“Why I’m Voting Green”


“This election is not between Obama and Romney, it is between corporate power and us.” — Chris Hedges

There have been many asides and aspersions cast about the blogosphere and elsewhere about 4&20 lately concerning why we have or haven’t had much to say about the 2012 elections (or where we choose to write them). Both Liz and jhwygirl have alluded to their reasons — combinations of disgust over corruption and hypocrisy, among others —  and I decided 6 months ago to hold my tongue during the long run up to the election. Pete’s been putting up some posts at PoliticalMontana.

I choose not play into the hands of party hardliners who want to accuse us independent lefties of somehow being responsible for whatever dem losses that transpire (either directly through third party votes, voting regressive, or somehow doing the work of the right by suppressing dem, independent or undecided voters as we try to hold a politician accountable). Actually, I really don’t care if dem/lib/progressive party activists lambast me, as I really doubt that I have much influence over established voting patterns, outside of the few phone calls I get from fam and friends asking about issues or candidates on their absentee ballots.

If anything, the attacks have pushed me (and many others) further away from the mainstream of contemporary electoral politics, and solidified our views that the system as it is, does not provide avenue to meaningful reform. So it becomes an exercise in how, if, or to what degree does one participate in elections, knowing that anything less than a soft revolution is necessary to bring about the conditions in which our future can realistically be built. Or are apocalyptic visions of the future really just a matter of degree and timing, and resistance is futile?

So the following article, “Why I’m Voting Green” by Chris Hedges comes at the appropriate time for me to do a “me too” ditto on his take and his conversation with Dr. Jill Stein, Green Party nominee for President. While I believe that Hedges does a good job in his article and interview with Stein, I still think that he isn’t willing to go the extra mile and approach directly the question of whether or not capitalism and democracy can coexist. I for one, don’t think that they can — at least not as currently conceived and constructed.

The policies that Stein advance are likely to be better liked by those to the left of the political spectrum, and if this election were only about policies, she most likely would win. But our elections no longer are about policies — or maybe they are not about the big questions of out times: empire & war; capitalism; climate change; eroding civil liberties, etc.. They more and more are about wedge issues designed by the corporate funders of our elections meant to instill fear, and reduce the voting populace (and the less the better) to contests based around ignorance and deception, to which the defending party turns into the lesser of two evils and harm reduction candidacies. And there are many who believe that the better harm reduction is done when democrats are in minority status in the Senate.

Having said all that, I will vote, as down ticket races still have some meaning at the local and state level. There are several ballot issues to be voted on that are designed to either restrict further our civil liberties, undo the work of bat shit crazy legislators, or to begin the process of identifying the roots of some of our electoral and constitutional problems.

Instead of just taking Hedges’ piece and reducing it to blurbs to illuminate, or asking you to click a link and jump to another website, I’ll include Hedges’ piece intact, and hope that you take the time to read it, and comment here.


Why I’m Voting Green

— By Chris Hedges

The November election is not a battle between Republicans and Democrats. It is not a battle between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney. It is a battle between the corporate state and us. And if we do not immediately engage in this battle we are finished, as climate scientists have made clear. I will defy corporate power in small and large ways. I will invest my energy now solely in acts of resistance, in civil disobedience and in defiance. Those who rebel are our only hope. And for this reason I will vote next month for Jill Stein, the Green Party candidate, although I could as easily vote for Rocky Anderson of the Justice Party. I will step outside the system. Voting for the “lesser evil”—or failing to vote at all—is part of the corporate agenda to crush what is left of our anemic democracy. And those who continue to participate in the vaudeville of a two-party process, who refuse to confront in every way possible the structures of corporate power, assure our mutual destruction.

All the major correctives to American democracy have come through movements and third parties that have operated outside the mainstream. Few achieved formal positions of power. These movements built enough momentum and popular support, always in the face of fierce opposition, to force the power elite to respond to their concerns. Such developments, along with the courage to defy the political charade in the voting booth, offer the only hope of saving us from Wall Street predators, the assault on the ecosystem by the fossil fuel industry, the rise of the security and surveillance state and the dramatic erosion of our civil liberties.

