Saturday, April 15, 2006

Ventura Plenary

So, here is the question. Will there be a plenary, a meeting of the Green Party this month in Ventura? It looks questionable. The issues:
  • some want to stage a protest in Sacramento during the Democratic Party Conference which happens to be on the same day.
  • the host organization is not sure that they can pull if off
  • the agenda was not published in time that any decisions made at the plenary would be legal.

Since the the last plenary in S. California ended up with a long delay before anyone could agreen on a stripped down agenda and most of the first day was wasted, maybe we should repeat the event. Let's throw out the entire agenda and turn it into a Green Festival to raise everyone's spirits. Take what money there is, hire a band and have a good time.

I am only a little facetious. It might to the party more good than the alternatives.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Immigration Realities

I have read, and re-read Reuben Navarette's April 5 column in the San Diego Union Tribune (actually it was also syndicated in my local weekly.) Since I am working on a revision of the GP CA Platform's Immigration plank, I wanted to get some additional feedback on Navarette's viewpoint.

I won't copy the entire article, but I will list his "undeniable realities."

  1. Guest worker programs often don't work as advertised.

  2. Illegal immigrants don't depress wages, employers do.

  3. The idea that illegal immigrants will "self-deport" if you dry up all the jobs isn't realistic.

  4. There will always be jobs for illegal immigrants because many Americans want to enjoy upper-class luxuries on middle-class salaries.

  5. We all benefit from illegal immigration. Even if you don't benefit directly, chances are you benefit indirectly by enjoying the fruits of a robust economy or lower prices on goods and services.

  6. Mexican workers are going to continue to come to the United States - legally if possible, illegally if necessary - as long as they can earn 15 to 20 times more in this country than the can back home.

  7. When your're talking about employers and workers, and the workers are here illegally, the laws of supply and demand fall apart.

I am mostly concerned with Undeniable Reality No. 6. I have not heard a single thing out of Congress that would deal with this fact. The only way to solve this immigration problem is to raise the standard of living in Mexico. How do we participate in this from the United States?

Friday, April 07, 2006

GPCA Platform

I really wonder how many have completely read, and tried to understand the consequences of the GPCA platform. There are many statements about which I am sure that most GPCA members are blissfully unaware.

Let me cite the following from the section on "Community-Based Sustainable Economics"
To begin the transition to a sustainable system, we support:
  • The creation and spread of local currencies and barter.
  • or --
  • Adopting a 30-hour work week as a standard. This could translate into as many as 26 million new jobs.
  • This latter comes at a time when new statistics show that the average American work week has been expanding and is now runing over 60 hrs. per week for white collar jobs in some companies. Even by 2001, it was reported that "Workers in the United States are putting in more hours than anyone else in the industrialized world."

    Other than working on the California Fair Wage Initiative, what is the Green Party doing on economic issues in support of, or in spite of, this platform statement?

    Thursday, April 06, 2006

    Dems fed up...

    Andrea Dorey had the best response to Molly Ivin's commentary on being fed up with the "DC Dems". With her permission, I am posting it here. Andrea is currently on the Green Party Santa Clara County Council.

    Dear Molly,

    Gee, loved your diatribe, honey! Maybe we should run somebody who can yell the hell all the way to DC and REALLY scare the shit out of everybody ensconced there for a lifetime of freebies and perks that will continue until their death and the death of their spouses--how about that, Molly Ivins? Remember Ralph Nader? No one has come close to the upset he caused, even in 2004 with NO support from his supposed friends. Or is it too far out to avoid the usual pack of politicians--and that includes the sainted, useless Howard Dean?

    How about adding to your wish list of three issues a little beginning step called CENSURE that might finally lead to impeachment of the top dogs of war? Or do we lack the spine needed to face the criticisms about that one: "We don't have to go THAT FAR!" they chide. "Too extreme!" We don't want to be extremists, do we?

    I'm getting tired of the same ol', same ol'. Why are we once again (50-YEARS-AND-MORE LATER!!!) fighting the same old attacks on personal freedoms for women? civil rights for minorities? living wages for immigrants that we pay slave wages to? a secure social security for the aged and infirm? Why do we tolerate this same old bullshit over and over again?

