and commitment to such a difficult to imagine transformation from win-lose to win-win politics is rooted in personal experience. In 2001 after spending the first half of my life as a strident hater of liberals, I left Republican politics exhausted and disillusioned to reflect in a cabin in the mountains of rural Virginia. At the age of 39 I was in personal crisis. I had recently lost a risky bid for Congress. My marriage, business and political reputation had disintegrated. After struggling with and for political power for almost a decade, fueled by an undercurrent of anger and righteousness, I had hit a wall.
No longer feeling so sure of myself or my worldview, and having been humbled to the point of living well below the poverty line, life delivered an unlikely set of teachers (for someone whose nickname in the military had been “starch”)…a community of hippies. The small town I had chosen for retreat was a haven for 1960’s and 70’s back-to-the-landers. Over time, I began to discern and respect the underlying values that motivated their behavior — sharing, interdependence, equality, compassion for the weak, a strong sense justice, freedom, creative self-expression, and a reverence for nature. I realized these complemented rather than contradicted my conservative values of accountability, order, hard work, security, protection, respect for the individual, and respect for authority.
This simple insight – that liberal and conservative values systems have a natural, complementary relationship – was a breakthrough in my life and has become the basis of my work since. One set of values is softer, more nurturing, more emotional, and the other set is harder, more responsible, more rational. When integrated, they mutually support each other in a similar way to the parents of a healthy family. To be a whole, balanced, well functioning person I need to integrate the values of my mother and father. To be a whole balanced well functioning nation, it seems to me, we need to honor and integrate these values as well.
Based on this premise, the support of a foundation willing to fund “forgiveness,” and the contribution of a diverse group of mediators and systems thinkers from the little known field of “integral politics,” the work of Reuniting America emerged in 2004. Over three years we convened 144 leaders of groups like MoveOn.org, Christian Coalition, Common Cause, Americans for Tax Reform, Code Pink and Heritage Foundation. These “transpartisan leadership retreats” tested the premise that with a safe welcoming environment, clear ground rules, and a transparent process that allowed rather than denied conflict, trust, respect and communication emerge. We have seen unexpected cooperation among people who thought they were enemies on issues ranging from open government, election integrity, civil liberties, protecting the U.S. Constitution, net neutrality, national service, climate change and dialogue with Iran.
Inspired by this beginning and in an effort to extend this work to the grassroots, in October of this year the Transpartisan Alliance was organized — an informal network of networks that will serve as the convener of the American Citizens’ Summit, the first ever Transpartisan National Convention. This is an ambitious undertaking that is requiring vision, careful citizen diplomacy, and immense cooperation. It is intended to reduce tensions, build trust and facilitate cooperation on our most pressing national concerns…and its not just for political insiders, activists or organizers. It’s for average people whose voices are rarely heard. It’s for formal and informal leaders looking for new allies. It’s for innovators with ideas that our country needs. It’s for facilitators, mediators and bridge builders. It’s for businesspeople, artists, religious and non-religious. It’s for insiders and outsiders. It’s a “We the People” convention to restore integrity to the phrase government of, by and for people.
Consider joining us February 11-15, 2009 in Denver…what more effective service can you render right now? Register now, learn more or join the Alliance — see: http://transpartisan.net