“The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any,” Alice Walker writes.

It was the Liberty Party that first fought slavery. It was the Prohibition and Socialist parties, along with the Suffragists, that began the fight for the vote for women and made possible the 19th Amendment. It was the Socialist Party, along with radical labor unions, that first battled against child labor and made possible the 40-hour workweek. It was the organizing of the Populist Party that gave us the Immigration Act of 1924 along with a “progressive” tax system. And it was the Socialists who battled for unemployment benefits, leading the way to the Social Security Act of 1935. No one in the ruling elite, including Franklin Roosevelt, would have passed this legislation without pressure from the outside.

“It is the combination of a social movement on the ground with an independent political party that has always made history together, whether during abolition, women’s suffrage or the labor movement,” Stein said when I reached her by phone as she campaigned in Chicago. “We need courage in our politics that matches the courage of the social movements—of Occupy, eviction blockades, Keystone pipeline civil disobedience, student strikes, the Chicago teachers union and more. If public opinion really mattered in this race, we [her presidential ticket] would win. We have majority support in poll after poll on nearly all of the key issues, from downsizing the military budget and bringing the troops home, to taxing the rich, to stopping the Wall Street bailouts, to breaking up the banks, to ending the offshoring of jobs, to supporting workers’ rights, to increasing the minimum wage, to health care as a human right, through Medicare for all. These are the solutions a majority of Americans are clamoring for.”

The corporate state has successfully waged a campaign of fear to disempower voters and citizens. By intimidating voters through a barrage of propaganda with the message that Americans have to vote for the lesser evil and that making a defiant stand for justice and democracy is counterproductive, it cements into place the agenda of corporate domination we seek to thwart. This fear campaign, skillfully disseminated by the $2.5 billion spent on political propaganda, has silenced real political opposition. It has turned those few politicians and leaders who have the courage to resist, such as Stein and Ralph Nader, into pariahs, denied a voice in the debates and the national discourse. Capitulation, silence and fear, however, are not a strategy. They will guarantee everything we seek to avoid.

“The Obama administration has embraced the policies of George W. Bush, and then gone much further,” Stein said. “Wall Street bailouts went ballistic under Obama—$700 billion under Bush, but $4.5 trillion under Obama, plus another $16 trillion in zero-interest loans for Wall Street. Obama continues offshoring our jobs. Bill Clinton brought us NAFTA, which was carried out under George W. Bush. It was vastly expanded under Obama to labor abusers in Colombia, and to Panama and South Korea. The Transpacific Partnership, being negotiated behind closed doors by the Obama White House, is NAFTA on steroids. It continues to send our jobs overseas. It undermines wages at home. It overrides American sovereignty by establishing an international corporate board that can overrule American legislation and regulations that protect workers as well as our air, our water, our climate and our food supply.”

Obama, who has claimed the power of assassinating U.S. citizens without charge or trial, increased the drone war and has vastly expanded the wars in the Middle East. He is waging proxy wars in Yemen, Pakistan and Somalia. His assault on civil liberties—from his use of the Espionage Act to silence whistle-blowers to Section 1021 of the National Defense Authorization Act to the FISA Amendment Act—is worse than Bush’s. His attack on immigrant rights has also outpaced that of Bush. Obama has deported more undocumented workers in four years than his Republican predecessor did in eight years. There is negligible difference between Obama and Romney on the issue of student debt, which has turned a generation of college students into indentured servants. But the most important convergence between the Republicans and the Democrats is their utter failure to address the perilous assault by the fossil fuel industry on the ecosystem. It was Obama who undercut the international climate accord reached last year at Durban, South Africa, saying the world could wait until 2020 for an agreement.

“Obama is promoting oil drilling in the Arctic, where the ice cap has already collapsed to one-quarter of its size from a couple decades ago, and he’s opened up our national parks for drilling,” Stein said. “He has given the green light to fracking. He has permitted the exhaust from shale oil [extraction] to go into the atmosphere. He is building the southern pass of the Keystone pipeline. He brags that he has built more miles of pipeline than any other president.