    Why do we stand by meekly while our elected representatives vote on and pass bills that they NEVER even bother to read, like the PATRIOT Act, or while they give total authority to the executive branch to wage war--a power that belongs to the legislative branch--or refuse to support the black caucus who tried to get just ONE senator to allow them to have the last election just examined, investigated, just looked at to find out why so many irregularities existed? Why?

    I'm tired. I'm going to take care of myself from now on and stop wasting time fighting the same damn battles. It's time for me at 67 years of age and after 40 years of activism to leave this mess to the young (like the young professional women who didn't need women's liberation because they had it made, and like the progressives who didn't need the Nader organization because he was in danger of "becoming a Harold Stassen").

    So, fine. Do it a new way. Do it your way. I'll be interested to see how far you get. And, really, good luck.


    Tuesday, April 04, 2006

    The Green Alternative is here

    Well, not really here, in California. But, there is now a fully functional, community owned, wind-powered, renewable hydrogen facility on the Island of Unst in Scotland. They have also a licensed, street legal, fully taxed hydrogen automobile, the first in the UK.

    Known as The Pure Project, this is an interesting model for Green development. It is not one of those big SoCal Edison or PGE project. This is a community owned operation. It produces power for the island and zero emissions for the atmosphere. One of the goals is to convert the island's marine fisheries fleet to hydrogen power rather than diesel.

    The developers were in Long Beach last month for the National Hydrogen Association conference and exhibition March 12 - 16.

    If there were ever a project that had the 10 KV attributes of community based economics, sustainability and ecological wisdom, this is surely it. I am anxious to follow what they are doing. I know that this project is a finalist for an environmental award in the UK.

    Monday, April 03, 2006

    Ghosts of the past push immigration debate

    The Pinnacle, a local weekly in my section of California, carried an OpEd by John Yewell this weekend. Yewell reminded us of the emotional seeds that fuel part of the immigration debate.
    Hordes of gold seekers armed with the doctrine of Manifest Destiny broke up the great ranchos and murdered the Indians, leading to feelings of disenfranchisement among Mexican Americans and of entitlement among Anglos. To this day nationalists harbor lingering suspicions that Mexicans might try to take it all back. To the more paranoid, that is exactly what is going on now. There's even an expression for it: The Reconquista.

    That paranoia found a perfect dance partner in the war on terror. Leaders of the Minuteman Project and others insinuate that al Qaeda members are crossing the Sonoran desert, making immigrants a kind of fifth column, the border a front line and the Mexican government culpable.

    All the talk about tougher border control may have increased the flow of immigrants trying to get here before the gates slam shut, but there's no evidence of a specific national security threat. No matter. When war is perpetual and the enemy invisible, the fearful see hostile ghosts everywhere.
    Fears of The Reconquista fuel the anti-immigration supporters. Some, like Frosty Wooldridge, even try to turn this into an environmentatl issue where all of those immigrants will ruin the environment for those who are already here.

    The anti-immigration movement in Congress is led by Tom Tancredo (R. CO). Tancredo seem to specialize in a rhetoric of fear, focusing only on the bad and never on the economic function fulfilled by undocumented workers. Even then, Tancredo's web site is not without with error, taking as a source unreliable new commentary when reliable information is available from the Cener for Disease Control. The case in point concerns the ability to test the blood supply for the parasite that causes Chagas' Diseas. In fact, the last time the FDA looked at this (2002) the statement was correct, but there have been new tests developed since then. So Tancredo is giving us old information to support his anti-immigration agenda.

    Even worse, is the focuse on crime. Tancredo focuses on facts, but brings forward stories of murder and rape. Other anti-immigration groups like the Americans For Legal Immigraction Political Action Committee routinely use stories of the most sensational crimes to help them raise funds.

    John Yewell identified the basic racist trends behind much anti-immigration actions. Tancredo's rhetoric shows that this goes to the higher levels of government, where he is supported by imflamatory groups like ALI-PAC. We must get beyond this if we are ever going to have a humanitarian resolution of the current problems.