“There is a protracted drought in 60 percent of the continental U.S.,” Stein said. “There are record forest fires and rising food prices. We have just now seen the 12 hottest months on record. Storms are growing in destructiveness. All this is happening with less than 1-degree Celsius temperature rise. Yet we are now on track for a 6-degree Celsius warming in this century alone. This is not survivable. The most pessimistic science on climate change has underpredicted the rate at which climate change is advancing.”

The flimsy excuses used by liberals and progressives to support Obama, including the argument that we can’t let Romney appoint the next Supreme Court justices, ignore the imperative of building a movement as fast and as radical as possible as a counterweight to corporate power. The Supreme Court, no matter what its composition, will not save us from financial implosion and climate collapse. And Obama, whatever his proclivity on social issues, has provided ample evidence that he will not alter his servitude to the corporate state. For example, he has refused to provide assurance that he will not make cuts in basic social infrastructures. He has proposed raising the eligibility age for Medicare, a move that would leave millions without adequate health care in retirement. He has said he will reduce the cost-of-living adjustment for Social Security, thrusting vast numbers of seniors into poverty. Progressives’ call to vote for independents in “safe” states where it is certain the Democrats will win will do nothing to mitigate fossil fuel’s ravaging of the ecosystem, regulate and prosecute Wall Street or return to us our civil liberties.

“There is no state out there where either Obama or Romney offers a way out of here alive,” Stein said. “It’s up to us to create truly safe states, a safe nation, and a safe planet. Neither Obama nor Romney has a single exit strategy from the deadly crises we face.”

  1. Pancho

    Chris Hedges likely takes a meaningless personal position.

    He probably lives in NY, NJ, or DC. If he were able to get 10,000 neighbors to join him in voting for Bishop Mitt, it wouldn’t make a whit of difference. If he does, though, and he lives in MA or VA, it could actually negatively affect the chances of Warren or Kaine. That would indeed be a disaster.

    If he lives or Ohio, or Nevada, voting for Jill (if she is on either of those ballots) or Rocky (whom I have long greatly admired) could have actual, and disastrous consequences. By writing this piece of false equivalency, Hedges insults the intelligence of progressives.

    Given that, by virtue of his outstanding journalism and crafting of opinions, and having developed something of a constituency, writing this nonsense is a foolhardy thing for Hedges to do. He might have enough readers in a battleground/swing state to actually influence an election, and a down-ticket contest.

    I’ve read another such piece last week by a progressive writer from Virginia. I think both were effectively, though not directly, answered by Alex Pareene, writing for Salon.com




    I was moved to send this response to Pareene’s article to the author. I would hope that someone here would have a lucid response if I’m wrong about anything:

    Hard to argue with a word in this article, except to emphasize further that Romney would be running for a second term next Wednesday and willing to sell his soul (as he has so amply demonstrated) to that end.

    The Mormon prophesy says that one will take over the country and lead us to Zion. Any reason to believe Bishop Romney doesn’t believe that, or any other claptrap he’s so recently supposedly abandoned?

    During the Ryan Biden debate, Paul brought up a case, which Romney supposedly was not anxious to tout and Ryan must have met while standing in line at a supermarket, or something. It was a tale of the “Nixon” family that found itself in disastrous circumstances in which Mitt stepped in to aid and comfort. Family support. College tuition for the kids. Santa Claus came to town.

    Now that generosity, applied to the case of benefactor quarter-billionaire Romney, would be for him the equivalent of most of the rest of us leaving three pennies in the change cup at the 7/11.

    Ryan, however, got off the “humanizing” script for just a second at the end of the heartwarming tale.

    He tellingly mentioned that the family were members of Mitt’s “church.”


    LDS, yes, but almost certainly from Bishop Mitt’s own “stake.”

    Yes. Mitt may have done what Mormon leaders are supposed to do for their own, the 2% of personal planet seekers that have seen and are walking toward the Joseph Smith/Brigham Young light.

    As for the rest of us, the 98%, I assume Mitt feels we can sign up with the suits on bicycles or move to Canada if we need the slightest fiber of a safety net. Ryan would be happy to provide us with a bus ticket.

  2. lizard19

    that other progressive, Matt Stoller, wrote his progressive case against Obama on Saturday at Salon, and if you don’t read the whole piece, read at least this:

    Many will claim that Obama was stymied by a Republican Congress. But the primary policy framework Obama put in place – the bailouts, took place during the transition and the immediate months after the election, when Obama had enormous leverage over the Bush administration and then a dominant Democratic Party in Congress. In fact, during the transition itself, Bush’s Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson offered a deal to Barney Frank, to force banks to write down mortgages and stem foreclosures if Barney would speed up the release of TARP money. Paulson demanded, as a condition of the deal, that Obama sign off on it. Barney said fine, but to his surprise, the incoming president vetoed the deal. Yup, you heard that right — the Bush administration was willing to write down mortgages in response to Democratic pressure, but it was Obama who said no, we want a foreclosure crisis. And with Neil Barofsky’s book ”Bailout,” we see why. Tim Geithner said, in private meetings, that the foreclosure mitigation programs were not meant to mitigate foreclosures, but to spread out pain for the banks, the famous “foam the runway” comment. This central lie is key to the entire Obama economic strategy. It is not that Obama was stymied by Congress, or was up against a system, or faced a massive crisis, which led to the shape of the economy we see today. Rather, Obama had a handshake deal to help the middle class offered to him by Paulson, and Obama said no. He was not constrained by anything but his own policy instincts. And the reflation of corporate profits and financial assets and death of the middle class were the predictable results.

    then there’s this clip making the rounds, in which a sorta weasely looking dude goes out punk’ing people by making them think they’re hearing Romney’s policies being explained, but really it’s Obama’s policies, like the NDAA and the kill list.

    when confronted with reality (at around 4:53) you get to see a bit of floundering.

  3. Big Johansson

    Its not easy being green JC. Or feathery, big and yellow after the 6th.

  4. Steve W

    Jill Stein The Green Party candidate for President, and her VP running mate Cheri Honkala are pre-approved write in candidates in Montana. So people who write in Jill Stein and Cheri Honkala will have their votes counted and tallied all across the state.

    I’m writing in Jill Stein and Cheri Honkala and I hope you do too!

    • This is the information I have been looking for! So they are official write-in candidates. Great! And I urge my conservative friends to vote Gary Johnson. Third parties need to have the votes to get election Fed money.
      I very much liked the Stoller piece and urge people to read the whole thing. It is ultimately about exercising democratic muscles that have grown flabby voting for the two legacy parties who have become bloated and corrupt. If not now, when?

  5. Thanks for sharing the info about the ‘pre-approved’ write in for Jill Stein. She was just arrested today at the on-going blockade in east Texas by local landowners and environmental activists against TransCanada’s construction of the Keystone XL pipeline.


  6. FYI. In Montana, “pre-approved” includes a mandatory fee or the declaration of intent is void, and votes will not be counted. Free? Open? Fair? I keep hearing that claim.

    MCA, 13-10-202. Filing fees. Filing fees are as follows:
    (1) for offices having an annual salary of $2,500 or less and candidates for the legislature, $15;
    (2) for county offices having an annual salary of more than $2,500, 0.5% of the total annual salary;
    (3) for other offices having an annual salary of more than $2,500, 1% of the total annual salary;
    (4) for offices in which compensation is paid in fees, $10;
    (5) for officers of political parties, presidential electors, and officers who receive no salary or fees, no filing fee is required.

    • Steve W

      Steve Kelly, Since we are voting for electors (Presidents aren’t elected by popular suffrage, but rather by presidential electors) it sounds like Jill and Cheri are good to go here in Montana.

      I believe ballot access is a huge issue that is certainly not fair, free, nor open.

      But let’s be clear here; Our right-in votes for Jill Stein will be counted and tallied, based on the info you provided.

      I think it’s a good thing.

  7. Pete Talbot

    The Republican Party is praying that more-and-more progressives will vote Green Party. Republicans, after beating up on each other in the primaries, will coalesce behind Romney. That’s one thing they’re really good at. They won’t be writing in Bachman or Cain or Perry …

    And while Obama has, in some cases, disappointed, I’m still voting for him (or should I say voting against Romney). Here’s why:

    If Romney wins and Republicans pick up the Senate, you’ll have a right-wing trifecta that will foist all sorts of nasty legislation on this country. Or, if the Senate ends up split, Paul Ryan, scarier that any Halloween zombie, could be casting tie-breaking votes.

    Romney would be appointing conservative justices to the already conservative Supreme Court.

    Obama’s human rights record, at least in the U.S., is good: gay, women, minorities. We can be pretty sure where Romney/Ryan are on these issues.

    While hardly an environmental activist, Obama is certainly better than Romney, particularly on energy issues.

    Foreign policy is going to be even more hawkish under Romney, and defense spending will increase (while other government programs will dramatically decrease).

    And on-and-on.

    I appreciate your sentiments, JC, but until there is a viable third-party candidate, I will, as I often do, vote for an imperfect Democrat over a demonstrably bad Republican.

    And I’m hoping for better in Obama’s second term.

    • JC

      Pete, we get viable 3rd party choices when we vote for their candidates. The Green Party needs to show certain levels of voter support in order to do things like qualify for state ballots, get into national debates, and qualify for federal matching funding.

      The Green plan this cycle is to build a viable 3rd party, and that can’t happen when folks keep doing the catch-22: not viable, won’t vote for the candidate, which keeps the party non-viable. Jill Stein is a great candidate, with a far better policy plank than the dems. Have you listen to any of her debates against Mitt Romney? Give her a shot.

      At some point people need to choose to step out of the catch-22 imposed by politics as usual. Here’s the Green strategy from Jill Stein’s website:

      “Election Day countdown: Invest in democracy. Demand a Green New Deal!

      We’ve fought our way onto nearly 9 out of 10 ballots. We fought for matching public funds in the primary and raised just shy of $500,000.

      We’ve already won a lot. But we need your help to keep building demand for a Green New Deal…

      ~ A win of 1% of the vote will put the Greens back on the national political map.

      ~ A win of 3% will send a clear message to the political establishment that serious momentum is mounting for the Green New Deal.

      ~ A win of of 5% of the vote will unleash $20 million in clean public funding for the 2016 Green presidential campaign, giving us the strength to get on every state ballot, break into the debates, and build demand for the Green New Deal…

      Real people can’t afford to have two corporate parties — we have too much at stake. With your support, we will reach out to even more new voters to build support for a Green New Deal and fight for full employment, Medicare for All, and a government truly for and by the 99%.”

    • I could also go on and on but I’ll start with the Supremes. The whole you-gotta-vote-for-the Democrat-cuz-of-SCOTUS is debunked in the Stoller Piece. Also Yves Smith had a good article on this at Naked Capitalism. http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2012/10/the-democrats-dubious-record-on-the-supreme-court.html
      Basically the court has always been very much a pro-big business bunch but sometimes good on civil rilghts. Even the “most liberal” judge Ginsburg is a pro corporate judge. The politicians and media lackeys get Republicans and Dems all worked up over guns and abortion. But the real skullduggery is done on behalf of corporations. The Democrats in the Senate could have blocked Alito, Roberts, Scalia and Thomas, but didn’t. So the whole Supreme Court argument is a red herring. Besides, the appointment of right leaning Sotomayer and corporate anti civil rights Kagan is hardly something to jump on the bandwagon for.

      More women are in poverty now than ever. More women (teachers) have been laid off. Lily Ledbetter Act just made it possible for a woman to sue for redress of wage inequality. Window dressing. It did not get anywhere on actual wage equality. No living wage. No Employee Free Choice Act. Economic issues are women’s issues. Stoller:
      “Barack Obama is the president who hired as his lead economic advisor Larry Summers, a man famous for arguing that women are genetically predisposed to being bad at math. Unsurprisingly, Anita Dunn, a White House adviser, later called the Obama White House a “hostile work environment” for women, in large part because of the boys club of Rahm Emanuel and Larry Summers. Obama is the president who insisted that women under 17 shouldn’t have access to Plan B birth control, overruling scientists at the FDA, because of his position ”as a father of two daughters.” Girls, he said, shouldn’t be able to buy these drugs next to “bubble gum and batteries.” Aside from the obvious sexism, he left out the possibility that young women who need Plan B had been raped by their fathers, which anyone who works in the field knows happens all too often. In his healthcare bill, Obama made sure that government funds, including tax credits and Medicaid that are the key to expanding healthcare access to the poor, will be subject to the Hyde Amendment, which prohibits their use for abortion. It’s not clear what will happen with healthcare exchanges, or how much coverage there will be for abortion services in the future.”
      Women and children are being killed with drones. Whisteblowers prosecuted. Turmoil is worse in the Middle East. War in Libya without authorization.
      Sorry, I just can’t vote for these terrible policies. Obama has authorized new Nuclear Plants, is for Clean Coal, and more drill baby drill. His grand bargain is to raise the SS age which will hurt all Americans but especially black Americans who don’t live as long as whites. What Mitt Romney might do is unknown. I know what this administration has already done and what they’ve got in their sites for SS and Medicare.
      I could go on and on.

    • Pancho

      There’s no question about it. Erik Holder is a terrible Attorney General, reminding us of John Mitchell, Ed Meese, John Ashcroft, Alberto Gonzales, etc. Holder has been on a tear against weed smokers since 1996, at least.

      Would Romney do any better? Be serious.

      We need to get Obama reelected and then need to get him to fire that son of a bitch.

      Here’s today’s best story on the drug war, by the way. For profit prison operator CCA (i.e., Shelby, MT) made the news. Their guards are almost untrained. One wonders how their dogs could be any better:


      Casa Grande Dispatch
      November 1, 2012
      3 arrested in Vista Grande High drug sweep

      Three students were arrested on possession of marijuana and of drug paraphernalia charges Wednesday morning during a scheduled drug sweep at Vista Grande High School.

      The drug search was done at the request of the school district.

      Eight officers with dogs from Casa Grande Police, Gila River Police, Arizona Department of Public Safety and Corrections Corporation of America arrived at the school at 9 a.m. and the school was placed on lock-down. Every vehicle, backpack and classroom was searched by the dogs.

      A 15-year-old girl and 15-year-old boy were found with marijuana in their backpacks and marijuana also was found in a 17-year-old girl’s car, according to police. The amount of marijuana found was not released. The three students now face suspension or expulsion for violating school policy.

      • Steve W

        Pancho, do you think that Obama will win Montana? I’m just asking because you seem to spend a lot of time promoting him here when it seems to me that Obama has a snowballs chance in hell of winning in Montana.

        I’m pretty sure Obama will win the election, just not in Montana.

        Here. read the facts and breathe deep. http://www.electoral-vote.com/ And if you want to help Obama, I suggest doing GOTV calls to people in swing states which you can do through the Obama web site from your home land line or cell phone.

        I already voted absentee for Jill Stein because I prefer her policies, but I’m sure she and Obama are both going to lose Montana.

        There are lots of other important issues and offices on our ballots this year. Get out and vote it people!

        • Pancho

          Obama doesn’t have a snowball’s chance, I agree. Tester does, and we need to support him over the Vodka Boatman, Denny Rehberg. While you’re at it, vote for Pam Bucy, Steve Bullock and Denise Juneau.

  8. Big Johansson

    One raindrop doesn’t make a river.

    • Steve W

      He’s an asshole, BJ, because he totally ignores Vigil Goode who is as principled as anybody in this race, which Ron Paul isn’t. In the race. Because he doesn’t want to run, apparently.

      How about Rocky Anderson? Is your video buddy a pinball wizard, or is he just deaf dumb and blind?

      Don’t talk about principle while you pimp Willard, dude. Or Clown Rehberg, or :Sales Tax Hill.

      Virgil Goode, dude. If you walked the walk. Or Newt.

      What ever happened to Newt?

      • Pancho

        Newt found his true calling, this week.

        Scaring the hell out of little children.

        He may be sizing some up for his next wife-to-be.

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